Monday, October 27, 2014

New Front Door Casing

The viable outside work days are winding down fast and before we know it, it will be winter. Because of this, we are steadily working to finish the front of the house.  We have removed the non original door casing on the front door and rebuilt it based on the other original exterior door casings. Those doors have 5 inch wide casings but we constructed these to be 6 inches wide so that they lined up with the edge of the concrete threshold.  The casings were made of 2X8's ripped down to 6 inches wide.

The next part of the front door rebuild consisted of reshingling but first we needed to come up with a plan to keep the shingles off the concrete porch.  Obviously the original set up was not ideal because rain water would flow back towards the house saturating the cedar shingles and then making it's way behind the porch and between the porch and cement block wall.

First things first, we needed to remove all the dirt and debris so that we could get a good look.  This is where the air gun worked like a charm to blow out the debris.  We were left with a space about 3/4 inch deep.

We fixed any missing tar paper and covered the area with metal flashing.  The flashing was pushed down as far as we could and then nailed just at the top.  Now what?  We had to find a way to keep the shingles from wicking up moisture AND stop the water from running under the shingles.  I had previously used some solid PVC drip edge over the tops of a few windows and still had some left over in my wood pile (I don't have a PVC pile).

I also had an almost full tube of clear silicone.  So R filled up the void with clear silicone and then ran a bead of silicone on the bottom of the PVC drip edge.  We then set the drip edge onto the silicone.
We have no idea if this is going to keep the water from getting behind the porch but we think it will keep the moisture from getting to the shingles.  

We have 1 1/2 rows left to complete on this side of the door.  The other wall will require some sheathing repair because of water damage (no eave trough when we purchased the house).  Then we will repeat the the PVC drip edge/silicone process and then reshingle.  Rain is in the forecast for Tuesday so we are under the gun, so to speak.

Update....the window well that we installed in front of the coal door is working like a charm. Between the well and the additional top soil that we added has kept the rain water from draining towards the house. Love it when something does work as planned.

Speaking of working......several years ago I purchased three very expensive light bulbs for the front porch light and the two lights on the brick pillars on each side of the driveway gate.  Three weeks after installing them, they quit working.  But because they all quit at the same time I thought we had cut a wire etc.  Before R removed the porch light he tried a brand new light bulb and low and behold it worked.  Really?  The last three years we have gone without a light and all it was was a burnt out light bulb.  So I purchased an LED bulb and we'll see how long that will last.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Autumn Window Box Decoration

I just had to fill the window box with something after all these years of having an empty window box. These artificial flowers were purchased many many years ago on clearance at a Rite Aid drugstore. 
Artificial flowers are not my thing but here in the north it is the only way to have any color after the first of October.    
This faux pumpkin was found in a bag along with the flowers and I thought "what the heck" and put it in the window box along with a real gourd that I found growing in my side yard.
It's exciting to finally be able to 'decorate' and not just 'fix' or 'repair'.
You may have noticed that the screw heads are not painted.  I forgot to spray them before we installed them and did not want to wait for the paint to dry before installing them.  So as soon as we are done with the rainy weather that we are suppose to have for the next few days I will touch them up with a small artist brush.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Hometalk Website Curated Board

Several weeks ago I was asked to curate a board for the website Hometalk that would feature hostas. Well, I hardly need an excuse to talk about or look at photos of I said "SURE."

Hometalk is a great website that has a wonderful forum area where you can ask any home/garden question.  My favorite part though, is the numerous posts covering anything home related.  There are some very creative people who post on Hometalk and I've not only learned a lot but also just enjoyed seeing how others are decorating or remodeling their homes.  So very inspiring.

If you would like to view the entire board that I curated featuring hostas just click HERE.

Now is the perfect time to divide or plant hostas.  Winter is quickly approaching and I know sometimes it is difficult to get that urge to garden but just think when spring rolls around you can kick back and enjoy your hostas.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Coal door upgrade

Our house has a coal door because it was originally heated with a coal fired boiler.  The coal door allowed the coal delivery man to dump the coal directly into the basement near the boiler.  The boiler is long gone but the coal door remains and we love the look of the original coal door on the front of our house.

The door was in very bad condition when we purchased the house.  R spent a few days with a wire wheel on a grinder removing the rust and pounding out the dents  He then primed and painted the door satin black.  This vastly improved the coal but there was still a problem with the concrete around the door.  The concrete had cracked and pulled away from the house and this was letting rain water find it's way into the basement.

Several times we tried to lift the concrete up and back towards the house.  It never looked right and the ground in that area was sloped towards the house which is never good.  After mulling it over for several days we decided to remove the concrete and install a window well made out of heavy grey plastic.

This is the 18 inch version that we returned for the 12 inch well.

We were able to back fill higher up if we installed the well higher up on the wall.  These come in various heights from 12 inches (ours) to 24 inches.  We will never be able to back fill high enough that the foundation dirt is higher than the driveway so we will have to make a slight gully for the rain water to run into and then run down hill.

Before we could install the plastic well we needed to remove the concrete in front of the coal door. We dug around the concrete and then wrapped a heavy chain around it.  R used the pick up truck to pull the concrete up onto the driveway.  He then hauled out the old metal snow saucer that we use to move boulders around the yard.  We pulled the concrete up onto the saucer and attached the saucer with a chain to the truck and then pulled the concrete away.

I dug out the area in front of the coal door and then held the well in place while R marked the top hole on the left side.  R then used his big electric drill and a masonry bit to drill a hole to accept the lead anchor.

This allowed us to install just one bolt so that we could make sure the well was level before we marked the right side top hole.  R repeated the process and we installed the anchor and bolt on the right side.  Now that it was level we could mark the other four holes.  We removed the bolts and R drilled the remaining holes.

After all the lead anchors were installed we poured crushed rock so that the well would sit on a bed of crushed rock.  I then added a generous amount of clear silicone to the flange on both sides of the window well.  We then reattached the window well and tightened all the bolts.

This is a cap I purchased at Ace Hardware that is suppose to keep the tube of caulk etc from drying out.  I wish I had a nickel for every partially used tube of caulk, silicone, or Liquid Nails that I have thrown out over the years.  Makes sure you wipe off any excess before putting on the cap.

To finish up, we poured the remaining crushed rock around the outside perimeter of the window well. We then back filled with the dirt that I had dug out earlier and dirt from a high spot by the garden shed.  All in all it was a pretty easy deal and not too pricey, either.

I still need to bring in more dirt.  FYI the window well looks like it is off center but it isn't because I've measured 3 times.  R thinks it looks that way because the coal door was installed slightly crooked and unfortunately we cannot do anything to correct that problem.  Bummer.  Also I have no idea why the paint color looks bluish grey in some photos.  It is NOT bluish at all.  That was something we were very concerned with when we chose a color.

Plastic window well $16.50
6 bolts, 6 washers, 6 lead anchors $1.36 (used a $5.00 reward coupon at Ace Hardware)
2 bags of crushed rock $7.98
Tube of silicone (already had on hand) $0.00
Dirt $0.00

Total $25.84

We've also been working on the front door and with 3 days of rain in the forecast I know that it will be at least next weekend before I can paint the front door.  Then we move to the back wall of the barn to prepare it to be painted and readied for the beehive to be moved behind the barn.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Who let the shutter dogs out??

Woof woof!!!

Thank heaven it wasn't windy today because we were itching to get up on that ladder and finish this part of the project.

Yesterday we tried to do as much prep work as possible so that it kept the amount of drilling and screwing to a minimum once R was on the ladder.

Here we go.....

First off we installed the shutter dogs to the living room shutters.  We did this window first so that we could decide where and how to install the shutter dogs while we were still on Terra firma. Installation was quick once we decided on the placement.  We went with bottom placement as opposed to side placement.  With the addition of the pull rings yesterday, a side placement would be just too busy.

R drilled a pilot hole slightly smaller than the screw and then used a socket and ratchet to install the screw.  The head was a square head so you can only use a 12 point socket.   This is the only time you should use a 12 point socket because during normal use a 12 point socket will round off a bolt or nut that is tight if you don't keep the socket completely straight.

Next up was the small shutter install on the left side of the small window.  I held on to the shutter through the little window while R drilled a pilot hole using the pilot hole in the shutter as a guide.  he then installed the screw but didn't completely tighten it.  He then used a level to make sure the shutter was straight and then drilled the second pilot hole using the other predrilled pilot hole.  Next was tightening the large screws, installing the small screws for the strap hinge (predrilled), and then the shutter dog.

We then moved the ladder to the other side and R fixed the drip edge boo boo.  We repeated the process for the right side shutter.

Last but not least was the storm window install and it was a wrap.

We love the look and are pleased with the outcome.  Tomorrow we are going to back fill around the window well and work on the front door/entry project. 

 Now the ladder can go back to my sister and brother in law.  Thankfully we didn't have any ladder accidents and the only boo boo was to the drip edge.  So all was good.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Breezy but busy

The wind today really slowed us down.  I had to laugh when I saw the weather report this evening. The weatherman said it was breezy today and then in the same breath said we had gusts up to 45 mph.  It was so windy that the minute you put down the pencil, it would immediately blow off the work mate and down the driveway.

We stayed off the ladder today because of the wind.  So we did a little of this and a little of that.


.....we added the pull rings to the living room shutters.


......we finished the window well install and all that is left to do is bring in some top soil to raise the grade and plant some flowers.  The flowers will be replanted or divided from plants I already have and the 75% off flowers that I purchased several weeks ago.

Tomorrow we will installed the small shutters, small storm window, shutter dogs, and fix the drip edge that was damaged by the ladder.  If we have any time left over we will continue with the front door/entry work.  Lumber has been purchased and 2/3 of the sanding is complete on the jamb.  We need to epoxy some holes and some rot at the bottom and then resand before we can build the door casing and then reshingle. 
Grandma Cat update.  While my mother was sitting at the kitchen counter on a bar stool watching the Detroit Tigers on TV Grandma Cat jumped up onto the other bar stool and was sitting there watching the TV.  My mother says she doesn't know how long she had been sitting there but said she was looking at the TV.....LOL  Of course she said it's because her cat is sooooooo smart.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

The peak is painted!

I thought this day would never come and it almost didn't today.  It sprinkled on and off all day. Finally I primed and then it sprinkled.  So we moved on to other 'To Do List' items.  Then as we were finishing up for the day I decided that the sky looked less dark than it had earlier, so I grabbed my paint brush and put on the final coat of grey.  You might also have noticed that we added another row of shingles at the very peak.  Once it was primed, we realized that there was enough room for one more row of shingles.

We also installed the storm window hinge part that attaches to the window trim.  This will speed up the storm window installation.  The window box and brackets were also reinstalled.  The shutters and window box will help break up that huge field of grey.
I also took this photo just for Alex.  Look!!! No flip flops.
The kitty in the photo is Morrie. He was born in our barn 1 1/2 years ago.  We are looking for a good home for Morrie. He is very very lovable and loves to sit in your lap and sleep.  There is not a mean bone in his body.  He would be perfect for an older person or couple.  Plus, he's quite the talker and answers to his name.   If anyone knows of a good home for Morrie,  please let us know.

Monday, October 6, 2014

The small details

Sometimes the small details take what seems like a longer time to complete than the bulk of the project.  Here are two examples that are taking FOR E VER.

Below the window sills on the bay window were small cove moulding that were broken and rotted so they were tossed long ago.  I have had 'buy cove trim' on my To Do list for at east three weeks.  I finally purchased two pieces 8 feet long on Friday.

On Saturday, while it again sprinkled on and off, we measured and cut the pieces.  R first cut a 45 degree cut and then a 90 degree cut to square off the very top.  Saturday night was spent priming (twice) and painting the three pieces of trim.  While I had the paint out I gave the window box and brackets (small window in peak) a fresh coat of paint.

Today we installed the trim and I crossed that small detail off my list.   Yippee.

The other small detail that is taking sooooo long is the pull rings for the shutters.  I finally found pull rings that were big enough without costing an arm and a leg.  Unfortunately it will take 7-14 days to be delivered.  So I can't install the small shutters until I can put the pull ring on first.  Working high up on the ladder is tricky enough.

In turn this means that we cannot install the small storm window because I will need to reach out through the window to hold the shutter in place while R installs the long screw.  So one small detail can hold up the whole shebang.  Luckily for us.....we have a loooooong list of things that need to be done before the snow falls.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Painting around the rain and yellow jackets

Today I put on R's bee keeping outfit and painted some of the remaining grey painted area.  I had to stop several times because I was wearing flip flops and only one glove......kind like Michael Jackson. The last thing that I wanted was a bee sting on my foot or my right hand.

I no sooner finished painting the grey area around the window area than it started to spritz.  I didn't want to chance priming the peak area and then have it rain buckets and wash the white paint all down the front of the dining room and onto the roof of the bay window so I called it quits on the painting. But I did get the last small shutter and the last storm window painted first.

Tomorrow I can pick up the storm window hangers and I'll spray paint them right away just in case the rain let's up later on in the day but the forecast doesn't look good.  I would really like to get the two storm windows installed tomorrow so that we can concentrate on the peak and the two small shutters for the small window.

Years ago I purchased several lots of vintage shutter dogs.  They were in so so condition but the beauty of buying objects made out of metal is that they can be fixed.  The first thing that I did was to disassemble them.  There was the shutter dog, a large square head screw, a washer, and a cotter key.

I tossed all the cotter keys because most were broke and cotter keys are inexpensive.  The washers and screws were sand blasted but the dogs themselves needed more than sandblasting.  All of them were bent to various degrees but I found the easiest method for making them flat again was to place them in a large vise and close the vise.  But before I squeezed I placed a board on each side of the dog to keep it from getting those little dents that some vises have on their jaws.  Once they were reasonably flat, they were also sand blasted.  All the parts were primed and then stored in a large Zip Loc baggie until yesterday when I brought them out and spray painted them.

Now I have to decide whether we want to place the shutter dog on the bottom or the middle of the side. R thinks the side because he says it brings some of the black to the large area of white.  I agree but I would prefer the bottom corner because I really would like to had a large ring pull to the outside edge of the shutter because authentic working shutters would need something to grab a hold of to close the shutter.  My problem is finding large enough ring pulls in a large quantity.

In the mean time, we are looking forward to rebuilding the door casing around the front door, painting the front door white. and reinstalling  the original wrought iron straps, door knocker, and door handles.