More updates from the end of winter ’08

A few items remain to be updated from the mini-hiatus this past winter.

One of the more significant changes to 118 Henry Street was the creation of a porch over the mudroom entrance at the side of the house. Once a porch, the mudroom has gone thru at least two transformations (the last one documented here) to manifest it’s current function/form. One result of these transformations was that there was no rain cover over the entrance.

One, very important, design goal of the new roof was to put some weather protection� back over this entrance.

Protected from rain, but not very pretty

Framing in place, kinda drafty

Basics of a ceiling in place

The ceiling is all new tongue and groove pine flooring that needed a little edge routing to match the other porch ceilings. One of the interesting things about 118 Henry Street is that the pine floor boards, the porch ceiling boards and the original roof sheathing were all the same size and type of southern yellow pine t&g boards. The only differences between the 3 applications were small router cuts (or lack thereof).

A traditional southern porch ceiling, crown molding and all

Note, also, that we got the window to the kitchen annex put back in.

Just in time for spring

I had hoped to work outside all weekend on the exterior of the house, but yesterday was very stormy. Significant spring storms made for tornado watches all over the western part of the state. Thunderstorms and heavy rain kept us indoors all day Saturday.

We used the rainy day to insulate the little back attic space above DeShawn’s bedroom. Entering this part of the back attic is thru this tiny access door I built and is quite tight.

About 14 inches wide

Since January, we had been slowly replacing all the insulation under the new metal roof over top the kitchen and back attic space. The space above DeShawn’s room was the last left to do.

Here’s what it used to look like over the kitchen when we were building the new roof in October:

All good for your allergies

When we had the roof off last year, we cleaned out most of the old insulation but there was still a bit left under the windows in the above photo. I cleaned the remainder out in January (6 garbage bags full) completely vacuumed it all, and plugged all the holes in the ceiling with spray foam/caulking. The net result in the same area as above (but from a different angle) is shown here:

Knee wall to the right is under the windows in other pic

A 180 turn from the above picture’s perspective has this view:

Toasty warm thanks to Deborah and Mike!

This publication from the Fed’s EnergyStar program is great for old houses. The techniques for dealing with knee walls and air infiltration were especially applicable to 118 Henry Street. After all was said and done, even Carole could tell the difference in the kitchen.

As part of this insulation project, we had to re-wire the kitchen lights with modern electrical wire. The original knob and tube wiring is very prone to overheating when surrounded with modern insulation. About 40% of my time on this insulation project was actually spent doing the re-wire.

Knobs and tubes

All and all, the re-wiring, plugging all the air infiltration holes, and insulating the attic space had a very satisfying and noticeable conclusion. There’s still work to be done in the attic but nice to feel the difference so far.

Mini hiatus

It’s been a while since we last posted. The almost 90 days of our silence should not, however, imply inactivity at 118 Henry Street. Not only has it been busy with my employer, but also, very busy with DeShawn, and pretty busy working on the house.

Two weekends ago, we spent all Saturday just organizing the Henry Street “lumberyard” under the carport. Our stash of building materials is a mix of modern lumber, antique bricks, recycled wood from the house, metal roofing materials, several antique doors, a couple of antique fireplace covers, a workbench…you get the image. It hadn’t been cleaned up since before building the new roof last Thanksgiving.

While cleaning the house weekend before this, I came across some notes from the great blog hiatus. Specifically, it’s a work journal from when I was working on the front porch. For several years (apparently), the roof had leaked at the joint where the front of the house met the back of the front porch. All the wood was so rotten and mildewed, the porch was completed separated from the house on the west side.

Yes, that’s mold and rot

Even the 4×6 header above the front doors was completely rotted thru. Needless to say, this is all now repaired.

Here’s the work log from that time period in 2004:

8/31 Plumber came and fixed water leak under the house
9/4 Saturday Started digging the new sewer line outside the foundation
9/5 Sunday Finished digging out for new sewer line. Moved builtin from backroom to kitchen
9/6 Monday Tore up ceiling in living room
9/7 Buckets under several roof leaks
9/8 Repairs on roof. Inspected attic for new roof ties
9/9 Researched and priced metal roofing. Spent weekend at Carole’s house cleaning
9/13 Removed rest of wall dividing back room and kitchen
9/14 Demolition of chimney covering in kitchen and remove cabinets over stove alcove
9/16 Built new sink stand for kitchen
9/17 Removed sink, sink counter, and associated cabinets
9/18 Removed 2nd floor from kitchen. Set up sink on new sink stand
9/22 Measure and photograph roof. Some planning
9/26 Remove rotten wood from soffitt left side of porch. Neighbors give me some cast iron light fixtures
9/27 Hurricane winds and rain, clean one of the “new” light fixtures, buckets under leaks
9/28 Remove rotten wood from porch ceiling
9/29 Continue demolition front porch. Remove right side door casing. Strip paint from another “new” light fixture
9/30 Bought some materials for the front porch. Measured some more
10/2 Finished all the demolition under the porch
10/3 Planning, demolition of porch roof. Brace roof from underneath. Decide on shingles
10/4 Finish bracing porch, start demolition of rotten porch framing
10/5 Continue removing rotten porch framing. Prime paint light fixtures
10/6 Ditto on porch framing
10/8 Clean up broken plaster in living room above front doors. Foam insulation to replace plaster for a while
10/9 New header over the front doors in place

More updates on the way. Til then, here’s a picture of DeShawn at the school awards ceremony in February where he won a medal for making the principal’s list (all E’s for excellent) and a special honor for having the most improved test scores in the whole school.

The reluctant scholar