Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Been Shopping

Well, I took Sunday off, then Monday, now I’ve not worked 3 nights in a row. There really isn’t that much left to do on the front porch, but it will never get done at this rate! Tonight I have a chance to work on it again, but we’re going to Ashland this weekend, so I won’t have another chance until next week. Ugh. I’ve now decided that what I need to do is finish up the front porch, but just get the columns done in the back. I think they may be able to drain the downspouts in the back to the original drain, which is well under the deck between the bathroom window and the dining room doors. It will be quite a feat in exterior plumbing, but I think it’s possible. Hope so, because the alternatives are all pretty ugly…

I started looking at gutter companies in the yellow pages. I’m going to have to decide which companies to get bids from, decide what materials they use, decide what style and what color. It’s a lot of work. Probably one of the biggest decisions is whether or not to get the hooded gutter to help keep the leaves out. With those two giant maple trees, leaves have to be a consideration. I really wish there was someone to help with this, but there isn’t. Jenn wouldn’t feel confident enough to deal with such a process and would have a hard time getting away from work. Dave would need to charge me a surcharge, which I don’t want to pay.

I also started looking at wood burning fireplace inserts. I figure I need to at least get one ordered within the next couple weeks. Some coworkers of Jenn said they really like their Quadrafire, which I found gets good reviews despite complaints about noisy fans. I also found a brand called Avalon, which is suppose to work very well even without a fan, which would be a priority. Others high on my list include Country and Vermont Castings.

Monday, September 27, 2004

Porch Skirting

I got the front porch skirting in on Saturday. But, I took Sunday off. Lazy! The front porch still needs the caps on the middle columns and the ‘footing’ piece on all of the columns. The footing piece is the 2x3, similar to the one on the top collar, but it goes on the bottom of the column, at the same level as the porch decking. I might do this work today, except that it’s Monday Night Football. We’ll see.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Railing to Code, Really...

I worked a little bit more on the front porch again last night. I’m redoing the front stairs so that I can install the hand rails. I managed to get the 4x4 posts in before it got too dark to work. Tonight I hope to get the rails connected and the treads put back in place. We’ll see.

One funny and disappointing discovery is that the porch railing is only 35 ¾” high, exactly ¼” short of the code required 3 feet. Oops! Not sure how this happened. Hopefully the inspector won’t notice. I’ll have to be more careful in the back porch to get the railing height exactly right. I figure that if the inspector does notice and ding me for it, I’ll just shim up the cap ¼” until it passes. Then, I’ll remove the shim again. The problem with shimming it up is that the cap won’t be snugly in place anymore and won’t look as good. Oh well.

Monday, September 20, 2004

Front Porch

I worked a lot on the front porch this weekend. I painted primer on the columns on Friday afternoon and got the railing up this weekend. The white columns look very nice now that they are a uniform color and create a nice contrast with the bare wood deck. Unfortunately it started raining before the paint dried and some of the primer washed off. Doah!

I did the railing with two cedar 2x3s for the top and bottom rails. The slats are ½” rough cedar fencing with every other board either 5 ½” or 2 ¾”. This creates an interesting pattern where one board is wide, the next is narrow, the next is wide, etc. However, after getting some of these boards in place, I realized that the railing would not be strong enough for someone to lean against it. So, after some trial and error I found that a 45” newel post made from more 2x3 cedar that anchored both rails to the deck framing did the trick. I then decided to butt two of them together, creating a 3x4, then mounted two different pairs for each section of railing, 1 support post every 4’ or so. This made for a very strong railing. After I got the support posts in place I cut and mounted a cap for each railing made from regular 2x6 decking.

The next big challenge is going to be the hand rail for the steps. I’m still not sure how I’m going to do this.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Work on Columns

I worked on the front porch columns this weekend. I managed to get the top collars on and the framing trim. I decided to go with a double step collar. By that, I mean the collars are built using two rings of framing. The first is 2x3, as I had planed, but then the second is a 2x2. This creates a surprisingly professional look. I put most of the framing trim up too, but I ran out of molding. So, I plan to go to the Hell Despot today to get some more. I realized that I need to prime and paint the columns before I can put in the railing. In addition to the columns, I pinned down the rest of the decking too. It looks pretty good, except that the way the boards work out, this is almost no overhang on the north steps. I don’t know if the inspectors will notice that or not. There is so much to look at…

By the way, I still need to call the city and find out the status of my permits. My understanding is that a permit can go “dormant” if the site is not inspected for over 6 months. The last inspection was in April, so we’re currently at around the 5 month point. I think the best thing to do is call the city and find out my status and find out the best way to proceed at this point. There is no question that I’m going to need at least 6 more months to finish the work on the house. This would mean finishing the outside work, the second floor, the stairs, and the flooring and trim at the base of the stairs.

Btw, here's the tub:

Thursday, September 09, 2004

I'm ready for a tub!

Met with Dave and Dale this morning. We looked at the jetted tub and tried to figure out the best way to get it in place and mount the faucet. At first I wanted to mount the faucet close to the vanity, but the height of the tub rim pushes the spout pretty far back to the edge. We considered mounting the faucet in the near right corner next to the Jacuzzi brand tag, but I’m afraid it will stick out too much right where we would be laying back. It looks like we’ll go with the original idea of mounting it next to the vanity. Hopefully it will fit. It will be close.

Still struggling to get all of the light fixtures that we’ve ordered. The ones for the master suite are on back order, but should ship tomorrow (9/10). I got an e-mail from Littman Brothers that the ones I ordered for the stairwell and hallway shipped yesterday, but I haven’t seen a charge to my credit card yet. Considering I ordered these first and they told me they were in stock and they’ve taken sooooooo long to ship and the craziness about having to call me back via voice phone about the shipping charges… I won’t be buying anything else from Littman Brothers.

I managed to cut most of the decking for the front porch last night. I wish I could get more done in an evening, but after work I’m pretty tired and it’s now getting dark around 7:30pm or so. But, I think it’s going to look very good when I’m done. I am a little bother by how dirty the existing boards are getting, but hopefully once the decking is oiled it will resist the dirt better. There was one small disappointment yesterday when I was measuring the railing cap. I found the right side railing will be just one or two inches over the 12’ mark. That means I have to cut an 18’ to fit, which means at least 3 18’ will be need to do the railing (2 in front and 1 in back – plus I’ll probably need one for the balcony too). I’m not sure I’ll have enough of the 18’. Man, I wish I had bought a bunch of extras, but at the time I wasn’t sure how I would do the railing. I got some more trim for the columns. This time I got outdoor quality trim rather than the pressed particle board crap I got last time (oops!). I also got some decent 2x6 fir boards, which I’ll rip down to 2x3’s for the collars on the top and part of the bottom of the columns. This should prove a little tricky since it will require a mitered joint, something I’ve been avoiding. Usually I just butt join everything, but the collars are going to require miter joints to look good. I’m also not sure how I’ll attach the collars, but I’m thinking counter sunk screws will work better than finish nails. I can plug the screw holes later and they should completely disappear with paint.

Friday, September 03, 2004

Lights Trickle In

Geez, it’s September already! I still need to finish the porches and the exterior painting before the weather turns. I only got a little more work done on the porches. I did get the floorboards in front of the door replaced. But, no more work on the columns. Also I figured out that the moldings I got for the columns are not outdoor quality. They’re just pressed board and will likely expand and / or melt once winter gets underway. Too bad I already ripped many of them in half. Oops. What a waste. I’ll try and return the rest of them. I also need to return the tile (score and snap) cutter and the recessed lighting trims kits. Ugh.

The good news is that the light fixtures are finally starting to trickle in. The fixtures for the 2nd bedroom and bath came first, followed by the sunroom and front porch. We’re still waiting for the stairwell / hallway sconces and I haven’t ordered the lights for the master suite yet. I had some trouble where the front porch lights didn’t work when I first hooked them up. This made me a little nervous and more than a bit mad. But, the next day, while encountering the same problems on other circuits, I figured that not all of the circuits had been completely wired up. The lights in each circuit are wired in series and, although it looked like the electricians had wired them together, the wires inside some light box were not actually wired together. Not sure why. I’m glad I figured it out though. The front porch lights looked really nice last night.

Oh, and the doorbell mysteriously started working again. That’s really good news. I was very worried that I would have a huge hassle in order to get that working again, or worse, that it would never work again. But, it works now, and I’m just happy about that.