Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Finished for the season

With the new porch lattice in place, I'm calling it for the season. It's amazing how much we completed this summer. Long days on ladders and scaffolding. Our neighbor Jerry was a tremendous help. I would say the house is 80% complete. Work still to be done on the eves and windows. Our new Autumn Blaze maple tree looks great with the house color. Looking forward to spring!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Porch lattice

Our Oktoberfest party was a totally success a couple weeks ago...and everyone commented on how great the house is looking. For a change of pace, I started building new lattice for under the porch. We couldn't decide on a color, so we went with the natural look of the cedar boards. I used Cabot's clear solution wood toner to seal them up. The color matches the ceiling and door inside the porch. With the porch lights on just before dark, it all looks amazing!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Open eves on the front porch

The east and west sides of the house are nearly completed. Before returning the scaffolding, we used it to drop the front gutter and tear off the aluminum facia and soffits on the front porch. Then we put the gutter back up. The roof deck underneath is in great condition. It was most likely replaced at some point. The rafter tails will clean up nicely too.

A few very cool things happened when we tore off the ugly soffits. We gained 8 inches of headroom on the front step. The tops of the porch windows are now visible from the road. And we straightened out the poorly hung gutter. The front roofline now looks nice and straight.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

East side connection

The original siding on the upper half finally connects with the new siding below. It all came together seamlessly. I've started topcoating my way down the wall. We'll use a couple towers of the scaffolding this weekend to strip and repaint the remaining roof brackets on this side. We'll also finally pull the soffits off the front of the house.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Labor Day weekend

The west side is just a couple days from being finished! Eves are done, siding is complete...just a few small areas to top coat, and a couple windows and roof brackets to strip and repaint.

When you stand at the door, this side has a huge look to it. Mainly because of all the narrow courses of siding, plus the added height from the open eves. That's alot of wood! And every board was hand painted with a 3 inch brush.

Friday, September 4, 2009

The peak

The upper part of the west side is coming along nicely. The peak is totally finished, and we are working our way down the wall. The wainscoting and moldings on the eves are looking just great! Plus we decided to go with both colors on the vent. At this point, board replacements have been done, roof brackets have been stripped, everything is sanded and cleaned...ready for a weekend of primer and topcoat.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Flip to the west side

With the upper east side just a few touch-ups away from being finished...we moved the scaffolding to the west side. The weekend was spent tearing off the asphalt siding on the upper portion, replacing boards, sanding, cleaning, and priming the peak. Also started installing the wainscoting panels on the eves. The siding is in wonderful condition on the upper portion. Should make for short work. This weekend marked the 1 year anniversary of the start of our siding project!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Big WOW!!!

My neighbor Jerry and I really got alot accomplished this weekend. The upper section of the east side has really come to life. We started installing the wainscoting panels on the open eves. It could not have been done without scaffolding. Just some cutting in to do up against the header board, and also stripping and repainting the two roof brackets. Then this section is done, and the scaffolding moves to the west side.

Saturday, August 22, 2009


What a difference two people and scaffolding makes! Tore off the rest of the asphalt siding and aluminum soffit on the east side. Replaced only a few damaged boards. Cleaned the whole surface and gave it a coat of primer. Not bad for a days work.

Friday, August 21, 2009


Tomorrow at 8AM, my neighbor and I start cranking on the upper half of the east side. The scaffolding is really cool, and it was set up in 15 minutes. Plus we can re-build it into different towers to reach the peak.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Now we are gettin' somewhere!

The east side is coming along nicely. Once I got to the bottom of the windows, the siding went up alot faster. Just a few courses away from meeting the existing siding above the windows. Then it's time for scaffolding!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Concrete and siding

Our neighbor Jim across the street did an awesome job resurfacing the two concrete piers that hold up the front porch. Neighbors like this are priceless!!!



While he worked on the piers, I began siding the east side of the house. I decided to back prime the two bottom courses, and prime each board separately as I work up. It's so nice to hang new long courses of cedar siding.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Corner boards add so much!

Last summer I bought an infrared paint stripper "The Speedheater." It could be the best tool I own. It was expensive, but so worth it. For a change of pace, I decided to clean up one of the corner boards. (a break from the east side) I was able to strip it down to the bare wood in no time at all. Since the paint curls up and comes off in big strips, there is almost no lead paint dust or fumes. (not that high of heat) A little exterior spackle, primer, and paint...you'd swear it was new!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Window frames and tar paper

We are really getting down to business on the east side. Decided to build some new frames for the two sliding windows. Under the window wrap, there was lousy dry rotted brick molding that didn't match anything else. My neighbor Jerry designed new window frames out of 1x4s. We kept the original window sill. The beautiful cedar we used should last a long time. Almost a shame to paint them! Also continuing to tear off old siding as high as the windows, and installing new tar paper as we go. I learned that tar paper buckles in the heat of the day, and smoothes out as it gets cooler.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Down to the sheathing (east side)

We got lucky with 3 sides of the house. The siding was in remarkable shape and easy to refinish. The east side of the house?...not so much. The siding was in poor condition over here. Very brittle, split, and weathered. So we decided go down to the sheathing and hang all new siding as high as the window tops. The good news is that the siding is in much better condition further up the wall. That area can be refinished like the rest of the house. I finally got a good look at our sheathing. Solid wood tongue and groove panels. (most likely pine) You don't see that in new construction! Looks kinda pretty...like a blank canvas.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

From the backyard

The back wall that connects to the deck was sided will large panels of Hardie Board. Eventually we'll side over it with the cedar siding to match the rest of the house. But for now, I painted it green. It looks pretty good, and to the neighbors that live behind us, the house almost looks done.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Southwest corner part 2

The southwest corner must have been rebuilt a few years back, so there wasn't any siding to restore. Just a junky piece of foam sheathing under the asbestos siding that was pulled off. I removed the foam sheathing, used half inch plywood for the new sheathing. I added new tar paper and also got to reuse some siding from other parts of the house.

Painted up and ready to go...complete with a new corner board.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Southwest corner

I'm coming around to the southwest corner of the house. The siding is now painted (to the tops of the windows) from the front of the house, along the west side, to this back corner. Only one top coat on this corner so far. With the exception of just two courses of siding, all of the siding pictured is original. It's looking awesome!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Birthday present

My wonderful wife got me a miter saw for my birthday. Now I don't have to borrow the neighbor's saw to cut my new siding pieces. This is awesome!!!

I cleaned up this area quite a bit. All new siding, new foam insulation on the air conditioner pipe, and painted the PVC furnace pipes too.

Pulled off a bit more asphalt siding on the west side. Nothing to replace here. The condition of the wood is just remarkable.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Porch door threshold

With the new wood screen door in place, we needed a new threshold for the porch door. The old one was rotting from water damage. When I pulled the threshold up, the floor boards looked great underneath. I cleaned the area up and gave it a coat of primer. I bought a new oak threshold and primed the back of it. To get the right look and color, the stain was traditional pecan, followed by numerous coats of amber shellac, then a couple coats of wax free shellac. To weather proof it, a coat of spar varnish. The door will match the threshold once it's refinished.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Wood screen door

Stripped and repainted the whole porch door frame over the weekend. Then I finally got to hang our wood screen door. It was so nice to get rid of that heavy storm door. Winston likes the screen door too!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

More on the west side

Although it rained most of the weekend, Monday I was able to top coat more on the west side. The siding looks really great in the sun. That's when you get the most shadow on the bottom of each board. The house is really getting some nice lines!

Sunday, May 31, 2009

West side weekend

I focused on the west side of the house this weekend. The original siding is in remarkable shape on this side. Which is surprising since it probably sees the most weather. Maybe the afternoon sun on this side keeps it dryer? The side door frame is new. I had to cut new siding for around the frame since it was all cut short. I did get to re-use some good siding from other parts of the house. The kitchen window on this side use to be longer, so there was a hole under the window. Patched in some replacement sheathing, new tar paper, and we were all set.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Front view

Today I gave the front porch a top coat of paint. We needed a bit of curb appeal. With the exception of the windows and corner boards that need repainting, the house looks great from the front!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Front porch project

After alot of consideration, I decided to put all new siding on the front porch. For two reasons. One, the siding is just nailed to the studs on the porch (no sheathing) so there were alot of cracked boards due to the tear off of two other layers. And two, although structurally sound, the porch has settled over 80 some years. This created a dip in the middle. With new siding we can give it a straighter look. My neighbor Jerry had the system for creating the "optical illusion" of a straighter porch.
A two foot wasp or hornet's nest that is probably decades old.

After a long day, I still was able to throw a coat of primer on our new porch siding.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Looking good

Thought I'd fill some nail holes and primer a section to see what it looks like. The siding is in even better shape than it was on the dormers! Susie and I also pulled off the asphalt siding on the south corner near the deck.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Piece by piece

My plan of attack for the downstairs is to work on about a 8 foot section at a time. Uncovering only what I am working on. Asphalt siding almost completely off the front porch, and started replacing siding on the west side. To my surprise, the side door frame was new, and the siding was cut back about an inch away from the frame. So I cut all new pieces butting up to the door. Getting behind the electrical box was a chore to say the least, even though it was loosened from the wall.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Abatement '09

After waiting all winter, we are starting the downstairs! We hired the same abatement company to remove the asbestos siding. They even walked around the flowers! When they were done, I started pulling off some of the asphalt siding on the porch.