Cottage Winterization Time Again

Cottage Winterization Time

Day #51

October 27, 2018 – Arrived at the cottage this morning at 9:30. It rained all the way from Harrisburg. The sole purpose of this weekend’s visit is for cottage winterization.

Our cottage winterization consists of turning off and draining the hot water heater, draining and blowing out the water lines and placing antifreeze in all the drain traps. This usually takes a couple of hours. It was miserable in the rain but its done.

While waiting for the hot water heater to drain I did some more demolition in the living room. The wood sheathing in the exterior wall to the right of the window is rotting. There is white mold growing in the wall over the window. This window and the rotting wood are going to be removed to make way for a new sliding glass patio door. The sooner the better.

Hopefully it will not rain next weekend. I hope to install a temporary electric pole so the electric can be disconnected from the cottage. This will allow us to take the roof off the old kitchen. Stay tuned.

Living Rom - Front Exterior Wall
While the hot water tank drained I did some more demo on the living room wall.
Living Rom - Front Exterior Wall
Rotting wood and white mold near the living room window.
Living Rom - Front Exterior Wall
Front wall demolition over to and above the living room door.

New Shed Construction – Circa 1994

New Shed

This is the story of the destruction of the “Old Metal Shed” and the construction of the “New Shed”. 

Way back in August of 1994 there was a tropical depression named Beryl. In Pennsylvania, specifically Lewistown, it caused some heavy rains and tropical depression winds. For those readers who may not know, the name of the man who built the Cot-Taj-Mahal was Vryl. As you will note, Vryl rhymes with Beryl and both names are rather uncommon. More on that later.

As the story goes, Dorthy Liebegott, a.k.a. Grammy was present at the Cot-Taj-Mahal when the storm hit. As she described it to me, “It sounded like a freight train was coming and then a tornado touched down in the back yard and knocked over a bunch of trees that fell on the old metal shed.”

Well, since the Cot-Taj-Mahal is literally a stones throw away from the railroad tracks, I have no doubt that Grammy may have heard a fright train. It was probably coming down the tracks “draggin a wheel!”

Since Vryl rhymes with Beryl could it have been Pap Liebegott was reaching back from the other side to try and tell someone to get rid of the hunk a junk old metal shed and do an upgrade? Are the rhyming names just coincidence or did he Wizard of Oz the old metal shed? I guess we will never know. 

What we do know is the fact that a bunch of trees did fall on the “Old Metal Shed” and some handsome young dude did in fact build a “New Shed”. Here are some images from the vault straight outta the Land Before Time.

Old Metal Shed Destruction

New Shed Construction

Temporary Dry In – Exterior Living Room Wall

Day #50

October 14, 2018 – After discovering water damage in the exterior living room wall I decided to temporarily dry it in. Hopefully the temporary dry in will stop the water infiltration and let it dry out a bit while we put on the new roof.

My plan, as simple as it sounds, was to tarp over the wall section where the old porch connected. First I nailed some 2 × 4 fascia boards to the cottage rafter tails. With that completed, I install some cut pieces of plywood on top of the remains of the old porch rafters. Once the plywood pieces were installed I covered the roof with tarps. 

Because some of the people in this family have/had (Grammy, Fanny, et. el.) a slight hoarder complex there are 3000 tarps in the “New” shed. From this stockpile I tried to pick the best ones.  The tarps are held in place by 2 × 4 runners nailed down with double headed nails. My hope is that this stops the water leaking while we complete the new roof.

We are away next weekend so stay tuned. In two weeks I should have an update about temporarily relocating the Penelec electric service. This will allow us to start taking the roof off! It’s also getting close to cottage weatherization time.

2 × 4 Fascia Boards
2 × 4 Fascia boards nailed to the cottage rafter tails.
Plywood Decking
Plywood decking nailed to the remains of the old porch rafters.
Temporary Dry In - Tarps
Getting ready to install temporary tarps.
Temporary Dry In - Tarps
Temporary dry in with tarps installed.
Temporary Dry In - Tarps
Temporary dry in with tarps installed.

Kitchen, Living Room & Structural Demolition

Day #49

October 13, 2018 – The interior demolition in the kitchen and living room continued today. I removed the wing wall separating the two rooms. A section of living room ceiling in addition to a portion of drywall at the front wall have been demo’d.

During the demolition of the wing wall I discovered some carpenter ant / termite damage. The rotted, half eaten wood was removed and the area prepped for wood hardener and high performance wood filler.  The hardener and wood filler will be applied on the next trip. Unfortunately, this damaged area is directly under the wall studs that must support one end of a new beam for the kitchen roof. 

In the front wall of the living room, where the old porch connected, the batt insulation was soaking wet. As we had figured this area has been leaking for years. Some of the wood siding is rotten to the point that I can push my finger clean through it. As a result, we will have to remove additional drywall to determine the extent of the water damage. Tomorrow I will have to figure out a way to protect this area from continued water damage.

After the removal of some living room ceiling I began the structural demolition of the wood framing members connecting the old kitchen to the living room / main structure.  This will make way for a new 20 foot long beam. The beam will tie the two sidewalls together as well as support the roof during the kitchen demo. 

Even though it doesn’t look like much all in all it was a good day!

Photos From The Day 

Demolition - Wing Wall
Demolition of the wing wall between the kitchen and the living room.
Demolition - Wing Wall
Wing wall removal in progress.
Termite Damage
Carpenter Ant / Termite damage under wing wall.
Termite Damage Repair
The rotted, termite damaged wood is clean out.
Ceiling Demolition
Ceiling demolition in the living room.
Ceiling Demolition
Ceiling demolition in the living room prior to drywall removal.
Rotted Wood
Rotted wood in the exterior wall of the living room.

Kitchen Ceiling and Electrical Demolition

Day #48

October 7, 2018 – Today I completed the kitchen ceiling removal and started the electrical demolition. There was work on both the inside and outside of the cottage.

Inside Demolition

I removed the batt insulation and ceiling fiber board. The insulation was very dirty and covered with nut shells and mouse turds. I am really hoping that the mice are long gone because, as we know,  mice are a real pain in the ass!

With the ceiling removal complete I started on some electrical demolition and re-wiring. 

I removed the old school fluorescent light. This light fixture only worked about half the time! To take the place of the fluorescent light I rigged up some temporary construction lights.

One wall in the kitchen and one wall in the living room will be removed for the kitchen expansion. Therefore, on these two walls, the outlets and wiring were removed for demolition safety. With the living roo exterior outlet removed we will use the new exterior GFCI outlets.

Kitchen Ceiling Demolition
Preparation for the removal of the kitchen ceiling.
Kitchen Ceiling Demolition
Removal of the kitchen ceiling. Plastic to contain the dust.
Old Fluorescent Light Fixture
Just prior to the removal of the old florescent light fixture.

In the process of removing outlets I opened several junction boxes in the ceiling. It is surprising to see the connections inside are soldered and wrapped in old style fabric electrical tape. I don’t know if this was common practice in the 1950’s or not but I’m sure it takes a lot more time to install!

Electrical Demolition - Kitchen Junction Box
Kitchen junction box with soldered connection, old fabric electrical tape and burned wire.

The outer jacket on the old wiring is brittle and comes right off. On some of the wire there appears to be burn marks on the insulation. I don’t know if this is from soldering or overheating but it confirms our suspicions that the old wiring needs replaced. 

Electrical Demolition - Kitchen Junction Box
Close up – Kitchen junction box with soldered connection, old fabric electrical tape and burned wire.

Outside Demolition

I removed the old motion-activated flood lamp from the corner of the cabin. As it turns out, this light was not installed correctly. The installer did not use a weatherproof junction box. For this reason, the internal wiring and connections can exposed to rain and snow. This could have caused a short circuit and possibly a fire. We have another light just like this at the other end of the cabin. You can bet I’ll be removing it on the next trip.

Old Flood Light
Old motion-activated flood light removed from cottage exterior.
Old Flood Light
Improper installation with the interior circuits exposed to the elements.
Cottage Exterior - Old Flood Light
Old flood light removed from this corner of the cottage.

Next weekend I hope to remove the remaining wing wall and open up more of the living room ceiling.

GFCI Outlets and a new Security Light

Day #47

October 6, 2018 – We took a week off for a wedding in York. Then a family vacation at Seneca Lake in upstate New York. It was a great time but now we’re back to continue the Cot-Taj-Mahal renovation project. The last time I posted I had started the temporary electric. Today I continued with the installation of two GFCI outlets and a new Security Light.

The GFCI outlets came complete, in a kit from Lowe’s (TayMac 1-Gang Rectangle Plastic Weatherproof Electrical Box Cover) for $27.98 each. I installed two of them. This gives me 4 outside outlets for the rest of the work.

The security light is an LED fixture with a motion detector and dusk to dawn sensor. It is by GoodEarth (Good Earth Lighting 180-Degree 2-Head White LED Motion-Activated Flood Light with Timer).

1st GFCI Outlet
Getting ready to install the first of two GFCI outlets.
Weatherproof Outlet Box
Weatherproof outlet box for the first GFCI outlet.
GFCI Outlet Complete
The first of two outdoor GFCI outlets is complete.
GFCI Outlets
TayMac 1-Gang Rectangle Plastic Weatherproof Electrical Box Cover.
2nd GFCI Outlet
2nd GFCI Outlet and new Security Light.
GFCI Outlets
The second of two outdoor outlets is complete.
Security Light Mounted
New GoodEarth Security Light mounted on temporary pole.
GoodEarth Motion-Activated Floodlight
GoodEarth Motion-Activated Floodlight.
New Security Light
GoodEarth Motion-Activated Floodlight lighting up at dusk.

With the temporary electric complete we can proceed with the ceiling and electric demo in the existing kitchen.