Saturday, April 30, 2011

More siding

The crew finished up the rear siding and soffits. Most of the sides are finished and the front is trimmed out and ready, but we ran out of j-channel by a few pieces. We'll get that ordered and the siding will be finished hopefully this week. We also bought paint today that matches the siding so we'll start painting the bricks soon. The house will look complete.... from the outside at least.
The siding is Certainteed D5 (5 inch) clapboard in flagstone. We love the color. Dark enough in a nice blue/gray hue. The white trim really pops on the corners, band board, and around the windows.

***UPDATE*** The color may also be called Lakeshore Blue sometimes. I just ordered some more for our garage and the siding was Flagstone, but the light boxes were Lakeshore Blue. So FYI.


We left early to go pick out stone and when we got back we were pleasantly surprised to see the crew plowing through our siding. They've only been at it under 2 hours and they're making fast work of it. They should have the rear finished up by lunch. Kristin is bummed about her nap time being interrupted by the work, but it's a small price to pay for progress.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Siding started

The crew started putting up the window trim in preparation for the siding. Eventually we'll match the same trim around the first floor windows as well. The 8 inch band board goes around the entire house.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Porch framed up

The crew got the porch all framed up today. All we need is the decking to go on and we will be able to stop using the back door. I think the house looks so much different now with the porch addition.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Porch progress

The nice weather we're having should allow the crew to finish up the porch this week. Footers are poured and the support beams are set. Looks like the trusses should get installed tomorrow.

Monday, April 25, 2011

DIY: How to replace a window in a brick opening

Just in case you want to try tackling some replacement windows in brick openings yourself here's what we did in 18 or so simple steps. Actually, not so simple, but with the right tools it's not too bad. I'd rate it an intermediate DIY level - at least it is when you have brick openings rather than wood framed openings. We measured our rough opening from the outside which made it quite a bit harder to replace the window. The reason is that the inside of the brick rough opening is a few inches shorter than the outside. So we had to rip everything out, chip out enough of the brick and block in the way to make space for the new frame that fits the replacement window. There's not a ton of good information on the web about replacing windows in brick openings. Everything I found wasn't very detailed so hopefully this will help somebody else out. In the end using the larger rough opening allowed us to get a slightly larger window and a nice 4.5" window jamb that will better match the new windows we're installing in the addition. We're trimming all the windows out in a picture frame design so there's no window sill. We didn't save anything we ripped out other than the windows themselves so we weren't too gentle on removing all the pieces.

Time: It takes us about 4 hours from start to finish to replace one window as we tend to only work on 1 or 2 at a time (tool setup and cleanup account for a decent amount of time).

Tools: basic hand tools, demo bar, reciprocating saw, hammer drill, compound miter saw, angle grinder, and air nailer

Start with one old window

Tear off all the trim

Once you remove the trim casing there will be a little strip of wood attached to the window. Remove this and the bottom window slides forward.

Our top windows were held in place by this aluminum strip. Pull this off and the top window can be removed.

Pull out top window. We had storm windows so those were able to be removed next.

We did save the aluminum from the storm windows so we can recycle it, but they were only attached by a few screws.

Sawzall the old frame and pry it out.

Close up of what we were left with after demo.

The inside brick and blocks sticks out a little further so that needs to be cut down.

We measured and marked 4 inches from the interior wall and used an angle grinder to cut the line cleanly. Then followed up with a chisel to break up the rest.

New window in place. We built a new frame out of 1x4 material, attached that to the brick using tapcon screws (that's where the hammer drill comes in handy), and then set the window in place. Our windows have 4 screws at each corner that simply attach to the new wood frame once you have it level and plumb.

Trim the outside and then caulk it to make sure it's all water tight. We used 1x2 and 1x3 to trim this out. The brick sill was shaved down to make it ready for picture frame PVC trim.

Outside is already water/air tight, but I like to add spray foam all around the window to better seal it up.

We built the new jambs out of 1/2 inch plywood.

Slide it in and tack it up ensuring it's level and plumb and more importantly the reveals around the window match side to side and top to bottom.

I add a little more spray foam in the top and bottom once the jamb is attached.

Cut and tack up the new trim casing.

Putty the nail holes and caulk. Once you paint, you're done!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Sunday to-do list

We did the old dining room window and pressure washed the front of the house today. The weather was hot and sunny, but we luckily picked a window that was in the shade. We're about halfway done with pressure washing all the old brick in preparation for paint. We'll probably start painting this week. The porch will hopefully get framed this week and our siding should start going up. Here's a little brighter pic of the siding color. The brick will be painted the same color to give the house some better curb appeal.

Friday, April 22, 2011

New siding

Our siding arrived first thing this morning. It's overcast here today so it's a little hard to see the color. It's kind of bluish gray. The color is flagstone by Certainteed in their Mainstreet line. Our corners and window trim are all white. Hopefully we'll see it go up next week. And sometime in the next few months we'll be painting the brick to match.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Midweek weekend

No window in the shower anymore, but at least the tile got to stay
You just can't get any more flush than that... really
If I had a before pic this would be more dramatic... but take my word for it - this wall was mostly dark green and black

I took today and tomorrow off to burn some vacation time and make use of the beautiful weather here in Arlington. The crew finished the beam install and took down the rest of the rear wall. Good news - when they removed the wall it didn't damage our only bathroom interior. You can see in the first pic that the wire lathe is untouched. On the other side of that is the bathtub tile. The window came out so we have a semi-outdoor shower now, but hopefully we've seen the last of freezing temps! The black piece at the bottom of the wall is actually our bathtub. You can see that it sits directly on the joists with no floor under it. from the basement you can see the whole tub. And now from the basement you can see the new dining room... not for long, though. When people say "they don't build things like they used to" I think... no... no they don't. These days we actually put floors in the house before we put shit on them. And we don't build walls 10 inches thick of brick and block with a 1/2" space for little pieces of wood nailing strips and no insulation. These days, things are built BETTER. Sorry old timers.

My projects for the day were spreading some bug-be-gone to start killing off the ants, crickets, grubs, etc that seem to outnumber our grass by the millions. This was step one of getting our lawn back. Next step is weed killer everywhere then scrape everything up. After that we'll throw down some new seed and fertilizer and by summer we should have a proper lawn. I also cut off half of the brick ledges on the old windows. An angle grinder with a diamond blade chewed right through the bricks. They are flush and ready for our picture frame trim. Using the diamond blade was a complete mess and I was covered in brick dust. Not my favorite thing to do, but it'll make the trim look nicer and make installing it a little bit easier.

Last thing I did was to power wash the side of the house that's in the shade the most. It was covered in mildew and moss. I should have taken a before because that power washer ate through everything and the brick looks great. Ready to paint in a few weeks after the rest of the house is power washed. This was equally messy as I was covered in mud and moss as well as being pretty well soaked. At least the weather was nice.

Not sure what tomorrow will bring, but our siding is being delivered on Friday so stay tuned to see some pics of the color we picked out.

UPDATE - Here's the before pic of the left side of our house covered in crud -  Gross

Big beam

The beam to hold up the new addition went in today. It did not look easy! No idea how much it weighed, but my guess is 800 pounds or so.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Half a weekend

Saturday was a bust so we did some appliance shopping and measured out our new kitchen. We're pretty much set on what appliances we're going to order and the layout of the kitchen.

Sunday we moved the broken up driveway to where the new patio will be. We'll fill in the dirt and smooth out the area in the coming weeks. We'll probably have a small foot or so retaining wall on the edge of the patio and maybe a step coming out of the french doors. The old asphalt will just help fill in the area before we compact the soil and prep for the patio. We still don't have the pavers or stone picked out, but we have a general idea of the patio layout. We also cleaned out the shed and built some shelves in the back to help keep it better organized.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Front porch

They started the framing for our front porch today. Its not much to look at now, but we're one step closer to start using the front door again.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

We have a roof

This turned out to be a very productive construction day. The roof is coming along nicely. They're actually still working right now and I suspect they'll be going until dark.

The roof is not very steep so you can barely see it from the street or yard. I also threw in one more gratuitous view of our new doors plus the anatomy of a 1950's brick and masonry block exterior wall. I guess it must have been cheaper back then, but man that must have been a lot of work to build! It definitely looks like a lot of work to take down.

Doors installed

The patio doors were installed today. They installed them backwards, but at least they're installed. They're supposed to be outswing doors so they'll flip them around so the doors open to the outside. Simple fix. They look great though.

The pocket for the steel beam is ready to go for the kitchen, but they're starting on the roofing to knock as much of that out as they can today and tomorrow. The steel beam isn't needed at the moment since we have two temporary walls in its place.