Temporary Front Door

Cot-Taj-Mahal Renovation

Day #92

August 25, 2019 – After removing the “snake tarp” I reinstalled the old door frame, metal door and screen door. The temporary front door is inside the rough opening for the new sliding door.

Entry Door Rough Opening
Rough opening for the new entry door.

I had to patch a small area of rotted wood on the threshold before I covered it with treated plywood. The threshold is a little high in the center so it will need some additional work before we put in the new door. Shouldn’t be to hard to level it out.

High Performance Wood Putty
High performance wood putty patch at threshold.

After the old door was reinstalled I closed in the remainder of the opening with exterior grade plywood and covered the area with Lowe’s building wrap. This will keep us dry and the temporary front door will keep us secure until the new door shows up.

Frame - Temporary Entry Door

Metal Door - Temporary Entry Door
The existing metal door is reinstalled.
Screen Door
The screen door was next.
Temporary Entry Door
Temporary entry door dried back in for the week.

Next weekend is the Labor Day Holiday weekend. Family and friends will be visiting so I’m not sure how much renovation we will get done. We always have a great time on Labor Day and I’m sure this holiday will be no different. Everybody drive safely and keep an eye out for the poe poe police.

Entry Door Rough Opening

Day #91

August 24, 2019 – Before the roof framing can continue, we must repair the front wall along the length of the living room. The majority of this wall is rotted out from years of water leaking through the old porch roof. We’ve been working on this for several weekends but I think we are nearing the end of the rotted section. After framing the rough opening for the new entry door, and removing living room window, I think we will have all the rotted wood repaired.

This morning I started removing the siding and oak planking around the front door. I removed the screen door, the front door and the door frame. The door frame came out in one piece. We will be able to re-use it, temporarily, while we wait on the delivery of the new door.

Front Door Demo
Screen door, front door and frame removed.
Front Door Frame
The front door frame in one piece.

I hit another big section of rotted oak planking next to the living room window. This was the end of the old porch. Basically, in this area, any water that hit the old porch roof was rolling backward into the exterior wall. It’s a mess!

Rotted Wood
Hopefully the last section of rotted wood.
Rotted Wood Planking
Close up of the rotted oak planking near the living room window.

Rough Opening

Near the end of the day I got the rough opening studs, header and jack studs put together and installed in the opening. The new entry door rough opening is 72″×80″. To re-use the old door and frame I had to increase the opening height three inches to 83″. Once I have the new entry door I can block the opening down to 80″ so that it fits.

Entry Door Rough Opening
Entry door rough opening framing in progress.

Before we left for dinner we installed a “snake tarp” across the opening. Thankfully there is no rain in the forecast this evening. We are hoping that the “snake tarp” keeps the snakes that live under the cottage from coming in. Tomorrow I will re-install the old door and close up the opening for the week.

Snake Tarp - Entry Door Rough Opening
Entry door rough opening covered with a “Snake Tarp” for the night.

Before dinner we stopped at Lowe’s in Lewistown and placed the order for the new sliding entry door. We purchased a Pella 350 Series Vinyl Sliding Patio Door. Delivery will take 3 to 4 weeks. It’s very exciting!

Tomorrow I will re-install the old door frame, door and screen door and temporarily close in the remainder of the opening while we wait on the delivery of the new door.

Porch Decking Complete – 64 Feet

I decided to split this day into two posts. In part one we continue the wall demo. In part two I complete the porch decking.

Day #90 – Part 2

August 18, 2018 – I actually started the last (fourth) section of porch decking back on July 21st. I managed to install three pieces. Since then we’ve taken a break for two weekends and then we concentrated on other work to prepare for the next roof section. Now I’m back to complete the porch decking.

When I installed the first three pieces of decking I noticed that one of the floor joists, near the end of the run, is a bit high. As a result, the ends of the porch decking are slightly elevated, creating a tripping hazard. I quickly realized that they will have to removed and the joist shaved down to eliminate this condition.

To shave down the top of the joist I used my Milwaukee Router. It took a little bit of time but it worked out great.

Trimming down the “high” floor joist.
Trimmed Joist
The trimmed joist.

With the trimming completed I reinstalled the first three pieces of decking and continued right along. They now finish out flush with the end picture frame board and the tripping hazard is eliminated.

Porch Decking Complete
Completing the last section.
Porch Decking Complete
Porch decking complete!

Our deck length is just shy of 64 feet. It is certainly the longest deck that I have ever attempted t build. This is my first experience with Trex Composite Decking and their concealed fastening system and I must say I like the results.

Next weekend we will be removing the front door to create the rough opening for the new sliding entry door. This will be very exciting so keep an eye on the blog.

Wall Demo Continues

I decided to split this day into two posts. In part one we continue the wall demo. In part two I complete the porch decking.

Day #90 – Part 1

August 18, 2019 – When my Demo Boss arrived, we continued the wall demo in the living room. In the process, we uncovered more rotted wood and some black mold where the old porch tied in. We expected this because this area has been leaking for what seems like years. Some of you may remember that when it rained outside, there was just as much rain on the porch under that old roof!

Demo Crew
Demo Boss continuing the wall demo.
Wall Demo
Wall demo along the exterior living room wall.
Black Mold
Black mold inside the living room wall.

I am thinking that this section contains the worst of the rotted framing that we will encounter. In one section, the top plate of the wall has rotted to dust. When we vacuumed away the rot we found the roof rafter and ceiling joist in this area had no support. They are hanging in mid air. Ugghhh!

No Top Plate
Rotted out top plate.
Wall Demo - Wood Rot
No top plate. No roof rafter or ceiling joist support in this area.

The new sliding entrance door will be located in this section of wall. Have no fear, the mold and rotted wood will be removed and a new rough opening will be framed up. The old green wire and outlet will be replaced as the wall demo advances.

Now on to Part 2 completion of the porch decking.

Electric Upgrade and Relocation – Living Room

Day #89

August 17, 2019 – In order to continue the exterior wall repair and framing for the new sliding door it is necessary to do a little electric upgrade and relocation. Near the front door we have two switches. One controls the overhead living room lights and the other controls an outside light. We can remove the outside light but the overhead light switch needs relocated.

Living Room Wall Switches
Living room wall switches.

Originally there was a 30 amp fuse box to power the entire cottage. I upgraded the 30 amp fuse box to a 100 amp panel way back in 2004. When the old fuse box was in service there was a circuit for the well pump, a circuit for the electric range and only three other circuits to power the remainder of the cottage. I knew at that point that an electric upgrade and complete rewiring was in our future.

Electric Panel Upgrade
Old 30 amp fuse box and new 100 amp panel – 2004 Electric Upgrade

Original Wiring

The cottage was wired back in the 1950’s with two conductor cloth covered wire. In this type of wiring there is a hot wire and a neutral wire but no ground wire. There are numerous junction boxes in the ceiling. In some of these, the connections are soldered and covered with fabric based electrical tape. In others the connections have wire nuts. Some of the wire looks like there is burn marks on the outside of the insulation.

Electric Upgrade - Attic Junction Box
One of many junction boxes. The yellow wire is a new part of the electric upgrade.
Electric Upgrade - Wire Burn Marks
The “Toaster” outlet wire, cloth covered two conductor wire with burn marks.

After spending most of the day up in the attic I figured out the routing of one of the circuits and I was able to begin replacing old wire. I relocated the overhead light switch and added a new outlet by the front door. I was also able to replace the “toaster” outlet wire that Fanny used to blow the circuit breaker on. That one had some serious burn marks. It’s a wonder we haven’t burned the place down!

Relocated Switches & New Outlet - Electric Upgrade
Relocated switches and a new outlet in the living room wall.

The electric upgrade is well underway!

Tomorrow when my Demo Crew arrives we will continue the demolition on the exterior wall. In addition I am hoping to finish the Trex decking installation in the last section of deck, i.e. “Brenda’s Deck”.

Carpenter Bee Damage

Day #88

August 11, 2019 – Not much doing today. We finished up some shingle demolition and then tarped over the roof to keep things dry. Interestingly, we came across a couple pieces of wood from the roof demo that a Carpenter Bee drilled into.

Carpenter Bee Damage
Carpenter Bee damage.

It’s pretty amazing (and pretty destructive) how deep these bees can drill. Once we have everything complete we’ll have to see if they continue to bore through the new siding. We may have to go on a Carpenter Bee extermination mission.

Many thanks to my Roofing Crew…! I know you guys drive a long way to come down to help out. I really appreciate it. Your hard work saves me hours of time in this renovation process. One day we will be done and we’ll sit back and enjoy the new digs! It’s a promise, cee….

Next weekend I have to relocate two electric switches at the living room door. One controls the outside light and one controls the living room overhead lights. This will allow us to continue the exterior wall demolition and repair in preparation for a new sliding entry door. There is a rats nest of junction boxes up in the ceiling so I’m sure it will take me some time to figure out how they are wired and the best way to relocate them. Stay tuned …

For more about the Carpenter Bee click here: Xylocopinae

Roof and Wall Demo Continues

Day #87

August 10, 2019 – Today the plan includes continuing the roof and wall demo but first we need to finish the new kitchen window. This closes in the big hole we made yesterday.

New Kitchen Windows
Third new kitchen window is installed.

After the window was complete, the roof and wall demo commenced. My roofing crew started removing shingles and I concentrated on the wall demo. It’s great to see the youngsters having fun together.

Roof and Wall Demo
My roofing crew looks very good but they seem to be having to much fun.

Demolition of the first living room window and the exterior wall went very smoothly. I got the window out in one piece and the rotted wood removed from this section. I discovered the rotten wood back in October of 2018. It feels good to finally remove it. Probably smells better too!

Rotting Wood
Rotten wood by the living room window.
First Living Room Window
First living room window and oak planking demolition.

I closed in with new stud framing and exterior plywood wall sheathing. The cottage is framed, old school, with full 2″×4″ rough sawn oak studs. To make things “dimensionally” easier I ripped full 4″ studs from some wider stock. This creates more waste but it’s much easier to line stuff up with the existing structure.

Roof and Wall Demo - New Studs & Sheathing
New living room wall framing and exterior sheathing.

With today’s roof and wall demo complete, my crew took a break out in the front yard before heading out to J.P. Edwards for some dinner.

Roof and Wall Demo Crew
Roof and wall demo crew on break.

Tomorrow we will finish up the shingle demo and tarp over the roof to keep things dry. Next weekend I hope to the continue the exterior wall demo, remove the living room door and frame in the rough opening for a new Pella sliding door. Keeping it going.

Another New Kitchen Window

Day #86

August 9, 2019 – Today we started the demolition and re-framing that is necessary to install the third new kitchen window. This window is located over the outside pump house. I am not ready to remove the pump house so this will be a challenge installing new framing and sheathing in this area.

Old Kitchen Window
Old kitchen window over the pump house.

Before we can install any new framing, the existing siding, window and sheathing must be removed. Over the years, this corner of the cottage has undergone attack by wood boring bees and woodpeckers. I am afraid to see what the studs are going to look like after the siding is removed.

Woodpecker & Boring Bee Damage
Woodpecker and Boring Bee damage on the corner of the kitchen.

Between banana and coffee breaks the demolition went very well. We striped off the siding, removed the window and some of the 1″ oak plank sheathing. It was a surprise to see the Woodpeckers and Boring Bees did not make it through the layer of roofing felt on the wall. The studs and sheathing are still sound.

New Kitchen Window
Coffee-Banana break and demolition of old kitchen window.
No Woodpecker - Boring Bee Damage
No woodpecker or boring bee damage on the wood framing.

After completing the demolition, we framed in the rough opening for the new window and installed the exterior plywood wall sheathing. At the end of the day we had the building wrap on this section and we are ready to set the new kitchen window.

New Kitchen Window Demo Complete
Demolition for new kitchen window complete.
Rough Opening
Exterior plywood wall sheathing and rough opening.

First thing tomorrow we will set the new window. With this window installed, there remains only one more old window in the kitchen. We are coming forward into the 21st century slowly but surely.

Birds Nest, Again!

Day #85

August 8, 2019 – I’ve been away the past two weekends. It was a nice break, but now, back to the renovation.

Hoping to get a jump on the weekend I came down a night earlier than usual. This allows me to get all my “weekend” stuff moved in and set up so I’m ready to go to work in the morning. Entering the cottage, once again, I found a birds nest inside. This time is was on top of the refrigerator inside a plastic bag from the Giant. It had four eggs inside.

Amazing what they can do in a couple of days. Them birds are busy!

Birds Nest
Birds nest with 4 eggs on top of the refrigerator.

I really have to get the cottage closed in to stop this nonsense!

So….. once again, I have to be the bad guy and remove the nest and the eggs. Sorry little birds but you need to pick a better nesting site. Bye now….

Eggs, Nest & Feathers

After relocating the birds nest I chilled out for the rest of the evening.

Jess showed up later in the evening and we went out to Wingman’s for some dinner. It was nice. After dinner we headed back to the cottage. Tomorrow we will replace another old kitchen window. It will be a good day.

PS: We have our share of pests at the Cot-Taj-Mahal. Here is an interesting photo of another one of our unwelcome guests – Carpenter Bee