Sunday, November 13, 2011

Special Post

Have you ever had one of those days?

I received a very, very nice e-mail from a couple who live in the Sleepy Hollow area of Wichita (the big city).

I seem to have lost your e-mail!!!!

If you see this, please re-contact me!!!!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Earthquake Pics

Here are some pics of the ceiling in the smallest spare bedroom - the one that is currently my hobby room.

This is the room that will have to be gutted.

Earthquake Up-Date

Earthquake update.... We have had damage to the house.

We were so concerned about the foundation we never even thought to check the upstairs guest bedrooms and upstairs library. Those three rooms have had no work done on the original plaster walls or ceilings.

There were items that fell to the floor from shelves but the main problems are the ceilings.

The ceiling in the smallest guest room looks like it's about to fall in - there is cracking everywhere and it is sagging in spots. The two inner walls that form the stairwell have also detached from the ceiling by 1/2 an inch. This room is the worse and is on the south side of the house. The other two rooms are similar but the ceilings do not look like they are about to cave in.

So basically, we now have one room that needs to be completely gutted.



We had an earthquake hit here in Kansas!!!

The epicenter was about 60 miles away to the south, but - DANG!!!! - we felt it here!!!!!

There have been two quakes in two days; the second was worse than the first. In the State to the south east of us (Arkansas) earthquake activity has shot up about 1000% in the past year. Some of this is being blamed on Fracking - not sure what to think about that. I do know some experiments have been conducted, along the military lines, that involve creating earthquakes. Some people think this is whats causing it.

One thing that raises a few eyebrows, and lets people know how serious the various State agencies are taking the recent earthquake activity, is the earthquake disaster preparedness programs that are being done around here. They just had one a few months ago called the 'Great Shake-Out' (IIRC) that involved state level emergency preparedness groups, the Federal Government, the military, FEMA, and the Dept of Homeland Security. FEMA, along with the DHS, have been putting out feelers for MREs to feed 500K for 7 days as well as body disposal items (i.e. underwater body bags and bio containers for mass burial).

There is a major fault line that follows the Mississippi River basin (called the New Madrid Fault). It has been dormant for over 200 hundred years. The last last time it was active , other than small tremors, was in 1811/1812 and it caused the Mississippi River to run backwards. Within the past year the fault has become more active. They (the powers that watch these things) have determined that when (not if) it blows it will split our nation in half east to west. Turns out this fault line is bigger than they thought.

It has now been determined that when this happens a chasm will open up extending from the Gulf of Mexico up to the Great Lakes. Following this, and inland tsunami will follow this chasm due to the draining of the Great Lakes to the Gulf. The tsunami is predicted to be over 300 miles wide. Death estimates are in the 100s of thousands.

We have also learned, within the past few years, that a parallel fault (not as large) runs up from Texas, through Kansas, to Canada. It is now becoming more active.

Believe it or not, some think all this seismic activity is leading up to the end which, in their minds, will be Dec. 21, 2012. While I really don't believe this it's hard not to go "hmmmm....." with all the recent activity with these fault lines in less than a year.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas

From our house to yours ~

Merry Christmas!!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Fireplace Find

Hello Everyone!!

I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving!

Around here the Christmas seasons kicks-off with something called 'Christmas in the Country'. It's a small holiday festival held in a small town not far from where we live. It takes place the Friday and Saturday after Thanksgiving.

Located in this town is an awesome antique store we love to rummage around in. There is a cast iron summer cover for a fireplace there I've ogled for quite some time. The owner of the shop saw us looking at it and told us the cast iron surround was outside behind the shop.

Like I said, we knew the summer cover was there for a few years but had no idea he had the cast iron surround that it belonged to!

I have always been a big fan of Victorian cast iron fireplace surrounds so I just had to look.

This is what we found! Sorry the pic is a bit 'fuzzy'; all I had was my cell phone to work with.

Anyway, the surround, and summer cover, came out of a house that was built in 1883 and burned to the ground in the '30s.

As you can see there is some damage, but it can be fixed. The mantle shelf has the worst damage but there are some foundries in our area that might be able to help us.

Also, there are four panels that can be removed. I need to do some research, but I think the inserts are removable so that they can be replaced by tile, marble, etc. I've also seen these panels painted in faux marble and tortoise shell.

Isn't this summer cover exceptional?!

As you all know, we are really looking at installing a fireplace in the living room. We are hoping we can use these; they are truly unique. To be honest I don't think I know of a single house in the area with a cast iron surround.

As soon as I get the surround home, and cleaned up, I'll get some better pictures and post them.

Before I forget, now that it is getting colder, and we can no longer do a lot of work on the outside of the house, I'll start bringing you all up to speed on the painting progress.

Till next time...


Thursday, November 11, 2010

Special Post #2 - Primer and Paint

Hello everyone!

Now that we're almost done with the house painting (for this season anyway) I thought I'd do a special post in regard to the primer and paint we choose to use.

While growing up I learned that there are certain things one must never skimp money on; some of those being jewelry for the wife, life insurance, and exterior primer and paint for your house.

What motivated us to seek out the best paint and primer, for us anyway, was peeling paint on fishscale attached to a house recently painted.

A few years ago, about the time we bought this house, a friend of ours, and her husband, bought an old 'fixer-upper' in the country. Part of the rehabilitation was the scraping and painting of the fishscale on the house. Unfortunately the paint on the fishscale started to pop and peel not too long after painting. We did not want this to happen to us.

So the research started in earnest.

We have literally spoken to some of the top people in the field of historic house siding restoration, replacement, prep and painting as well as up-keep. We spoke with restoration specialists ranging from those who are working on Madison's Montpelier all the way to one who deals with restoration at the White House. Most of those we spoke with though were house painting and historic house restoration specialists as well as old house nuts like us.

Two of the best on-line articles we referred to often were the following:

A Pro Confides His Best Tips for Painting Exteriors


Peeling Paint Looks Shabby

The first one was our play-book. We did almost 100% of what was in the article in order to prep the house.

The second is by and far THE best article I've ever read on why paint peels. In totality it explains why you must remove all the old paint you can; so if your looking at painting - read this article!!!

About the only thing we did not do, that both articles mention, was some form of oil conditioning before priming. The reasons we chose not to do this oil conditioning can be boiled down to two reason - condition of the wood and the desire NOT to use oil based paint.

After speaking to a few pros, especially Mr. Leeke (who wrote the second article), it was determined the wood siding and trim on our house just did not need this treatment. Our house is sided in Ceder and holds up fantastically to moisture, rot and insects.

Also, the oil conditioning treatments can take up to two weeks, if not a month, before drying enough to allow painting. Also, the only treatments we could find (other than making our own) required priming with oil based primer.

Contrary to popular belief, you do not need to use oil based products on a house to get a great finish. Do some research; as long as your primers and paints are based on 100% acrylic resins your finished paint job will be just as good as, if not better than, the oil based product jobs.

Oh, by-the-way, one thing some paint dealers are not telling people is that oil based paint products are being phased out of production and are even illegal in some parts of the country. Because of this you will have lots of dealers, and painters, push the product.

After a TON of research, and all those conversations, we decided on a primer many people have never heard of - XIM Peel Bond. You can read more about it here.

As their logo states "When Ordinary primers Are Not Enough".

This stuff is great but a takes some getting use to. It goes on a milky white color but dries clear. When it's clear it's ready for the top coat.

Check out the video!

This is what the Peel Bond looks like going on.

And here it is dry. The 2/3rds of the clapboard that looks 'shadowed' is actually the dried Peel Bond.

Interesting thing is is that it feels kind of like plastic!!

We have had a lot of people watch us paint and think that the house paint is the primer - they can't see the Peel Bond!!

The part I think I like best about the Peel Bond is that it has an elastomeric property that allows it to move, bend, and swell with the house without cracking.

Since the outside of the house is primarily made of Ceder we did need to add a 'bleed control' to help keep the tannins in control. "WHAT? A 110+ year old house still has tannin bleed?!" Yes, the 110+ year old ceder still 'bleeds' when wet. It's not as bad as the new clapboard, but it did bleed in spots.

Luckily XIM also produces a product to help - Bleed Control 100TM.

There is one slight pitfall to using this additive - the primer/paint must be used within 24 hours or you run the risk of it going bad. Evidently it develops a rubbery cottage cheese type consistency if not applied. There is a contractor out there that learned this lesson the hard way. He bought 15 5-gallon buckets of Peel Bond and added the Bleed Control in order to save time down the road. A few days later, when he opened the buckets, the Peel Bond looked like cottage cheese made of rubber. Oh well, he should have read the instructions, it is clearly mentioned!

Now, as you all now, we have some crown moulding on the house we can not match and want to retain. It has weathered badly and has a lot of pitting and corrosion in spots. Once again XIM came through with the product to help us out - Trim Magic.

This stuff is just like the Peel Bond but is thicker and is an ultra high build filling primer.

In layman's terms, the Peel Bond was as thick as pudding and the Trim Magic as thick as custard.

Unfortunately not many people in my area have heard of the XIM products. However, when anyone, contractor or home owner, came to take a look I told them all about it.

Any of you out there looking at painting I highly suggest you check out the XIM products.

Now for the paint.

After just as much research we decided on going with Valspar Duramax with Crosslinking Ti3 Technology.

The coverage is exceptional and applies very well. Because of this we have not had to use near the amount of paint we first thought we would need to.

For general information on Valspar Duramax go here.

For the product datasheet go here.

In making our decision the three main aspects of Duramax that we were sold on are - triple resistance against mold, mildew and algae growth; maximum UV protection; and a lifetime warranty.

However, THE #1 seller for us is that the Duramax paint is an elastomeric paint. In other words, it will bend, stretch, and contract with the house without cracking, splitting or peeling. This elastomeric aspect goes hand-n-hand with that of the XIM peel Bond.

Unfortunately most people do not take into account that a house WILL move with the seasons. If you do not use primers and paints that will move with it the paint job will fail.

Lets get back to the 'exceptional coverage'. Part of this can be attributed to all the prep work as well. I can't stress enough the attention that needs to be paid to the prep work. All too often people just concentrate on priming and painting without much thought to prep. Without proper prep a paint job is doomed to failure.

I will admit though, even with all the research, all the prep work, the use of XIM products and Valspar Duramax, we are still worried that our paint job could fail.

Till next time...