A Carpenter’s Journal

April 27, 2009

Bath Remodel

Filed under: Bathrooms — Tags: , , , — admin @ 10:20 pm

Tile Shower Stall

We did four complete bathroom remodels last year and another one in the winter of 2009.   In each case the entire old bathroom was gutted down to the the wall studs and then rebuilt.  This is a picture of one in Duxbury that we did last fall.

There are a number of issues to address when doing a bathroom over like this.   Most families cannot afford to have a full bath down for very long, so it is helpful to know the sequence and timing of the different tasks that need to be done.  Changes to the design and layout need to be considered. Materials, paint colors and fixtures need to be chosen. Fixtures and tile that need to be ordered should be scheduled to arrive  before work begins.

April 22, 2009

New Houses

Filed under: Job Progress — admin @ 7:55 pm

1 Unless the LORD builds the house,
       its builders labor in vain.
       Unless the LORD watches over the city,
       the watchmen stand guard in vain.

                                                       Psalm 127:1

I walked up the street to the corner lot where a new house is in the process of being framed.  It was almost completely dark but I walked inside anyway.  I felt my way around the house, looking out the windows and climbed the ladder going  up to the second floor.  The house feels solid, it has high ceilings, big rooms and a lot of windows.  Someone will really like this house.  The neighborhood is nice, woodsy, quiet.  I have known it for twenty years, having worked on several of the houses on the street.  These new ones are an intrusion into the pine woods that have been here.  The soil is full of large rocks and the streets and lots are all lined with stone walls, some in the woods and some restored to the grounds of palatial estates.  I have  tried to clear a  garden here and there is no end to the rocks. 

The framing is my own kingdom, everything in this half constructed house is familiar to me from the smell of spruce, to the feel of two by fours, I can read in the dark discrepancies in the framing and feel the particular cut and grade of lumber used.  My hands have worked these materials intimately for three decades and though at times it is tedious it is familiar and I am at ease and comfortable with everything here from the height of the staging to the dangerous stairway opening I know I must avoid in the dark.  I turn and go, walking in the Spring mud back out to the street.

April 20, 2009

Pediment over Doorway

Filed under: Trimwork — Tags: , — admin @ 8:34 pm

Pediment over Doorway

This is a picture of a doorway we converted from an exterior door that once stepped out onto an open porch, now a finished room.  It is done mostly with stock mouldings and is actually a copy of the doorways in the background done with custom mouldings made by the late Phil Randall who had a shop nearby.  That shop, in operation since the Civil War, is still in business and is run by Phil’s former apprentice.   It is the best place I know to have custom cabinets or millwork done and I hope to tell more about it in a future post.

April 18, 2009

Gable End Sidewall

Filed under: Job Progress — admin @ 12:17 pm
Almost to the Top
Almost to the Top

It has taken longer than I anticipated but we are almost done with the clapboards on the gable end.   I think the problem with the peeling paint was due to the old clapboards not being primed on the back, there was also a lot of water behind the claps as though the rain had been getting in behind them, there was no flashing or tar paper behind the joints, I still do not have an explanation for the water but we took extra care that it not happen again by caulking the ends and joints and adding a tarpaper strip behind every joint.

      We borrowed the 36 foot ladder from an old friend who lives nearby.

April 6, 2009

Stages in Construction

Filed under: Job Progress,Uncategorized — admin @ 3:54 pm

I am still in the construction stage of this blog page.  I am not happy with the format at all,  but I do not know how to edit the template for the blog or replace it with one more to my liking.  But, in the interest of always keeping moving, I am going to post a picture of the job I am starting today, actually, with the rain it is more likely that I’ll be starting it tomorrow. 

We are going to re-sidewall one side of the building below.Peeling Clapboards  The siding is 1/2 by 6 red cedar clapboards that are about 20 years old.  The house itself was once the farmhouse to a sheep farm that stretched out across the Marshfield hills within sight of the Atlantic.  It is now in the center of a suburban development. It was totally remodeled at the end of the eighties when the development was built.  The portico with the columns was added at that time.  I was one of the carpenter’s who worked on the portico and the inside finish trim.  I have since returned many times over the years to work on or add to this house. 

 The problem with the siding is that the paint keeps peeling, especially from this side of the house.  As you can imagine, this is an expensive house to paint.  We are going to remove the existing siding and replace it with almost the same thing, but in this case the clapboards will be delivered primed on both sides.  The most likely cause of the peeling is moisture forcing through from the back side.  This is especially likely to happen if the backs of the clapboards were never primed.  Another cause of peeling is if the painter used an inappropriate primer.

We had considered using HardyPlank siding which is made of a cementitious material and is guaranteed to never rot or peel when painted.  But the decision was made to stick with what the house already had on it.  The Hardy Plank  is flatter in profile than real wood clapboards and to my eye it does not look right on an old traditional house.

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