Monday, July 10, 2006

Boredom is Now Keeping It's Big Mouth Shut

Last Friday I wrote about how Boredom spoke to me. It told me that it would be really fun to tear down some of the aluminum trim covering my front door overhang.

Here's the thing about Boredom.

It speaks really loudly when it wants you to do something. But, then, when you are standing with a pile of aluminum trim at your feet and rotting wood hanging above....and you could use a few words of encouragement......Boredom is nowhere to be found.

Here is my progress from this weekend. I was a little freaked initially after pulling down the aluminum and facing a bunch of rot. I'm comfortable working on the inside of my house. Stripping woodwork, refurbishing windows, painting, replacing floor boards....I'm your girl. But the outside of my house is not my forte. I think I have a lack of understanding of how it was put together, and therefore it's a bit daunting to me.

I decided that what I would do is break the front overhang down into a series of smaller projects. Remove aluminum. Assess the wood and remove rot. Repair rot. Strip paint. Figure out what wood needed to be replaced. Then, if I reached a point beyond my skills I could find a carpenter/roofer/whatever to finish up.

I tore off most of the aluminum. The fascia board was rotted. rotted, rotted. I was able to just pull it off. Happily, there was tongue & groove bead board under the aluminum soffits. It doesn't look pretty and there are roofing nails coming through, but it appears to be sound with only a little rot on the outer edge of the last board (the one that was next to the rotted fascia board).

The two boards coming out of the stucco are ok, with the exception of rotted edges. It looks like the one over the bracket has already been repaired once, as there was an extension added at some point (now leaning at the top of the bracket)...although I can tell by the paint that this was done quite a while ago. I'm still not sure what to do about the rot on the edge of the boards. I suspect if I remove these boards, it leads right into my attic. So, I need a plan in place before I start pulling that stuff down.

About an hour into my work a couple of my neighbors stopped over to see what I was doing. I'm sure they all think I'm half mad for wanting to pull down the aluminum. I supect at least one of them was nervous watching me creep up my ladder - I'm not afraid of heights, but am afraid of my ladder, so I go up that thing pretty slow. I told him that if he saw me fall to wait 30 minutes and if I still hadn't gotten call 911 :-)

The top of the bracket is seriously rotted. I think the rain ran down off the the rotted fascia board....and rested on the top of the bracket. I dug out the rotted wood. There are ants & ant eggs everywhere. Yuck. I've ordered more wood consolidator & 2 part epoxy to repair this. I usually use P.C. Woody products because the local paint store carries them, but I've decided to use Abatron on this piece. Their Liquid Wood & Wood Epox are a little more heavy duty.

There is a 1x4 board that runs under the overhang. A section of about 6" (on the right) is rotted and I pulled it down. I bought a 1x4 board of cedar this weekend. But, for the life of me I can't figure out how to get enough curve on the board to be able to nail it up.

Another interesting thing I discovered is that there are old vent holes through the face board of the overhang. Typically these would be found hidden under the soffits. Of course, they are filled with old paint and gunk now. But, I thought it was a little strange that these vent holes would run through trim...especially over the front door. There are quite a few of them....something like 7 of them running across the front. This also gives me a clue that directly behind the trim is the attic and not a stucco exterior wall.

The bracket had a little "wall" in the V made out of some old pressed cardboard board. I'm sure it was put there to prevent birds from nesting. I tore this out so that both brackets are now open. I can see the old paint in the removed section, so I know that the little wall is not original. I think it looks better without it, but I'll have to figure out some way to keep birds from nesting there.

This portion of the roof is covered by a roofing membrane/sheet. The rest of the roof is shingles. It seems to me that the rain comes down the roof, runs over the edge, down the sloppily attached drip edge and over the fascia. This seems to be why it rotted. You can see in this photo how the shingles go over the edge of the roof about an inch or so on the roof in the background. However, on the overhang, there is no little such "shingle" ledge. I'm not quite sure what to do about that.

Next I'll start scraping the old paint off of the wood fascia. I'll use my heat gun and remove the paint I can't scrape off. The idea is to get the bare wood primed as soon as possible, so the whole mess will at least look pretty from the street.


Bonk at Home said...

You should've left it alone.

StuccoHouse said...

I have no regrets in taking it down :-) The timing I chose probably wasn't the best as I'm also in the middle of restoring all of my old windows. But the overhang looked like crap covered awkwardly in aluminum, and obviously the covering was trapping moisture in the wood. Leaving it alone would just mean more serious work later. Since I bought the house it's always been on the top of the list of things that need to be worked on.

Aluminum trim on an old bungalow is like a cat in ice skates. As soon as possible, the rest of the aluminum soffits around the house will come down.....I just know this will mean a big painting job! Just my opinion, but I think original exposed rafters is the way a bungalow should be.

There is a learning curve for me on this one, but then what challenge would there be it there wasn't? ;-)

Carol said...

I agree- it looks like the curved piece should be replaced. I would get a 1X8 or 1X10, depending on the radius and cut the curve with a template based on the old piece- if the curve is slight, a 10" board should be plenty wide to accomodate it. If you need the circular vents, Home Depot has white plastic ones with a mesh cover for 3$ each. You can cut the holes in the new fascia board with a large drill bit made for door knob holes. The rafter tails- epoxy city! The out bead board can be replaced- it is pretty common to find t and g pieces that will work. It is going to look so much better when its real wood.

StuccoHouse said...

Carol - It doesn't look it in the photos, but I actually lucked out on the wood over the curve. That is solid with the exception of the right right edge - which I can epoxy. The only part of the curve that needs replacing is a section of 1x4 on the underside that holds up the beadboard in the center. Now that I've insepcted the rest, I can epoxy the bracket and the edges of the support boards (coming out of the stucco). I'll need to replace the fascia on the far right side.....and probably one row of beadboard soffit on the far right side. It actually turned out to be a lot better than I feared :-)

Thanks for the tip on the HD vent covers!!

Derek C said...

I disagree strongly with the person who said you should have left it alone. If you did, the ants would make it inside. What you did was long overdue and critical to the house. Good Job. For proof of what happens when ants are never addressed, check out my blog "Brockton Bungalow" and find the pantry entry.

Tarr said...

You absolutely had to deal with this! Sooner rather than later. I think your plan to do it until your skill set quits is reasonable.

Jocelyn said...

You are a brave woman. I always admire those who work on frame homes because there can be a lot of unmuddling to address. Way to go- I'll stay tuned.

StuccoHouse said...

Thanks all for the encouragement :-)

Derek - I took a look at your pantry story - Yikes. That makes me feel good about discovering this early on.

I'm not so sure "brave" as much as stupid ;-)

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