Archive for the ‘Exterior’ Category

Outdoor shenanigans

We aren’t making much progress on the basement, but we have gotten some outdoor tasks done.

The first project was digging a giant hole for the egress window.3 feet

Emma helped by continuously dropping her toys into the giant pit.     narrow

The excavation went well, all things considered. We abused some 5 gallon buckets, and eventually started using this pulley system.pully systemIt ended up 4 feet by 101″ wide (8.5 feet) and about 7 feet sizeWe used a 72″ gray Rockwell elite egress window from Summit Contractor Supply. It was $952. That’s about $400 less than most retailers, but it was still not cheap. The good news is it will last as long as the house. Plus it looked adorably like a covered wagon before install.

wagonMounting the well was very easy,  just 12 concrete wedge anchors into the block wall.bolting

We leveled and repaired the erosion on the back of the house with the leftover dirt piles. It ended up about a foot deep for a good 50 square foot area. Michael is a champion mover of dirt.


After creating the giant hole, we marked the window rough opening, custom ordered the casement window, and now we’re waiting for the window to arrive.

Well, by waiting I mean pouring concrete slabs and working on the deck 🙂



Progressing right along 🙂


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New Roof

We now have less brown on the exterior of our house: Score. Previously we had mediocre-condition orange-brown 3 tab shingles . They didn’t match the tin very well 🙂


According to the previous owner, the roof was only 10 years old, but the shingles are peeling and have significant granule loss. We were planning on DIYing some replacement dimensional shingles… but we are very, very slow. Instead, we referred to Angie’s list and grabbed 5 well-ranked roofers in our area for quotes.

Then the quoting flurry happened. All 5 companies prices were between 5200 and 5800.  The expensive bid, poor quality shingles bid, and incompetent guy bids were out pretty quickly . The battle of the last two bids was decided by the quote. The company we went with had a very detailed quote. They mentioned up front that we would do a site-walk with them to point out shrubs/gardens that needed protection and that any changes would be in writing and signed by us. We chose Certainteed’s Moire Black shingles, and they were ready to start in less than a week.

The weather, however, did not want to start until 10 days later.

It was refreshing driving to work with this roof.

Rear FacadeFacade

Then returning after 9 hours to this snazzy number.

New Roof Front

It’s a subtle difference, but at least it matches the shutters 🙂

New Roof and Deck

It most definitely matches the gray tin roof better.

Hiring meant it’s done in a day, and done correctly. At $5200, hiring the roofers cost about $2000 more than material price, but to do this ourselves, it would have taken two full weekends of good weather.

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When we last talked about the deck, it looked like this:

We left the wood banded together, and we tarped it right after it was rained on. That ended up working very well to reduce shrinking/weird warps. The bad news is that the wood was incredibly heavy, and in some cases even slimy. Blegh.

We have been working on the deck for several months, and we’ve had a lot of progress. I’m sharing pictures, but I’m not going into a lot of detail about how we completed this job, mainly because we do not feel comfortable teaching or showing anyone else how to do this 🙂

Emma helped whenever possible, true to form. Her especial talent during this job was dropping her toys into the footer holes.

Since those last few photos, we’ve finished installing the tin roof and started work on the electrical. We still have the deck railing, stairs, and staining process left to complete. Maybe we’ll finish in late November…just in time to enjoy the fire inside 😀

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Non-Existent Gray

Non-existent Gray: That’s the color I want to paint the exterior siding. Evidently. Currently it’s this tan color.

I’ve been trying to choose a new paint color for our siding. The original plan was to replace the siding with Hardie Board, but our siding is in excellent shape, and vertical siding flatters the wide, squat lines of the facade. Plus, Hardie Board is not nearly as free as our current siding. To be fair, there are some damaged portions, but they are all within a few inches of the ground. This led us to Plan B: Install Hardie Trim around the base of our existing siding, and then paint.
My master plan was to paint our siding a dark gray, one of those colors that prompts arguments; is it slate? Is it a really dark blue? Is it Superman? I used the outstanding tool Color Visualizer by Sherwin Williams to mock-up exterior paint colors. Unfortunately that dark slate color does not exist. If it does, it sure doesn’t match our brick. These are my current favorites:

  1. Software
  2. Earl Gray
  3. Mineral Deposit

Why am I choosing paint colors, you may ask. Well, it isn’t because we’re about to paint 🙂 Right now we’re plugging away on the deck. I really hope we can replace the asphalt shingles before winter hits (why are they brown?!), and then we’ll work inside. Painting the siding won’t come until next year, but it is something I’m definitely looking forward to. It’ll make the house seem more ours, and less the home of someone inexplicably fond of dirt colors.

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We’re substantially changing the outside of our house this year. This includes adding a roof to our deck, replacing all the exterior doors, replacing the windows, painting the siding, replacing shingles, repairing concrete, and landscaping. We’re working on all of those things at once (to a point). I’m only price-comparing shingles right now and still just researching concrete repair options, but they’re all cooking along.

The window project;

We’re replacing all but one of our windows (The tiny middle window in the picture below will be centered and re-sized to match the other two). Replacing the windows is one of my favorite projects, because once I picked them out and ordered them, my work was done.

A three person crew from Hullco came out to install 10 of our 11 windows. They showed up at 10 and left at 4; and all of those windows are 100% done. It’s nice having something started and finished in the same day!

Here’s the front facade after:

Someday it will look like this:

Here’s the difference from the inside:




Once Hullco was done, we waited two days and Window World replaced the behemoth in the living room.

It took them less than two hours, and voila;

Holy cow, Batman; something got finished in 4 days and didn’t leave a mess.

Well, we do still have to replace that front window… and install an egress window in the basement… but we’re done for now!

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There has been more deck progress! We talked about it here, but that was just to say the deck was partially gone. (Thanks Jimmy)

Here it is more gone.

Check out the giant cave that the previous owners’ dogs left. This is now our tornado shelter.

After removing the deck, we still had a lovely 7 inch thick pad of concrete. Michael stubborned his way through a section of it with a sledge hammer (stubborning is a verb that Michael is adept at; it takes qualifications).

And then decided that a jack hammer (called demolition hammer by all the rental places) would work a few months more quickly.

We got a 4 hour rental for a 70 pound demo hammer from Home Depot for $56 after tax. They had hammers as small as 11 pounds, but those are not intended for 7 inch slabs.

It took Michael an hour to go from this…

To this:

That’s the same amount of time it took for him to sledgehammer off the first section. PS: If it sounds like Michael did all of the work… that would be because he did 😀

In other news…

We also got the deck lumber order. It was entertaining/terrifying to watch the forklift navigate over the fence, budge forward 3 inches, and then duck under the power lines.

Tada! Our Deck:

The wood is still banded together, and we tarped it right after it got rained on. We’re hoping to delay as much shrinking until after installation as possible.

Our next steps are to clear the site, shorten the ledger board, and dig and pour the footers. Then it’s deck party time 🙂

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We’ve finished swapping out all of our exterior doors!

Here’s the fogged up sliding door before:

The seal was definitely cracked.

With our friend Jimmy’s help, we swapped out the door… and then did nothing to it. The trim isn’t done, and when this picture was taken, the gaps around the door weren’t even sealed.

The new doors have in-the-glass blinds 😀

We also swapped out the dining room door with a full-pane glass (Energy Star, yay)

For this door, we also swapped the direction that the door opened (no more walking around the door to get from the kitchen to the grill.)

The dining room door was the only door not original to the house. It was good enough to use, just not pretty. So, we replaced the garage door with it:

It still definitely needs a cleaning, but the old door was rusting and had damaged trim, so 100% an improvement.

My favorite door swap is actually in the Master Bedroom.

This door leads to a balcony overlooking our ridge view. I think the new door shows it off much better:

Now we just have to install the new knobs, seal the envelope, and install the trim. Oy vey. I’ll post more details about our sources and costs when we finish installing them.

So that’s what we did last weekend. Oh, and we ripped out most of our deck 😀

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