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Archive for the ‘Home Projects’ Category

After clearing enough space to get the insulation portion of the project started I decided to do a “clean as you go” routine.  My goal was to get this attic re-insulated during the winter.  Who wants to be working in an attic in July?  I stocked up on the supplies needed to get this going and plans to just purchase as I go.  My supplies include a respirator, safety goggles, rafter vents and insulation.  The rafter vents will allow air to flow from the soffit to the peak keeping the boards of the roof dry.  These have no “R” value which is the heat retention value by which all insulation is graded.  The new insulation will be applied over this.  I started with an R38 but it was too thick so I continued with R30.  Also, it depends on the age of your home for sizing.  Most box stores offer 16″ and 24″.  Word to the wise, measure before you buy!

The main supplies needed: rafter vents, insulation, respirator, safety goggles, staple gun and staples!

So, starting on the North side of the roof which suffered the most damage from moisture build-up I cleared out the eaves under 4 rafters and pulled down the old insulation along with lots of dust, nails, pieces of shingles, etc.

Rafters with old insulation. When it was pulled down it was damp and even had ice crystals – not good!

The rafter vents are stapled to the boards and then the insulation is slid into place to retain some of the heat.  The rafter vent product holds the insulation layer away from the boards allowing air to circulate from the soffit to the peak.

Rafter vent installed in one rafter and the next rafter is empty. All those floaty bits are dust and fiberglass making the respirator the best investment!

Normally, an attic would simply be an insulation of the floor and be done with it.  This attic has an open staircase leading to it making the rafter insulation necessary.   In addition to the respirator and safety goggles it is also advisable to have long pants and long sleeves to keep the fiberglass away from your skin.

This is 4 rafters down and 2 drying out. I am only insulating up to this point for now so I can figure out how I will deal with the peak.

Progress was slowed a bit while waiting for the boards to completely dry before putting up the new insulation.  But this gives me more time to merge and purge!  So far, I got rid of one trunk that was completely rotted out along with countless bags of junk, books, and items that no longer have a purpose.  As I indicated on my last post pertaining to this attic project, I have donated what I could to charity.  There have been some neat discoveries… old toys, a cast iron skillet that is doll sized… and even an antique bed pan!  Obviously some discoveries were more interesting than others.

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The beauty of my home is that it has always been inhabited by members of my family.  The downside is that the attic of my home is filled with items from every generation who ever lived here.  There are seven steamer trunks (filled), boxes and boxes of decorations, books, and furniture.  Most of the recent “crap” is mine… starting with childhood and right up to present day.

The problem is… the insulation installed by my father is inappropriate due to holding moisture against the roof boards causing rot.  It simply has to be replaced with newer insulation which allows for air flow.  This is an easy project which can be done by any homeowner or contractor.  However, in order to get to the insulation I first have to clean out the junk blocking it.  The clean out has to allow for access as well as room to store, cut and work with the new insulation.

Over the last year I have been slowly digging and purging items… and feel that I am starting to make some discernible headway… say 10% complete.  Now, you might ask, “Is the attic really that big?”  No, it is just that full of “stuff”.  However, as best I am able, I always judge each item before simply tossing it.  I use a 4 pile system; Charity, Trash, Keepers, and Family.  If an item could serve another then I put it in the Charity pile and be sure it is donated.  When purging on this scale keep in mind if you haven’t had a use for it in 3+ years… you probably don’t need to keep storing it.

As for the Charity pile, each month I get cards from several different organizations that reach out and are willing to schedule pickups for clothing, household goods and books.  Please consider this during your fall and spring cleaning projects!  The clothing and household items should be clean and serviceable and books should not be musty.

One week’s donation… this was an exceptional haul!

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It took some waiting for weather to improve but I finally got the entire deck completed.  Pretty happy with the results and another major project is off the list.

Upper deck before stain/ waterproofer

Upper deck after stain/ waterproofer

Second half of upper deck now done. I had to stop due to rain for several days.

Finally… all complete. Now to pick up the mess and move everything back to where it belongs!

Aside from a small wasp’s nest found under one of the corners and some angry inhabitants… who were evicted… this was a great project which was gratifying to complete.  But man am I sure glad it is done… so sore!

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After Hurricane Sandy and a tree hitting the house it has been a long road of minor and major repairs to contend with.  The deck sort of got lost in the shuffle… so it was in desperate need of a cleaning and staining/ waterproofing.

The deck needs to be properly prepped for staining/ waterproofing.  This entails cleaning out between the boards which can be a long and tedious process.  However, removal of debris such as dirt, leaf matter, sticks, stones and dog hair (I have plenty of that) is very important to keep the moisture level down and decrease the risk of rot.  Once this is done the deck needs a good scrubbing.  I usually purchase a commercial wood cleaner (and READ the directions).  A good scrub brush is also important to really clean off the surface grime as is a hose.  The cleaner and cleaning will brighten the boards as well as remove old stain and it will improve the absorption of the new stain.  Finally, a good rinse is needed to remove all of the chemicals and grime… I call it green sludge.

Cleaned and dry deck ready for staining.

I then let the deck dry out completely.  Usually picking a very warm, dry and sunny day has this completed all at once.  Some stains do not require the deck to be completely dry for application but I let it completely dry out of habit.

A deck repair in 2013 was necessary due to a rotten board.  It had been a problem for a few years and I finally had someone who could fix it properly.  The deck is redwood.  Getting one board on the east coast is impossible so I had to replace with pressure treated.  Because of this the repair was very obvious.  I also had to let it cure a bit before staining.  Usually a month or two.

Very bright repair board on cleaned deck.

In choosing a stain it was important to pick a semi-transparent so it would still let the redwood shine through but also cover the repair with some success.  Once this was selected, pick a day you can complete the job or segment of the job in one shot… so you can have the end result look even.  Now for the muscle work!  Staining the deck is a long process because I make sure to get between the boards (note to remove all items UNDER the deck due to drips) and I also have park benches at the edges of the deck which require more detailed brushing.

Stained lower deck – semi transparent red wood color

This little bit took a total of 4 hours due to the benches and the railing making it painstaking detail work.  But the end result on the coverage of the repair board came out nicely.

Repair board is still different but not as bright.

Hopefully I will get to the upper deck before long.  I need to let this lower deck cure for 24-48 hours before heavy/ regular foot traffic (four hours for paw traffic).   I have to move window boxes and planters back into place and move the grill to clear the upper deck for the staining.  So much to do!  As with everything… I am learning to pace myself.  There is no sense in killing yourself to get the whole thing done in a day.  I’m just happy the pool is blue!

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This was a quick afternoon project that took a little thought and the ability to tie a square knot.  Other than that, it was quick and easy!  This was a wind chime that was my Mom’s.  After a severe windstorm early this spring one of the cylinders broke off as well as the clapper and wind catcher.  A trip to the local hardware store for some nylon string the problem was nearly solved.

The original broken cylinder no longer had the string so I removed the next cylinder and kept it in order from the original broken cylinder.  Using the salvaged string I now had a rough measure to cut a new replacement strings so they would all hang about the same distance from the ring.  I needed six so I cut them all at the same time.  I then strung the original missing cylinder and hid the knot in the tube.  Continuing around in order I replaced the remaining cord so it would all be new and fresh.  This would guarantee that it would hold up another 10 years.  The final piece was the center cord which holds the clapper (that makes the cylinders make noise) and the wind catcher.  This required a larger knot so the clapper wouldn’t slip down the string.

The final product was a happy sounding chime that reminds me of my Mother’s smile.  I had it all fixed and hung in time for her birthday this year making it extra special.

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Since I often purchase in bulk I have found a need for a formal pantry for the items that don’t need to be in the kitchen.  For a while, this was the laundry room… which being a utility room has not always been appealing as a make-shift pantry.  So I decided to repurpose a closet that I rarely use or even open.

After taking my measurements and researching possible solutions for shelving online… I decided to head to IKEA.  For short money I had a solution but not a great fit.  After doing some demolition I then had to build the unit INSIDE the closet.  In retrospect, I would go for the bracket and shelf type system which would be more configurable and easier to install.  However, I pushed through and now have a nice finished product and as a bonus I also have a perfect shelf for my stand mixer.

From clean out to stocking… a total of 3 hours.  Had the measurements been accurate I could have knocked off an hour for the head scratching.

 

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The drapes needed some work since I didn’t like the way they flopped over at the top.  Since this required sewing (and I don’t sew) I called in the reinforcements.  After a few tries and measurements… the process went relatively quickly.

The end result has the hemming at the top (where the rod pocket was) and bells sewn in to add a more formal look to the drapes.  At the same time, we got the second traverse rod up and hung the drapes for this side of the room.  Now the project is really complete.

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