Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Operation East Wall: Taking Shape

The porch posts in place.

Preparing to frame the porch.

The ridge!


Removing the old dining room window.

Framing the new opening.

The porch with fascia installed.

Decking the roof.

Putting on tar paper.


Putting up foam insulation under our new porch.


House wrap.

The new window in Mama and Papa's bathroom.

Cutting away the drywall for the new window in Mama and Papa's bedroom-- note the fingers holding the piece at the bottom and side!

Putting in the new window.

There it is!

The dining room window.

Flashing the window.

The window from the inside!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Operation East Wall: The Beginning

As some of you may remember, a couple of years ago we tore all the brick veneer off of the north side of our house and replaced it with siding.  This was necessary due to a combination of crumbling mortar and lack of sufficient flashing that was resulting in significant leakage around our living room window.  These problems were worst on the north wall, which is why we did it first, but we have also had some issues with our dining room window, on the east side. 

Taking all the brick off the house may seem like a drastic response to a little bit of leaking, but there is really no way to seal our house and fix the underlying issues without redoing it from the inside out.  One evidence of the problems is that every few weeks we have to sweep an accumulation of mortar dust and debris from our dining room windowsill as the mortar continues to deteriorate and filter down the wall.  Now that we've opened up the wall, we can see that the window never had any flashing-- none whatsoever.  If anything, we're suprised it wasn't leaking more.

Besides the structural problems, there are some cosmetic issues that we want to address as well.  Our house was built with no eaves, and because the siding has a narrower profile than the brick, it gives the roof more definition.  The east wall, which faces our driveway, is very flat and monotonous, so we are going to add one window, enlarge another window, and add a gabled wrap-around extension to our existing front porch.

We are planning to move on to the south and west walls as soon as we've finished on the east, and all the windows will be replaced over the course of the project.

Plotting out the locations of the posts for our porch extension.

Breaking ground.

These cardboard tubes were used as forms for the concrete footers we poured for the porch posts.

Seth surveying the depths of the holes using Great-Grandpa John's old surveying equipment.

The forms, all level and ready to go!

Gravel base.

Time for concrete!

Now where exactly does the screw need to go?

Finishing it off.

How much siding will we really need?

Ready for demolition.

Here goes!

After an hour's worth of work.

Of course, all those brick somehow have to end up in...

 ...the VERY large brick pile.

Laura and Becca each took a swing at brick removal.

A lot of the brick was very loose.  Seth commented more than once on how fun it would have been to just put hooks at the top of the wall and pull it all down at once.  Unfortunately, there were a few things like windows, a gas meter, and a laundry drain that rendered this plan unfeasible.

Removing rotten sheathing.

Preparing to frame for the new window...

...which will go here, in Mama and Papa's bedroom.

Cutting the old studs from the window opening.

New sheathing.

Peter is fascinated by all the goings-on.

Papa had to crawl into this little attic space to do some wiring for the lights on the new porch.

Can you imagine a porch here?