Monday, April 11, 2011

Knox Hill Project: Weekly Update

Work still continues both inside and out with us catching up on routine maintenance issues as well as the ongoing restoration work.
Greg carefully de-constructs the bathroom wall as we had no idea what condition the interior might be in.
Inside we are finally dealing with the old half bath tucked under the stairs. This week we removed all the old plaster on the west wall. We were surprised to find out that the wall was actually in good shape. I expected problems here because of the window which was seriously deteriorated but apparently that damage did not extend inside as the 2x4's and sheeting under the clapboards are in good shape.

Foam is used to seal cracks and and gaps in the exterior sheeting
With the wall opened up we were able to foam any seams and gaps and will be following up with insulation and of course new drywall. This wall faces west and this little room heats up in warm weather because there was no insulation and  this should improve things. Of course we still have to fill in the old doorway that led to the kitchen. I am not thrilled about having this powder room door off the formal dining room but as we all know with an old house you have to make compromises and this is one of them. Some of you have asked why we don't just completely foam the wall cavities while they are opened up and are instead using bat insulation. The reason is quite simple. While expanding foam might be good in new construction, you do not want to tighten up and old house to that level because you will trap moisture inside and cause internal rot. In fact I am not yet convinced that 'super insulating" many new houses as builders are doing, will not cause problems down the road, so we are taking a more measured approach..

This 5 ft bump out wall will conceal the soil pipe to the upstairs and provide a proper wall for the decorative fireplace and overmantle.
Another "fix" we are doing is in the dining bumping out the wall on the south side for the new decorative fireplace . When they added plumbing upstairs years ago, they ran the soil pipe along the wall in the dining room, presumably because the wall behind it was a "structural wall" that held support the staircase.  Putting this soil pipe in the wall would have meant cutting those beams and that is not acceptable. Of course the stack was cut out by salvage thieves when the previous owner was in foreclosure. The plumber will replace the missing sections with pvc and use a connector boot to hook it back up, Instead of a soil pile on the dining room is will be covered by the new bumped out wall for the decorative fireplace and overmantle for the dining room. This will also allow the pipe to be insulated for sound deadening. A workable solution overall.

The Allysum will fill in and gaps in our still young terrace garden and give it a more mature look  this summer.
We also decided that 'maybe' winter was over and bought a flat of Allysum to plant in the terraced garden in front. Last year they did very well in this location and I was happy to se everything was coming back we planted last year. Since we put in this garden last year the erosion of the hill has been stopped and out stone wall is not covered in dirt as in years past.

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