Monday, July 28, 2008

Porch Progress

Friday afternoon, the shipping company called to schedule the delivery of the porch floor - it's for Monday afternoon (today). So that was the incentive for this weekend's flurry of activity.

Jim left to work on his '36 at the shop, and I started ripping out the hand rails and the floor. Don't worry - I have saved the original turned balusters. I might use a few of them as legs on a cabinet for the sewing room - a project I've been thinking about since I made the vanity for the 1/2 bath:

But I do have all of the balusters in a box in the garage for now. If some soul reading these words wants them, let me know. Otherwise, I'll probably lug them to a salvage yard at some point in exchange for some other goodies.

As I ripped out a few of the handrails, I realized how loose the porch posts were, and made a call to Jim, saying we probably ought to put up some stabilizers. I think he had planned to spend most of the day doing car things, but ended up coming home and helping me out. Anyway, here's the demo that I started, although I had also removed the exposed deck boards at the point where Jim came home:

I especially like how they put that special piece of paper in between the two floors. Not sure what the function of that was - maybe to hold more water to speed up rot. Strangely, it appears that the under layment of 1x6 deck boards was the original floor - the house finishing was built up around it - siding and such. Either that, or they replaced the original floor and shoved the new floor into the crevices. Not likely, at least not for the previous owners, as they seemed to have only done one repair/remodel of everything around the 50s, and that was probably the tongue & groove floor on top. Why take out a rotting floor, when you can just cover it up?

So while I was having fun demo-ing the porch by myself, I was much slower than the two of us together, and soon the porch looked like this:

You may notice in the second picture how one of the despised rhododendrons is now just a bunch of stumps! yes, that's right... I love my chain saw and hate ugly overgrown and diseased flowers... I just left enough stumps to pull the remaining plant out. And you can't see it, but the hideous overgrown hosta has also been removed. I had considered replanting it in a shady section of the yard, but decided it was too ugly and uninteresting. The plant clearing, by the way, though it may seem like a completely random activity, proved to be worthwhile for this project, as it opened up the way for the wheelbarrow...

At this point, Jim and I really didn't know where to go next and how much of the framing really needed to be replaced. Jim, I think, secretly wants to live in a brand new house that just looks like an older house, because he starts talking about how he thinks you have to start with good stuff (interpretation: new boards) underneath or it will be a waste of time. But he admitted that he does not know construction well enough to make a good call.

Luckily, our neighbor John, who is also a general contractor, pulled into his driveway about this same time. He checked it out, gave us some advice, let us borrow some tools, and we were back working.

To replace these lolly columns (which were rusting out and only 6 inches deep)...

...we (meaning Jim) dug some holes about 4 feet deep under each of the post locations:

That did it for Saturday...

When I got home from church on Sunday, Jim had already started with John's borrowed cement mixer. We placed the 8-inch diameter forms into the holes and then filled them with cement, adding a bolt at the top to attach a new post.

One of my jobs was to find the position of the bolt, right underneath the corners of the porch. Since we didn't have an actual plumb-bob, I substituted a nail tied to some sewing thread. Maybe not perfect, but good enough.

We didn't get the cement forms very well centered under the posts, but John said that didn't really matter - the posts just needed to push down on the cement. Jim decided to leave a mark:

My other job was to scrape the remaining original paint - on the bottom most clapboard and then also on one of the turned posts. Somehow I have been able to do about 1/2 of the entire house without problems with the Paint Saver Pro, but on this one tiny project, I managed to cut the electrical cord with the rotating blades :(

I also have to document this:

And the good news is that we cleaned up early so that we could head over to Angell Animal Hospital. They gave us the OK to pick up Taya a day early! She has stitches in her belly, some shaved spots where they put the doggie IV, and a shaved spot with a doggie transdermal patch. But she's eating food and home again.


Anonymous said...

Glad to know that you two are never idle! Working on the house must give Jim opportunity to gain perspective on his car!

The Victorian is truly being transformed into a fine lady.

I did cringe a bit at the thought of a hosta being discarded instead of divided and transplanted to live and grow eternally in some shady spot......

Blogging is new for Steve and me, but we look forward to watching the progress.

And, glad to hear Tia is doing well.


Gabriella said...

That vanity (and the nearby wallpaper)is gorgeous. Damn Tiff, you are a craft girl.

I'm really glad that Taya is feeling better and eating. Her cone is so cute!

Ranty said...

Nice work! I laughed out loud at your rhododendron stumps - I just hacked the bridal wreath in front of our own porch down to stubs today as well!

I did it mostly to give access to the porch (and especially skirting) which will be totally demolished and re-created, but I got a bit of extra satisfaction out of it since I have never really liked bridal wreath anyway.

You're making inspiring progress!

Nathan said...

I can't believe I'm just finding this blog now! It looks like you're doing some great work on your house and I look forward to seeing the progress!