Archive for the ‘exterior’ Category


Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012

Finished just yesterday, the floor downstairs has to dry for 10 days, which makes this the perfect time to re-deck the undeck.

As you may recall, the rotting deck was pulled out on November 15 and its replacement has been on hold since the end of March while we waited for our engineer to get back to us. So we’ve been living with a harrowing two-story step from the upstairs slider for the last 5 and a half months…

that first step’s a doozy!




















In all that time, nobody tried to step out onto the deck. Good thing.

Today Joe and his nephew Josh started dismantling the exterior of the deck…

first boards coming off












coming along nicely




















The plan is to do some spelunking on the inside of that wall in order to see what the structure detail is.

The engineer drew up a concept for supporting the deck without the posts, which David says he’ll share with you tomorrow… The question is how much rejiggering will the current structure need in order to accommodate the engineer’s design. A little? Or a lot?

geometric love

Monday, April 9th, 2012

Spotted on my run…

geometric walkway

the deck: where we left off

Thursday, March 29th, 2012

Let’s see, what’s been going on at the homestead since I last had time to share?

Removing the siding on the inside of the deck surround…

removing the siding




















removing the siding 2












Turns out the wall on the west side of the deck was completely soggy to the point of rotting…

soggy siding




















It absolutely reeks of mildew and was covered in slimy goo. Gross. The wood on that side is not salvageable, unfortunately. Especially once you add in the carpenter ant damage…

signs of old carpenter ants




















They love wood that’s been softened up by poor drainage. Luckily we got rid of the ants right after we moved in.

So where does that leave us? The walls are temporarily covered in housewrap to keep out the spring rains…

deck walls with housewrap




















And now there’s a slight pause in the rebuild of the deck while we wait for the engineer to chime in. On what, you ask? Biggify this and check out the deck as the architect imagined it in 1970…

architectural rendering of our house, circa ’70 | Haynes and Associates










Cantilevered. No supports.

Compare that to how it actually got built a year later…

view from the corner, post-construction | Haynes and Associates











A single post stuck in the middle. Well, not exactly the middle — slightly off-center so that it wouldn’t interfere with coming and going through the lower slider. Weird.

Compare that to how it looks now…

finished wall, February 2010












At some point, posts were added to either end in addition to the one in the center. David and I think this looks a little clunky and have always imagined we’d try to go back to Irving Hayne’s original vision if possible. Next week, Eric over at Structures Workshop should come back to us with drawings and we’ll find out if we can make it happen. Good man. We’ve tapped him more than once for this remodel.



let there be sun!

Monday, March 12th, 2012

Progress, people! On the front of the house, Joe and David made and added the flashing to the upstairs windows and slider to match what they did on the lower level…

new flashing around upstairs windows and slider




















And now the siding is done, top to bottom…

siding finished




















Wait, is that SUNSHINE reflected in the upstairs window? IT IS!

The blue tarp that’s been up since well before Thanksgiving finally came down!


blue tarp being removed





















blue tarp coming off




















Three! No more tarp!

no more tarp




















I can’t tell you how happy I am to no longer be in the abyss!

Next: the soffit will get closed up…

getting ready to close up the soffit




















After that, David and Joe will turn their attention back to the downstairs. They’re going to install the cork on the floor and ceiling. Then it will be time to rebuild the deck.

I still can’t get over being able to see the view…


hey look, the sky!




















Just in time for spring!


and the siding?

Thursday, March 8th, 2012

Painting is done — shall attempt better shots. Siding is still in progress but the bottom floor is just about done. Yay!…

siding in progress




















That black mesh in the shot above goes beneath the siding…

closeup of cedar breather




















Called Cedar Breather, it creates a 1/4″ air space between the house wrap and the back of the siding so that moisture can’t build up there. After all, it’s water that encourages paint and stain peel off the wood, causes rot and mold, and invites insects to dine. Better not to give it a chance.

Around the slider, Joe and David created and installed aluminum flashing to match what they did around the window

installing the flashing




















So instead of the bulkier wood trim that used to surround the windows and doors, now we have a nice, clean metal edge…

closeup of flashing




















Looks fantastic, boys!

finished wall of siding




















Really loving how the dark stain worked out!


exciting siding

Monday, March 5th, 2012

The boys are out in the freezing cold today nailing up the siding…

joe nails up the siding




















Details later. Thanks, Joe!

okay, vacation’s over

Wednesday, February 29th, 2012

Back to work!

david and joe at work




















So David and Joe have been getting the un-sided end of the house ready to close up while the plasterers finish up downstairs. David can update us on the proceedings thus far.


Now that the siding is all stained and had a chance to dry, we can get ready to install it. First up: flashing the sides and tops of the door and window openings.

Here, a side piece was carefully mitered onto the existing sill flashing that went in when the window was installed…

window flashing with mitre




















Next, the side flashing got nailed to the house and then taped to the house wrap. The joint between it and the sill flashing, as well as the joint between it and the window frame, will be caulked with the same low-VOC grey caulk we used between the windows and the house…

next step on the flashing




















The top flashing rests on the two side pieces of flashing and was also mitered. It extends up through a slit in the house wrap and was nailed in place…

yet more flashing detail












The corner junction of the top and side flashings was taped and then the house wrap taped down to the top flashing. The goal is to shed water out as it goes down, never allowing it entry to the house.

That piece of pressure-treated wood with the big bolt in it and the nice piece of flashing under make up the the deck ledger…

hoping to shed water




















The ledger board had to go in before the siding, but that story deserves a post all its own. Here’s a sneak peek of the newly stained siding installed around the big downstairs window…

newly stained siding and window flashing




















Hot. Love how clean it looks — no more clunky trim! Don’t worry, the blue strip above the siding is just the blue of the overhead tarp captured in the shiny new flashing.

the dust is flying

Thursday, February 16th, 2012

Literally. Flying. Before I go any further, let me note that February 1 was the one-year anniversary of the permit that gave us the green light on our remodel…





















We’re running out of window space.

So, about the dust. Two crews working today. David and Joe are prepping for the install of the deck ledger board

david and joe prepping for the deck ledger board




















That should be done sometime after lunch and perhaps the siding will start to go up? Drilling holes through the insulation and into the wood behind it is definitely dusty.

Now that the walls are closed up downstairs, a plastering crew is busy making them look absolutely impeccable. Installing corner bead, taping, lathering on the drywall compound…

prepping the walls




















Oh, and sanding. Dusty.

More on the progress of both crews later.

transformation under way

Wednesday, February 15th, 2012

No wasting time here. Now that a color decision is made, the deck-end of the house where the siding was removed can finally get closed up and the tarp can come down…

deck end of the house awaits siding




















As mentioned, the redwood that was on this inset was removed so the new windows and slider could get installed. Eventually, that painted redwood will be planed clean and added to the outer envelope of the house — later in the year.

The new cedar for the deck-end inset…

cedar siding before




















… got a healthy coat of stain yesterday, front and back, by David and Joe.

staining the siding




















It’s winter — too cold outside for the stain to dry. So the stain had to be applied indoors. The vapors were wicked awful, even with respirators on and all the windows and doors open…

siding on the drying rack




















After a night of airing out on the drying rack David whipped up, the siding should be dry now. The stench isn’t so bad today.

Next up: the new siding goes on the house. Then we get to live with a temporarily odd sage-green and grayish black color combo until the rest of the siding gets tackled. Yay!

is there a hi-fi way?

Wednesday, February 15th, 2012

… as opposed to my remedial colored-pencil approach to trying different colors on the exterior of our house? Of course there are other ways. There are a number of software choices out there, but not all of them are good and they’re not all designed for the basic homeowner.

The one that seemed to have the best reviews was Benjamin Moore’s Personal Color Viewer (PCV3), available for Mac or PC….



At $10, it seemed like something worth trying, so I did. It’s Adobe-based software so it’s not particularly stupid-proof if you’re new to Adobe. Out of curiosity, I tried it out a couple of different ways.

First, I uploaded an architectural rendering and played with that…

Benjamin Moore Personal Color Viewer: using an architectural rendering










Hard to tell what’s going on by looking at a rendering, it turns out.

So then I uploaded a photo and played with that, too. Here’s one somewhat sloppy example…

Benjamin Moore Personal Color Viewer: using a photo












The software comes loaded with BM’s color palettes, but it’s laborious to experiment with colors — I tried to find the right gold-green but it literally takes FOREVER to change what you’ve done. The navigation is horrendous. I say this as someone who’s in the business of helping to make things online more user friendly.

I do like being able to see what colors on the exterior look like in the context of the houses around ours. But overall, I think my results were hardly worth the time I had to spend trying to compare different shades on the areas I masked out.

Bottom line on the Personal Color Viewer: If you have hours and hours to waste, go for it.

If you’re in a hurry, whip out the colored pencils.