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.