Archive | June, 2011

Hammer Time, Jack

30 Jun

Just rented a demolition hammer to break out the back steps. Pics to come!



Open a window, we can’t breathe up here!

29 Jun


Alright, not this window, this is the window that we took out of the dining room. My big project today after work today was to remove all the window panes and dismantle the window frame. I also got a chance to make my own novelty hard hat, because I was getting a little jealous of Corinne’s.


Now to actually address the title of this post…
In removing our wall for the door we also needed to remove the soffit in that area because the top of the door would interfere with the soffit. We got a good look at one of the root causes of this…

Yes, we have peeling paint in our master bedroom (or currently our big room of boxes) due to poor ventilation in the attic. The soffits should be vented and so should the ridge of the roof be. Instead, where the roof line meets the soffits, insulation is jammed in tight, making it impossible for any air to get through, even if the soffits were vented, which they aren’t.

This house has vents on the end gables but they were covered up, probably because someone didn’t realize that the attic SHOULD be cold in the winter. The lack of ventilation can cause moisture to build up and that can cause paint to peel in the rooms below the attic. This is one of those things we need to address before next winter, we will be venting these soffits before we close them back up, and we’ll probably do the rest as we go around the house doing siding and widows.

Business as usual

28 Jun

You’d probably expect that we’d pick up right where we left off with the door install but, nope, today I mowed the lawn. Yes, it was a long enough day at work that it would be pretty late to be getting started again, and the lawn was getting pretty long too. Even though we’re in the middle of a big build the regular chores continue to demand attention. I think my hands could use the relief after two solid days swinging a hammer. I developed a couple decent blisters that could have become nasty with another consecutive hammer day.

As eager as we are to get this project done we are at the stage where it is most crucial to be precise and do things in the proper order using the proper technique. The waterproofing is the next thing to do and we want to ensure it’s done right so we don’t have a rotten door sill or mold in 3 years, or 30 years, for that matter.

This is something the previous owners missed out on when they poured a set of stairs directly OVER the exterior shingles and rim board, causing a bit of rot and I’m guessing termite nibblin’ and a pile of shingles that are embedded in concrete. Concrete and wood are not supposed to touch unless the wood is pressure treated, and even then it’s preferable to have some sort of moisture barrier.


Sliding Door Install – Part 2

27 Jun

It was a long day of work Sunday. We got the header installed with the window still in place so we wouldn’t have a giant hole to have to worry about cats getting out (or in).

Corinne holding up one of the two beams that make up the header.

One side of the king and jack studs holding up the completed header.

Another view of the outside with the wide open hole for the door frame. It was really incredible to see the room so wide open like that.

Takin’ it old school!
The instructions for the door are very clear that the sill sit on a level and true surface. When I put the new 6 foot level on it, I saw that it was relatively level overall, but there was a high spot near the middle where the rim board is two pieces that meet.

This was a point that really stopped us in our tracks for a little while. We talked about sanding it down, cutting out the subfloor and replacing it… I pondered that it would be great to have a hand planer to take down the middle…

Corinne said, “Don’t you have a hand plane?” and I said, “No, I meant a hand held power planer… Hmm I do have a couple, I guess it COULD work… Yeah, why don’t I go get them and try it out!” The ancient Stanley jack plane kicked this bump’s ass. After about a half hour and a bucket load of wood shavings we had a nice flat level surface.

Unfortunately, we ran into a few issues that slowed us down here and there so we didn’t attain our ultimate goal of having a functional door installed. I think we could have made it by day’s end, but there was a lot of hammering to be done and it didn’t seem like a good idea to be making that much noise on a Sunday night. We reached a point where we either had to go for the big finish or call it, so we called it, because we still had a good hour to go just to board up the big opening and clean up all the tools.

We made a valiant effort and worked our butts off and, while we ran into a few hiccups along the way, we’re pretty happy with the progress we made!

LIVE from our Sliding Door Install!

26 Jun

Jer’s out on a nail run, so I figured I’d take a brief break to blog!

Making some great progress! Got the new header in and rough opening all framed out this morning, took a nice pizza break courtesy of my mom who dropped by armed with Mario’s, then got right back to work and blasted through the wall!

Here’s our new view:


And looking in:


And Ishi who’s “locked” in the guest room with her food, water bowl, & litter box:

Pretty sure she’d rather be exploring the work zone…

Sliding Door Install – Part 1

26 Jun

Day one of the sliding door install was a whirlwind. I made 3 trips to the lumber yard – Nassau Suffolk Lumber in Locust Valley. (The third trip was to pick up the credit card I left there. It was a mad dash because I missed the call, got the message at 11:59, and they close at noon! Luckily we live about one mile away.)

The first step was to build the temporary stud wall to support the ceiling and roof while we install the header. Then the demo started… The hard hats were sort of just for fun, but they really came in handy with all the stuff coming down and the low hanging chandelier.

Here we are mid-way through the demo. We are in the middle of pulling off the sheetrock and trim. Around this time, we realized it was critical to make the dining room a dust tent or the whole house would be a disaster.

By the end of the day, we had the old header from the window removed, which was a real pain. We also removed all the exterior shingles. We are all set to install the header in the morning. Hopefully we can get that in, take the temporary wall back down, and then sheet the exterior with plywood, install the tyvek housewrap, install the sill flashing, then finally install the door frame we assembled Friday night.

And we’re off!

25 Jun

Now that we have our building permit we decided to get right to work!
We want to get the sliding door installed first because the deck is going to be built based on the height of the door. So rather than measuring and hoping we’re right we figured it’s better to just do it and get the darn thing out of the garage already. Plus it will give Ishi a nice vantage point to watch all the progress on the deck. We kept it pretty low key since we didn’t get started ’til after 8pm. I knew the door frame would take a little figuring out to make sure it was done correctly and I didn’t want to spend half of Saturday doing that.

Here’s the before shot

We borrowed two 8 foot folding tables from work, cleared out the dining table and chairs and laid out all the parts on the tables.

Then we siliconed all the joints, screwed them together in the sequence dictated by the directions and TADA! an 8 foot wide door frame, what a monster!

Next up is to build a temporary wall to hold the roof up, demo the wall and install the header.

Permission Granted!

24 Jun

I got a call at about 4:50 yesterday afternoon saying our permit could be picked up tomorrow. So I just did a quick stop by to city hall and picked up this baby!


Our family friend really pulled through for us, I really don’t know how much longer we would have had to wait! Hopefully we can make good use of this and get some good work done this weekend!

The City of Glen SLOWve

23 Jun

At this point it has been one month since we filed our permit application. And about a week and a half since we were told the application and plans would be submitted to the “boss” “tomorrow”. I really fail to see what is so complicated about issuing a permit for a simple deck but we have not heard anything so I called in yet another favor from our family friend. He made a quick call and claims that it is on the guy’s desk and that he is going to visit in the morning and make things happen. I have faith in him and we’re really hoping he comes through for us.
Is today our lucky day? Only time will tell.

Happy Summer! (and Happy 100th post!!!)

22 Jun

Yes, it’s hard to believe we have already made 100 posts on this blog! Whether anyone reads it or not, we’re enjoying it and it’s a great record of the history of our home as it happens.
Now… On to the MEAT of the post!
It was a long sweaty day at work and I wanted nothing more than to go home and take a shower and stare straight in to the air conditioner.
However, Corinne reminded me that it was the first day of summer and the longest day of the year and we wanted to do something fun. So while she went to sweat a little more at the gym I decided to sweat some more in the kitchen.
I went to North Shore Farms, our favorite local store, and picked up some fresh ingredients to make what I deemed “Surf and Turf- New Orleans Style” I got the charcoal grill roaring and threw on the little Filet Mignon steaks I had marinated for about a half hour in olive oil and pepper. They were beautiful steaks and they came out a very nice medium/med rare.
Just about when that was done the Shrimp Boil I had been working on was finished and ready to dive in to.

Some Old Bay, red potatoes, onions and corn on the cob pieces and of course the shrimp, served peel and eat style. And to truly sell the “New Orleans” theme it was mandatory to have a few ice cold Abita Ambers to wash it all down. A great start to our first summer in our new home.