Sunday, March 24, 2019

Southside Shingles and Exterior Lights Mounting Blocks DONE!!!!!

Believe it or not the southside re shingle project is complete.  Seriously that last row took far too long.  Photo below is R installing the last cedar shingle.
This project was more than just re shingling the southside deck area.  I will try to list all the different phases in the order of completion.
We replaced the non original windows with restoration windows.  I'll be honest and say this was quite the cost and thank heaven we could install them ourselves to help with keeping the cost down.

Next we reshingled around the new windows and primed and painted those shingles.
Using a mix of new and old lumber we built a large step in front of the patio door.  We wanted a deep tread so that walking in and out would be easier.  The deeper tread allows you to not break your stride.  The step is also very wide which allows me to display pots and planters.

In conjunction with the step build we also installed two new exterior lights that match the light by the front door.  

We removed the last non original window in this area and installed another double window to match the other 4 double windows.  My window guy took a lot of time doing measurements of our old windows to get these new windows to look like they have always been here.  The attached trim is identical to the original trim.  The slope of the sill is identical and the overall size and how the windows are mullioned together is also identical.  

When it comes to windows you have to take your time and do it right because inappropriate windows will look out of place and draw attention to an element not being original.  These windows looked like they were installed in 1926.  The last thing that we wanted was for someone to say "oh look, new windows."

Now came the most taxing part and that was removing all the old shingles on the east side, removing a huge picture window and two casement windows, installing studs and sheathing to close the opening, and removing 10 layers of various roofing materials off of the nearly flat roof over the game room.  
Let's start with the cedar shingles.  We started removing the old shingles and soon realised that someone had installed newer cedar shingles over the old shingles.  We wondered why they did such a thing and we soon found out. Back who knows when, someone ran electrical wires (3 to be exact) on the outside of the house and under the top layer of shingles.  
One wire goes from the second story over to the garden shed which is actually the original pump house for the well.  Currently it has our pressure tank in the basement area of the garden shed. This wire also had a nail or two driven right through it. 

Along with that wire, there was a live wire that was buried in 6 inches of tar.  We were able to pull that wire down and into the basement where it is currently coiled up, shut off at the panel, and waiting to be run through conduit and become another outlet in the basement.

Now we were down to the last wire and it was from the old security system and it too was no longer active. We pulled on the wire and the other cut end came out of the wall.

The live wire that went to the pump house needed to run from the house by way of a masthead on a 2 inch OD pipe.  R just happened to have a 6 ft length of thick walled aluminum pipe in a 2 inch OD size.  The head, tension wire clamp, and three new wire clamps cost around 25 bucks.

We were able to cut off the area where the nails had pierced the wire due to relocating the wire from where it was attached to the second story.  It now runs up from the panel in the basement, through a stud cavity, and through the first floor roof and terminates 24 inches above the roof.  The tension wire was moved from the house and clamped to the mast using a new clamp.  R then attached the hot and neutral wires to the hot and neutral wires attached to the tension wires and then finally the ground wires were attached and grounded.
Eventually the wire going to the pump house will run from the basement and underground to the pump house.  That will not be a job we will do ourselves but one that will need to be hired out probably when we get a whole house generator installed.  For now the wire running from the house to the pump house is secure and working properly.  

If a tree or ice storm was to bring down the wire, it would pose no threat of fire because the live wire is located coming out of the masthead about 10 inches and a full 14 inches from the actual roof.  The wire that would come down in a storm would be a disconnected and dead wire.  So there would be no threat of fire on the ground or to the pump house.  Running the wire underground would eliminate the threat of power loss during a storm.
We then moved on to the nearly flat roof.  Oh my what an absolutely mess.  I kid you not, there were 10 layers of multiple types of roofing.  Most were probably installed due to a leak but each layer just added to the leak problem.
Elvis just had to see for himself.  R has the "you've got to be kidding me" look on his face.

Here we go.  The top layer was a rubber roof and underneath it was a layer of Homasote.  Then another layer of rubber roofing and another layer of Homasote.  Next was a double thickness of rubber roof with yet another layer of Homasote, then a layer of asphalt shingles, and then two layers of the original cedar shake shingles.

The original planking was rotted in places and some of the ceiling rafters were undersized and the nails pulled away due to the weight.  We removed all the rafters, built up the side walls, installed 2X8 ceiling rafters in the gameroom below, 16 inch on center, and we used joist hangers to attach the rafters to the ceiling beam.
Next we salvaged what we could of the original tongue and groove planking and along with what we had salvaged from other demos so we were able to use period materials for the roof decking.  
Then came the roof rebuild.  The house has regular gable end design EXCEPT for this area which has a hip roof which was probably used to give more head room in that bedroom. We decided to go with the hip roof and then decide what we would do with the remaining 40 inches after the hip roof part was complete. 

 Originally this area was an open large back porch.  Possibly a sleeping porch.  I have no idea when they decided to enclose it but I can tell you that they obviously did not consult a professional.
We decided to build a gable end that fades into the existing hip roof.  I looked at a lot of newer houses in the area that have multiple styles of roofs on one house and decided that this was the way to go.  It was important that we kept the portions correct and not have a tall narrow peak but instead needed to be the same or close-to in portions like the other gable ends on the house.

This part took us a long time.  We used brackets to attach the gable rafters to the sheathing on the hip roof.  It was a difficult job with lots of angles and whenever we were in doubt we overbuilt.  R said he jumped up and down and no where did he feel anything.  

After the roof was sheathed, we hired a friend to roof it because we were running out of time and Christmas and snow was fast approaching.  He spent a part of 4 separate days to complete it and we are very happy with the outcome.  As with every project we do with this house, it was important that it looks original and we feel that it hits the mark.
It was now well below freezing as we started the last of the roof project which was install the 1X6 PVC fascia boards and the vinyl eavestroughs and downspouts.  We chose the 1X6 PVC boards because they are white, as is our trim and they will not rot so there is no maintenance.  Actually with the vinyl gutters the PVC board is completely covered.

We chose the larger sized gutter and downspouts (5 inch) because in some areas there was no where to add a downspout without it looking odd so the larger sized gutter helps carry away the added rain water from having less downspouts.

After the eavestrough and downspouts were installed we went back and started to fill in the missing cedar shingles on the southside while we waited for a 60X80 inch exterior french doors to arrive.  The door was ordered online but we chose to pick up at the store to say a $75 delivery fee. 
Installation of the door took several days to get it just right.  We do better with windows but doors are trickier for us.  While we cut and made the trim to match the front door using 1X6 double thickness cut down to 5 inches wide we waited for the entry door handle and deadbolt to arrive.  I was lucky and was able to use a 20% off code.  The brand was Emtek and the model was Franklin in a matte black with a glass doorknob inside.  We also ordered a dummy handle for the stationary door so that the doors would look balanced.  We haven't installed that handle yet.
Once the door trim was finished and we finished the cedar shingles around the door we decided to make wood mounting blocks for the exterior lights.  We used 1X6 scrap wood  glued together for thickness and then cut into 5x5 inch squares.  Using a router with a round over bit we dressed the edge to look a little more finished and installed them on a 90 degree angle so they looked like diamonds.
And that is where we are today.  Of course we still need to caulk, prime, and paint but the weather hasn't been warm enough for that to happen and probably won't be warm enough until the end of April.
Congratulations if you made it to the and of this post.  Sorry it was so wordy.

Tomorrow we start hanging cedar shingles on the east side.

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Sunday, March 17, 2019

Cedar Shingle Update

We have just two rows left to install but the best part is that we no longer have any of the fussy cuts to mess with just basic straight cuts.  Yahoo!
Tomorrow morning (Monday) we have to make a dump run to get rid of the last 4 non original windows.  I am so over looking at them leaned up against the house.  Goodbye, so long, farewell, au revoir, auf wiedersehen, and sayonara.  You won't be missed because you never should have been installed in the first place.

The weather forecast is for no rain or snow ALL week.  So we have no excuse not to finish the shingles on the southside of the house.  We really are antsy to get the east side shingled so that we can hang the secret project up.  You can subscribe to our Instagram page for updates on the secret project and to follow along in between posts.

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If you don't live in this area (MI) you may not know that earlier in the week this part of MI experienced several tornadoes.  I think that the last I heard was 60 or 70 houses were damaged or destroyed.  The temperature was 59 degrees which is odd for a tornado.  We worked outside all day and I had mentioned to R that one minute it was blowing from the south and then the next minute it was blowing from the west.  The skies were getting dark so we called it quits about 530pm.

I went inside and was on the computer when my phone went off with a tornado warning alert.  I actually thought it was a mistake until the sirens started blaring.  So I turned on the TV to a local channel and sure enough there was not one but 2 tornadoes on the ground.  

They missed us but one was heading in the direction of my sister's house.  She doesn't have a basement because her home was built on the foundation of a old farm house.  I called her and warned her.  She is a labrador dog breeder of show doggies so she rounded them up and put them all in their crates and then watched the skies.  I think she said the tornado went just south of her by about a mile.  I really must take some photos of her house.  They did an attached kennel that blends right into their house and future owners could use it as an office or beauty salon.  It has an attach courtyard with wrought iron fence around it.  It is really a clever design.

This is the time of year where we need to think about birds, butterflies, and bees AND what we can do to increase their populations. 

I purchased a large bag of dried mealworms last week and already the woodpeckers have found the mealworm feeder.  We also noticed that the red winged blackbirds are back and that is usually a sure sign of spring.  During the winter we use sunflower seeds and thistle in our feeders.

Last week we also purchased a replacement top for a concrete bird bath base that was given to us last year.  Birds like a shallow basin that holds about 2 or 3 inches of water.  Don't confuse bird baths with fountain basins.  Fountains basins are far too deep and the birds can't splish splash around without drowning.

We have 8 concrete bird baths that are located around our 2 acre lot.  They see a lot of action especially when it hasn't rained for a while.  The birds both bathe and drink from these basins so it is important to keep the water fresh.  This not only keeps the birds healthy but will bring in more birds that are in search of drinking water during times of less rainfall.

Happy St Patrick's Day
May the road rise to meet you, and the wind always be at your back. May the sun shine warm on your face and the rains fall softly on your fields.

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Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Exterior Lights Wood Mounting Blocks

Normally we just install our exterior light fixtures directly on top of the cedar shingles and just cut the shingles so that they do not cover the electrical box.  This can cause the light fixture not to sit flat because the shingles are thicker at the bottom than at the top.  So to correct this problem we made our own wood mounting blocks. 
Of course you know that we made them out of scrap wood.  We used 2 pieces of 1X6 glued together.  After the glue dried we cut the wood to measure 5 1/4 X 5 1/4 inches.  To gild the lily, so to speak, we ran the router around the edge with a round over bit.  The bit was adjusted down just a hair to give us not only a rounded finish on the edge but an additional detail on the top.
Then we drilled a tiny pilot hole in each corner for a finish nail.  We also drilled out the center so we could pull the wires through and then attached the mounting bar for the exterior light fixture.

There was some debate (argument/discussion) over whether the mounting blocks should be oriented square or rotated 90 degrees so it looks like a diamond.  We (I won) decided on the diamond orientation because it accommodates the shaped of the light fixture where it mounts to the house.

When I look at that above photo, the mounting blocks do not look like they are in the same place on each side.  I am not exaggerating when I say we measured three times and the only difference is less than an 1/8th of an inch spacing side to side.  The up and down measurement is right on the money.  

We installed more shingles and are up to the the sides of the mounting blocks when we ran out of wider shingles. We were ready to quit because it was a long day today.  Yesterday we loaded up half of the old Anderson windows that we removed and replaced with the restoration windows.  And this morning we used one of our two allotted dumping permits to get rid of those windows.  We backed up to the dumpster (located on a lower level) with the tailgate lowered and then just slid the windows off the truck and into the dumpster.

We have 4 big picture windows left to get rid of but they are far too heavy for me to lift so our son is going to stop by on Sunday to help R load the last 4 windows into the truck.  Then we will use the other dumping permit to get rid of those 4 windows. 

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Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Secret Project Work and a Few More Shingles

The high temp today was 16 degrees for about an hour in the afternoon.  R braved the bitter cold to hang more shingles.  In the meantime I stayed indoors with the cats and worked on my secret project.
A long time ago I purchased a box of offset hinges to use in the kitchen.  The price was great and at 10 bucks I purchased in haste.  When the hinges arrived I realised that I could not use them on the kitchen cabinets.
But I have since been able to use the hinges on various projects but not as hinges.  So today I again hauled out the box of hinges to use on my secret project.
I'm not using them as hinges so I cut the hinge portion off with a hacksaw.  I'm repeating a design element that has been used both inside and outside of the house.  I now have just 6 hinges left!! 
So tomorrow R and I will make a placement adjustment on the exterior lights on each side of the french doors.  One of the lights is 7/8th of an inch further from the door.  The light fixtures were in the correct spot for the other door but when we installed the new door we tried and tried to center it in the opening. Unfortunately the door just wouldn't stay plumb and level unless we moved it over 7/8ths of an inch.

It's not a big deal because we wanted to use a wood block under each light rather than have the fixture sit on the shingles.  The fixture will fit against the wood block tighter than it currently does against the cedar shingles.
I hope that everyone enjoyed their paczki today.  I had two, raspberry and lemon.  Why have only one???  R had to wait in line for almost a half hour because there were so many people buying these tasty calorie filled pastries.  It was worth it.

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Monday, March 4, 2019

Worked on Secret Project Inside Where it is Warm

We really wanted to hang more shingles today but it was like 14/15 degrees outside.  When it is that cold it is just brutal on the hands.  The day before yesterday we worked on installing shingles next to the door.  It was 19 degrees out and it was slow going.
 So today we stayed inside and continued working on a project we started last summer.  Most of it is scrap lumber but I did have to buy the working parts.  I am going to keep it a secret until the reveal this summer.  I can tell you that it is an outdoor wall decor piece.  That is your one clue.
 We had some cut off pieces that worked perfect for the outside frame and tomorrow we will miter the corners. Then I want to add another piece to the outside of the frame.  I haven't dug through the dwindling scrap pile lately and but if I can't find what I am looking for I will just buy a piece of pine.  Pine is cheap.
Tuesday I have several morning appointments and then I need to go to the township and pick up a dumping permit so that we can haul away all those old Andersen windows that we removed and replaced with the restoration windows and also the old patio door needs to be tossed.  We have to order 2 more restoration windows for the second story and a custom made exterior french door for the master bedroom on the second floor and that should wrap up the window situation.

I see that they are forecasting above freezing temps later this week.  The last thaw we had didn't melt all the snow before it refrozed. Now we have a lot of ice under a thin dusting of snow.  I have fallen or nearly fallen a half dozen times.  So I am looking forward to the next thaw before I don't want to start springtime with any broken bones.

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Saturday, March 2, 2019

Cedar Shingle Update and a New Cast Iron Bench

Today we installed more cedar shingles and removed any partial and broken shingles left over from the door installation.
We started on the far end and then nailed some short thin shingles over the windows.  When installing shingles over windows and doors you will need to lay down an undercourse so that you end up with a double layer of shingles.  If you look closely you can see that we cut the thick portion of the shingle off so that the top shingle doesn't stick out further in this area than the other shingles do.  It's hard to explain.
We ran out of shingles after we finished the undercourse over the window.  I have already ordered another bundle and will pick them up tomorrow.
I also purchased another cast iron bench and two side tables at an auction.  We really don't need another bench but we liked this style and the fact that it has two matching side tables.  Over the last two years I have looked at a lot of cast iron benches and this was the first one that had tulips.
 The quality of the casting is much better than the other benches.  There isn't any poresity or excess flash.  The bench is also heavier.  I haven't decided exactly how I will paint this bench but I need for it to some what match my other two benches that are black cast iron.  
The wood on the tables needs replacing because it is plywood plus the width of the boards are wrong.  Also several of the oak slats are in broken or almost broken condition so they will need replacing.
I have these wooden tulips that were my mother's and I will probably plant a chartreuse colored sweet potato vine in two pots for each side table and then add these wooden tulips.  I think these were made by my uncle.  I will have to ask my cousin.

Spring can't come fast enough.  Every day my list gets longer.

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