Wall Insulation & More Carpenter Ant Damage

Day #163

September 21, 2020 – With the completion of the kitchen and living room windows along the railroad side, I can drop back and install the wall insulation. This will only take me an hour or so. After that I will start taking the inside of the closet bump out apart. We suspect there will be more carpenter ant damage just waiting in the walls.

The wall insulation along the railroad side of the kitchen and living room is almost complete.

Wall Insulation
Wall insulation on the railroad side.

The closet bump out that I wrote about before straddles two different rooms, the living room and the first bedroom. In the image below the inside of the closet is visible on the right side of the photo.

I reframed the roof of this bump out because of carpenter ant damage to the roof joists. The ants don’t really eat the wood but they chew through it leaving sawdust behind.

Wall Insulation
The inside of the closet is exposed in the living room.

To expose any damage I removed the paneling on the inside of the closet.

Closet Paneling
Removing paneling on the inside of the closet.

Carpenter Ant Sawdust

As we suspected there were piles of carpenter ant sawdust inside each of the joist spaces.

Carpenter Ant Damage
Carpenter Ant sawdust in the joist space. Eight inches thick!
Carpenter Any Sawdust
Carpenter Ant sawdust.
Carpenter Ant Damage
Water damage and more ant sawdust.

I spent the rest of my time today removing all the paneling inside the closet and cleaning up the sawdust. With the interior framing exposed I will be able to insulate the closet interior. Unfortunately, the studs in these walls are sideways so the joist spaces are only a 1-1/2 deep. I will have to use a rigid foam insulation in these spaces.

Now I’m off to Lowe’s for rigid insulation and some lauan paneling. See you soon.

Support Column and Kitchen Sub-Floor

Day #58

June 1, 2019 – The corner of the living room, at the old porch connection, was leaking for several years. As a result the wall sheathing and possibly the corner studs in this area have succumbed to rot, mold and mildew. To provide for an open ceiling in the new kitchen, a structural beam will be installed. This beam will span from one side of the cottage to the other. If the stud framing in this corner is rotted it will not be able to support the beam. If this is the case then a new support column will need to be constructed in this corner. We need to open up the walls at this location to assess the situation.

So, the goal for today is to finish the kitchen sub-floor, assess the wall framing in the living room corner and re-construct a new support column if required.

Sub-Floor Installation

Sub-floor panel adhesive
Applying a bead of sub-floor panel adhesive.

Sub-floor nailing

New Support Column

After the completion of the sub-floor we started to expose the rotted out corner of the living room. As you can see in the photographs, it was really rotted! A new support column will be necessary to properly support the new structural beam.

Expose Bad Corner - Support Column
Exposing the rotted out corner.
Rotted Sheathing - Support Column
Rotted exterior wall sheathing.
Rotted Corner Support Column
Exposed corner. Rotted wood.
Exposed Corner - Support Column
Exposed corner. Rotted framing members.
Exposed Corner - Support Column
Rotted framing members removed.

With the rotted framing removed we were able to frame in a new support column and tarp up the house for the night. Tomorrow we construct a massive beam and attempt to lift it into place inside the cottage. I’m hoping for the best.

Support Column
Outside corner of the living room, new support column in place.
Stink Bug Nest
Stink bug nest, part of the reason it stinks so bad….

At the end of the day we accomplished everything that we set out to do. It was a great day!

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.

Sewer Pipe Tie In

Day #11

June 5, 2018 – Today I finished the sewer pipe tie in to the existing lateral. Now both the bathroom sink and the toilet flow into the septic tank. Provisions were made to tie in the kitchen sink in the future. Also began to backfill the sewer and drain trenches with pea gravel. 

Demo’d the rotted out window/door panels in the back bedroom. Installed a new stud wall with exterior grade plywood and dried it in with a layer of #15lb felt. We worked until it was dark. The new window installation will wait for another day.


Sewer Pipe Tie In & Pea Gravel Backfill
Backfilling the sewer lateral with pea gravel.


Wood Rot
Wood rot.


Demo'd Opening
Rotted window/door panels removed.


New Stud Wall
New stud and exterior plywood wall dried in.