Sunday, March 28, 2010



Well it saturday never seemed to get into a rhythm from the outset. I ended up getting up later than indended, then the trip to home depot for treated wood and some 2x6's killed another hour or so.  Really the "working day"  didn't get started untill around noon which is three to four hours later than a productive day starts.  The lagging trend continued throughout the day synergiseing with the weather that was less than inspiring.  The plan on the outset was to get the windows in on the ground floor porch, caulked and sealed.  In order to do that the remaining sheathing had to be put in place as well as the header boards for the window frames themselves.  This didn't seem like it was going to be an involved project and to no end of frustration took hours.  Somehow it was 4pm before we were even ready to put the wrap on the outside.  Once wrapped we were finally ready for window installation.  In the end we managed to get one installed sort of instead of the panned six entirely.  It has been foamed around the edges with "Great Stuff", but not caulked, and the trim work need to be redone and cut with an actual miter saw (yes we thought we could cut perfect 45's with a hand saw...lesson learned).  All in all though one good working day should lend itself to having all the windows put in, so next weekend onward and upward.  Hopfully then the weather will be nicer and the questionmark can be removed from Progress.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Loose ends, treated boards, and new walls

Today was not only the best day so far this year to be outside but I was able to take a half day off of work to clear up some loose ends from the weekend.  I was joined by Doug and Lynch about noon and the work started from there.  I do have to say it is much easier to work in 60 degree weather rather than raining 40's, as if I was the first person to have that ephifany.
Anyways, the reamaining porch wall had not rotted the same way as the other side and was still bearing quite a lot of weight.  With a single jacking post the pressure was taken off that particular side and there was a "wonderful" realization.  The three seasons room is actually not tied into the rest of the house.  Even the header boards end where the brick starts.  This is/was bad enough, but that wasn't the end of it,   appartently the colums were notched into the headers.  So while I sawed off the posts flush with the ceiling the rest of the crew started making frames for windows I found on craigslist.  (They were pretty much the best find going since they are double pane, 3'x6'3", and were only $15 apiece).  In the pictures posted from the weekend the large gaps in the column spacing will be framed in windows.  So the room will still be a sunroom, but a better insulated and supported one.
Once the colums were cut out two more boards were faced onto the overhead beams and two new colums were placed in the corners.  The space was secured on the bottom after the old untreated rotting baseboards were torn out and replaced with treated new ones.  This left more or less one thing to do, put up the temporary sheathing, pack up and go get a beer.  Happy St. Patrics Day!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Here's to say a thousand words

...And we are all still alive.

This weekend was probably the most in depth project that has been undertaken and hopefully any following will be less dangerous. With the aid of Doug, Lynch, and Amber the addition of the house was stripped of windows and then jacked up half an inch allowing for the rotting uprights to be sawed out and replaced with built up 2x6 columns. While this reads like a small feat on paper is truly epic in person. With four clashing personalities and of course the potential for half a house (literally) to fall on us if done incorrectly. The placing of the header beams for the the jacks and the physical raising of the house is not an experience that I would like to repeat in the near future. I am glad that I did not have an idea of how poorly the porch was supported prior to getting into the jacking. Even if the original posts were completely rigid, plum, and new, there were only about half as many as should be required for the spans they were covering. Once the first one came out though when the secondary bracing was in made everyone stop and consider what in fact was holding the house up. Half of the post was rotted to to the point where it had the strength of a sponge and the remaining part was lending itself to be the habitat of thousands of carpenter ants. What it came down to is that maybe, (and I mean maybe, because they were not resting on the foundation but on floorboards) four 2x4's were holding up the sun room. It does explain why the second floor has been sagging so much though. We used two pressure treated 4"x6"x12' beams as headers for the jacking posts and while Lynch and myself braced them in the air Amber and Doug screwed the posts into place and plumbed them. The most nerve racking point of the day though was when the jacks were put under full loading, the 4x6 held next to my face was forced out of a two and a half inch bow. This cause a good deal of argument from all sides, the beams, floor joists, columns, and of course between the four of us. (Well...more of me overstepping my bounds and yelling a lot) The house did get raised though and every new column that went in the chances of the floor above crashing down became less. When the jacks were removed as it turns out there was very little pressure on them, because every post that was put in was hammered into place. So, despite the volume of our (my) foul mouthed swearing at each other (everyone else)...we did not dislodge, hit, or knock out any of the supports, bring down a house, or physically injure anyone significantly. With that said it was a soaring success of a weekend and I greatly appreciate that Doug, Amber and Lynch, put up with working with me on this project because it was not easy.