Tuesday, August 30, 2011

More Progress on the Deck

Today was one of those days where you work all day and then strep back and say, "that's all I got done today?"

The posts were installed with 1/2 inch carriage bolts that were 10 inches long. When we rebuilt B & G's deck, G told us he had bought all his carriage bolts at Tractor Supply Company because they were cheaper. So when it came time to buy our carriage bolts and assorted washers and nuts we went to TSC. At TSC when you buy hardware it is weighed and not price individually. So here's the run down...(8) 1/2 inch 10 inch long carriage bolts with 8 washers and 8 nuts totaled $8.23 or $1.04 for (1) bolt, washer, and nut. I noticed at Home Depot that the carriage bolts alone were $2.87 a piece. So next time you need carriage bolts, think TSC.

We also used little L bracket underneath any boards that were joined with two 45 degree cuts. This helps to keep the boards from separating when they start aging.The top rails were also installed today, leaving the spindles and top board (hand rail) needing installation. The spindles are your basic 2 X 2 with a angle cut on one end. But they need to be cut to length and I want to cut the very tip of the angle off. We will also install these spindle with screws that are countersunk so that we can add a wood button to hide the screw head.The posts appear kind of close on the little landing but on the long runs on the back of the house they will be spaced 6 feet apart.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Deck Posts and Luna Moth

We worked on measuring and cutting posts for the deck today. Nothing too exciting, I'll post photos tomorrow when we install them.

I was going through some old photos and remembered that I never posted the photo of the Luna moth that was resting on the side of a tree in my yard.Look at that fuzzy cottonball body.
What is the difference between a moth and a butterfly? I guess when it comes to taxonomy it isn't perfect. They apparently didn't get the memo from Carl Linnaeus. So I'll give you a few pointers on moth vs butterfly.
J. Geils might have preached "first I look at the purse" but when deciding on the moth vs butterfly thing....check out the antennae. Butterflies generally have slender feelers with a club end but there are some moths that have a club end. Moths generally have comb like or feathery antennae. There again, if they had read the memo, there would be hard and fast rules for distinguishing the two.

Moths also form cocoons and butterflies form chrysalis. Whether a butterfly or moth, they are both quite interesting and very beautiful to behold. I guess all those biology classes did come in handy.
Our yard has been butterfly central as of late. I hauled out the butterfly book and verified that we have both Black and Yellow Swallowtail butterflies. The black variety is black with some yellow and the yellow variety has more yellow and is outlined in black. The black variety seem to be larger.

We also have some Monarchs and Viceroys and try not to cut down any milkweed because their survival is dependent upon it. I keep saying I am going to buy some milkweed seed and then never do.

In the past I have donated to Monarch Watch. Their website is very informative and they offer seeds etc for sale. This year the yard has also yielded blue birds and numerous hummingbirds. I also understand that there has been sightings of orchard orioles this year. I think as we add more flowers and feeders we will increasingly see more and more. I know that it really helps that the neighbor also has a full yard of flowers.

Judy...I promise to add flower photos soon.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Phew...Hot and Heavy

Phew....it started out as a very pleasant day and then rapidly developed into a stifling hot afternoon.

Picked up the 2X8's and joist hangers today at Home Depot. We had enough 2X12 already in our stash to complete today's task and I really didn't want to deal with buying more 2X12's today. It's a real pain to move around those heavy boards while you look for straight and good looking planks.

First, we added some more joist hangers to the old deck part. We have quite a few pieces of short 2X10's and we think that after all is said and done, that we will add some short joists perpendicular to the existing joists to try and add rigidity. We then wrapped the step down area with 2 lengths of 2X8's.....see the area to the left below the meter.Then we moved on to the 2X12 piece. We were lucky and were able to use large C clamps to help hold it in place while we fine tuned the location and made it level. R had predrilled the holes and left one screw partially installed on each end so that he could sink them without dilly dallying around. When I am holding a heavy board, just in case the clamp failed or the wood slid a little from the force of gravity, I don't take kindly to dilly dallying.

As you can see, by wrapping the deck rim joist with a wider board, it not only looks beefier but makes the deck look like new....just don't look at the old deck boards......that's a whole project just in itself.
We also have to wrap the back and the deck going to the loft of the barn. But before we attempt all that, we decided to work on our railing design.
But first, it's another trip to Home Depot for some 4X6 posts, 2X4's, and 2X2 spindles.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Hanging Window Box with Brackets

We started the day by hanging a small window box and matching brackets on the first floor powder room window. I made myself busy scraping paint off the shingles while R rounded up tools. More on where I purchased the window box at the end of this post.

First we hung the window box. We removed one layer of shingles under the window so that the box would lay flat against the house. Then it was on to installing the brackets, but first we needed to remove one layer of shingle where the brackets would go. This, just like the box itself, would allow the brackets to lay flush against the the house.

I marked the shingles so R would know where to remove the offending shingles. He used the oscillating saw and a light touch to cut out the shingles.
Now we are ready to screw the brackets into place.Looking great and ready for next years flowers.
LinkIf you are interested in purchasing window boxes, rail boxes, or planters......check out this website. I have purchased 7 window boxes from Dave and I'm very pleased with his work. Many of my window boxes have been on the house for over 6 years and look just like the day I bought them.

The next project was an R only deal. We are going to wrap the existing rim joist in a new 2X12 but first he had to cut off the deck boards that were hanging over the edge.

While R sawed, I laid down a large piece of blue color slate at the foot of the steps and back filled with dirt from the new mailbox excavation (more on that as it progresses along).Add ImageI'll plant some grass seed once the weather cools a bit. This photo shows the area where R cut off the deck boards, look on the deck to the left of the meter. See the area that is lighter in color? R cut off the boards and then sanded the ends smooth.

Tomorrow, after a quick run to Home Depot, we will start the joist wrap. This should be a riot. Heavy board + holding it up over your head = at least two arguments.
Add Image

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Windows Out-Shingles Up

The large picture window with two side casement windows on the back of the house are long gone. These windows were not original to the house so there is no need to be shocked at the removal of a window or two. They were replacement windows made by Anderson and they were in horrible condition on top of the fact that they were ugly.Not only were they not of the correct style but they were not trimmed like the rest of the house. The windows were also badly deteriorating despite the fact that they are approximately 40 years newer than the perfectly good original double hung windows.

We were shocked to find out that the only method of holding this bank of windows in place was nothing more than gravity, some thin pine moulding, and paint. Not one nail was holding them to the rough opening. Totally unreal. Unfortunately we have 3 more banks of identical windows in this room plus two more banks of like windows in the kitchen. One can only assume that they were installed in the same manner.We used the 1940's reclaimed lumber from the garage demo to frame in the opening and sheath it with 1X's. During window demo we came across old metal flashing that would indicate there was at one time a single double hung window in this area. We will know more at a later date when we remove the drywall inside what will be the future game room.This is the north side of the house and here in the north...the less windows on the north side the better. The interior side of the wall will have a large flat screen TV and vintage built in corner cupboards (picked up at a consignment shop for $10 bucks each about 5 years ago) they are very similar to the ones in the dining room.
Actual shingling took three days because of Friday being a race day and Saturday was a half day rain out. Today, Sunday, was an all day deal. The last two rows of shingle installation was a slow go because of the height and the need to weave the shingles under the old shingles.Today is a mowing day. During the heat wave my flowers suffered, so maybe today I can give them a little tune up so that they will look somewhat better for the remaining summer days.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

6 Screws Short of a Completed Staircase

The kitchen deck steps are done except for the final 6 screws. I just bought a box of 3 inch deck screws but I underestimated the number of screws we would need. I was tempted to purchase the large box but I thought the smaller size would cover our needs. NOT!

We ran out of 3 inch deck screws while installing the final tread. You could hear the thunder from the approaching storm as we cut and fitted the last tread. We no sooner picked up the last tool when the wind and rain started.

Notice how we had to custom cut the bottom step to accommodate the slanted sidewalk.
Here is an underneath view of the deck.
Tomorrow's forecast is for rain showers. Maybe in between rain drops we can screw down the last tread. If we are forced indoors we can always make more tomato cages. I need at least 8 more.

This photo was shot as the storm was winding down. It was eerie because it cast an orange/red glow on everything.
The next big project is the removal of the large window above the back steps. We can start on the railing once that window is removed and the shingles are installed.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Stringers, Risers, Treads, and a Nose Job

I'm pretty sure my foot is broken. It is swollen but oddly it doesn't hurt. We will get the official verdict on Tuesday but my money is on broken foot. It will go nicely with the broken elbow that I got falling out of an SUV when my high heel slide off the running board that was covered in ice. I didn't go to the doctor until months later. I asked him "what this?" and pointed to my elbow. He said "when did you break your elbow?" I said "3 months ago."

Today was a hit or miss day when it came to step building. R was busy with repairing the nose of G's sprint car which he needs for Friday's race. So we had spurts of 90 minutes worth of work throughout the day. Ninety minutes is the amount of time R needed to let the fiberglass resin set up before he sanded or applied another layer.Pretty soon that pool ladder will be in the scrap pile. But not until Saturday because tomorrow is an off day for both of us.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Stringers and Nose Repair

We didn't make very good progress today despite the perfect weather for working. We cut the 3 stringers for the kitchen steps but R needed to spend more time on the fiberglass repair for G's sprint car nose.
I'm keeping my fingers crossed that we can finish them tomorrow. If we do not get them done tomorrow, it will be Saturday before we can work on them again. Friday is a race day for R and he'll be busy with G in Lansing. My plans include going to the art walk in downtown Flint with my niece, Blaire and we might even drag my sister along, too. The art walk will include First Presbyterian church (or as they say here in Flint, First Pres) which will allow people to look at the stain glass windows by Tiffany.

What's a date without dinner? Our plan is to eat at Blackstone's before the art walk. I'm thinking about trying the individual pizza based on the traditional Flint coney. I heard it is delesh.

FYI....I think my foot is broken because there is a little hard lump and I still have swelling. AND before anyone says that I am just saying that my foot is broken because Michigan's own NASCAR star Bad Brad Kesolowski won Sunday's race with a broken foot. I had my broken foot first. So there! I'll know more next week after I go to the doctor for my regular appointment.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

One Set of Steps Done, One Set To Go

We finished the back set of deck steps two days ago. We like how the steps feel when you walk up and down them. They are deep and not too high but not too shallow which makes them an easy stride. They are also very sturdy. We over sized everything and used 3 inch screws.

Today we plan to install the stringers for the second set of steps by the kitchen door. But as with any project, we first must go to Home Depot. We bought the stringers for the back set of steps but they do not carry the length we need so we will have to make our own.

R is also busy with a sprint car repair project so his time is divided between steps and fiberglass nose repair. But thew weather is perfect today so I should just get off the computer and get something done. Bye for now.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Rain Out

We are nothing but dedicated OR stupid...I am not sure.

Today in an attempt to get something accomplished, we worked in the rain. Mind you, it was a light rain but wet none the less. We quit when we got to the point where we needed to use electricity. We're not that stupid!

Since the steps are on a slight incline we needed to make the area where the stringers touch the ground, firm and level. Our plan is to back fill around the concrete blocks and level the ground after the steps are completed.This was as far as we got today before we called it a rain out.
On a more humorous note. Today R stopped by a local convenience store. The lady working the counter has been there for years and R says she rarely says anything to him. I guess today she felt chatty and said, "so, how do you like working there?" This was a shocker to R because he has been retired since '09. He replied, "working where?" She said, "at that big house by the golf course where I see you working all the time." R said he kinda chuckled to himself and said, "well unfortunately I own that house so I'm not getting paid." This is the second time someone has thought he was the hired help.

R says his boss is a b*tch and works him too hard. LOL I told him, "unlike Congress, you do not get the month of August off."

Friday, August 5, 2011

Update on Deck and Flip Flops

We have been busy with the prep work for the two sets of steps that we need to build for the deck rehab.

The side walk and old concrete have been removed. That was a thankless job. Little to show but a lot of work none the less. There was a casualty.....I blew out my L.L. Bean flip flop. The toe thingy broke. I was heart broken. I loved those flip flops. They gave it their all and in the end had nothing left to give. A moment of silence, please.

I realize I needed to move on and until I can find another pair of LL Bean fleece flip flops, I decided to go with cheap and went to Payless and purchased 3 pairs, hey they were having a sale. I purchased two Champion brand flip flops. I really like the pair that have become my work flip flops. They have a thick sole with a slight heel and a cushioned insole. They are already dirty and worn in.....ahhhhh.

Tomorrow our plan is to build the short set of steps on the back of the house. The kitchen set of steps will require more work because the side walk is slightly askew so the bottom step will need to be a custom fit. Why would anyone pour a tilted sidewalk? Besides being tilted it is also downhill and covered in slate. Needless to say it is slippery and treacherous. Long term list has this side walk being replaced at a later date.

I promise to take photos tomorrow.