Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving and a shingle update

Happy Thanksgiving and good luck to the Detroit Lions.

These last few shingles are taking FOR EV ER!!!  Each one is a custom multi angle cut nightmare.  We are holding our breath that the weather holds out for a few more days.

 Actually we would be done with that part of the cedar shingle installation but this week was a week of dentist, doctor, and hair appointments for both of us.  There is a slight chance of rain this weekend and then the weather is suppose to drop down to normal late November temps.  So it looks like we are shingling on borrowed time.

Monday, November 12, 2012

What do you do......

......when you are almost done with a project?  Well, we start more demo, of course.

We hadn't planned on removing the old gutter until next year but we needed that removed so we could remove the fascia board that someone had nailed on top of the original fascia.  BTW the original fascia will be replaced with the solid PVC boards that we are putting behind all the gutters.  You can see the removed gutter and fascia in the last photo.

Why are we removing the fascia now???  We have come to an interior corner and when installing cedar shingles you need to alternate the courses as you turn the corner.  This gives a nice tight fit.

These last few shingles are going slow because you have to cut an angle at the top to follow the angle of the roof line. When we removed the gutter we found some missing rigid foam insulation.  Looks like sometime in the past a critter tried to find a way into the house. 

I swear when I look at those photos the shingles look crooked and the rows look uneven but I swear they are not.  Each row has a 10 inch exposure and we use a ledger board to set the shingles on when we nail them.  I think the various shades and widths of shingles give an optical illusion.

On another note.....those windows are sooooooo ugly that I can barely look at them and cannot wait to replace them with the appropriate style and size.  I just cannot imagine why anyone would choose THOSE windows.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

It was cold but we hung in there....

.....until we couldn't move our toes or fingers.  With the impending and uncertain weather and R's second eye surgery tomorrow......we needed to make as much progress today as we could on shingling.

We came inside about 4 1/2 hours ago and my feet are still cold.  The forecast is for colder and wet weather until later in the week, so it looks like this is it for the next 3 to 5 days.

The shingles that we installed today were a combination of old shingles and new recently purchased shingles.  We salvaged some of the shingles, during early demo work, that were still in good condition to be used in the starter course on the bottom.

This is what it looked like when we started the day.
This is what it looked like when we called it quits.
I wish we could have made more progress but as R always says....."If wishes were horses....we could all go for a ride."

Thursday, October 25, 2012

One wall to go

Today we finished the south side exterior kitchen wall.  The last three shingles took us 3 hours to install.  I thought I would never get done.  I was glad when R arrived home.  I handed him the last shingle and a pencil and said "I can't do this anymore.  I'm on my last nerve."

Looking forward to the east side wall.  All the cuts should be straight or at the very least angled but not curved, straight, and angled all in one shingle.

The forecast is for cooler or even colder weather.  As long as it doesn't snow, we should be good to go.  I also need to get a handle on all these leaves.  If you leave all the leaves until're left with a mess.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Cedar shingles for the kitchen exterior

I love and hate this weather.  It's perfect for working outside but this is short lived.  So like everything else that is good like chocolate, homemade caramels, or bacon.....there is not enough of it.

After installing the soffit bead board and the corner trim we were ready to start the shingling.  I purchased two bundles at Home Depot.  They were the usual No. 2 Red Cedar shingles.  The quality control on these shingles is terrible.  They are crooked, warped, and cracked and because of this it takes longer to install each shingle.

We need to custom cut the two shingles on each side of the window.  This really slows down the whole process.  There is just one final row to install.  Of all those remaining shingles guess how many do not need a custom cut?  NONE  Yup, every single shingle needs cutting to the correct length at the very least.  More than likely at least one of the sides will need to be straightened, if not both.  Then there are the last 3 or 4 which will need an angle cut at the bottom to accommodate the angle of the roof. 
I'm hoping that it doesn't rain a lot tomorrow because all we need is about 3 hours to finish the south side of the kitchen.  Once this is completed, we can finish installing the small trim around the bead board and the shingle trim I used in the front of the house to hide the nail heads on the last course of shingles.

The east wall will take longer as there is more area to cover.  I have a feeling we will still be shingling when the first little snow flakes fall. But if we do finish before winter we might tackle some eave trough installation.  

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Free Bead Board for the Soffit

I love it when we can use building supplies from our scrap pile.

After Sunday's trip to Home Depot for one 12 foot 1X6 solid PVC board which cost us $35.87 we were happy to use free stuff today.  When we checked out at Home Depot the cashier said, "is that  right? $35.87?"  We assured her unfortunately it was correct.  She then said, "what kind of board is that?"  I assume they don't sell a lot of it....LOL

Today's free wood was a half sheet of bead board that R picked up from someone's trash.  We used it for the soffit and had a whole 6 inches left over.

Tomorrow's To Do List is...

Install light underneath soffit
Install corner trim boards
Call the building supply store where we bought our roof shingles and see if they sell cedar shingles
Finish mowing the lawn

If it rains...
Trim an 1/8th of an inch off the bottom of the oak kitchen door because it drags across the floor when it is almost all the way open. Door is heavy and awkward so this might take awhile.
Sand the floor in the kitchen door mudroom
Maybe dismantle the cupboards in the mudroom to be reused to build a shelf and seating below shelf

Sunday, October 14, 2012

The rain has us in a holding pattern

We were so excited and relieved (very relieved) to finally get the trim board fabricated and installed. 
This board was rather tricky to fabricate because we had the odd shape to contend with at the lower end.  First we added a wedge to the top of the board so it followed the roof line.  We then added another wedge to the bottom to make the bottom of the board level.  I think the board will make more sense when we get the corner trim installed.

Each wedge installation took one day. We needed to wait for the wood glue (clamped in place) to dry so we could sand the seam smooth so that it appears as one wide piece of wood.

Later today, we are off to Home Depot to pick up another piece of the PVC trim called Never Rot that we have used as fascia boards (you can see a short piece that we installed about the kitchen door) wherever there is an eave trough.  This is to make sure that the wood never rots due to rain water, leaves, snow, and ice.  The boards are expensive but I think it is worth every penny in knowing that I do not need to paint (it's comes in white) it or replace it down the road.

The only drawback to using it is if you install it in the summer.  These PVC boards expand in the heat and contract in the cold.  So installing them in the fall and winter helps to eliminate having a space develop between the boards when they contract. 

We had a carpenter install several pieces in the front when he rebuilt the overhang.  I told him several times to keep the PVC boards in the shade because they expand in the heat.  Throughout the week, I noticed the Never Rot boards laying on the Asphalt driveway in the sun.  A gap now develops during the winter between the two fascia boards.  None of the fascia boards we installed do this because we made sure to do it in the fall and never let the boards lay in the sun before installation.  This is also why we now do EVERYTHING ourselves.  We  might be a tad slow but I hate having to redo something that I PAID someone else to do.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

A little closer look at those wood storm doors

I've been buying, sanding, and gluing these vintage storm doors for the last 4 years.  It was such a relief to finally get them installed.

Let's start with the barn loft door.

This vintage wood cross buck storm door was given to me.  It came with the screen and the glass insert but it was in sad sad condition.  I completely disassembled the door and sanded each piece completely bare before I reassembled.

I then epoxied all the screw holes, hinge mortises, and door handle hole.  This door was a right hand door and I needed it to be a lefty.  The bottom of the door was in horrendous condition but we really lucked out because we needed to cut off 1/4 inch to make the door fit.  This got rid of about 95% of the badness.  We used epoxy filler to fill in the little voids that were remaining.  Thank goodness someone invented epoxy filler.

We think the door looks perfect for a barn.

The second vintage storm door was installed on the back of the house.  I purchased this door for 10 bucks at a Habitat for Humanity Restore in Battle Creek, MI.  This door had the glass insert and was held together with 20 coats of paint.  I could not believe how many layers of paint that were on this door.  The first coat was red and they did not prime the door, either.  It was repainted red many many times before they decided it needed to be light blue.  The light blue phase was short before they returned to the red.  When I purchased the door it was painted navy blue and the navy paint was so thick it looked like it was applied with a putty knife.. 

The door has all the paint removed and has been sanded and sanded and sanded but it still is red.  I am hoping that the primer blocks out the red because all the storm doors will be painted white.

The third storm door (kitchen back door) was $30.00 and came with a glass insert.  This door was in very bad condition and the glass insert was in even worse condition.  I was able to remove all the paint and get this door down to raw wood.  I still need to do some sanding in the panel area at the bottom. 

This door required some dis-assembly, gluing, some wood patching with wood, and of course epoxy filler in all the screw holes.  The glass insert will need to be replaced with a new custom made insert using the original glass but for now it's doing it's job to keep out the autumn wind.

The hardware for the kitchen and back door were purchased on eBay.  These work well with the original thumb latch door handles on our exterior doors.
We still have a set of vintage wood storm doors to install once we replace the patio sliding door with the set of vintage french doors.  I have already stripped and sanded them so they are ready to go.  These storm doors are in great condition compared to the other doors.  I still need to buy door handles for them but I have time because I do not see these doors being installed until springtime.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Let's take a step or two back in time

During the month of August we poured a new back step and a new larger stoop for the french door leading into the sun room on the north side of the house.

The original small back door step was cracked and sloped towards the house which is never a good thing.  The slate that was pressed into it was loose and moved when you stepped on it.

We jack hammered the step to little pieces several years ago and just now felt the urgent need to repour a new one.  Go figure.

Basically we made the step just like it was originally except without the slope towards the house and the loose slate.  The previous step had bricks standing vertically in a row along the front edge.  We use brick pavers because that is what we had on hand.  We also found a large piece of red slate in our slate pile.

Day one consisted of placing the pavers on their end in a bed of mortar.  We let them sit over night to firm up so that when we poured the concrete mixture they would stay in place.  We also filled a plastic tub with water and placed the slate piece in the water so it could absorb some of the moisture overnight.  This helps the slate to bond with the concrete mixture and not come loose once the concrete hardens.

The next day we mixed our Quikcrete by the large bucket fulls.  We used approximately 3 bags of Quikcrete.  I made sure that there was a slight slope to the front for drainage and used a little masonry tool to edge the concrete.  We let it set up for about an hour before we placed the slate into the center of the concrete.  I used a rubber mallet to make sure the slate was seated into the concrete. 

The following day we spray painted the grate that sits on top of the window well for the window in the root cellar.  I used a wire brush to get all the loose paint and rust off the grate before I painted it.

Step and grate look great!!!!  We still need to hit the step with a little muriatic acid to clean off the white film but other than that we are please with how it drains and how it looks.

The second step/porch/stoop was a larger project that took 4 days to complete.  Two days to build the form and two days to pour.

This step was in horrible condition.  It was cracked and sloped like the other step but it was also too small and a little off center to the door..  We felt this was the perfect time to make it bigger and better.

Building the form was confusing because we wanted the step to have a overhang.  Once the form was built, I used caulk to seal any seams and placed cement blocks all around the step to make sure it did not move.

We left the original step in place because it was too low and too small so we poured over and around it.  This step took 8 bags of Quikcrete and two days to pour.  Just like the other step we added slate.

We slowly removed the form the next day.  Basically we held our breath because we had no idea what we were doing and we were pretty sure we just lucked out on the first step and this one was going to have voids and probably just fall apart. looked great!  What in the world.  OK I'll let you in on a little secret.  R read an old book on masonry that I bought on eBay.  I think it was published in 1950.  Of course the book said to make your own mixture of concrete using sand, cement, and water but we chose the Quikcrete route.

The larger step/porch/stoop looks sooooo much better.  Especially now that it is centered.  There is also room for a vintage wrought iron chair.  This is the chair that R found in the trash.  Looks great doesn't it?  It will look even better once it is repainted.

This step will need a little muriatic acid love just like the back step but for now we are in a mad dash to finish installing some cedar shingles before the snow falls.'s that time of year.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Fall has fallen and so have the black walnuts

Black walnuts are everywhere and I mean EVERYWHERE. 
It sounds like a tire blow out when you drive over them on the driveway.  Scares me every time I do it.

Monday, October 8, 2012

And we're trimming

Today was sunny but cold.  Remember when I was complaining about it being too hot????  I wish I had a little of that heat today because it was almost glove weather and I find it hard to work with gloves on my hands.

We started trimming the areas where we removed the cedar shingles and can't wait to get the new shingles installed.  Aren't those old Anderson windows just about the ugliest things you have ever seen?  Who would remove good double hung windows and install these windows?  Ironically all the original double hung windows in this house are just fine after we remove the bazillion layers of paint.  These "new" windows, besides not being aesthetically pleasing, are literally falling apart.  The wood is rotted, the hardware does not work, and they leak like a sieve.   I'll be relieved when we can get them replaced but until then I'll just act like they are not there.

If you look closely at the photos you can ever so slightly see the roof shingles that we installed.

Also you can see the vintage storm door that we purchased about 4 years ago.  The door has the original glass insert but not the screen insert.  We repaired the glass insert the best that we could but it will need replacing.
The photos probably do not show the vintage oak door with the beveled glass window that we  installed.  I have vintage door hardware for the door but for the life of me I cannot find where I stashed the yellow cigar box that I placed them into for safe keeping.  Until then, we are using a 2X4 for a lock.....nothing but classy.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Curbside Treasure

Curbside treasures have been rare this past summer.  R usually finds something at least once a week but not this year.  He has been lucky finding long pieces of lumber some of which we needed for small projects here and there.

He did find this........A wall mounted drinking fountain  in perfect condition.

with the hanging bracket.....

R thinks he can hang it outside and plumb it with PEX or clear tubing that he can remove for the winter.  Rather than plumb it with a drain we decided on two options.  The first option is to do nothing and just place a pail underneath it to catch the water.  Then use that to water the plants.  The second option is to attach a section of garden hose and direct the water to shrubs etc.

The drinking fountain has been placed in the barn for future installation along with a hundred other projects.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

I need to catch up...

We have been on a project frenzy.

Cedar shingling was stopped due to heat and scaffolding dilemma.  So we decided one day to rip the overhang off the kitchen porch.  Demo took three days because of the need to dismantle slowly so that it would not fall on the deck.  Wow what a dirty mess.

Here's the overhang with the fascia board removed.  It basically fell off.
Next we had to figure out how to remove the large 10 X 4 foot sheet of plywood (price was $24.99 whenever it was installed) without all the nasty stuff falling on us or crashing onto the deck and causing damage.
 You can kind of see all the nastiness in this photo.
 Need a closer look? Ewwwwwwww

Ahhhhh...plywood removed and everyone survived.
 Here we are with the overhang cut off.
Once the overhang was removed we needed to inspect and decide how we would rebuild it correctly along with making it look like it was always part of the house.  During our inspection we found some of the original cedar shingle roof.  This was great because that meant they did not cut any rafters but instead just built the overhang on top of it.

We also decided that although the kitchen roof had a rubber roof, because the slope was slight (I do not know the pitch), we would remove the rubber membrane and shingle with asphalt shingles.  We had two roofers tell us the pitch is enough for shingles PLUS it would look a whole lot better.

When we first purchased the house we found new asphalt shingles under bushes, in the barn, in the garage...if you looked hard enough you could find a piece here and there.  We collected them and stored them in the barn.  Now was the time to haul them out and see just how many we had.  I sorted them into three piles...good whole shingles, slightly damaged shingles, and singles that could only be used for the starter course.

Roofers we are not, but we went slow and took our time.  Finally it was time to buy some new bundles.  I did some calculations and determined we needed 7 bundles so we bought 6.  LOL  I always over estimate and knew that we could always buy more. Fast forward.....we ended up with one whole shingle when we were done.

The tear off, rebuild, and roof shingle installation took 2 weeks.  We are now in the process of trimming the doors and getting ready to cedar shingle the kitchen side of the house with new cedar shingles.  The old exterior kitchen door was a wrought iron security door that we removed and installed a vintage oak door with a large beveled glass window.  Yesterday we started installing a vintage wood storm door.  Once this area is complete we will move to trimming out the overhang which will have a bead board soffit.

We had to take off a few days because R had eye surgery to remove a cataract.  They implanted a new lens and he is really happy with the results. Of course the sun glasses they gave him to wear are just so fabulous he may give up wearing his Oakleys. NOT!!!

Not only have we removed the overhang but we poured two porches, rebuilt two thresholds, ripped the vinyl flooring off the basements steps (during a rainstorm when we were forced inside), installed an old wood storm door on the back door, stripped paint off the vintage french doors that I purchased for the master bedroom, started stripping the wood trim in the broom closet in the foyer, and basically stripped paint off from anything that is painted.  Despite doing all these projects we have purchased very little wood and relied on our stash of reclaimed wood and wood scraps.  Basically all we have purchased this summer is screws, nails, 30lb roof felt, cedar shingles, and asphalt shingles.

On a side note.....last winter we installed a tankless water heater at the Torrey Rd house.  Our utility company sends a print out of your usage compared to your neighbors every two months.  Before the tankless installation we were in the mid range.  We are now at the top of the most efficient homes in the area and so far this year we have used 20% less.  Yea!!!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Sanding Vintage Storm Doors

The heat and drought continues here in Michigan.  What little rains that comes into Michigan...misses us every time.  We spend a great deal of our day watering plants and trees just to keep them from dying.

When we are not watering....we are sanding.  Over the past 5 years I have accumulated a collection of vintage wood storm doors.  Since it is still too hot to shingle, we have decided to sand the doors.  Why now?  Well, because we can move the doors to the shade to sand them.

I previously stripped the paint off of these doors with a heat gun but never got around to sanding them.  Along with sanding them we have also been fixing chips, screw holes, and rot using universal filler.  These doors will receive a coat of primer then a coat of semi gloss white.

The door that needed the most work is a storm door that was given to me that not only has the screen insert but also the glass insert. This storm door is different from the rest but that is OK because it is going on the barn loft door.  I previously completely disassembled this door and then reassembled and glued the joints.

The other wood storm doors only need the screw holes filled and one door has the hinges on the wrong side so I need to fill that and the handle holes.

I have also sanded the wood around the living room windows.  Tomorrow I will fill the million screw holes from various storm window hardware.  We also swapped the center window storm window with the center storm window on the other side of the living room.  The windows are the same size but they just didn't fit perfectly.  Now the gap around the edge is the same all the way around.  We also worked on the hangers so that the storm windows fit tight and do not rattle.  Soon we will be ready for the primer coat.
I will glaze the storm windows when I remove the storm windows to paint the trim.  The storm windows need a little more sanding on he edges.  These storm windows are in pretty good condition.  The other living room storm windows have some rot and have a LOT of paint left to remove.

The next storm windows on the list are the dining room windows.  They are loose and rattle, have missing hangers, and need repositioned in the opening so that the gap is consistent around the entire storm window.

Fun fun fun!  

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

More deck work

Last week we worked on the back steps to the deck.  We decided last year to save this project for the hot part of the summer because it is in the shade.  Well guess what????  It wasn't really in the shade.  It could be that in the fall it is in the shade but it isn't in the shade in the summer.

We installed risers and replaced any treads that were in bad shape.  We also replaced the posts on the bottom steps and replaced the short, rusted lag screws on the other posts with the proper length carriage bolts.  Between the risers and the carriage bolts, the staircase seems much sturdier.
We need to install the balusters and the top handrail.