Thursday, April 25, 2013

Re-purposed Wood Shutters

When we ripped out the walls and ceiling in our sun room our yard and trailer quickly filled with debris.  I hated thinking about contributing so much to a landfill so we salvaged what we could.  The ceiling slats were piled high waiting for a new purpose.  It didn't take long for Ryan to come up with an idea!  Board and batten shutters!

For a long time I've been wanting to hang shutters on all of the windows on the front of our house.  But shutters fell to the bottom of the list with the other cosmetic, non-necessity items.  Our focus has been on functionality and repairs.  And then suddenly we had a large pile of 1x4's just waiting for inspiration!  

I'm proud to say that I did the majority of this project on my own. My husband helped assemble the last two shutters so I could finish painting something else (he'll do anything to get out of painting).

First, I pulled out all of the staples, nails, and screws.  Then I measured the height of my windows and cut three slats to the correct length for each shutter (6 slats per window).  I used a scrap sliver of wood, broken into four pieces, as spacers between the slats.  Then I measured across the three spaced slats for my cross support and cut two more slats.  Wood glue and finishing nails secured the pieces together. 

After all the shutters were finally assembled (did I mention this was a side project during out sun room renovation?) I primed them all.  I intended to fill all the nail holes and sand them down, but it was getting late and my husband convinced no one would be able to tell the difference from the road anyway.  Sold.  Primer it is.

I originally thought I would paint the shutters a dark gray.  I really liked one of the paint samples we considered for the new siding on the back of our house.  I looked at tons of pictures online trying to find a color with a little more excitement when Ryan suggested plum.  Plum?  Really?  Our front door is stained a deep red.  Would plum shutters look good with a red door?  In all honesty, he's usually right about these kinds of things.  He has a good eye.  So we went to Lowes and bought a quart of Valspar Ultra Paint + Primer in Royal Plum.  (Had I known the only Valspar paint available in a quart size is the Ultra Paint + Primer I wouldn't have primed first.)  We rushed home and I painted two of the shutters to test it out.  The paint brushed on like a dream.  Smooth and the perfect consistency.  I let them dry overnight before holding them up to the brick to see how they look. 

I have to say, I'm pleased with the results.  My husband was right.  (But don't tell him I admitted it.)  Hopefully this weekend I can give these two another coat of plum and paint the other six.  And maybe I'll weed the flower garden so I can take a nice picture after we hang them....

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Sun Room Renovation Continues

Recently I shared our Renovation Nightmare. Our plan was to give our sun room a face lift.  Then we discovered termite and water damage and the plan changed to a full gut job renovation.  Luckily, my husband is AMAZING.  He has been hard at work.

After gutting everything damaged by termites or water, Ryan tore down the exterior siding and re-framed the exterior wall, replacing studs rotten or eaten.  He also removed the three existing windows and hung one brand new window.  The sun room will eventually be a bedroom/playroom.

Next, he framed out new walls under the covered porch.  This will be the new sun room and home to our parrots.  We reused three of the old windows in the new room.  A fresh coat of primer and white paint made them look almost new.  One of the windows in the picture below is still taped and covered after the first couple coats of paint (it was our test window to see how it would look painted).  A rainy weather forecast forced us to work as quickly as possible to get the new siding up.

We decided to replace the vinyl siding with fiber cement James Hardie siding.  We prefer the look of the Hardie boards over vinyl siding and they are extremely durable, termite-proof, fire-resistant, and green.  All big selling points for us!  Hanging the siding took two people but was fairly easy to do.  Not so much fun in the rain, but ya do whatcha gotta do.

We also installed a new door.  Ryan and a friend repaired the roof.  (Goodbye gutter!)

By the end of the second weekend we finished siding the back wall, tore down the remaining vinyl siding, and finished hanging the Hardie boards.

Choosing a paint color was easier said than done.  We originally looked at a couple shades of gray but didn't like how much they contrasted with the yellow brick.

Weekend three was another jam-packed couple of days.  Luckily the weather warmed up and we didn't get too much rain.  We spent Saturday celebrating our daughter's 4th birthday at the zoo with seven little kids.  Sunday afternoon consisted of painting, painting, painting.  More pictures and details to come!

Renovation Nightmares

Have you seen those renovation shows where unsuspecting home owners start what they expect will be a "simple" home renovation only to uncover problem after problem?  My husband and I love to watch Renovation Realities on the DIY network.  We find all the drama quite entertaining.  But we've discovered its not quite so funny when it happens to you.  Welcome to our nightmare.

Three weeks ago we woke up early on a rainy Saturday morning.  I was all set to run my first 10K race.  As the race began the skies cleared and it was a beautiful morning.  I had a great run and couldn't wait to go home and take a nap!

My girls ran through the finish line with me.  :)

When we got home my husband recruited my help with a "little" demolition project.  You see, we have a sun room and covered porch that were added to the back of the house about 10-12 years ago.  The sun room had sweet fake wood paneling, styrofoam ceiling tiles, and peel and stick linoleum tiles on the floor.  In the six years we've owned the home this add-on has been home to our parrots.  But over the years we've expanded to a family of five and the kids just keep growing.  We need more space.  Sorry birds, this is your eviction notice.

The original plan for the day was to tear out the paneling and ceiling tiles so we would be ready to drywall at a later date. Then take a nap.


Here's what we uncovered.

Termite damage. Horrible, horrible termite damage. How was the wall still standing?

Plan B. Add wall insulation to the demo list. Oh yeah, and discover roof problems. Forget about that nap.

It turns out our roof was incorrectly done. The sun room and covered porch roof doesn't have much slope to it and when the builder (shady contractor? Or well-meaning friend with no clue?) attached a gutter along the edge the gutter pushed up on the shingles allowing water to pool under the shingles on the (too thin) plywood. The plywood was rotten and had to be replaced along the entire edge.

Wait, there's more.

After discovering the water damage on the roof we opened up the ceiling to check for more water damage. What we found was soaking wet insulation. There was not a single vent in the entire ceiling as there should have been.

Plan C. Gut everything. Spend every spare moment working on repairs for next three weeks. Go to Lowes so many times you make friends with the employees. Consider taking a second part-time job at Lowes to finance the repairs.  

I'll end today's post with this picture of the progress we made on day two.  More posts coming soon!