Thursday, September 11, 2014


I took last Friday off of work. I woke up early in the morning, fixed myself an iced coffee and went out to wait for the guy from Excel Energy.  He was coming to turn off the power to my house, so I could remove the gutters just below the power line.

The guy arrived promptly at 8am.  He was making small talk while he unhooked the wires and asked me what project was going to take place on the house. I told him I was going to take down the gutters.

He looked at me and I could see his mind working.  He was trying to politely let me know he had doubts I could do it. He asked if I was getting new gutters. I told him I was. Eventually. He said "doesn't the company you are buying the new gutters from usually take the old ones down?  These are usually really nailed in here well."  I smiled.  He told me I had to call the arrange a reconnect by 3pm or I'd have to last the night without juice. He left me a dubious "good luck."

So, the electric guy left. I hauled my ladder over to the house and reviewed the situation. I started by working the straps that went under the shingles free. That was pretty easy. I then started to use my trusty pry-bar to pull the actual gutter free from the board behind it. So, everything was moving along smoothly until I realized that the entire length of the gutter was one piece. I stood up on that ladder for a long time holding once loose end while I tried to figure out what to do. I started to think the electrical guy was right. There was no way I was going to be able to get this down.

The the old house gods gave me an idea. I have a sawzall. I have a sawsall in the basement.  I have a sawzall in the basement with a metal blade. Ha. I hauled out that little used sawzall and cut that gutter into three smaller sections. It came down like a dream.  I then pried the unpainted back board loose from the rafter tails.

Of course, I stepped on the obligatory nail. But have no fear, I am up-to-date on my tetanus.

I then piled the aluminum in a neat pile and called the electric company to send the guy back out to hook my house up again. All before noon.

I'm pretty sure there was a tiny bit of a smug look on my face when he arrived and I'm also pretty certain I saw a glimmer of respect on his face when he noted my gutterless house and neatly piled aluminum.

Why are my gutters coming down? Because I FINALLY hired painters to scrape and paint the wood trim on my house and I want the rafter tails to be exposed. And this has set in motion a series of related projects.

I'm guessing these photos are going to look very alarming to anyone with a new house. Trust me. Old houses usually need to get uglier before they get pretty. Really. Really.

This saga will continue.....

(If you want the full story on what brought us to this point, click on the "alumacide" label below)

The fear of the electrical wire leaves me that small forest every year.


Gutters down

I think this is the photo that may freak out new house owners and non-restorers.

Ah, rafter tails!


Ryan said...

My trim looks just like that! i finally asked a painter for a quote to paint the soffits & fascia on my house (1220 sq ft hip roof) and received a quote of $5000.

I'm right to think that's crazy high right? I know that old house and tongue & groove soffits & fancy shaped fascia = more work to scrape and paint. But $5000? This doesn't even include the window trim since that is still all covered in the aluminum cladding.

I need to get another quote because i really want my trim to be protected from further deterioration.

StuccoHouse said...

Ryan - Its expensive. I paid a little over $4k. That said, they stripped the fascia/barge boards back to bare wood and scraped the underside of the eaves to remove all lose paint. I had them use a binding primer and two coats of Benjamin Moore exterior paint. It took a crew of 5 or so painters 2.5 days to complete the work working from 8am to 6 pm. I'm probably in the ballpark same sq ft as you.

I got three bids for the same work back in 2011 and they were running $4.5k to $5k back then. I also had some odd luck with painters that wouldn't listen to me and send me bizarre bids.

I seriously contemplated doing it myself, but renting scaffolding (I couldn't work that high on a ladder) and moving it around was beyond my skill set.

I'm still doing the bottom windows. And there is some rot that I will also deal with myself - very doable.

I figure this is done now for a while and if I need to repaint at any time, the worst of it is done and I'll just need to fill in.

Ryan said...

I'll get another quote, but it looks like I'll need to save up a bit for this paint job. I want a good paint job that is properly prepped and won't fail because the old wood wasn't primed or scraped properly.

I've been thinking I'd do it myself, but after 6 years I'm admitting defeat and looking for help. I will be doing the windows myself. The windows and window frames both have to be dealt with - and i'm hoping to find someone to custom make new storm/screens to install at the same time i repair/repaint the each window.

Thank you so much for your feedback. I'll be working on projects for this house for at least the next 15 years probably and i don't know many people who are interested in preserving and restoring a house to original or like condition.

StuccoHouse said...

Ryan - I started out thinking I'd do it myself too. After 8 yrs, I figured it wasn't going to happen unless I took a week vacation, rented scaffolding and did it. That didn't seem like an attractive route. I saved on the bid by not having them do the first floor windows - I have been working my way around the house. I also did the front entry way (which was by far the worst of it) and the upper dormer myself.

I joke that I'm 11 years into my 2 year project. I have another good 10 years worth of projects. Keeps me off the streets and out of trouble :)

Blog Widget by LinkWithin