Plinths Installation

Original Plinth

My next few post are all about playing catch-up with projects that have happened or are ongoing at the house. Several weeks ago I made a post called “What Is A Plinth”. I had purchased two Ekena Millwork – Diane plinths from Amazon to practice on. I bought two because my first thought was to glue them back to back to create the thickness of the original plinth. That would mean I’d need a total of 16. Instead I pulled a MacGuyver (you know that’s my favorite term for when I come up with something most would not) and attached the plinth to a piece of 5/4 (which means it was a true 1″) x 8″ Azek pvc board to create the needed thickness. Here are the steps:

First I ripped the Azek board down to the same width as the plinth. I had to purchase a 9′ board and used less than half of that for the entire project. Next I cut the top off the Ekena plinth as it was more ornate than the original. The majority of the Ekena plinth is hollow, so removing where I did left a solid top.

The slightly shortened plinth I nailed to the full 9′ Azek board with my brad nailer, one nail on each side near the top. I wasn’t seeking to permanently attach at that point, but needed the two pieces to stay together for the next cut on the miter saw. The original plinths were stubby, about 5″ tall, so the majority of the Ekena plinth would be waste. I measured the original plinth to get its height and angle on the bottom and transferred those measurements into a scrap piece of 2×4. That piece was my test for each of the 8 locations and it fit the first location like a glove. I never measured again after that. If my test block didn’t fit in other locations, whether too tight or too loose, I adjusted my miter cuts on the real pieces accordingly, always intentionally overcutting. I marked the cut line on the back of the joined pieces and made the cut.

My longest brad nail is 2.5″, not long enough to go through both pieces and firmly attach to house, which is why I didn’t permanently attach them. I pulled them apart and attached the Azek piece to the house and then the Ekena plinth to the Azek board. They shouldn’t go anywhere and given they are made out of plastic they will never split, crack, or rot. I used a ladder to install the first plinth, far right of the bathroom side of house. The two inner plinths I could install from inside the house, but the two outer plinths I couldn’t because the windows next to them are picture glass, they don’t open. When I saw how bad of condition that window sill was I decided not to install any more until Lyle had addressed them.

As you can see from the picture above that window sill was severely dried and cracked; it was in the worst condition on entire house. Lyle and I had differing opinions on how this should be corrected and when, so I took over the restoration of all the window sills, which I’ll talk about in the next post. 7 of the 8 locations were straight forward replacements. The one that wasn’t was difficult because the original window weight protruded out and didn’t allow the plinth to sit flush to the house. I couldn’t push it back inside, so I used my grinder to curve out a channel on the back of the block. After that it fit like a glove.

The bedroom side windows I was able to hang all of them from inside my room. Since I needed to do work on the bathroom window sill, Lyle erected a scaffolding platform from me to work from. I was a nervous wreck the whole time, but the window sill was restored (see white stuff in pics below) and all eight plinths are installed and ready for primer and paint. Some may need caulk.

Exceeding My Expectations, So Far

Some contractors may find me difficult to work for. I know too much and can do too much for myself. I set a high bar of excellence for myself, so in turn I expect a contractor to do the work at an even higher level of perfection. After all I’m just an advanced DIYer/Sista Girl with Skills, a contractor should be a trained professional and able to do a project faster and better. Lyle Benjamin of Lyle’s Homes started the prep to paint my house on June 9th, approximately two weeks earlier than originally projected. I viewed that as a great thing, but it was a rocky start. On day one he came and left, leaving a worker who worked on the first floor windows when I thought we had agreed I’d handle them while he focused on the second level. My mind instantly flashed back to my drywall crew. Could I have possibly made another bad choice, did my project get subcontracted again? I shared my drywall nightmare story with Lyle and told him I know I’m difficult, but he’s got to make me feel comfortable with what he’s doing. He has.

Lyle’s Homes is the first major contractor I selected without having a referral. Believe it or not, he reached out to me via I had a bout of temporary insanity and signed up in search of a significant other and in my profile I said if you want to learn about me find my blog venusdiyworld (Match does let you insert websites in your profile). Lyle found it and reached out to me offering his painting services by pointing me to his Thumbtack page. No romance was ever formed, but he got my attention when he used another “R” word, Restoration. With his second bid I truly felt he understood what I wanted to accomplish and it was at a price I could afford. In hindsight the problems in week one were avoidable if I had told him I was not ready for his earlier start date. All the projects I planned to tackle (replacing trim on first floor windows and rebuilding rear portico) would have been complete by end of month leaving a clear understanding on what he needed to focus on. I’m still mastering my General Contractor skills.

Lyle’s bid included this wording: Prep: Wash house to remove dirt , grease and loose and peeling paint. Remove paint to bare wood on all widow frames/casings using a heat gun and or chemical removal agents and sanding. Hard scrape and feather sand additional wood trim and fascia to remove loose and peeling paint. This described what I thought was needed before any new paint was applied to my house. He’s doing this to levels that are far exceeding what I thought was possible. As I stated in an earlier post the three windows on my neighbors side that he cleaned entirely are much smoother than my windows were, so much so that I went back and used a higher grit (80 and 120) to try and reach the smooth as a baby’s butt level that his windows are.

The work he has accomplished on the second floor dormers and side crown moulding has blown my mind. He actually removed the crown from the dormers and had another worker scrape it on the ground. Doing that revealed that bees or hornets were making a home through the gaps that had formed over the years. Before rehanging he will treat them would a wood hardener, which should stop them from decaying further and he said he will be able to close those gaps. He’s also willing to spray the opening with some insecticide I have in a pump sprayer.

With the first floor conflict Lyle did agree to adjust his price, but with the high level of detail he is performing, I’ve now agreed to purchase the Sherwin Williams Duration that will be the final coats. Paint was included in his bid and he projected needing 30 gallons of primer and paint combined. If Lyle paints as well as he preps my house is going to be absolutely GORGEOUS, a true showcase home for the community of Camp Washington. In addition to buying the paint I’m also still tackling some projects, so that he can stay focused on the 2nd floor and also because I can’t see him completing this project in three weeks as projected (rain is starting to be a factor now). There are more broken tiles, so even though he said he would do that I took that on since I had already done some with the rear portico.

The missing pieces

There were two pieces that didn’t get replaced when myself, my father, and my cousin Cameron were tackling this project two years ago. They are near the rear gutter on the Stock Street side of my house. We attempted, but the angle my father told me to cut was wrong. We didn’t have any angle finder tools and my father was using math calculations based on measurements he told me to find. It was my last piece of tile and I’m standing on ladder being yelled at about not giving him the right measurements. I left the piece, un-nailed, resting on the gutter until now. My skills have definitely improved.

I’m tackling the plinths and window sills next.

Rear Portico Makeover – Scraping The Headboard

The portico over the rear door was as caked up with paint as the window mouldings, maybe more. The inside top and sides were just slats of bead board. I decided to replace the old bead board with new. The ceiling was spongee and in really rough condition. I remembered when installing the light fixture thinking it really should be replaced, so now is the time. Removing the bead board was a piece of cake. A crow bar and hammer did the trick. Removing the ceiling and sides revealed a glimpse at what the house looked like when it was originally built. The original, unpainted, flawless condition cedar shingles siding were revealed. Seeing that really makes me wonder what condition the house was in before they added the asbestos shingles.

The Original Cedar Shingle Siding

I decided to build the ceiling first. I didn’t even need to cut those boards. They were 48″ long, so I had Hyde Park Lumber cut 8, 8′ boards in half for me. That saved wear and tear on my miter saw. Before installing them I used my carbide scrapper to remove the paint from any surface that would touch the new wood. I used the grinder a bit also, but unlike the windows and the door I was concerned with damaging the original corbels, so I used it sparingly.

Before tackling the sides I removed the remaining paint using my heat gun and a 5-in-1 scraper. It took me about three hours to get all the paint off.

I used my angle finder to determine the slope, 30 degrees, and with that I was off to the races. I set up a jig on my miter saw to cut the point (dental teeth) at the end of each board. Basically I cut the needed angle off a 2×4 and used that to set the angle of the saw each time I needed to make those cuts. I put a piece of tape on the back support plate, to mark where I needed to place the 2×4 and I used the miter saw clamp to hold it in place. With it secured I just had to butt my bead board against it, cut, flip the wood, and cut again. Originally there was a strip of crown moulding that went around the top edge of the sides and front. I found a very similar profile at Lowes, plastic, but for the life of me I could not figure out the right angle, so I settled for a flat piece of old pine scrap wood I had in my basement.

In removing the old side bead board I managed to break the asbestos tile on each side. No big deal to replace, but when I put my ladder up to get measurements I noticed two large holes in the tiles above the door. The wood of the house was completely exposed, so I decided to replace them also. I couldn’t get the damaged pieces out without sacrificing the two narrow strips at the top. Thankfully those could be cut from one piece of the replacement tile. It was extremely hot that day and the shingles where hot. I tried my best to minimize how much I touched them. My cuts for the side pieces where spot on! I actually reused the damaged shingle from the top to replace the broken pieces on the right side of door. I only needed two narrow pieces and I hated wasting a full sheet of the new. I was hoping I’d only need one case to repair any needed areas around the house. Yes I did wear a respirator mask while cutting them.

At this point I told Lyle, the painter, to just consider me to be part of his staff. He’ll still need to sand the corbels, but I saved him at least a day of work by tackling that project. I actually had fun. This degree of woodwork is in my wheelhouse. Speaking of woodwork projects it is back to the drawing board on my headboard project.

I got the trim pieces stained, coated, and attached. My cousin Zachary came over to help me carry the three pieces upstairs. I wanted to apply one more coat of Danish oil to the front panel before getting him to help me carry it upstairs, but I put the three pieces together and placed them where they’d reside in the room. I thought I took a picture of the top and sides assembled in my bedroom, but I didn’t and I’ve already gotten Zachman (my nickname for Zachary) to help me carry it back downstairs. It’s too big/bulky for the location. All I really wanted was the top shelf. Scotti from the WoodShop expanded that idea to include the side shelves, which seemed like a great use of the dead space being created by the top shelf. However, in addition to looking bulky when I had my mattress elevated at the top to allow me to sit up in bed, I can’t reach the top or side shelves. Elevated I’m about a foot away from the headboard; something I had not anticipated.

Fortunately I have two more pieces of the oak boards. In my minds eye my new design will be 100% better as it will eliminate the Aspen wood side boxes altogether. What I haven’t grappled with is how to deconstruct the top box. The bottom shelve is just screwed in place, but the top is glued and screwed and the screws have already been concealed with dowel rods, see post All I Needed Was The Right Jig. Actually let me rephrase that. I know exactly how to deconstruct the top box, the question is do I have the guts to do it. I got a lot of practice with straight edge cutting with a circular saw during my shed project. I need that same mastery of skills to manifest again. Stay tuned. I’d really love to have the headboard completed in conjunction with the house painting completion.

Preparing for the Icing on the Cake

Per the suggestion of the son of my father’s good friend, who owns a painting company, I decided to remove the trim from the 14 lower level windows and replace with new. There are at least 4 layers of paint on the trim of my house and it is peeling heavily in some areas and what isn’t peeling has alligatored. Because I wanted the windows scrapped to the wood he was not interested in my project stating it would be labor intensive and he didn’t have the crew to take on that large of a project. I loved the suggestion and quickly calculated the cost of the moulding and the cost to pay Tom Milfeld, my go to man for just about anything (he hung my cabinets, crown moulding, and repaired my foundation just to name a few projects). These pictures show my efforts to scrap the paint from the two front living room windows. Clearly replacing was a great idea.

At this point the painter I was leaning towards had submitted a second proposal, double the first, but it included a description of the work that was in line with the prep work I felt was needed before any new primer or paint was applied. He was estimating 6 hours per window (prep and paint). Based on my painting experience with the back door, I mentally decided 5 of those hours would be prep. His hourly fee and Tom’s are similar. Based on working with Tom on so many other projects I estimated Tom’s time to hang the new trim at one hour per window, a four hour swing in time. I have 14 lower windows, only 10 upstairs, so with my sweat equity in removing the trim and remaining paint from the wood and Tom’s fee for just hanging the trim the reduction in the painter’s time more than offset the cost of the new trim, which is made out of PVC that will never rot. I got it from Hyde Park Lumber, Azek, and it’s the same product I installed around my shower windows, but in a profile that was close to the window trim. This was a no brainer decision at this point.

I decided to move forward with Lyle Home’s Painting and initially he said he couldn’t start until the end of the month, which was great as that didn’t put pressure on me to get all 14 windows prepped. He then contacted me and said he could start on June 12th. At that point I let him know that I had made the decision to handle the prep of the lower windows myself. He actually came to the house and I showed him what I planned to do. I knew I couldn’t get all windows done by the 12th, so it was decided he’d start his work on the second level. I felt pretty confident I could be complete by the time he finished that level. Well the 12th was moved up to 9th. Tom was scheduled to start work the next day and my plan was to try and stay two windows ahead of him. Lyle brought ladders and scaffolding and a worker. When I came outside to start working Lyle had left and his worker was working on the side living room window (1st floor). I sent Lyle a text asking why and he said his taller ladder was at another project. I let the worker continue working. The trim came off relatively easy. They used 6d, 3″ nails to put it up, but as you can see removing the trim removed a lot of the paint that was on the remaining wood.

With the trim removed it left a flat surface. For the loose stuff I hand scrapped with my carbide bit scrapper, but once that was gone I used my grinder with a 40 grit flap disc, which I eventually changed to a 60 grit. In the beginning I had some control issues. Once the disc ate through the paint it sanded the wood and in spots it went too far, which is why I changed grit. Now, conversely the worker Lyle left used a heat gun and putty knife. At the end of that first day my four windows looked like this:

The painter’s four windows looked like this:

The next day I finished removing the paint from my fourth window and then returned with the palm sander on all four windows to try and smooth out the areas where I had ate into the wood. The painter continued removing paint and trim from the other lower level windows. He had removed the paint and trim from all the remaining windows, leaving them in the condition above, except for the three windows on my neighbor’s side of my house. He used a paint eater pad to remove the paint the heat gun and scrapper did not remove and then a palm sander at 60 and 120 grit. I’ll admit his windows were much smoother than mine, I only went to 80 grit with the palm sander and clearly a heat gun isn’t going to eat into the wood the way the grinder did. He also pressure washed the front of the house, which at this point I had to interject and have a frank conversation with Lyle. The 2nd floor was not getting the focused attention I thought we had agreed upon, I thought pressure washing was way premature, and I’m now loosing the savings which was paying for the new material Tom was installing. Day three marked the last day that worker came to the site (to date) and I used my method to finish the windows he started. Tom worked a total of 12 hours, I probably put in about 20 hours over the course of 4 days, but the lower level windows now have all new trim.

With the windows done, I turned my attention on the back porch portico.

Take Two, but Worth It For the Sweat Equity Cost Savings

The time, energy, and money on a quart of Sherwin Williams’ All Surface Latex Enamel Primer for the work I did last weekend was a complete waste. Just days after applying a coat of that product to my metal areas rust stains were bleeding through. I knew Rust-oleum had the product I needed, but I called my local SW store in hopes I could get an equal product, but have it tinted to my final house color. I got a young kid that clearly did not know their product line well and he steered me towards the latex enamel and sadly it turned out I couldn’t get an exact tint anyway. I did speak with the manager who said I should have gone with the oil based enamel instead and he was willing to give me that can at no cost, but after reading a Bob Vila article I decided to get the Rust-oleum Clean Metal Primer from Lowes. Hopefully that manager will apply credit on a future purchase.

The manager told me I could apply his oil based product on top of this, but I decided to remove it prior to applying the Rust-oleum product. My Don’t Take a Knife to a Gun Fight analogy came to light again. I decided to invest in a Dewalt corded grinder. I had the ENTIRE house cleaned and painted in about five hours. I put my stopwatch on when I did my neighbor’s side of my house and I had the entire side cleaned in 10 minutes, 39 seconds.

I bought another 4.5 each grinder, but now wish I had gotten the 7″. Cleaning the paint from the flat areas of my windows with the grinder works great, but once the flap disc begins to wear down the blade guard interferes with keeping the grinder flat. The aggressive grit will get into the wood once it eats through the paint and preventing/minimizing that is hard if I hold the grinder at an angle. I’ve never worked the grinder without the guard, but i’ll try that before investing in a 7″ model that would give me more depth to stay flat even with a worn disc.

My painter has quoted me based on the time he thinks to scrap and paint my house. I won’t touch the upper windows (I don’t have the proper equipment to work with heights), but all the prep I can do on the lower level is less they’ll need to do, so that saves me money. I wouldn’t have half of the features I have in my house if not for my willingness and ability to put in sweat equity.

My Vision, But Not My Hands Alone

The romantic notion of building my own dining room table from walnut slabs harvested from my back yard did not become a complete reality. I got the project started (see post: The Real Work Started This Weekend and Covid-19 Is Rocking Everyone’s World), but after hosting another dinner on a folding table I decided to let an experienced shop finish it utilizing my new found stimulus check money. I’ll have to save the romance for my office desk and the mulberry slabs also cut from a tree that was in my backyard. Hopefully I learned enough to pull it off.

So the biggest thing I learned, if I’m ever presented with an opportunity to have slabs cut for me again is to leave them over 2″ thick. Randy Wipert, the gentleman I gave all the walnut logs to in exchange for cutting and drying enough for me to make my table, asked me how thick I wanted them. I really didn’t have a clue, so I told him my finished thickness of an inch. He cut my boards under 2″ thick as a result. With the mistakes I made and the natural warping/twisting of the boards, the shop that finished my table ended up milling my boards down to a finished thickness of just under an inch. My mulberry slabs are also under 2″, so it will be interesting to see if I can pull off that project.

Clearly Randy kept the boards with less knots and less sap (the white areas are the sap wood, the wood closer to the bark of the tree) or since he had more wood to work with he was able to eliminate his sap wood. The shop that finished my table told me that two of my boards were too twisted/warped to use, so if I wanted a minimum of 36″ in width, I’d have to keep the sap. In the beginning of the project I did not want any sap. I really didn’t know what it was and I had never seen a mass produced table with it. You don’t know what you don’t know. Everyone at the Manufactory that saw my boards said I was crazy to eliminate the sap. I guess I better grow to love it since it’s staying. I was able to provide input on board placement before they were glued. I will have just two strips of white.

I was at a friend’s house and the woman next door was being evicted and these vintage cast iron table legs were sitting in her driveway. She was a professed flea market flipper. I offered to buy them, but she gave them to me. This was over a year before I bought my house. When I saw them I immediately thought what an awesome table I could make with them (I was equally fixated on HGTV/DIY’s Fixer Upper and Flea Market Flip at that time). I had a vision before THE vision for my house. With the cast iron wall sconces in my dining room and the gunmetal chairs I bought, I knew I’d want to get the rust removed and returned to the silver color of new cast iron. A & B Deburring Co. in downtown Cincinnati sandblasted them clean for me. The shop finishing the top sprayed them with a sealant that should prevent them from rusting again.

When I dropped off the legs I was able to see my table glued up for the first time. They had just put on the first finishing coat. I must admit I was taken aback when I saw it. I’m still grappling with the sap wood since it was not in the vision I had for the table. The thinness of it and the curved shaped (I fashioned the shape of it after the dining room table I grew up with, which was a mid-century modern design) gives it a refinement, but the knots and sap makes it look rustic. My house isn’t rustic. The movement in the wood is not like anything I’ve ever seen, so one side of my brain thinks it’s super cool. This was growing in my back yard. Those knots are signs the tree was sprouting new limbs to grow and thrive. Those knots can be my symbol to embrace the new career choices Covid-19 is forcing me to make if I expect to continue to grow and thrive. The other side is still stuck on the image of mass produced products. It makes me wonder if an experienced wood craftsman would have ever considered my boards for a table and if the foolish romance of making my own table clouded good judgement. It wouldn’t be the first time “the romance of” has made me make poor decisions.

I thought the corners were too sharp, so I did request that they be rounded a bit more. Due to the final thickness they will have to attach a skirt/apron underneath my table to provide structural strength and support. Just three days later my changes were made and the table completed.

My friends Kyle and Bethany helped me pick it up and bring it home and my neighbors Paul and his visiting father helped us carry it in the house. Not 100% by my hands, but it is as seen in my mind’s eye (well almost given the sap wood). I’m grinning ear to ear. Another vision complete.

Don’t Take a Knife to a Gun Fight

Well this most certainly will be a Memorial Day weekend we all will remember. No BBQs for me even though I have my prized grill with me again. I just didn’t feel like firing it up for a solo meal. Instead I decided to tackle the metal flashing that goes around my house. About a month ago I tested scrapping an area to the left of my back door. I used my paint scraper with a carbon graphite blade and a heat gun for about an hour to get that area cleaned. I thought I’d tackle a small area each evening, but then the sheshed project got all my attention. Good thing as my favorite Jack of all trades, Tom Milfeld, stopped by to see the project and he told me to use my sander with 60 grit paper to eat through the paint.

Left side of rear door, hand scrapped

Saturday I got started and I selected my belt sander to work with. I bought 50 grit belts and started on the right side of the door. It worked awesome, in the beginning. I got about 10 feet done before I needed to change the belt. I only bought one pack, which comes with two belts. The rain brought an end to the project, so I went to my computer with the intent of ordering more belts for in-store pickup, but an idea popped in mind to look at grinder accessory. The belt sander worked great on the vertical side, but not so great of the top near the house and I thought my grinder could get closer. I found exactly what I was looking for, a flap disk. At this point I have about 3 hours into this project and about 1/4 of the house complete.

Sunday, with more rain in the forecast, I turned my focus on my yard. Last year I seeded the right side and what I call nappy grass took over. It died out over the winter and my first lawn treatment of the seaosn should insure it doesn’t come back, but I had a lot of bare patches. There is a family flipping a house across the street from me and the husband is a landscaper. He stopped by and gave me some great ideas. I want to plant one tree and I’ve been considering a River Birch (grew up with that at my old house), a Star Magnolia (ode to Fixer Upper), or a Canadian Clump Cherry (also planted at my old house). He suggested an Eastern Redbud and recommended Bzak Nursery, so I decided to go out there for bags of top soil, seed for the lawn, and to see in person all the plants he recommended. They had everything, but the Redbud. Rhonda, who works with DIYers tweaked his suggestions a bit, so I can’t wait to turn my attention fully on the flower beds. I got the top soil and seed down and half the yard cut just as the rains started to fall.

I really didn’t want to deal with a big box store, so Monday morning I called the Ace Hardware in Clifton to see if they had my sander belt size, they did so I bought 32 and 40 grit. I wanted to get more paper in case the flap disc didn’t work of if they didn’t carry it. They did, so I bought two 36 grit GatorBlades. On a scale of 1 to 10, hand scrapping was a one, belt sander a five, grinder with the flap disc TEN!

The only drawback was I’d blow through a battery about ever 6′. I have three batteries, a rapid and regular charger. I was burning through batteries faster than they could charge, so I stopped to finish cutting the grass and to throw down a couple more bags of top soil I also bought at Ace and more seed. I got from the blue section of the back, all of Stock Ave side, and the left side of the front sanded. Skies turned black and wind picked up, so I thought rain was coming again. I stopped and ate lunch while watching another episode of a new Netflix series I’ve gotten hooked on, Blood & Water. I also read the can of Sherwin William’s All Surface Latex Enamel Primer I bought to apply to the metal once all the paint and rust was removed. It stated that bare steel must be primed the same day. I noticed that some areas I had scrapped the day before had rusted again with the rain, so I re-sanded that area and decided to apply the primer to all the areas I had already scraped.

What a difference it makes. I wanted the primer to be tinted to Sea Serpent, but that couldn’t happen because the base is white. This color is 50% of that.

Before calling it a day and weekend I decided to try the GatorBlade on my prized stain glass window frame. Regardless as to who I select to paint the house, I’m handling the stripping of that window. The disc is getting pretty worn, so I thought it would do less damage on wood and I was right. I’ll probably put the new one on to complete the metal flashing stripping, but I’ll use the worn one to finish the window.

The Last Time. The She Shed is Ready

I retrieved my lawn mower from a storage locker for the last time, the shed is complete.  The only items left were installing the soffit and front side trim.  I thought 30 minutes top.  The soffit went fast, the real work with that was already done.  The plans called for attaching with 2″ 6d nails, but screw that.  Nailing upwards bites, I pulled out my mini gun and shot with 2 1/2″ 16 gauge nails.  My fit was almost perfect.  Where it wasn’t I put a bead of caulk.

I ran into a snag with the trim.  I followed the plans, but there was a gap at the top.  I looked over the plans and really don’t see what I missed.  Maybe they intended for there to be a gap, but that just invites bees and birds to find a home.  As with the soffit I needed to notch the front corner trim.  Unfortunately I had already cut one side, so I installed it and as I did with the back, added a filler piece.  The opposite side I notched.

More caulk, touch up paint and the shed project was practically complete.  The missing t-hinges for the doors came in, so I added them.  I also added about a 3″ wide strip of scrap T1-11 board, painted yellow on inside of one door to cover the gap between the doors.  At the bottom of that same door I added a surface bolt latch, so the side stays closed until I pull the latch.  While I was building the doors constantly blew open and shut and I figured that couldn’t be a good thing over time.  Those last two steps was just me over achieving and so are the tool racks I will make out of the scrap 2x4s.  I did one just to see if it would work, it did.  You can’t tell by the picture, but I cut the back side at a 20 degree angle.  I knew the upward tilt would help keep them in place.  It does.

People have commented to me, why not just buy a shed.  I could have, but I’m so thankful in this stage of my life that I have the skill set and physical ability to build something of quality myself, ESPECIALLY, given these trying times we’re in.  This project gave me something positive to focus on when the world is filled with negative thanks to Covid-19.  I built that…….from scratch.  There is nothing I can’t do when I put my mind to it.  I need these projects to reaffirm that I am essential because the world is telling me I’m not.


She Has A Roof

Gazebo Roof 1This is not my first shingle project.  In 2010, my father helped me build a new deck with a gazebo at my old house.  He worked for 19 days before needing to return home.  I had to finish the shingles and all decorative trim myself.  That’s me in the picture.  The shed is a piece of cake compared to the gabled roof of the gazebo.

I bought Owens Corning Oakridge shingles, color Driftwood, from Menards to match the shingles on my house.  The plans called for two packs and I did not want to run short.  In laying shingles the first row you actually lay upside down, it’s your starter row.  Remembering that I went to the Cincinnati ReUse Center and spent $2 on 4 loose shingles.  With the starter row in place all you really need to do is follow the installation instructions on the shingle packaging.  My mother always told me if you can read you can do anything and she was 100% right.  The instructions called for six courses, starting from the left  after row 1 that started with a whole piece; the next 5 had to be cut 2, 6 1/2″; 3, 13″; 4, 19″; 5, 26″; and 6 32 1/2″.  A scrap piece of the roof sheathing was a perfect cutting board, becoming the perfect jig.  I only got half done before the rains came, which was fine because I needed to go back to Home Depot and get a different drip edge.

It appeared I had already gotten the widest drip edge, I kept what I had, but also bought 10′ roll of 6″ wide aluminum flashing.  That covered the gap at the top and I was able to attach the drip edge.  With that complete I laid my felt paper and continued with installing the shingles.  When I got to the last row, which I knew wouldn’t have strong nail contact, I applied roof cement caulk.

It was a cold, muddy, day, so I decided to call it quits after painting the foundation gray to match the house.  I also took the measurements for the soffit cut outs I’d have to make.  I must have read something wrong in the instructions because the top trim piece for the door was too high and it interfered with the soffit placement’; I would need to notch around it.  The T1-11 siding was to be used for this.  Luckily I had plenty of scraps thanks to my mis-cut of the door.  I got the right side spot on with the first cut.  The left took three tries before I got it right.  I drilled the vent holes, painted them, and applied the screen mesh, so they’d be ready to install.  I also cut and painted the front corner trim.  Unless something unforeseen happens the shed should be completed the next day I work on it.


Calling An Audible

Properly cut rafters I believe was the most important aspect of building my shed.  I messed up on my one attempt and gave up on trying again.  My former neighbor got the job done, but he wasn’t neat about the cuts.  I would have been.  He used a jig saw, all hand cuts.   I would have used my miter saw to at least ensure the lengths were consistent . They weren’t the same lengths, depths of cuts on the angles weren’t consistent.  It was noticeable to the naked eye, but not significant or so I thought.  He joked that its just a shed.  Well………I believe those imperfections were the main cause for my panels not meeting on the corners.  The gaps weren’t consistent either.  The plans did not call for any trim on the back of the shed.  I would have to add to hide the gap.

First step was putting the fascia boards on the front and sides.  When I did the front it revealed how crooked the roof sheeting was.  This would not have happened if the Voerhang plates had been installed correctly. The left side extended past the fascia, so since that was a small panel I decided to remove it and push it back.  Doing so narrowed the gap in the back that bothered me when I hung it with my neighbor.  The plan called for two 52 1/4″, 1x4s.  Since I needed to purchase more pieces for the back, I got 10′ lengths, so that could be one solid piece.  I couldn’t see why there was a reason for two pieces outside of the plan listed all 8′ length boards.  Putting the drip edge on top of the fascia makes total sense to me now.

The side fascia had more thought involved.  Adding the back trim meant I was extending the back of the shed, which I would need to account for.  It meant altering the length called for in the plan by the width of the trim board, 3/4″. I cut it an inch longer as the gap at the top was wider than bottom.  The plans called for a 67 degree angle, which is beyond the range of my miter saw.  After the rafter issue I bought a digital angle finder from Home Depot.  Worked like a charm, especially when I applied my straight-edge technique before cutting.

Adding the trim on the vertical sides would mean there would be a 3/4″ gap between the trim pieces at the top.  I wasn’t sure how that would impact installing the drip edge or shingles at the top, so I decided to add a horizontal trim piece as well.  I could have easily installed the 1×4 board cut to the right length, but I knew the slope of the roof was 23 degrees.  I decided to rip the side of the board at 23 degrees also (ok, I was showing off at this point, for who I don’t know).  Once I got the piece installed, it revealed how crooked my back panel install was.  This is where working solo was not wise.  No worries, I used my reciprocating saw to remove the excess with my 23 degree angle as my guide.

I had already cut the rear side trim per the plans, so that created another gap at the top that probably wouldn’t be an issue, but I decided to create to cap pieces to conceal a crevice I thought would make a great place for bees or hornets to nest in.  At this point I considered myself an angle master.  The top angle was 23 degrees, while the bottom was 67.

With the sun setting fast I wanted to get the rear drip edge on, so I could jump on the shingles on the next dry day, but the gap between the back siding and roof sheathing was wider than the drip edge.  More audibles would be in store and the shed project would carry over into another week.