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CaptnTony 03-24-2009 12:12 PM

Greetings! New home owner (of an OLD home)
And OLD homes mean DIY projects left and right.

I have purchased a 2 story family home built in 1885 in SE Minnesota (about 100 meters from the Ole Miss herself). She's a nice fixer-upper and I've got many plans over the next 2 or 3 years. She's in a sad state right now, much rotting on the exterior (which means some interior as well I'm sure). She has newer gas furnace (4 years old), a newer central air (about 8 years, but not very good cooling upstairs), a detached cinder block 3 car garage (grandpa was a mechanic in a 'previous life' as he put it).

Step one (completed earlier this year): Replace roof (house and stand alone garage). Contracted it as I'm not much into steep roof and high places.

Step two (completed two weeks ago): Replace ceiling in garage. Grandpa put in drywall ceiling which started collapsing due to water leakage in roof. Got to purchase an air compressor and nail gun :) (I'm now officially armed and dangerous).

Step three (completed last weekend): Trim a 43 year old Maple tree away from the house and garage roof (as well as the power lines). Couldn't find the heart to completely remove it as my grandfather planted it the day I was born. Had to contract this work as it involved heights and steep roofs again, and I don't have access to a cherry picker.

Step four (completed yesterday): Strip, fill, and reseal the basement walls. Made of old rocks with concrete, way old school. What a job that was, but it's now done. (Purchased an air-paint gun but for the life of me couldn't get it to work - thinking the sealer was too thick. Cleaned everything up and will try again when painting garage and wood fence later this summer)

Step five (beginning next weekend): Replacing a 6x15' three season porch with a 12x15' entry way. This poor thing hasn't had anything done to it since I was a little one being babysat by my grandmother at the house. She's so weak I can probably do de-construction with my hands. Have to remove shrubs from front, learn how to build 3 walls, attach those walls to an existing house wall, replace shattering concrete steps with either new concrete or wood, learn to hang 8 windows or come up with some other design, figure out how to put a exterior door in place, lay a wood floor down (grandpa kept the original hardwood flooring in the attic in the garage, so I'll appropriate it and use some of it as the entry way flooring).

Step six (early summer this year): Same thing to back porch, but make this little entry way porch, about 6x5' into a nicer 12x5' mud room (dogs have to come in from the yard somewhere!)

Step seven (early-mid summer): Level off the grounds. It is awful! I get 4-6" of standing water on my sidewalks / icerinks (in winter) whenever I get some rain/melting snow. I have to get the black dirt in and some grass growing ASAP. This will involve removing about 80' of cement sidewalks my grandfather laid around the house and to access points from neighbors (originally the rest of his family members' homes). I've torn up a portion and it looks like he dropped 4-5" of cement down - HEAVY and back breaking.

Step eight (mid summer): Erect some sort of fence around the yard. It has to be more than 5' tall unfortunately as one of my Border Collies can jump the existing 5' cheapo chicken wire fence without even getting a head of steam. I really don't want to have total privacy, just want something that will keep the dogs in their own yard. They are nice dogs, but I don't want to get a visit from the dog catcher either. Ideas of nice fencing is appreciated. I'm thinking about the wood fence that alternates the side it is hung on (tell I'm an expert in fencing no?) so I can at least get a little bit of light into the yard and see out of it. I do dog rescue work, so I'd like to be able to have a design that isolates the front from the back as necessary while providing dog free access to the front door (while having the ability to 'open the whole yard up' to the dogs for the day -- thinking swinging gates or series of open closed gates). Half the fun is designing I guess.

Next year: Remove paneling from walls inside. Tear down any plaster walls that may still exist, tear up carpeting and check sub-flooring where there is currently 'lift'. Put in new carpeting (maybe some wood floor but my dogs really don't like wood floors). Determine if I can put an addition onto the front of the house to increase the size of the living room and an upstairs bedroom. New siding (probably vinyl) after the addition is made or determined to not be needed (price).

Whew huh?

You'll probably be seeing me here often, as I'm not afraid to ask questions and have very little practical experience passed down to me from my father. Grandfather gave me the courage to try though.

gma2rjc 03-24-2009 04:18 PM

Welcome to the forum CaptnTony. We'll look forward to hearing about your progress. That's pretty neat to own a house that holds so many childhood memories. If you can, post some before, during and after pictures.

CaptnTony 05-12-2009 01:08 PM

Status update (2009-05-12):

The city gov't put the cabosh on my front porch expansion to 12' instead of the 6 it already is. They tell me I can go out two more feet and that's all. I'm going to stick with the original layout and tear apart the inside wall instead and just make it part of the dining room - I've never really been very big into porch sitting anyway.

I'm going to try to attach some images of the progress.

Before Shot 1:

The offending porch:

The shrubs that will be removed:

Closer look at some of the reasons this all has to be done:

CaptnTony 05-12-2009 01:09 PM

Some more photos:

CaptnTony 05-12-2009 01:09 PM

And more:

Let the Destruction Begin!

A floor over a floor over an old deck!? What was grandpa thinking?

CaptnTony 05-12-2009 01:16 PM

I bought the new front doors (a glass storm door and a fiberglass entry door) last night 36"x80", so the framing starts this weekend after we get the floor setup and in on Thursday.

I'm going to change the joists (are they joists?) that grandpa had running the width of the porch to 2x8s running from the house to the front of the porch instead. I'm going to offset them 18" (I think the code standard is 24" here), but since I will be wanting to have some load put on that area if I tear down that back wall later I want to make sure it can withstand dogs, furniture, etc.

I found a nice 84" flat triple window (with two sliding side windows) to replace the front set of windows with (we had two casualties during destruction). Will purchase just in time to get that tax rebate :) Nice surprise.

Found a place to sell me vinyl siding today too, things are progressing quickly.

gma2rjc 05-12-2009 08:49 PM

Did the city say why they don't want you to build out 12'?

That wood on the front porch looked like it was in good shape, why'djya tear it out? LOL!

Scuba_Dave 05-12-2009 08:55 PM


Originally Posted by CaptnTony (Post 272873)
A floor over a floor over an old deck!? What was grandpa thinking?

Only 3 floors, BAH!!
My last kitchen had 12 floors !!


Originally Posted by gma2rjc (Post 273045)
Did the city say why they don't want you to build out 12'?

Usually this is due to required setbacks

CaptnTony 05-12-2009 09:46 PM

Yes it was due to setbacks.

CaptnTony 05-15-2009 09:54 AM

Okay, yesterday was a good day!

Our goal was to get the floor laid and buy timber for walls. As you can see, we got a little further than that.

Small issue with the front wall support. Cinder blocks not completely level.

Someone get the Board Stretcher!

CaptnTony 05-15-2009 09:58 AM

Time for the wall to go up!

that left side was 7" lower than the right when we started this. We'll get it level :)

Scuba_Dave 05-15-2009 10:48 AM

Looks good so far
Are you taking the wall down to the rest of the house?

CaptnTony 05-15-2009 10:59 AM

That's the plan right now. Not sure when I'll be undertaking that though, have quite a long list of more major upgrades to do first. I also have to talk to an electrician about getting the walls ready for electrical stuff before I put up the drywall. I don't think I'll put anything up there yet, but it has to be much easier to do it all now. We started peeling that paneling off the wall and found shingle 'siding'. It seems to be all around the house because it was even on the original portion of the house (the 2 story side). I'm not looking forward to having to remove that!

drtbk4ever 05-15-2009 11:24 AM

Aye Capt, Lookin good. Thanks for the photos too. A picture IS worth a thousand words.

I like the new window.

If you are opening up the wall into the rest of the house, how are you handling the insulation of the space under the porch (or the floor itself)?

<*(((>< 05-15-2009 11:32 AM


Originally Posted by CaptnTony (Post 273991)

You going to put some type of header and some cripples above the window and door? In fact it doesn't look like you have jack studs on the window or door either. Just wanted to point that out.

Another question for you, what did you do about the cinder blocks not being level? Shim the floor joists?

Looks like it's time for a new set of stairs as well... :)

Good luck with everything, you got a lot of work ahead of you. But kudos to you in undertaking a family heirloom.

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