Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Front Hallway and Living Room Floor

A lot has happened with the house in the past few weeks. I am currently laid off due to a work shortage, so I've been home alone and bored. This means I've had some time to work on projects.

But first, I thought I should show off a bit more of the stuff you guys haven't seen yet.

Here are a few shots of the vanity. The first shows what the glazing process looks like. The effect in the photo looks pretty severe, but you have to remember that the first sealer coat of lacquer has been scuff sanded, so the overall door colour looks paler than normal. The glaze is also wet, so it looks darker. After the final coat, it shows up as just a slightly darker shadow in the crevices.

Here are a few shots of the main cabinet after it's been glazed and with the final coat of lacquer applied (and fully cured):

You can just barely see the glaze in the ogee detail on the toe-kick.

Here are the office built-in doors propped-up in place temporarily (just for a preview):

And the linen cupboard door:

Alright, so the first big project I tackled recently was the tear-out of the living room floor. I knew what to expect, and I ended up with no real surprises. Work started off with the removal of the large finger-joint 1/4 rounds (which is why they're in so many small pieces), and other garbage patch work.

I removed 90% of the furniture from the room, but the TV stand and the pine bookcase were too big (I had no room to put them anywhere else). I worked around those.

This large patched hole was expected...

I have no idea why there's an electrical box inset into the floor here.

I knew about the hole since this was the view from the basement:

I have an old vent that I THOUGHT originally went here, but it's about an inch too narrow for the hole. I can probably make this work by moving all the short boards near the wall inward.

The bright peacock blue visible in this corner is the original CALCIMINE paint. It is powdery and chalky, which is how I know it's calcimine, and there's nothing below it. There are several wallpaper layers and paint over it, however.

A few areas that will need annoying and painstaking patch jobs:

These were taken the following day in daylight. The floor looks absolutely terrible (worst than a barn floor) but I know that it's nice birch under this filthy crud layer.

This is where I had to stack many of the books from the bookcase. Believe it or not, but all of those fill only TWO of the three shelves in the bookcase. The cabinet it only 50"x50". With all the books in it, it's absolutely immovable even on a slippery laminate floor.

Lastly, this is just one quick and crappy photo of the latest major project, which has been the repairs and drywall work in the front (main) hallway. I decided not to make a narrow built-in around the duct stack next to the front door, so I built the framing around it and drywalled that.

I also made repairs to the dividing wall between the hallway and the staircase, as well as the office wall (in the hallway).

I also completely gutted and rebuilt the entire portion above the stairs as you go up. It was at a bad angle, and I've hit my head on it (lightly) once or twice. This was a pretty big job. I had to cut away two of the ceiling t-g boards, and I also discovered that they had stopped this "arch" piece short because they came up to the joist "X" braces. I actually had to remove the "X" braces and add other 2x3 pieces. I also had to re-cut the end of the joist to accommodate the new angle. The slightly
scary thing is that this joist isn't really well supported either. It just kind of sits there and the floor above, plus the ceiling t-g below kind of keep it in place. I added a bunch of screws on the end of the joist up into the wall over the "arch". Photos of that later.

I also started installing crown in the hallway. It's not going to be a match to the original crown mouldings. I plan to restore the original mouldings only in the office and living room, and everywhere else is getting new crown. This is the same crown as in the master bedroom (on the arch), and it matches the profile on the door and window casings (only it's larger).

Cornwall Homes

A small update to the house near my Mom's. As a quick recap to those that haven't been following along: this was a rather lovely 1920s or 1930s foursquare with a back addition. It was brick with original windows, stained glass, and I never got a really good look at it, but I know it had a beautiful archway between the dining room and living room.

Fast forward a few years, and it's now been sold, totally gutted (I think they even removed the main floors down to the joists. They REMOVED 90% of the brick, tore out all the windows, removed the back porches, side stairs (it used to have an upstairs apartment), and just generally butchered the entire house.


And now... I laughed and I almost want to cry. The patched brick around the windows looked TERRIBLE, but I guess it doesn't matter since they decided to paint the brick to match the ugly yellow siding.

Also note that they tore off all the dentil moulding and crown that was on the porch, as well as the original numbers and street plaque. I would have LOVED to save those. Instead they shittily patched over the whole thing with white sheet metal.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

The Great Big Porch Reveal! Finally!

Well, several months' worth of work has come to an end for the year. I won't even pretend like there isn't still a TON of work left to do on the porch, but the part that shows the most is done, and it looks pretty again.

Here's a photo from back in May 2012, as a starting point.

And this is how it looks NOW!

Getting up to this point was no easy task. It involved many steps, including some demo, rebuilding the door jamb, replacing the exterior wood t-g, lots of puttying/silicone/gap-filling, and tons of painting.

The last few updates that I made on the porch were several months back, and included the removal of the old aluminum siding, and the beginning of replacing the t-g. You can visit those posts here:

New Mattress & Last Week's Work on the Porch - May 26th
Ongoing Porch Repairs - August 7th
Porch Restoration Progress - Aug 11th
Porch Door Rehab - August 18th
Porch Progress Thus Far - August 19th
Porch Painted (First Coat) - August 26th
Porch Door - September 3rd
Porch Door Update & Misc. - September 8th
Painting - October 8th

Alright, assuming you're all caught-up, here's where I last left you guys hanging.

I had been itching to scrap this atrocious (and damaged) aluminum screen door ever since I bought the house. Taking it off, and tearing out all the ugly 2x4s and other scrap wood blocks from the original opening was a great moment for me in this reno.

The door only stayed there for a few hours. I know someone took it for the metal, but I really didn't want to deal with it (having to take it across town to the scrappers). I was happy to see it go.

In the process (removing the door and added wood), I discovered that the original porch door was hinged on the interior, and opened on the opposite side (which makes a HELL of a lot more sense. I had noticed the hinge notches (holes) before, but I wasn't sure if they were added later, or from a second door. But there was only ever one door.

The problem with the door jamb, however, was that it was damaged, as well as coated in thick flaking oil paint (bright yellow). So I decided to start fresh and build a new door jamb the same as the original.

I also decided to replace the door casings, since I did not want them notched around the window sills (as they were originally - even though it looked kind of stupid this way).

I thought about changing the style of the casing, or dressing it up a little bit, but in the end, I decided to keep it very close to the original, which is very very plain.

Once I had my jamb in place, I hung and fitted the door frame, which had been completely reglued and reassembled (and partially sanded).

At this point, I painted the first coat, since I was getting tired of dealing with the plastic tarps/weather.

It was at this point where I had dropped the can of shellac sealer all over the steps/floor and all over myself (see "Porch Painted (First Coat)" above).

Before I did the second coat, I bought and installed the bottom trim moulding. This was not the moulding I originally planned to use, but the one I wanted was too wide, and the boards along the front edge of the porch are uneven. This would have looked really bad with the wider moulding.

It was a tedious pain in the rear end to hand-fill each and every little triangular opening in the t-g without making a mess/blobs.

Once the silicone (acrylic paintable DAP) was dry, I gave the mouldings a quick seal and first coat before painting a second coat over the entire porch.

You might notice that I did not yet add the top mouldings yet. This is because I'm planning to completely replace all the sills next year.

A lot of prep (not shown) was done on the porch before painting, including some gap-filling along the crown moulding, under the fascia edge, and in a ton of nail holes and the occasional small knot.

Fitting the mortise lock took quite a while, since I used a traditional brace (old crank-style drill) and chisels. Probably a few hours' worth of work by itself. The lock/handle/knobs are a salvaged set (ie: FREE!)

Although fitting a strike plate might seem like a difficult job, this was actually REALLY easy (for me), and I got amazingly nice results (nice crisp outline). All I did was face-screw the plate to the wood, score the wood around the perimeter with a blade. Then I removed it, and used a router with a flat bottom 1/4" cutter and nibbled away just close to the score line. A few quick passes with a chisel, and BAM! Done! Two more less fancily cut holes were made with the same router bit for the latch and bolt. The line you see in the photo is a pencil line. And NO the Robertson screws were NOT reused. Slot head screws all the way!

Getting there...

The house numbers were re-installed after the second coat was fully dry.

Quick side note: The entire porch (2 coats) were done entirely by 3" paintbrush. I did not use a roller anywhere. Same with the door.

I covered some of the window-making process in a previous post. See: "Porch Door Update & Misc.".

I added a moulded frame for the window, as well as a drip-edge at the bottom made from the same moulding. I used clear pine for this. DO NOT USE FINGER-JOINT WOOD OUTSIDE. I have seen this done before, and even if it's well painted, it will NOT last. All the joints will come apart from the moisture/temperature. Use good stuff for exterior work.

The reason for the frame is that I was imitating the look of a door with a removable window insert. The interior side of the door is made to look like a panel (see detail photos farther down).

Making sure the insert fit nicely.

After routing the frame (one side with a detail, the other with a groove for the glass), installing the glass, puttying, and drying, came the painting phase. 4 coats per side. I had tried to cheat and skip the primer, and the cedar bled through the first coat, so basically I did white topcoat (fail), BIN shellac sealer (one heavy coat + touch-ups), then 2 coats topcoat porch paint.

It was getting cool in the unheated garage, so the door got painted on my dining room table.

Put the hardware back on (my favourite part), and install!

Here you can see how the inside of the door looks. The window is sunk-in slightly, and it has a bead around the edge that matches the one around the lower panels. I still have the entire porch interior to do, including the door casings.

Note: I used the same mouldings everywhere. The door's stop moulding on the jamb is the same as the one used around the window, and for the drip edge.


I thought I would give a rough estimate of what I spent on this reno.

Bin Sealer: 2 small cans at ~18$each
24' pine moulding: 24.50$
5 lengths pine moulding: 26.30$
1x5x6 pine (2): 19.30
5/4x6x8 cedar (2): 19.20$
Paint (2): 40$each (still have 3/4 of a can)
Shims: 3.50$
Nails: 4.00$
Pine 1/4 round (3): 21$ (did not use but I'll need it for the interior next year)
Pine t-g 6' lengths (27): 83.43$
Pine t-g + additional 3: 9.27$
Pine 2x4x8 (2): 5.30$
Cedar 2x6x8: 11.98$
Pine 1x4x8 (4): 22.96$
Pine 1x4x6: 4.30$
Hinges (2): 2.58$
Putty: 6.98$
Dap Acrylic silicone (let's guess 3 tubes): 6.50$
Glass: 14$

Free items:
- Old cedar door
- Lock, knobs, backplates, and screws
- 4 upper panes of old glass

I think that's about all of it, which gives a rough total of: 401.10 plus taxes gives around 450$.


- Replace bottom frames/lattice
- Replace stairs/railing
- Replace sills
- Rehab windows
- Interior door casings
- Paint interior floor
- Paint interior porch
- Front door (probably)
- Fix ceiling hole

To give you an idea of how bad the bottom looks, here are a few detail shots:

Alright that's it for now. I'm too tired to re-read and edit this so if there are any glaring mistakes of things that seem confusing, please tell me and I'll fix them.