Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Day 4-Ten Working Days Until Cat Containment


We decided the gaping hole of wonder on the other end of the porch and just start framing to get something done.

Willy called out numbers and I cut boards; then he put them in. The only problem we had was figuring out why the header 2x4 in the top photo was so twisted. It would barely budge, even with extra nails and screws. The 4x6 it was connected to registered as level... we eventually figured that the center post is offset slightly, and the 4x6 is slightly banana-shaped rather than straight.

The corner of the roof closest to the street ended up getting raised slightly more than we anticipated, but I figure that can only help the gutters drain!

There will be no windows on the wall facing the camera besides the sliding glass doors. I hope to make the long side of the porch the home theater area, with the projector, speakers, and screen overhead where they belong.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

New room, day 1.0

I've decided to make the front porch area into another room. I've only used the patio once in all the time I've lived here (not counting its recent use as a random storage area), I figure I have room to pour another patio if I ever need/want one.
I can do SOME things with wood, but I'm far from a master builder and wanted someone who knows what they are doing to help make decisions, or rather NOT make mistakes. I'd been talking with my friend/superior wood craftsman Willy Neat off and on for about a year about the project, and he found a few weekends this summer to help out.
The first thing we needed to do is tear out the past. The sealed-in part of the porch was in very bad shape from decades of rain leaks, weather exposure, ant and termite damage, and general poor construction/neglect. The two corner support posts were rotted out; as we found out, the only thing they were really supporting was the ant colony under one of them. As those of you who have been to the house know, my front yard is a jungle of trees, bushes, ivy and other green leafy things. Decades of oak and maple leaves build up the soil to the point that it was at or over the level of the(if built correctly)anti-insect barrier. It instead acted as more of a free access point and weather shield for them.
We began by moving the sliding glass door I installed last year. It would have been nice to be able to leave it in place, but it became impossible. It is now comfortably resting in my workshop for the time being.
After Willy cut a few braces, we tore down the rotten framework fairly quickly. The old siding is brittle from UV damage; I actually got a cut on my face when a piece of it shattered whilst peeling it off with a hammer. The old storm windows (taken from elsewhere and installed sideways) with their wonderful flat-head screws were really the biggest delay of the whole day.
Between the time of the first and second support beam installation, I began removing the lovely green outdoor carpeting and cutting it into strips that would fit into construction trash bags. I finished this in the next few days after.
I find it ironic that the roses picked this year to finally grow out and bloom; I hope I don't have to cut them out to finish the project.
The final thing in prep for week two was the shuffle. Everything that had been inside the sealed porch was now exposed and rain was coming the next two days. I pushed all the crap into the center of the porch and left it. There's nothing out there I'm unwilling to trash when it comes down to it.
The new lumber has arrived, so we can begin framing next Saturday!
PS- the felines are understandibly annoyed that I took away their playpen, but seem to be enjoying looking out the storm door just as much since the outdoor critters figured out the walls are gone.

Mental notes:
1-if you remove part of your house that used to block the outside view, people may be able to see you if you walk around naked (assuming they can see that far in the first place).
2-it's interesting that I can now see directly onto Carol's porch while sitting on the toilet.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Missing: one "Vacation".

Things I learned yesterday:
•projects in this house come apart more often than things at the Hadron collider.
•Time Bandits was MUCH funnier when I was young.
•I want to read the Sandman series again.

This house is cursed. The bathroom project turned mean and a "quick" side project turned into a major pain in the ass.

Friday, July 8, 2011

28 or 9 til two


The early morning was full of pain and anger. I didn't sleep well for whatever reason and I had to get up early to try and get ready for company. The "final" coat of poly had dried well overnight. I had dishes to do, a pathway to clear (for the mattress and box springs that were on their way) laundry and some more construction prep work in the upstairs bathroom.

Things I learned today:
•these old houses were built and designed before most people had box springs; therefore box springs will not go upstairs unless you "alter" them.
•you can turn my water main shutoff all you want, but it will no longer actually shut off the water.
•my hands still hurt from Wednesday and I still don't have fingerprints.

Wainscoting is pretty easy. We worked until we ran out of trim; Lowes can't seem to kept it in stock! We also put in a new handle and lock on a door. It rocks, but drilling holes in doors sucks.

Upstairs project: day 6 or 385

Lot of downtime today. I wanted to get another poly coat on by mid afternoon.
Had to take RAV in for recall check (took forever) and go to Lowe's again. Stopped by Chuck's to look at furniture, bought some, then left. My living room will look much nicer soon!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Upstairs projects: day 5 or 384

The Catzmat Unit suffered its first forced entry this morning. Grig, AKA Orangecat, awoke me with hunger-induced scuffling outside my bedroom.

I have decided to abandon the coffee and tea trials. This project needs to get moving!

I sanded for nine hours today. The one small "break" I took was to shop-vac the bathroom. While I was removing some rubble from the wall, I realized I could now see Quai on the front porch. I finally found out what was on the other side of that termite damage Jeff ripped out a few years ago!

I've found that if your hands hurt from excessive vibration damage, the pain will stop just as soon as your hands go numb from vibration damage. I made it to the last three stairs before I ran out of rough sandpaper, so I FINALLY started to poly. I put one coat on and settled down to watch the extended version of The Two Towers.