Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Kitchen Exterior Before and After

We voted mid afternoon to avoid the before work and after voters.  Last night I went online for a sample ballet and then made up a cheat sheet so my voting went fairly fast.  I'm pretty sure that we all don't agree on the same candidate but I bet we can ALL agree that we are happy that it will all be over by tomorrow.  #sickoftalkingheadsandpundits  
I promised you before and after photos of the exterior of the kitchen.  I couldn't find the very earliest photos of when the concrete steps were intact with the red wrought iron railing and then a second set of wood steps going to the deck.  It was ugly and awkward.

Before we could do anything we needed to jackhammer the solid concrete steps.  R rented a portable jack hammer.  We can laugh about it now but it wasn't funny then.  The concrete was so hard it would only break off little flakes about the size of a hand.  

Plan B was renting a Bobcat with a jack hammer attachment.  R rented it on a Friday evening and returned it Monday morning.  He would jack hammer awhile and then stop so I could throw the broken pieces down onto the driveway.  The concrete was so hard it actually would cut through my gloves.  

It was a big deal to run across a piece that required two hands to pick up.  I actually was surprised that we were able to remove all of it.  About halfway through the weekend I thought that we would be lucky to just get the concrete down to ground level.  We lucked out and was able to dig out under the concrete and using heavy duty pry bars to pry the pieces up and out of the dirt.
We found broken sheathing and some cracks in the mortar of the concrete block wall.  Both were easy fixes.  The broken sheathing was allowing mice and cold air into the crawl space so we were happy to run across this defect and fix it.  We have fixed so many holes, cracks, and crevices that our heating bill has decreased to about 1/3 of what it was when we bought our house.
After the step was gone we built a platform between the kitchen door and the existing deck. This configuration makes it far easier to bring groceries into the house.



After we rebuilt the deck we went to work on removing the overhang.  It was ugly and not original.  We actually removed three overhangs that were not original.  This large one that hung over the kitchen door area, the one on the garden shed/pump house, and a small one over the back door.  All three of these overhangs caused water damage to the wood and the back door overhang caused extensive wood rot to the sheathing and plaster damage in the living room.
After removing the overhang we then removed the leaking rubber roofing and installed asphalt shingles.  We had two roofing companies tell us that the pitch of the roof was enough for shingles.  We installed the shingles during 95 to 100 degree weather.  R was on the roof and I was on the ladder handing him cut shingles.  

I did a little research on the Internet and we decided we would install 4 roofing nails instead of three and make sure that we removed the cellophane that covers the tar strips.  My parents had a small tornado hit their neighborhood of new homes.  Their home was built by a different builder than the three houses that surrounded them.  My dad had a weather station set up and recorded the wind speed at 96 mph.  The house across the street was knocked off the foundation and all three neighbors lost roofing shingles.  When my dad cleaned up his yard he noticed that all the shingles still had the cellophane on the tar strip.  My parent's home sustained a dent in their garage door from a neighbor's flying patio chair.  No roof shingle damage but the wind speed going across the vent stack openings pulled all the water out of their three toilets.  So long story short we came to the conclusion that due to the low pitch and southern exposure that the shingles would be vulnerable to high winds associated with summer storms.  I'm pleased to tell you that we corrected all the leaks and have not sustained any lost shingles during storms.

Gutters and downspouts were added and we have completely eliminated the huge icicles that we used to get in the winter.  An added bonus was the increase in sunlight coming into the kitchen.
Next came the new restoration windows.  We installed these windows ourselves which saved us $$$. 
Then came priming and painting. 
  We couldn't be happier.  The exterior now looks original and we have the bonus of better operating windows, more light, and no leaks.
The small square window is over the sink and is non operational.  A double hung window was a no go because I am short and would not be able to open or close a double hung window without climbing up on a chair.  I asked about a casement window but none were offered in the size we needed so I am OK with the non operational window.
Tomorrow I will post photos of the game room windows that we installed.  We start hanging cedar shingles tomorrow.  Those shingles will stay bare unless we get a warm day above 55 degrees that will allow me to prime and paint.
We put the recently repainted mismatched Woodard furniture back on the deck.  The black satin paint unifies all the different pieces and makes it look like one big set.  It's too late in the season to bring out the cushions and glass for the tables.  I have been swooning over outdoor fabric and I have about 20 choices that I need to send away for samples.  My plan is to use different fabrics on the two sides, so that I can change the look of the furniture by flipping the cushion.  

Also in the plan for next year is new decking.  This is the original decking and it is cracked, cupped, and split.  We will install 5/4 boards like what we used on the kitchen door platform, barn loft platform, and the small platform and steps that go down to the back yard.  The current decking is 2X6 boards.  By installing 5/4 boards we can eliminate a lot of weight from the deck.  
The cats love to sit on the zero steer mower.