Archive for October, 2006

Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 30th, 2006

One of the nice things about having an old home is that it’s a piece of cake to make it really scary for halloween. My decorations this year are nothing but 4 floodlights and open blinds/curtains. Aside from a little cropping and resizing, this photo looks exactly the way that it came out of the camera.

While I was outside taking this picture, one of the neighbors came over and said “That’s really freaking me out!”


Self-levelling caulk

Saturday, October 28th, 2006

Today I chipped cracked hardened tar and cracked cement off the bottom of the front steps. Over the years, the sidewalk has sunk and separated from the front steps of the house to the tune of about three quarters of an inch. A series of ineffective repairs have left water dripping into the crack between the two and it’s certainly doing no good for the front foundation. So I needed to remove the old repairs and get going on a new one.

I’ll write more about the repairs later, but for now, I’ll just point out a few things about self-levelling caulk:

The pros:

  • No need to smooth out your bead
  • Levels beatifully
  • Super easy to get out of the caulk gun
  • Completely fills cracks
  • Reminds me of chocolate milk (even though it neither smells nor looks like any kind of milk, much less chocolate milk)

The cons:

  • Can’t be used at all on vertical surfaces
  • Kinda drippy
  • If you have any voids beneath your crack, you’ll come back 20 minutes later to find $10.00 worth of caulk dripped down into your new caulk-filled sinkhole causing you to go back to the store the next day and purchase some non self-levelling caulk to fill the entrance to the sinkhole and then another $10.00 of self-levelling caulk to bring the caulk level in the crack to the level of the sidewalk.

But I’m not bitter or anything.

Roof Proof

Tuesday, October 24th, 2006

Well, the roofer (highly recommended by Angies List) came by to take a look today and I’ve got good news and bad news.

The good news is that both the leaks we found are extremely common and easily repaired. The one tha alerted me to the problem via the bedroom ceiling is likely from the chimney flashing. The one in the “middle of the floor” is likely from the flashing where the roof hip meets the dormer.

Also in the good news category, the roofer leaned out the attic window and took a close look at our roof and said that it’s probably about ten years old and that we should easily get another ten years out of it. This is great news as we’re planning on putting an entirely new roof (architectural shingle or slate or tile or something) on when we do the addition).

The bad news was that he’s booked until Thanksgiving. He said he saw no “red flags” and that we should be OK for the next month, so I’m going to keep an eye on things in the attic and keep my fingers crossed.

Oh, and lastly, the first thing the roofer mentioned to me when he came in was that his company has done roof repairs on our house before (likely in the last 4-5 years). Small world.

Sometimes Staring at the Ceiling Pays Off

Sunday, October 22nd, 2006

I crawled into bed a half hour ago and looked up at the ceiling over the bed only to see that one of the (many) cracks in the ceiling had turned slightly yellow. Yep, the roof is leaking, or more likely given the location of the leak, the chimney is leaking.

I grabbed my big ole Makita flashlight and headed into the attic to take a look around, and while I couldn’t find any wetness near where the leak should have been, I did find a wet board in the middle of the attic floor which indicates a separate leak on the other side of the roof

O Joy! O Rapture!

Looks like I’ll be calling the roofers tomorrow morning.

Now I’m going back to bed and turning the lights out right away–otherwise I’ll lie there and stare at the ceiling all night. At least it’s not raining right now.

Screen Door: Before and After

Friday, October 6th, 2006

Nothing exciting, but here are the before and after pictures of the screen door I installed on the balcony door:

And the after shot:

It doen’t really showcase the prairie light door, but it’s got a self-storing window that’s easy to open and close (I’ve now got all the storm windows closed for the window) and it does keep the weather out. And it’s only got to last until we do the addition in another year or so.

Lastly, I actually kind of like the “almond” color of the door. We’re exploring other colors to paint the trim of the house (instead of Bright White, and will likely resort to something a lot darker, but at this point, anything’s an improvement.

Mop ’til you Drop

Tuesday, October 3rd, 2006

We had a huge storm come through tonight. The rain was so intense that when I went out to unclog the drain at the end of our driveway, I discovered that the drain wasn’t clogged–the storm sewers just couldn’t take the water any faster.


Anyway, once the storm started I checked the attic and the basement for water and both were bone dry. Unfortunately, that was a temporary state for the basement. Due to poor grading, when we get a heavy rain, we get a small amount of water coming through the North wall of the basement. Now this is much more of an inconvenience than a real problem as the basement is unfinished and anything even remotely of value down there is at least four inches off the floor.

So when we get a decent storm, some water leaks in just to the left of the toilet in the old basement bathroom. If the storm keeps going, a little more water will trickle in to the left of that in the Northwest corner of the basement. But if it really rains a lot, we’ll get a puddle of water at the foot of the basement stairs in the Northeast corner of the basement.

Well, this time we got more than a puddle–I’d say we got several quarts of water in through the various crevices. Fortunately, I’ve got a gargantuan commercial rope mop and 35 quart Rubbermaid mop bucket (with wringer!) that I got for $20 off Craigslist a few years ago. I poured in some hot water, bleach, and a little Pine-Sol and mopped up the water and gave the rest of the basement the once over while I was at it. Unlike the first time we mopped the basement, this only took about 5 buckets of water (and it was nowhere near as filthy).

Now the rain has tapered off and the basement smells fresh and clean. I’m heading to bed and I’ll leave the dehumidifier to take care of the rest.