Thursday, September 30, 2010

Soffit Up-date

Hello again everyone!

Thought I'd take a quick moment to give you an update I should have done last night.

If you remember from the last post I mentioned we had ran into a bit of a problem on the west side. It's one of those problems I wish we would've known about when we first started work on that side.

Basically...the outer edge of the roof is rotted.

Our roof was built a bit different than modern roofs are. Most roof edges are made up of rafter edges, battens, purlins, eaves, barge board, etc.

Our roof edge has all of this with a couple of extras. Along with the typical battens, the boards that tie the rafters together, we have two battens stacked on top of each other right on the top edge. Also, most homes have an eave attached to the end of the rafters on non-gable ends. This is whats also know as the 'trim' if I understand it correctly.

Anyway, our house has a 2x6 tying the rafter ends together with all the extra boards attached to it. By-the-way, the rafters are also 2x6s.

All tied together this makes for an extremely strong roof edge that is uncommon today - just take a look at modern roof construction and you will see.

Unfortunately termites got to parts of the 2x6 that tied all the rafters together. On top of this wood-rot also set in.

Needless to say, it had to be removed. We are lucky though, it could have been a lot worse!

Following are some of the pictures that will kind of give you an idea just how bad it was.

This is the south west corner.

It amazes me how rotten the west board is yet the south board is in great condition.

In case you're wondering - that is wire mesh screen at the top portion of the corner. We think it was put there to keep squirrels, and other creatures, out. I don't think it helped much, I found nut remains all over.

Nasty looking ain't it?!

Even some of the original shake shingles were deteriorated.

Fortunately the double layer of 1x6 battens were only affected on the outer inch. The stability of the structure is still in excellent condition. With such a small amount of the battens being affected we will not need to replace them at this time. To do this it would require the removal of the roofing down to the rafters.

Eventually this will be done but it won't be for several years. With this future repair in mind we will be making the immediate, necessary repairs in a way that will not hinder the future repairs.

This is a close-up of the same spot.

The entire length was not this bad but bad enough to warrant complete removal of most of it.

A section further north.

As you can see, the ends of the rafters, with very few exceptions, are in excellent shape. Those that were affected only had damage in the area where the lowest tip/edge of the rafter met the edging board.

I'll get more pictures of this when I make the repairs.

Before I forget... You might have noticed that a length of the bead-board is missing. This section will also need to be replaced due to rot.

This is the north west corner.

The main board here is in excellent condition, just dirty. I decided to leave it alone - no sense in replacing something that doesn't need it.

Now this is what boggles the mind...

Remember in the first picture where the west board was rotten but the south board was perfect? At this corner the west board is perfect and the north board is rotten!! Isn't that just weird?

While we are on this picture you might have noticed the boards laying across the top of the scaffolding. These are part of the eave trim that are still in good condition and can be used. This will save in the cost of replacement.

Basically, to accomplish this task I had to remove all the main nails (about 5" in length). The board was so bad some of these could be removed by hand. I then had to cut the board, using the Sawzall, into manageable lengths and then pry them from the two batten boards tied into it. There were spots that were so rotten that as soon as a chunk was cut it just fell off. Lucky for me these pieces were rotten enough they didn't cause damage when they hit my head!

Once this was finished the nails that were sticking out had to be cut-off so that the replacement boards can be installed.

The whole process took most of the day. It would have gone faster if I didn't have to climb down from the scaffolding to move it over another 4'. I won't even mention the nasty mess.

Here's something else that amazes me... I'm using modern tools and safety devices/conveniences, such as the scaffolding. The original boards are solid 2x6s 16' long. These puppies were extremely heavy! How in the world did the manhandle these things in place back then?!?!

Anyway, moving on...

As you know, we're still scraping the soffits on the east side. They are finished for the most part but we ran into a rather interesting problem here as well.

Do you have any idea what this hole is for?

This is where the original downspout for the internal gutters came out on this section of the house.

It isn't going to be too big of a problem fixing this; the hardest part is going to be matching the moulding. This style of moulding is still made, but I think it is about 2/3rds the size of the original. To get the mouldings to match might be tricky. I'll keep you up-dated.

That's about it for now. I need to go take some measurements for a run to the lumber yard.

Till next time...


Friday, September 24, 2010

Still Here... Still Scraping...

Hello Everyone -

Yes - we're still here and still scraping.

We've been so busy with the house, and other 'little' interruptions, that I just haven't gotten around to updating.

If you remember from my last post we were hit by a freak storm. Well, we were hit by another freak storm the following week as well. this time we had tornadoes dropping down all around us! We even had something called a 'gustnado' form less than a block from the house and travel down town! During the whole ordeal I stood in the middle of the field next to us and watched it happen. It is quit an awesome experience to watch forming tornadoes cross overhead!!! Fortunately we had no damage at all.

Anyway, let's get to the house.

When I left you last we had a hole in the living room ceiling and were almost done with the west side of the hose so let me fill you in with what's happened.

As expected a bigger chunk of the ceiling did fall. All I had to do was touch it and it came down.

As I said before, at least the living room hasn't had any restoration work done on it yet.

And here is the newly expanded hole.

By this point I've already removed all the loose plaster as well as some lath. I've removed the lath so I could gain access to the porch ceiling in order to find the source of the leak.

These next few pictures are a look into the 'innards' of the porch. I have a feeling I'm the first person in over a hundred years to see this so I thought I'd share.

Remember the separation point (gap) where the porch is pulling away from the house?

This is what it looks like from inside the porch ceiling (it's the greenish colored slash in the center).

Here's the underside looking east.

Can you believe how new the wood looks?

On the left side of the picture you can see the bottom tips of the house sheeting. Better than the chip-board they use today don't you thing?

Looking south.

There is about a foot and a half drop to the actual porch ceiling.

The next picture is a rather hard one to wrap the brain around and place it into perspective.

This is the spot where we assume the water was coming in.

If you were to poke your head up into the hole in the ceiling, and look south, this spot would be right above your right shoulder about 2 feet to the west.

I tried to get a photo that showed the light streaming in from the crack but it just wouldn't take. Trust me though, there was a crack, about 1/16 of an inch by 4 inches)where the single board butted up against the two boards.

Now keep this spot in mind - especially the small rift between the two sheeting boards on the right side side - it will be important again in a bit.

In order to find the hole on the roof-side of the porch I needed to shove something up in it that I could see when on the roof. My first attempt was a stiff wire but when I went out onto the roof to find it there was no sign of the wire.

I knew the whole had to be located along the bottom portion of where the windows directly above met the porch roof but like I said, there was no sign of the wire.

So I decided to use something a bit heavier - some of the window glazing trim I used on the lead glass window.

This piece of trim did the trick.

Here you can see it sticking out of the ceiling.

And here's the crack I found with it.

It was hiding behind broken piece of clapboard and flashing.

I thought that the crack was under the window, turns out it was on the west side of it.

A better view.

The molding is is the bright piece of wood that the sunlight is hitting. The real thin item is the flashing that goes behind the clapboard.

And there it is.

You can even see some of the actual crack to the left of where the piece of moulding pops through. You can also see part of the wire I used previously.

After removing the the piece of moulding, and wire, I cleaned out the area behind the flashing and replaced the clapboards.

Once that was finished I decided to replace the piece of rotted trip above the windows in the little bed room.

There wasn't much holding it in so it popped out easily.

What you see here is the best section of the trim!

Here's the replacement piece in place.

It might look like there is a 'wave' like curl in it but that's an optical illusion. In reality it's the grain of the wood.

It only took about 30 minutes to cut, trim, rout and install this piece of trim. Once it is caulked it should help keep the water out during the next rain storm.

Speaking of rainstorms...we had another one last Friday! This is three storms in row that hit on either a Thursday or Friday.

Anyway, we still had a slight leak in the living room ceiling.

Remember that small rift between the two sheeting boards? Turns out rain water was being channeled through it from another location along with the crack right next to it. We are not sure where the leak originated this time. It originally started as a single drop about once every 15 to 20 seconds and lasted for about n hour or two. Then, all of a sudden the leak stopped and it was raining even harder out side.

So, it has now been decided NOT to repair the hole in the ceiling just yet. We are going to cover it with paneling instead. This will allow us to take a look, after the house is sealed and painted, at the problem area when it rains. By doing this we will be able to determine if the leak is indeed fixed due to painting and caulking. Once we are sure we will then repair the ceiling.

While working on all of these little problems we did manage to work on the soffits and eaves on the south side. While doing so we found more of the original green paint.

This is the last picture for this post. Thought you would like to see that the west side IS done!! It is now ready for priming and paint!

Oh wait...not quite. There is a bit of a problem we've ran into. More on that later.

Till next time...


Sunday, September 12, 2010

Oh, the Humanity!!!

Hello Everyone -

These past couple of weeks have been a wild ride!!!

We've gotten a lot done on the house scraping but there have been so many interruptions. The biggest one has been my allergies.

When my allergies hit they hit hard. Most people say "just take a pill", I can't. I'm very sensitive to allergy meds as well as flu meds. If the package says 'causes drowsiness' I'm out like a light for hours. If it says 'non-drowsy' it's a 50/50 chance I'll be out for a few hours or I'll be in a fishbowl fog.

A week ago last Thursday my allergies hit so working on the house has been a crap shoot.

The big news though is last Friday, the 10th. Our tiny town was hit by a freak storm that created 70+ mph down-bursts. They came in waves and lasted a long time. What made it worse was that they came from the south. With no paint on the house, and thus no paint or caulking covering seams and cracks, the house took a major beating.

We were without power for several hours as well - thank goodness for oil lamps!

If it were not for the fact that the main windows on the lower south side, under the porch, were open we feel they would have been blown out. The wind did blow the furniture in the living room across the room to the dinning room though. We also had water on the living room floor, and foyer floor, that covered most of the surface.

At one point I went outside, after the windows were closed, and I was about blown through the main bay window by a down-burst.

Needless to say we had damage.

Remember that cracked, and sagging, section of ceiling within the bay area of the living room? Well, it's gone.

Here are the remains.

Yes, that is a cat pan, and other pots, set out to catch what water we could catch coming in from the ceiling. It was as if a faucet had been turned on.

Thing is, we are not sure how the water got into the ceiling. Only thing we figure is the lack of paint. Once we are dried out we will be using spotlights and looking for cracks/holes in the porch roof. We have been in this house for 10 years now and this is the first time we have had water leaks due to rain - so it's GOT to do with the lack of paint.

And here's the hole.

It isn't too noticeable in the picture but the section of ceiling to the right of the picture is now sagging. Monday I will probably work at removing this section of plaster.

Closer view of the same hole.

This time though you can see the 'new' sagging crack going to the right!

The problems didn't stop in the living room. We had water being driven into the house around just about every window, especially on the south side. It was even being forced into the side lights of the front door!

Also, if you remember, we have large cracks in the cement porch in front of the front door. Thanks to the large amounts of water that pooled there we ended up with water in the basement as well.

Now in reality we have no idea how much damage the rain caused and following is one of the reasons why.

These are the windows in the smallest bedroom, the one above the foyer.

See the dark stain around the window (it goes all the way around it)? That is where water was driven in. Now look to the immediate left of the dark stain. Do you see a jagged triangular shadow? The dark stain is where the plaster and wall paper was saturated, the shadow is where the plaster and wall paper was damp.

This is the new 'bulge' above the same set of windows.

You can see the same dark stain and shadow stain.

This is what it looks like under the windows.

Notice the platform on the porch roof? Neither of the platforms, or ladders, or scaffolding budged, but we sure had a lot of debris in the yard!!

We do know that part of the reason the set of windows in the small bedroom got so saturated was due to the attic window above it.

With the paint missing from the fishscales, as well as the window trim, the water was running down the inside wall of the attic right down into the windows below it.

We are lucky, it could have been a lot worse. The living room and upstairs bedroom could have been finished!!

As it is the plan has been, from the beginning, to gut the living room ceiling and gut the small bedroom.

I did tell SWMBO that with the hole in the living room ceiling we could get a bigger Christmas tree!!

Okay, now that the nightmare is over, and the clean-up has commenced, lets get back to the house.

I'll start where we left off last time - the lead glass window and the west wall.

The lead window frame is trashed - it's at that point it needs to be replaced.

This is the bottom sill of the window that faces outside.

Here it doesn't look too bad and I figured it could be repaired.

However, the side facing inside is the part I don't think I can repair.

This side is infected with rot. See the little divot? That was caused by just scratching the surface with my finger nail. The entire corner is this soft and rotted.

Based on the diminishing marginal returns formula of time + material + labor it doesn't make sense to repair; it makes more sense to replace.

So, we replaced the glass and wood stays.

Over the Winter, or perhaps Spring, we'll replace the frame.

Not the best picture, or best miter cut, but you can see there is some fanciness to the wood stays.

With the new glass in place we are still amazed at how well the view is. Just goes to show how dirty the original window was!!

Surprisingly no rain was driven into this window!

On Wednesday, the 1st, we started the repairs to the clapboard that needed to be dealt with.

This is the section where the exhaust fan in the kitchen had been.

Did you notice the paper between the clapboard and house sheeting? We weren't expecting so much to have survived over time. We now know that this is one reason the termites were able to make it all the way up into the attic!! The nasty buggers we using the paper to build there tunnels!

And here is the new ceder clapboard.

Doesn't look too bad does it?

On Thursday, the day my allergies hit, SWMBO was able to join us.

Friday turned out to be one of the days not much got done.

We had to add the fourth level to the scaffolding as well as borrow some scaffolding platforms. So the biggest part of the day was working out a major puzzler dealing with scaffolding sizes and cross bars to make the fourth level work.

We also spent a couple of hours talking to the contractor who we got the platforms from as well as demonstrating the Paint Shaver to him as well as another contractor.

View from the very top.

We left the third level platforms in place to aid in sanding.

You can see them sticking out below me.

The platforms at the very top are the ones we are borrowing, the others are just really large boards on top of ladders.

See that underneath part of the soffit?!

This is by far the hardest thing I've had to work on with the Paint Shaver. You have to hold the thing upside-down and move it backward. It's very hard on the back and arms. The amount you see here took over an hour to shave. The corner section to the left, less than half the size, took about the same amount of time but I had to stand on my tip-toes AND lean out further than I wanted.

Look close in this picture. See the platform, with a step stool and pair of legs. I had to stand on this, on the edge of the back porch roof, to reach the tip of the corner. It looks like one would be leaning up against the scaffolding for support, but there is actually a rather large space between the platform and scaffolding. Standing on your tip-toes, using a power tool that could liquefy your face, upside-down, was not fun.

It didn't help that the soffit bead-boards were so uneven as well!!

The first part of the rotten moulding is now gone.

The nails have been cut off and all is ready for the replacement boards. The new boards will hold the new guttering.

These next two pictures are more a study in contrast than anything else. I thought some of you would be interested in seeing what the clapboard looked like after being shaved and then sanded.

These are clapboards that have been shaved.

These have been shaved and then sanded, ready for painting.

I hope you can see the difference in contrast between the two!

We ran across something interesting while replacing clapboards.

Back in the old days house builders used 1x lumber to sheet a house instead of wafer board. By attaching it at an angle it made the house more structurally stronger. Typically the 1xs all went the same direction. The ones on this wall though go in opposite directions.

I have never seen this done before. It makes me wonder if a major repair/upgrade/addition was done here or perhaps it was done due to the large set of windows.

The other mystery was found about a foot to the left of the spot mentioned above.

Here we found electrical lines going through the wall. They went through the two tiny holes right below the clapboard.

There is no indication what they were for or were they went. There was less than an inch of wire and they were covered by the old clapboard. We also found a lag-bolt that had been broken off in the sheeting next to them.

I thought some of you would find it interesting to see the hardware used to hold the original storm windows in place.

I am keeping all the pieces I find.

BTW - the only windows that do not have this hardware, or at least the scares of where it was attached, are the smaller windows that make up the North West corner of the kitchen. More evidence that those windows were added a lot latter.

What was surprising was how vivid the butter cream color found under the hardware was.

Speaking of original colors...

Remember the deep Emerald Green color we found on the fishscale? We found evidence that it was also used on some of the trim on the big set of windows in the kitchen.

So far we have really, really, REALLY lucked out in not have a lot of rot damage around the house. Last week I had a chance to work on the worst rot damage on the house we are aware of.

The area is on the lower edge of the most Northern kitchen window.

About the only thing you can due, short of complete replacement, is repair.

With this particular area of rot I treated it like a dental cavity.

Just as a dentist will clean out the rot of a tooth I did the same with the window trim.

Instead of using the expensive wood-bondo stuff at this point I opted for plain ol' wood filler.

You can see it crammed deep down inside there.

Just another view.

You can see where I scraped away the rot but I did leave the nails. The nails will help the filler, and bondo, stay in place.

This might give you an idea how deep the rot went.

This is the final layer of filler. The bondo will be placed on top of this once it is dry.

For those of you wondering, I made about a half dozen filler balls like this.

Once made all you have to do is pack them in the cavity - just like a dentist would do.

Before we move on - the vertical trim piece, that's end is rotted, is going to be completely replaced.

Once finished I covered the area in tin-foil and duct-tape. We knew there was to be a chance of rain for the week-end and I wanted to protect it.

As you know the rain was a LOT worse than expected!! So, the filler is still wet (but in good condition) because the rain soaked right through the exposed wood!

Today I removed the tin-foil and hopefully it will harden in a day or two.

Last Thursday was the last day we got to work on the house and we got a late start due to light rain.

So what you see here is where we started Thursday afternoon.

By the time we finished Thursday - due to rain again - this is as far as we got.

Along with scraping paint we started sanding the wall that day.

Note that the underside of the soffit is still not done. It was just too difficult to work on that day. My allergy meds were starting to make me woozy and being on top of the scaffolding, and bending over backwards to use the Paint Shaver, just made me more and more nauseous.

When I finally gave up and climbed down from my perch I found out that it wasn't just the meds, the scaffolding was now unstable. We had been having enough gentle rains that the section of ground one of the wheels was sitting on could no longer support that section of scaffolding.

The more I moved around up top the more the scaffolding would sway due to the soft spot and the more nauseous I got. The area is now stabilized.

So Thursday afternoon found us here.
See how close we are to having the West wall done?! More of the upper moulding is even gone.

If the weather holds it will be ready for painting before the next week is out, but we were just told there is a chance of rain for the next few days.

I did not work on the house at all Friday due to allergies and thanks to them nothing much got done this week-end either.

I'll leave you with the following picture.

For some reason we've had more Tree Frogs in the area than normal. This one was found hanging around the door latch on the wood shop.

Most of them we have seen are bright green or plain green. This one was more of a Bronze Green.

Well, I'm tired, my brain hurts and my drugs are starting to take effect so I think I'll sign off for now.

Till next time...

Larry ~