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 ~


Kate H. said...

Oh, gosh! So sorry the storm accelerated your plaster demolition, but I'm glad the house is still standing and is basically in one piece.

This has not been a good September for you so far, it sounds like. Still, the scraping progress looks wonderful. And yes, I can tell the difference between the scraped and the sanded parts.

As for the water that got in, will you just wait for it to dry up? Or do you think there might be pooling hiding anywhere?

Larry said...

Sorry for the delayed response Kate!

Yeah...September hasn't been the best month.

I was originally going to wait for the water to dry up but the weight brought the rest of the plaster down! Right now we don't think it's pooling anywhere, but you never know.