14 More Years

Our little non-nuclear family, Carole, DeShawn and myself, spent most of the weekend at the beach. We left early Saturday morning, spent the night, and came back today. DeShawn played in the ocean a good bit on Saturday afternoon, but for the most part we just laid around in the sun or went shell hunting up and down the waterline. The weather was nigh perfect, with high temperatures around 75 and lows 50ish at night. This was Deshawn’s first camping trip and he handled sleeping in the tent in excellent manner.

All the work on the house this week has been preparation for the mudroom project scheduled for April. After doing some detailed task planning for the week I’ll be off work, it’s very apparent that as much needs to get done as possible before the final demolition of the floor and plumbing in the little room. To that end, We’ve been doing the little things like stripping paint from the “new” door hardware and light fixture, purchasing some of the materials, and designing the final finishing details.

Stayed up way too late on Thursday night just passed, continuing to prep the “new” door. The mutin and panel molding trim has a very deep 3 line pattern in it that is resisting paint removal extremely well. I started stripping the paint out of the design with the heat gun and a metal, flat blade scraper, finding out pretty quickly that it couldn’t get all the paint out of the thin, deep grooves in the molding. After trying a heat gun/rounded blade scraper combination (not much better), I even resorted to some chemical stripper left over from early experiments on the west bedroom trim. Left on long enough, the chemical stripper did do a reasonable job getting the paint from the grooves but, what a mess! I’d forgotten how ugly using the chemical removers could be. What finally seemed to be the best overall compromise was softening the paint with the heat gun, then scraping it with a concave, gouge-like, carbide blade scraper. With all the experimenting behind me, there’s only about 40 linear feet or so left to work..sigh.

The one truly satisfying part of Thursday night’s session was patching the cat-door hole at the bottom of the door. Using my new jig saw, I cut a piece of old base board from the bathroom closet to fit the odd shaped opening left by the removal of the “cat flap”. A little trimming the wood patch here, a little shaping the hole there, and a couple of finishing nails produced a quite nice filler for the hole that also restores the structural integrity to the kickplate. On order is a 2 pint kit of wood restoration epoxy that will be used to finish filling the hole and providing the final finish surface.

No more cat door hole

Another major demolition task accomplished this week was removal of the aluminum awning over the mudroom door. Approximately 5′ wide with a 3′ overhang, at first glance, it appeared to be a good addition to the house, shielding the mudroom door from rain. Unfortunately, a significant percentage of the water caught by the awning, ended up flowing down its side and onto the sill of the breakfast nook window (see floorplan for detail). Over time, this diversion of moisture has almost completely rotten out the window sill and started to damage the window framing supporting it. No love loss between me and the awning (currently sitting on the curb waiting for Tuesday AM pickup).

Keeping the awning company on the curb is a good size pile of aluminum siding removed from the exterior wall of the mudroom and the back wall of the breakfast nook. To enlarge the door opening and mount the “new” door, access to both sides of the mudroom’s exterior wall is needed. The siding had to come off as part of this requirement. The good news is that the clapboards on the exterior wall are in relatively good shape. They aren’t “real” wood, more likely MDF or other composited material, vintage early 70’s when the porch was enclosed, but all in all quite usable.

Removing the al siding around the breakfast nook window and under the mudroom room door sill was fraught with less pleasant emotion. As previously indicated, under the nook window, the window framing is seriously rotted. Deeper surgery removing the pine clapboards and rotten window sill will be required to set all this right for another 80 years or so. Under the mudroom door sill, the al siding was hiding the insidious work of termites and moisture on the beam supporting the old porch floor (currently the mudroom subfloor). I expected some rot under the door frame, but it appears that the beam is completely disintegrated and i can feel the top of the brick foundation thru the wood chips. Now quite as big a problem as it seems, as I was planning to repair the floor structure anyway, just a bit more material will be needed.

Mudroom sill under the door