2011/11/30Garage And Yard Ready For Winter (permalink)
The garage is now fully insulated and the gas furnace is operational. The shelving around the upper perimeter of the garage is also complete and already put to good use along with the old kitchen cupboards which were installed on the west wall of the garage.
Out in the yard, this year's section of fence is complete. The old wood piles were also cleaned up and the fire pit was relocated to make snow removal easier along the pathway to the garage. The relocation of the fire pit also clears the way for an enhancement that may be done to the driveway next year - the addition of a loop around the bushes and trees in the center of the yard.
2011/11/06Garage Interior Ready For Paint And More (permalink)
The garage interior is nearly complete and ready for paint. However, there are still important things to do. The gas furnace still isn't connected. Construction of shelving around the upper perimeter is underway. This needs to be completed so the remainder of the insulation (a second layer) can be installed in the attic. These shelves will be supported with long bolts up to the rafters and the installation of those bolts will be much easier if done before all the insulation is in the attic. Other things like workbenches and more shelving also need to be built, but that will no doubt drag on for a long period of time.
The current focus is on outside activities. I'm trying to get as much done in the yard as possible before winter sets in. More landscaping work was done earlier this fall. Most of this work was at the back and right side of the garage and along the west side of the driveway right up to the street. All this should greatly improve the drainage next spring as water now has a clear path from the back alley to the street along the west side of the property.
Work is also well underway on more fence. This fence runs around the south west corner of the property. It will eventually connect with that build last year on the east side of the property, but that will have to wait until next. All the fence posts and the wood that contacts the ground are in place, so freezing temperatures won't affect the rest of the fence construction. Like last year the fence will be built as individual panels and now those panels can be built in the garage, so this activity can be completed at any time. However, the sooner it's done the sooner it will stop the snow from drifting in from the west.
Last but not least, the storage containers were relocated to the back of the garage and the old storage shed was move a bit to the south east. This opens up the center of the back yard which should make it easier to clear snow around the front of the garage this winter. It will also allow landscaping to be done in the center of the back yard, but that will be something for next year.
Speaking of snow, I finished cleaning up the middle of yard late yesterday and not long after it started snowing and it's still snowing this morning.
2011/09/28Garage Exterior Complete And More (permalink)
The exterior of the garage is complete, including electrical plugins, a light by the small door, and eaves troughs.
The garage door openers were also installed a few weeks ago thanks to the help from my friend Kendrick. That task was a bit more difficult than it had to be because there was no room between the door and the ceiling for the openers. The tracks for the doors had to be modified to create the necessary space.
Last but not least, a couple weeks ago there was a tree service crew in town, so I hired them for a few hours to prune all the dead branches from the big trees out front. Afterwards it took me a couple days to clean up the trimmings. In hind-sight I should have hired them to do everything :-)
2011/08/20Garage Exterior Nearly Complete (permalink)
This week more progress was made on the siding, soffit, and fascia. The end of that is very near.
A yard light was also installed on the front of the garage and a natural gas line was run out to the garage from the house for the gas heater that will eventually be installed. I did the trenching work and the local plumber installed and tested the line. The gas heater is a direct vent sealed combustion unit, so a thimble was installed in the back wall for the combined intake/exhaust pipe to pass through.
A few readers have asked, so I should mention that the siding being install on the garage is HardiePlank® Lap Siding. Its installation is actually a two person job, but with those simple brackets I fabricated out a few pieces of wood I was able to eliminate the need for a second set of hands. The brackets hold the siding in the correct position giving me plenty of time to pre-drill and nail it.
2011/08/13Garage Siding Over Half Done (permalink)
The siding installation is going well. It's now well over half done. The soffit and fascia are coming along as well.
2011/08/06Garage Siding Installation Begins (permalink)
Over the past week trim was installed around the windows, a drip edge was installed along the foundation, corner boards were installed, and the installation of the siding began. As you can see from the photos the colour scheme is the reverse of the house, green siding with white trim. And, unlike the house, the siding and trim is pre-painted so there will be nothing do after it's up other that a few minor touch ups here and there.
Also note that some grass is starting to grow were the old garage used to be.
2011/07/28Garage Ready For Siding (permalink)
Over the past week all the windows and doors were installed along with the house wrap and an exhaust fan.
2011/07/21Garage Shingled (permalink)
The garage is shingled and the old garage that straddled the west property line is gone.
The shingling of the garage dragged on for a few days longer then it should have due to the weather. If it wasn't the heat it was the wind, but it's all done now. The garage was shingled with a 30 year asphalt shingle and not cedar like the house, but like the house the a ridge cap venting system was used to conceal the vents and provide even venting throughout the roof.
Those days when it is was too hot or windy to be on the roof were used to get rid of the old garage that straddled the west property line. Most of the contents of that old garage, a couple Red River carts and a sleigh owned by the Willow Bunch Museum and some of the flooring from my house, was moved into the new garage. Everything else, including the garage itself was hauled to the dump. Once the old garage was empty, I used my chainsaw to bring the garage down and cut it up into pieces that could easily be hauled away.
My fire pit was also rebuilt.
2011/07/14Garage Ready For Shingles (permalink)
The garage is standing and ready for shingles!
I had the walls ready for lifting just over week ago. Then last Thursday morning 8 guys were over to help lift them into place. I had everything ready to go before they arrived so it took us less then an hour to lift the walls and anchor them in place. My brothers Norm and George stayed around for a few more hours after that to help put the rafters up.
Over the past week I finished up a few framing details and finished sheeting the wall and roof. This took a little longer then it should have due to various distractions, but one welcome distraction was the installation of the electrical service to the garage. I wasn't expecting to get that done so soon, but things just happen to work out just right for the electrician on Tuesday. That job took the better part of a day, not including the work to clear path for the trench, work to backfill and compact the trench, and the task of recreating my patio area and fire pit (something which has yet to be done).
Lately the temperatures have been near 30°C and the forecast is for more of that and even a few days of above 30°C so that will affect the installation of the shingles. Hopefully it doesn't delay things too much, because the rest of the material needed to complete the exterior (windows, doors, sidings, etc.) will be delivered in about a week.
2011/06/30Spring/Summer 2011 (permalink, one year ago...)
The long cool wet spring is finally over. This week we finally hit temperatures around 30°C and it looks like they will be around for a while.
The focus this spring and summer is the construction of a garage. This will be a much need workshop to do all the wood working that remains inside the Telegraph Office.
The design work begin back in earl April. Once the size and placement of the building were finalized it was time to get the site ready for concrete. That dragged on until early June due to the cool wet weather. The slab was done at the start of the second week of June and the actual garage construction began in the last few days of June.
There is currently enough material on site to build the exterior shell and shingle the roof. All of that should be done in the next week or so.
Windows were ordered a few weeks ago so they should be delivery sometime soon. All the rest of the material needed to finished the exterior (doors, siding, etc.) is readily available so that work will begin as soon as the building is up. The garage will be almost the complete opposite of the Telegraph Office, in that its exterior will be as maintenance free as possible.
Like past years, landscaping and gardening activities have also taken place this spring and summer. A side walk was poured in the front of the house with the concrete that was left over from the garage slab. Afterwards some grass was planted along the sidewalk and on the west side of the house. That happened just before we had the big rain, so its growing quite well already.
2011/03/31Winter 2011 (permalink)
Here goes another long overdue update ...
This winter will definitely go down as one of the longer ones. By late last week it was finally looking like spring was really here for good then this weekend we had another big snow storm. This year's snow melt was already behind last year's, so the extra 14 inches or so of snow that fell this weekend will put us way behind. Last year this time I was already well into some landscaping work in the back yard. On April 1 last year it was already reasonably dry, so I had a bobcat in to do some work in the back yard. Right now the back yard is very wet, partially under water, muddy, and covered by about a foot of snow!
This winter I haven't done too much work on the house and instead I spent a lot of time on other activities. I did further research into the history of the of the Telegraph Office, where I uncovered some very interesting details that will be unveiled at a later day. I also spent some time on a few community projects and spend a lot of time working on some business ventures.
With that said, some work was accomplished inside the house, including the installation of some closet shelving, the completion of the trim around the kitchen window (the prototype for the rest of the house), the construction and installation of new stairs for the basement (replacing the temporary ones created back in August 2008), and the drywalling and painting of the basement stairwell.
2010/12/272010 Wrap Up (permalink)
Ok, I know it's been a while since my last update ... I've been busy.
My fence is now complete, at least the first 96 feet of it. The remaining 400 feet or so will be done next year.
The exterior is almost fully painted. All that remains is a small portion at the top of the basement and the inner portion of the windows on the first floor. At least all the high stuff is done, so the scaffolds are now gone for good.
Unlike last winter, the house is finally fully sealed up, including things like the vapor barrier around the windows, doors, outside taps, and vent pipes.
Our first snow fall arrived on October 26. It did not stay, but it was enough to put an end to most outside work and it convinced me that it was time to get a snowblower. It also confirmed that the days are numbered for the big old trees out front, especially the one in front of the kitchen, near the street light. The snow and heavy winds that accompanied it took down a large branch which narrowly missed the building to the east.
Before winter set in for good I managed to sort through a lot of the old lumber I saved during the original demolition. The most important of which is the old flooring which I'm going to try to re-install in the new year.
Since then I have been working in the basement, where I completed drywalling and painting the two spare rooms and the storage space under the east lean-to. I also installed a suspended ceiling in the two spare rooms. With that done I was able to empty out the large rec-room area in the basement, giving me space to prepare the old wood flooring for its re-installation.
That concludes the work for 2010. Here are some of the year's highlights in case you missed them:
The siding together with the front deck really finished off the look of the exterior of the building and the fence really helps the make the place stand out.
2010/09/30Broken windows... (permalink)
Yes, broken windows is what many people thought when they saw the boarded up windows, but fortunately that wasn't the case. I spent a good part of the month completing the seal on the inside of the windows. The final part of that required the lower sash to be removed for a long period of time while I stained and varnished the wood, so boards where used to keep the elements out. The trim details around the windows will be completed later this fall or winter.
This month I also completed the front deck and got a start on a fence.
2010/08/30Siding Complete!!! (permalink)
When the siding was delivered almost a year ago I knew the weather was going to impact its installation, but I did not realize how much! The rain, sun, wind and high humidity and temperatures were all big factors in the installation and painting of the siding and trim. That is especially true on the south (back) side of the building which is flooded with sunlight for a good part of the day, unless of course its not cloudy and raining. But, despite all that, it's finally done and the building exterior nearly complete. There are still a few details to take care of, like some painting on the windows and the installation of some trim work around the top of the basement, but those are relatively minor in the grand scheme of things.
It sure is nice to no longer see any house wrap!
2010/07/31Street view taking shape... (permalink)
The view of the building from the street is taking shape and approaching that 1909 look that is being sought by the restoration project. All the siding and trim work is now installed and painted on the front of the building. That includes the door and window for the coal shed (east lean-to). A front deck was also built to match the original one. And, modern eave troughs were installed protect and extend the life of the building exterior. Those eave troughs did not exist in the early days, so an attempt was made to conceal them by matching them to the color of the exterior trim.
Fill was finally delivered for what will eventually be a garage pad in the back yard.
2010/06/30Siding Going Up (permalink)
Good progress is finally being made on the siding. Between the rains that is!
The siding install is somewhat of a slow process. Partly because all boards are being back-primed before installation. Research indicates priming the back side of the siding will extend the life of the paint so the extra effort now should save time and money in the long run.
The 3 side walls are all done, including paint, and back-priming of the boards for the big front wall is underway. The building is starting to really show it original look.
The last couple days were extremely hot and the forecast is for more heat and plenty of sunshine, so I built some shading next to my containers to make the priming of the siding a bit easier.
By the way, the garden and new front lawn are growing good!
2010/05/30Rainy Season (permalink)
We are finally done with winter, but now is seems we are into a rainy season with more frequent periods of rain then is normal. As such, I've only been able to do limited work on the outside of the building. Most of the corner boards and flashing are in place so the installation of the siding will begin soon.
All is not lost with the wet weather outside as good progress is being made with the drywall work in the basement.
Between the rains there was also time to plant a small garden and many opportunities to use the fire pit to cook up some awesome burgers!
2010/05/02Spring Has Arrived (permalink)
Spring has arrived ... well, not quite. For the last couple days it's looking more like winter with the return of snow. Prior to that the weather was quite good allowing me to spend lots of the time out in the yard.
Plenty of dead branches were pruned from the trees. A couple of old garage pads were removed (one of gravel and one of concrete) to make way for some landscaping and improve drainage for the backyard. Work has also started on the base for new garage. The top soil from that area was use to fill in the hole left by the old garage pads and to finish leveling the backyard near the house. Some grass was seeded in the front yard but it still hasn't come up yet and the recent snow fall will delay that a bit longer. The front driveway entrance was widened slightly to make easier to get in and out of.
On those days when the weather isn't co-operating my time is spend inside. A few weeks ago I built the shelves for the upper kitchen cabinets. I also starting to get the basement ready for drywall and am in the process of anchoring the interior partitions to the floor. The temporary basement stairs will likely live on for quite some time to come, hover I did rework the upper flight to get a better feel for what the final stairs should look like.
I'm in the process of acquiring doors for the interior of the building. A couple weeks ago I got several doors from an old house in town just before it was demolished. Some of them just happened to be the right size for the second floor so they were installed for now. The originals will need some TLC before they can go back in.
I'm looking forward to getting started on the siding, but overnight temperatures are still too low for painting. That's ok because there are plenty of other things to do.
2010/03/13Museum Room Painted (permalink, one year ago...)
The dyrwall work and painting in the museum room (telegraph office) are now complete. The colors and paint scheme used for this room are based on the the originals. The room was also painted with a brush, instead of a roller, to produce a finish more like the original. The fleur-de-lis decoration around the top of the walls near the ceiling was hand painted using a stencil made from a preserved section of the original wall.
2010/02/19Dining Room and Hall Painted (permalink, one year ago...)
The work to finish drywalling and painting on the main floor continues. The dining room and hall are now done. Just one room left, the museum room (telegraph office).
2010/01/30Den Painted (permalink, one year ago...)
With the exterior doors out of the way I no longer need the museum room (north west room on main floor) as a workshop so I am now able to finish drywalling and painting the main floor. This week I completed the den and have moved on the the lower hall. Note that the color of the den is very close to the original color of the room. That color is clearly visible on a section of the original wall which used to separate the den and museum rooms (something saved for the museum).
2010/01/20New Doors Installed (permalink, one year ago...)
The work on the new exterior doors is now complete and all 3 are painted and installed. Note that colors used on the doors are those which will be used on the rest of the exterior once the siding is installed. All the siding and window sashes will be painted white like the doors and the trim will be green like the brickmold. This color scheme is like that originally used on the building. The green color was retrieved from a good sample found during the demolition.
2009/12/312009 Wrap Up (permalink, one year ago...)
According to history, the Willow Bunch Telegraph Office was moved to its present location in 1909. For that reason, when this restoration project began back in 2007 the plan was to try and complete it in 2009 on the one hundredth anniversary of that move. Well, as you probably know, that didn't happen and there still is a lot of work to do. However, plenty of good progress was made since the project began and 2009 was no exception. In 2009 there was a lot of noticeable progress and some significant milestones. Here are the highlights of 2009:
Yes, a lot has happened since the end of last year, but the most significant milestone of 2009 was that fact that I was finally able to move in towards the end of September. The interior is still too much of a construction zone for me to bother with a Christmas tree and decorations but I did manage to install a small string of Christmas lights outside. Have a look at the photos for that and my most recent work in the lower bathroom and that on the new exterior doors (adjusting the jamb thickness and creating/installing the brickmold).
2009/12/09Update, December 9 (permalink, one year ago...)
Winter is now upon us. The accumulation of snow is minimal but temperatures are well below normal. It has been between -20 °C and -27 °C for a few days now, so my new furnace is getting a work out. When it was installed we weren't 100% the size was correct, but now it looks like that is the case. It is a 2 stage 60,000 BTU unit and it is able to keep the house nice and warm using only the first stage (40,000 BTU). The second stage only kicks in when he programmable thermostat needs to raise the temperature a couple degrees (early in the morning or early in the evening). It might be a bit different if we had big winds with those -27 °C temperatures, but that's ok because the house is not fully insulated yet. My attic hole is only covered with a loose piece of drywall, I still haven't installed my new doors, nor have I finished insulating around the windows and doors (need to build out their jambs first).
Before winter arrived I did complete most of the work I wanted to get done outside. I wrapped up the work on my driveway and stone wall, created a drainage path from the back yard out along the east side of the house, built a deck for the back door and completed several other activities, including using up the rest of that dirt pile left over from the basement and using up the rest of my gravel pile.
Once the outside work came to an end my attention switch to my lower bathroom. There still are a few details to be complete there (a mirror, a light over the vanity, closet and vanity doors, base boards, and a door) but other then that it is now fully functional. Needless to say, it sure is nice to finally have a functional shower! I used that shower for the first time tonight and it was good to see that the HRV was able to quickly remove the humidity from the room.
2009/11/12Landscaping Update, November 12 (permalink, one year ago...)
A few weeks ago it seemed the onset of winter was near, but that is no longer the case. The fall weather is holding and we even had a few fairly warm days, so I'm spending most of my time outside landscaping.
The new driveway on the west side of the house is now functional. However, it won't be fully complete until next year when the concrete apron is put in place.
The final remains of the old asphalt driveway on the east side of the house are gone. At least that portion which was on my property. The removal of the old driveway significantly improved the drainage on the east side of the house.
All the top soil in the new driveway area was removed and used for landscaping in the front and back yards. Afterwards a solid driveway base was created with good clay from that pile left over from the basement. Yes, all this dirt was moved by shovel and wheelbarrow but that turned out to be the easy work. The removal of the old sidewalk and the remains of the old driveway required a lot of trimming with a hammer and chisel.
2009/10/24Overdue Update, October 24 (permalink, one year ago...)
My work on the Willow Bunch Telegraph Office has transitioned to a much more relaxed pace since my last update on Oct 3. The 'move in' milestone took months of 10 to 12 hour days, 6 and often 7 days a weeks. The plan was to maintain that pace in order to get the siding on before winter arrives, but mother nature had other plans.
Since my last update, we had rain and then snow and sub-zero temperatures which basically put an end to the plans for installing the siding. It is just too cold for painting and it would be a bad idea to leave the new lumber exposed to the elements until next spring.
That's ok though. The exterior of the building can stay as it is until spring and there is plenty of other inside work to keep me busy for the winter. However, I haven't done too much of that yet. I did install some task lighting for the kitchen counter and I am in the process of installing the HRV.
Just before the weather turned bad there was time to install some steps for the front door. And, the weather did improve over the past week allowing me to do some landscaping.
Lilacs were transplanted to complete the hedge along the west side of the lot. Another hedge was also started on the east side of the lot just behind the house. Those lilacs came from the area that will become part of the new driveway.
Over the last few days a rock wall was built along the back of the house. Today large hole created by the removal of the lilacs and top soil was filled in and the large tree limbs stored in the south west corner of the lot were moved to open up the path for the new driveway.
2009/10/03Weekly Update, October 3 - moved in! (permalink, one year ago...)
A MAJOR milestone was achieved this week. I am finally living in my new house, the Willow Bunch Telegraph Office!
Needless to say, the bulk of the week was spent on last minute details required to make the place a bit more comfortable, more like home. I setup my dining room table, installed a proper thermostat for the new high efficiency furnace, removed a lot more dust, sorted through and unpacked things that were boxed up for nearly two years, and so on.
I actually got moved over last Sunday, so the place is already starting to feel like home.
2009/09/26Weekly Update, September 26 (permalink)
The week began with the delivery of my siding, which was promptly stored away in my orange container. The installation of the siding and my new doors should begin in a few days or so ... if the nice weather holds.
My current priority is to get enough completed inside so I can move in. To that end things are progressing well. The kitchen cabinets and counter tops are done and so is the duct work to connect the kitchen and upper bath to the HRV. The kitchen sink, faucet, food disposal, and dish washer are all connected and ready for service. The washer and dryer are also ready for service down in the laundry room.
The next thing to do is some clean up to make the place livable.
2009/09/19Weekly Update, September 19 (permalink)
This week was mostly spent on the kitchen cabinets, but there was also whole lot of other things on the go.
On Monday I got the roots cleaned out of my sewer pipe. That turned out much better than I expected. The fellow who did the work figured my sewer line was in much better shape then many others he has done.
My kitchen cabinets are now all built, including the island, and the finishing work has begun. Today I stained them and in a few days they will be varnished. If it looks like the cabinets aren't quite complete, that is correct. The cabinet doors, shelves, and drawers will be built later this winter. The plan is to build the cabinet faces from some of the old v-groove boards that were saved from the original kitchen. The size and placement of the shelves and drawers will be determined at that time.
This week I picked up the laminate material for the counter top and some MDF that will be used as the substrate. I also picked up the plumbing parts that will be need to connect the kitchen sink and the dishwasher. An HRV (air to air heat exchanger) was also ordered and the duct work needed to connect it to the kitchen and up bath was obtained. That duct work will need to be installed before the lower cabinets are put in place once and for all.
The duct work for dryer vent was also obtained and added to the pile of things that need to be done around the house.
One of the more noteworthy activities this week is that my siding is finally on its way. A truck picked up the lumber this morning in Creston, BC, and it should be here in Willow Bunch first thing Monday morning.
Last, but not least, I also picked up the three new exterior doors for the house this week. They need to go in before the siding goes on.
2009/09/12Weekly Update, September 12 (permalink)
This week the installation of the furnace and water heater were completed. The contractor installing the furnace went as far as installing the transitions on the plenum (metal box above the furnace) and I did the rest of the work to tie the furnace into the hot air ducts I installed earlier this year. Everything turned out quite good and the air flow to all registers is better then expected.
The delivery of my siding is imminent, so I finished cleaning out my orange container. It will be used to store the lumber until is primed and installed.
The construction of the kitchen cabinets is progressing well. The lower cabinets are done ... at least for now. Yesterday I ordered some laminate to build my own counter top. That should be here before the end of this coming week.
I haven't been able to get the roots cleaned out of my sewer pipe yet. The contractor installing my furnace does have a machine, but it's broken. I've got another fellow lined up for Monday and a contingency plan in place if that doesn't materialize.
Yesterday I picked up my dryer and an over the range microwave / vent hood unit.
2009/09/05Weekly Update, September 5 (permalink)
This was a very significant week. It started out with some usual stuff like painting the up stairs hall and powering up the stove, but it ended with the installation of the furnace and water - something I have been waiting on for many months.
The water heater is now producing hot water. It still isn't starting up quite right yet, but that is likely due to air in the new gas line.
The furnace is ready to produce heat, but a bit more duct work is required to connect it to the hot air ducts in the house. Yup, the ones I installed many months ago.
The bulk of the furnace and water heater installation is being done by a contractor, but it required a lot of my time as well since it's like trying to fit a square peg in a round hole. Some of you more observant readers out there will notice that ran the direct vent pipes out the west side of the house. That had to be done so they won't conflict with plans for the back of the house (a deck, air vents, etc). Yes, I know some of you are saying "but, they are visible from the street". Well, all I can say is that at least they are not visible in the primary view (ie that picture at the top of the page) and besides they can easily be concealed with some bushes.
The spare time I did have during the week was spent on the detailed design of my kitchen cabinets and today I picked up some material to start building them.
All is not good news though. Last night I discovered a problem with the sewer line going from my house to the street. It's something I suspected for a while but now it is for certain. There are tree roots growing in the pipe and severely restricting the flow. After talking to the town foreman and the local plumber, it appears it is relatively common problem and something that should be easily cured with a roto router type tool. If not, it will have to be dug up! The guys installing my furnace and water heater are suppose to have one of these roto router tools, so I'm going to get them to bring it along when they come out to finish the job.
2009/08/29Weekly Update, August 29 (permalink)
Another week of good progress was made. There is now a functional toilet and temporary sink on the second floor. The kitchen and guest bedroom are now painted. Like the master bedroom, they have one coat of primer / sealer and one of paint. The second coat of paint will be applied once the volume of work in the house slows down. Next spring perhaps?
The second floor hall is now ready for the primer / sealer. That was somewhat tedious due to the desire to keep the drywall dust within the hall. All the doors to the hall were sealed and a fan was used to exhaust the dust from the house.
All the appliances, except for the dryer, arrived on Friday like they were supposed to. The dryer is still scheduled to arrive next Friday.
More clean up was done in the basement to ensure the installation of the furnace and water heater goes smoothly. High efficiency direct vent models will be installed and the exhaust and fresh air supplies for both will pass through the west wall of the basement.
This week we also rounded up a few more of my possessions and moved them into the house.
2009/08/22Weekly Update, August 22 (permalink)
It was quite a busy week with several different activities on the go. The most significant is that the master bedroom is now painted and furnished. Ok, there is no flooring or trim work yet, but at least the room is far enough along that it can serve as a bedroom.
The second floor hall is ready for its last coat of mud and both the kitchen and guest bedroom are undergoing their final sanding before painting. The kitchen only has a few minor touch ups that need to be sanded. The guest bedroom isn't quite that far along, but it's not too far behind.
Enough primer/sealer and paint was purchased to complete the upper hall, guest bedroom and kitchen, so with any luck those will all be painted before the end of this coming week. Primer was also purchased for the exterior of the windows. They will need to be re-primed before they are painted. On that note, the color selection for the exterior is nearly finalized. Which is good, because the milling of the siding and exterior trim boards is complete and the lumber will be ready for shipping in the next few days. For that reason, most of the contents of my orange container was moved into the house to make room for the new siding.
The appliance purchase was also finalized this week. Everything should be here by next Friday except the dryer. That will take any extra week for delivery.
Arrangements were also made to get a furnace and water heater installed. Work on that could began before the end of the coming week.
During one of several shopping trips this week I came across an interesting tool for sanding drywall. It's a simple hand sander that connects to a vacuum cleaner. It really cuts down on the volume of dust created during sanding.
Topics: 2009, Drywall, Equipment and Tools, HVAC, Interior Reconstruction, Misc, Plumbing, Siding, Windows
2009/08/15Weekly Update, August 15 (permalink, one year ago...)
This was a short week for drywall finishing. Sunday I spent on yard work. I cleaned up my lumber piles, created a fire pit, and created an area for my barbeque. Tuesday afternoon was spent hauling out debris from Sunday's yard work and taking photos of a fire at a nearby feedlot. Friday I went to the city to shop for new appliances, paint, and misc supplies. This morning was spent filling in a couple sink holes created near the basement by the 4 inches of rain we received last night. And, some time was spent earlier in the week on an internet connection for the building. The Telegraph Office now has its first high speed internet connection and its first Wifi network. A couple communications technologies a lot faster then the telegraph system used in the building a hundred years ago!
The guest bedroom on the second floor now has its third coat of mud, the upstairs hall has its second coat, the kitchen has its third, and the lower bathroom has its second coat.
2009/08/08Weekly Update, August 8 (permalink, one year ago...)
It was mainly another week of drywall finishing. I hung the last bit of drywall in the dining room then continued to apply mud and tape. All the joints on the second floor, except for those in the bathroom closet, are now taped. The master bedroom now has its third and possibly its final layer of mud. The guest bedroom has its second. I was hoping to do little to no sanding of the drywall mud and end with a skim coat of mud over the entire surface of the drywall to get a finish similar to that of the old plaster. Well, that's turning out to be harder then I thought. The tools and the mud just aren't cooperating, or I'm just not good enough with a trowel yet to avoid the sanding. Time will tell if a skim coat is feasible.
Taping has also started on the first floor after a major clean up there. All the joints in the kitchen are taped and a second layer of mud has already been applied there.
This week some time was spent cleaning up the basement so the furnace can be installed should I be successful in getting some over to do that. Something I've been working on between coats of mud!
Today I had to get some more mud. I was also going to pick up my new doors, but as luck would have it all 3 arrived at the lumber yard damaged so they won't be coming home just yet.
This afternoon was spent giving my Jeep some long over due TLC.
And, if anyone is counting, today is roughly my 500th working day on this project!
2009/08/01Weekly Update, August 1 (permalink, one year ago...)
The week was once again spent on drywall. I finished hanging all the drywall on the first and second floors, except for one wall in the dining because I ran out of material. Afterwards I got going on the finishing and am nearly finished taping and applying the first coat of mud on the second floor. The second floor bathroom is the only room not done, but it's about half way there.
Towards the end of the week I made another trip for material. I picked up a bunch more mud, drywall tape, and the drywall I need to finish the dining room and most of the basement. Note the photos of the simple slide I created to get the drywall into the basement. With that jig, which only took a few minutes to create, I was able to get over 40 sheets of drywall into to the basement by myself in about half an hour. Ok, gravity did most of the work and I just guided the sheet into the right place!
2009/07/25Weekly Update, July 25 (permalink, one year ago...)
Most of the week was spent hanging more drywall. I completed most of the small pieces we skipped last week. I also installed the cement board around the tub in the lower bathroom and install the exterior vent for the dryer. The first and second floors are nearing completion. All that remains are the walls of the dining room, part of one closet on the second floor, and a portion of the second floor bathroom.
I had to make a trip to the city yesterday, so I was able to pick the material that was holding up the installation of drywall in the dinning room (some duct work and wiring for the HRV). Today I installed the duct work for the upper bathroom vent (it will eventually connect to a HRV (air to air heat exchanger) in the basement. I also installed the wiring for the control of the HRV from the second floor bathroom and insulated the ceiling in the dining room to silence noise from the plumbing for the second floor bathroom and that from a whirlpool tub which may be installed in the upper bathroom.
This week I also ordered all the siding and trim boards for the exterior. The siding is being custom milled to match the original exterior of the building. That material should be on site before the end of August.
2009/07/18Weekly Update, July 18 (permalink, one year ago...)
This week the interior underwent the single biggest one week change so far thanks to a great deal of help from my brother Norman. We installed drywall in every room on the first and second floors and except the dining room. As you can see in the photos, most rooms still need some drywall, and some much more then others, but it was a huge accomplishment just the same, especially when you consider that nearly every sheet of drywall had to be cut for an electrical box, window, door, or crooked wall or ceiling.
At the end of the week I picked up the toilets, the tub for the lower bathroom, and the kitchen sink and garborator. The new tub for the lower bathroom was put in place so the cement board and drywall installation can now proceed in that room.
2009/07/11Weekly Update, July 11 (permalink, one year ago...)
The bulk of the insulation and vapour barrier are now in place and a large portion of the building is ready for drywall. A couple trips were made to get the majority of the drywall required to for the first and second floors and a large portion of that required on the second floor is up there and ready to be installed.
This week the taps for the kitchen and lower bathroom sinks were purchased and the toilets, tub for the lower bathroom, and the kitchen sink and garborator were ordered. Three new doors were also ordered for the house. They are the insulated metal kind similar to those already in the house, but at least they will have frames suitable for replica wood doors when a suitable supplier is found.
2009/07/04Progress Update, July 4 (permalink, one year ago...)
This week the plumbing work was completed. The copper water lines to the laundry room, bathrooms, kitchen, and outside taps are all soldered together and tested. The only connections that caused any grief were the thread connections on the taps. All the soldered connections, there was a lot of them, were flawless!
Almost all of the electrical circuits are now energized. Those yet to be connected are simple single outlet circuits like the one for the range or that for the dryer.
Work is now underway to finish up the installation of the insulation. The insulation removed for the electrical work has now been re-installed and the installation of the extra layers in the attic is in progress. Once all the insulation is in the vapor barrier will be installed and then it will be time for drywall.
This week I also spent one more day helping with that roof I mentioned last week. That roof is now done.
2009/06/27Progress Update, June 27 (permalink)
This week the plumbing drainage and venting system was successfully tested. For that test the base of both stacks and all the trap arms were plugged and then the entire system was filled with water to ensure there are no leaks in any of the joints. That test was somewhat stressful, especially when water started gushing out of a couple locations. But, those leaks turned out to be nothing more then a couple loose clean-out plugs.
The last bit of blocking (needed as backing for the drywall) was installed on the second floor. Many of the electrical circuits were energized. And, the installation of the hot and cold water lines is also progressing well.
This week I also spent a few days helping with the roof on another historic building in town that is being restored. I am exchanging a bit of my time for the use of some scaffolds and a drywall hoist.
2009/06/20Progress Update, June 20 (permalink, one year ago...)
Another week and some more good progress.
The wall in the kitchen, the ceiling in the dinning room, and the floor in the upper bathroom closet were shimmed to conceal the plumbing. But, most of week was spent on electrical wiring and a major milestone was achieved!
The rough wiring is, for the most part, complete and all the temporary construction wiring is gone. The Electrical Inspector has also given me the go ahead continue on. So, I can now finish up the insulation work, install the vapor barrier, and install the drywall.
However, before I do that I am going to install light switches, simple light fixtures, and receptacles then connect the new wiring to electrical panel to test out the system before covering it up. As you can tell by some of the photos, that activity is progressing well.
I also still need to test out the plumbing drainage and venting system and install the water lines before some of the wall and ceilings in the dinning room, upper bathroom, and master bedroom can be closed in.
2009/06/13Progress Update, June 13 (permalink, one year ago...)
The full week was spent on plumbing. The rough-in of the drainage and venting system is now complete and ready for testing.
2009/06/06Progress Update, June 6 (permalink, one year ago...)
A lot of important progress was made since the last update.
The plumbing systems were designed, the supplies required to build them were acquired and, work has begun to install them.
Most of the supplies required to complete the wiring were also acquired and more work was done to wrap up the outstanding electrical wiring.
Some of the road blocks to completing the electrical work were taken care of. For example, the walls for the laundry room were completed and permanently anchored into place. However, a few more road blocks remain, including a few structural modification required to accommodate the plumbing. The wall between the kitchen and dinning room will need to be made thicker to allow more space for the plumbing stack. The stack fits in the existing wall but more space (another 1 1/2 inch shim) will ensure there is room for sound deadening insulation. The floor above the dinning room isn't thick enough to accommodate the plumbing that will be installed there so the second floor joists will need to be shimmed down by 1 1/2 inch. These changes will have a small impact on the position of some electrical boxes.
2009/05/28Wiring Update 7 (permalink, one year ago...)
The majority of the basement wiring is complete. Only the furnace and laundry room areas remain.
Most the telephone and networking cable is also installed. That's all the gray cable in the photos. It's Cat5e cable which will be used for telephone lines, computer networking, and TV (ie HDMI via HDMI extenders). Four (4) separate Cat5e cables to each room run from a centralized point in what will be the media center in the basement. One will be used for regular telephone lines, one for computer networking, and the other two for HDMI. That's a whole lot of cable (about 900 feet and 36 separate strands so far) so you can be sure they are clearly labeled. Most of this cable may never get used given the advances in wireless technology, so it was installed as a contingency only. It is a whole lot easier to do that now then it will be once the drywall is installed.
Yesterday, I reviewed all the electrical work so far and finished up a few loose ends in preparation for the electrical inspection. There is still work to do before the inspection can be scheduled (the basement work mentioned above, a few more circuits in the kitchen, the exterior lights and plugs, etc.) but that list is definitely shrinking every day.
Earlier in the week I also got around to completing the hot air duct work in the east part of the house.
2009/05/23Basement Wiring (permalink, one year ago...)
The tops of the basement walls are now anchored in place and work is underway to install the wiring in the basement.
2009/05/21Basement Walls (permalink, one year ago...)
The last few days were spent on the interior basement walls. Most of them are built now, but a few minor details need to be taken care of before they can be permanently anchored in place.
Work has also started on the assembly of the ducting for the kitchen, lower bathroom, and east part of the basement.
2009/05/17HVAC Update 4 (permalink, one year ago...)
The cold air return system is complete ... at least for now. Some of the passage ways will only be finished once the drywall is installed. The connection to the furnace also requires more work, but that will have to wake until I get a furnace.
With the bulk of the duct work complete, more progress can finally be made in the basement. The partitions for the west side of the rec room and the basement bedrooms were built. That wasn't quite so straight forward because the basement walls need to float. The floating nature of the walls will ensure any movement in the basement floor will not be transfered to the building above.
2009/05/12HVAC Update 3 (permalink, one year ago...)
The hot air ducts in the north half of the main building are now connected to the north trunk line. The cold air return system is also starting to take shape.
2009/05/08HVAC Update 2 (permalink, one year ago...)
The last three days were spent on the HVAC (Heating, Ventilating, and Air Conditioning) system. The south half of the main building is mostly connected to its trunk line. Just a few more screws and some joint tape is left to be installed there. The trunk line for the north half of the main building is nearly ready to be connected to its outlets. All the take-offs are in place but they still need to be permanently affixed to the trunk.
This duct work is turning out to be much, much easier then I original thought it would be.
2009/05/05Landscaping (permalink, one year ago...)
I spent the day on house cleaning, yard cleanup, and some landscaping. Lilacs were transplanted from the backyard to the front of the house. Those moved are ones that will be displaced by the new driveway. And, they were moved to the north east corner of the house were the old driveway used to be.
2009/05/04Basement Windows (permalink)
Today some course gravel was installed along the sides of the house to keep the water coming off the roof from eroding the soil near the basement. After that the new basement windows were installed
2009/05/01HVAC Update 1 (permalink)
The last few days were focused on the HVAC (Heating, Ventilating, and Air Conditioning) system. I gave up on trying to find a contractor to install the bulk of the duct for the heating system and decided to do that myself. On Monday I completed the design of the duct work and went to the city to pick up most of the parts needed to implement it. The last few days were spent installing duct work.
By the way, we did get a lot of moisture (rain and snow) over the last few days, so it was a good that I put that extra dirt around the house last week.
2009/04/26Wiring Update 6 (permalink, one year ago...)
I've been so busy I kind of forgot to post some updates!
Since the last posting more good progress was made on the wiring, even though only part of my time was spent on that. The first and second floors are nearly ready for the Rough Wiring Inspection.
Last Sunday I started cleaning up my bushes in the back yard. Once the weather is right, I plan to thin them out and transplant the extras around the yard.
On Monday I took the entire day off to help move the Willow Bunch Library.
On Tuesday a good part of the day was spent adding dirt around the house. The backfill around the basement had settled to the point where water could start to accumulate too close to the house so it was time to do something about it in case the forecast for rain and snow materializes.
On Wednesday I had to make a trip up to the city and yesterday most of the day was spent at an auction sale over at my neighbor's. I acquire a few more tools and other items for my building at the sale.
This week I also received one quote for the HVAC and plumbing work. Based on that it looks like I will end up doing a good part of the work myself. That's because the labor required to install the all the duct work in the house is just too high.
Last, but not least, I also finished framing in the opening for the closet in the second floor bathroom.
2009/04/16Wiring Update 5 (permalink, one year ago...)
More good progress was made on the electrical wiring over the last few days.
The asphalt from the old driveway was also hauled away and replaced with dirt.
Late today I started to work on the opening for the closet in the new bathroom on the second floor.
2009/04/13Tree Removal (permalink)
Today I removed the tree from the north east corner of the house. I wanted to remove that tree ever since I started work on roof. That tree overhung the roof, even after all the pruning last year, and that could severely impact the life of the new roof.
Note the scaffolds in the pictures. I used them to cut the tree from the top down to ensure it didn't end up on my roof or my neighbors!
After I finished cleaning up from the tree removal, I had a bit of time so I started to remove the old driveway.
2009/04/11Wiring Update 4 (permalink, one year ago...)
I ended the week with some good progress on the wiring. With some more help from my brother Norman I got the wiring pulled into the den, dinning room, lower bathroom, and good started in the kitchen. I also started to make the connections at the boxes.
2009/04/09Wiring Update 3 (permalink, one year ago...)
Yesterday's time was equally split between the indoors and out. Gravel was put on the west side of the house to complete the walkway along what will eventually be the new driveway. Gravel was also put at the front of the house to create a walkway to the front door. Both walkways make it easier to move around the house without stepping in the mud.
Electrical boxes where installed on the second floor. Most of the boxes are now in place on the second floor. Only some in the bathroom are left to be installed.
The bulk of today was spent installing wire. My brother Norman was over and with his help we got most of the wire pulled into place for the second floor and we made a good start on the first floor.
Over the last few days time was also spent tracking down a supplier for the exterior siding. Thanks to my brother Ron, one was found in Creston, BC. This supplier will be able create siding that is an exact replica of the original siding and at a reasonable price. All I need to do now is to find a trucking company to transport the lumber.
2009/04/07Wiring Update 2 (permalink, one year ago...)
The last three days were mainly spent installing electrical boxes, but I also had to spend some time on the finer details of the kitchen layout. It's now time get very specific about the placement of counters, cupboards, and appliances in the kitchen to ensure the electrical outlets end up in the right place.
Most of the electrical boxes are now installed on the main floor, and some good progress was made on the second floor.
I also did a bit of clean up in the back yard to encourage the mud near the house to dry up. And, I installed some gravel along the back of the house to form the basis of the new walkway that will go around the west side of the building.
The search for a new plumbing and heating contractor continues. I had a visit today by one contractor. He now had the information he needs to supply me with a quote for the work.
2009/04/03Wiring and More (permalink, one year ago...)
During the last few days I cleaned up the basement, started building the basement partitions, and installed a bunch of electrical boxes.
I also had to start hunting for a new plumbing and heating contractor. The guy I had lined up to do the work told me this week that he won't be able to get to my job any time soon, if ever
2009/03/31Misc (permalink, one year ago...)
This morning I picked up the windows for the basement. They are Jeld-Wen windows and there were purchased through Westrum Lumber in Assiniboia. Unlike my previous attempt to get windows for the basement, this time the windows arrived on schedule and in perfect condition.
This morning I also picked up the lumber to build the interior partitions in the basement.
After lunch I installed some more blocking on the second floor and installed a few electrical boxes.
2009/03/30Framing Work - Day 54 (permalink)
Today I worked on the closet for the master bedroom. It's the one at the end of the second floor hall. This closet was changed back to its original configuration with a door in the bedroom.
I also installed blocking and vapor for the new bathroom wall.
And, last but not least, I updated the sketches of the building layout tonight to reflect the current floor plans.
2009/03/27Framing Work - Day 53 (permalink, one year ago...)
A good part of the day was spent moving more stuff into the new container. Most everything that needs to be removed from the main and second floors of the house is now in the container. About 20 bundles of shingles I had in storage at my brother's place were also moved into the container. And, some items were moved from the old storage shed (the former back porch on the house) to the container to make it possible to move around in there and allow it to be used as a more convenient parking spot for my lawn mover.
At the end of the day I did another mock up of the kitchen to confirm that my new layout with a fixed island will work. After that I build remainder of the wall for the new bathroom on the second floor.
2009/03/26Framing Work - Day 52 (permalink, one year ago...)
This morning I started building the wall for the new bathroom on the second floor.
After lunch I took deliver of my second storage containers. This one is blue and it's much newer and in much better condition then my old orange container, even though that one is nothing to complain about.
After we unloaded the container I immediately started to move stuff into it from the house. I want to get everything moved over before the snow starts melting again, creating another lake in the back yard.
2009/03/25Framing Work - Day 51 (permalink, one year ago...)
The last few days were spent on the details of the heating, air conditioning, ventilation, plumbing, and electrical systems. Specifically, I was looking at how all those systems are going to be routed through the floors and walls.
I also installed more of the blocking required to properly support the interior partitions. Those blocks are being installed in such a way that their impact on the routing of the various systems are minimized, but their presents is definitely posing more challenges.
There are clearly some challenges in routing all the systems, so cardboard cut outs are being used to help visualize the placement of things like the hot air registers, furnace, water heater, and fixtures in the second floor bathroom.
This afternoon I decided to make a major change in the layout on the south side of the second floor. The bathroom will be moved to the east side of the floor from the west in order to simplify the routing of the various systems. The bathroom was originally going to be put on the west side because that's were it was before and it originally was going to be connected as an ensuite to the room on the north side of the floor.
2009/03/21Framing Work - Day 50 (permalink, one year ago...)
Today I finished building the wall that runs east-west across the main floor, but only after relocating all the wood that was stored in the north west corner of the house. The section built today separates the den and telegraph office museum. Blocking was also installed under the sub-floor along the full length of the wall because it rests in between two floor joists.
Yesterday's effort to drain the lake in the back yard worked out well. All of the water, except for that in a low spot directly south of the orange storage container, was gone by morning. However, by mid afternoon the water was on the rise as the snow in the surrounding neighborhood started to melt once again. The level did not get as high as yesterday because the water now has a good escape route to the street.
It is kind of good that we had all the snow this winter. Because of it this spring's run off is creating a good opportunity to understand what will need to be done when the entire yard is landscaped. It is also showing that the grading done around the house last fall is working as intended, keeping the water away from the basement.
2009/03/20Lower Bathroom - Day 3 + 4 (permalink, one year ago...)
The last couple days were spent completing the construction of the walls for the lower bathroom.
A good part of today was also spent trying drain the lake that has formed in the back yard due to the spring run off. I also spent some time purchasing and arranging for the delivery of another storage container.
The container will allow me to empty out the house to make it easier to work inside. It will also give me a place to store the appliances and various fixtures I will eventually need to acquire for the house. The container is supposed to be delivered next week, but I may not be able to put it in the back yard right away due to all the water.
2009/03/18Lower Bathroom - Day 2 (permalink, one year ago...)
Yesterday I had to make a trip to Regina to pick up my mother up at the airport, so I took that as an opportunity to do some shopping for electrical supplies. And, because of that, I spent all day Monday working on the list of material that will be required to do the wiring.
Today I got back the lower bathroom after I finished unloading the supplies. I spent some time figuring out how the duct work will be run for the exhaust fan in that bathroom. Then afterwards I did some more work on the walls. I completed the construction of the south wall. That's the one with the door. It now extends up to the ceiling joists.
2009/03/14Lower Bathroom - Day 1 (permalink, one year ago...)
Today it was time to give the lower bathroom some attention. Most of the day was spent building the walls for the lower bathroom, but that was preceded by the installation of a slight extension to the floor for the fridge and pantry.
Late in the afternoon the plumber was over to help finalize the plan for the installation of the furnace and duct work and the that for the routing of the plumbing up to the second floor and roof vent.
2009/03/13Main Stairs - Day 3 (permalink, one year ago...)
The installation of the stairs is basically complete. A few more nails and screws will need to be added to fully secure them in place, but they are functional as they are now. No more using a ladder to get up to the second floor!
The door between the Telegraph Office (north west room on the main floor) and the dinning room (room south of the hall) was framed in this morning so gyproc could be run right across the south side of the hall. The remainder of the wall between the Telegraph Office and the den will be built as soon as I find another place to store the wood sitting in that space.
2009/03/12Main Stairs - Day 2 (permalink, one year ago...)
Making good progress with the stairs. This morning I put the entire staircase in place to ensure it was going to fit, and to my surprise it fit back together quite well. It is almost one year since the staircase was taken down, so it was nice to see it all back to together again even though the finishing needs a little bit of TLC.
After lunch I built the south wall of the front hall. This wall is a replica of the original.
Towards the end of the day it was time for some vapor barrier and drywall. Tomorrow I will finish with the drywall and permanently re-install the stairs.
2009/03/11Main Stairs - Day 1 (permalink, one year ago...)
This morning I finished installing insulation in the area between the floors. That concludes the insulation installation for now. The house is insulated well enough now that the temporary electric heaters are able to maintain a comfortable working temperature. In fact, by mid afternoon the larger 4800 watt electric shut off for the first time since I let the heat go into the entire house two days ago. The house is now at a comfortable working temperature of 8 °C and the large heater only kicks in occasionally for brief periods. I have been looking forward to this day for so long. It is so nice to be able to work inside in comfort without a jacket or gloves
I am now focusing my attention on the re-installation of the main stairs. The afternoon was spent getting the lower section ready for installation. The decorative wood on the bottom side was removed to get access to the underside of the stairs, but only after numbering all the pieces. I am in the process of repairing some cracks in one of the stringers and am fixing up the base where the stairs come in contact with the floor.
2009/03/10Insulation - Day 6 (permalink, one year ago...)
This morning the temperature outside was -30 °C and the heaters in the house were struggling to keep the place above 0 °C. At one point in the morning, I did my usual tap opening to make sure the water line was not frozen and the water stopped running
Well ... almost. I could hear ice in the line then it went from the regular flow to just a trickle. Fortunately this only lasted for a short period of time then the regular flow returned and it stayed that way throughout the rest of day.
I began the day by insulating the upper 4 feet of the basement walls then I spent the rest of the day working on the transition between the first and second floors. By end of the day I had only a small area on the north wall left to go.
The insulation in the basement and that in the area between the floors made a big difference. By the end of the day the house had warmed up to about 8 °C and the temperature was still climbing, yet the outside temperature was still around -24 °C.
One might think warming up the house during such a cold spell is pointless given the forecast for much warmer temperatures in a few days, but that is not the case. This exercise has provided valuable data which I can use to validate my furnace sizing calculations. It's also much easier to spot improperly fitted insulation with the large temperature differential from outside to inside
2009/03/09Insulation - Day 5 (permalink)
Today I insulated the roof and more of the walls on the second floor. More insulation will be installed in the roof, but the first layer is enough to heat the house.
The tarp retaining the heat in the basement was opened and the larger heater was moved up to the first floor.
The heat has been going since mid afternoon and the house is gradually warming up. Shortly after 8pm it was about +3 °C inside while the outside temperature was -24 °C.
2009/03/07Insulation - Day 4 (permalink, one year ago...)
Today I finished installing the rafter vents. The vents go a little higher into the attic then they need to, but at $0.75 each it was not worth it to try and make them fit just right.
I ended the day early to help with the phones for the final day of the local Auto Lotto radio telethon.
2009/03/06Insulation - Day 3 (permalink, one year ago...)
Like yesterday, I started the day helping with the phones for the local Auto Lotto radio telethon. Do you have your ticket yet?
I decided to make a trip to Moose Jaw after my shift on the phones to pick up the rafter vents required for the roof. And, when I got home I made some good progress with their installation. Once they are all installed I will be able to start insulating the roof.
As some have observed, I will need to leave some insulation out so the electrical wiring can be installed. Well, that's kind of a chicken and an egg scenario. Electrical wiring must not be installed in sub-zero temperatures, because that can damage the thermoplastic insulation on the wires. Therefore, my plan is to install most of the insulation so the interior can be brought up to and maintained at a reasonable working temperature should the cold temperatures in the forecast materialize. I fully understand that some insulation will subsequently need to be removed for the installation and inspection of the wiring. However, my wiring plan is such that wiring runs in the exterior will be used sparingly, so the need to remove insulation will be minimized.
Speaking of wiring. I received my electrical permit yesterday so I will be able to proceed with that once I'm done with the insulation and interior partitions.
2009/03/05Insulation - Day 2 (permalink)
I started the day helping with the phones for the local Auto Lotto radio telethon. It's an annual lotto and telethon used to raise money to support the local golf course. The Telegraph Office was built in the early 1900s and starting serving as the telegraph office in 1904 on a site south of town. The exact location is not know but it is believed that it was next Jean-Louis Légaré's trading post which was located in the area now occupied by the golf course.
The rest of the day was spent installing insulation. The bulk of the main floor is done and some good progress was made on the second floor. However, the challenging transition between the first and second floors remains to be done.
2009/03/04Insulation - Day 1 (permalink, one year ago...)
The day was spent installing insulation. That work is progressing well. The insulation isn't too irritating and for the most part it's fitting well. The area near the second floor joists is a bit tedious but I'm starting to get the hang of dealing with those awkward spaces.
I can't insulate any of the sloped roof area right now because I need to acquire and install some rafter vents first. They are rigid foam extrusions which will ensure that a two inch air space is maintained between the insulation and the roof decking. I couldn't get any of these in Assiniboia, so I will likely have to make a quick trip to Moose Jaw or Regina one of these days.
2009/03/03Interior Details (permalink, one year ago...)
I spent most of the time since my last posting working on the details for the interior re-construction. The electrical plan is taking shape and late last week I submitted my application for an electrical permit. I will be doing the wiring myself.
Late last week I also ordered windows for the basement. This is my second attempt at that. The AllWeatherWindows I ordered via the Co-op Lumber Yard in Assiniboia early last August were damaged when the arrived at the lumber yard (broken glass, damaged screens, and significant scraps and gouges on the PVC frames). After the units arrived at the lumber yard I was told that I could take them like that and AllWeatherWindows would come out and fix them in good time. Well, I'm sure glad I didn't do that and opted wait until they were fixed. It took AllWeatherWindows a couple months to fix the glass and screens, but damaged frames have yet to be fixed. If they were wood windows that wouldn't be a problem because one could easily fix and repaint them, but that PVC stuff cannot be fixed nor can it be painted. AllWeatherWindows claimed they had a special compound to fix the scraps and gouges, but that was back in November and the product has yet to materialize. Needless to say, I am completely turned off by AllWeatherWindows and the Co-op Lumber Yard in Assiniboia. I ordered the new windows from a different dealer and they are made by a different manufacturer. They are still PVC windows, because no makes an all wood basement window, but this manufacturer is supposed to be much better at shipping their product and much better at dealing with any issues that may come up with the windows.
Yesterday I picked the lumber I need to build the remaining interior partitions on the first and second floors. More lumber will be needed for the partitions in the basement. I also picked up a few sheets of drywall and ordered all the insulation I will need for the building.
The few sheets of drywall will be used on the walls around the second floor stairway. That area won't have any electrical wiring so it can be closed in right away. That will allow me to re-install the stairs.
This afternoon the insulation was delivered, so I spent the time before that getting ready for the delivery, making room for all that material in the house. I also trued up the partition in the north half of the main floor and fully nailed it into position.
Last but not least, it was +10 °C today and the snow was melting quite good, so I spent some time making sure all the run-off stayed away from the house.
2009/02/23Framing Work - Day 49 (permalink)
I spent the morning trying to come up with an optimum layout for the second floor bathroom. After lunch the weather was too nice to spend inside so I went and did some work at the house.
The afternoon was spent closing in the exterior wall surface of the new closet above the kitchen. A hole was left open in the center of the wall to provide future access to the kitchen attic space. A small door or cover will be created to cover this opening.
2009/02/21Framing Work - Day 48 (permalink)
I spent the morning hauling out a large pile of wood (old siding, wood scraps, etc) that accumulated over the past few months.
This afternoon I installed one wall on the south half of the second floor. Then I spent the rest of the day working on the layout for the second floor bathroom. It will be challenge to route all the plumbing and the Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) ducting up to the second floor.
2009/02/20Building Layout (permalink)
Information on the building layout was added to the website to make it easier for you to follow along with the work on the inside of the house. See the Building menu item on the left for more details.
2009/02/20Framing Work - Day 47 (permalink)
I spent the day re-installing the interior walls on the second floor. Those on the north half of the floor are now affixed in their final position. However, a few more nails and some additional support blocks are required.
2009/02/19Framing Work - Day 46 (permalink, one year ago...)
Today I finished the door opening between the kitchen and dinning room. After that I finished installing the vapor barrier between the first and second floors and nailed down that small strip of plywood along east and west walls of the second floor. With that done I can now permanently install the partitions on the second floor.
At the end of the day I installed a 4x6 post to form the north side of the new entrance to the basement.
Like they say, the devil is in the details, but I am making progress with them. Once all the interior walls are in place I will be able to start on the wiring and insulation.
2009/02/18Framing Work - Day 45 (permalink, one year ago...)
I spent the day working in the kitchen. It started with the completion of some minor details on the front a back walls (ie finished shimming the walls for more insulation). After that angular blocking was added at the intersection between the east wall of the kitchen (now a support beam) and the ceiling joists of the kitchen.
The original construction is such that there is no room for insulation at that intersection, especially now that a proper air space will be maintained below the roof sheathing. The blocking will create space for insulation.
I also started to rebuild the east wall of the kitchen and towards the end of the day, work started on the door opening between the kitchen and the dinning room. I'm shifting that opening to the right a bit to create more usable space in the kitchen. I'm also enhancing the structure of the opening to better accommodate the weight of the second floor and roof above it.
2009/02/17Framing Work - Day 44 (permalink)
I spent the day completing the work started on the east lean-to yesterday.
I also spent some time at the end of the day with another mock-up of the bathroom layout. After going through several iterations, in the virtual world on my laptop, and in real life in the house, I confirmed that the layout selected last summer is best. However, there is a change with the door. The original plan was to use a pocket door due to space limitation, but it turns out that a regular swing door will work in the space available.
2009/02/16Framing Work - Day 43 (permalink)
I spent the day working on the east lean-to. I'm adding a second 2x4 wall inside the exterior wall to make a smooth transition with the 2x8 basement. The studs on this second wall are offset from those on the exterior wall to increase insulation value of the overall wall.
I'm also adding 2x4 ceiling joists to make room for more insulation in the roof of the lean-to. Like the wall studs, the 2x4 ceiling joists will be offset from the 2x6 rafters to increase the insulation value of the roof.
The day actually started by the removal of the cover that was used for the last few months to keep the heat in the basement. It was replaced with a tarp.
2009/02/13House Wrap and Windows - Complete (permalink, one year ago...)
I finished installing the house wrap and temporary trim around the roof and below the windows today.
The exterior work is complete for now. New doors and siding will be installed later this year. The basement windows will go in as soon as they arrive.
2009/02/12House Wrap and Windows - Day 5 (permalink, one year ago...)
Installed the last three windows today and worked on the house wrap (taped up the joints, cut a strip for the west wall, etc).
2009/02/11House Wrap and Windows - Day 4 (permalink, one year ago...)
Installed five windows today, three on the back wall of the main floor and two on the front wall of the second floor. There are only three windows left to install, the small window in the stairway and two on the back wall of the second floor.
The wind calmed down after the windows were installed so I was able to install house wrap on the north east corner of the house.
2009/02/10House Cleaning (permalink)
It was too windy all day to install house wrap and kind of miserable to install windows, so I spent the day inside cleaning up. The building feels more spacious now. The four windows already installed make it so much brighter inside. I'm really looking forward to completing the window installation.
On that note, I moved the second floor windows upstairs and started preparing the remaining main floor windows for installation.
2009/02/09House Wrap and Windows - Day 3 (permalink)
We had very little wind all day, so I was able to make good progress with the house wrap installation. The hard to reach areas of the front and back walls are now done and all but one window (that in the stairway) can now be installed.
2009/02/08House Wrap and Windows - Day 2 (permalink, one year ago...)
This morning I tried to install house wrap on the back wall of the house, but by the time I got the area cleaned up the wind refused to co-operate.
After lunch 3 more windows were installed. Then the sill of the front door was repaired and that door was installed. But, unlike the windows, the installation of the front door is only temporary. All 3 exterior door will be replaced with ones that more closely match the originals.
2009/02/07House Wrap and Windows - Day 1 (permalink, one year ago...)
Yesterday I made a trip to Moose Jaw to pick up some house wrap and a few other supplies I need to get on with the next activity, the window installation.
Today I started installing the house wrap and permanently installed the first window!
2009/02/05New Roof - Complete (permalink, one year ago...)
After 63 working days, the new roof is finally complete!
The roof was actually finished just before lunch, so I had the rest of the day for other work. I finished installing a few small peices of OSB above some of the door and window openings. Then I completed the framing details of the front wall on the second floor, including strengthening up the center 2x4 at the top of the wall to provided good support for the flag pole which will be mounted there.
2009/02/04New Roof - Day 62 (permalink, one year ago...)
The day was spent on the roof and it's very close to being done. There is less then 3 feet of ridge cap to go.
2009/02/03New Roof - Day 61 (permalink)
The morning was spent indoors. I finished bolting the last few second floor joists into place, then I did some work on the new closet space created in the attic above the kitchen.
After lunch I returned to the roof top. It's over a month and a half since that work was put on hold due to the weather, so it took a little while to get back up to speed. This afternoon I closed in the access hole I was using to get onto the roof, so I now have to climb up there from the outside using a rope attached to my roof top scaffold. The last few courses of shingles were installed on the west side and the east side only has two courses to go in the area under the scaffold, so I should be installing the ridge cap tomorrow.
2009/02/02Framing Work - Day 42 (permalink, one year ago...)
The day was spent up on the second floor. After a bit of clean up, the interior partitions were moved back into their original positions. A bit work is required before they can be permanently secured into position.
A strip of plywood was also installed along the east and west walls. That completes the new sub-floor, however those strips can't be nailed down until a vapor barrier is installed.
Lastly, the west wall was shimmed to 2x6 thickness.
2009/01/31Roof Trim - Day 7 - Complete (permalink, one year ago...)
The installation of the soffit and facia is complete.
Note that the soffit on the front gabble end was notched for the flag pole which will hopefully be re-installed later this year.
2009/01/30Roof Trim - Day 6 (permalink)
The end of the roof trim work is near. The installation of the soffit and facia on the west side of the roof is complete and good progress was made on the front gabble end of the main roof.
2009/01/29Roof Trim - Day 5 (permalink)
Today the soffit and facia were installed on front side of the lean-tos (kitchen and addition). The installation of the soffit on the west side is also well underway.
2009/01/28Roof Trim - Day 4 (permalink, one year ago...)
The day was spent fabricating and installing the soffit and facia for the north east corner of the main roof. Like the east lean-to, this soffit has screened holes for ventilation.
2009/01/27Framing Work - Day 41 (permalink)
I finished installing the bulk of the OSB today. There are just a few small pieces left to install over some of the window and door openings. More of the soffits along the back of the roof were also installed. There is only one small piece left to install there. And, last but not least, the back door was re-installed.
2009/01/26Framing Work - Day 40 (permalink, one year ago...)
Today I worked on the back wall of the kitchen. I shimmed the wall to a 2x6 thickness like all the other walls and installed a few sheets of OSB on the exterior.
2009/01/24Framing Work - Day 39 (permalink, one year ago...)
I spent the first half of the day on clean up detail. I sorted through and discarded some electrical wiring and material salvaged during the demolition. I also moved all the old windows in the house to my storage container.
The rest of the day was spent on the east wall. I finished cutting out the opening for the stairway to the second floor. It was left until now because it provided valuable working space on the second floor. Afterwards I shimmed the front half of the east wall to a 2x6 thickness like all the other walls.
2009/01/23Roof Trim - Day 2 (permalink, one year ago...)
The very cold temperatures have returned, so I spent the better part of the day inside creating the soffits for the east lean-to. Unlike those installed yesterday, these required screen covered holes to vent the roof. By mid afternoon the soffits were ready to install, so I didn't let the cold deter me from that and the installation of the facia board.
2009/01/22Framing Work - Day 38 (permalink, one year ago...)
The installation of the OSB on the back wall of the second floor was completed today. The soffits were also installed on main roof at the back of the house and one of the facia boards was test fitted.
2009/01/21Framing Work - Day 37 (permalink, one year ago...)
The framing work on the back wall of the second floor was completed today and good progress was made with the installation of the OSB.
2009/01/20Framing Work - Day 36 (permalink)
The day was spent working on the rough openings for the two windows at the back of the second floor. The last two that need attention.
The framing around these two windows was mostly replaced. However, that work isn't quite done.
2009/01/19Framing Work - Day 35 (permalink, one year ago...)
I finished installing the OSB on the west wall and began work on the back wall. The two old windows on the second floor (something installed in the 90s) were removed and so was the last bit of original siding on the house. This brings the demolition work on the building to an end once and for all.
2009/01/18Framing Work - Day 34 (permalink, one year ago...)
Finished installing the OSB on the front wall today.
2009/01/17Framing Work - Day 33 (permalink, one year ago...)
More good progress was made on the front wall today. The work on the structure is complete and the installation of the OSB is moving along.
2009/01/16Framing Work - Day 32 (permalink, one year ago...)
I spent the day working on the front wall of the second floor. The window opening in the centre of the wall, something created in the early 90s, was closed in. The original window opening on the left (east) was also repaired and that section of the wall was shimmed to accommodate more insulation. Work is now underway to repair the original window opening on the right (west).
A chinook blew in over night and the melted a fair amount of snow today. This warm weather above 0 °C is forecast to last for several more days, so I may soon get a chance to finish the work on the roof.
2009/01/15Framing Work - Day 31 (permalink, one year ago...)
Yesterday it was a bit too cold to work outside, -24 °C, so I took it as an opportunity to go in exchange the window for the kitchen. That window had a significant manufacturing defect and Loewen decided to build a replacement window instead trying to fix it. The replacement window arrived in Moose Jaw on Tuesday, so I went up there yesterday to complete the exchange.
This morning I did a bit of work on the scaffolds. I need to fabricate a couple braces so I can extend the scaffolds up one more section to reach to the top of the front and back walls. I have the ends for two more sections of scaffolding but don't have the diagonal bracing to go with them so I'm fabricating some out of 2x4s.
After lunch I got back to the OSB installation. I finished installing the OSB on the east side of the second floor of the main building and the east side of the lean-to.
After I finished with the OSB I shoveled some snow in the back yard. As you no doubt noticed in my recent pictures, we are definitely getting a lot of snow this year. I'm shoveling snow almost everyday for one reason or another. Today I needed to get to some lumber that buried next to my pile of OSB.
I ended the day by removing the old windows front the front wall of the second floor. Tomorrow I will start to fix up those opening so they will be ready for the installation of the new windows.
2009/01/13Framing Work - Day 30 (permalink, one year ago...)
Today I increased the height of the scaffolds and removed another eight feet of siding from the front wall. I also cleaned up the second floor along the inside of the front wall so I can work on the two window openings and the hole in the center of the wall.
2009/01/12Framing Work - Day 29 (permalink, one year ago...)
On Saturday the temperature went above zero, so I took that as an opportunity to pick up the lumber I will need in the next few weeks.
Today I started working on the exterior of the second floor. The siding and stairway window were removed from the east wall. Then the window opening was fixed up and the OSB installation began.
2009/01/09Framing Work - Day 28 (permalink, one year ago...)
I finished fixing up the structure of the front wall of the kitchen and then finished covering the exterior of that wall with OSB.
2009/01/08Framing Work - Day 27 (permalink, one year ago...)
Most of the day was spent on the front door of the kitchen and the corner where the front wall of the kitchen joins the main building.
I finally finished installing the 3/4 plywood strip that joins the house to the basement. It now runs the full perimeter of the house.
When the main roof was repaired a large outward bow in the east wall was removed. That created a substantial gap (nearly 2 inches) between the front wall of the kitchen and the east wall of the main building. That gap was filled with blocking and then long bolts were installed to secure the front wall of the kitchen to the main building.
2009/01/07Framing Work - Day 26 (permalink, one year ago...)
The lower portion of the front wall is done and work is proceeding around the corner.
2009/01/06Framing Work - Day 25 (permalink)
Good progress made on the exterior of the front wall today.
2009/01/05Framing Work - Day 24 (permalink, one year ago...)
The morning I had to go pick up a few supplies (eg more nails), so I didn't start working at the house until after lunch. Today I removed the door from the front wall then proceed to fix up that opening and shimmed that portion of the wall for R20 insulation. Tomorrow I will work on the exterior of the front wall.
2009/01/02Framing Work - Day 23 (permalink, one year ago...)
The first work day of the new year was spent finishing up the work on lower portion of the west wall. I also removed siding at the bottom of the front wall so the strip of 3/4 inch plywood can be installed along the basement there. By the time that was done it started to snow quite heavily so I moved inside. I cleaned up along the north and east walls so work to finish up those walls can begin. Then I ended the day by completing the work to increase the thickness the front wall of the room in the north west corner of the house (the original location of the telegraph office).
2008/12/31Framing Work - Day 22 (permalink)
Today I started installing OSB on the west wall after doing a bit of work on the old wall boards. I installed a strip of 3/4 inch plywood along the basement, like I did a while ago on the back wall, and I closed in the small door opening that used to connect the building to the SGI office.
By the way, I discovered the secret to keeping your fingers from freezing up. No, it's not a special pair of gloves or any form of heating device. To keep your fingers warm, you just need to put on more layers of clothing.
Since Christmas I've been wearing an extra layer of fleece and what a difference that makes. My fingers don't even get cold after working for extended periods without any gloves.
I always knew the theory about the body reducing circulation to the extremities in order to preserve its core temperature, but never realized that's what was happening all those times my fingers and toes got cold. The odd and dangerous thing is that when your fingers and toes get cold the rest of your body doesn't feel cold, at least until your body can no longer preserve its core temperature. So, if you frequently get cold fingers and toes, it's probably not your gloves or boots, it just your body telling you to put on a few more layers of clothing!
Well, that's it for 2008.
Hope you have a Happy New Year. Best wishes for 2009.
2008/12/30Framing Work - Day 21 (permalink)
Today I finished framing in the second window on the back wall, installed more OSB, and finished shimming the back wall in what will eventually be the dinning room in the south east corner of the main building.
2008/12/29Framing Work - Day 20 (permalink)
Today I finished framing in the first window on the back wall and started to install some OSB. I also tried one of the new windows in the window opening to confirm that they will fit!
By the end of the day I finished shimming the back wall in what will eventually be a den in the south west corner of the house. As mentioned previously, the thickness of the exterior walls is being increased to the equivalent of a 2x6 accommodate R20 insulation.
I also cleaned out the area in front of the other window (ie the dinning room) so I can start working on that window tomorrow.
2008/12/27Back To Work (permalink)
The extreme cold finally subsided, at least for now, so I was able to get back to work on the house this afternoon. It was actually nice enough that I worked for a better part of the afternoon without gloves.
I am eager to get the roof done, especially since there are only a couple days or so of work left, but I'm willing to wait for the conditions to improve some more. There is some snow on the roof which should clear off if we get a few more days like today.
I spent the day working on the back wall. I want to get the layer of OSB on there before we get a blizzard from the wrong direction, one that could drive plenty of snow into the house through all the cracks between the wall boards. But, before I can install the OSB I need to fix up the two window openings like I did on the west and north walls. Today I made some good progress on the first window opening and it won't be long before I can start installing the OSB like I did on the east addition 10 days ago.
2008/12/17Extreme Cold - Day 5 (permalink, one year ago...)
Today was my first attempt to do some work outside since the arrival of the cold temperatures. It warmed up to nearly -10 °C for a while today so I thought I would try to install some of the new OSB on the exterior of the house. I barely got one panel started before I called it quits because my figures started to freeze up. The thermometer my have said -10 °C at my brother's place, but it sure didn't feel that warm over at the telegraph office.
2008/12/13Extreme Cold - Day 1 (permalink, one year ago...)
The weather forecast came true and extreme cold temperatures near -30 °C have arrived, so work on the roof is frozen, literally!
I did get some work done today in the basement. I hooked up a new 4800 watt electric heater. It's there to ensure the basement doesn't freeze and it will only kick in if the baseboard heaters can't keep up to the cold. This heater will also be used as a temporary heat source once the house is insulated.
I did a few other minor activities, like prototyping the holes that will need to be made in the soffits to vent the roof, but I was definitely limited to work that could be done in the heated basement.
2008/12/12New Roof - Day 60 (permalink, one year ago...)
I completed the installation of the second section of ridge vent and ridge cap. More then half of the roof is now capped.
Afterwords the scaffold was moved one last time to the south end of the roof where work began to close in that section. 1x4 sheathing was installed under the scaffold followed by 3 courses of shingles. Note that one small hole was left open at the extreme south end of the roof as an access point.
Three courses of shingles still need to be installed on both sides of the roof under the scaffold before more ridge vent and cap can be installed. Yes, three courses of shingles still need to be installed. The length of the shingles gives a false impression of completion. The tops of the current course of shingles are almost touching the peak but only 4 1/2 inches of the 18 inch shingles are exposed to the weather so another 3 courses are required to finish things off. Those last three course are the slowest to install because all those shingles need to be trimmed before they are nailed down.
There is about two days of work left on the roof, but the forecast is for blizzard conditions and extreme cold weather for the next several days so it may be a while yet before the roof is done.
2008/12/11New Roof - Day 59 (permalink, one year ago...)
Today I got the next section of roof ready for the installation of the ridge vent and cap.
2008/12/10New Roof - Day 58 (permalink, one year ago...)
Today I finished installing the ridge cap on the northern section of the roof. Afterwords I moved the scaffold back about 8 feet were I started to repeat the process of the last few days. Hopefully this time around it will go a bit quicker now that I know what I'm doing and I'm much more comfortable working on the scaffold.
2008/12/09New Roof - Day 57 (permalink)
Yesterday is was a bit too cold to work on the roof, so I took it as an opportunity to head to the city to pick up a few things.
Today I completed the west side of the roof under the scaffold and then started to install the ridge vent and ridge cap.
2008/12/07New Roof - Day 56 (permalink, one year ago...)
The east side of the roof under the scaffold is complete. Two courses to go on the west side then the ridge vent and ridge cap can be installed.
The shingles in the top 3 courses all have to be trimmed to length so to speed things up I created a small table saw from my skill saw and a piece of plywood and mounted it on the scaffold.
2008/12/06New Roof - Day 55 (permalink, one year ago...)
Freezing rain over night and a miserable wind today didn't deter me from trying out the new scaffold. It worked great. I am making some good progress closing in the front part of the roof.
2008/12/05New Roof - Day 54 (permalink, one year ago...)
A chinook blew in this morning pulling us out of the deep freeze, so I headed right back on the roof.
This morning I installed 3 course of shingles on the east side of the roof. This afternoon I built a special scaffold to make easier and safer to finish the roof.
2008/12/04Misc (permalink, one year ago...)
The colder weather kept me off the roof so I spent a good part of the day down in the heated basement. I finally got around to cleaning up the concrete that had spilled into the wall cavities when we poured the basement floor.
I also spent some time inpecting all my new windows and unfortunately I found manufacturing defects on two of the windows. I reported these issues to my window dealer and we are awaiting a response from Loewen.
2008/12/03New Roof - Day 53 (permalink, one year ago...)
Winter is definitely here! The windchill today limited work on the roof, but some decent progress was still made.
The morning was spent installing the plumbing stack vent.
After lunch I couldn't install any shingles because it was just too cold, so I spent my time doing something that will speed up the progress on the roof once it warms up in a day or two. I rearranged the temporary planking in the attic to make it much easier to move around up there. After I was done with the planking I found I could do some work on the east side of the roof because it was out of the wind. I installed 3 rows of 1x4 sheathing. Only 4 rows of sheathing left to be installed but that will be done a bit later.
For the last couple nights I didn't bother to cover the opening in the roof. Last night the forecast for snow materialized but the snow did not enter the house. At least through the roof. The wind creates a flow of air out the opening in the roof and that deflects the snow away.
2008/12/02New Roof - Day 52 (permalink)
Another a windy miserable day. A colder one then yesterday, but once again that didn't slow progress on the roof too much. All the 1x4 sheathing is installed on the west side of the roof and there are only 3 courses of shingles to go on that side.
The 18 inch shingles give the appearance that the west side is done, but with the 4.5 inch exposure another 3 courses are needed to finish things off. The tops of those 3 courses will extend beyond the ridge and will need to be cut off.
Before I can install any more shingles on the west side, I need to install the plumbing vent. If you look closely at the last couple pictures taken today, you will notice that I didn't install a few shingles towards the south end of the last course. That's were the plumbing vent will go. It's near the location of the chimney in the 1909 photo and I may conceal this vent with a fake chimney some day.
2008/12/01New Roof - Day 51 (permalink)
It was a windy miserable day, but that didn't slow progress on the roof too much. I am now nearing the top on the west side, so I had to completely roll up the tarp to make room to work. The 1x4 sheathing in less then a foot from the ridge and the shingles are about 3 feet away. I will soon have to deal with the plumbing vent, the ridge vent and ridge cap, and an opening in the ridge cap at the front of the building for the flag pole.
2008/11/30New Roof - Day 50 (permalink)
Today was the most productive so far. Seven courses of shingles were added to the west side.
The west side is now almost at the same level as the east side. The west side has one more row of 1x4 sheathing then the east side, but it has two fewer courses of shingles.
2008/11/29New Roof - Day 49 (permalink)
Another productive day on the roof, despite the snowy morning. A half dozen courses of shingles were added to the west side and the sheathing is ready for another four.
2008/11/28New Roof - Day 48 (permalink)
A decent day on the roof. Four courses of shingles were added to the west side and the sheathing is ready for another four.
The sheathing in now beyond the halfway point on the west side of the roof and the shingles are not far behind. All work now is above the collar ties so things were rearranged a bit on the second floor to make is easier to get on the roof and to bring material and tools up there.
2008/11/27New Roof - Day 47 (permalink)
A good productive day on the roof. A half dozen courses of shingles were added to the west side.
2008/11/26New Roof - Day 46 (permalink, one year ago...)
A good part of the day was spent fixing one badly cracked rafter and doing the transition from the solid 1x4 sheathing to the skip sheathing (need to make sure the 1x4s are in the right place so the nails end up in the center of them!). The weather also turned ugly after lunch with a bit of snow that turned my work environment into a soggy mess. As a result, I only managed to get a couple courses of shingles down today.
2008/11/25New Roof - Day 45 (permalink)
Shingle installation on the west side of the roof is underway. It was just before noon when the shingles started to go down, yet I still managed to get four courses on before dark. Actually, it was five, because the first course was doubled up.
2008/11/24New Roof - Day 44 (permalink, one year ago...)
The roof on the west side of the house is starting to take shape. Most of the day was spent on the eave and gable end details, but there was time to make a good start on the 1x4 decking.
I decided to try something different on this side of the roof. I will cut the 1x4 boards to length after they are installed.
Like the other side, once I get about 3 feet of solid decking down I will install a layer of heavy roofing felt (eave protection) and start to install the shingles. With any luck that will happen tomorrow.
2008/11/22New Roof - Day 43 (permalink)
The first part of the day was spent hauling out the pile of wood from the west side of the roof, a pile of wood and trees that accumulated in the back yard since the summer, and the pile of asphalt shingles from the east side of the roof.
After the clean up, a bit of dirt was hauled into some low spots along the south and west walls. Then 20 bundles of shingles were hauled upstairs. Towards the end of the day the scaffolds were loaded on the trailer and moved to the west side of the house. The trailer will allow the scaffolds to be easily moved back and forth along the west side of the roof.
2008/11/21New Roof - Day 42 (permalink)
I spent most of the day cleaning up the house, removing all the debris that fell into the house from the roof. I also got ready for work on the west side of the roof. The scaffolds were moved to the west side of the floor and the lumber needed to complete the roof was moved upstairs.
In the afternoon a fellow from RM42 hauled away the debris pile that was sitting behind the house since the basement was backfilled.
2008/11/20New Windows Arrive (permalink, one year ago...)
My brother Paul and I picked up my new windows today. The new windows match the originals better then I expected. These single hung windows are all wood, except the sliders. The exterior is primed and will be painted to match the original colors on the house.
While I was in the city I found a good deal on a magnetic sweeper. It works great for picking up nails, which is good because there are a lot of nails around the house from the roof and there will be more coming from the siding removal.
2008/11/19New Roof - Day 41 (permalink)
Today I finished stripping the west side of the roof down to the rafters so the reconstruction can began.
At the end of the day I installed the tarp. As you can tell from the photos, it was getting quite dark when I finished that.
Tomorrow I'm off to pick up my new windows.
2008/11/18New Roof - Day 40 (permalink)
This morning I added a couple more courses of shingles to the east side then began to move over to the west side.
The tarps where reconfigured so that they can be used to cover the top of the east side and all of the west side.
After lunch the asphalt shingles were removed from the west side of the roof. Unlike the east side, which was done from the inside and bottom up, the shingles on the west side were removed from the outside. That kept the shingles out of the house, but it was exhausting work because I had to be anchored to the top by rope for the whole afternoon. It's amazing how my rock climbing skills are coming in to play on this project!
2008/11/17New Roof - Day 39 (permalink, one year ago...)
Today was probably the most miserable due to the cold and wind, but to my surprise it turned out to be one of the more productive. I managed to put down six course of shingles. The best day by far.
The new tarp setup is definitely a big improvement. The two smaller tarps are quite easy to roll up in the morning, allowing me to get down to the business of installing shingles quicker.
It's starting to get a bit tight for space near the peak so it will soon be time to move to the other side of the roof.
2008/11/16New Roof - Day 38 (permalink, one year ago...)
Another day, a few more courses of shingles and 1x4s.
2008/11/15New Roof - Day 37 (permalink, one year ago...)
Very good progress on the roof today. It was definitely much better then yesterday. The east side of the main roof is now half done.
My brother picked up the rest of the 4x8 OSB panels I will need to cover the entire exterior of the building. We unloaded that at the end of the day.
2008/11/14New Roof - Day 36 (permalink, one year ago...)
Today's progress on the roof was definitely not like yesterday's. We received a bit of snow overnight and that created a bit of a challenge for rolling up the tarp this morning. Actually, the tarp has always been a bit of a challenge to roll up due to its length and weight, so the extra distance up the roof and the snow only makes things worse. As such, I decided it was time to try something different so I spent the morning changing the tarp layout. I now have two smaller 16 foot tarps to roll up, instead of that massive 30 footer. I'll know in the morning if that makes things easier.
It was a bit after lunch before I got back to shingling. And, I only put on a course and a half of shingles before it was time for some more 1x4s. I finished up the day installing several more rows of 1x4s, so I should be all set to install a lot of shingles tomorrow.
I also spent a bit of time after lunch unloading some 4x8 OSB panels. My brother picked them up for me in Assiniboia today. When I removed the siding from the back wall a couple weeks ago I decided to put a layer of OSB on the building. It will provide better openings for the new windows and it will significantly improve the life of the house wrap. The stack of OSB we unloaded today, 25 panels, is less then half of what I should need for the building. That was all my brother had room for on his truck today.
2008/11/13New Roof - Day 35 (permalink, one year ago...)
I was on the roof before sunrise this morning and had a good day with good progress on the roof. The east side of the main roof is now just over one third done.
2008/11/12New Roof - Day 34 (permalink, one year ago...)
This morning I obtained some more scaffolds and setup them up inside on the second floor so that work on the main roof can continue from the inside. After that some measuring was done to ensure the courses of shingles are parallel with the peak.
In the afternoon more decking (1x4 skip sheathing) and shingles were installed.
2008/11/11New Roof - Day 33 (permalink)
Nice weather today made for some good progress on the roof. The lower 3 feet of the main roof is almost done. More would have been done, but I took some time off this morning to attend the local Remembrance Day Service.
With the hard parts done (the roof transitions), it should be smooth and steady progress to the top. The only challenges that remain are the plumbing vent stack and the ridge cap, but those won't be for a while. The plumbing vent will go on the other side of the main roof and the ridge cap will of course won't be done until both sides are done.
2008/11/10New Roof - Day 32 (permalink)
We had freezing rain over night and this morning which made working on the roof quite dangerous so I started the morning down on the ground. I resumed an activity started quite some time ago. That is, joining the house to the basement with 3/4 inch plywood. The back wall of the house is now complete.
After lunch I directed my attention back to the roof. I built a couple simple platforms on the second floor to make it easier to get on and off the roof and to provide a convenient location for the shingles and the tools. By late afternoon I got the roofing felt installed on the northern section of the main roof and started to lay down some shingles. By sunset I completed the second course of shingles on the north half of the roof. Actually, it's the third course because the first course is doubled up.
2008/11/08New Roof - Day 31 (permalink)
Spent the day working on the roof. It began with a bit of trimming of outer edge of the top plate along the east side of the main roof. Like the east side of the kitchen, the top outer corner of the top plate was cut off to ensure an adequate air space exists below the roof decking.
I finished shingling the kitchen roof today. The next course of shingles will be the first course on the main roof. Solid decking was installed on the lower 3 feet of the main roof. Like the east lean-to, it will be covered with roofing paper.
2008/11/07New Roof - Day 30 (permalink)
I spent the morning working on the soffit details for the east lean-to. After lunch I cleared the snow off the roof and by about 2:30 I was able to get back to installing shingles on the kitchen. Progress was a bit slow until I got a couple dry rows down which I could stand on.
2008/11/06Kitchen Window (permalink)
Once again the weather wasn't favorable for work on the roof. The roof is covered with snow and ice which makes working up there quite difficult. It is supposed to warm up a bit in a day or two so I will use the time until then to do other work necessary to close the house in for the winter.
Today I framed in the window at the back of the kitchen.
2008/11/05Framing Work - Day 17 (permalink)
The weather today, rain and then snow, wasn't favorable for work on the roof so the day was spent on framing work inside the house. Three window openings are now fully framed and ready for the new windows. The west wall is also shimmed out to the equivalent of a 2x6 wall.
2008/11/04New Roof - Day 29 (permalink)
This morning I installed the decking at the transition between the kitchen and main roof and this afternoon I installed the 2x4s at the gable ends of of the main roof.
2008/11/03New Roof - Day 28 (permalink)
High gusting winds prevented me from doing any real work on the roof today, so I spent the day on various tasks like cleaning the house. Many of the asphalt shingles from the main roof ended up inside the house so it was quite a mess.
I staged the scaffolds near the main roof to make it easier to get started shingling that roof. I also added another half section to the scaffold and for that I had to do a bit of fabrication and repair work.
After that I moved the 1x4s that will be needed for the east side of the main roof to the second floor of the house along with several bundles of shingles so they will be handy once I get back at the roof.
I finished the day be installing a couple 3-way switches for the lights in the basement so the lights down there can also be controlled from the main floor. I got tired of having to go back down the stairs to turn off the lights!
2008/11/02New Roof - Day 27 (permalink)
There is rain in the forecast so I spent part of the afternoon closing in the uncovered area at the top of the kitchen roof. I installed a few more rows of shingles and then covered the remaining exposed area with some Aspenite.
After that I picked up the asphalt shingles on the ground around the house so they don't get mixed in with the should it rain.
2008/11/01New Roof - Day 26 (permalink, one year ago...)
Today was a full day of shingling. With the help of my brothers Ron and Norm the roof on the lean-to and kitchen are almost done.
Near the end of the day my brother George got behind the camera for a bit and helped get the tarp ready for the main roof, which we installed before calling it a day.
2008/10/31New Roof - Day 25 (permalink, one year ago...)
This morning I continued to strip the east side of the main roof. My brother Ron was over later in the morning and helped me finish that. After lunch we finished up the gable end details on the back of the kitchen and got started shingling.
By late afternoon we were making good progress with the shingles (we got about 4 feet of the lean-to done) until will got a major distraction. Shortly after 4 we dropped everything to go help the local Willow Bunch Volunteer Fire Department and that of Assiniboia fight a huge grass fire about half way between Willow Bunch and Assiniboia that had been raging most of the afternoon. Apparently a hunter tried driving his pickup truck through a slugh. He got stuck and then the truck's exhaust started the dry grass on fire. The fire engulfed his truck and went on to consume a huge part of the local country side.
It was dark by the time we got the fire under control, so needless to say we didn't get back to the roof. I also didn't have a change to get any pictures of the progress we made with the shingles nor the huge fire that interrupted our afternoon.
2008/10/30New Roof - Day 24 (permalink, one year ago...)
This morning I started to remove the siding on the back side of the kitchen so I can complete the gable end details there. And, while I was at it I decided to take a large chunk of the siding off the back wall because, as I mentioned yesterday, it all has to come down eventually.
After exposing such a large area I'm starting to contemplate covering the entire exterior of the house with a layout of OSB before installing the house wrap. That will add considerable strength to the house, but it will also make the house easier to seal up, especially around the windows and doors, and it should extend the life of the house wrap. As I removed the old siding I noticed that a large amount of the paper product they originally used to stop the drafts was split along the sharp edges of the wood sheathing. So, it makes me think that the new house wrap will have the same fate unless something is done to smooth those edges (eg cover them over with a layer of OSB).
Late in the day my brother Ron stopped by and he was up for some work, so we went up on the roof and started to strip some more of the east side of the main roof. I decided I want get all the old asphalt shingle off there before I begin to install the cedar shingle to ensure that debris doesn't work its way into the new cedar shingles.
2008/10/29New Roof - Day 23 (permalink)
Today I worked on the gable end details for the roofs on the lean-to and the kitchen. The lean-to was reasonably straight forward once I figured out the angles of the cuts. The kitchen was a little more involved because the siding along the roof had to be removed.
The siding had to be removed because the structural details of the new soffits are slightly different then that originally used. A 2x4 nailed directly to the wall sheathing is being used to support the inner edge of the soffit. The inner edge of the original soffits were just nailed to the trim boards below them and that was done from the top before the roof sheathing was installed.
I was able to get my hands on some scaffolds from a fellow in town. That made the siding removal much easier then it would have been with just a ladder.
I am planning is to remove all of the siding once the roof is done, so today's work just means there will be less to do later. All the siding will be removed so that a house wrap can be installed around the entire building before the new windows are installed.
2008/10/28New Roof - Day 22 (permalink)
Today the lower few feet on the east side of the main roof was opened up. It started with work high up on a ladder, but once a couple of the old 12 inches boards were removed I was able to work from inside.
It took a good part of the afternoon to get a new end plate on the rafters and start the installation of the new sheathing.
The new end plate on the rafters, like that one the addition, was installed vertically to facilitate the installation of eave troughs. The old end plate was at a right angle to the rafters (ie sloped outward at a steep angle) which was makes installing eave troughs very difficult.
2008/10/27New Roof - Day 21 (permalink)
I began the morning by setting up a safety line for work on the main roof. Afterwards I finished removing the asphalt shingles covering the first row of Aspenite on the east side of the main roof.
After lunch I resumed the installation of the new sheathing on the kitchen roof.
2008/10/26New Roof - Day 20 - Rafters Done (permalink, one year ago...)
Sunday is usually my day of rest, but with nice weather on the horizon I decided to finish up the rafters today so I can start working outside as soon as the weather permits.
2008/10/25New Roof - Day 19 (permalink, one year ago...)
The forecast is for some sub-zero temperatures for the next couple days, so I started the morning by turning the heat on the basement. The heaters I installed earlier in the week were ready to go, but before they could be turned on I needed to address a few air leaks in the basement so the heat generated doesn't escape too fast. The main leak being the stairway and sunken floor in the east lean-to.
After I finished with the heat I went off to a garage/house sale. At the sale I picked up a Black & Decker workmate, a 12 inch planer, and a jointer. Tools which should come in handy in the house.
I finally got back to the installation of the diagonal braces just before lunch. Go progress was made on that. As I work south along the roof one can easily see the roof straightening out from the street, but I doubt most folks walking by notice such a gradual and subtle change.
There only 7 rafters to go!
2008/10/24New Roof - Day 18 (permalink, one year ago...)
Started installing the diagonal braces today. A better part of the morning was spent figuring out how to snug up the 2x6s and get the last bit of sag out of the rafters. Once the efficient solution was found, things started to move at a good pace.
The end of the work on the rafters is near.
2008/10/23New Roof - Day 17 (permalink, one year ago...)
Finished installing the vertical braces today. The next step is to install diagonal braces to support the upper ends of the 2x6s.
A side benefit of installing the vertical braces is that the ceiling joists are reasonably straight now. The large sag in the north half of the ceiling was eliminated.
2008/10/22New Roof - Day 16 (permalink, one year ago...)
Continued to install the vertical braces today. The north half of the roof is done and the south half is a third done.
2008/10/21New Roof - Day 15 (permalink)
The last few 2x6s were snugged up this morning. After that some of the outward bow was removed from the east wall.
The day ended with the installation of the first two vertical braces.
2008/10/20New Roof - Day 14 (permalink, one year ago...)
I started the morning by installing a couple electric baseboard heaters in the basement. These are heaters that were salvaged from the west lean-to that was demolished last fall. They will be used to keep the basement from freezing until such time that the furnace is installed.
After that the focus returned to the main roof. I started to install the plywood gussets at the peak then decided to try a simple approach to raising up the top end of the 2x6s. I forced them up one at a time with my shoulder and tied them in place with wire. It took several passes but it worked. The top end of all 2x6s are now less then one inch from their final position and many have only about a quarter of an inch to go.
2008/10/18New Roof - Day 13 (permalink, one year ago...)
The last two days were spent installing the rest of the 2x6s. Both sides of the roof are now done. However, the installation of one 2x6 on the west side is only temporary because the 2x4 rafter above it needs to be changed. That 2x4 rafter has a couple huge splits running more then half its length.
A 2x6 ledger board was also installed below all the new 2x6s. This ledger board will eventually be supported by the 2x2s that will be used to shim the walls out to a 2x6 thickness to provide a bit more room for insulation.
The next step will be the installation of plywood gussets at the peak. These gussets will support vertical 2x4s that will make up part of the new bracing for the rafters. They will also ensure the peak does not split apart when the tops of the 2x6s are pushed up to straighten out the roof.
2008/10/16New Roof - Day 11 (permalink, one year ago...)
Most of the day was once again spent installing 2x6s. The east side of the roof is complete, except for one rafter which can't be done now. The west side is almost half done.
Some time was also spent adding more backfill to the east side of the house to fill in an area that settled after the recent snow melted.
2008/10/15New Roof - Day 10 (permalink, one year ago...)
The day was spent installing more 2x6s. Half of them are now installed.
2008/10/14New Roof - Day 9 (permalink)
This morning was spent cleaning up the second floor to make more room for working on the roof. There is now room in the center area of the floor for the blocking that will be used to push the 2x6s up to to their final position.
After lunch I went out to pick up more nails and adhesive for the gussets. I also tried to find an air nailer but I had no luck. Most air nailers are too big to fit in the space between the rafters, so it looks like I will be nailing all the gussets by hand.
At the end of the day I cut some more 2x6s and plywood gussets so tomorrow I should be able to make some more good progress installing them.
2008/10/13New Roof - Day 8 (permalink, one year ago...)
We received over 12 inches of show between yesterday noon and this morning so it is looking more like Christmas than Thanksgiving around here.
With the snow and the Thanksgiving holiday I only spent part of the day working on my house, but I did manage to install a few more 2x6s on the main roof. As mentioned in the last post, once all the 2x6s are installed they will be pushed up at the top (see pictures) to remove the bow from the roof. Braces will then be added to support the upper end of the 2x6s and turn the rafters into modern truss style rafters.
The installation of the 2x6s is a slow and tedious process due to all the nails required in the plywood gussets. I may have to invest in a air nailer for this job...
2008/10/11New Roof - Day 7 (permalink)
I started working on the structure of the main roof today. The first step is to add a 2x6 along the bottom of each rafter. These 2x6s will add considerable strength to the rafters at the point where they need it most. They will all make room for more insulation in the lower (slanted) portion of the roof. Once all these 2x6s are installed they will be pushed up at the top (see pictures) to remove the bow from the roof. Braces will be added to support the upper end of the 2x6s and turn the rafters into modern truss style rafters.
2008/10/10One Year Later (permalink, one year ago...)
It is now just over one year since work began on the project. I took possession of the property on October 9, 2007 and on the following day, October 10, 2007, demolition began on the the lean-to on the west (right) side of the building. A lot has happened since then but there is still a lot to do. I was hoping to be living in the building before this coming Christmas but that is starting to look doubtful.
The main thing right now is to get a weather tight building, starting with the roof. At the beginning of the week I finalized the plan for the main roof and yesterday I picked the lumber needed to implement that plan. The weather this fall is somewhat all over the map so I do not want to have to the house open to the elements for too long. As such, I will be fixing up the structure of the main roof from the inside before the old roofing material is removed.
I wanted to get the lumber for the roof at the begining of the week, but some of the key items were out of stock at the lumber yard. For that reason I spent a couple days on a few odds and ends. I finished bolting most of the second floor joists, I confirmed that I will be able to get the boards for the exterior wall of the new closest above the kitchen in place from the inside of the house so that work need not be done before the roof is finished, I started to work on the window opening in the north west corner of the house, and I determined the exact location for the new window in the kitchen.
Today I spent most of the morning unloading the new lumber for the roof. It took a while because most of it was placed inside the house. The rest of the day was spent cleaning up the yard and doing some landscaping. The forecast is for about 6 inches of snow on Sunday, so I want to make sure that does not create more of a mess then it has to. I also want to make sure the drainage in the yard is ready for next spring, because one of these days the ground will be frozen and it will stay that way until spring.
2008/10/04New Roof - Day 6 (permalink)
I finished adding bracing to the rafters and ceiling joists above kitchen. Each rafter is now reasonably straight and with the new bracing they should stay that way for a long time.
2008/10/03New Roof - Day 5 (permalink)
The day was spent enhancing the structure of the kitchen roof.
2008/10/02New Roof - Day 4 (permalink, one year ago...)
The day was spent on the structure of the kitchen roof and the transition between the kitchen and the main roof. Another four feet of asphalt shingles and aspenite were removed to expose this transition. One of the main challenges is the outward bow of the east wall just below the center of the main roof. It is not known at this time whether that can be corrected once the asphalt shingles and aspenite are removed from the main roof. A come-along was used once again today to try and pull that wall back into place. Some progress was made but there is still a long ways to go.
Towards the end of the day I figured out how I will enhance the structure of the kitchen roof such further corrections to the alignment east wall will still be possible. That work will include the framing of some closet space in the attic above the kitchen.
2008/10/01New Roof - Day 3 (permalink)
The new decking on the addition is complete. The transition between the addition and the kitchen took a while to complete because the top plate had to be trimmed between each rafter to create a sufficient gap for air flow under the roof decking.
2008/09/30New Roof - Day 2 (permalink)
I started installing the new decking on the addition. The decking is spaced sheathing, except at the eaves, as per the recommendations by the Cedar Shake and Shingle Bureau. The entire cedar roof will be installed following the guidelines set forth by the Cedar Shake and Shingle Bureau in their New Roof Construction Manual.
2008/09/29New Roof - Day 1 (permalink)
I started working on the new roof today. The roof on the kitchen and addition will be done first. The old asphalt shingles and aspenite were removed from the kitchen and so was the trim along the gable ends. The temporary plywood roof on the addition was also removed.
At the end of the day both roofs were covered with a large tarp.
This evening I started to install some bolts on the second floor joists.
2008/09/28Addition Gable Ends (permalink)
Removed the temporary covering from the gable ends on the addition and replaced it with proper framing and the final sheathing.
2008/09/27Harvest Complete (permalink)
Harvest is complete so I can now get back to the house full-time. I was actually back in town last Monday and back working on the house on Tuesday but I did not have time for the website until tonight.
At the end of last week things were finally wrapped with my window order. The twelve new windows should be ready for pick on November 20th. Yup, that is a long ways off, much longer then I expected, but there is a lot to do before the windows will be installed so it should be ok.
This week I installed some lights on the main floor so I can do some work inside in the evenings. I also installed some AC outlets on the main floor to eliminate some clutter from extension cords. Tonight I installed a light in the back yard.
On Wednesday I cleaned out the kitchen so it will be easier to work on that roof. My on-site office was moved into the basement. In the afternoon Sasktel was by to connect my phone line.
I spend Thursday and Friday in Moose Jaw and Regina shopping for various supplies. I was mainly looking for a few things I need to start shingling the roof (nails, felt paper, and roof vent), but I also started tracking down things for future activities (wiring, heating system, plumbing, insulation, gyproc, etc.).
Today I finished replacing the wall between the kitchen and the addition with a built up 2x10 beam and securely attached the rafters of the addition to the beam with joist hangars. I also completed the extension to the kitchen floor where a pantry and refrigerator will eventually be located.
2008/09/16Window Wells (permalink)
I spent the morning catching up on some paper work. After lunch I went to Assiniboia to pick up some more material, but not as much as I had hoped. I was supposed to get the windows for the basement today, but they were damaged in shipping. I did however get the window wells, which I started to install after I got home. I am doing just a quick installation for now since they will no doubt need to be adjusted once the backfill around the basement settles. They may also need to be removed to install a drainage system. I plan to create a couple dry wells, one in the front yard and one in the back, so any water that might accumulate in the windows wells has a place to go other then the basement.
2008/09/15Back To Work (permalink)
I was out of town for the past couple weeks helping my brother-in-law with harvest and other work around the farm. There was no activity at the house while I was away, however I managed to make some progress on replacement windows. We had some rain out on the farm shortly after I arrived, so I made a trip to Regina to look at what All Weather Windows and CWD Windows had to offer in terms of double/single hung wood windows. To say I was quite disappointed, would be an understatement. I also made a trip to Loewen in Steinbach, Manitoba, where I visited their corporate show room and toured their window factory. The Loewen double/single hung wood windows were much more impressive and more suitable for the project. I hope to order some Loewen single hung all wood windows for the house in the next few days.
While I was away I also picked up a few old windows from my brother-in-law`s neighbor. Those windows are a close match to what was originally in the Telegraph Office so I brought them home to use until the replacements arrive.
This afternoon I installed some of those windows in the second floor so I can close in the hole for the center window on the second floor (something from the 1990s). After that I resumed my work on the framing for the window in the south west corner of the house.
My return is only temporary. We received half an inch of rain on the weekend so the harvest will be delayed until sometime near the end of the week.
2008/08/28Framing Work - Day 16 (permalink)
It was short day at the house. It started with a bit of cleaning inside. I moved out some wood that is no longer needed in the house to make a bit more room for work. After that I started to fix up the rough opening for the window in the south west corner of the house (ie where the temporary door was located) but I got called out to the farm before I could finish that.
I did not get a chance to take any pictures at the house today so I provided some from the farm where we were harvesting spring wheat today.
2008/08/27Framing Work - Day 15 (permalink)
The day started with a bit of landscaping around the house. Heavy winds last night caused the downspout for my eave trough to come down, so I hauled some more dirt around the house to ensure rain will drain away from the house.
After lunch work began on the exterior walls. The thickness of the walls is being increased by 1.5 inches to make room for more insulation and allow the strength of the walls to be enhanced. That began with the installation of 2x6s along the bottom of the second floor joists.
2008/08/26Framing Work - Day 14 - sub-floor upstairs (permalink)
Still splitting my time between the house and harvest. Today I used my time at the house to complete the sub-floor along the front wall.
2008/08/25Framing Work - Day 13 - front wall (permalink)
Today I straightened the front wall, framed the opening for the window, and started to repairs damage done to the front wall by various carpenters over the years. There is still a significant outward bow at the door opening which needs to be addressed.
2008/08/23This and That (permalink)
I didn`t do too much around the house yesterday. There was a light rain in the morning so I spread some gravel around the back steps so I can in and out of the house without going through any mud. After that I started to install some lights in the basement then around noon I went to Moose Jaw to pick up a few things.
Today started with a bit of exploratory work in the back yard. Earlier in the week I tried to locate the second septic tank in my back yard but I had no luck. Then, just the other day one of the previous owners of the house stopped by for a visit. He had located that septic tank back in the late 80s or earlier 90s so he was able to provide a closer guesstimate of where it might be. This morning I decided to give it another try and at first I had no luck. Then, almost by accident, I found it. This tank is similar in size to that which I previously located near the back of the house, however this one is much deeper because the liquids used to flow from the other tank into this one.
I am hoping to get a backhoe to dig out both tanks and do some other work in the yard but that won`t be until much later this fall or next spring.
My next project for the day was to complete the installation of the lights in my basement. After that I did some cleaning on the main floor in preparation for framing work that will be done there. This cleaning included the removal of the last bit of lathe and plaster from the north west corner of the house.
I ended the day measuring up my windows. All the openings are slightly different so I will need to select the window size for the new replacement windows carefully. I also determined the original location and size for the front window. Framing that is one of the next things on my to do list.
Once again my day at the house was cut short by harvest.
2008/08/21Telephone Line Prep (permalink)
This morning I created a location for Sasktel to mount thier Network Interface Device (NID) which sometimes referred to as the Demarcation Point. This mounting location is nothing more then a small piece of plywood like that used for the power meter. Cutting and mounting the plywood was easy. The hard part was determining its location and the best route for the telephone cable.
This morning I also did a bit of landscaping on the east side of the house to ensure there is proper drainage for my neighbor`s downspout.
After I lunch I went out to help my brother with harvest and I did not get back in until after sunset. Late this afternoon I found a rather interesting and somewhat scary spider on the side of my Jeep. If you have any idea what kind of spider this is (see photos) please send me a message and let me know!
2008/08/20Framing Work - Day 12 - sub-floor upstairs (permalink)
I finished installing the bridging and the plywood, at least for now.
A small strip of plywood still needs to be installed down both sides of the floor but that will be done after the outside walls are enhanced a bit and a vapor barrier is installed between the floors.
Plywood also needs to be installed along the front wall but that has to wait until the front wall repairs are complete. A large bow in the front wall near the front door needs to be corrected. The original window opening on the main floor also needs to be recreated and the center window on the second floor, a very recent addition, needs to be removed.
About half the day was spent helping my brother with harvest. Like Saturday, I was driving the grain truck hauling peas and screening them (to remove grasshoppers and large green peas) before loading them into the grain bin.
2008/08/19Framing Work - Day 11 - sub-floor upstairs (permalink)
I resumed work on the second floor today. I do not want to take on anything too big with that call to help with harvest imminent.
I finished repairing the joists that were cut up by plumbers over the years and installed more plywood and bridging.
I also did a mockup of the bathroom in the addition to confirm that the planned layout will work.
It was little warm inside today so progress was a bit slow.
2008/08/18Electrical Service - Day 2 (permalink)
It was a busy day. The electrician was back to complete his work. He also brought his Ditch Witch to dig the trench for the electrical service. SaskPower was over to install the power cable and connect my house to the grid. SaskPower also installed the cable for my phone service. SaskTel will be by at a later date to connect the phone line.
SaskEnergy was in the area for a service call, so the electrician offered to do the trenching necessary to connect my gas service. The gas service is now at my house, but the gas meter will be installed at a later date. It will be installed once the gas lines and the appliances that will use the gas are installed (furnace, water heater, etc).
2008/08/16Yard Cleanup (permalink)
Spent the better part of the day cleaning my yard getting ready for the trenching work on Monday.
The first part of the afternoon was spent helping my brother with harvest.
2008/08/15Electrical Service - Day 1 (permalink)
The electrician was by this morning to install the socket for the electrical meter and the breaker panel in the basement. He also installed a single AC socket next to the panel in the basement so I can start to use the new power service as soon as it is connected to the grid, which is supposed to happen on Monday.
This afternoon I cut my grass for the first time in a long while and then spent some time tidying up my yard. This evening I spent a bit of time helping my brother with harvest.
2008/08/14Addition - Day 6 (permalink)
Finished making and installing the rafters and then covered them with the plywood salvaged from the west addition last fall. The plywood is a temporary. It will come off when the new cedar shingles are installed, but that likely won`t be for a few weeks as I will be stopping the work on my house soon to help my brother-in-law with harvest.
SaskEnergy was by today to install the bracket for the gas meter and to draw up the plans for the underground gas line. One of their crews will be by in late September to install that. SaskEnergy also marked all the under ground gas lines near my property to ensure they won`t be hit when my underground power line is installed.
The electrician is supposed to be by tomorrow to install the socket for the electrical meter and the breaker panel in the basement. Then on Monday he will be back along with SaskPower to put in the underground power line to connect my house to the grid.
Tonight I insulated the wall where the breaker panel will be installed.
2008/08/13Addition - Day 5 (permalink)
Finished sheeting the walls of the addition and began working on the roof.
Part of the old roof over the kitchen, about a foot, was sawed off to make it easier to install the roof on the addition. That part of the roof was quite rotten so it had to come off anyway. It will be fixed up before the new cedar shingles are installed.
The design of the 2x6 rafters was finalized and a template was made to ensure all they are all cut the same. It started to get dark before all the rafters could be cut, so that will have to be finished tomorrow.
The eave trough on the east side of the house also had removed to make way for the new roof so basement is a bit vulnerable to the weather right now. If it rains, all the water from the roof could end up in the basement so a temporary cover was placed on the addition to try and deflect some of the water. The cover was made from plywood that was salvaged from the west addition last fall.
2008/08/12Addition - Day 4 (permalink)
Framed the new door opening at the back of the kitchen and then started sheeting the walls on the addition. The temporary door in the south west corner of the house was also moved to the back of the kitchen. It served its purpose well in the south west corner of the house and now it will do the same in the new location. The installation in the kitchen is only temporary. The door will have to be removed when the top of the walls on the addition are completed and again when the window to the west of the door is framed in.
The back of the addition is now ready for the installation of the utilities. Enough of the back wall is in place to allow for the installation of the gas and power meters.
2008/08/11Addition - Day 3 (permalink)
It was a busy day. Some temporary stairs were built for the basement, the east wall of the kitchen was opened up, and construction began on the walls of the addition.
2008/08/09Addition - Day 2 (permalink)
The sunken floor in the addition is complete and the extension to the kitchen floor for a pantry is starting to take shape.
2008/08/08Addition - Day 1 (permalink)
Started to build the sunken floor in the addition today.
2008/08/07Backfill - Day 2 - Complete (permalink)
The morning was spent installing the plywood around the top of the foundation. The afternoon was supposed to be spent backfilling the basement, but we had slight distraction first.
Before we started on the backfill we dug out a pocket of coal behind the house. And just when we were about to finish that we found a bunch of brick and rocks. Well, one thing lead to the next and we ended up with that big hole shown in the photos.
What we uncovered was an old cesspool that was used many years ago to drain the kitchen sink. When the old basement was demolished we removed a pipe that went out the south east corner of the basement and at the time we were not sure were that pipe went. Now we know.
We removed most, but not all, of the cesspool. We actaully would not have gone as far as we did, but all those rocks and bricks were right in path were the underground utilities will be brought to the house.
Once we finally got done with the cesspool the backfilling went quite fast. It would have went much faster but we had that large hole to fill in!
The backfilling exercise is done but there is still dirt work to do. Some landscaping still needs to be done, the window wells for the basement windows need to be installed, and the new driveway needs to be completed.
2008/08/06Backfill - Day 1 (permalink)
It was a long hot day backfilling the basement. The morning began with one last stint in the trenches completing the layer of gravel along the footings. After that I started to backfill the basement with my brother`s skid steer-loader. After lunch my brother Paul came over to run the loader and I spent most of the afternoon leveling and compacting the dirt along the foundation by hand. Late in the afternoon Roger Wolfe came over with his loader to help out for a bit.
There is about a foot and a half of backfill to go, but I need to install some plywood first. The a two foot strip of plywood along the top of the foundation will protect the waterproof membrane from damage.
2008/08/05Waterproofing - Day 5 - Complete (permalink)
The waterproof membrane installation is complete!
The entire basement can now be back filled.
2008/08/04Waterproofing - Day 4 (permalink)
The waterproof membrane installation continues. Over two thirds done. Just the west wall and west half of the south wall remain. Back filling started on the east half of the house.
2008/08/02Waterproofing - Day 3 (permalink)
The waterproof membrane installation continues.
2008/08/01Waterproofing - Day 2 (permalink)
I finished digging out the perimeter of the footings then started to attach the waterproof membrane.
It took a while to find an efficient method for installing the waterproof membrane in the cramped trenches outside the basement but good progress should be made now.
2008/07/31Waterproofing - Day 1 (permalink)
The day began with a bit of cleanup from yesterday`s big job. After that the west side of the basement was closed in since the ramp access to the basement is no longer required.
The windows on the north side of the basement were also covered over but that is just temporary like the backside. That will help keep the basement floor from drying out too quickly.
The basement is quite dark now that it is all closed in so I installed a couple temporary lights down there.
By early afternoon my focus switched to the waterproofing of the exterior of the basement. That began with the caulking of the seams on the corners of the basement on that along the footings. I also began to dig out the side of the footings so the waterproof membrane can be installed down the wall and over the side of the footing.
2008/07/30Concrete Done (permalink)
It was a long hard day, but the concrete floor in my basement is done!
A big thank you goes out to all those who helped today: my brothers Paul and George, Robert and Leo Durand, Neil Mainil, my cousin Dan Mondor, and my sister-in-law Barb for bringing us morning coffee and taking pictures today.
A special thank you goes out Paul and Robert for helping to finish the concrete and George for being our goffer all afternoon while we finished the floor.
2008/07/29Ready For Concrete (permalink)
Enough said, first redi-mix truck arrives at 8am tomorrow.
2008/07/28Basement Slab Prep (permalink)
I spent the day getting ready for the concrete pour on Wednesday. The chute was moved to the north west corner of the basement. A temporary roof was installed over the east addition to keep the sun from drying out the concrete too fast. A ladder was built in the north east of the basement to provide access for power troweling after the concrete starts to set up. The remaining poly (radon gas barrier) and wire mesh was installed. And, the pile of dirt at the north west corner of the house was moved so the redi-mix truck can back up to the chute.
2008/07/26Back To Basement (permalink)
Today I switched my focus back to the basement. The concrete slab in the basement will be poured on Wednesday and once that is done I will finally be able to backfill the basement.
I spent most of today cleaning up from the rain earlier in the week, digging out all the dirt (mud) that got washed in around the perimeter of the basement. That will ensure the trench, footings, and outside of the walls are good and dry when the time comes to install the water proofing layer just prior to backfilling the trench.
I also spent some time getting ready for the pour on Wednesday. I cut the remaining wire mesh, shortened the telepost for the addition, and figured out were the redi-mix truck will be located for the pour. The chute will be moved to the window in the north west corner of the basement and the redi-mix trucks will back in across sidewalk where the new driveway will be located. Some of the dirt pile in front of the house will have to be moved to make this possible. Some boards will also be laid down to make it easier for the trucks to get over the sidewalk. The trucks may break the walk due to their weight but that is ok because the sidewalk will eventually be dug for the driveway.
2008/07/25Framing Work - Day 10 - sub-floor upstairs (permalink)
My cedar shingles arrived today so part of the day was spent getting them off the truck and into storage. The rest of the day was spend doing more work on the second floor joists. I'm almost done repairing the joists that were cut up by plumbers over the years.
2008/07/24Framing Work - Day 9 - sub-floor upstairs (permalink)
I started the day pulling nails from the floor boards. After the boards were neatly stacked I began to strengthen up the west part of floor. I am almost ready for plywood.
2008/07/23Framing Work - Day 8 - sub-floor upstairs (permalink)
I was not able to continue on the basement today due to heavy rain late last night and again late this morning. Once again the rain has made things a bit soggy around the house and this time it actually was a test of the drainage system in the basement. It will probably take a few days for things to dry out.
The moisture outside did not prevent me from working inside. I installed plywood in the north east corner of the second floor then started working on the west half of the floor. Everything on the west side of the floor was moved over to the new floor and then the remaining walls were taken down. After that the rest of the floor boards were pulled up.
2008/07/22Framing Work - Day 7 - sub-floor upstairs (permalink)
Installed some bridging and plywood in the south east corner of the floor.
The leak near the shutoff valve in the basement is fixed and the water service is now on.
Received permission from the plumbing inspector to bury the plumbing in the basement so I can now finish getting ready to pour the concrete floor.
2008/07/21Framing Work - Day 6 - sub-floor upstairs (permalink)
Ready to start installing some plywood up stairs.
The town foreman stopped by today to turn on my water service but there was a leak near the shutoff valve in the basement. He will return to try again once that leak is fixed.
2008/07/19Framing Work - Day 5 - sub-floor upstairs (permalink)
The framing for the stair opening is done and work continues outwards from there.
2008/07/18Framing Work - Day 4 - sub-floor upstairs (permalink)
I began to enhance the framing of the second floor, starting with the stair opening. It is being enlarged to account for the increased wall thickness. The cantilever is also being enhanced to better support that area of the floor and the walls that reside there.
Like always, it took a bit of time to make the first cut and hammer the first nail, but things are moving along at a good pace now.
I actually started the morning by removing the old knob and tube wiring that remained on the first floor of the house. It was in the way for the framing work. That wire was saved away for possible future use in my museum. After that I completed the purchased the cedar shingles for my roof. They may delivered this coming week.
2008/07/17Another Wagon of Lumber (permalink)
The day was spent getting another load of lumber. The morning was spent finalizing the list of material needed for the work inside and to build the east addition. This afternoon was spent picking up that material in Assiniboia. It is amazing how long it takes to load the trailer at the lumber yard. That is in part because I have the opportunity to carefully select each piece of lumber going on the load. If I did not do that the trailer would be loaded in no time, but there would be much more waste at the job site. As long as it takes to get the material to the job site, it is definitely nothing like it would have been when the Telegraph Office was first built over 100 years ago.
2008/07/16Framing Work - Day 3 - sub-floor upstairs (permalink)
Today I cleaned up the mess I created yesterday. All the nails were removed from the floor boards. Tomorrow I will be going to Assiniboia to pick up some material for the framing work and plywood for the new second floor sub-floor.
I arranged to get all my utilities re-connected today. There is a long lead time on some of the work but they should be in place by the time I need them.
I had visits from SaskEnergy and my electrician today. SaskEnergy was just checking up on my progress to see when they can restore the natural gas service to my house.
The electrician just stopped by to scope out my job. He will be working closely with SaskPower to bring in a new 200 Amp underground electrical service from the back alley. The electrician will also install the socket for the power meter, a new breaker panel in the basement, and the cabling between them. I will probably do the bulk of the wiring in the house myself since a home owner can get a permit for that type of work. The cable for the telephone service will be installed along with the power cable by SaskPower. Sasktel will come by afterwords to get dial tone to my house. I will take care of running the phone lines in the house. I am going to try to get the cable for CableTV installed underground as well. I doubt that I will every use that because the cable service in Willow Bunch currently is not that good, but that could change and it will be much easier to install that cable along with the power and phone now then to trench it in later.
This evening I went to the Willow Bunch Town Council meeting to get the official ok to relocate my driveway. I got the green light on that so that is another thing to add to the work list. At the meeting I learned from the town foreman that he has the new water meter for my house. We will install that and turn on my water sometime in the next few days.
2008/07/15Framing Work - Day 2 - sub-floor upstairs (permalink)
I spent most of the day working upstairs getting ready to install the new sub-floor. The interior walls on the east half of the second floor were taken down and moved out of the way. They were taken down intact so they can be put back into their places once the sub-floor is installed.
I also pulled up all the floor boards on the eastern part of the floor. That was quite a bit easier then it was on the first floor. There is currently no sub-floor so that means one can easily pry the boards up, either with a pry bar or the special tool for removing wall boards.
I also had a close look at the east wall of the second floor early in the day. That wall has a good outwards bow in it, about 1.5 inches. I tried to see if it could easily be moved back into place but that was not the case. I tried pulling it in from the top of the wall and at the floor level and even tried to push in with a jack from the outside, but it really did not want to move. Late in the day my neighbor and I concluded that it was likely built that way and this evening I realized there is a clear piece of evident to confirm that.
If you look closely at the photos you will notice that one of the floor joist near the stair opening on the second floor has an odd looking jog in it. That is because the joist was cut and then back together but with a slight offset. Early in the day I was looking at that jog and could not understand why that was done because it makes the stair opening out of square with the rest of the floor. Well, what I since realized is that was done to make up for the bow in the wall. Without it the square stairs would not have fit properly up against the wall!
2008/07/14Framing Work - Day 1 (permalink)
Now that the plumbing is done in the basement it needs to be inspected be before it can be buried. Doing otherwise could result in having to jack hammer out the concrete floor at a later date and I definitely don't want to do that. The inspector is on vacation until next Tuesday, so we won't even know until then when he will be able to come out and inspect my plumbing. This is yet another delay in the long task of completing the basement, but it's not like I have shortage of work.
On Saturday I took a close look at all the work ahead of me and realized there is a lot of work I can and should do inside the house before I close in the outside with a new roof, siding, windows, and doors. I'm referring to work on the framing of the house. I will be increasing the thickness of the walls from 2x4 to 2x6. I also need to and some bracing here and there, fix up the framing around the windows and doors, frame a new door and window opening on the south wall of the kitchen, move the doorway between the kitchen and dinning room, and install a plywood sub-floor on the second floor.
Yup, that is a whole lot of work and that doesn't include other activities that need to be done like ordering the new windows, doors, and siding, and arranging to get the utilities reconnected. So, another delay in the basement is not really a set back by any measure. It would just be nice to get that job done since that's what's most visible from the street, but it will ... in time.
Today I removed the rest of the stairs since they are in the way of some of the work to come. I also started to take up the floor boards from the second floor. I will be installing a plywood sub-floor in their place and will reinstall the floor boards on top of that at a later date. The current flooring has a few major problems in high traffic areas due to the installation of electrical wiring in years gone by and those problems can't easily be fixed without taking up the hole floor.
2008/07/11Plumbing - Phase 1 Complete (permalink)
The first phase of plumbing is complete. That includes everything that will be buried below the basement floor: clean outs, the floor drain and its one way valve, plumbing for the two stacks, the drain for the washing machine (connected to the floor drain), the main water line, and the sewer and water lines out the back of the house for a future garage in the back yard. The stack with the orange cap is for the bathroom in the east addition. The small vertical pipe next to it is the drain for the washing machine. The stack with the blue cap is for the kitchen and the second floor bathroom.
There are at least two more phases to go before all the plumbing is done. Phase 2 will include the hot water heater, plumbing for the bathroom in the east addition, that for the kitchen, and that for the washing machine in the basement. Phase 3 will include the plumbing for the bathroom up on the second floor.
2008/07/10Waiting for the plumber (permalink)
I haven't bothered with any updates so far this week because there hasn't been any noticeable progress to report. However, I still am busy working out the finer details of up coming activities.
The east addition is now fully designed. In the process I made a few extra square of floor space available to both the basement (laundry room) and the kitchen. This was achieved by changing the layout of the bathroom in the addition. My original plan was to have a bathroom layout that was 5 feet wide by 8 feet long. Now it's going to be 6 feet by 7. The sunken floor of the addition will also be about 7 1/2 inches (one step) lower then was originally planned. This is to ensure there is adequate headroom in the addition and yet enough space in the ceiling for R-40 insulation. The location of the partitions in the basement were also determined. All of this was done to ensure the plumbing installed in the basement floor, which is supposed to happen tomorrow, will be optimal.
Time was also spent this week on the cedar shingles. I will be purchasing them from a mill in Kaslo, BC and they will be shipped by a trucking company in Brandon, Manitoba. That's the trucking company that is also delivering shingles to a museum in Manitoba, which I wrote about last week.
I also started to track down new siding to replicate what was originally on the building. I found a few different companies that can supply the siding and it appears the siding is still readily available so that should help with cost.
Last but not least, I have been figuring out what I'm going to do with my roof structure. The rafters on the main part of the house have a good sag in them. Based on my calculations, the current roof is almost double the weight of the original wood shingle roof, so the sag is likely more due to that than anything else. I will be installing the new cedar shingles on skip sheeting like the originals, so the weight of roof will come back down but it's unlikely that the sag will go away without some extra lumber to force it back into place.
After crawling around in the attic for a couple days, I decided to give the attic a thorough cleaning with a vacuum to get rid of the insulation and dust that seems fall every time I bump a piece of lumber.
As mentioned earlier, I will be installing new cedar shingles on the house. They will be installed on skip sheeting like the originals as that still is the preferred method of installation. One thing that is variable is the amount of exposure. There is a recommended maximum based on the slope of the roof, but how does that compare to what was originally on the house? Well, as luck would have it, today I was able to figure that out. I found some old shingle hidden in the eaves. They clearly show that the exposure was 4 1/2 inches. The recommended maximum for the slope of my roofs is 5 inches, so I will go to the more conservative 4 1/2 to be consistent with the original look.
One other thing worth mentioning is that I setup a temporary office in my kitchen. That has made it more convenient to work on the detailed plans of things to come.
2008/07/05Basement Details - Day 6 (permalink)
Today I continued with the installation of the poly and wire mesh. The entire area under the main part of the house is complete and that`s about all that can be done until the plumbing is installed in the basement floor.
I also installed the chute for the concrete and began to work on the detailed plans for the roof repair.
2008/07/04Basement Details - Day 5 (permalink)
Starting to get the basement floor ready concrete. The gravel layer was leveled off one last time, excluding the area which is awaiting the plumber! The teleposts were set into their final positions.
A short piece of plastic pipe was installed around the base of each telepost to keep them from getting cemented into place and to provide additional points for screeding the concrete. The radon gas barrier (6 mil poly) was also installed under each teleposts.
Afterwords I begin to install the poly over the entire floor along with the wire mesh.
2008/07/03Trees and Basement Details - Day 4 (permalink)
I started the morning with more digging around the base of the tree that has to be removed. A fellow in town with a nice big chain was pruning trees in town for the past few weeks, so I thought I would get the tree ready to go in case he had some time to cut it down for me. And, as soon as I finished he happened by. It took him less that ten minutes to cut that tree down and the upper part of the stump on the east side of the lot. It would have taken much longer with little saw I borrowed from my brother to prune my trees a few weeks ago. Unlike the saw used today, that little saw would not have even reached half way across the tree.
Be sure to have a close look at the photos that show how rotten the core of tree was. That makes me even more concerned about the health of the remaining trees.
I resumed my work in the basement after I finished cleaning up the trees and hauling some rotten wood to the dump. Today I finished nailing the basement to the house. The top plates and metal straps are now fully nailed.
I also spent some time locating a good deal on some new cedar shingles for the roof. I`m currently planning to get them directly from a mill in British Columbia, but I need to figure out how to get them delivered first. I am in contact with a museum in Manitoba which is getting some shingles from the same mill and I`m trying to get my shingles added to their load.
2008/07/02Basement Details - Day 3 (permalink)
I spent a good part of the day working on the tedious details of the basement, but I also found time for a couple other activities.
The day started with some dirt work in the back of the house. The high bank in the center of the house was at risk of caving in so it was cut back.
After that, the last sheet of plywood for the south wall (the one at the wall joint) was installed and then work resumed in the basement. Joist hangers were installed around the window openings to add some extra support as per the building code. Afterwords the floor joists were given one last bit of alignment and then the bridging, except for that on the outer joists, was nailed in place. The bridging on the outer joists will be nailed once the house is fully settled.
This evening it was time for that summer ritual of cutting the grass. That was followed by some work on the new driveway. I started to dig out the base of the tree stump that has to be removed then I marked the location of the new driveway on the sidewalk.
2008/07/01Basement Details - Day 2 (permalink)
I finished installing the window lintels and the 2x4s along the inside of the second floor joist. All the metal reinforcement straps were attached but some still require some nails on the inside of the wall.
2008/06/30Basement Details - Day 1 (permalink)
Back to work after a three day weekend. The bulk of the day was spent working on the finer details of the basement and its attachment to the house. Lintels (headers) were installed over the windows on the south side of the house; blocking was also installed between the lintels (headers) and the second floor joist; the metal straps near the windows were nailed; and, as per the PWF building code, I started to install the a 2x4 along the inside of the second floor joists. That 2x4 provides extra material and nails to help resist the inward pressure on the basement walls.
The table saw came in handy today for cutting the blocking.
2008/06/26Table Saw (permalink)
I started the morning cleaning up a corner of the house we didn't get to yesterday, then I turned my attention to the table saw. Mice had made a home in a couple of the drawers before I bought the saw, so those drawers smelled like ... mice. I cleaned those drawers out then used some baking soda to get rid of the smell. After that I did some electrical work for the saw. The saw has a 1 hp motor which is too much for my low gauge extension cord, so I setup a better electrical feed from my neighbors house with some of the wiring and electrical boxes I salvaged during the demolition. While I was at it I put an electrical outlet in the basement and one on the main floor. Once the electrical feed was done I had to change the plug and switch on the saw. The old ones worked, but they were kind of a hazard. The last thing I did to the saw was to fix the miter gauge. The white metal part that pushes on the wood was broken, so I replaced it with a piece of hard wood.
2008/06/25Clean Up (permalink)
Today was a clean up day of sorts and most of it was spent inside the house. My friend Kendrick was around to help again today so we spent the day cleaning up the main part of the house and moving the two load bearing walls into their final position. Notice that they even have a strip of vapor barrier along the outside walls. The stairs were moved back to their corner of the house but it will probably be a while before they are re-installed.
Now that the house is clean there is room for that table saw I bought a few months ago along with the large steel I-Beams.
This evening we cleaned up the concrete pile in the back yard (the concrete I dug out from the old basement walkout last weekend). We just used my truck to haul it out to the town's lagoon. They use concrete like that for rip rap around the lagoon.
2008/06/24Old and New Complete (permalink)
The connection between the floor on the east side of the house and the new addition was completed today. It took a lot of lumber but that is what it takes to resist the ground pressure when you have suspended sunken floor and a stairwell opening right next to a PWF wall.
All that lumber took a lot of nails so it was good thing that my friend Kendrick from Calgary stopped in for a visit and to help pound a few nails.
2008/06/23Old and New (permalink)
A good part of the day was spent designing and starting to implement the connection between the floor on the east side of the house and the new addition. The sunken floor and stair opening in the addition has made this connection non-trivial but not impossible. The lumber at the top of the basement walls of the addition will provide all the lateral support required to resist the ground pressure.
Some time was also spent to moch-up the kitchen layout and figure out how the plumbing will be routed up to the second bathroom on the upper floor.
2008/06/21Digging and More (permalink)
I finished digging out the old basement walk and partially filled the hole back in. I also widened the front trench and part of the back trench to make more room to install the water proof membrane on the outside of the foundation.
The moch-up of the stairs was also completed and the final height of the floor in the addition was determined. It will be a sunken floor 5 steps down from the main floor and 9 steps up from the basement. A simple moch-up was also made for the bathroom that will be installed in the addition. It will be simple bathroom 8 feet by 5 feet with a 5 foot tube, a small vanity on a diagonal in the corner, and a sliding door.
The lid for the sump pit was also modified so it can be used as a form for the concrete pour. I want to make sure it can be removed after the concrete sets so it is surrounded by shims and wrapped in plastic.
2008/06/20Sump Pit (permalink)
I made a trip to Assiniboia this morning to pick up some more supplies. I was going to purchase a sump pit but I was not impressed with what was available at both lumber yards.
This afternoon I created a sump pit from a piece of 24 inch diameter galvanized steel culvert. The culvert was buried in the floor surrounded by a layer of crushed rock so that any water that does make it under the floor can seep into the pit through slits cut into the culvert. A square lid was created for the pit from two pieces of 3/4 inch plywood and 4 short 2x8s.
It was time to cut the grass once again this evening.
2008/06/19Odds and Ends (permalink)
I continued to work on a variety of things today: continued to dig out the old basement walk out early in the morning while that area was shaded by the house, installed some of the walls studs that had to be left out during wall construction, installed the ledger board around the interior perimeter of the basement (will be used to level the concrete floor), and at the end of the day I started to moch-up the basement stairs and the roof line for the east addition.
2008/06/18This and That (permalink)
I took care of a variety of things today: cleaned in and around the basement, dug out the area of the basement were plumbing will need to be installed, dug a hole for the sump pit, removed the cable that was wrapped around the house (the one used to keep the porch attached while the house sat on the beams), and started to dig out the old basement walk out.
After I dug the sump pit hole I drilled a hole down its centre about 6 feet deep to determine the level of the water table. I struck water near the bottom of the hole, so the water level is about 8 feet below my basement floor.
2008/06/17I-Beams Gone (permalink)
The house was lowered onto the new foundation today and the big I-Beams were removed!
My brother George helped me lower the house, finish building the main beam in the centre of the basement, and complete the last minute alignment of the walls prior to firmly attaching them to the house and the concrete. Later my brother Paul came over with his tractor and helped us remove the large I-Beams from under the house.
More work is required to complete the attachment of the house and basement but I need to let the house settle some before that can happen. The house has a bit of a bow in it from sitting on those I-Beams for so long, so it will take a bit of time for that to go away along with some of the gaps between the house and basement.
Some time was spent at the end of the day cleaning up the blocking that was used to hold the house up for the last couple months, including the large quantity of railway ties.
In case you are wondering, that house was raise back on April 18. Back then, my biggest concern was whether the large I-Beams, the blocking and banks of dirt on which the sat would hold. Well, two months less a day later and that is no longer an issue.
2008/06/16Basement Walls - Day 11 (permalink)
Today I took care of most of the things that need to be done before the house can be lowered onto the new wood foundation.
I built two support beams. The one down the middle of the house is not quite done yet because the chain between the centre of the two large I-Beams is in the way. That beam will be finished once the house is lowered a bit.
The final alignment of the walls was also completed today and the corners of the walls were anchored to the concrete footings with a Hilti gun. That gun uses a .22 shell to drive specially designed nails through the wood and into the concrete. More anchor nails will be inserted once some of the weight of the house is on the walls.
If all goes well, the house should be lowered onto the new foundation tomorrow and the big I-Beams will be removed from under the house.
2008/06/14Basement Walls - Day 10 (permalink)
This morning I planned to lift the house a few inches in preparation for raising the walls and one thing led to another and the walls are up! Actually, things happened so fast today that we kind of forgot to take some pictures of our progress.
I called on my brother George this morning to help me raise the house because there were a couple challenges that made it next to impossible for me to tackle on my own. Once he arrived we manage to work through the problems with relative ease and before we knew it the house was at the height required to raise the walls.
Our initial plan was to raise the walls using chains and come-alongs but that equipment wasn't needed. George and I lifted the first wall by hand with the help of Janvier Bonneau. Additional people showed up to help as we prepared to lift the next wall and by the time we were done there were eight of us: my brothers George and Norm, Gilles and Janvier Boneau, Glenn Snow, my cousin Danny Mondor, and Robert Forest.
All the walls are now in place and mostly nailed together. There are 3 sheets of plywood that still need to be installed. One on the back wall where the two halves of that wall were joined and two on the west wall which will be left out until the ramp down into the basement is no longer required.
The house is still located a few inches above the basement since a few things need to be done before it can be lowered. Metal straps need to be installed between the house and the walls. Those straps will ensure that the top of the walls are properly anchored to the main floor. A couple support beams also need to be built and installed. All that work should be done at the begining of the week.
2008/06/13Basement Walls - Day 9 (permalink)
Work resumed today after a few days of rain. We received nearly 3 inches since last Friday and over 4 since the begining of June.
All the walls are built. The last wall, the west wall, was built in two pieces to make it easier to lift. Two sheets of plywood and two studs were also left out so the ramp can continue to be used until the basement is ready for backfilling.
The second top plate was also nailed to the floor joists. It was much easier to nail it from the bottom then it would be to toe nail it from the top after the weight of house is on the walls.
There is only a few small tasks left to complete before the walls can be raised, including raising the house a few inches.
2008/06/11More Rain - A Lot More (permalink)
Well, the work over the last couple days really paid off overnight. We received over an inch of rain since last night and most of it is staying away from the house and out of the basement. I spent a couple hours this morning fine tuning the drainage so things should be good for the additional rain in the forecast.
2008/06/10Rain Continued (permalink)
It was definitely a full day. I started by completing the eave trough and down spout on the west side of the house. After that my brother Paul came over with his small skid steer loader and moved some dirt around the back and west side of the house to improve the drainage and keep the rain from pooling near the house. Once that was done I finished cleaning up the dirt that washed into the basement from the west bank on the weekend. After that I spent some time cutting my grass. It started to rain once again while I was cutting the grass and that turned out to be a good test of my new eave troughs. This evening I start to nail the west wall together.
I did not have a chance to do any work on the basement walls today. Instead I spent most of the day dealing with the rain we had on the weekend and rain that is forecast for the days ahead.
The rain on the weekend washed in part of the west bank so the first order of business was to clean that up. Before that was finished I decided I better focus on preventing further such problems because the forecast is for a lot of rain in the next two weeks and at the point in the morning it almost looked like more rain was imminent. Fortunately that was not the case.
The biggest problem with the rain is the water that comes of the roof goes directly into the basement. That is because the house doesn't have any eave troughs so today I fabricated some temporary ones out of wood. The one for the east porch/lean-to is installed and so is a drainage channel for the small section of eave trough that did exist on the house.
An eave trough for the west side of the house was also built and its installation has begun.
I was also distracted for a few hours today by the boom lift. The controls on that machine were acting up today. We think its due to moisture from this weekends rain. The fellow who loaned me the scaffolds to install my eave troughs needed a bit of help to prune a tree because of the problem with the controls so I offered to do that. After that the truck arrived to pick up the machine and it was a challenge to get the machine onto his trailer due to the issue with the controls.
2008/06/07Basement Walls - Day 8 (permalink)
Two more walls built and the material for the next and last wall is all laid out and ready to go together.
2008/06/06Basement Walls - Day 7 (permalink)
Another wall is complete and all those built so far are now fully nailed and ready to be raised. A late afternoon rain set in before work could get started on the next wall.
2008/06/05Basement Walls - Day 6 (permalink)
The first set of walls are basically done. Just a few more nails are needed in the plywood. A friend wants some help to trim a few trees with the boom lift and in return he will come over an help me for a few hours so I'm saving the remaining nailing of the plywood for him.
The next wall is ready to go together. That wall is the front/north side of the east porch/lean-to. It will be on top of the back/south side of the east porch/lean-to. Those two walls are a mirror image of each other just like those under the main part of the house.
2008/06/04Basement Walls - Day 5 (permalink)
The wall construction continued today. Some time was spent making a minor correction to the first two walls. The third wall (second half of the south wall) was also built and most of its blocking is installed. The north wall is all squared up and the installation of its plywood has begun.
I decided today that all the walls will be built before any are lifted into place. That will require some walls to be stacked on one another, but it should make raising the walls go much smoother since we will be able to raise them all one after the other.
2008/06/03Basement Walls - Day 4 (permalink)
I got back to building the walls today, but it was a short day. It was raining first thing this morning so it took a while to get going. A gravel tail was created to make it possible to avoid the mud while going in and out of the basement. That came in real handy late this afternoon when we got another huge downpour.
2008/06/02Tree Pruning - Day 3 - Complete (permalink)
The tree pruning work was completed today. All the trimmings are either stacked for use as fire wood and lumber, or loaded on my brother's 1 ton truck and ready to be hauled to the dump. Note that the photos don't show the end of the day were everything is cleaned up. It was too dark to take decent photos.
2008/05/31Tree Pruning - Day 2 (permalink)
The boom lift was available first thing this morning so I resumed the work I started yesterday. I had the boom lift from about 8:00am to 2:00pm and again this evening from 6:30pm to 9:30pm. That was enough for me to complete all the pruning I wanted to do.
This afternoon was spent cleaning up the street and hauling out some of the small branches that aren't worth keeping for fire wood. There is plenty of cleanup yet to do.
Today I have a bit of fun with the boom lift and my camera. Around noon I took several pictures and some video from the boom lift parked in the center of the street in front of the Telegraph Office and extended to its maximum straight up. This evening I used the boom lift to take a few pictures of the Willow Bunch Museum.
2008/05/30Basement Walls - Day 3 - Not Really (permalink)
I began the day nailing the second wall together and was making some good progress there. Then shortly after 9am one of those cease the moment kind of opportunities presented itself.
A boom lift was delivered to the museum and I learned that the machine was rented for about a week. It will be used to paint the windows at the top of the museum and the fellow across the street at the old rectory is also going to use it to remove a chimney. As luck would have it, I was able to get some time on that machine to do some work on my trees.
Today I got the boom lift for about 3 hours and during that time a good start was made on taking down a couple trees along the street in front of my house. I will get the machine again in the days to come to continue where I left off.
I may take up to 3 of the 5 big trees along the street. Once that is done the others will be pruned and so will those along the west side of the lot.
I would prefer to keep as many of the old trees on the lot as possible, especially those along the street because they are some of the oldest in town, but some of them have become unsafe. Fortunately two of the trees that will be kept are on opposite sides of the house (one on the left and one on the right). As such, those 100 year old trees, which were planted by Marc Aurèle Noël around the time the Telegraph Office was moved to its present site in 1909, will live on to 'frame' the Telegraph Office.
With time, the lot will be landscaped and new trees will be planted to replace those I'm taking down and those removed in years gone by. Perhaps some of those will also live on for 100 years or longer.
2008/05/29Basement Walls - Day 2 (permalink)
The first wall is mostly built. All that is left is the blocking between the studs at the plywood joints and the plywood itself. The blocks are all cut and their ends have been treated with the end cut preservative.
Once those blocks are installed the plywood can be nailed down. However, only lower half the of the plywood will be nailed on at this time. The upper half will be added once the walls are lifted into their vertical position. That will make the walls easier to lift.
The wall construction is 2x8s 12 inches on centre will triples studs on each side of the windows, double window sill plates, and full studding below the beam pocket. That will all be covered with 3/4 inch plywood making for some very heavy walls. The 2x8s are required by code due to the depth of the backfill (ie the 2x8s are required to resist the ground pressure pushing in on the walls). The 3/4 inch plywood is thicker than required but it will make the exterior of the walls match up with the wall boards on the house and it will make the walls just a little bit stronger.
The lumber for the second wall is also cut, marked up, and ready for nails.
The entire basement will be made up of seven walls. There is actually only six walls in the basement, but the back wall will be built in two pieces so it's easier to lift.
Once a few more of the walls are built they will all be stood up, but the house will need to go up a few more inches first.
2008/05/28Basement Walls - Day 1 (permalink)
I spent the day getting ready to build the basement walls.
More gravel was hauled into the basement to get the base for the concrete floor to the right height. It was much easier to do this morning then it will be once the walls are up. It also made to floor a bit better for building the walls on.
The two water pipes were also buried in the floor so they won't be in the way of the wall construction. They will be dug up again once the walls are done.
Once the floor was ready to go I started to hauled in the lumber and worked out the exact layout of all the material (ie made sure what I had on paper will actually work).
One of the teleposts was also put to use today. It was setup to support the porch. This will allow us to remove that old power pole which will be in the way when it comes time to lift the walls.
2008/05/27PWF Lumber - Trip 2, Forms Removal - Day 3 (permalink)
I made another trip to Assiniboia today to get the rest of the lumber for the basement. I also purchased a new lawn mower for the grass in my large yard.
This afternoon I cut my grass and then I spent the rest of the day completing the removal of the forms and cleaning up the lumber from the forms.
2008/05/26PWF Lumber - Trip 1 (permalink)
I made a trip to Assiniboia today to purchase the lumber for the new Preserved Wood Foundation (PWF) basement. I was hoping to return with all the material today but it was too heavy. Another trip is required to get the rest of the material.
2008/05/24Forms Removal - Day 2 (permalink)
Only a few hours were spent over at the house removing forms but some good progress was made. There is only one small section to go about 20 feet long down one side of the footings.
2008/05/23Forms Removal - Day 1 (permalink)
Most of the day was spent finalizing the materials list for the PWF (wood) walls of the basement. However, a few hours this afternoon were spent getting a start on the removal of the forms.
2008/05/22Footings Complete (permalink)
The concrete was poured for the footings today. It took less than a hour to place the 5 yards of concrete thanks to the help of my brothers George and Paul and my cousin Gerry.
I ordered a bit more concrete then I needed so Gerry took some home to repair a step at his house. The rest was used to make a pad in front of my storage container.
2008/05/18Forms - Day 6 (permalink)
All the rebar is in place and wired together. Well, almost. The rebar for some of the telepost pads needs to be put back into place once the plastic layer is installed, but that is a very small job.
2008/05/17Forms - Day 5 (permalink)
More gravel was hauled into the basement this morning. It was a chance to test out the wheelbarrow acquired yesterday. It worked out well, although that trip down the ramp into the basement was an interesting one.
The remainder of the small gravel pile near the house was hauled into basement. That makes more room for the ready mix truck to delivery the concrete.
All the rebar is cut and bent as needed for the footings and its final placement has begun. Note that the footings are being lined with plastic before the rebar is tied into place. The plastic will ensure the moisture is retained in the concrete as long as possible and ensure the concrete cures properly.
2008/05/16Forms - Day 4 (permalink)
All the forms are built and the rebar is starting to be installed.
A set of temporary stairs were also created today for the door on the west side of the house. The stairs were made from those removed from the old external entrance to the basement. They should make moving tools in and out of the house (a daily activity) much easier!
I obtained a wheelbarrow from the Willow Bunch Historical Society today. It may come in handy for placing the concrete for the footings or the basement floor. The wheelbarrow was found while we were looking through the items the Historical Society collected over the years from old buildings in and around Willow Bunch. Some of those items will come in handy when I start to create the small museum in the Telegraph Office.
2008/05/15Forms - Day 3 (permalink)
This morning and the first part of this afternoon was spent finalizing the plans for the east lean-to. That was required to determine the placement of the teleposts in the basement and hence the location of the forms for the concrete pads that will support them.
The rest of the day was spent digging the holes for the concrete pads and installing their forms. Three of the five pads are done and the other two just need their forms.
2008/05/14Forms - Day 2 (permalink)
The forms around the perimeter of the basement were completed today. The hole for the sewer line was also backfilled and the area around the house was cleaned up so there are fewer obstacles for pouring the concrete.
2008/05/13Forms - Day 1 (permalink)
Today was spent building the forms for the footings.
The plumber also stopped by to make the connection for the sewer line. He connected a new plastic pipe to the clay sewer pipe. The new plastic only extends to the inside of the footings. We will deal with the rest of the plumbing that needs to go into the floor a bit later. We also put a piece of plastic pipe under the footings out the back of the basement. This is so I have the option to bring the plumbing out to a washroom in a new shop in the back yard.
2008/05/12Bobcat Returned (permalink)
There wasn't too much activity at the house today. This morning I went to Moose Jaw to return the Bobcat. On the way home I picked up rebar for the footings and made arrangements for the concrete delivery.
This evening I dismantled the temporary 2x6 beams used to support the house during and after the new sub-floor installation. Those 2x6s will be used to construct the forms for the footings.
2008/05/11Batter Boards (permalink)
I spent the afternoon creating the batter boards for the installation of the forms. That task took much longer then I expected. The challenge was in making sure the forms and the eventual basement line up with the house. To do that I used plumb lines hanging down from the corners of the house. It was a great idea, but I started using a couple chalk lines as plumb-bob. That would have worked had I been indoors, but chalk line plumb-bobs were too light moved way too much in the wind. I eventually switched to much heavier plumb-bobs (ie a chunk of iron and a fair size rock on the ends of a couple strings) and things worked much better.
After the batter boards were complete I leveled some of the gravel, first by hand with a rake then a bit with the Bobcat. There is still more leveling to do, but I believe I have roughly the right amount of gravel in the basement so the Bobcat can be returned.
The Bobcat is now on the trailer and ready for the trip back to Moose Jaw.
The gravel was hauled into the basement today. That started with the burial of the water pipe. It was buried with sand tight up against the bank of the basement to ensure it is outside of the footings except for the one spot where it crosses into the basement.
A level line was setup around the perimeter of the basement to set the gravel at the right height for the footings. That was setup using my water level. The level line is now being converted into batter boards for the installation of the forms for the footings.
I'm hoping to get the forms in place before I return the Bobcat in case I don't have the right amount of gravel in the basement.
2008/05/09Digging - Day 5 - Complete (permalink)
The digging is complete! The gravel will be hauled in tomorrow and then work to setup the forms for the concrete footings will be begin.
In case, you haven't been following along from the beginning, the new basement will be a Preserved Wood Foundation (PWF) with concrete footings and a concrete floor. This is definitely not something that would have existed in the original house, but it won't be that visible from the street and it will provide the much needed extra space for things like the furnace, water heater, washer and dryer, and storage.
A couple more loads of debris (ie old cinder brick back wall of the basement) were hauled out today making plenty of room in the back yard for hauling the gravel into the basement.
The joint between the corroded cast iron sewer pipe and the good clay pipe was dug out today and the last bit of old corroded cast iron pipe was removed. A new plastic pipe will be connected to the clay pipe to form the base for the new sewage system.
2008/05/08Digging - Day 4 (permalink)
It was a very good day. Most of the digging is now done. There is just a bit of trim work to do before the gravel can be hauled in.
The old cinder brick back wall of the basement was broken up and put in a pile behind the house. It will eventually be hauled away like the previous debris.
George finished digging the sewer pipe. Note that a bit of tunneling was used to locate the joint between the corroded cast iron pipe and the good clay pipe that runs out to the street.
I originally thought I would be able to use up the dirt from the basement for backfill and landscaping around the yard. Well, it looks like I'm going to have way too much dirt for that. In, fact towards the end of the day, I was running out of room to pile it! It may look like there's a lot of room around the house, but we need to make sure there is room for the ready mix truck to deliver the concrete for the footings and basement floor.
2008/05/07Digging - Day 3 (permalink)
The day begin at a slow pace due to yesterday's rain. The morning was spent tidying up the debris pile and relocating that telephone pole providing an extra bit of support under the east porch.
Digging in the basement began first thing after lunch and to my surprise it didn't take very long to address that low soft spot in the center of the floor. A bit of dry clay from the north side of the basement was spread in the low spot and packed with the Bobcat and it hasn't been a problem since. However, one new challenge presented itself. The area under the driveway, where the east lean-to will be re-introduced, was filled with a large quantity of rocks. That made it a harder to dig, but those rocks are gone now and the digging in the basement well on its way.
The entire floor of the basement is now within a few inches of the final grade and most of the walls are within a foot or two of their final cut.
Today's photos includes a couple of the hole George dug yesterday to locate the sewer line.
Also note that the RM truck dropped off another load of gravel this morning then it returned at the end of the day and was parked behind my house so I could load it up one more time.
2008/05/06Digging - Day 2 (permalink)
The ramp down to the basement was completed this morning and the Bobcat can get under the house quite easily now. Unfortunately there are some challenges ahead. The center of the basement is quite soft making it tough for the machine to work down there. And, because it is so soft, the center of the floor is already dug down about 1 foot deeper then desired.
It started to rain shortly after lunch and that put a damper on the work with the Bobcat because the ground got too slippery. However, the Bobcat was still able to load the RM42 truck with with debris from the pile behind the house. That truck was hauling in the gravel that will be used for drainage under the footings and basement floor, so each time it brought in a load of gravel it was loaded with debris. We managed to get 3 truck loads of gravel hauled in and 3 loads of that debris hauled out before the rain started making it difficult for the truck to get in and out of the gravel pit south of town.
My brother George was helping me out again today. He had a go at the Bobcat early this morning. He got the base in place for the large pile of dirt by the trees to the south west of the house. After that he took to a shovel and went searching for the anomaly in my sewer line about 10 feet from the house. We still don't know what that anomaly is but, as a result of George's digging, we now know that there is a good clay sewer pipe 10 feet out from my house. The line leaving the basement is an old corroded cast iron pipe and more digging is required to find the exact spot where those two are joined.
2008/05/05Bobcat Picked Up (permalink)
I rented a Bobcat (skid steer loader) in Moose Jaw today. The old Ford truck I bought last week did a good job hauling this machine to Willow Bunch.
I got home around 3pm and immediately put the machine to work. I started by cleaning up the dirt and concrete piles around the house, then I started digging on the east side of the house. The old foundation and coal from the old east lean-to were dug out and added to that pile of debris that will be hauled out by the folks from RM42. I ended the day by starting to dig the ramp that will be used to get under the house.
2008/05/03Chimney Base (permalink)
I removed some more blocks from the south side of the basement and then started to remove the base from the chimney. The chimney base is the largest and strongest block of concrete encountered so far and this one could be a challenge to remove.
Rain prevented me from doing any work on the house yesterday. Things also started out a bit slow today due to mud.
The day was spent doing a bit of cleanup on the south side of the house and removing some blocks from the south east corner of the basement.
I got an old pickup truck today for work around the house. I spent a good part of the day getting it road worthy and getting it ready to go pickup a Bobcat to dig the basement. After that I went out to look for some gravel for drainage around the foundation and under the floor of the new basement. The folks at RM 42 have three different gravel pits so I had to go check them out to determine which would be more suitable for my project.
After I got home I received an email from Marc Aurèle Noël's oldest grandson. He is helping me find more details about the early days of the Telegraph Office and in today's email he included a photo from the 1920s. This photo shows a few details on the front of the house which I haven't seen before, including the original addition on the west side of the house. The photo also gives me a much better idea how high the house should be above the ground when I'm done with the basement so the timing of photo's arrival couldn't have been any better!
2008/04/29Short Day (permalink)
I was out of town for a good part of the day, so I only got to work on my house for a couple hours late in the afternoon and early in the evening. I used that time to do a couple important tasks:
2008/04/28More Survey Work (permalink)
I spent most of the day doing more survey work in an effort to determine what the final height of the house should be. I want the house to look right from the street (not too high or too low), but I also need to ensure that there is adequate drainage around the house, there is room for windows in the basement at the back of the house, the water and sewer lines are positioned at the right elevation relative to the basement floor, and the amount of dirt moved from the basement is kept to a minimum. I did make some good progress today, but I still don't have the final answer yet.
At the end of the day I was looking at the ground rod for the telegraph system in the north west corner of the house. I want to remove it to make sure nothing happens to it during the basement construction and in the process of doing that I discovered two more older ground rods in the same location.
2008/04/26Digging - Day 1 (permalink)
I started digging out the basement today. The hole that is there now needs to be enlarged in every direction to accommodate the new modern basement.
Today's digging was done by hand. The dirt was hauled out of the basement using the sled built earlier in the week, however some plywood was added to the sides to expand its capacity.
The hardest (slowest) part of today's work was the emptying of the sled, but by the end of the day an efficient technique was found to tip the sled over.
One area about 8 feet by 14 feet is now within a few inches of the final depth required.
2008/04/25Rocks and Concrete Done (permalink)
I finished removing the rocks and concrete from the basement today. The cinder block south wall of the basement will be removed after the bulk of the dirt is removed for the new basement.
The day ended with an excavation of the water and sewer lines. Knowing the precise location of these pipes relative to the foundation wall will help with the basement design.
2008/04/24More Rocks and Concrete (permalink)
More rocks and concrete were pulled out of the basement today. There was more down there then expected. The concrete in the coal chute is about one foot thick and quite deep in the ground. Fortunately it is not very strong.
My Jeep got another workout today and so did I. This morning I made a small sled to pull the rocks from the basement and then I spent the rest of the day putting it to work.
Most of the rocks are now out of the basement. The bulk of them were saved in a pile by the big trees on the west side of the house. I plan to eventually re-use these rocks somewhere around the property and probably for some sort of landscaping. Note that a few of them are quite large, probably in the 200 to 250 pound range. I definitely used gravity to my advantage when it came time to move those.
The small amount of concrete that was used in the foundation between the rock and some garbage rocks were put in a separate pile near the asphalt taken up from the driveway. All that stuff will be hauled away eventually.
2008/04/22Lot Survey and Basement Cleanup (permalink)
The first half of the day was spent doing a thorough survey of the lot to determine the proximity of the house and the east addition to the property line. I borrowed a metal detector from the Willow Bunch town foreman. The metal detector was used to locate some legal survey markers and to my surprise I was able to find 5 such markers, 2 along the street and and 3 along the alley. These markers have a tendency to disappear over time due to construction of one sort or another, especially in a town like Willow Bunch which is over 135 years old, but fortunately that wasn't the case in the immediate vicinity of my lot.
After the survey was complete, I spent the rest of the day removing the temporary house support from the basement.
2008/04/21Archaeological Dig (permalink)
Today an archaeological dig of sorts on the east side (far left) of the house was completed. This dig exposed the entire foundation for the lean-to that was there back in the early days. This lean-to will be rebuilt as part of the restoration project.
2008/04/19Yard Cleanup (permalink)
I spent the day at a more leisurely pace, cleaning up the yard. I also moved some dirt at the front of the house to get a better idea what the finally elevation should be for the front yard and the house.
At the end of the day I continued to search for the foundation for the old lean-to on the east side of the house. It looks like the width of that lean-to was about 10 feet, which agrees with the size determined by analyzing the old photos.
2008/04/18The Lift - Day 2 (permalink)
The house lift is complete. It took a lot of hard work by my brother George and I, but the house is now about 24 inches higher then it was this morning. The house will stay in the position until it is time to set it down on the new basement.
2008/04/17The Lift - Day 1 (permalink)
The bracing of the porch was completed this morning and a first attempt was made to carry some weight on the large I-Beams.
After lunch the entire weight of the house was put on the beams and the house was raised about an inch. The rest of the day was spent trying to measure the weight of the house. Actually, we are trying to ensure that the house is balanced correctly given the porch is hanging off one side. Some material was shifted inside the house to counterbalance the weight of the porch but more of that may be required.
2008/04/16Getting Ready To Lift House - Day 8 (permalink)
The bracing between the large I-Beams was completed today and the beams are properly aligned and ready for the lift.
A few other miscellaneous things were also completed today, like the addition of some bracing on the bottom front corner of the porch.
The door in the south west corner of the house, a temporary door installed last fall, was opened for the first time in a couple months. When the work to replace the floor began bracing was added to the walls and that meant the door could no longer be opened. Today enough of that bracing was removed so that door could be once again opened. This was done because the only door that can be used to enter the house at this time, the one on the porch is about to be covered with bracing. The plan is to let the porch hang in the air as we lift the building with the two large beams, so extra bracing is being added to the porch to make sure it doesn't sag too much during the lift.
Once the bracing was removed from the door in the south west corner of the house a bit work was required to re-align it. That door was installed when the house was still sitting quite crooked and now that things are much straighter with the new floor the door needed some adjustments.
2008/04/15Getting Ready To Lift House - Day 7 (permalink)
The large I-Beams were installed under the house today, but there are few more things to do before we can begin to lift the house.
The trenches used to insert the beams at the front of the house were backfilled after the installation was complete since they won't be needed any more. When the time comes to remove the beams, the house and beams will be sitting about two feet higher so we can just pull them out on top of the ground.
2008/04/14Getting Ready To Lift House - Day 6 (permalink)
The blocking pads at the four corners of the house are now complete. The bracing in the basement has also been adjusted to accommodate the insertion of the large I-Beams.
Just a few more miscellaneous things to do and we should be ready to insert the beams and begin the lift.
At the end of the day at bit of time was spent exploring the east side of the house where we will be adding the small lean-to that was there in the early days. I had a suspicion that we may be able to find the old foundation for the structure given the fact that the old sidewalk in the front of the house was just covered over. And, that is the case. Two small areas were uncovered and both appear to contain parts of the old foundation.
2008/04/12Salvage Day (permalink)
The day was spent salvaging material from a house slated for demolition in the next few weeks. The house in question was built in 1918 and it had some material that might come in handy when the time comes to rebuild the inside of the Telegraph Office. Baseboards, door and window frames, and the banister were salvaged but someone beat me to the best of the door and window frames and the doors.
The house will be demolished by the folks from RM 42, the guys who cleaned up the concrete from our demolition last fall. They will just push the house over with their big machines and then load the pieces into their truck (ie a much quicker process then we used for the lean-to on the Telegraph Office). This house is one of five to be demolished in the next few weeks. The other houses are nothing special and they have nothing of interest for the Telegraph Office project.
2008/04/11Getting Ready To Lift House - Day 5 (permalink)
More railway ties were installed today and another test hole was drilled at the front of the house.
2008/04/10Getting Ready To Lift House - Day 4 (permalink)
An earlier morning rain resulted in a slow start to the day, but good progress was made on the two blocking areas at the back of the house. The two areas are at their final level, each has one of two railway ties that will form the base for the blocking and the area for the second railway tie is ready to go.
A couple test holes were also drilled today with a hand auger to test the soil conditions below the blocking areas and below the existing basement. The soil is a sandy clay mixture that should make for a good base.
2008/04/09Getting Ready To Lift House - Day 3 (permalink)
Spent the day digging out the areas for the blocking that will support the big I-Beams and the entire weight of the house.
2008/04/08Getting Ready To Lift House - Day 2 (permalink)
Continued to dig the trenches for the big I-Beams today. While digging near the front walk an older concrete and stone side walk was found about a foot below the current one. This walk was much wider then the current one and its depth confirms that the house originally sat much higher above the ground. Actually, a couple months ago it was determine that the house should be raised about 20 inches to match the height above the ground shown in the early photos and today's find confirms that. The distance of this walkway from the house also confirms that the wood platform around the house was about 5 feet wide.
Plenty of time was also spent today planning the house lift. It was decided that the house will just be lifted where its at work to build the new basement will be preformed below the house.
2008/04/07Getting Ready To Lift House - Day 1 (permalink)
Cleaned up around the outside of the house today and started to dig trenches for the big I-Beams.
Also did a bit of digging to determine the size of the septic tank near the back corner of the house.
2008/04/05Floor Joist Repair - Day 46 (permalink)
The house and the new floor are now one!
The house is properly aligned on the new floor (that took a little bit of persuasion in one corner) and it is fully fastened the floor. Some extra support made from 3/4 inch plywood was even added in the corners. That plywood is temporary and it will eventually be replaced with plywood that will tie the house and new basement together.
2008/04/04Floor Joist Repair - Day 45 (permalink)
The new floor is done. Just need to finish attaching the house to the floor and then it will be time to pick up and move the house.
2008/04/03Floor Joist Repair - Day 44 (permalink)
The new floor is almost done. Just a few sheets of plywood left to install.
2008/04/02Floor Joist Repair - Day 43 (permalink)
Almost done installing the new floor joists in the porch.
2008/04/01Floor Joist Repair - Day 42 (permalink)
Old floor removed from the porch. Ready to install new floor joists.
Note the two 4x4 posts holding up the porch.
2008/03/31Floor Joist Repair - Day 41 (permalink)
Added some bracing to the porch today, including a cable wrapped around the exterior of the house. This will help to hold the porch on the house while the floor is replaced and when the house is lifted.
The last bit of foundation in contact with the house, a small section at the back of the porch, was also removed today.
2008/03/29Floor Joist Repair - Day 40 (permalink)
The main floor is almost done. Just a bit of plywood to go along the east wall but that will have to wait until the new joists are installed in the porch.
2008/03/28Floor Joist Repair - Day 39 (permalink)
The day was spent retrieving and cleaning up the I-Beams purchased yesterday. The beams are now parked beside the Telegraph Office and ready for action.
2008/03/27Floor Joist Repair - Day 38 (permalink)
Most of the day was spent at an auction sale in a nearby town where I bought a couple 16 inch steel I-Beams 38 feet long. A fews weeks ago I had made arrangements to borrow some beams, but those were only 10 inch beams 30 feet long which would have required plenty of support blocking down in the basement. The beams purchased today should easily be able to lift the house without any blocking in the basement.
I also got a good deal on a table saw and jointer at the auction. Those will come in handy when it comes time to recreate the woodwork for the inside of the house.
After the auction the rest of the bridging was installed on the east side of the house along with a couple more sheets of plywood.
2008/03/26Floor Joist Repair - Day 37 (permalink)
Most floor joists installed in south east corner of the house.
2008/03/25Floor Joist Repair - Day 36 (permalink)
Starting to put the new plywood down in the north east corner of the house.
2008/03/24Floor Joist Repair - Day 35 (permalink)
Starting to install the new floor joists in the north east corner of the house.
2008/03/21Floor Joist Repair - Day 34 (permalink)
Ready to start dismantling the east half of the old floor.
2008/03/20Floor Joist Repair - Day 33 (permalink)
The bulk of the day was spent removing the lower section of the stairs. This will make it a whole lot easier to replace the floor in that area of the house. It will also be a lot easier insulate and gyproc the walls with the stairs out of the way, so the stairs won't be permanently re-installed until much later.
The beam that was installed on the north half of the house by a previous owner was removed today and the new wall in the south of the house was moved over to the center-line of the floor like that in the north half. And, like the one on the north half, the wall in the south half will be moved into its final position once the house is sitting on its new basement.
2008/03/19Floor Joist Repair - Day 32 (permalink)
A new wall was built today for the front half of the house. This wall is meant to be a replicate of the original which a previous owner removed and replaced by a beam. This wall has the same dimensions as the original wall except for one. This wall was built from 2x6s instead of 2x4s which were was used in the orignal because the extra space will be required for a new forced air heating system that will be installed in the house.
The new wall is currently located is a temporary location on the center-line of the floor. This will ensure the weight is distributed evenly across the new floor when the house is lifted and moved to replace the basement. The wall will be relocated to its proper location once the house is sitting on its new basement.
The east half of the house was also cleaned out today so that the floor the can be replaced there.
2008/03/18Floor Joist Repair - Day 31 (permalink)
Finished building the new floor on west half of the house.
2008/03/17Floor Joist Repair - Day 30 (permalink)
Finished dismantling the floor in the north west corner of the house and installed all the new floor joists. The plywood will go down tomorrow.
2008/03/15Floor Joist Repair - Day 29 (permalink)
A better part of the day was spent getting the north west corner of the house ready to be lifted. The large picture window on the front of the house was removed and replaced some temporary framing. The large beam was bolted to the front of the house like it was in the back.
Once the corner was lifted the dismantling of the floor began and that is mostly done.
2008/03/14Floor Joist Repair - Day 28 (permalink)
The new floor in the south west corner of the house is now complete. Well ... almost. The sub-floor is tongue and grove plywood with joints staggered by 4 feet so the south west corner of the floor can't actually be completed until the north west corner of the floor is ready to be completed. The floor in the south west corner is however securely fixed in its final position and it is holding the weight of that corner of the house. Note that a temporary wall had to be created in the south west corner of the house to keep the floor from lifting along the center line of the house. That is because the bulk of the weight on the floor is from the west wall which is currently cantilevered out about 3 feet due to the position of the temporary beams in the basement.
The north west corner of the house was emptied today and is ready to have its floor replaced. That work should began tomorrow.
2008/03/13Floor Joist Repair - Day 27 (permalink)
Today is the 100th day (working day) since the project began. The day was spent building the new floor in the south west corner of the house. It took all day to nail the floor joists together and install just two and half sheets of plywood and bridging for that corner of the floor, but that was because extra care was taken to make sure there were no mistakes. Definitely exceeded the adage of "measure twice, cut once". Actually, today it was probably more like "measure ten times, cut once".
2008/03/12Floor Joist Repair - Day 26 (permalink)
Picked up a large load of lumber for the floor today and started to install the new floor joists.
2008/03/11Floor Joist Repair - Day 25 (permalink)
The south west corner of the house is ready for new lumber.
2008/03/10Floor Joist Repair - Day 24 (permalink)
A good start was made on the dismantling of the floor in the south west corner of the house. Once that section is fully dismantled it will be rebuilt with new lumber. And, once the south west corner is rebuilt the procedure will be repeated on the other corners of the house.
An interesting coin was found this morning while moving dirt to create a solid base to jack the south west corner of the house. The coin is a 1900 Canadian 5 cent piece. It is smaller than a dime and it was quite dirty when it was found, so it could have been easily overlooked had it not been for the sharp eye of my neighbor.
2008/03/08Floor Joist Repair - Day 23 (permalink)
The interior wall is complete. It is currently positioned in a temporary location that won't interfere with the floor joist replacement in the south west corner of the house. The wall be moved to it's correct location once the first section of floor is rebuilt.
The beam reclaimed from the south half of the house is now installed along the outside of the back wall where it will be used to support the house while the floor in that corner is rebuilt.
A few photos were taken today of the support post bracing in the basement.
2008/03/07Floor Joist Repair - Day 22 (permalink)
I started to rebuild one of the interior walls on the main floor today. The big beam currently supporting the second floor in the south half of the house is needed elsewhere, so the wall that used to be in the south half of the main floor is being rebuilt. If you recall, the original wall was removed and replaced with the beam a few weeks ago when the wood flooring was taken up. Also, the wall that was there wasn't actually the original one because door opening was enlarged over the years. The replacement wall will restore that original door opening but the wall won't be exactly like the original. The original was built from 2x4s and the replacement is being built with 2x6s to make room for the second floor plumbing and air ducts.
The big beam currently supporting the second floor will be used to support the building while the floor joists are replaced.
2008/03/06Floor Joist Repair - Day 21 (permalink)
Diagonal bracing was added to the support posts in the basement.
2008/03/04Floor Joist Repair - Day 20 (permalink)
The beams are all in place now. The next thing to do is to add diagonal bracing to the support post, that will ensure the building doesn't move when the foundation is taken away.
The remainder of the retaining wall on the north side of the basement was removed today along with the temporary support walls installed last fall were also removed.
2008/03/03Floor Joist Repair - Day 19 (permalink)
Installation of the temporary support beams continues. The east beam is done and so is one of the two beams that will be installed under the porch. The old opening for the basement stairway was patched up. A few 2x6s were sistered with those that had been cut for the opening. This will allow the load of the outside wall to be transfered to the newly installed beam.
2008/03/01Floor Joist Repair - Day 18 (permalink)
Installation of the temporary support beams continues. The west beam is done. The east beam is in place and awaiting support posts.
2008/02/29Floor Joist Repair - Day 17 (permalink)
Installation of the temporary support beams continues. The center beam is done. The west beam is in place but more support posts are required.
The snow is melting quite quickly these days and so far the run-off has kept out of the basement.
2008/02/28Floor Joist Repair - Day 16 (permalink)
Installation of the temporary support beams continues. These beams will play a very important role so there won't be any short cuts taken here.
2008/02/27Floor Joist Repair - Day 15 (permalink)
Installation of the temporary support beams continued. Holes were made in foundation for the beams.
One entire beam is now built and up in place, although the final support posts still need to be installed.
2008/02/26Floor Joist Repair - Day 14 (permalink)
A water level was built today to help with the leveling of the building. It was made from a rubber garden hose, a few fittings and valves, and some clear plastic tubing. The unit was filled with windshield washer fluid instead of water because it will be used and stored in sub zero temperatures.
Installation also began on temporary support beams in the basement. These beams will support the building as the floor joists are replaced.
2008/02/25Floor Joist Repair - Day 13 (permalink)
Back to work this afternoon following a very long weekend and some much deserved time off. The short day was spent on the perimeter of the floor. All the concrete and siding remaining around the outside of the floor was removed. Some excavation was also done in the south west corner of the basement.
2008/02/19Floor Joist Repair - Day 12 (permalink)
Today I started excavating the areas of the basement where blocking will be placed to support the house during the floor joist repair (replacement) and subsequent house life and move. The bulk of the time was spent on the north side of the basement dealing with the retaining wall that used to extend all the way up to the floor joists.
2008/02/18Floor Joist Repair - Day 11 (permalink)
More jacking was done on the house today and it's starting to get quite straight. Even the second floor is straightening out.
2008/02/15Floor Joist Repair - Day 10 (permalink)
The house moving jack purchased a few weeks ago got a good workout today straightening the house. Good progress was made raising the sags in the floor, some spots were raised as much as 3 inches (note the shims in the photos), but there's still a ways to go before the floor is straight.
The house is sure a lot easier to lift then it was last fall when the support walls were installed in the basement. All that weight removed from the house over the last few months is very noticeable now.
2008/02/14Floor Joist Repair - Day 9 (permalink)
The morning started with a bit of snow removal. The snow drifts near the house were shoveled away so they don't end up in the basement when the above zero temperatures arrive in the next few days. After that the pile of wood flooring was moved out to storage.
2008/02/13Floor Joist Repair - Day 8 (permalink)
All the wood flooring from the main floor is pilled up and ready to be moved out to storage. Will attempt to move the wood out tomorrow, however today's blizzard brought in a lot of snow and that may pose a bit of a problem.
2008/02/12Floor Joist Repair - Day 7 (permalink)
All the wood flooring is out of the main structure and work is underway on the porch.
Arrangements were made today to borrow a nearby garage to store the wood flooring, so once the porch is done that large pile of lumber in the house will be moved out of the way.
2008/02/11Floor Joist Repair - Day 6 (permalink)
The end of the flooring removal is near. Only about 4 feet to go along the west side of the house.
2008/02/08Floor Joist Repair - Day 5 (permalink)
More flooring was removed today along with the wall in the south half of the house. That wall was sitting on the wood flooring so it had to go. A temporary beam was installed to take its place.
The lower layer of wood flooring is now more than half gone and once the big pile of boards is moved the rest of the flooring can be removed.
2008/02/07Floor Joist Repair - Day 4 (permalink)
The top layer of flooring is done and about a quater of the lower layer is gone as well. We can now see some of the nice one foot wide boards that make up the sub floor.
2008/02/06Floor Joist Repair - Day 3 (permalink)
Good progress made today on the floor boards. Only about a quarter of the top layer remains. Some progress was also made on the lower layer, the original 1904 layer, and some of the sub floor is now exposed.
The lower layer of boards near the porch are extremely worn. Back in the early days the porch was the kitchen so there was clearly a lot of traffic in and out of that room.
2008/02/05Floor Joist Repair - Day 2 (permalink)
Today it was decided that then entire main floor will be taken down to the sub floor. It was always the plan to remove both layers of wood flooring and salvage enough material to restore the floor as it would have been in the early days. Originally the plan was to do that later in the project (ie after the basement is done), but now is as good of a time as any.
The reason for this change has to do with the way the house was built. In order to salvage as much of the wood flooring as possible, it needs to be removed in the reverse order in which it was installed. As luck would have it, the room in the south west corner was were the installation of the first layer started so that means everything else has to be removed first. What makes things a bit worse then they need to be is the fact that the first layer was put down before some of the interior walls were installed, like the wall that was removed today (see photos). One could just cut the floor where it goes under those walls but, as mentioned earlier, the plan was always to take the whole house down to the sub floor and doing that now rather then cutting the boards will maximize what is salvaged. Besides it will allow us to see now what clues might remain hidden below the floor boards, like the spot that clearly shows where the wood heater was in the north west room on the main floor (note the burn mark shown in the photos).
Late this afternoon a new technique was found that makes it much easier to remove the floor boards. This new method uses a special little jig fabricated this afternoon and it is much faster then what was originally be used and it is much less likely to damage the boards.
2008/02/04Floor Joist Repair - Begins (permalink)
The day started with a shovel and crowbar. They were used to expose the ends of the lower 6x6 beams under the house. These beams and another set of 6x6 beams that rest on them will be removed during the installation of the new basement. Actually, they may be removed before the house is moved off its current foundation but it's too early to say for sure.
The remainder of the morning and early afternoon was spent working in the basement. All the nails that had been used over the years to hang one thing or another from the floor joists were removed and so were things like some old knobs left over from the old knob and tube wiring system. All the loose rocks along the inside of the 6x6 beam on the west side of the house were also removed.
After that some time was spent planning how the house will be lifted and identifying the repair work that needs to be done before that happens. The main thing that needs to be done is the replacement of the floor joists in the south half of the main structure. The existing ones are in very bad shape. They are 2x8s spaced 24 inches on center which is significantly inadequate. As a result most them failed, splitting in one way or another over the years. So the current floor has these broken joists and various 2x6s that were added over the years to patch things up.
Replacing the floor joists is no easy task, so some experimenting will be done to find the best approach. One thing that would make that task a whole lot easy is the ability to nail directly into the new joists from the sub floor, but there are currently two layers of wood flooring on top of the sub floor. So, the first thing to do it is to attempt to expose the sub floor.
Late this afternoon the boards, doors, and windows, stored in southwest corner of the main floor were moved out to the shed. After that work began to remove the first layer of wood flooring and so far it is going very good.
Almost forgot to mention that I made some arrangements yesterday to borrow some large steel beams to lift the house. Actually, given the size and quantity of beams that are available we will likely move the house back about 40 or 50 feet so it's out of the way while the new basement is being built. Yup, the creative juices are busy working on that.
I will be able to borrow some house lifting jacks along with the beams and I bought a house lifting jack of my own yesterday so things are really starting to come together for what will no doubt be the biggest challenge of the restoration project.
2008/02/02Removing Layers Inside - Day 37 (permalink)
The lathe and plaster removal work is now complete. A small amount of lathe and plaster was kept in the north west corner of the house as a temporary show piece but that amount is trivial compared to what was removed so far so this part of the project is considered to be done. Today's trip to the dump should be the last one for quite a while.
Late this afternoon work transitioned to the basement. The stuff that had been stored down there over the last little while was removed in preparation for what's coming up next. It's now time to fix up the floor so that the house can be picked up.
While I was in the basement I noticed that several of the support posts down there are now loose, a definite sign a lot of weight was taken out of the house over the last 37 days. The current estimate is that 10 to 14 tons (20 to 28 thousand pounds) were removed from the house!
2008/02/01Removing Layers Inside - Day 36 (permalink)
Work continued again this afternoon in the north half of the main floor. A couple wall sections were removed intact so that they may be used as a museum exhibit. The wall down the middle of the house was also completely cleaned up and more work was down on the outside walls.
A couple more surprises were found in the north west corner of the house today. First the front page from a 1912 news paper was found in the wall cavity about a foot and a half up from the floor. It was mixed in with debris that was dropped down the wall when the boards were installed on the west wall of the master bedroom upstairs so now we know when that likely happened. The second surprise was the finding of a letter post marked Oct 9, 1905. It was at the very bottom of the wall cavity, below all debris including the plaster that pilled up there when it was originally installed, so now we know when the first layer of lathe and plaster was installed.
2008/01/31Removing Layers Inside - Day 35 (permalink)
Back to work this afternoon following two days of extremely cold weather. The afternoon was spent taking down the final layer of lathe and plaster on the north half of the main floor.
2008/01/28Removing Layers Inside - Day 34 (permalink)
The north half of the main floor was emptied today to allow the remaining lathe and plaster to be removed from the house. The nails were pulled from many of the boards that were stored in that room. The long boards from the porch ceiling were pilled upstairs because they won't fit in the shed. The other boards were left in the house because the blizzard outside wasn't too inviting.
2008/01/26Removing Layers Inside - Day 33 (permalink)
The final layer of lathe and plaster was removed from the south half of the main floor today. Just the north half of the main floor remains. Well, almost. There is a small bit remaining on one wall of the south half, but the plan is to try and save that wall segment intact for display in the museum.
2008/01/25Removing Layers Inside - Day 32 (permalink)
The day started with a frosty picturesque morning worthy of some time with the camera. The rest of the day was spent pulling nails and stacking boards in an effort to clean out the first floor so the final layer of lathe and plaster can be removed. The south half the house is now clean and ready to have its final layer taken down.
2008/01/24Removing Layers Inside - Day 31 (permalink)
The second floor and the porch were cleaned out today and it should be the last time for a while.
2008/01/23Removing Layers Inside - Day 30 (permalink)
All the lathe and plaster is gone from the second floor. Once the debris is hauled out the second floor will be done, at least until it comes time to start rebuilding.
The porch is almost done as well.
2008/01/22Removing Layers Inside - Day 29 (permalink)
The final layer of lathe and plaster, the original 1904 layer, is almost gone from the second floor. The entire second floor should be down to the bare 2x4 studs tomorrow.
2008/01/21Removing Layers Inside - Day 28 (permalink)
Work to remove the final layer of lathe and plaster, the original 1904 layer, continued today. Half of the second floor is now down to the bare 2x4 studs.
2008/01/19Removing Layers Inside - Day 27 (permalink)
The big piles of debris in the porch and upstairs were hauled away today. The pile in the porch, although it the smaller of the two, it was the most work because each shovel full was carried into the truck one at a time. The chute built to guide the debris upstairs down to the truck worked great.
It sure is nice to get this dirty job done. There will be more debris to haul out as the remaining lathe and plaster is taken down but that will be nothing compared to what was hauled out so far and no where near as messy as the insulation and ceiling material that was completed today.
2008/01/18Removing Layers Inside - Day 26 (permalink)
Another day was spent pulling nails and piling boards in the shed. However, it was a bit shorter then yesterday because it was very cold. This morning it was about -25 °C, -20 °C inside the Telegraph Office, so I only lasted about 10 minutes before my fingers started to freeze up. I tried again around 1:30 PM. By that time it warmed up to -18 °C and I was equipped with warmer mitts so I was able to work for the rest of the day.
2008/01/17Removing Layers Inside - Day 25 (permalink)
The day was spent pulling nails and stacking boards in the shed. About three quarters of the wall boards taken out of the porch are now stacked neatly in the shed.
2008/01/16Removing Layers Inside - Day 24 (permalink)
The cleanup continued today. Most of the debris on the second floor is now in the front bedroom and ready to be loaded onto the truck. When the time comes to do that things should go smoothly because a chute was built today that will be used to guide the debris down to the truck.
At the end of the day part of a 1904 news paper was found in the porch. That's definitely the oldest paper found so far. It's part of the cover page from the Thursday, November 2, 1904 _____ Telegraph. Yes, the first part of the title is missing so I don't know what the full title should be. However, it is interesting just the same given the name our project.
2008/01/15Removing Layers Inside - Day 23 (permalink)
Today was another dirty day. The rest of ceilings upstairs came down and the big clean up job began. It was too windy to load the debris into a truck, so the bulk of the day was spent getting the material ready to be hauled out.
2008/01/14Removing Layers Inside - Day 22 (permalink)
Today was one of the dirtiest days so far. Today the ceilings started to come down. The porch was first. Then it was time for the second floor and that is almost done too. Just one room and the hall to go. It will be nice when the latest mess is cleaned up.
Now that the ceiling is down in the porch it is clear that the porch was always part of the building. Past theories about it possibly being added after the main structure was moved to its current location in 1909 no longer hold water. The evidence uncovered today is the wall studs between the porch and the main structure. The studs show no sign that any boards were every attached, something that would have happened had that wall originally been an outside wall.
2008/01/13This site is now bi-lingual (English/French) (permalink)
This site was made bi-lingual (English / French) in recognition of this French history of the Telegraph Office and Willow Bunch community. Read more ...
2008/01/12Removing Layers Inside - Day 21 (permalink)
Today the wood boards in the porch started to come down. All the wall boards and the wood cupboards were removed. Some boards were also removed from the ceiling but there are still a few to go.
A couple map fragments were found on the orignal plaster walls, part of an Alberta map and part of a Saskatchewan map. There is no date on them but based on everything we learned about the building so far they must be from 1918 or earlier. Although they can't be from before 1905 because Alberta and Saskatchewan weren't provinces then.
2008/01/11Removing Layers Inside - Day 20 (permalink)
The work to uncover the wood flooring is done and all the debris is loaded in the truck and ready for the landfill.
The area under the stairs was also cleaned out today. The statement earlier in the week that the entire house is down to the first layer of lathe and plaster was incorrect. The area under the stairs was overlooked. It still had a second layer of lathe and plaster but that is gone now along with the wall that hid the wood work under the stairs. The area under the stairs was originally open to the hall as it is now and that is something that will be preserved in the restoration.
2008/01/10Removing Layers Inside - Day 19 (permalink)
More good progress with the flooring today. Only one room to go and a good start was made there with almost half wood flooring uncovered.
2008/01/09Removing Layers Inside - Day 18 (permalink)
Another room is down to the wood flooring and a good start was made on another.
The front window on the porch was also uncovered today. It had been boarded over for quite some time due to broken glass. A smaller board was used to cover just the glass that is missing, that allows more light into the house. The screen door was also removed from the front of the porch. It has been in the way ever since the project started so today it was time for it to go.
Another small activity today was an investigation into how the porch is attached to the main structure. One of the big activities on the horizon is the lifting of the house to install a new basement. That would be a whole lot easier if the porch could be separated from the main structure. From today's investigation it looks like that should be possible but we'll know for sure once the inside is down to just the bare studs.
2008/01/08Removing Layers Inside - Day 17 (permalink)
The entire house is now down to the original layer of lather and plaster. Well ... almost. The porch still has the layer of wood boards that conceal the lathe and plaster. However, from all that is known about the building at this time, the walls and ceiling should be as they were back in 1909 but a bit older and tired of course. The wood flooring upstairs is also as it was back then. Our objective, the 1909 look, is near.
Most of the wood flooring on the main level is still hidden below layers of newer material, but it won't be that way for long. Work is currently underway to under cover the wood flooring on the main level and today the particle board hiding the wood flooring in the porch was removed.
2008/01/07Removing Layers Inside - Day 16 (permalink)
The upstairs is almost done. Just a bit more plaster to remove in the hall and the entire upstairs will be down to the original layer of lathe and plaster.
The main floor was also cleaned up today and a start was made on the porch. The sink and carpet were pulled out and so was some of the particle board below the carpet.
2008/01/05Removing Layers Inside - Day 15 (permalink)
All the loose debris was hauled out today. The bulk of the bathroom was also demolished - just a few pipes, some flooring, and a ceiling fan remain.
Another clue about the original heating system was uncovered today. That hole uncovered a few weeks back in the ceiling of the front room on the first floor, the one that would have passed through the floor in the second floor hall, would have been used to pass a chimney pipe from a heater down in the front room up to the chimney on the second floor. This was confirmed today with the uncovering of a hole in the hall wall. This also explains the second door for the hall closest that was also uncovered a few weeks ago. That is, if a chimney pipe came up from the floor and extended upwards just infront of the current closet door there would be no way to open it so another entry was needed!
2008/01/04Removing Layers Inside - Day 14 (permalink)
The front bedroom is now down to the original layer and plaster and the debris is loaded up and ready for its trip to the dump. The bulk of the debris down on the first floor was also loaded. The rest will be taken out tomorrow when the debris is removed from the back bedroom upstairs.
The original window openings upstairs on the front of the house were opened up today to allow for more light and much better ventilation upstairs. It also made it much easier to shovel the debris out to the truck. With a high around +6 °C, today was a great day to have all the windows and door open on the house.
At the end of the day demolition began on the bathroom.
2008/01/03Removing Layers Inside - Day 13 (permalink)
The back bedroom is now down to the original layer and plaster and this allows us to see the original location of the chimney. It was centered on the inside of the back wall with is base only about 3 foot down from the ceiling of the second floor. This is consistent with what we see in the circa 1912 winter photo. In that photo the chimney is well inside the roof area unlike the most recent chimney which extended beyond the back of the roof. The location of the chimney explains the hole in the floor in the back bedroom which goes down to the first floor. The chimney pipe from the stove and/or heater down on the first floor would have pasted through that hole one its way up to the chimney base up on the second floor. It could also explain the hole between the main structure and the east porch. The chimney pipe for the stove could have originally come into the main structure and routed up to the chimney on the second floor before the second chimney was added to what is now the east porch.
Plenty of plaster was also removed from the upper hall and stairway today. In the process some original unpainted siding (about 9 square feet) was found on one of the walls in the hall. It was used to fill in a area where the original layer of lather and plaster must have failed. This material will be the perfect sample for our search for a saw mill to replicate the siding for the house.
2008/01/02Removing Layers Inside - Day 12 (permalink)
Plaster removal upstairs resumed today after a break for Christmas and New Years. Most of the trim was also removed from the front room. The only trim left is the closet door.
2007/12/22Removing Layers Inside - Day 11 (permalink)
Started the day by removing some trim along the stairs but the bulk of the day was spent upstairs. Removed the rest of the OSB and strapping from the walls of the front room then began some exploratory work. Opened up the two window openings in the front room and that in the back room then started to pull down some plaster at various places to assess the magnitude of the job ahead. The inside wall of the front room upstairs has only layer of lathe and plaster, that was noticed a while ago from one of the electrical boxes, but most of the other walls have two layers like down stairs. The bottom of the west wall in the front room has 3/4" boards instead of the first layer of plaster. The first layer must have been in such bad shape that it must have been replaced with the boards before the second layer of plaster was added. The north wall of the room in the south west corner of the house appears to have had a door opening into the hall closet. Or maybe that was the original door for the room?
2007/12/21Removing Layers Inside - Day 10 (permalink)
Finished removing the second layer of lathe and plaster from the back half of the house today. The entire first floor is now down to just the original layer of lathe and plaster. Well ... almost. Today a layer of lathe and plaster was found under the boards in the porch, so it looks like that will need to come off as well. It was thought that the boards in porch area were the orignal finish, but it now appears that porch started out with lathe and plaster. In addition to that, a chimney opening was found in the wall between the main structure and the porch and that suggests the porch wasn't part of the original structure. This new evidence suggests just the main two story structure was what was built in 1904. Then the porch was added in 1909 after the structure was moved to it's present location. At that time lathe and plaster was used to line the porch. Some time later the wood boards (v-groove boards) were added. It may also be possible that the first layer of lathe and plaster throughout the house was also installed only after the building was moved but it may be tough to prove that.
A door was also installed in the west wall of the house today. The door is the one salvaged from the addition demolished earlier this fall. It was just the right size to fit the door opening that had been hidden in the southern half of the west wall for at least 45 years. This door provides additional ventilation for the removal of the plaster and it will make it much easier to remove the large piles of rubble in the south half of the house. This door is of course just temporary. The plan it to restore the original window openings on the west side of the house so this opening will be coverted back to a window.
2007/12/20More Shed Work (permalink)
Finished pulling up the floor in the shed today. A few more news papers were found but not as many as was hoped because the middle section of the floor had the proper paper for wood floors. The news papers found today were similar to yesterdays.
Once the top layer of flooring was completely removed the area along the front wall could not be left as it was. Time has taken its toll on that section of the floor and few boards had to be replaced.
2007/12/19Completing The Shed (permalink)
It was a great warm day, so it was a good time to complete some outside work. The old porch was moved to the north side of of the storage container and then the work to convert it to a shed was finished it off. The back wall still needed a few nails, the gap between the top of the wall and the roof was covered with a strip of aluminum, and the inside was cleaned out.
While finishing up sweeping out the place what appeared to be some news papers were noticed under the edge of the floor. That prompted the removal of the top layer of wood flooring. A task made harder by the fact that the back wall was built on top of the floor, but the effort was worth it. The entire first half of the floor that was pulled up so far was covered with news papers from Saskatchewan and Quebec dating between 1915 and 1917 and a "Seasonable Hints" booklet for farmers from 1917.
One paper of interest is a October 11, 1917 Assiniboia Times, a paper from a nearby town that is still in circulation today. That paper, like others found today, is in reasonable shape and almost all of its 8 pages can be read. One interesting notice in the paper is from the Town of Assiniboia Fire and Light Committee announcing the electric service coming October 15, 1917. The notice says "Have your wiring done and notify the Town Clerk when ready to have connection made."
Artifacts like these will make great additions to the small museum planned for the property.
2007/12/18Removing Layers Inside - Day 9 (permalink)
It was another short day, but the modern day dinning room almost all down to the first layer of lathe and plaster.
2007/12/17Building Site Updated (permalink)
The Building Site was enhanced with virtual map of the lot.
2007/12/17Removing Layers Inside - Day 8 (permalink)
It was a short day due to other activities, but there was enough time to remove some layers from the modern day dinning room in the south west corner of the house. The wood flooring at the base of the wall opening in the south half of the house was also exposed. Evidence found in the wood flooring indicates the wall opening was created after the last layer of wood floor (there are two) was installed. That is, the house originally had a wall with a small door separating the two rooms on the south house of the house.
2007/12/15Removing Layers Inside - Day 7 (permalink)
The huge pile of rubble from the front room was hauled away today as well as another load nearly as big. The second load was made up of the remaining second layer of plaster material in the first floor hall and material from the second floor. The linoleum covering the wood flooring upstairs was removed and so were the ceiling tiles in the master bedroom and some of the second layer of lathe and plaster in the back bedroom.
2007/12/14Cleaning Out The Front Room (permalink)
The huge pile of rubble in the front room was loaded up today. The last bit of plaster was also removed from the ceiling in the that room. All that remains on the walls ceiling in the front room is the original layer of lathe and plaster. Actually, there are still a few pieces of lathe boards from the second layer of lathe and plaster too. They will make sure that first layer doesn't come off until it's time.
2007/12/13Removing Layers Inside - Day 6 (permalink)
Part of the day was spent removing plaster from the hallway area on the first floor. A bit of time was also spent having a look at the wood flooring hidden below the plywood at the front of the house. The rest of the day was spent moving stuff into the shipping (storage) container.
2007/12/12Removing Layers Inside - Day 5 (permalink)
The room in the north west corner of the house is almost down to the original layer of lathe and plaster. All that's left to do there is to finish removing the second layer of lathe and plaster from the ceiling. That will probably have to wait a bit due to the huge pile of debris in the middle of the room.
The north east corner of the house is down to the second layer of plaster. This area actually should be a hallway containing the stairway and connecting the front door to the back of the house. However, one of the recent owners removed the wall that separated this area from the room in the north west corner of the house. The beam that you see along the ceiling in many of the photos is where the wall used to be. That wall will be reinstalled as part of the restoration project.
Another one of the openings used in the early days for heat transfer from the main floor to the second was uncovered as the plaster started to come down from the ceiling in the north west one of the house. Once this opening was uncovered work moved up stairs to locate the opening there. Work started in the main bedroom on the front of the house until it was realized that the opening should be in the hallway. Finding the original door frame and baseboards behind the ugly OSB plywood that lined the front bedroom room was a pleasant surprise.
2007/12/11Removing Layers Inside - Day 4 (permalink)
A good part of the day was spent dealing with the shipping container so there wasn't too much done inside. More lathe and plaster was removed from the modern day kitchen area and the door opening for that room coming in front what used to be the front hall was completely opened up (ie studing and block was removed).
One of the openings used in the early days for heat transfer from the main floor to the second was uncovered as the plaster started to come down from the ceiling in the kitchen. This opening would have connected the kitchen to the bedroom directly above.
2007/12/11Instant Storage (permalink)
A 20 foot shipping container was installed in the back yard today to serve as storage space during the project. The old porch pulled off the back of the house is a handy little storage facility but it's just too small.
2007/12/10Removing Layers Inside - Day 3 (permalink)
The cabinets and first layer of material was removed from the modern day kitchen in the south east corner of the main structure. A start was also made on the first layer of lathe and plaster near the window, but it got dark before much was done. From what we see so far this room wasn't as fancy as the one in the opposite corner of the house. However, we do start to see the wood floors that are hidden throughout the house behind many layers of more recent flooring.
2007/12/08Removing Layers Inside - Day 2 (permalink)
Continuing to peel away the layers inside.
2007/12/07Removing Layers Inside (permalink)
With all the stucco removed it's time to move indoors. The first indoor activity is to remove the layers of material that were added over the years. Layers of material that conceal the original interior of the building. Layers of material that add unnecessary weight to the building, a building that will be lifted so a new basement can be built.
Work began today in the room at the north west corner of the building, the modern day living room. Work started in the north west corner of that room due to a curiousity for what may be hidden there. As mentioned previously, early photos of the building and evidence found on the outside of the building suggest the entry point for the telegraph line is in the north west corner of the building. We also know there was a window in the north west corner of the building but don't know anything about how that window opening may have looked from the inside.
Shortly after the work began today, 4 layers of material where found on the walls and ceiling. The walls have two layers of lathe and plaster followed by a layer of wood paneling and then a layer of gyproc. The ceiling has two layers of lathe and plaster followed by a layer of celing tiles and then a layer of gyproc.
The original layer of plaster, which remains relatively intact behind the 3 layers newer material, tells us a lot about the original look of the room. As was expected, the original plaster layer clearly shows the room was dressed up with a wide baseboard like that sill present elsewhere in the house. It also shows the room had a chair molding about 3 feet up from the floor and a picture molding about a foot down from the ceiling. That was not expected. The window frame is also somewhat of a surprise. The window frame was expected to be like that around the window in the lean-to on the east side of the house, the only original window in the house, but that is not the case.
Another surprise was the paint scheme. The walls are a dark green. The ceiling and the area of the walls above the picture molding are yellow. The area of the walls above the picture molding are also dressed up with fleur-de-lis painted in dark green every few feet.
If that wasn't enough surprises for one day, a small print of Sir John Everett Millais' 1871 painting called the Boyhood of Raleigh was found on the first layer of plaster just above the window opening.
Last, but not least, a bit more evidence was found to support the theory that the telegraph line entered the building through the north west corner. The one hole mentioned yesterday does in fact go straight through the wall as well as a second one just a few inches away. This fits with the telegraph line theory because two wires would need to come in from outside: the overhead telegraph line that went across the hills to Wood Mountain, and the ground wire that would have been connected to a ground rod like that outside the north west corner of the building.
It is important to know where the telegraph line entered the building because it will tell us what room was the actual telegraph office.
2007/12/06Stucco Removal Complete (permalink)
The tough job of removing the stucco is finally over. The entire house is now down to just one layer of siding - the original 1904 ship lap siding. Well almost, the west side where the addition was is closed in with some of the white paneling removed from the front of the house.
It sure is good to see the house wrapped in the original siding, even though some of that siding is not in the greatest shape. We now get a good sense of what the house originally looked like - the look that is being sought by this restoration project.
A decision on the fate of the siding will be deferred until sometime next year. Some of the siding is quite dried out and may not take paint well. All of the siding is full of holes from the staple nails used to hold the stucco on and they could be a challenge to fill in. Given that, it may just make more sense to replace all the siding. Some research on the web has uncovered several suppliers who sell siding similar to what is on the house and for a reasonable price, so it may be possible to get new siding just like what is on the house.
It was hoped that by this time we would have learned a bit about the early years of the property but that was not the case. In the early photos it appears the telegraph line entered somewhere on the north west corner of the building. There is a small hole in the siding in the lower north west corner that was filled in with some sort of sealant which could have been the place were the line entered but it's too early to tell. There is also a ground rod near that hole and such a rod would have been required for the telegraph system, however further research is required to determine it if matches the type of ground rods used for telegraph system back in the early 1900s. Perhaps we will know more when the inside of the wall is opened up.
The early photos also show a large box of some sort affixed to the north west corner of the house but now that the siding is uncovered we only see a vague trace that may be from that box. At this time it is not known what the purpose of that box was. It may have had something to do with the telegraph system or it could have just been something like a bird house.
2007/12/05Stucco Removal - Day 6 (permalink)
The end is near. All that is left is the upper right corner of the front wall.
2007/12/04Stucco Removal - Day 5 (permalink)
The slow stucco remval process continues. The back and east walls are done and good progess is being made on the front.
2007/12/03Stucco Removal - Day 4 (permalink)
Today was a great day to be outside. Unlike most of the Pairies which hung around -20, Willow Bunch got up to +5. The day was spent removing stucco from the back of the house. The back almost done now. There is just a small triangle area above where the old porch used to be.
2007/11/26More Stucco Removed (permalink)
The temperature dropped throughout the day from -6 at 8:30am to -18 at 4:30pm, so the latter part of the afternoon was spent removing stucco from the back of the house where the house blocked the frigid north west wind and the sun, what little there was, provided some warmth.
2007/11/26Closed In (permalink)
The day started with a big cleanup around the house to removed all the siding material that was removed over the last few days. After that, the west wall was closed in for the winter with the white panel siding removed from the front of the house. The paneling should keep most of the snow and rain out of the wall until permanent siding is installed.
2007/11/24More Siding Removed (permalink)
The west wall of the house is all clean now. With that we can see were the original two windows were located on that wall. The front window is boarded over and that likely was done when the addition was first built. The back window was likely converted to a door at that time and then it was boarded over some time later - probably when that corner of the addition was converted into a bathroom. That's also likely when the current door way was created, the small one towards the center of the west wall.
With the west wall cleaned off we can also see the two different roof lines that were used on the addition. A peaked roof was used on the original addition. That was removed and replaced with the long rear sloping roof when the addition was expanded in the 1950s.
The tough job of removing the stucco has started. The stucco is affixed to the house with chicken wire and a large amount of staple nails. Work started at the top of the front wall near the peak so that gravity helps to pull the stucco down. However, working up high like that on a tall ladder is slow going. At the rate things are going it will likely take several days to get all the stucco off the house.
2007/11/23Peeling Away Siding (permalink)
After starting to expose the floor joists it was decided that it's time to start removing the extra layers of siding from the house. The front of the house had four (4) layers of siding: white paneling, gray imitation brick, stucco, and the original wood siding. The walls near the side entrance only had 3 layers: white paneling, stucco, and the original wood siding. The left and back walls only have 2 layers: stucco and the original wood siding. The right wall has a mixture of layers due to the addition that used to be there.
All the white paneling and most of the gray imitation brick was removed today. The white siding was the easiest to take down - I guess all those other layers of siding material make it hard for nails to take hold. The gray imitation brick was a lot harder to take down, but nother like the stucco will be.
2007/11/23Exposing Floor Joists (permalink)
The siding and boards at the bottom of the left (east) wall were removed to expose the floor joists. This will make it much easier to determine what repairs need to be done to the floor and it will make it much easier to implement those repairs. The success of this small wall segment motivated me to begain removing the extra layers of siding on the house.
2007/11/20Septic Tank Found (permalink)
A small odd looking hole was spotted while surveying the foundation elevation so a shovel was taken out explore the source. Within about a minute, surprise surprise a septic tank was found. Some of the locals familiar with the property have indicated there is a septic tank in the back yard but they place it much further back on the property. Could there be two such tanks? Either way, this one was definitely not expected. Had we known this one was here we sure would not have had the big machines working on top of this spot. Actually, we probably would have had them dig it out.
2007/11/20Crude Elevation Survey (permalink)
The current elevation of the house is obviously too low since the top of the basement at the back of the house is well below grade. A close look at some of the early photos of the property also show that it was originally much higher. That indicates the house sank during that past 100 years, dirt was hauled in to raise the grade of the property, or both. Either way, the house will have to be raised when the new basement is installed. But the question is, how much should it be raised? To answer that question a crude survey of the house elevation was done using a simple level, a string, and a ladder for a straight line. The information gathered during this survey was enough to start exploring various options for the final elevation of the house.
2007/11/17Electrical Wires Removed From Basement (permalink)
The electrical wires were removed from the basement so they won't be in the way when it comes time to lift the house for the new basement. Most of it is not up to code so would need to be replaced anyway. The house had 3 electrical panels which are gone now along with the 2 electrical meter sockets and the electrical feeds into the basement.
2007/11/16Concrete Hauled Away (permalink)
Today some folks from RM 42 come over with their BIG machines to clean up the mess of concrete around the property. They also hauled the big safe away and the tree stumps we left a few weeks ago during the tree cleanup. The RM folks started out with their largest machine. It pulled the trees stumps out with ease and took no effort to pull out the power pole that was left behind when the utilities were removed. It's a good thing they started out with their biggest machine because there were a couple very large blocks of concrete in with the foundation. Apparently the folks who installed the safe many years ago didn't want it to sink! And, it appears the safe pre-dates the 1950s addition because the largest block of concrete was right close to the corner of the house.
The folks from the RM also started to haul in some dirt to fill the hole left by the removal of the concrete. More dirt will be hauled in early next week.
While the RM folks were digging up the concrete foundation I used my brother's tractor to clean up the pile of concrete in front of the house. That kept the big RM machines away from the front of the house, limiting their potential impact to the fragile foundation.
2007/11/15More Concrete Removal (permalink)
The last bit of concrete close to the outside of the house was removed, including the upper part of the basement entry.
2007/11/14Pipes Removed From Basement (permalink)
All the pipes were removed from the basement so they won't be in the way when it comes time to lift the house for the new basement. Most of the pipes were old and corroded or they have frozen (several times) with water in them so the aren't worth keeping anyway.
2007/11/14Natural Gas Disconnected (permalink)
The natural gas line was cut and capped a safe distance from the house so it won't be in the way for the construction to come.
2007/11/13Temporary Basement Repair (permalink)
A couple small walls were installed in the basement to support the area of the house left hanging in the air due to the basement cave-in. These small walls are temporary. The plan is to replace the entire basement so these walls just need to last until that happens. The house might have stayed up without these walls since its been that way for years but it's not worth taking the chance.
2007/11/12Patio Removed (permalink)
The patio was removed to expose the area of the basement with the biggest problem ... a huge cave-in leaving nothing holding up part of the house.
2007/11/12Chimney Removed (permalink)
The chminey was knocked down. It was probably built in the 50s or 60s so it was not something worth saving. And, like the porch, it will be in they way for the basement work to come.
2007/11/01Porch Becomes A Shed (permalink)
The open rear wall of the porch was closed in to create a temporary shed. Lumber salvaged from the addition was used for this construction.
2007/10/31Porch Moved (permalink)
The porch was moved to the back of the lot where it will be converted into a temporary shed. The porch was moved on 4x6 beams salvaged from the addition which were dragged with Allan's Jeep.
2007/10/30Getting Ready To Remove The Porch (permalink)
Removed shingles from porch on the back of the house. Began work to remove the porch. Evidence uncovered today seems to confirm that this porch was in fact part of the lean-to that was present on the east (left) side of the building in 1909. It appears that part that original lean-to, the front part with te door and small window shown in the 1909 photo, was cut off to make the porch fit between the chimney and the basement entrance.
2007/10/26Cleaned Out Rear Porch (permalink)
Cleaned out rear porch and found boxes dating back to 1941 which belonged to AP Beausoliel.
2007/10/26Overhead Utilities Removed (permalink)
Overhead utilities disconnected by SaskPower.
2007/10/26Concrete Removal Continues (permalink)
Finished breaking up concrete at back of house. Excavated down to foundation at back of house.
2007/10/25Concrete Removal Begins (permalink)
Cleaned up bricks around safe. Started breaking up the concrete behind where the old addition was located.
2007/10/25Finished Stacking Lumber (permalink)
Finished stacking lumber.
2007/10/25Old Utilities (permalink)
Called "Sask 1st Call" to get the underground utilities marked. Called to get the overhead power, phone, and cable lines removed. All these utilities will be put under ground once the reconstruction begins. Besides the overhead power is below code and can no longer be used. The gas folks came out an marked the underground gas line on the property.
2007/10/24Demolition Complete (permalink)
Finished dismantling floor. Filled in two holes in west of basement. The holes was used to run the pipes for the hot water heating system and the pipes for the bathroom at the back of the addition. Finished hauling lumber.
2007/10/23Clean Up (permalink)
Cleaned up tree debris. Started hauling lumber.
2007/10/22Tree Removal and Pruning (permalink)
Cleaned up some the trees on the property. The first to go where those immediately behind the house since those will be in the way when reconstruction begins. One of them was also leaning on the house and another was dead. After that tree branches at the front of the house removed. Some where leaning on the house of the neighbors to the east and others were dead or dieing.
2007/10/20Demolition Day 8 (permalink)
Continued dismantling the older front section of the floor. It's being taken appart carefully so that the wooden flooring can be salvaged. While this floor was being dismantled some 1918 news papers (3 consecutive days) were found suggesting the half of the addition closest to the main house was built in that time period. The rear section of the floor on the other hand wasn't worth salvaging so it was removed in large segments.
2007/10/19Demolition Day 7 (permalink)
Started dismantling the floor of the addition.
2007/10/19Basement Cleanup (permalink)
Cleaned out the basement.
2007/10/18Demolition Day 6 (permalink)
Hauled out some more debris and pulled down the walls and rear porch.
2007/10/17Demolition Day 5 (permalink)
The huge mess of insulation and other debris was removed. After that the rafters were removed, George broke into safe, the stucco was removed from west wall, and the sheeting on the front wall was.
2007/10/16Demolition Day 4 (permalink)
Removed the plywood from roof and the boards from inside ceiling and walls. This created a huge mess of insulation.
2007/10/15Demolition Day 3 (permalink)
Finished removing the shingles from roof and started removing the siding on the front of the addition.
2007/10/13Debris Removal (permalink)
The piles of debris were removed. Then started removing shingles from the addition so that the plywood on the roof can be salvaged. The shingles were in very rough shape so some of the plywood is not that good.
2007/10/12Demolition Day 2 (permalink)
Finished removing paneling and ceiling tiles. Then started removing inner sheeting and insulation.
2007/10/10Demolition Begins (permalink)
Began the removal of the lean-to on the west (right) side of the building, an addition made in the 1950s. Prolonged periods of water infiltration from the leaking roof has taken its toll, so the presence of the lean-to is more of a liability then anything at this point. Besides, this lean-to takes away from original early 1900s look of the property. Today the east end of the addition (bathroom, kitchen, and old office area) and the old credit union office area (south west corner) were demolished. As the addition started coming apart it became evident that the addition built in at least to stages. The half closest to the main house was much older than the other half, so it's likely that the work down in the 1950s just expanded on what had been built earlier.
2007/10/09Possession Date (permalink)
Took possession of property today. Surveyed the lot and planned initial activities.
2007/10/02Tender Selected (permalink)
Received notification from the Town of Willow Bunch that the Tender Submitted 2007/09/17 was selected. Arrangements were immediately made to pay the balance owing on the tender so that the land title transfer can proceed.
2007/09/17Tender Submitted (permalink)
Tender submitted as per the Town of Willow Bunch's request for tender.
2007/09/07Open For Tenders (permalink)
The Town of Willow Bunch has acquired the property as per the tax enforcement process and it is now for sale by tender.
Copyright © 2007-2011 Allan Charles Mondor
All Rights Reserved