Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Attic Insulation

This is one of those projects that I'm extremely glad is over. With the cold weather back for the winter I finally decided that I had to do something about the insulation. Our heating bill last year was sky high. I've already noticed some difference since I caulked the entire outside of the house but I knew we could do a lot better.

The attic was a huge mess.

It seems that over the years when the roofers would replace an old cedar shingle roof with a new one they would leave whatever dropped in the attic. There was also a ton of old coal dust. This was the worst. It has the consistency of baby power so it gets all over everything. I was completely black from head to toe for the three days it took to clean the attic out.

I started by using a large metal dust pan to scoop up piles of the debris and dumped it into a trash can. Then I would cart the trash can down stairs and outside and dump it into large contractor trash bags.

Once the large debris was removed I vacuumed up the rest with a shop-vac. When doing this it's imperative to use vacuum bags, otherwise the coal dust just clogs up the filter almost immediately.

 After three days of this hell it was finally done and I was ready for insulation. The insulation only took about an hour and a half.

I think I have close to an R-19 value right now. In a few weeks I'm going to double the amount and go to R-30.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Exterior paint progress

Here are a some pictures from a few weeks back. I had my brother in law over for a day to help me out.

I stopped working over Thanksgiving and haven't had a chance to do anything since, I've been too busy with work. I'm hoping to get some things accomplished soon though.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


Finally, after weeks of prep work, The final coat of paint is on the house! I still have a lot of trim to paint and I haven't even started on the porches yet but this is a big milestone for the house. It's been a patchwork of colors, primer, and bare wood for years now.

Here are a few pictures:

(Sorry for the blurry pictures, I think something was on the lense of my camera phone)  I had to make a lot of repairs to the siding, here I replaced the bottom two boards, there was one board completely missing and the other was splintered beyond repair. I installed Hardie Board to replace them. It's really a great match, you cant even tell that it's not original.

Here is a shot of the south side of the house during the caulking phase:

Here are some pictures after painting:

There is still a lot of trim work to do on the Sunroom, once all the woodwork is done it will be painted the trim color (Valspar Homestead Resort Jefferson White)

The color is still a little brighter that I wanted and a little too orange but I can live with it and I think it will look great once the trim is cut in.

I'm hoping to have all the trim cut in by this weekend, then it's back to finishing the front porch and columns.

Monday, November 8, 2010

More house caulking and main bath sheetrock

Work has been steadily progressing on caulking the house. There are now only two walls left to do, our back bedroom wall and the front guest room wall.

Here is an in progress shot of the master bedroom and living room wall. This wall is the hardest to get to because of the power line running in front of it. The ground slopes away on this side of the house so it's also taller by about 4'.

We had to use an extension ladder on top of the scaffolding to reach the peak. We use two walk boards, one below the other to hold the ladder in place. The upper walk board is clamped into place and the ladder is wedged against it so it cant move.

This is my helper on the ladder caulking at the peak of the gable. I'm glad he's not afraid of heights because I wasn't about to get up there...

Over the weekend I also continued the sheetrocking of the main bathroom. I noticed that a lot of cold air was getting into the house through the open walls.

This door goes to the Study. I dont need a door here so it's getting covered over. I pulled the casing off and sheetrocked over it. I will frame it in from the other side once I start on the study. I had to ad a lot of 1x6's to the wall to shim it out.

This is as far as I got, I had to turn my attention back to caulking the house.

All the work I have been doing lately, laying the floor in the side hall, putting up sheetrock in the bathroom, caulking the outside, has really helped with keeping the cold out. It's been getting down to 27 each night but it's been staying relatively warm inside. The heating system doesnt have to work near as hard to keep it at 65.

As soon as the house is completely caulked we'll be spraying on another coat of primer then brushing on the final coat of paint.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Caulking the house

Yesterday we began caulking the house. We were able to get the entire side of the 2 story section done.

It may not be obvious in the picture but the caulking makes a hell of a difference in the appearance of the house.

Hopefully we can finish caulking in the next few days. Once that's done I'm going to apply another coat of primer then paint.

Friday, October 29, 2010

House History

I have added a few tabs at the top of the page with information about the house. One tab is for before and after pictures (not done yet), and the other is for house history. I have added a lot of information to this page but I'll also be adding to it over time as I find out new information.

Here is the direct link to the page: House History

Monday, October 18, 2010

Side Hall Floor

This is a big project that I have been needing to get done for a while. Especially now that it's getting cold out. The cold air comes up through all the holes in the floor so this project had to get done.

As I've mentioned before the side hall was converted into a bathroom in 1928, last year I tore the wall down and turned it back into a side hall.

The Red Oak flooring on the first floor was installed over the original floor sometime in the 40's so the side hall didnt get done since it was a bathroom at the time.

I started by tearing up the plywood.

and found linoleum underneath.

I pulled that up and the original flooring under that was pretty rotted, which I had expected, so I pulled that up.

Of course most of the floor joists were rotted and hacked up and patched so I tore out the rotted ones and installed new ones. I used 2x8s ripped to a full 6" to match.

I took this opportunity to do a few other things under the house that needed to get done. I dug out a large area under the ducting so I could have access to underneath the bathroom, I ran some electrical from the bathroom, and I removed the 2 return vents that the moron HVAC guys had put in. They will be relocated to the dining room.

After that I put the sub-floor in with old 1x boards that I had.

Then I pulled up the old red oak flooring on the other side of the hall.

Then laid down felt paper.

Then I began the flooring. For the door sills that go to the bathroom and the sunroom I used 5" wide oak flooring. I kept the tongue on the sill so I could lock the flooring into it since it has grooves on the sides.

Here are some shots of the progress.

I still have a little strip along the wall to finish up. Not sure yet when I will be able to sand and finish it.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Dining Room Door

In our dining room there are some shelves in what used to be a window, that was originally a door. I've been using it to store tools, nails, and other miscellaneous junk.

I thought about returning it to a window but to do that I would want to make it the same size as the rest of the windows in the house. This would require tearing out a large portion of the wall and a lot of re-framing.

So I decided to go back to a door instead. This would require a lot less work and it would return it to the way it was originally, I'm a big fan of returning things back to their original state whenever possible.

I started by removing all the tools and junk, then I removed the shelves and casing.

Next I removed the window framing.

Then I installed a sill, built the door casing, cut the door to the proper size, mortised the door and the jam for the hinges, and hung the door.

I still have a lot left to do, I need to install the inner door casing, plinth blocks, and rosettes, trim, install glass in the missing panes, install a door knob and lock, and caulk, primer and paint everything.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Lattice and gates for the deck

This weekend I put up the lattice under the deck and built a pair of gates.

In the above picture the lattice is just resting in place. It, along with the deck will eventually be stained.

Our garden is coming along nicely. The Mustards and Lettuce are just about ready to pick.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Workshop Electrical

I got a lot done on the shop over the weekend but most of it was the boring, non-picture worthy kind.

I dug a trench from the house to the shop and ran electrical in conduit.

Then I wired up the shop with lighting and outlets.

I spent yesterday and the day before arranging the layout and building workbenches.I also picked up a few new tools that I will be needing. I picked up a Wood Lathe, a 6" Jointer, and I traded my smaller table saw for a larger one.

I will have pictures of that in my next post.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Workshop Doors

The only thing I had time to do yesterday was frame out the doorway and throw up some doors.

The white door is pretty hacked up but I will be repairing it later on so it will match the other one, I just needed to get a door up for now.

Next it's on to the electrical...