Barb & I took Sunday off, Barb was able to do some quilting and me, well I just hung out and got some restful down time. We watched a family of Robins flitting around our mounds of muck filling themselves with discovered delicacies. We needed the time off, we were both exhausted from the renovations so far. The trenching was unplanned and set us back in our timeline and it is hard not to play catch up.
On Monday, we finish the backfilling of gravel and made an attempt to remove some of the muck and mire sitting around. Without the proper equipment, it was futile and after an hour or so, we called it a day and said farewell to the mini backhoe. Terri & Mark stopped again to help out. This time, we removed the low ceiling joists in the front part of the house, removed all the nails and re-used the joists to raise the ceiling up to 8 feet. With the vaulted ceiling on the centre and 8 foot ceilings in the front – wow, does that ever open it up! It is sooooo much more fun when we’re constructing instead of de-constructing. After a beverage and a little personal clean up, we took off for dinner to ‘He’s Not Here’, a great place for wings or burgers and of course, a cool one too! They have an outdoor patio that over looks the Niagara River – it’s not Big Daddy’s works for us as a replacement.
Not too much was accomplished on Tuesday. We fused around with the wires for the sump pump, chiselled a hole under the foundation and dug a trench inside the crawl space so we could place a weeping tile and gravel to help keep the basement/crawl space drier. Yes, the trench and the hole under the foundation lined up and water was able to drain from inside out to the perimeter trench and down to the sump pump. At the end of the day, we also poured our concrete footing for support of the beam in the back of the house. These activities will not be apparent at the end of the project but necessary.
Wednesday was a little more productive visually. Barb & I installed the collar ties on the vaulted ceiling and joist blocking in the newly raised ceiling in the front part. We also removed 3 windows of the sunroom where the laundry and closet will be located. The windows will be re-used in the east wall of the bedroom. You may think it a little early but our activities are moving us to getting some of the spray foam insulation done.
Thursday was a slow day for us. Our water main has been leaking and we have tried to have our local plumber come by to let us know what we can do since it was on the city side (before the water meter) of the service. We also want to move the water meter and shut off into the ‘warm side’ of the house so it won’t freeze up in the future. We think that this leak has be leaking for a long long time and could possibly be a major contributor to the wetness in the crawl space. Did you know that cement takes longer to dry than paint? We have to wait for the concrete before we can do more with the beam support and hanging floor joists.
So on this rainy Friday morning, we’re off shopping for the plumbing supplies to fix the leaky water main. Since the city water valve does not shut off the water 100% and you can not solder pipe with water in it, we have to use the more expensive Sharkbite fittings for the repairs. I have to borrow a water main shutoff wrench from our friendly local plumber so have to wait until he is done for the day before we can start work. More digging to expose more of the work area keeps me busy for part of the afternoon. We finally have the water off and Barb & I remove, clean and reroute our water line so it is more accessible in the future and hopefully will not freeze in the winter.
We were lucky enough that a previous owner left us the old wooden garage doors leaning up against the back of the garage! We thought we could just carry them out to the bin and drop them in – wrong! They are way to heavy and need to be cut into smaller, more manageable pieces so that is our first task on Saturday – the bin is close to being full so we’ve got to get them in soon. As I am running the circular saw through the doors, I smell that earthy smell of cedar – these doors are solid cedar and a shame that they were not maintained. They would have been a beautiful door in their day but way to far gone now to be restored.
Back in the house, we are starting to remove the old hardwood in the centre of the house and cut the subfloor 2 feet from the edge so we can inspect the rim joists for rot and sturdiness. We are surprised by 2 things: no standing water and the rim joist look fine, as do the beam supports in the centre so now we do not have to take up this part of the floor – halleluiah! It’s early afternoon now and we decide to take the rest of the day off, hit the beer store and take a walk down to the Niagara River and enjoy our surroundings for the first time.
In a few blocks, we are on the Friendship Trail, overlooking the Niagara River and some very nice water front properties. Now, we did not walk all 17Kms of the trail here in Fort Erie but we did manage to get out of the reno mode and enjoy our adventure. And yes John, we did manage to find a place to pick up an ice cream!
I think that is all for this week. We’ll leave you with a picture of a bloom from our magnolia tree back at the Plantation thanks to Ann & Bill for taking it and sending it to us. We hope all is good where you are….