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Finally! An Update.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Sorry folks. The good weather has incentivized us to work our tails off and we’ve been remiss about updating the blog. But there is a lot to tell you about and a few good pics to show off. Browse on gentle reader!

So in the last post we had sheathed but there was no roof yet. Since then we put plywood on the roof, then actually roofed it like a real house with asphalt shingles (see photos), and we Tyveked the exterior walls. And we got most of the windows in. And we got the big doors in the back of the house installed. And we added some window trim to the outside.

Roofing is tedious and unsatisfying work because after hours and hours of back-bending labor you’ve only applied a few rows of shingles. Kari and I did all the roofing ourselves and it was really fun to work together. She was the shingle cutter and layer-outer and I was the nailer. Roofing is really easiest to do when it’s hot. Which means that it’s easy to cut the shingles and position them because they’re nice and warm and soft. But it’s hot! We were up there getting sunburned and sweaty. But we were together and working hard and we loved it.

We chose a certain kind of window because we were after a certain feel and we didn’t want plastic windows or anything that looked fake. Our windows are all wood. This has advantages and disadvantages. Real wood means that they are real. They look like windows you’d find in an old house. But they are more susceptible to degradation because of the elements. And they are a pain to install. New style windows have a big flange made out of aluminum or vinyl. You just stick that in your window hole, level it, and then nail it in. The flange acts as a water barrier as well, making sealing the windows that much easier. But these wood windows are a different story. We had to attach metal brackets to the sides, shim every twelve inches and the carefully apply this wide, sticky-backed, ultra-thick plastic tape known affectionately as bitchethane. I think they call it that because it’s such a pain to apply neatly.

Bert and Kari and I had a good time applying Tyvek to the house. Tyvek is a vapor-permeable water barrier. That means that it lets water vapor escape from your walls, but it doesn’t let actual water get INTO your walls. Or so they say. I have a sneaky suspicion that all those fancy materials from Dow and DuPont are basically just wax paper. The Tyvek comes on 9-ft rolls and is a bit unwieldy to work with. One person needs to hold the roll and another person needs to climb up and down the ladder and staple. Covering the gables ended up becoming a mini-fiasco. We argued about which technique to use. Bert suggested pre-cutting the Tyvek. I thought we could simply roll it up the eave at an angle. We tried both ways and our keystone cop attempts bore unremarkable results to say the least. Reggie later informed us that the proper technique is to simply unroll the Tyvek below the gable, then push it up, letting the corner flop down. Then you staple it in place and trim off the excess. It’s funny how our minds will create such complexity given time to mull.

We ordered the siding on Monday and are expecting it next week. Once that is applied the house will look pretty much finished from the outside. We chose all redwood siding – the front will be painted and we’ll leave the back as natural wood. We’re going to have a small porch/deck/walkway that runs along the side of the house and meet the only natural redwood wall that you can see from the street. The idea is to have a wooden “runway” of sorts that invites people along the side of the house towards the front door. Kari astutely noted yesterday that we have visions in our heads but little idea how they will turn out when finally built. So…we’ll see! She also has some pretty crazy color schemes devised for house painting (red, blue, yellow??) which lead me to believe that she may be one of the few color blind women, or perhaps she’s just a tetrachromat who’s abilities are beyond all of us.

Well friends, I have been lacking in my blogging duties but hereby promise to keep you abreast of the latest, titilating details.