Thursday, April 21, 2016

The Un-Fun Stuff

A lot needed to happen before we could get onto the arguably more rewarding task of setting up the house to our taste.

A few decades ago James' grandmother had an addition built on the house, allegedly in kind of a hurry. I can't blame her--J's grandparents were raising six kids in a smallish 1.5 story farmhouse. The addition became the new living room. It's on cinder blocks while the rest of the house is on granite foundation. The exterior cladding is press board, which is not holding up well and clashes with the original wooden clapboards on the rest of the house. (We'll sort this out later.) The wood stove is in there, which is a pretty inefficient way to heat the house. It's on the farthest wall away from the rest of the living areas (bedrooms, kitchen, dining, etc.). The roof leaked during heavy rains and in winter when deep snow caused ice dams.

We had to shovel the roof off with every big snowstorm. 

Yes, I am quite determined to get dogs into every single blog post.
And yes, Pippi climbed that ladder herself.

So the first order of business was re-roofing the addition. We had to wait for the weather, of course. Fortunately James had roofing experience and we were able to do this job ourselves. (Mostly James, some me--just enough to note how much roofing kills your knees, and some Pippi.)

Good supervision is the key to success.

We got an energy audit done. The auditor foam-sealed gaps and lessened the overall draft for us. Based on his advice, we zeroed in on the areas that needed insulating, and got insulation blown into the attic and above the addition ceiling.

Before the insulation guys came, we removed the attic floorboards to make way for insulation.
This allowed us to rebuild the floor higher, so we can still have storage space up there, and not
just a room full of insulation.
We decided the house would be easier to heat, and cozier, if we reverted back to the original floor plan: all the living areas under the original roof. We converted the addition into James' wood shop. That actually was kind of fun. It's handy having a workshop just off your living area, especially in this climate; working outdoors or in an outbuilding is barely an option (unless that outbuilding is tricked out with all the mod cons)....And it gave us a room to tinker in while the rest of the house takes shape.

We also built a laundry area into the addition/James' workshop. The washer and dryer used to live in the mudroom/main entry and that kind of drove me nuts. So we moved them just to the other side of the wall. It seemed straightforward wasn't quite. There was black mold under the tiles, both on the wall, and floor. This became a serious affair with masks, white vinegar, bleach, etc. The sub-floor was rotten in many places and needed replacing. The wall had been pushed aside to make way for tiles: the studs were sawn off at the bottom where they should have connected to the bottom plate, and simply nudged into the adjoining room...This is a supporting wall, by the way. James had to kick the wall back into place, and hammer it into its original position.

The new laundry area taking shape, with the mudroom/entry through the door behind.
(Plus a rare shot of James sans builder's crack!) We'll finish this area off with an
accordion door and some cedar siding we pulled out of the bathroom.

And then there were the floors...But that can wait for another day.

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