July 10, 2015

Another "What in the World Did We Get Ourselves Into?" Project

Do you remember that big stock tank we bought back last January? Well, we've been discussing where to put it and finally decided that right behind my studio would be a good spot. It could catch the runoff from several roofs plus be out of the way.

Studio windows on the left, dining room window on the right.

We've done nothing to this side of the house yet, having put all our efforts into the kitchen and addition, bedroom and bathroom, and front porch. We figured it would probably be a good idea to tend to the windows and exterior of the house before getting that tank in.

And so it began. Could it really be as easy as simply replacing the windows and putting up the new siding?

Old windows removed (chimney on the left)

New window framed out and installed

Then we did what we should have done first, remove the rest of the siding. Here's what we discovered.

A rotted rim joist/sill beam

Rotted ceiling girder

Obviously there had been a leak at one time where the chimney was. Now what?

Properly, it seemed as though the whole room should have been torn down and rebuilt from scratch. Since that was financially impossible, we had to look for alternatives. Dan spent quite a few hours searching YouTube and finally found some "This Old House" videos showing how to repair similar problems. 

The sill beam was a doubled 2x8, with only the outer part being rotted.
Dan cut it back to solid wood and replaced that section.

The wooden beams were sitting directly on the brick, which didn't help.
Dan put a steel plate to keep the beam & post from sitting on the bricks.

Dan made a new post for the corner with doubled 2x4s. The post was placed directly on the plate. For the ceiling he managed to cut back that rotted to solid wood and replace the section.

Before installing the post (of which I didn't get a photo)

Here's what the repairs looked like on the inside after the sheathing was up.

Ceiling corner after repair

Floor corner after repair

And here's where it stands now.

Inside

Outside

The next step will be the siding, trims, and paint

37 comments:

  1. I like the window up high like that. It gives you a place to put things in the room. I am always stunned at just HOW many cans of worms a house can be hiding. You never really know until you have sold it! I hope you and Dan can have a respite from, "Now what?"

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    1. I agree, on all points! I think the only way to get a respite is to stop doing. :)

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  2. Ahh projects and how they grow!
    Nice repair work and it sure looks better. Good luck with the rest of the job. How are the piglets?

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    1. The piglets are starting to follow Polly around, even though they are still so little! They also recognize her when she approaches them and start to squeal for their meal! So cute.

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  3. My husband and I now double or budget for home projects like that.
    It's almost lost ke Murphy's law.
    I love the new window.

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    1. Michelle, thanks! That is so true about house projects. The bonus part of the window is that we get all of our energy efficient windows at a builders' surplus warehouse. That one cost only $80. :)

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  4. Uggghhhh, I am dreading finding out what is hiding under our siding. It's nice to know things are cleaned up and stable though.

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    1. Dan says the hardest part is resisting the urge to re-do the whole thing from the foundation up. The house has stood over 90 years as it is, so if we can at least repair the damage and strengthen as needed, we're certainly helping.

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  5. You and your husband were really born out of your time. You would have made excellent pioneers.

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  6. You must already have half a plan in mind for the layout of your studio to know that the higher placed window was an excellent idea. When we did my quilt room, hubby wanted to put a big window on the south wall so I could look out on the gardens, but I knew I needed to give up "the view" for my big cutting table and storage space. I've never regretted doing that.

    When we bought our place we did tear everything down to the studs. Even then we ran into more "problems" than you would have thought could exist! The way you and Dan are doing it is the opposite way to go, but with your talents and patience (!), you're going to have a gorgeous home you'll know is sound and secure.

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    1. Sometimes we think we should have done it the way you did! I wrestled with the view versus the wall space, but since I'd only be looking at the top of the tank, the view had less appeal. :)

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  7. Aren't those surprises just dandy??? Glad you and Dan were able to find a work around.

    Love those little piggies. They're adorable.

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  8. I've gotten myself into a few of those projects. I always seem to go into various phases. First the panic and despair, followed by determination and internet research (love This Old House videos for this) and finally the get it done and love the experience I now have for having done it myself phase. Looks great!

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    1. Ed, that's it exactly! Even so, we almost dread tearing into anything, even though we look forward to making a change. I suppose it just comes with the territory.

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  9. I wonder if we had replaced our windows one at a time instead of all at once if we could have gotten around some of the silly building codes. Ah well, no use crying over spilled milk now.
    We'll probably tackle the sinking back porches when hubby gets back...I'm supposed to be painting the child's bedroom this week... er we still have a few days to do that...right? ;)

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    1. That's a good question. We are fortunate that we are outside of city limits, and that the county codes aren't as restrictive as the city's. Sounds like your back porches are going to be a huge job!

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  10. Leigh,

    I absolutely hate when you tear apart something, and find you have to fix everything before going back to fix the original problem. The problem makes for a full time job to repair. We've been in this boat when my parents inherited my grandmothers home many years ago. Dan has fixed the problem nicely, good luck, and great work!!!

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    1. Sandy, it seems like there's no way around it! Sadly, even newer houses have problems.

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    1. LOL. It's one of the joys of being a home owner.

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  12. The tank wont cover the windows will it? Good work Dan. My hubby loves this show above all others as they reuse and recycle. They also use traditional building skills instead of "rip it out and replace" with new.

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    1. Lynda, no, the tank is relatively tall, but it won't block the view. At least not this one, and I'll be glad to have the wall space for my desk.

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  13. Goodness! Do you ever feel like your life is an episode of Punk'd? You certainly are rolling with it very well!

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    1. Well, our neighbors seem to think we make good reality "TV". Does that count? ;)

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  14. Good work there Dan!
    There's nothing like starting a small job, you turn around and suddenly the whole house needs rebuilding and you need to take on a second mortgage. Seriously though, I like the thrifty nature of your repair, no wastage, fits in with your lifestyle.

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    1. Kirsty being thrifty is part of what takes so much thinking. But I'm always happier with the results. :)

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  15. When I lived at my parents they used to have sky and I used to love this old house and new Yankee workshop! Great pictures of the work you've done.
    When I decided to be a carpenter I knew it would eventually help with the life I wanted to live. Looks like your carpentry skills are pretty essential as well!

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    1. Kev, seems that agrarian lifestyle types need a lot of skills, especially problem solving. The roofers we hired did a very poor job on the roof where that room attaches and we've found where the roof leaked since then plus all kinds of damage that should have been dealt with prior to putting on a new roof. What a challenge!

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  16. Great repair job, Leigh. Isn't it wonderful to have a husband that can do all of these things? We are spoiled that way, you know?

    I am very interested in your water tank, how you hook it up and how you utilize it. I've seen the others you have installed, so I'm wondering if this will be the same type and format. Wise move considering how things are developing in the world. Water is a necessity we can't do without, and it may not always arrive on demand via the faucet. I look forward to part 2.

    Fern

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    1. Thanks Fern! Water has been at the top of Dan's list for things needing to be addressed. We can't do much about electricity at this point, but water is thankfully doable.

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  17. Finding the problems and fixing them, have prolonged the life of your house. Though I know what you mean about one tiny job, leading to many more significant ones which develop. I love that feeling once a job is done and dusted though. You'll look back at this post one day and go, "oh yeah, the windows", as if it was yesterday's news, lol.

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    1. Chris, keeping that in mind (about the longevity of the house) really helps, although we're amazed it's stood this long. The new windows, especially, have made a noticeable difference in energy efficiency and the house's comfort level in both hot and cold weather. That's the biggest plus.

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  18. Hi Leigh, Better to find out sooner than later. Seems like one thing always leads to another. Looks nice though. Nancy

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  19. We've had a chimney leak for a couple years...I'm terrified to open up that wall...I know it's going to be a major expense and a disaster!! BUT, it just has to be done...thanks for the post...today I'll start clearing out the room between the fireplace and the family room...that wall's getting fixed before winter!

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