Sunday, July 06, 2014

Insert Whitty Title Here

I don't know how people on other blogs manage to come up with all sorts of witty and interesting titles for their posts. I suck at it, and usually don't even try, but I didn't want to call this "Another Boring Update".

As promised, here are the two completed antique grates. One is original to the house (the one in the green living room), and the other identical one was installed to replace the large and poorly located floor grate next to the front door.

If you missed it, and wanted to see how I did that, go see these posts (in this order):

As I mentioned a few posts ago, I had one missing thumb latch from my original grate, so I had a new copy cast in brass. I had paid 50$ for the second (and complete) grate, and unfortunately, it cost 45$ just for the casting. I could have just bought an entire new grate for an extra 5$, but I would have needed to travel out of town to go get it, and I hadn't gotten a quote for the casting, so I didn't think it was going to be that much.

Here's the final product. Grate closed:

Grate open:

Office grate:

In other news, I decided to spend last night with some lovely antique lighting. I used my two whale oil lamps, paired with old mirrors to double the light.

This prompted me to look for my other whale oil lamp AGAIN. I had another nice clear lamp that I've had packed away, and I couldn't find it. I looked for it on 3 or 4 occasions over the past month or so, and I finally found it this afternoon.

I wasn't happy with how I found it though...

Broken in half.

I actually discovered that the lamp was already broken here, and previously repaired. There was a thin layer of clear adhesive, and I spent about 30 minutes scraping it off and cleaning the joint. I plan to re-repair the lamp with Hxtal, which is a specialty glass adhesive used by museums. It's very expensive, but it's supposed to make an incredibly strong repair, and be crystal clear. I've been meaning to buy some to repair a broken clock glass (hand painted) from the 1840s, so this is another excuse for me to buy some.

This fine lamp also has a completely ruined original pewter collar, which I will need to replace, along with a burner. Unfortunately it's not a standard size, which will make my restoration job incredibly difficult. The lamp is from the 1830s or 40s.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Learn a bit About Upholstery

I just made an interesting and educational post over on the upholstery (work) blog regarding the different kinds of materials that are used as stuffing in antiques. If you have any kind of interest in upholstery, I would urge you to go have a look.

Lefebvre's Upholstery Blog - My Furniture is Stuffed with WHAT?

Friday, June 27, 2014

Antique Heating Grates (Update)

I just finished-up the two antique heating grates last night (for the Office and Living Room). The new casting for the missing latch was brought back to me this week, and I painted it over the past few days (primer, followed by black on the back end, then white on the front). And they are now installed and functional again.

The casting ended up being quite expensive (nearly the price of buying an entire salvaged grate), but I had never gotten an actual quote for the casting, and it's over and done now.

I wanted to share photos, but I forgot my camera at work, so I will post those next week.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Before & After Photos - "L" Room

Here are the finished photos for the "L" Room, which show the room as it looked when I bought the house in 2010, and now, after a ton of work rebuilding the closet walls, repairing the window mouldings, replacing the missing mouldings for the doors, fixing electrical outlets, fixing the duct work, repairing/patching and repainting the original tongue and groove pine floor, fixing the absolutely terrible ceiling (which had been textured with drywall compound and a broom), etc.

The photos rotate counter-clockwise from the left-hand corner as you walk into the room.

The bookcase was removed because this is the only usable wall without any obstructions (windows or doors). This would be the idea spot to have the headboard of a bed. When the house was originally built this was actually a window, but now there's an attached building on this side.

Note: the interior of the closet is still unfinished drywall at the moment.

Here you can see where I rebuilt the new wall to land even with this stupid corner that they had (this doorway was not here originally).

The only drastic change to this corner was the lowering of the outlet, and repairing the sloppily installed baseboards (with 1 missing corner stake).

The floor here needed a lot of repairs. A lot of the pine boards are new, and had to be custom made to fit.

The original closets were only 16" deep, and they had been modified twice in the past. Originally they separated the two east rooms upstairs. At some time in the 40s or 50s they were opened up into a curved archway to make an upstairs kitchen and dining room, with a small broom closet at each end. After this, they were again turned back into one single long closet. I tore everything out and made this back into two closets and a built-in linen closet for the hallway. One closet is larger (the one for this large L shaped room), and the other one (only partially built) will serve the small back room in the north-east corner.

A few additional photos.

This shows the main doorway, the linen closet in the hallway, and the new closet for the "L" Room. The doorway to the right of the hallway built-in leads to the small north-east bedroom mentioned above.

Here is the newly refurbished and rewired (antique) light fixture, with antique glass shades. This fixture was bought in rough shape on eBay over a year ago, and the shades were purchased separately (also on eBay). The fixture (along with all the other ones in the house) was rewired using antique reproduction Rayon covered wire. The painted finish on the fixture also had to be redone from scratch.


Note: for those who are curious, the wall paint is Behr's "Olivine" and the floor is "Florence Brown".

Finishing-Up The "L" Room

The upstairs "L" Room is finally done, and I'm posting 2 entries of the finished results. This first part shows some of the last touches before painting the walls and cleaning-up the floor.

This was the last section of baseboard that I had to install, along with the little corner stake (which were removed when the entire closet walls were rebuilt). I reused an old piece of baseboard (from the pieces I had removed for repairs in several rooms), installed it, caulked it, primed it, painted it, and I had to wait a day or so to dry thoroughly until I could tape it to paint the walls.

The ceiling (after all that messy and horrible drywall work) got seal-coated with some of my scrap paint (which turned out to be mostly a transparent base), followed by 2 thick coats (or was it 3?) of my flat white ceiling paint. Considering I was going to hire someone to do the drywall joints on the ceiling, I'm extremely pleased with how nice and flat it turned out.

Next was the taping of all the mouldings. I've mentioned it before, but I'm not a fan of "cutting-in" around mouldings. I do it at the ceiling edge (and it never looks that great), but I prefer the nice clean lines that I end up getting with tape. You *DO* end up needing some touch-ups from bleed-through or missed corners, but with a small brush these are quick and easy to do.

This was after the first coat of green (Behr's "Olivine"), and this is the first time that I don't get great coverage on my first coat, using the Behr Premium Plus paint and primer in one. I always do 2 coats anyways, and it looked fantastic after the second coat, but I wasn't thrilled with the first coat (as far as the coverage).

Check out the next post to see the final before and after photos!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

"L" Room Update

I just did the first coat of ceiling paint, and I also primed the new wall section. A few days ago I also installed, caulked, and primed the last section of baseboard.

I will need one more coat of ceiling paint, a few coats of white on the baseboard, then the walls can be painted.

Saturday, June 07, 2014

"L" Room Drywall Update

I figured that a boring update would be better than no update, but at least this one will include a bunch of photos! :D

If you've read my last post, you know that I'm finally pushing to have the "L" Room upstairs DONE and start using it. The last steps are the ceiling and painting (and if you want to get picky, there's still no doors, and I'll work on the closet interior later).

Today I sanded all the ceiling and corners (at the top of the walls). What a mess. Just when I thought I had done a pretty good job, and that there'd be minimal sanding, I end up being totally wrong, and making a huge mess.

Overall, though, the ceiling did turn out nicely, and I had only one spot that needed touch-ups.

Here was the third (touch-up) coat from yesterday (drying):

I mentioned that I got some new drywall trowels and I thought I would show them. Pictured are the two new trowels (the corner trowel and the 10 inch trowel) along with my trusty 6" trowel which I've been using for years. You can see that the blade is spotty (from accidentally leaving it damp which caused rust spots to form).

This was a photo (a "selfie" if you will) of me from this afternoon right after I had finished sanding everything. There was dust EVERYWHERE, including some that was caked-onto my sweaty t-shirt, and it billowed all the way through the hallway upstairs.

Shortly after this, I cleaned up all the dust (shop vac), dusted myself off, and took a shower.

And the reason my mouth is open is because my nose was a bit plugged-up.

Sanded ceiling shots:

I'm really glad that I decided to protect the floor with this cardboard stuff. It's a construction-grade cardboard used both as a floor protector, and as a layer under hardwood (to prevent squeaking). I'll be using some when I redo the hallway on the main floor, but it comes in a huge roll for something like 15$.

One of the main reason for laying that down was for the paint drops (from primer, ceiling and wall paint), but I ended up also dropping several blobs of drywall compound everywhere (which would have been a nightmare to clean out of the gaps in the old floor).

As a last minute decision, I decided to go ahead and install the last panel in the corner (see photo below). If you remember a long time ago, I had loosely fitted this piece, but I didn't attach it because I wanted to be able to have easy access around both sides of the chimney for when I knock it down. Well, I figured I'd have enough room from the other side, and that it would be so much easier to just finish this room completely -all at the same time, and be DONE with it. Otherwise I would have needed to go back later and mud/paint this section maybe a year from now when the chimney is gone.

So this just made more sense. I cut the hole for the outlet, screwed-in the panel, mudded it (first coat only), and once it's good, I'll install that last corner block and length of baseboard, paint those, and then paint the whole room in one shot.

I figure that if things dry fairly quick, I could be done with this room by next weekend.

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

"L" Room Update

I don't have much of an update, and I didn't think to take any pictures yet, but rather than pay someone, I've finally caved and decided to mud the ceiling in the "L" Room myself. I did 3/4 of the scratch coat a week or so ago, and then ran out of mud. I bought more mud about a week ago, and I finished the scratch coat a few days ago. That brings us to today, where I did the first topcoat on the seams and corners.

It actually went really well, and I attribute that success to some new tools. I watched a few drywall videos on YouTube several weeks back, and they always make it look SO Fast and EASY. I mean, it's not HARD by any means, but there's a lot of technique involved.

What blew my mind though, was the corner trowel.

Some of the best DIY videos I've found (including the detailed ones I used as a reference to install the new vinyl siding on the garage) are from Shannon at House Improvements (one of his videos is below).

In this drywall video, you see him use the corner trowel at around the 3:10 mark.

I don't know how I went so long without even knowing that this tool existed. For YEARS now, I've been tediously doing my corners mostly (or partly) one side at a time, because a regular trowel always leaves an odd edge in the corner. I've also been doing most of all my drywall with only a 6" trowel (which isn't really wide enough for finishing coats).

So after having watched a few of his videos, I decided to invest in both a wider trowel, and a corner trowel. These range in prices, and I went with an inexpensive set at around 10$ each trowel.

Today was my first time using both, and wow! What a difference! The job went faster, the joints are smoother, and the corners and joints look wonderful!

I think I can probably get away with just another light pass, some light sanding, and then I'll be ready to paint! I've already had the wall paint bought for months now, and I still have leftover ceiling paint, so I have pretty much everything already on hand.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Garage Wall Cost Breakdown & Video

I'm sure a few people might be curious to know how much it cost to rebuild the garage wall. While the actual costs were low, it was a lot of work spanning a few weeks.

Here is the breakdown of the materials that were used (prices include Ontario taxes):

Additional costs would include permits, architectural drawings, or any other kind of engineering reports, tools and tool rentals, etc.

I will also be adding insulation, electrical, interior wall sheathing, new flashing over the fascia, gutters, and replacing the roof.

Here is a short little video that I shot the other day while I was getting rid of the last few pieces of the brick shingle siding:

The Garage Wall Project - Part 2 of 2

Once the interior wall was finished, all that was left was to remove the old wall, and install the new siding on it.

Removing the old wall and installing the new plywood turned out to be a full day project. I started around 10:40am (Sat) and finished around 8pm.

Step 1 was to pull down all the old Masonite siding. There's a reason they don't sell this stuff anymore. While it's not a terrible product, and it CAN last a long time, it needs maintenance (frequent repainting) and most home owners can't be bothered. Face it, people are lazy. As soon as water starts to get into this product, it softens and turns basically into wet cardboard.

I started working from the front of the garage near the worst section. Everything pulled off or simply fell off with little effort.

I discovered that under the white Masonite siding was a layer of "Insulbrick" siding. This is similar to the Masonite, but even lighter and fluffier material. It is coated in a waterproof tar on the backside, and the front is regular asphalt shingle. If properly installed, it looks quite convincingly like brick. Under the shingle siding was the tar paper followed by the tongue and groove.

There were two kinds of "Insulbrick" used. The top layer with the lighter lines was much poorer quality than the lower stuff.

The wall had some poorly patched repairs.

DECAY. These boards could just be pulled off and crushed like dry crackers, It's really amazing that the wall was still holding itself together under its own weight.

Seriously, it just turned into dust and splinters as soon as you grabbed it.

Most of the first half of the wall was also layered with this white mould or fungus growth. Kind of pretty actually. I was wearing gloves.

I took the wall apart in sections, and basically as soon as I had free space for the next sheet of 4x8 I would install it. Here was the first sheet installed (1 of 7).

Code requires a minimum of 7/16 (less than half an inch) for sheathing (usually OSB), but I wanted something much thicker and stronger, and I chose 3/4" spruce plywood. Cheap 7/16" OSB is something like 15$/sheet while the nice thick plywood I bought was something around 35$/sheet. It's quite a bit more, but much better.

Sheet #2:

One of the big problems with the demo of the old wall was what to do with the trash. I ended up piling the pieces of old siding against the cinder block wall of the neighbour's house (temporarily). For the t-g and all the tar paper, I just tossed it all into the garage along the edge of the wall.

Some of the old t-g was in nice clean shape, and I tried to save as much of it as I could to reuse it for shop/furniture projects. This is nice old-growth lumber which you can't get anymore.

Last sheet!

Not shown was the bottom edge pieces. These were done in 3/4" pressure treated plywood. Not necessary, but I thought that the extra few bucks (about 20$/sheet extra) would be worth it for added moisture protection at the base of the wall.

The following day I removed the old gutter. I t would have been nice to keep it in place, but it was sloped so far down that I couldn't nail the top edges of my 7 plywood sheets. I would also need to rework/fix the fascia, so it had to go.

You can also see how incredibly bad the roof has gotten on the garage. It's leaking in (only) 2 spots, which is surprising, since it's SO INCREDIBLY BAD.

Code requires a waterproof membrane under the siding. This was provided with a layer of Typar house wrap from my favourite lumber/DIY store Emard Lumber (which is where I bought most of my supplies, since they have good prices and offer free delivery in town).

I had to use a 9ft x 95ft roll because their smaller rolls didn't have enough coverage on them. This means I got a nice single piece to cover the entire wall, but I also have an extra 65ft which I can hopefully resell in the local classifieds. All the edges were taped.

The front edge needed a bit of a Macgyver fix to make things work. I wasn't changing the existing aluminum siding on the front of the garage (and rest of the house) but the corner was sticking out a bit too far (it was originally installed over the Insulbrick). What I ended up doing was I folded the corner in a bit more (aluminum is soft) and I screwed it flat to the plywood with brass screws (the screws had to be waterproof just in case). The new J-trim for the vinyl siding was then nestled into the groove of the aluminum track (see farther down).

Sorry, no in-between pics. The Typar, taping, gutter removal, and front corner fix was done on day 2 (Sun), with all the J trim and siding installed on day 3 (Mon - which was a holiday).

I love how nicely and neatly the siding landed with the edge of the neighbour's cinder block building.

The front corner has just a HAIR of a curve into the corner, but it's not noticeable.

New J-trim into the old aluminum corner. Looks great!

The top is a bit f-ed up, so I want to get that piece with the arrow eventually removed and capped in white metal.

How it looks from the sidewalk:

On Tuesday I tacked the fascia/soffit rebuilding. For whatever reason, the entire thing was crooked. There was some evidence that it's always been slightly off (I found some old shims and spacers) but I wanted a nice straight and beautiful repair, so I built-up and shimmed everything that was too short.

I started by installing the bottom pine boards to land with the deepest roof truss end. These were the ones at the far end of the garage next to the other building. As I got to the front, the trusses were short by about 1 1/2 inches. Yikes. To fix this I nailed on additional support boards on each truss to keep the face of the fascia nice and square.

The spots in the centre that were only off by a bit got some flat board shims installed on the ends of the trusses.

Here is a shot of the "extensions" at the short end.

For the fascia (front board) I used what was left of my 3/4" pressure treated plywood. It looks great, and it's very solid. You can see where the roof truss ends. I will cap this end also.

And that's it. Now I need to find a roofing company to redo the roof. The extra long board (which is cut crooked) on the roof edge will need to be trimmed, the fascia will need to be capped in metal, and a new gutter will be installed. I'll keep you all posted.

All that's left for me is to get rid of all the trash. Round 1 was this past Wed. I tied together something like 10-15 bundles of rotted wood boards, tar paper, and stacked all the Insulbrick siding to make it easier for the garbage men.

I still have all the white siding, the vertical (rotted) 2x4s, and the old fascia wood to get rid of. Not to mention that 500lb box of dirt, lol.