Thursday, August 11, 2016

Opening a can of worms

A couple of them really .
Got a call from a neighbor about replacing some of the trim boards on his house in preparation for putting it on the market . Looked the job over and I gave him a labor plus materials price with a warning that the cost could easily go up once I peeled it open .
Cause it is kind of like Forrest Gump said ;  
"you never know what you gonna get when you open up the box"
Started on the garage corner boards. So far not so bad. But Oriented Strand Board sheathing with no tar paper over it is never a good sign .
Then I tackled the other back corner and . . .  Kaboom . . what a frikking mess
That is what a can of worms looks like when you open it up. OSB sheathing has turned to mulch .
From the weathering on the OSB you can tell it was left without siding for a long time . Likely several years . And then when they did put the clapboards on it they neglected to put any kind of tar paper under it . Inevitably as the clapboards weathered and leaked the OSB soaked water up like a sponge and turned to mulch .
They had however covered the framing , that also sat in the weather for at least a couple of years , in plastic . It is the only thing that saved the framing from rotting as well .
So I propped up the deck with some timbers , peeled the decking back , cut the rim joist off the deck and pulled off 5 sheets of OSB and replaced them with 5/8s plywood .
Then I covered it in Bituthane and galvanized metal and added a PVC 1x10 where the deck attached to the wall .
Trimmed the corner
Cut an inch and a half off the joists and installed a new rim joist . Added some spacing rings cut from 4 inch PVC pipe between the rim joist and the garage wall. Then I through bolted the deck back on the the garage wall with 8 inch Timberlock screws. Tedious fiddly work to get this part together as I had less than twelve inches working space .
Got the deck all back together and pulled out the side door as the striker side jamb was rotted at the bottom
Rebuilt the door jamb and reinstalled it and trimmed it out . Also replaced the lower part of the rake trim on the roof line .
Tar-papered the back part of the garage wall
And using some of the old salvaged clapboards I re-sided the back side of the garage .
Replaced the corner boards on the other end of the garage
Front of the garage also got new corner boards and new jambs and trim on the garage door.
On both sides
Tar-papered the rebuilt wall of the garage , and made clean cuts on the old clapboards .
And re-sided the garage wall with new cedar clapboards .
Can of worms number two , right in the corner where the breezeway meets the side of the house .
Peeled it all open and found more mulch
It was also about two gazilion degrees in the sun on that corner last Monday .
So I rigged up a tarp for some shade .
Had to pull the fascia board on the breezeway trim and the interior corner trim to replace a small patch of rotten OSB sheathing .
Bithuthaned, tar-papered, re-flashed, added new trim everywhere including the window
And got it buttoned up all in one day.
There was also some other minor bits and pieces of trim that needed replacing on the house but they were not much to talk about compared to what I have shown . And that is how you go from a nine-hundred dollar trim repair job to a thirty-five-hundred dollar can of worms .


  1. Lindo trabajito, Mr. Hughes debe estar contento, aunque no pueda usar los worms para ir a pescar.

    1. Lo de la lata de gusanos es solo una expresion. Se dice de algo que al abrirse no es nada agradable.

  2. Replies
    1. Hopefully it will help sell the house. Otherwise the inspector would find the problem and buyers would likely be scared away at the prospect. The whole thing desperately needs a proper paint job and a new roof on the garage, but at this point in life I'll leave that sort work for others to do.

  3. If you ever want to get out of the far North, come down here and live. I could use a neighbor with your skills and politics.

    1. In a SHTF scenario I know I'd want to be right next to the fellow with all the ammo. ;-) .

  4. Hi Mike, very nice job, you are a Jack of all trades.

    1. Hey John, Jack of all trades, master of none..... But this one I got right. Its that wretched OSB stuff. Perhaps in a dry environment like the desert southwest it might be OK, but in norther climes it is just asking for trouble. Sheathing a house in that stuff is about as foolish as sheathing it in rice cakes. Especially when it is left to the weather for any time before siding it.

  5. i need you so bad!!! but i think that roof needs you more!

    1. Hi Jaz, yes the garage roof is in horrible shape, but that is a younger man's work. I am not touching that one or any other roof if I can help it. There is a reason most of the guys on those roofing crews are all boozers and druggies.

  6. Great job. You never know what lingers under siding until you look. We almost bought a place in Waldoboro on a hundred acres. Met with a contractor and he said that on that particular house, he thought that removing the vinyl siding would present some pretty disastrous conditions beneath. Scary.

    1. Usually with vinyl siding it is hiding something ugly. This OSB stuff is just plain bad news. You get what you pay for, which is not much. In this case it was doubly bad as the OSB was left to the weather for a long time before siding. They never even put any tar paper on before siding, and then the siding was neglected for a long time. Joints opened up and leaked and you get this mess when you open it up.