And the Crack Came Back the Very next Day...

I forgot to mention in the last post some of the interesting things we discovered while inspecting the front door. When measuring for the opening, we removed some of the vinyl siding around the door. The next-door-neighbor was correct when she said that the house used to be a tan/peachish stucco house. Of course that is after it was a brick house, but before it was a vinyl-sided house. It looks like I might as well stay with the vinyl, since the brick would take some effort to restore. Maybe the stucco isn't that bad, but I would be a little hesitant to pull off the siding and find something massively unpleasant. So for the time being, the house will be vinyl.

Another interesting thing is that the door was arched. I am not sure if the original door was arched, but the opening most certainly was. You can see this from the weird-looking header in the picture of the door. Under the vinyl siding, you can see see it even better, but a picture really isn't possible. Here is what I think the door used to look like.

Well, not quite, but I am guessing that the top bricks were arched like that. Since the porch was added on later, an arched doorway would no longer be possible. Or at least it wouldn't really be seen anymore. What a shame!

I also mentioned in the last post that the bedroom was finished. Where are the pictures you ask? Well, it is a little dirty right now, but I will post pictures of it at a later date.

Finally, before the dining room could be started I needed to determine what should be done with the wood burning stove. You might remember that it had a 90 degree bend in the pipes (my apologies to Lance, as this was the only "before" picture I have that shows the bend in the pipes).

Well, it turns out that some chimney sweeps not only clean chimneys, but also fix stoves, fireplaces, and pipes. So I called a local chimney sweep and he said that the 90 degree angle was probably there because of where the rafters lay in the attic. He also said that the stove would need at least 16 inches of non-combustible materials in front of it. You can see from the previous picture, that this is not even remotely the case. You can also see that if I were to extend the bricks further out in the room, not only would the new floor need to be cut, but it would extend into the doorway as well. He suggested that maybe I purchase a new wood burning stove (in the spring when the deals are better), and it could be connected to the existing pipe. A new stove would be smaller, more efficient, and the pipe usually comes from the top of the stove instead of from the back. Even still, I would need to extend the non-combustible surface further out, to prevent starting a fire on the floor. If I were to completely remove the existing stove and replace it with nothing, I would have to patch a hole in the ceiling and the roof, and a weird brick area would remain in the dining room. Removing the bricks would most likely be out of the question, since the wainscoat cannot be matched without some custom work and the floors would need to be fixed.

Here are the pros of each option.

The pros of replacing the old wood burning stove with a new stove:

  • Efficient heating method for house

  • Smaller design

  • Help house resale

The pros of just removing the old stove and leaving things as they are:

  • Cheapest option

  • Non-combustible materials do not have to extend further in the room

  • Place to put plants

Because I shamelessly enjoy putting polls on my blog, I would like visitor's opinions on whether or not I should remove the wood burning stove all together or if I should get a new stove and extend the brick. Voting is in the side bar again.


Now to explain the title. The last two days we have had nothing but rain. This morning when I glanced over at the living room wall, I realized that there was a weird shadow there. On closer inspection, I found that the Krack Kote has swelled and formed a bubble.

This area has been repaired twice before. Why is is still coming back? Well the first time we repaired it, the joint compound cracked. The second time we repaired it, we used Krack Kote over joint compound (the Krack Kote label DID say that it can be used over joint compound). We felt like maybe we should have primed the surface first, but tried it anyway. It seem to hold pretty well. However, this time it appeared that one of two things have happened;

A. Water has somehow gotten into the house during this rain storm and has caused the joint compound to swell. This caused the bubble in the Krack Kote.


B. The humidity has caused the joint compound to swell and in turn, the Krack Kote to bubble.

Brice went into the attic today and could not find any leaks or dampness from the rain. The roof is still in very good shape and it would be unusual to find a leak. However a leak from the side cannot be ruled out. Last weekend Brice and I set to work cleaning the yard, house, and gutters. Perhaps a gutter is still blocked and water is backing up into a crack. Or perhaps water from the hose leaked through some crack in the roof or siding.

The other option is just swelling from humidity. This is possible, but I found a new and smallish crack in the ceiling above the bubbling in the Krack Kote and it is slightly darker then the surrounding ceiling. This makes me think that it is slightly damp and leans me towards option A.

Either way, there is a problem. I think that the best way to fix the problem would be to wait until things have dried out, remove the old Krack Kote, prime the surface thoroughly, and reapply the Krack Kote. Although there is bubbling, the Krack Kote has done what it promises, and that is NOT CRACK! I am very happy with the product at this time and will continue to use it on all my plaster (and occasionally drywall) walls.


Don't Let the Door Hit You on the Way Out...

Since, this is a rather long post, I decided to post a more succinct summary at the bottom for those with short attention spans.


It has been over a month and a half since I have posted something to the blog. I don't want people to get the impression that no work is taking place, but if they had that impression it wouldn't be entirely off base.

Actually, some progress has been made, but there seems to be a road block that Brice and I have hit since finishing the bedroom (Oh yeah, we did finish most of the work in the bedroom). Brice thinks it is because the house is now livable and inhabited, thus making it harder to find the motivation to do any work. I think that I am just getting frustrated with the slow progress that has been made, and having to do things again, and again, and again...

So to recap what has happened in the last month...

I wanted to weatherproof the house before the cold weather came. I first looked into getting new storm windows, since many are missing pieces and they just aren't in that good of shape. Well, they certainly are cheaper than brand new windows, but the cost of the new windows is a deterrent for the time being. Probably those won't be replaced until next year. The bright side, is that I don't really need anyone to install them as there are already storm windows there and they are just screwed into the house. The down side is that they are $1,000+.

So I moved onto the two exterior doors. They both need to be replaced. The back door, in particular, has gaps around the top and bottom of the door that are large enough to view what is going on outside. The slightly ironic situation is that the side of the door fits so tightly that when it rains and swells, I cannot get out the door without the help of Brice. In addition, the jamb, threshold, and back screen door are also rotten and should be replaced when the door is replaced.

The front door on the other hand is a beautiful solid oak door with glass. The same door at Home Depot cost well into the the $800 range. It pains me to have to replace it, but over the years, the door has not weathered well and has gaps all around the window, splitting joints, and several holes where many locks once existed. It would be far too expensive to fix it, and the house would not have a door for an undetermined amount of time. That probably is not the best deterrent for thieves.

With all my frustrations about the wooden back door, I thought that steel would be the best alternative. It is affordable and won't be subject to shrinking and swelling when the weather is humid (which normally is never on the front range, but this summer has been particularly wet). Too lazy to remove the freshly painted trim, we took the measurements of the doors themselves and took them to the local Home Depot.

This however, was not the way to plan for a new door. After being asked a number of questions that I couldn't answer and discovering that both doors would not be the $170 base model I picked out, but rather two $400 custom cut doors, I went back home in frustration. We removed the trim around the front door and measured the opening. The rough opening was the same size as the door itself. After a few seconds of mulling this new prospect over, we realized that the door did not really have a jamb, it was just hung directly onto the framed opening of the house.

      Now, this is not normally how you would hang a door. The rough opening should be framed and then a door and jamb are placed inside the opening. However, this meant that we COULD hang a normal sized door within this opening!

      Or so we thought... We measured the narrowest part of the door, and found that the opening could hold a 32" door (The current door is 36") For those that don't know much about doors, that is a pretty small door. Most likely this would mean that the next owners should get accustom to my style, because a lot of the furniture would not be leaving (or entering) the house anytime soon.

      It should be noted that at this point in time, I had already phoned my parents and requested their help installing the doors before winter. They were planning on coming on the weekend of Columbus day. The time to order doors and get them before my crew arrived was rapidly diminishing.

      Desperate, I searched for local handymen that might be able to suggest what should be done about the front door. I found a couple of carpenters on Craigslist. The first seemed a little too eager to get the demo saw and create a bigger opening in the bricks. I wasn't really comfortable with that idea. I wasn't sure how this house was constructed and didn't want to try anything too risky with the framework. He asked what I planned to do with the door and I said that I would probably donate it to the local construction recycling center (discussed in an early post). He offered to take it off my hands to save me a trip with the door. Whereupon I tried to negotiate a trade for part of his labor in return for the door. Anyone can tell you that I am not a good salesman. Needless to say, this was unsuccessful.

      The second carpenter showed up half and hour late, got out of his truck and proceeded to pour what looked like a beer onto the sidewalk. He then smoked a cigarette and opened and drank what looked like another beer, before coming up to the front door and apologizing for being late. He said he wasn't comfortable with the idea of removing the framing as he didn't want to be responsible if something catastrophic happened. He suggested just getting a slab that would fit the opening, much like we had now.

      My parents came up to visit despite having no door to install. They surveyed the situation and we decided that the old wood frame should be replaced and a new slab should replace the old door. In other words, the new door would be exactly the same as the old door, only hopefully weather tight. At least this would not require someone elses labor (except my wonderful parents, of course!).

          ***********************SPOILER ALERT!!**************************

          • Brice and I are lazy and have not worked in the house for a while

          • Storm windows are too expensive to replace at this time

          • Both exterior doors suck and need to be replaced

          • Remove all trim to measure for new door and jamb

          • Front door is attached to framed opening

          • Carpenters from Craigslist may be sketchy

          • Front door will be re-attached to frame of rough opening sometime in the near future