Thursday, April 23, 2009

Waiting for Spring!

Well, here it is, over a month since the official onset of spring but today we skipped to summer with a sunny 92, accompanied by a brisk breeze. Three nights ago I was still turning on the electric blanket when I went to bed, today I had visions of roasting through the summer while working on the west side of my house. This is the second spring for my major renovation of the exterior of my house. It started early last spring, when I decided the time had come to reside the house.

I bought the house at auction, almost 24 years ago, when it was clear the trailer was no longer big enough for myself and a 6 year old. The original portion of the house was a little folk Victorian, built in 1936. Around 1975, a basement was dug behind the house. Above this was built a one story extension which nearly doubled the square footage of the house. After living in a trailer for several years, this was a dream come true, to have more space than I could fill up with stuff.

Over the years, I have done several remodeling projects but mostly on the inside. Gradually, most of the windows have been replaced. The kitchen was revamped 3 years ago and new flooring has been laid in part of the house. Of course, for each project I finish, there are three more that I want to get done. The bathroom begs for a remodeling, the "front" room is to become my "library" and 3 rooms worth of laminate flooring still waits to be laid. Then last spring, I decided the old siding was too horrible to tolerate any longer and I was going to replace it. Easier said than done!

I started pulling off old siding, large sheets of a masonite product (reminiscent of trailer houses) nailed over old cedar clapboard siding. For a moment I thought I had hit the motherlode, the clapboard is not in bad shape overall and I thought perhaps I could revert back to the original siding. Unfortunately, when the house was added to, there was no effort made to match siding. Instead of 5" wood clapboard, the back half of the house was covered with 12" fiberboard laps.

I decided to install a larger window in the west face of the house and of course wanted to do this before siding. Pulling out the old window however, revealed problems in the form of 6 feet of rotted sill plate and several studs with rotting ends. Original siding had to be pulled off then and all the rotted framing replaced and the old siding rehung. Framing and installing the new window went smoothly enough but with most of the work taking place after getting home from my day job, things didn't move quickly.

What did move quickly was summer and just that quick, fall was slipping away as well. There was no new siding on my house and no more time to do it before winter. So, when the first warm days of the year came in March, I started thinking about getting ready for that siding job. First undertaking this year was to scrape the old paint off the fish scale shingles in the west gable of the house. With that job went the painstaking cutting and fitting of a number of decorative shingles to replace those that had split away with age. As Murphy's law would have it, whenever I take days off work the weather turns cold and windy so progress has been slow but finally all of the scraping is done on the front.

The first week of May, I will be taking vacation days again, in the hope I will be able to get paint on the front. I have colors selected, after going through a dozen combinations and will be painting the fish scale shingles in rows of turquoise and light golden brown. It will be a striking change for my little old house but it should not be the last.