Tuesday, September 17, 2013

And...the Fun Continues

I apologize that this has turned into a remodeling blog, while we fix-up our homeport and get it ready to serve as a "dock" for the motorhome between trips.  We knew the house had some structural problems and I wanted to address those before getting more into the cosmetic fixes.  One of the big problems is that the major beams that support the 2nd floor and roof do not land on foundation supports.  The original framers "missed" some of the support details on the original plans ( we got a copy of the original blueprints with the house)  The design was poor to begin with and the house has been settling slowly for 38 years- time to reverse that.  My goal is to get solid supports under each of the posts that support the 6 major beams in this post and beam style home.

This post reads in reverse chronological order with the newest at top, oldest at the bottom, so some of you may want to start at the bottom and read up...

Monday Sept 16
Welded up bases on shoring posts.  These handy adjustable support posts will hold up to 10,000 lbs.
The jacks are easily assembled, but have too many loose pieces and using the welder to tack them together eases the job of getting them in place and leveled up without having them keep shedding pieces as I move them around.
Concrete is in short supply around here, and the trucking costs make it very expensive, so I investigated another approach.  The USDA did a lot of research on "All Weather Wood Foundations" back in the 60's and their research is available on the web.  The USDA along with many in the wood products industry, advocated using pressure treated lumber (rated for ground contact) for home foundations.  Today it is referred to as a "Permanent Wood Foundation System and is accepted by all the major building codes, VA HUD etc.  I used a pressure treated 2x8 on a compacted gravel base with a  PT 2x6 on top of that, and a  treated 4x6 on that, making the foundation for the framing of a support wall.

A 4x6 beam is hoisted in place below the bearing wall, and jacked up to take the sag out of the wall and studded with 4x6 treated posts.  The pieces are all screwed together with 3" stainless steel screws 

Sunday Sept 15

Cleaned up the garage.  I can't stand the clutter and mess.
Continued on with the front door project.  I took the plywood and plastic sheeting off the front door and set the jamb in the opening to check the fit.  Everything looked good so I set the jamb aside and got out the Grip Tight flexible flashing and lined the bottom of the opening.  This stuff is cool- it is a very sticky waterproof membrane that will seal and protect the surface from water.  It also will heal around any penetration and make it watertight- so it  nail gets driven into it- it seals the penetration.  It's like wrapping a sheet of tar over the opening.  Next I needed to space the new frame up in the opening to raise the threshold for our additional floor height.  I did this with a piece of 1/2" Hardie Backer- (essentially concrete.)  I leveled the jamb and shimmed it in place and nailed a couple places on the hinge side, to where I could swing the door and check the operation and fit.  ( I still didn't know if my hinge locations would all line up- door to jamb)  Everything fit and the door had a near perfect reveal all the way around, so I nailed off the jamb.

Next I got Joan to help me bore the holes for the doorknob and bolt, and transfer the Schlage digital door lock onto the new door.  
I installed the new cedar 1x3 trim on the exterior, and caulked it all- finished for now, it looks great!
The interior trim will be installed after the flooring.

The next project was to establish a crawl access into the attic space, so I could install our new bath heater, fan, and light combo unit.  The old one was a heat lamp/ vent fan set-up with poor wiring that I could not get to to fix- so it came out during the GFCI project a week or more ago.

I managed to get the paneling removed, and the new hole cut and framed, and installed a working floor up in the attic.  Wouldn't you know it, when I test fit the new fan unit, the outlet for the vent fan was blocked by a conduit!  I managed to relocate 3 conduits to fix the problem and by then it was 9 PM.   Time to relax with a bowl of popcorn and get ready for bed.

Saturday Sept 14

Finishing up the floor in the living room gave me such a high, and it looked good as I descended the stairs this morning from the bedroom.  I am still a bit worried about the recess in the floor in front of the door, so I decide to do something about it.  The local lumberyard has 1/2 inch Hardie Backer so, I take the trailer down and load up two 3x5 pieces, which should fit nicely with about a 3" piece left over.  I experimented with a few ways to cut the cement board, and decided I'd better Google it.  Score and snap they say so score and tug, score and score an yank, it wasn't like they showed on U-Tube.  Finally by scoring both sides very deeply, I got it to break where I wanted it.  The floor is still 3/4 lower than the new bamboo so I cut a piece of 3/4 plywood to fill the gap.  Once installed- the front door was too low and hit the plywood before opening.
I decided to raise the door and jamb to clear our new floor height.  Once the jamb was removed- I realized the bottom 6" was dry-rotted and looked more like a honeycomb than a solid jamb.  A poor installation had routed water onto the subloor and it was starting to rot also.  Our local lumberyard is closed on Saturday after noon, so if I wanted a new jamb- I was going tohave to drive to Bandon.  We called and both Bandon Supply and Hennicks have exterior jambs in stock- so off we go.
Bandon supply was cheaper, so we purchased the Jamb, threshold, and weather stripping there.  We also bought some select tight knot cedar for exterior trim.
We got back home by 6 PM  and I was still ready to go, thinking maybe I could get the door in the opening and we could screw it shut for the night.  That's when I found that we had been given two pieces of right hand jamb, and no left hand jamb.  Dang- never thought to check that before we left Bandon Supply.  I measured and I had enough material to redo the cuts for the lap joint at the top and the threshold cut at the bottom to make a left jamb out of one of the right handers, and move forward. I measured and marked out the hinge locations on both the door and jamb and spent the rest of the evening routing and chiseling in the new hinge scars of jamb and door.
By now it's dark out and the router and miter saw are most likley bothering the neighbors.  Joan and I boarded up the front door and we called it a night.

Friday Sept 13
OOh! Friday the 13th- triskaidekaphobia anyone? (morbid fear of  the number 13)
The new floor is looking good, and the new kitchen cabinets arrive this afternoon, so finish the living room floor is the rallying cry for today.  The floor is easy to work and the results are giving us new excitement and energy.

We finish up with plenty of time to spare, as the cabinets don't arrive until 3PM.  

Robert from Reddaway trucking off-loaded three pallets of cabinets in our driveway.  The shipping protection was great!  the pallets were all stretch wrapped stacks of cabinets in cardboard boxes- and each was also wrapped with miles of bubble wrap.  Easily 30 feet of 30" wide bubble wrap on each pallet!  It looked like they were packaged to parachute drop them from a moving C-131 aircraft.  Robert says they needed all that too- trucking is hard on delicate items, and we are delighted to find that the order is complete, and nothing is damaged- wow!

Thursday Sept 12
Joan puts the final sanding on the new closet shelves for the master bedroom (there weren't any when we moved in- doesn't look like there ever were any)  With the sloping ceilings it was a challenge to get them in- practically had to dismantle the whole closet- but we prevailed!

We have been living with a particle board floor in the living room since the day we moved in.  The previous owners wanted to take the carpet with them and we said "excellent" that saves us a trip to the dump with it.
Today we have to get moving forward on the new bamboo flooring.  Our kitchen cabinets are arriving on Friday and we want to store them in the living room on the finished floor (well on cardboard over the new floor).  Job one is to cut out the bad spots of underlayment where it has been water damaged by (we hope) previous leaks.

The sellers told us they had a major re-do of the living room exterior wall in 2008, which included all new vinyl windows, siding repairs, caulking and repainting.  New roof in 2007.  So with fingers crossed, we cut out the badly stained (dare I say somewhat moldy) areas  and replaced it with 5/8" exterior plywood.  Joan and I had second thoughts about running the bamboo right up to the entry door.  In the end we decided to cut out the underlayment in a 5'x7' area in front of the door and replace it with 1/2" cement backer board for ceramic tile at the entry.  (Notice that Joan took the picture from my best side?)
We are ready for the 1/2" Bamboo click-lock flooring.

Wednesday Sept 11
An interesting note- while we were removing the window surrounds and trimming them to fit the drywall, (used to extend out to the paneling that we removed) we found this:

It is a 1975 penny, nailed to the window sill and hidden by the finished wood surround.  This house was built in 1975 and we found out in a web search that pennies are left on window sills for good luck  We left it as is and nailed a 2013 penny next to it.

Joan's pet project is her new fiberglass entry door.  We scored this beauty at LnL lumber Liquidators in Coos Bay.  ThermaTru sells a stain kit for it, and Joan spent two afternoons getting it just right.

Too much work, and not enough fun- unless you're crazy like us and really like doing this stuff.
The weather has been mostly just fantastic.  What a great place this is.

Jeff and Joan

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

The chimney has to go

Friday August 30th
The current project on the homeport is to remove the existing chimney and to patch the roof.  This was a daunting prospect for me because of the 45 degree slope of the roof and the sheer size and weight of the chimney itself.  This chimney is 18" in diameter, 15 feet high, and installed 38 years ago.  It can not be reused in this condition, and our plans for the house call for a gas heating stove in the living room- so it has to go.

My first surprise was to find out that I could not get a rental scaffold at any of the local rental yards- none, nada, zip.  I would have to drive to Roseburg or build my own.  

So build it was.  I still had some of the lumber I planned to use under the house for re-supporting the floor, so about $50 more at the lumber yard got me what I needed for a pretty decent scaffold.  The timing of this removal was planned around the arrival of my older bother Nick, and his wife Jill.
Saturday August 31st

With Nick's help it actually went pretty smoothly.

Turns out the chimney sections were pretty much rusted through and would have been very unsafe to use.
Nick helped us lower the scaffold to a height that would allow us to re-roof the area and to close up the hole for the night.
Monday September 1st

We had to wait until Labor Day to get the correct nails for the composition roofing- turns out that we needed 2-1/2" roofing nails to get through the insulation board and into the cedar roof planks.  None of the local building supply stores were open so Joan and I used this as an excuse to drive to Bandon for a shopping spree at Bandon Supply, and Hennnick's Hardware- two very good building supply stores.

Chimney- what chimney??    The previous owner of the house had a small stock of extra shingles from the re-roof done 6 years ago and Joan and I found a lot more underneath the wood pile, which luckily were in pretty good shape and we could clean up and use.

Nick brought down 3 large capacity hydraulic jacks that my other brother Thane is loaning me for the underfloor work- yeah mole man is still not done.  I got to a place where I could not get the floor to move back up into place and need the 20 ton jack that Thane is loaning me.

On Sunday, we all took a vacation for part of the day and played tourist with Nick and Jill.  Nick, Joan, and I, hiked the trails at the Port Orford Heads State Park and visited the Coast Guard Museum on the grounds of the old Coast Guard installation there.  We also drove out to Cape Blanco and toured the lighthouse, and the Hughes House.  The weather was very accommodating, with sunny blue skies and zephyr like breezes.  Maybe Nick and Jill will see the allure of the place we have chosen for a homeport.  We even had time for Nick and me to take out the row boat and see the lake at dusk.

Somewhere in the middle of all this, Joan and I managed to get the new cabinets ordered for the kitchen.  We chose a web-based supplier called Kitchen Cabinet Kings, and ordered ready made, and pre-finished Shaker style cabinets to be delivered in 3-4 weeks.  That's what we need, a new project!

Your friends,

Jeff and Joan