Saturday, March 22, 2014

Pump, Pump it up...

 Note: this all happened in waaayyyy back in November.

Even though we didn't finish up the inside work the either of the kids room windows, we decided to move on with our window to get the most of the windows in by the winter.  The next up was our room.

We were really concerned about what we'd find under this window.  It was one of the worst looking windows, and we were worried the damage would spread to the floors, which could be a hard fix given the heater right there.

Once we pulled out the window, we weren't surprised with the lack of flashing, poorly done housewrap, and signs of damaged plywood.  I warn you, put down your lunch.  It gets gross.

It was clear we needed to investigate, so we cut the drywall under the window. Ew.  Not what we want to see.  Explains the musty/moldy smell though.

And then we start removing the siding.  Again, if your housewrap looks like this...  you don't want to know what's under there.

...But we had to find out.  Surprise! It's more mold!
So we started the same old, now.  Cutting away everything rotten.  Thankfully,  the floor and even the sill plate were completely fine.

At this point we wrapped everything up and put some rails across our giant hole in the wall.

We had to stop not just because the night brought the weekend to a close...  we actually couldn't go on farther without a plan.  We needed a way to both work on the window from the outside and get the large window up to the outside of the hole when it was ready to go in. We also needed a way to get to the other boys room window, which is 25' up, so finding something for both was in order.

We priced out scaffolding which would be well over $100, a significant drive, put us on a time constraint and possibly not tall enough for the boys room window.  That was out. Options that involved two ladders and plank looked interesting, but given we don't own a tall ladder (we had one to borrow) it would cost a least $150 for the supplies.  Plus it wouldn't help us get the window up there. I also looked at alternative 'leaning' wood forms of scaffolding that we could DIY, but those didn't seem safe, especially at 25'.

What I found was that least expensive, yet still safe option was something called 'pump jacks'.  For $100, plus the cost of wood, we could own them too.  As an added bonus, the platform raises and lowers, which also solved the issue of getting the window up there, and they're safe up to 25'.

It was actually hard to find a video to explain how it works, but I was able to dig this one up, which was super helpful, because I wasn't getting initially from just the description.  Although I did have the urge to put my ponytail to the side and rock my TMNT shirt while watching it.

I wrote that.  Then just had to.
 Anyway, I bought two Qualcraft Pump Jacks from Amazon for $50 each.  Wood was tough to source, because the wood type is so critical to these jacks working correctly.  Everywhere I saw recommended douglas fir, and although I looked ALL OVER I couldn't find any douglas fir 2x4's in our area.   Doing a little digging on the internet, I did find that hem fir is a very similar wood and a fine replacement (and this PDF just says fir).  Which of course, was available at our closest Lowes, the first place I looked.  It took about an hour digging through and finding the absolute best boards I could.  The associates kept giving me looks, so I sent Eve over to entertain them with stories :D 

The cost of the wood (posts, scafolding and for bracing), nails and mending plate did add up.  I cheaped out and just got regular 2x8's  for the scaffolding. I say somewhere between $50-$75, making them about $175.  Still less than what it would have been had we rented.

So while I waited for our pump jacks to arrive, I assembled the posts  in the basement, which thankfully had an opening about 40' long, by using the space under the stairs.  I followed the instructions on the PDF down to the letter.  I didn't want these things to fail while we were on them.  I screwed the two scaffolding boards together to help with weight distribution and remove a trip hazard (one board higher than the other).  I was glad I did, because if you put too much weight on the end... you want those things to be tied together to keep it balanced longer.

We had to be super careful putting this up because of the power lines.  My stepdad came over and helped us, which was great.  We needed the extra set of hands, for sure.  We were able to get the posts up and secured to the wall with a could boards without any interference to the power lines.
Despite digging holes for the bottom, they were feeling a little bit wobbly when we put them up.  I braced them with some 2x4s at the bottom and they were much more secure after that.  We dropped the scaffolding on, and later on placed a toe kick 2x4" on each end.  We were glad on many occasions to have that toe kick to both stop our feet and our tools.
I had my stepdad take a picture of us as we brought the plank up to position for the first time.  I look like I'm clinging to the pole for dear life... because I'm clinging to the pole for dear life.  But they held us just fine.

However, when we tested how to get them down, it wasn't working right.  We unclasped the top as we're supposed to and turned the handle, but it wasn't budging.  Quite foolishly I remembered that I needed to depress the the bar at the bottom with my foot, and tried it immediately...    forgetting that I disengaged the top and not knowing I needed to have the foot press up.

This caused two things to happen.  One, I dropped at least a foot without warning and gave a nice yelp of surprise.  Two, I had a heart attack the foot rest swung up with such speed and force, that I'm sure if I were a boy, our prospect for future children would look dim. Thankfully, I'm not, and it just barely missed me.  Be forewarned boys - Have the petal up before you step on the release.  After that fun, everything was fine and my trust was completely restored in the system.  It was actually a little fun unwinding it; I will admit to yelling yee-haw every time we rode that thing down. 

Once we got the braces into position, we screwed in back bracing.  Also helped keep it sturdy and give us some bounds when working up there.  The image below shows them on, but the platform was dropped back down to work on the lowest part of the damage, so they're not in the right place.

That pretty much wraps up the first half of our long window demo. 


GardeningLaura69 said...

You and your husband are amazing. That's all I can say!

Cassie said...

Thanks! We're just doing what we can and learning as we go!