Rehabilitating a house at 118 S. Freeborn has been a Schafers family project.
The house is undergoing near-total rehabilitation because of the condition it was in when Jason Schafers took possession in April.
It had been under scrutiny by the city since last year when city building inspector Marty Fredrickson told council members the foundation was the biggest concern but it also was leaking and infested with mold.
For months city officials tried to get the former owners Allen Church and Paul and Elaine Morse to repair the house. Finally they signed a quitclaim deed transferring the house to Schafers.
Last week, Schafers and his daughter, Haiti, 9, were working on sprucing up the lawn. Jason mowed and trimmed weeds. Haiti swept trimmings off the sidewalk. Earlier, Jason had put three flats of shingles on the roof, quitting when the heat got to be too much.
Although mold is severe enough that large portions of drywall are completely black, progress has been made tearing out the plaster board.
Many family members have pitched in. Schafers’ wife, Becky; daughters Amanda and Bridget; sons Jerid, Steven, and David; as well as other relatives have helped with the work.
There is still far to go. The house’s entry is bare to the studs. A wide opening in the foundation awaits pouring of new concrete walls. Parts of the ceiling have been removed, and other portions hang loosely. Some boards under the eaves are rotted.
“Once we get the roof done and the wall in, we can work on the inside,” Schafers said. “Our plans are to strip the walls down to the studs.”
The studs will be chemically treated before antimicrobial drywall is installed throughout. Plumbing, wiring, ceilings, windows, flooring, and furnace will be replaced and a second bathroom added.
The house’s aluminum siding will remain but will get a fresh coat of paint.
An old well behind the house will be removed and capped, and the garage, previously damaged by a fire, will be redone.
Schafers said his work schedule at Tony’s Plumbing gives him enough flexibility to work on the house.
“This has always been a learning experience for my kids,” Schafers said. “They have been, every step of the way, an integral part of it.”
The family does not plan to live in the house but will sell or rent it when it’s completed.