Sunday, December 29, 2013

We meet again in 2013!

So.... it's been a crazy year.  I've had a rough last couple months, which has led me to be a little slower both with projects and behind with life stuff in general.  But I'm really behind posting, so we press on.

Eve's room.  I've put it off for a little while a whopping two months, and now there's no avoiding it.  I really want to bring us up to the current times.  I'm gonna condense it as much as I can, but we had so much to do, and there are so many pictures....  Get ready   It's gonna be HUGE! (Billy Fuccillo fans rejoice!) 

So the background - We knew we had window repair when we moved in. We did not expect the extensive dormer repair we needed to do though.  The last time we saw Eve's room was in this post here and we alluded to it here as well.   We found that the floor in corner of the dormer in Eve's room was spongy and slightly black the day before we started to move in.  We figured it would be best to wait to put anything in Eve's room while we assessed the damage more.

 The pictures above show the initial stages of 'discovery'.  We found that there was lot of dry rot as well as some large patches of mold.  The wood was actually crumbling in some spots.
A large portion of the wall and floor were damaged.  Jon took a long trip through the wall all the way to the other dormer to see what else he could find.  Thankfully nothing looks bad between the two dormers, but the other dormer will likely need some work too.

So the next step was to order the windows, and wait.  Which we did for did for about a month.  But once our windows came in, we sent the kids to Grandma's and got on with the destruction.

 The window and trim came out fairly easily. 

"Well there's your problem."
We were a little uncertain that just that little bit of rotten sill could cause that much damage.  It was soon clear that the damage really did stem from that sill.

With the window out, now we just had a nice big gaping hole for birds to fly in. And it's just gonna get bigger.

 The deeper we dug the more damage we found, this time on some of the sheathing.

Once the outside was taken apart a bit, we went back to the inside, and gutted most of the frame that was damaged.  There was only one section that I considered somewhat structural and damaged that we left alone for later.

The next part was taking out the floor, which was one of the toughest parts of the job.  It was really hard to get the circular saw in some areas.  (Plus I kept hitting my head on the roofing nails through the roof).  We didn't have my Mom's oscillating multitool for the dormer at all, and I'm sure it would have helped. 

Prying up the floor wasn't that bad, as it wasn't glued down much at all.  I was glad to see the damage didn't extend to the joists at all.  Once the the floor was up, we had almost all the mold out of there.

Now to step back; From what I was reading dry rot is nothing to mess around with. The images above are two areas where we saw dry rot.  I guess it can spread like crazy even through other substances.  We tried to pull back at least 6" from all areas that came in contact with dry rot, but in some areas like the joists and the rafters, we couldn't.

To keep the rot from spreading, a lot of websites recommend Boracare or Tim-Bor, with Bora-Care being preferred.  But $70 is a lot of money and well... we forgot to order some before we started.  So I enlisted help from my scientist hubby and he made us our own Bora-Care mix.  He used Boric Acid, Borax and Glycol (Antifreeze) using this site as a guide.  We bought a hot plate just so we could make it outdoors and thankfully didn't get the police called on us.  Meth lab anyone?  ;)

At this point we 'painted' everything with our DIY Borate mix.  There was a bit of a chemical smell that did eventually go away.  So now we're *almost* ready to rebuild.  To the right of the above picture, the floor and corner board still has some rot (some is drywall powder though).  We still need to remove that section, of course, but we need to rebuild it very quickly once those boards are out.

So we Jon cut out the old boards.  I can practically hear my Mom yelling at her computer a town away with this awesome electrical cord setup we have going here.

I had already placed the floor support boards between joists as well as pre-cut and measured the floor board so this step could go quickly.  Once the board was fit, we screwed it in a few key spots and moved on.

We had also pre-cut the framing, and popped those in really quick.  And then breathed a sigh of relief. It took a lot of planning to be able to move that quick, but it was worth it.  If I recall correctly, at this point I finish screwing in the floor and left for work (to relax some, haha).

Then we started rebuilding.  I did the main window frame outside the window and placed it in.  This was a fair chunk of work but I'll spare you the details.

Once the framing was done, we needed to finish the roof flashing, housewrap, and window flashing.  Getting to the part where we could finally flash the window was so exciting.  I love that 3M stuff too.  Even if our Vinyl-Clad wood window sills rot out, we'll have that stuff there to stop water from taking out our floors ever again.

 And with that, we put our window in!  Wah-hoo!

I laid out the old siding in order and popped the old siding back on the dormer in a couple hours.  Easy-peasy.

To finish up the inside we needed to put in the insulation and moisture barrier, and then....


We still having some taping and mudding to do (even now, two months later), as well as some outside face-work, but it is so nice to be able to walk in that room without a mask on.

These pictures spanned about a month, with us mostly working only on weekends.  Most of the other projects I've posted so far were done on weeknights in conjunction with this giant project.

And to come full circle, shortly after we got rid of all that rotten moldy wood that was hanging out on our porch and lawn (from this project and others)!  Yay!

Monday, November 18, 2013

A little bit of this, a little bit of that...

Just a quick post - While in the midst of many other projects, one Friday night I came home and impulsively decided to fix our shed roof.  Our shed roof was a mix of several different types of shingles and had several areas with leaks.  But one area wasn't even covered with roofing at all.

But even though the whole roof needed some help, we'll tackle that next year.  For now, we just want to fix the bare area.  So, we picked up a pack of cheap shingles at the local ReSTORE a few weekends eariler.

To be completely honest, I was a little nervous using the latter in it's straight position for the first time.  I managed though.  I used a snow brush to brush all the bristles and leaves off the roof and got to it.

Roofing was fairly straightforward.  Jon cut the shingles that needed cutting and handled each shingle up to me. I scooted around the roof nailing shingles in, trying not slide off the roof and keeping an eye on the kids playing in leaf piles :)

So there we go! After a couple hours a we had the ugliest repair ever.  But now our shed was waterproof enough to stick more stuff in it!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Things That Make You Go Hmm..

Our deck certainly makes me think hmm...  I've spent a fair amount of time under there trying to find the most likely failure points, and morph together when each section was built in relation to each other.  Each time I was under or on our deck though, I looked this dryer vent in disappointment.  At least I can attempt to something about that this year.

The inspector said "Ah, a homeowner special" as we walked by it.  We could tell.  I have no idea why they would put through the deck.   Keep out animals?  Keep it from being buried in the snow?  Those are my best guesses, but honestly, I have no idea.

Figuring out how to fix it was a more challenging then I had anticipated.  When we bought the house, the dryer was crushing a large rolled up pile of the flexible vent.  To it keep it un-crushed, we needed to move the dryer out, which hit the heater, which made us move the whole thing awkwardly to the side.  To complicate the matter,  there's a stud right near the corner of the wall, so we couldn't have exit vent all the way to the back. One of the goals was that we wanted the dryer to stick out only as much as the washer, and not eat up the toilet space (Ew, that sounds wrong).  We were hoping we could get the dryer far enough back that it would fit behind the heater, but that wasn't a huge deal.  We can always cut down the counter at the end of the bathroom to fix that.

One option would be making the dryer vent right out the side.  Googling led me to believe that doing that, in that small of a room, would be really,  really tough, so that was out. 

So, we pretty much bought every kind of dryer vent solution we could.  telescoping low profile, plastic elbows, adjustable metal elbows, long straights, etc.  I think this project had more returns than any other project I've done.  Finally we came to some sort of crappy plan and just went with it.

First I had to climb behind the dryer and pulled out the old dryer duct.  That duct was around 10 feet long.  Surprisingly, it hadn't accumulated as much lint as I expected. Then I climbed back out and pulled took the vent off.  I won't give much more climbing blow by blows, but, I'm gonna say, I got good at climbing in and out of there (and am much less claustrophobic).

I unscrewed the old vent and took it off.  Then there was a I punched a jagged shaped hole in the wall with my rippling DIY muscles!  Come on, you know you'd do it too :)

Back inside, I used the bottom of a small paint can, the same size as the 4" vent's duct, to trace out a circle.  The duct that came on the back of the vent was 'rigid duct' but still too wiggly to trace it easily. And because space was so tight between the wall and cabinet, I couldn't fit any tools in there.  So instead, I employed the help of just a jigsaw bit.  Yes.  Just the bit.  Totally ghetto, I know, and my hand was aching but the end of it, but I made a REALLY nice circle.  It was sweeet!  (Since then though, I've decided that a jab saw is a good purchase, though).

Like the inside materials, I had to buy more than one dryer vent as well.  This was our first one, and it wasn't made for vinyl siding.  In fact, I had no idea how I could reconcile to two together. Thankfully I stumbled on one with integrated J-channels at our local building supply store a few weeks later that was perfect (after Jon struck out on finding one in the big box stores).  

Somehow, my sort of random hole in the wall ended up being perfectly centered in one piece of siding.  That. Was pretty lucky.  I figured a decent strategy to cut the outside hole so that it aligned with the inside.  First I placed the dryer vent backwards in the hole (from the inside), so that the rigid duct was up against the plywood.  A little bit of measuring led me to a general area and I was able to drill I pilot hole.  With that I could see enough to make a small enough hole gauge where I the edges were.  Then I used the jigsaw to make cuts across vertically and horizontally until I was just barely not touching the duct. I brought out the paint can again and used those 4 points I just cut to get my circle.  Now I could jigsaw the circle out easy as pie.

Flexible duct, like what came with the house, is not recommended for dryer vents.  However, I found online that semi-rigid ducts are acceptable.  I went the simple route and just bought a short roll of this stuff, and it seems to work fine.  We decided to have the vent above the dryer for a couple reasons.  It meant we could push the dyer all the way back, flush with the washer, but still exit in a way that would avoid the stud next to the back wall.  Plus, we can access the attachment point for easier cleaning of the duct.  It is a little ugly, but I'm hoping to make some sort of cover.

The last part of the repair was fixing the old hole.  I'm gonna have to confess, it sat un-fixed for about a month.  I did place a little bit of house wrap of the top of the hole, but that's about it.

But once it hit 30°F for several days, I started panicking.   I had other pressing holes in the wall (which I'll blog about someday), but I still didn't like this small one either.

I had commandeered my Mom's rigid oscillating tool, and made the circle a square.  (Sidenote, I love my Mom's oscillating tool.  Every homeowner should have one, it's so helpful.  My Mom has this one, which works great, but Jon and I are thinking about getting this one.)

I had a tough time cutting the bottom section because the plywood was so spongy.  At first I was worried that condensation had caused it from leaving the hole open for a while, but when I felt around a little more in that area above the deck flashing, all that plywood fell yucky :(  We expected we'd have to replace sheathing when we did the deck, so it's not a surprise.  But still not something I want to think about.

So since the bottom area is likely going to be replaced next year when we do the deck, I clearly didn't bother to do a very good job.  It was 30°F when I was outside doing this, you know.  I might fill it in with "Great Stuff" though to keep it more weather sealed later.

So that's where we ended up!  Thankfully, because I was adding one hole and covering another, I was able to shift around the siding in that area evenly.  Although the area around the vent would look better as once piece instead of two, it's so nice to finally have siding in that section of the building.  (and I know, I still have put on a piece for that little gap, which is... somewhere (?) in my house).  I  need to buy siding for other parts of my house at this point, so I could revisit this area again... but I'm telling you, figuring out the company that made our siding is turning out to be a REAL pain.  We'll see how that pans out.