Thursday, October 31, 2013

Monsoon season won't stop the 'to do' list

The weatherman was correct and it started raining last night and hasn't stopped since.  We need another three days to finish the shed......oh so close.

So it was back to paint scraping for me.  R on the other hand started the repair and patch project on the floor where the cold air return was removed.

Most of his time was spent on marking, cutting, and removing pieces of wood so that there are staggered seams.  Of course, even the simplest of tasks can go awry and today was no exception. The shop vac bit the dust while R used it to suck up all the dust and debris.  But since we have a barn full of crap...I mean useful items.....R found another shop vac.

Onto paint scraping news.....I am almost to the corner and getting closer to the possible niche area BUT I couldn't wait.  I started scraping the area around the crack and I found a CRACK.  Yup, looks like it is just a poor patching job.  I'm kind of glad because a niche would not work with the furniture layout.

So today's money spent..........$0.00  Oh wait, I bought 2 mocha frappes at McDonalds but I used a buy one get one free coupon.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The doors are hung

The doors are installed.  We really like how they look on the shed.  I knew they would look great but R wasn't sure.  He just doesn't have the ability to envision how something will look before it is implemented.

We also installed the trim around the door.  This trim is the original trim that was around the original two single doors. Before we re installed, we stripped off the many paint layers off and then sanded.  It doesn't sound like a big deal but it took R and I a whole day to strip the paint off and sand the boards we used for the jambs and trim.

What's left to do?

*We need to tweak the doors so they don't rub on the threshold and not touch in the middle.

*Install the astragal.

*Install the door handle.

*Install the hardware that keeps the stationary door......well stationary.

*Install the cedar shingles.

*Prime and paint the shingles.

*Prime and paint the trim.  I'll paint the doors next spring.

*Install the eave trough and downspout.

Bad's suppose to rain for the next 4 days.

BTW....I planted all my bulbs I can check that off my list.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Threshold Tweaking

Another day of paint scraping in the living room.  I am getting close to the NW corner and the closer I get to the NW corner, the closer I get to the area of the square crack.

R tweaked the threshold today after he got home.   Tomorrow I will mark where the door trim will extend to so that we can cut the ends of the threshold off to the correct length.
It's looking like we have some better weather coming our way for three or four days so we will have to make the most of what will probably be the last good weather we have this year.

We also need to winterize the yard.  The three concrete bird baths need emptying and the tops turned upside down.  Glass tops on the patio furniture needs to be brought into the basement along with the glass gazing balls.

I was given a pot full of Asian lily bulbs that I need to plant and I would like to cut back some of my perennials.  But I think I will be lucky to get the bulbs planted.

It seems like just last week it was 90 degrees.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Jamb and threshold installed

The threshold took several days to finish because we had to wait until the glue dried.  We made it out of recycled wood so it was as Annette commented in a previous post....Yay for fiscally neutral projects!
R cut a slight bevel on the interior edge of the threshold to ease the transition and maybe help eliminate a trip hazard.
The jambs are also made out of recycled wood from the demo of the basement stairs project from the early summer.  I needed to use the heat gun to remove the many layers of paint and then R sanded the boards before we could cut to size.  We actually like the look of used lumber because sometimes new lumber has hard edges and just looks out of place on an old structure.

Both the jambs and the threshold are in place and held with just several small finishing nails.  We will permanently nail it in place once the doors are attached and we know everything is square and margins are all the same around each door.

We were able to mark where the hinges need locating and R will do that tomorrow after we run errands in the morning and early afternoon.  So I am anticipating just one door getting installed on Monday.

I removed more paint today in the living room.  No big surprises today but I did decide that we will replace all the base board in the living room and dining room. It's a mishmash of new and old boards and I can use the old pieces to repair where the cold air return was removed.  I'm just guessing but I think the old was removed when they installed the heat runs in the walls and I again am guessing that they probably damaged the wood when they removed it.

The original wide base boards is fir.  They patched it with pine.  Not only was the pine NOT clear but the edge was sharp and the original base boards had a radius on the top edge.  We'll purchase poplar because it's clear, paints nicely, and the trim will be painted white.   The trim in the dining room was always painted and never varnished or shellacked.  The trim in the living was originally finished but it had many many many layers of paint on it so it looks like the natural wood look didn't last for very long.

I have about a weeks worth of paint removal before I come upon the area that might be the location of another niche.  I'm unsure how I feel about a niche in that area.  I really wanted to place my upright secretary in that location to balance the wood door that is located on the other side of the fireplace.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

New stapler and reused materials

Today we finished installing the tar paper.  We would have finished that task yesterday but our stapler exploded.  It was old and this past summer it took a tumble off the roof of the shed. Unfortunately the tumble cracked the housing and the crack kept getting longer and larger until the entire stapler flew apart mid staple.

So this morning we went to Home Depot and bought a stapler.  Deciding on which one took longer than we thought it would take.  Do we spend a lot of $$$'s?  Do we buy a metal one or one with a plastic housing?  Do we buy the same style we had previously or the more traditional one where you squeeze down on the back of the handle instead of the front of the handle?  I'm sure the sales clerks were thinking "my gosh it's a frigging stapler not a car."  But you know we use our stapler a lot. We use it for crafts, home repair, and construction.

So we settled on a mid price, metal housing, and rear squeeze handle.  Worked like a charm and we finished the tar paper installation.

The next step was finding a board in the scrap pile for our threshold.  There is only enough clearance for a threshold made out of a 1X but I wanted the look of a thicker board.  So we went back to the scrap pile and found another 1X that we could use to rip a 2 inch wide piece.  We then glued and air nailed this piece under the front of the threshold to give it the appearance of a 2X.

And last but not least we moved the doors out to the shed so that they are ready and available for installation when and if it doesn't rain or snow this weekend.
Money spent today was just $17.99 for s stapler.  The tar paper we used was free because R found a partial roll in someone's trash.  The wood we used was from our scrap pile.  And of course the doors were a freebie and they even have heavy duty hinges still attached.

Thursday, October 24, 2013 pellets

Wow, it was far colder today than I thought it was going to be when we went outside to work on the shed.  At one point the sun was shining but little ice pellets were falling from the sky.  So cold weather=slow progress.

We did finish the sheathing but didn't get the tar paper hung.  The sheathing that we used or should I say....reused, was removed when we demoed the front of the shed.  Every piece but one had to be custom cut which meant that the board was marked and then taken inside, cut, and back outside again.  R said he figured out that he went up and down the deck stairs (about 12 steps) 52 times.

After all the sheathing was installed we had 5 small broken pieces left over so again we did not spend any $$$.  Yippee.

I'm really not looking forward to installing the jamb and hanging the doors.  The doors are heavy and difficult to move and position.  But they were free so I shouldn't complain.

Unless we get a warm spell in the next few weeks, I really doubt if I will be able to prime and paint the front of the shed.  I will be really really disappointed because I want to cross this project off my list.  As in done, completed, finished. Painting is a must before we can hang the eave trough and downspout.  We just replaced the sill on the front of the shed because of water damage so keeping the water away from the foundation is a priority.

So tomorrow's agenda is tar paper and jamb installation.  Back up plan if it rains is to fix the flooring and more paint scraping.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

A quick painting scraping update

Today was a very productive day.

The first project was to frame in the rough opening for the double doors that will be installed in the shed. We, again, were lucky because we used the 2X4s that we saved from the cold air return demo.

Once the rough opening was framed, R started to install the last of the old shed flooring.  I think he used two new pieces from our stash of new wood flooring. Of course we didn't use our best pieces because it is just a shed floor that is already painted.

While he worked on the shed, I moved indoors and finished removing the last of the paint off the wall where the cold air return was located.  I also found some new long pieces of oak flooring in our flooring scrap pile.  We will use these to repair the floor where the cold air return was located.

Tomorrow if the weather is good enough to work outside, we will reinstall the sheathing on the shed along with the felt paper.  If we still have time we will work on installing the jamb.

If the weather is bad then we move inside.  R will work on the floor and I will remove paint from the walls in the small vestibule.  Working on paint removal in a small area is hot work so I try not to work in the vestibule in the summer.  This is the perfect time of year to work on that project. Unfortunately the paint in that area doesn't come off easily.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Paint scraping update

It was rainy misty today so I was indoors. 

R is waiting for me to finish scraping paint before he cleans the cold air return.  When we removed the duct we were surprised at all the broken plaster that was laying in the cold air return.  Well, maybe we weren't surprised.  This is why we do as much work as we can because then you have control over things such as debris left in the cold air return.

I think I have one more day of scraping and then R can clean out the cold air return and fix the wood floor. I checked the wood floor scrap pile and we have enough long pieces to fix the floor without buying any more flooring.

We will resume shed work as soon as the weather clears up and we can work outside again.  That is priority #1 on the outside work list.  Priority #2 is removing the chimney that went to the boiler in the basement.  It is no longer in use and in it's current state it poses several problems.  The first being that any chimney will eventually leak and will require constant monitoring.  We do not wish to monitor anything on the roof if we do not have to.  The second is that cold air sinks so having a chimney in the middle of the house means that in the winter you have a column of frigid air in the middle of your house.  Third is that you can have critters, like raccoon, squirrel, and bat, crawl down your chimney. I do not have a problem with any of these animals but I do not want them in my chimney.  Raccoons are pesky little critters that have ripped off the screen on the chimney cap several times already. Fourth is that the chimney takes up valuable floor space in what will be my laundry room and a laundry room can never be large enough. I bet you have never heard anyone say "My laundry room is huge.  I really wish it was smaller." Fifth is we currently have 3 chimneys and I would love to reduce that down to 2 to reduce the amount of $$$$ it will cost to repoint the bricks.

We figure that if we remove the visible part of the chimney now while the weather is OK.  You know..... not too hot and not too cold. Then during the winter we can work on the removal of the remaining bricks in the interior.

This is another project where we already have the materials to complete the job.  We have one and a half bundles of shingles in the barn, plus a roll of roofing felt (tar paper), and several boxes of roofing nails.  I love projects that do not require the debit card to come out of my wallet.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Cold Air Return Monolith Bye Bye

We moved indoors when it started raining today.  The beauty of having multiple projects in progress is that there is ALWAYS something we can work on whether it's hot, cold, rainy, or sunny.  Lucky us.

So we picked up where we left off with the ugly duct work.  It was fairly easy to remove since it was just nailed though the flange on the floor and then held with one tiny sheet metal screw to a strap on the wall.

Oh but the fun didn't end there.  Once the duct was removed there it was in all it's glory.  The cold air return that is used for the first floor furnace.  Maybe I need to explain.  This house has two furnaces. One larger furnace for the first floor and a smaller furnace for the second floor.  Each of course has it's own cold air returns.

It seems that they attached the cold air returns from the second floor to the cold air return going to the first floor furnace.  This might explain why it's so cold on the second floor.

But seeing that wall with all that pink paint and caulk on it......was really more than I could handle.  I just had to get my gun out....heat gun so don't call the restoration cops on me.....and started removing that pink paint.  Ahhhhh it's looking better already.
Look at that arch.
But wait.....what's this?  It appears that at the top of the wall where it meets the ceiling, there isn't any paint.  Looks like originally a smaller type of trim was up there.  Gee, I wish I knew what it looked like before they installed the crown.

Oh wait....look here. What's that behind the crown?  Looks like the old trim.  From what I can see, it looks like it was always painted.  I'll have to investigate more, once I get up on the ladder to remove the wall paint.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

More shed work before the rain

We finished up some much needed shed basement work today just minutes before it started raining again.

Yesterday I stopped by Home Depot and picked up some joist hangers and corner supports so that we could use them today.  Some of the joists were replaced at some point but as usual they left the old rotted ones in place so we had to jack those up and screw them to the newer joists.  We also added a couple of shims to lift the joists up a tad so the floor would be level or should I say...closer to level.

Over by the access door there was a joist that was just nailed into the framing around the access door. Nails never stay tight in those situations and the joist was starting to sag away from the access door framing.  We added a joist hanger and corner braces around the access door framing.
Pump gone.  Wires hanging on the wall are for the new pressure tank.  R wanted to leave them attached to the old pressure switch so that he would know how to attach them to the new tank.
This tank is now over in the corner waiting to be cut in two.  Our new pressure tank will sit in this location.  Notice dry and walnut shell free floor.

I did one final sweep of the floor which is still dry dry dry.....yippee.  We think that the eave trough and downspout that we added on the back has helped keep water from pooling near the foundation.  When we finish the front of the shed we will also add an eave trough and downspout on the front.

Oh boy....bottom of the 7th and we are up 2-1. Fingers crossed.  Go Tigers.

Ugly cold air return

You first enter a vestibule when you walk into our house using the first door.  Originally there was a door that separated the vestibule from the central entry hall. We've found a vintage door and replaced the missing door.

But when you enter into the central entry hall the first thing that you see is an ugly cold air return. The way it was installed, it hides about 10 inches of the arch that leads into the back hall.  It's beyond ugly. Not only does it hide part of the arch but it was covered in dry wall and doesn't match the plaster walls at all.

It's got to go and Wednesday was the day.

Look at that lovely Big Gulp in our newly discovered niche.

See how the cold air return hides part of the arch.  Who does that?

We started ripping it out and in less than an hour we removed that ugly dry walled monolith.
Yes, I know R has his sweat shirt on backwards.  That's a 50% improvement over how he usually wears his sweatshirts.  They are usually backwards AND inside out. That is his werking (not twerking but werking) uniform.  Flannel lined jeans, t shirt, and a old sweatshirt.

This is what it looks like now.  We are going to relocate it to the other side of the wall in the laundry room.  You can see that this was installed while the walls were pink.  I will need to locate more of this vintage baseboard.  I'm sure I'll be able to find some at my favorite place in Grass Lake but I'll wait until I know exactly how many feet I will need to finish all of the first floor.
 There some floor repair in our future and of course some plaster repair.

And of course the crown moulding will have to be removed and new pieces installed.  Of course, I will need to remove the paint from the now exposed walls.
I mentioned in an earlier post that Kim (our visitor who used to live in the caretaker house) said there was another niche or two but couldn't remember off hand where.  Well, I think I might have found one next to the fireplace in the living room.

See the cracks.  I'm thinking niche.  I'll know for sure when I get over to that corner in my paint scraping.  BTW isn't that floor lamp purdy?  I have two of them.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Plugging along on the garden shed

Disclaimer......I have absolutely no idea why the spacing between paragraphs and photos is showing up as double and triple spacing.  When in edit form the post is perfectly spaced.  I'm not going to sweat it because I have more important fish to fry.

We have several projects all simultaneously happening at the same time and in varying degrees of non completion. 

The garden shed project is moving along slowly due to rain and fixing hidden problems.  First, we had to empty out the basement of the garden shed.  You see....this outbuilding was also the pump house at one time. Sometime in the past they switched to a submersible pump which included drilling a new well which is located about 20 feet from the shed.  The old pump was left in place with the electrical attached but snipped off at the Square D on the wall.  The pressure tank is also in the basement of the shed.  Sometime in the past the old pressure tank failed and a replacement was placed next to it.  The original tank was still hooked up but had the gate valve shut off and of course the electrical was still hooked up but snipped off at the Square D box.

OK...picture this.  Two large pressure tanks and a old non functional well pump all sitting there in 6 inches of old walnut shells in various stages of decay.  R was sure the floor was dirt.  I thought it was concrete.

R was unsure that we could do anything with the basement.  He was SURE we were looking at a huge plumbing bill and a huge electrical bill to disconnect the mess.  I felt that we could take it one step at a time and maybe get the majority of it done ourselves.  R was sure the basement in the shed leaked like a sieve and so did I.

So we started cleaning the shed basement.

1. We removed two large roll away trash cans full of old walnut shells.  R would fill a pail full of shells and hand it to me through the access hole in the floor.  I would in turn hand him another pail. This went on for several hours.

Hey...lo and behold...a nice concrete floor.  Damp but nice.

2.  R was eyeing that old pump and felt that he could cut the bolts and disconnect most of it.  But first we needed to remove the electrical connection.  Main power off, just to be sure.  We inspected and found that the second smaller Square D box was not connected by any wires.  We removed that box and removed the wires to the pump.  We started a scrap pile.  R was able to remove the pump (90 lbs) and we rigged a come along from the ceiling over the access hole and ratcheted that rusty piece of crap out of the hole and threw it in our newly started scrap pile.

3.  We then noticed a long piece of heavy pipe semi attached to the wall but not hooked to anything. We added that to our scrap pile.

4.  We continued to remove, piece by piece, all old plumbing pipes that connected the first old pressure tank.  But first we needed to drain it.  Yes, it sat there all those years filled with water. We connected an old hose to the drain gate valve and opened the valve.  Because the tank was located below grade we had to add compressed air to the valve that adds air to behind the bladder.  This pushed the water out the hose.  The draining took 2 hours.

5.  This tank was far too heavy to lift out of the hole so we relocated it over to another corner until R has time to cut it in two with a cut off grinder.  Then the rain started for two days and guess what? When the rain stopped....the shed basement was dry.

6.  This left the currently in play tank that leaks.  We drained, removed that tank, and lifted it out of the hole using the same method we used for the pump.  This completely filled up the back of the S10. Earlier in the day R spotted a discarded water heater and thought he would add it to his scrap run.  Our scrap run netted 86 bucks.  Not great but better than paying someone to haul it away.

During the rain delay we worked inside on another project which is redoing another poorly installed item.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Another dead tree and more painting

Sunday was a rainy day so I scraped more paint off the walls while R worked on fixing his chainsaw on a stick.  It really didn't rain on Sunday.  It was more like a constant mist.

Today we cut down yet another dead ash tree.  There are now 4 large stacks of logs.  Earlier this year I listed wood for free on Craigslist.  A fellow that picked up wood last year also picked up more wood in the spring.  BUT....he's been dragging his feet on picking up the last of the wood.  I know it's not a fun thing to do but the wood is in the way.  He's promising that Friday is the day he will show up. Fingers crossed.

I painted a little more today and can't go any further until the peak is sanded.  So tomorrow the plan is to finish that side of the shed.  No matter what.

Then we just have the front to finish.  These should help make the front more appealing.

I was given 6 of these doors FREE.  They are in perfect condition and barely used.  We will install these together so that when both doors are open the opening is 72 inches wide.  That should accommodate any lawnmower or lawn equipment that we wish to store in here.