Monday, October 19, 2009

The Finished South Wall

The last post ended with the terribly bad south wall:

 It looks much worse than the rest of the house. It is also the only side that is not visible from the street. It gets the most sun and the most rain exposure because it's the only side without a porch. And for whatever reason, it's the only side without a gutter. And, as fate would have it, it's the only side that didn't get painted before the previous owner (PO) was foreclosed on. When the PO bought this house back in the 80s (when I was just a baby down in the Dirty South), He painted the whole house. Then when he was trying to sell it some time around 2003, he repainted the house, except for this one side. Repairing this side was the most major thing that had to be done with the 203k money.

The bottom skirting had to go. It was rotted. The siding was hit and miss. Some boards had to be replaced, but since it was redwood, it fared pretty well given the circumstances and mostly only had to be scraped, sanded, and repainted. When they first took off the skirting, the side of the beams that were touching them (the only side you couldn't see down in the basement) were heavily damaged by termites. Though we never saw any actual termites, the damage they left behind was severe. I probably could have kicked in some of the beams myself. This was quite a surprise. Had we known the contractors would have to jack up half our house and replace the supporting beams, we probably wouldn't have bought the house. Not that it was a difficult or trying experience, it just sounds scary. I mean, I didn't have to do anything. I just went outside and brought the guys coffee every once in a while. Not a big deal. Why does everyone whine and complain about contractors? I have no idea. Our contractor was awesome. His name is Justin Chaney, and he operates out of Orland. I will post his phone number as soon as I find it. After all the unexpected work they had to do, the project still came in under budget. Here's what it looked like while they were working on it:

The guy in the orange shirt is Justin, the awesome contractor. Too bad I didn't get pictures of the eaten out beams. I had to leave during a large part of this due to the death of both of my grandfathers. These pictures were actually taken by our very considerate and helpful neighbor, Andy. Anyway, here's what it looked like afterward:



It still hasn't stopped raining, so I didn't have very good lighting, but it is the same color as the rest of the house. Note the lack of doggy doors. You can see the stickers still in the new windows. Though I didn't want to replace the windows, the ones on this side had to be replaced according to the bank giving us the loan. At least they are all on the side you can't see from the street. And since they had to be replaced, we got one of the most energy-efficient kinds available. After all, this side does get the most sun.

Here are the old windows. We used the parts we needed from them to fix other broken windows in the house. There were two with cracked glass, a few broken weights, and lots of missing hardware. There is still lots of missing hardware unfortunately. I don't know if the PO took them with him when he moved out or if someone came in during the very long time the house sat empty and removed them. Several door knobs were also missing. At least I have a few of the original so I can replace the missing ones to match eventually. For now, I don't know what to do with these windows. I guess I should keep them lest something happen to one of my other windows. Several people told me they are worth money and advised me to sell them on Ebay, but I looked and couldn't really find anything comparable. Plus they are in really bad shape, and worst of all, the glass is not original, which I think is the expensive, rare part. My understanding is that the technology to make perfectly smooth glass panes didn't develop until the 1930s or later. So old glass has a wavy effect with lots of little imperfections in it. Most old house restorers find this charming. I believe all my glass was replaced in the 1980s when PO first bought it and was doing lots of things. But I don't really know this. They might have been replaced in the 1970s when the Penningtons modernized it with popcorn ceiling and such. I'm not sure. But either way I'm really glad they were never completely replaced. I still have one wavy glass window in the water closet (half bath off the kitchen). I suspect it was not replaced with smooth glass because the waviness added to the privacy of the bathroom. Anyway, I'm trying to decide what to do with these.

Well that's it for today. Next I'll talk more about the water heater and wood-burning stove.

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