Friday, July 6, 2012

The West Wing

After some downtime taking care of other end-of-the-semester tasks and a number of other ventures we've been able to get back to work on the house.

In uncanny timing, three letters from the city arrived the day after our 'final' presentation of the work. After eight months of dodging city officials, we've now been cited for lead paint, damaged roofing, cracked windows, and most ironically "trash/debris in the yard." We think he means our building materials, benches, and landscaping work.

In compliance we've begun to keep atop weeding and trimming more heavily, and hide some of the less typical sights from street view. We've also been made to remove the wood-burning stove which sustained us through the winter. Disconnecting the chimney pipe and moving the stove to the other side of the room is simple enough. And leaving the top part of the chimney exposed at the ceiling actually creates a point of ventilation for the now warm summer temperatures. In the meantime we'll be keeping our eye out for a stove more convincing of UL certification.

As we start to branch to other projects, we need to wrap up a few things at Southampton before our temporary leave. The tire foundation is not yet waterproof, which for now is not a major issue. But if the earth within them takes in a lot of moisture now, they're liable to freeze and expand in the winter, which can undo a lot of the rebuilding we've done. The original wall above it (on the weathered west side of the house) is also one of the most damaged in the house.

Shingles, faux brick, furring strips, wood siding, thick vertical boards and a window are hand in about an hour. After creating some temporary support set away from the wall we're able to get to the very top of the tire wall for the first time to run plastic and a more stable floor-wall construction.

With new a new top plate and base plate laid, the replacement wall is set up using old 2x4's stripped from another renovation on the West side. Thin 1/4" plywood is the only material we have to sheath the studs, which is far thinner than usual. We double layer and offset it for added strength. And instead of trimming the length of the second layer, we take advantage of its flexibility. The wall is skirted out to keep water from building up at the conjunction of the tires and wood.

Lastly, it's covered with spare roofing felt until we can add a more resistant siding material.

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