Monday, September 29, 2008

Roofing Choices

This weekend was full of rain. It started on Thursday or Friday and then continued pretty much straight through Sunday evening. Which means there's not a whole lot to do on an exterior house project.

I did clean the basement on Saturday, but that's not very exciting, and I'm not going to show pictures of my creepy basement to you.

If you remember, a while back we had some issues with the roof leaking. Jim put a temporary fix up, and we put a claim in to our insurance company. They did give us some money for it. Not a lot, but enough to lessen the pain.

We have decided to use that money to put up a new roof. And we decided to put up a nice roof. We got a couple of estimates - one by a guy that did the roof at Jim's hobby shop, and one by the company that did the gutters a few years ago - O'Lyn. I thought O'Lyn was going to be way out of the price range, but they actually turned out to be right within the same price as the other estimate.

And I know that they are quick and responsive and professional. When they did the gutters, it was at a time when it was difficult to get contractors to even bid on jobs - everyone was way too busy (with that whole mortgage and lending boom that has now fallen apart. hmmm.).

I think back then I had 3 different estimates done, and O'Lyn was the only one who even responded. At the time, it was an emergency, as one gutter had torn off some soffit boards, so I went ahead with O'Lyn and just had the job done. They were so fast and finished the job in one or two days. So fast, in fact, that they ended up trapping some squirrels that had started to make the opened up wall their home. We had to drill holes in the inside of the kitchen cabinets and bait them out with peanut butter. I think there were 3. They were loud and angry little buggers.

Anyway, because of the past experience and good job and because the estimate was still in the right range, we decided to go with O'Lyn again. This time, as in the last time, they were very prompt with their estimate, put together a professional packet with the quote, and have followed up with phone calls a couple times. They also let Jim bring home some sample boards to pick the right color.

Now, as to the choice of shingles...
We decided to go for the "luxury" shingles and get something that looks like slate. We both wish we could get real slate, but that is not not in the price range, even with the insurance money!

The two shingles in the running were Certainteed's Grand Manor and Carriage House.

Lots of humming and hawing (as my Dad would say). We took walks around the neighborhood and drove around Wellesley looking at roofs.

A Carriage House roof in Natick:

And we used the Certainteed Color View to imagine what the house would look like.
Grand Manor:

Carriage House:

We both felt either one would be acceptable, but Jim had a slight preference for the Grand Manor, and I ended up with a slight preference for the Carriage House. And in this decision, Jim is deferring to me for the final choice.

So as long as the price is equivalent or lower for the Carriage House, that's what we'll do. Wait and see - this could be a quick change compared to our summer-long porch project...

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Vacation from Renovation: Jalopy Jamboree

Even with precious few good weekends left in the season, we took a break from our renovating activities to go to Jim's car club's 7th annual Alter Boys Jalopy Jamboree.

Jim has been killing himself trying to get his '36 ready - he decided to chop the top 10 days before the show... Here it is, in the state it was at the show, looking pretty good:

They found a new location this year, conveniently at the local AmVets, just 5 minutes from the house. It was a very nice location, with sort of a woodsy feel and views of a lake. I think they had their best turnout yet, with estimates between 200 and 400 cars.

The boys controlled the entry:

The wives sold t-shirts, as usual:

It was a good weekend, and we were happy to have several house guests ignore our crazy renovation mess and stay over for the festivities.

And unfortunately, they are forecasting rain for this coming weekend...

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Mocking up the Handrails

Most of Saturday was spent sanding and painting the beam. I'm not sure it looks like we did a lot, but it sure seemed to take a while.

We still need to fake some relief on the dark green brackets at the top of the posts, like I did on the bay window, but the paint needs to dry a little more before I do that...

There was some big community event geared at kids that took place on the common on Saturday. When these type of things happen, because we are right in downtown, our street becomes a parking lot, and we have a lot of extra traffic passing by. We had a lot of people saying they liked the color scheme (now that it looks like a color scheme and not just a pink house). Jim and I joked that we'll be starting a trend... only everyone else will have their houses done before we can even finish our porch...

Speaking of finishing,

I had visions of going all agro-renovator and getting the handrails put up this weekend too. THAT didn't quite happen, but we did get some parts cut out for two of the sections.

Here's Jim checking out how the subrail works. It took a couple tries to get a tight fit with the subrail between the posts. Not having any carpentry training, we kind of learn as we go - I'm sure there's plenty of tricks of the trade that we don't know...

And then I HAD to pull out the camera to take a shot of a baluster in place:

one day all 50+ of those things are going to see the light of day... one day... hopefully soon.

Then my little side project - the house number! I've been scouring the internet trying to find a cool house number to go on the porch. One fitting of the new improvements. I found a few sites that made cool metal ones in almost any font you can imagine. Those numbers were around 80 bucks. While maybe not a ton of money, I wasn't sure I wanted to spend that much for something that may or may not match the gold paint, and with some roof repairs/replacement pending (more on that another day), I didn't really want to spend the extra dollars anyway. So last night a lightbulb went off, and I decided to make one with the scroll saw and paint it with the same gold paint.

Here it is:

I do have to admit that the number broke in two at that thin spot on top. We had to glue it back together. Maybe it won't last through a New England winter - we'll find out - but, hey, the cost was essentially free, and that can't be beat.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Where We Left Off

I have been totally remiss in posting these pictures... and have gotten a few gentle reminders to get some updates up! After the storm last Saturday, we were able to get out and do a little work Sunday afternoon. We finished putting the posts up and then went after the top beam.

You forget how heavy sanding overhead is, after you haven't done it in a while. We should be able to clean this up this weekend, paint it, and put the trim up...

And pulled back to see the full house as is right now:

And just in case you don't know where we were almost 5 years ago...

yes, it really is the same house.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

In the Path of Hanna

Warnings of being dumped on by Hanna's rain made us start late on Saturday. It was extremely humid, but not rainy for most of the morning. It was about noon that we actually got started.

Here's the first peek at the post on the porch - Jim was testing out the placement and making sure everything was going to be level:

We edged one side and the front of the porch. I cut this piece using the scroll saw:

It cut through the plastic like buttah compared to the poplar balusters.

We put the front edge on and then put 2 of the posts up.

So pretty. We did lots of walking back and looking at it from across the street.

Then we were drawing a chalk line on the long edge of the porch to trim it off and edge it, when it actually started to rain. Jim offered to stand off to the side with a stick while I used the saw, but strangely, I didn't take him up on that offer.

We kept checking the radar, somehow thinking it might pass by or we might catch a clear pocket...

But that was foolish thinking and about 6:30 we packed up and went inside to let Hanna pass.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

And the Winner is...

OK, so maybe I influenced the poll with my exclamation point! next to my favorite, or maybe the majority of you just feel the same way I do... But still, even with a paint program, you're never really sure if it will look the same in real life.

Last weekend with Jim home we were able to do a bunch of post painting. Other than the tedious first day of sanding, none of the work was particularly difficult, so it all went pretty easy. Which almost makes me wonder if we worked hard enough? Particularly since it was my last weekend before fall semester started! Oh well.

Jim, by the way, has a much higher standard of finish work than I do. Which is probably a good thing. It comes from all the body work he has done on cars, I think. I don't really have the patience or technique, so he ended up doing most of the detail himself. They ended up looking pretty good.

And then we primed them:

To make all the painting easier, we drilled screws part-way into both ends of the posts and then set them onto notches cut into the sawhorses. That way we could twirl them around fairly freely.

Then to dry the posts, we put more notches into some 2xwhatevers and left them in the garage overnight:

Then on Sunday and Monday we worked on the painting in this garage set-up. It probably would have been more comfortable had it been higher up, but oh well, what's a little back pain?

I thought this was going to be a masking tape nightmare of a project (that's one way to support Mother 3M), but actually, the more that I worked on it, the easier it got, and I really only needed it for the gold section where it went from square post to turned post. Most of the pinstriping was done without tape - a benefit of the turnable setup.

I really like how the gold turned out:

And overall, I think the posts look great!

This is where we ended on Monday afternoon. We cleaned up and called some friends over for a little Labor Day BBQ.

To finish these off, I need to get some semi-gloss pink paint. The flat paint looks a little odd with all the others all glossy.

Then it's make the base plates, picture-frame the porch floor with an edge piece, and install the posts, etc etc etc. A lot to do still, but it's starting to feel good to see it all coming back together.