Saturday, February 20, 2010

Deconstruction Fun

You can see the black icky--potentially mold--on the ceiling sheet rock as a result of the leak. Since we couldn't find the leak from the outside, the goal for today was to take down the sheet rock, see how bad the damage is, find the leak from the inside, and plug it.

With the leak plugged and the AC window unit replaced, the moisture in the room that made the paneling warp and knock my shelving system loose shouldn't be an issue any longer. Then I could flatten the paneling and put the shelves back up.

It's all a patchwork job until I have money for a real renovation, which at this point I think will mean rebuilding the back third of my house from the ground up. Maybe Bob Villa will want to take it on for comedy value.

Silly me thought I could scour the sheet rock with a utility knife and I would only need to take half of it down. After that failed, I remembered seeing the TV experts would knock holes with their hammers. So I tried that. And discovered that not only are the walls a layer of wood with sheet rock on top, so is the ceiling! I couldn't make a hole to get my hands into to yank the sheet rock down.

Luckily, I remembered I do own a pry bar and that tool managed to do what the hammer hadn't. I finally got enough down to see the water damage was very localized. Good news, I figured. That must mean the leak is right above it. Take a shot if, you're playing the drinking game along with this blog post.

I got the water damaged board out, finally finding the rafters and more troublesome, finding a whole metal roof. Where the hell is the water coming from?

I went for help. Uncle Scott figured that it was probably coming from the ridge and then running down. So we finally peeked into my attic.

Confession: I moved in September 2000 and bought the house in December of 2005. When I had moved in, someone had taped black plastic over the attic trapdoor. Then we found the actual door somewhere else. I have been too chickenshit to pull down that plastic and see what was up there. I know the squirrels live up there and I'd rather have the ceilings caving in than to see if there was something worse than squirrels. I figured I'd have to replace the roof eventually and we could deal with the attic from that direction.

Take another shot, the attic is fine. Other than the holes that the squirrels get in and out through, there's no water damage, plenty of room, and fiberglass insulation. According the Uncle Scott, I could screen the squirrel doors, put down plywood, put in an attic trapdoor (maybe with the ladder built-in), and triple my storage space.

The water wasn't coming in through the any portion of the roof above the cypress two-thirds of the house, so that means the issue is in pine lean-to that was built on the former back porch. Mom wandered over while I was bemoaning the change in structural engineering.

"Look, I understand using what they had (my ancestors had their own pine mill at the time, hence the very strange use of pine in the lean-to). What I don't understand is the cypress part is built so well (actual studded wall covered in beadboard, squared off ceiling, the doors almost at the proper heights, etc.), and the lean-to is crap compared to it! Was there a generational die-off of knowledge? The one person who understood studs and framing died before they built the lean-to?"

"Probably," Mom said. "The cypress part was your great-great-grandparents retirement house that they built, and they were long dead by the time the lean-to was added."

Since gutting and starting over isn't in the budget yet (and I really want plans before I do that project), the concession reached was that another layer of Kool Seal should be put on the roof covering the seam where the lean-to attaches to the house to the end of the roof. Longer drywall screws should keep the paneling down and longer screws would reattach my shelves.

Uncle Scott pulled down the whole sheet of sheet rock while Mom and I went shopping at Lowe's.

I screwed the paneling back down while Uncle Scott applied the roof sealant. Take another shot, I managed to go through the wall into the kitchen with some of them. Rather than try to back them out, I decided to cut off the protrusions with the Dremel.

And that's how far five gallons of the roof sealant went. We think we have sealed the potential areas that the water was coming through with this application, but Uncle Scott wants to get another 5 gallons next weekend and finish.

What's left? Cleaning up all the sheet rock particles, putting up the shelves, moving the contents out of the living room into the back bedroom again, and watching to see if there is a leak during the next thunderstorm.

Read Free!
The BookWorm

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