Sunday, September 30, 2012

A Snail's Pace

While Luke was fixing the truck's brakes and working on his thesis, I spent the weekend working on the stone veneer for the front of the house.  A large portion of Saturday was spent running errands, cutting tile and prepping for the veneer installation.  By the time I finally got started putting on the slate it was evening and I only got a few rows started before calling it a night.
 I put in a few more hours on Sunday in between phone calls with my family and was able to install several more rows.

 It seems like this work is going at a snail's pace but this time I am only doing 60 sq ft instead of 200 sq ft and don't have to use any scaffolding so working alone isn't really so bad.  I have arranged some time off work next week to try to finish the exterior work.  Unfortunately the beautiful weather we enjoyed all weekend is going to be replaced but cool rainy days.  I might just have to work late tomorrow and Tuesday to get it finished in time.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Exterior Painting Is Done!

Our house is no longer the neighborhood eyesore.  The painting is done!  My dad drove down on Thursday night to help me finish the prep work and get the painting done.  Having an extra pair of hands made a huge difference; it never would have been ready this weekend without him.

The before photos are from when we moved in last year.  They really show how far we have come in the last 13 months.  A year ago the house looked like this.

Saturday Morning
 Sunday Night
The side has seen some major changes since I took this picture.
We removed the porch, widened the driveway, got rid of the side door and fixed the peeling paint.
 The back was a mess in the old days
 Not done yet, but looking a lot better
 I still have some stonework to do on the front of the house and the front porch needs some attention.  I've arranged to take some time off next week so I can finish the exterior before the snow flies.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Siding Rework

Fall is here and winter is fast approaching, but the house is not painted yet.  There is still a lot of work to do before it's ready for paint, especially on the east side.  When we moved in the east side had a set of stairs with a side door into the dining room. 
 During the summer we removed the side porch and poured new concrete to expand the driveway.
 Because of our remodeling the side door opened over a set of stairs and had to go.  This weekend Luke removed the side door and framed up the opening while I pulled off the old siding between the windows and the door.

Once the door was properly walled off we added tar paper over the buffalo board to make it all a little more water-tight.
We only have a few places in town to buy building materials and neither one of them carries cedar bevel siding.  We re-used old siding from other parts of the house to cover the east side.  We have more seams and small pieces than I like but once everything is caulked it won't look so awkward.
Speaking of siding repairs we also addressed the front of the house where we installed a new, smaller window in our future master bathroom.

We had just enough siding to cover the empty spots.

Luke had to remove the buffalo board under the front window to patch the old doorway.  This left the front looking a little exposed to the elements (and tweakers).

We needed concrete board, and we needed it right away, so we had to pay the usurious prices the local stores charge.  It's $15 per sheet in town, $10 per sheet at Lowes but I didn't have time to drive an hour each way.
While we were working on siding Luke also fixed the back of the house where we removed the patio.
With all the siding patched I need get to work on caulking and hole repair.  There's a lot of work to be done.  I'm not sure I will be ready to paint next weekend.  We'll just have to see how it goes.

Friday, September 14, 2012

The Patio Predicament

When we first moved to this house Luke and I liked our covered patio.  It didn't matter that it had an ugly cinder block seating wall or leaking roof, it had potential.
One of our first projects was to remove the seating wall on two sides so we would use the cinder blocks to wall off our cellar access.
For the past year the patio has been used primarily for storage.  With all the building materials stored in there it was hard to find room for patio furniture
 Ever since we started our exterior work I have been making plans and materials lists for the patio.  It was going to get new polycarbonate roofing, a sturdy header and new 4x4 posts.  Then we started replacing the windows and discovered just how poorly the patio was constructed.  For unknown reasons the builders did not attach it to the house using a ledger board.  Instead they cut holes in the siding and buffalo board and stuck the butt ends of the 2x6 roof joists into the walls.
But they did not properly support or attach the butt ends to any of the house framing.  The patio roof is essentially hanging from the siding and buffalo board.  
After discussing our options we decided to roof had to go.  It was better to have no roof at all than have one that could collapse at any time.  We had to get creative to find places for all the building materials we had stored in there but at last we got it cleaned out.

I didn't get any photos of the actual removal.  Luke took a chainsaw to the roof and we removed one section at a time and loaded it all into the truck.

I miss having a covered patio, but I still think removing the roof was the right decision. The back yard seems a lot bigger without it and I'm sure we'll be able to make the open patio look pretty nice as well.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

The Last of the Windows

This week saw another completed project; we replaced the last few windows.  The short, wide bedroom windows really date the house. You can see our boarded-up bedroom window on the left.  The plywood was a temporary measure.  A year is temporary right?
Since our bedroom is already painted black and blue having half the window boarded up means it's always dark in here.
We needed to change the framing to accommodate our new, larger window.  Since we want to replace our insulation we just tore down the sheetrock to access the framing.  The new window is larger and lets in three times as much natural light.  Getting rid of the black and blue walls also helped the lighting situation.
The other window in the front of the house opens into our future master bathroom.  The current window is much too wide for the bathroom and extends into the future shower area.  I happened to spot this frosted window on clearance at Lowes for $20 and snapped it up for the bathroom. 
The last window to be replaced was in Luke's office.
 Like the master bedroom we had to change the framing to accommodate the larger window.  Adios sheetrock.
Having the windows finished means that Luke is almost finished working on the house for a while.  We still have one project to take care of this weekend then he has to focus on finishing his thesis.  I'll be posting details about our big demo project later.  Hint: It all came tumbling down

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Exterior Progress

While I was touching up the disco and pee rooms this weekend Luke was working on the front of the house.  We replaced the living room window last week, but hadn't put any trim around it. 
Luke removed the railing from the porch, stripped the siding under the window and started cutting back the siding around the windows to make room for wider trim.  He also cut the siding back at the corners so we could install vertical trim.
All the old brickmold around the windows has been replaced 5/4" miretec.  The exposed buffalo board under the living room window will eventually be replaced with stone veneer.
Atlas was not as excited about the project as I was.
We also replaced the boarded-up bedroom window.  It only took a year to get around to it.
We still have one window to replace and trim out, then I can start prepping the siding for paint.  I would like to have it done by the end of the month, but there's still a lot to do.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The Disco Era Is Over

When we were naming the various bedrooms it was not too hard to decide that this just had to be the disco room.

It's hard to grasp everything wrong with this 70's throwback so here are the highlights:
  • Globe lights
  • Glitter finish popcorn ceiling
  • Dark paneling
  • Green/yellow shag carpet
  • Baseboard heaters
When snow interfered with our Memorial Day plans we did a little work on the room, stripping some of the paneling
 And framing in a plumbing wall for the future master bathroom
In order to have a master bathroom we stole 5' from the disco room.  This left a comparatively small room, only 9'6" x 10'.
 We incorporated this short section of hallway into the roo
and moved the closet several feet to the south, restoring the disco room to a respectable 9'6" x 13'6".
Since the disco room's only window was now part of our bathroom we needed to frame in a new window on the west wall
We scraped the popcorn ceiling and hung sheetrock

And did the whole mud, tape and texture thing.  We decided to paint the three non-master bedrooms the same color.  It will provide a sense of continuity and will spare me from having to choose paint colors for the other two rooms.

We're loving the crown molding.  We had originally planned to only buy crown molding for the master bedroom because of the cost.  But I found someone selling a box of crown on Craigslist.  For $200 we were able to buy enough crown to do the entire 1st floor (minus the hallway).

Just for reference:


The window faces our neighbor's garage.  It's not a great view but we found some nice blinds to take care of that.
As soon as I finished touching up the paint on Saturday I started moving in.  We'll be living in this room for the next few months.

Luke spent the weekend working on the exterior instead of working on his thesis.  I'll post more about that later.