Archive for the ‘Basement beam’ Category

I often need to look at previous posts or older pictures to remind myself of how much progress we are making. It’s been two months since my last post and although progress is slow, I can see that some things are getting done. Some have more progress than others.

Gutters: We ordered the gutter materials back in March so we could be ready to work on this project as soon as the beam was at a good stopping point. We have gotten one section of the porch roof installed without a down spout for now. This first section is our learning section. How much pitch do we need, rivets vs. crimping of the end cap and down spout transition, height of the gutter in relation to the roof edge, etc. We are very happy with this first section. The color is a perfect match to the trim and fascia and the gutter fits well. We may need to flash in the gutters but we figured that’s something we can do any time. We also learned that on the north side of the house, the long straight run, is higher in the front than the back. We installed the gutter parallel to the roof where it will have the right pitch.

First section of gutter along on side of the porch. No downspout yet but a splash block at the bottom.

Temporarily installed gutter along north side of house.

Beam: all the new beam parts and posts are in. We still need to connect the old beam to the new with bolts and threaded rod and put in spacers between the two parts of the beam but we are saving this work for a rainy day or a too hot to work outside summer day.

2 sets of double posts.

Two posts on one side and 1 post on the other plus a new beam under each side of the walls of the stairway.

Porch ceiling: I took down the porch ceiling last summer. The exercise started with me just planning on scraping the ceiling so we wouldn’t have lead paint chips in our dinner. I got so frustrated scraping that I promptly switched to pry bar and hammer and took down the ceiling. This spring we had a lot of birds visit our exposed rafters and one bird couple stayed and laid eggs. The European Starling is now raising four baby birds in our ceiling. We think the babies will fledge within the next week and we have started installing the ceiling. We got fir bead board that I finished in the same stain as the soffit. All I do is run the belt sander across the sides and hand sand the grooves. Then I just apply one coat of stain and let it dry. A. has been using trim screws through the tongue instead of nails. The ceiling joists are long and bouncy and nailing would have been too hard. A. also put in hurricane ties and other ties to bring our porch up to building standard.


Porch ceiling almost done, just waiting for the birds to fledge

I like the warm color of the natural beadboard finish

Garden: I have been plugging away at the garden. I built two small raised beds for the top of the retaining wall. I planted beans here in a row and will probably add some winter squash with a trellis. The idea here is to have the beans grow up on supports to make a visual screen from the ugly apartment building on the other side.

Raised beds with trellis for beans

This method seems to have worked well for our neighbors so I thought I’ll give it a try. The one thing I don’t like about our backyard is that it is totally exposed and that we have zero privacy back there. I don’t mind it so much for the garden but I would like to eventually have a permanent screen for the upper portion so we can hang out back there. In the garden, I am creating more space for vegetables. I have more tomatoes this year and I am utilizing more of the space around the perimeter for veggies. I have been removing more Daylilies and I am also trying to kill more grass by covering it up with cardboard and hay. I would like to not have to mow back there at all and even though the hay paths will require some maintenance every year, I hope that it takes less overall time than mowing every week.

Garden with more space for veggies. Paths are not quite done yet but getting there.

Some apples on the espalier Honey Crisp.

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A beaming update

Progress has been good on the beam project. We have all three sections of the new beam up and we have been jacking up the house. Although this has been straightening out the doorways along the beam direction, it has been making the doorways to the bedrooms out of square. We have a plan to fix this but for the time being, the cats just have to locked into the public side of the house during the night.

Today, we measured the level of the beam across the length and learned that the sag wasn’t too terrible anymore. On the first post set, we decided that we are good and put the new wooden posts in place. Everything lined up well and we had no problems setting the new posts. We didn’t quite achieve level across the two posts but the difference in minor.

First sets of posts installed

We have been working on other projects that are associated with this beam project. Yesterday, A. redid the water pipe from the meeter across the house where it branches off for the kitchen and bathroom. It’s pretty handy to have a master plumber at hand and I have gotten pretty good at cleaning and fluxing fittings. We also had to redo some wiring as it was going through the load bearing wall. This was pretty uneventful and we didn’t have to be without overhead lights for too long.

The weather here has been unseasonably very warm with temps in the 70s and 80s for almost two weeks.

March 3rd, 2012

We were skiing on March 3rd and it was in the 70s the next weekend. This weekend, March 24th, the fruit trees are leaving out, the tulips are blooming and I mowed some grass. We turned off the heat over two weeks ago and have been sleeping with the windows open. The house got up to 75 one day and our thermostat alerted us with a high temp alert. The warm weather makes me feel like we are behind on our projects because I feel like we should be working on the siding and gutters, but it is still only March. I did make some progress on painting some of the hanger brackets for the gutters and also realized that I forgot to order one part.

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Last weekend we poured the footings for the new posts we will be installing for the beefed up basement beam. On Friday, we purchased 5120 lbs of concrete mix, that’s 64 80 lbs bags or 2.5 tons or two loads in the sprinter. Luckily, the store was able to load the pallet right into the back of the sprinter with the fork lift so we only had to move each bag once. We hauled about 55 of those bags down into our basement. We rented a 3 cubic foot concrete mixer and on Saturday, we proceeded to mix 2 bag batches over and over again. After about 25 batches, all of our small graves were filled and we only had to return 13 bags to the store.

A. watching the concrete mixing

You can see both the front and back footing are done and we are working on the 3rd.

Over all, this project could have been a lot worse. Moving the concrete bags worked out alright and the little mixer we rented worked out well, especially fitting down our narrow basement stairs.

We were done with the concrete work on Saturday night and A. was able to finish up screwing up the heat transfer plates for the radiant heating and install insulation under the bathroom. We still have two bags of insulation left to install under the bedroom floor. We are holding off on this project to keep some heat toward the basement.

This weekend we plan on drilling the holes in the concrete that will hold the epoxy anchors for the post footings and ledger board that will hold the new beams on either side of the stairway. We won’t be able to do much else as we just ordered the supplies yesterday. With the extra time, we hope to work on some gas piping and electricity for the dryer. We realized this winter that drying laundry inside adds too much moisture to our house and that we end up running the dehumidifier to remove the moisture. Running an electric dehumidifier is more expensive that running a gas dryer so we decided to get a used dryer from a local appliance rehab place. With our super mild winter, we will probably be able to dry our laundry outside again in a few weeks but we might as well get this project done if we have the extra time.

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