update.

22Jun11

Well, as usual, I haven’t posted in a while. Life has been kicking our asses recently. Thus, house gets neglected.  Here’s a bit of an update, however. We are creeping along, and hoping to really ramp up the progress in the next couple of weeks.  Our friend Curt owes us a lot of labor, and he’s just finishing up a major building project, so hopefully he’ll get over here before too long and jump start the whole thing.  We’re in the throes of finishing up some work projects also, so hopefully we’ll get a little breather between work projects when we can focus on the house a bit more.

Luke’s brother & his girlfriend  are also renovating a house, and although it is a very different project than ours, we are embarrassed to realize that their project seems to be getting done more quickly than ours. And they started WAAAAAAY after we did.  Of course, we have very different situations which have resulted in different rates of progress, but perhaps there is nothing better than a little sibling rivalry to hurry a project along! They don’t read my blog, so fortunately this won’t be an incentive for them to further kick our asses.

In similar news, we have new neighbors who just bought the house across the street, and now seem to be gutting and rebuilding it. This is very exciting for us– since they seem to be our age, and seem to be doing something similar– that is, they bought a cheap house (presumably because that’s what they could afford), and are now putting a lot of sweat equity into fixing it up.  After several years of ongoing trials & tribulations with our nearest neighbor, we are thrilled to see some folks that we might actually have something in common with– and who might be interested in bettering the neighborhood rather than trashing it.  The new neighbors are making fast progress (compared to us)– though they have a big incentive since they have to be out of their rental house by the end of the month…. less than a week.

And as for the other neighbor– at the very top of my wish list is a nice, big, 6 foot fence between us and the guy who tortured us for a year with his abused and barking dogs. (The dogs suffered along with us). What is that they say about good fences making good neighbors? I don’t think this guy is capable of being a considerate neighbor, (especially since the torture continues), but a nice big fence might help us to be a more compassionate neighbor to him.  I want the fence more than I want a bedroom, or a bathtub, or a tiny bit of private and/or creative space.  I want it even more than I want the exterior of our house to stop being a source of embarrassment.  I want it even more than I want to see plumbing & wiring going into the house.  So there may be some serious post-hole digging in our near future. I can’t wait. If I could cash in on some birthday or Christmas karma in order to get a fence this summer, I’d gladly do it.

In the mean time, we have managed over the previous month or so to get the windows upstairs replaced. We’ve been dreading the replacement windows because the old portion of the house has so many issues with walls that are bowed, out of plumb, etc.  But the first set of windows wasn’t so bad. Of course, we started with this set of windows because we thought it would be one of the easiest, but still it wasn’t the nightmare we’d all imagined. An extra bonus is that it is very visible from the street, and every project that helps the property look better is a huge boost to morale.

Here is the scary old window before being torn out. Since it had broken long before we bought the place and the former owners had merely tacked up a piece of plywood, it contributed significantly to the “haunted house” look of the place.  It will be semi-shocking if we someday own a property that doesn’t scare small children.

Here’s the progress from the inside.

Here’s the house with a big hole in it prior to the new framing going in.

Luke working on new framing inside the window opening.

The windows installed.  (Next step: replace the shingles I took out in order to install the window and also enable the installation of the roof flashing. Then we need replace the trim to match the historic trim and scrape, prime, and paint the whole shebang. Anyone want to volunteer?).  Interestingly, after much debate, we ended up installing our own nailing flanges on this window. We hadn’t ordered nailing flanges for the windows in the old portion of the house, because we weren’t sure exactly what sort of conditions we were going to run up against in the installation process. Plus, it saved us $1000 to eliminate nailing flanges on those 14 windows. (And we’re frugal that way).  But in this particular condition, it seemed like it would really help make the whole thing work if we had flanges, so we did them ourselves. We bought some L shaped galvanized metal at Home Despot and then siliconed & screwed the flanges to the window frame. To our surprise, it worked really well, and the flanges went on easily and made installing the windows a breeze.  Oh, and the total cost was about $10 for both windows.  Quite a price difference.  Below is a picture of our nailing flange. Once the trim is installed, you’ll never know that they weren’t factory flanges.



9 Responses to “update.”

  1. 1 Jim Owens

    Great update. I had not read your blog since the installation of the PV system. (My how time flies) So, while it may seem that things are going at a slow pace, it seems to me you all are making wonderful progress. Quite a bit has happened! It’s great to read and see all the details of your home building efforts. Best of luck to you all on your continuing journey. :-)

  2. 2 Sarah

    Love the savings on window flanges! crossing my fingers for your fence.

  3. 3 Alan

    Dave and I installed an enormous fence one time in two days (we were delayed repairing a busted sewer pipe that was a couple of feet to the side of where we thought it was). The key was an auger mounted on a Bobcat. Plunged those damned holes quicker than we could set up the poles and pour the dry concrete in. You’d probably want to spray some water in your holes. Came back the next day, put up the cross braces and then hung the slats. Nail gun with the pressure just so, bang bang. The key is the powered auger. It helped having a Bobcat because we loaded the bags of concrete in its bucket first and put two by where each hole was going to go. It’s also a lot easier to position and dig with the Bobcat (or any skidloader) than even one of those augers on a stand. As long as you’ve got someone out there to stop it from swinging, little taps will put that tip right where you want it and a few seconds later you’ve got a perfect hole in the ground with all the dirt neatly piled around its rim. I’m a big fan of using power tools whenever they’re available.

    • 4 lauracm

      Yes, using a Bobcat auger would definitely be the way to go, since doing the holes and setting the poles is by far the biggest job. Unfortunately, there is no way to get a Bobcat into the yard between us and the neighbor at this point. Far too much vegetation and other obstacles…. Our neighbor’s yard, however, is completely devoid of vegetation, however, so we could get the Bobcat in from his side….. Might not go over very well, though. Except in fantasy world, the only way to do it is to use a gas-powered 2- (wo)man auger. Which is still A LOT easier than a post-hole digger, but way more work than using a Bobcat…

  4. Love reading the blog, you’ve made lot’s of progress…congrats!

  5. That old window was super creepy… looks like something out of a horror movie! You did an amazing job with replacing it though!

  6. I still check back every once in awhile looking for updates. It’s ok if you just update a couple of times a year. Everyone understands “Life is kicking our asses.” I admire what you are doing.

  7. 9 jasonalonzo

    Very detailed photos also

    Renovation contractors Toronto


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