Thursday, February 19, 2009

Reno Day 21 thru 35

Having been sufficiently mocked by both my laptop and digital camera this morning, here I am posting a few photos of our recent work and trying to compile all into a logical sequence.

We have been hard at it, and nearly the entire north wall, all 32 feet of it, is now complete. We still have to insulate 4 sections (nearly half the wall), but things are progressing admirably.

I took down the dividing wall between the tool room so we have access to the entire north wall. We were working our way backwards to the little access door, which in the end proved to be a futile endeavour since we ended up tearing down all the wood of the knee wall anyhow. It was all too rotten and brittle. This being the North West corner of the house, we found a lot more rot and damage from water infiltration over the decades.

In essence, tearing down the knee wall proved to be beneficial, since having access to the entire space for insulation and wiring purposes did speed things up considerably. The downside, of course, is having to buy more wood to rebuild the entire wall up again, and the time it takes to put everything up again.

In the above photo, you can see the new rafter in place, and how we start to insulate this space. Here we have 2 thickness' of Roxul for a total height of 11", placed up to the outside wall.

Eric places a stay (yes, rigging from a nautical supplier!) at each beam. Since the roof line of our house has become saddle-backed, and the outside walls are bulging in somewhat of a bombé fashion, he thought the most practical solution would be to place these stays at regular intervals. Having the entire wall open, he is able to tighten each stay in sequence, and as each one is torqued tighter, the one next to it slackens slightly. By having all these exposed, Eric is able fine-tune the tension on each stay to create maximum hold. Each stay is rated to withstand 2,000 lbs. of tension. This will not correct the fact that the walls have bulged outwards, but it will prevent any further settling from occurring.

In the above photo, Eric has started to replace the wood of the knee wall with 1" thick pine boards.

Above you can see more reconstruction of the knee wall; in the back, there is a little wall of plywood. This plywood serves 2 purposes: it is hollow, i.e. there is no insulation behind it, this way we are ensuring proper air circulation to prevent condensation, and it also holds the insulation in place that we are putting behind the knee wall.

We now have 2 sections completed on each end of the house, and 4 sections in between.

Here is a detail of the furring strips that prevent the insulation from touching the roof. These furring strips encourage the air flow from behind the knee wall, right up to the attic. This is a necessary step to ensure that air circulates properly, and prevents the formation of condensation. As we tore down part of the ceiling, we noticed that where the fibre glass insulation in the attic was in direct contact with the roof, there was a lot of condensation. With our repeated freeze/thaw cycles, this contributed to a lot of the mildew we found in the ceiling. These little details make the difference between a healthy versus unhealthy house and cannot be overlooked.

All the rafters have been put into place on this northern wall, so now we need to get busy insulating the remaining sections.

Since the drill press is conveniently (not!) located in our living room (remember my nomination for the Patient Wife of 2009 Award?), every time Eric pre-drills the large hemlock beams he uses as rafters, it creates masses of sawdust in our living space which I furiously try to beat back with my trusty Kenmore vacuum.

It's all part of the deal, renovating a farm house without an attached garage or a basement. Call it growing pains, or call it inconvenience, I have learned to simply turn the other cheek (after I finish vacuuming, that is!)

Saturday, February 7, 2009

The Ste-Justine-de-Newton Sleigh Ride

On the first Saturday in February, the little town of Ste-Justine-de-Newton, Québec, population 850, organizes a sleigh ride. We went to check out the action this morning, and Eric made a new friend:

Eric fell in love with this lovely Belgian draft-horse...and he didn't even get his name!

I love this scene; there is something typically Québécois about the quilted horse-blanket and the lady in the fur coat and hat.

And they're off!

The majority of these sleighs were from the region; this is horse country, after all. This is one of a few local sleigh rides this group organizes every winter. The group follows a groomed trail made especially for them through the woods, and everyone packs a lunch that is eaten beside a bonfire. One team of horses stays in the village and offers free buggy rides to anyone who wants to ride up and down the main street.

The group then meets back in the same parking lot they departed from a few hours later, and a dinner and dance are held the same evening at the community centre. Anyone can attend; all you need to do is buy a ticket.

Here we've got a pair of Canadians. Horses, that is.

This looks like a fun ride. In the back ground, there is a little tent set up. Coffee with your choice of liqueur. Gotta love an event that sanctions hard liqueur before noon AND provides portable toilets, as well as ample free parking. Sign me up!

These Clydesdales were wonderful!

I loved this little Haflinger pair; they were lively and raring to go!

I am not sure if these were Gypsy Horses or Paints.

And a solo Cyldesdale. All told, there must have been about 20 or so sleighs, and about the same number of riders on horseback.

Everyone kept asking us which ride we were going with, but we didn't realize it was one of those events...we thought we had to be connected to someone to get a ride, but hospitality abounds here. Small-town Québec at its finest!

I am marking the date on my calendar for next year. Next time, we're going prepared with a nice picnic lunch and a flask of Bailey's-infused coffee. I told Eric I'd buy him an old mink coat at Value Village, and knit him a long toque à la bonhomme Carnaval especially for the occasion.

I better start knitting now...

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Reno Day 18/19/20

We are plugging away, one day at a time. Some days we work together, invariably getting in each other's way, and some days we work alone. This day, we even had the Howarnator helping:

I have no clue what he finds so fascinating, but he must make his mark on every wall in the room. It is also a good thing the Howarnator has a nice, thick fur coat to keep him warm:

Yes, that reads -3 degrees Celsius. That's how cold it was once the walls were open with a good North-Westerly howling outside. We still have the baseboard heater in this room, but let's be honest here, we're simply heating the great outdoors by turning it on. We make do and just add another layer of polar fleece, and believe me, once you get going, you warm up pretty quickly. Look on the bright side: at least we're protected from the elements.

And now for a picture from the "What the Hell Were They Thinking?" Department:

One of these boards actually has dried manure on it. This entire wall is brought to you by weekend warrior renovators who had virtually no clue what they were doing. I can just picture them, peeling a board out from under one of their pigs in the barn...saying "this'll do"...and actually building a wall with it. If Red Green got together with Larry, Darryl and Darryl, I am sure they could come up with something like this. Thankfully, this is an inside division and will be torn down shortly, the only purpose it now serves is to stop the propagation of dust while Eric replaces the beams.

The wood of the knee-wall is far too brittle. Eric tore most of it away today (can anyone say "more kindling"?). This is what greeted me this evening:

Eric has the first beam of 3 in place; the knee-wall is entirely gone, and there is no plumbing to deal with here, so insulation will be a snap. That's the good news. The bad news is we now need to buy more wood. The sawmill is closed for the remainder of the winter, but we put an order in anyhow, and the wood will be delivered shortly. We consider ourselves lucky to have found such a great supplier, our wood-pusher, I have dubbed him (and believe me, he smiles when he sees us coming)! The 4"x4" post that appears to be holding up the 4"x8" beam is being replaced, have no fear.

Also started is the outside wall; we ended up using 2x8's, not 2x6's like initially planned. This is the coldest wall in the house, it stands to reason that we need all the insulation that we can get in here.

I am encouraged by the results. Every day brings its advances, we learn new things, and become more stream-lined in our way of doing what needs to be done. Hopefully, once we get done, we'll never have to tackle this sort of thing again!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...