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Do it Myself House Project - RonO's Ramblings

Apr. 29th, 2007 06:21 pm Do it Myself House Project

I am in the process of thinking about a project on the house, and am interested in any help that anyone wants to offer. I'll accept help ranging from "You're crazy to even think about doing that yourself" to "Let me/us know a date and we'll come by and take over" and anything useful in between.

If the handyman husband of one of Tara's co-workers hadn't moved to Oregon, I'd think about hiring him to work on this. Last spring he and a friend took out our useless pool deck and replaced our shed. But, as I said, he is now in Oregon and out of reach.

Behind our house (a circa 1978 suburban split-level), we have an enclosed porch. Three sides of the porch -- the sides that aren't be back of the house -- are framed by (I believe) 4x4 posts with 2x4 framing inside. The upper two-thirds or so are filled with vinyl windows we had put in in 2005 before the kitchen remodel (the porch was our back-up kitchen for several months). The project deals with the lower third.

This part is made up of boxes made out of 2x4's. On the outside is plywood sheeting covered by aluminum siding that matches the rest of the house. What I'd like to do is put insulation between the 2x4's -- probably rigid foam since it will be easier to deal with and more weather resistant, and then put plywood on the outside. If I get ambitious, and use the right thickness of plywood, I might cap it with quarter-round to the window sills to make it look a bit smoother.

One concern is that there is an inch or two between the bottom 2x4 and the slab underneath. I'd like to seal this better than it is, so that dirt, grass -- and occasionally water (for the most part, the yard slopes away) -- don't come under the siding anymore.

In addition to time, and possibly probably skill, I would need to acquire the materials, and probably a saw for the cutting of the plywood. At this point I'd think about renting a radial arm saw (if I could find one) or a table saw -- since I've used both much more than a circular hand saw, and suspect I could make a straighter cut with the mounted saw then with the hand saw -- and a power nailer.

I don't know if I could get this done in one day, or not. Without measuring, I'm guessing that we have about 30 feet by 4 feet to cover.

In addition, I have three related side projects, one of which has the main project as a prerequisite.

First, I've got an old junction box from where wires were run to an old above-ground pool. Last year, I pulled the wires from the pool box to this junction box, and I believe (for safety) to the outlet on the other side of the porch. I'd like to pull new wires (probably three since I don't know if the conduit ground is good or not) to this and install an outlet to put power on that side of the porch.

Second, the storm door between the porch and the back yard has a 1 to 2 inch gap at the bottom (probably where most of the dirt gets in). I'd like to put something in to fill the gap. When we had the windows put in, and the door replace, I got a threshold that I never installed. I'm not sure if its the right thing or not, something needs to be there.

The third project, which requires the main project to complete -- and probably must be done as a follow on to the main project -- would be painting the porch -- or at least the new interior walls.

Tara points out that if anyone actually comes by to help out we'll provide food while working, and cover reasonable expenses.

She also points out that if we get this done it will make it easier for us to entertain, including her plans for doing a party featuring Luau food. For me it would help make the porch into something more than a storage room.


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Date:April 30th, 2007 01:11 pm (UTC)
There are books available on nearly any home improvement projects. If you haven't done a lot of them before, chances are good you won't get it done in one day (read drsulak's LJ posts to see about time constraints). I won't tell you that if we were closer we'd come and help... but we would take Derek. :)

good luck.
Date:April 30th, 2007 02:26 pm (UTC)
Did I hear someone considering home improvement? Mwahahaha...

If I'm reading this correctly, you want to remove the siding, remove the plywood, add insulation, close the gap at the sill, add insulation, replace the plywood, and replace the siding (or not).

Guaranteed to take longer than a weekend. You will find bonus items to deal with - and you will need to take your time and do it right.

Before you tear into the wall, you really need to solve the dirt/water problem first. Regrading, gutters, french drain - whatever it takes. You absolutely need it to be dry. Even foam insulation will wick moisture up into the wall and you will rot out in 3-4 years.

One other comment. A framing nailer is serious overkill for this project. I have a Porter Cable (the skull and foot puncturing model) that I have yet to use for my projects - and I've done quite a few :-) Use screws, instead.

Good luck.
Date:April 30th, 2007 07:39 pm (UTC)
Actually, I don't plan on touching anything on the outside.

The inside walls are just the framing and the inside of the outside walls. I want to add insulation and enclose the inside part of the framing.

And take care of the dirt, grass etc. that gets inside, of course.