This Old House, sort of


Today is new roofing start day. Part of the old house saga around here.

The past year has been one of catching up on deferred maintenance.  Starting last fall with the fill the dumpster episode (memorialized in this entry –   ) and followed up this summer by the hunt for real roofers.  Also dialed in was structural repairs to the old wheel chair ramp and the wide steps to the back deck. And then there was the painting. First staining by me using a long extension handle for the paint roller.  We used REZ opaque Redwood stain. Involved a little ladder work, something I have never been crazy about.  To finish off the soffit and fascia boards and to paint in white the wood trim on the remaining original windows, we hired painters. Over half the windows have been converted over the years to energy efficient models.

The local handyman carpenter wannabe designed some nice looking wide stairs for the back deck. I call them the back deck although they face the road and most people call that the front of the cottage. But being contrary and since it is a lake front property, I always think of the lake side as the front. He made a bad decision in the design he came up with. Instead of starting the top step to match the level of the deck, he dropped it down one step. This meant that he fastened the steps to the deck by screwing the deck upwards into the side plate of the deck, a vertical 2×10.  Over time the stairs dropped down a bit coming loose on one side. My interim solution was to drag and position a 12 inch cement block under the side stringer. A band aid solution.  Hired another fellow to fix the problem. When we took the stairs apart, we discovered that it was being held up by just two deck screws. Although my first carpenter had come back to repair it and had talked about using carriage bolts, we found none. So effectively the stairs were being held up by two screws and the two hand rails. The stairs (three) are about 8 feet wide. Not a very solid arrangement. The solution was to raise the stairs. The stairs have an extra deep tread almost double normal. A new mounting plate the entire width was added behind the top step. Multiple long screws (16) were added to fasten the stairs to the deck. New veritical hand rails were cut and added.  It all turned out well.

I found out that it is better to have a floating deck. That is one that is not attached directly to the cottage. The local township will add square footage to your residence if the deck is attached. Therefore increasing your taxes.

The old satelittle dish (a large one) is being taken down by the roofers. 18 years since the shingles were done.

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Author: William J. Gibson

62 year old - writer/photographer Canadian, survived open heart surgery, received kidney transplant, sometimes dour, sometimes amusing, over six feet in height, severely follicle challemged

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