Thursday, May 27, 2010

Yet another issue... of course.

So a couple of days ago, I planted all my new plants in the native gardens I am creating out front.  When I put new plants in the ground, I tend to get a little obsessed with their well being, so I went out to check on them that night.  When I came back in through the porch, I saw light streaming up through the floorboards. Hmmm...

Now I should mention that we have a full basement under the porch. Before checking on the plants, I had done a load of laundry and left the basement lights on.

I decided to investigate.  I went to the basement and noticed the ceiling looked strangely like porch flooring. I also noticed the joists were a little off.  There were twenty four inches between them. I went back up to the porch.  I walked on it.  It bounced.  There was no subfloor!

At this point, I brought in reinforcements (Kevin) who said we needed to call more qualified reinforcements (my dad, an engineer).  He was surprised no one had fallen through the porch. With the combination of no subfloor and widely spaced joists. So now the plan is to add joists downstairs and use the old porch flooring as subfloor and install new floor over it to act as the new floor.  We are also breaking tradition and staining it rather than painting porch floor blue/grey.  We found straight grain fir at a really good price; it would have been painful to paint it.


Thursday, May 20, 2010

It has begun...

Last summer we took off the asbestos cement shingles from the west side of our house and began restoring the original clapboard siding.  There is a whole series of posts I wrote on this if you're interested, starting here. We are planning on going around the house, doing one side at a time.  This summer, we are beginning with the front of the house, including the front porch.

Here is a picture of the porch before we began.  It is not a traditional bungalow full-front porch; it's small, about 5ft. x 15ft. The wicker couch and footstool were a curb-side freebie.  There was that red plastic outdoor carpet on the floors, plywood on the ceilings, and some odd issues between the ceiling and floor.
The porch had always been part of the plan for redoing the front of the house, but neither of us had expected the extent of work that was required.  We found rotted wood everywhere, plus a lot of poorly done repairs (I use the term repairs lightly in this case).  So, we ended up replacing every single post!  Luckily, we had help:

That is our almost brother-in-law, Ken.  He's done this kind of thing before, and proved to be a huge help.  While the dudes worked on the posts, Kevin's sister (also Sara) stripped paint with me on the interior of the porch.  She looks like a pro!
They were a huge help and even talked of coming again!  I guess the Bungled House didn't scare them too much, although I don't think Sara will ever look at her new house the same way again....

My dad came to finish the job with Kevin on Sunday, so we really made a lot of progress.    Here is a picture taken early in the process.  This is of the doorway. There is no support behind the trim! EEK! And the trim is rotted!  EEEEK!  

They went around the porch, replacing the trim and installing 2x4 support under all of the new trim.  Kevin just has one area to tweak and one more post to install, and that part of the job is done.  Bonus: Wherever there is new wood, I don't have to strip paint!  Yes! This side of the house actually should go quickly.  There is a dormer on the front of the house that has cedar shingles, so we just need to repair the bad ones and wash and stain.  There is trim that needs to be stripped up there, but not too much, so that shouldn't be too painful.  The clapboards on the bottom of the house are going to be stripped using a Paintshaver, which will make it a lot faster and not kill my native gardens. On the side yard, the plants took a beating because of the tarps covering the ground. Hopefully with the Paintshaver, we'll just have to cover the specific area we are working on, as it hooks up to the Shop-vac and the paint shavings will be captured.

As a reward for all the boring paint stripping on Friday and Saturday, I pulled down the plywood covering the ceiling. Guess what I discovered? Haint Blue!! And a hole, but that's not important.   Here's an article on the history of painting porch ceilings blue. I am so utterly excited about the blue.  although the bead board is in pretty rough shape.  I think we're actually planning on putting plybead (plywood beadboard) up because of its condition- painted Haint Blue, of course.

The floor is also in rough shape, but we are planning on stripping it and repainting it Porch Floor Blue (they should really think of a catchy name for gray-blue floor paint).

Okay, Online House Community and Friends, here's where we need your help:

1. Should we keep the porch open or reinstall storms? It had a full set of storms and screens, but they were ALL in very rough shape- we think a PO of this house had a crooked saw. Seriously. Should we go with tradition and have no storms and screens? Or should we make new ones?

2. Should we paint the inside of the porch to match the exterior of the house?  There are clapboards inside the porch, as you can see from the picture above, but do they have to be the same color as the house?  Or could they be white? And then what color should the beadboard surrounding the interior of the porch be?  Here is our color palate on the actual house:

I'm just thinking with the gray floors, the gray all over the porch might be too much.

Please weigh in, I'm all ears--or eyes, I guess, right?