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Before and After Photos How To's

Before and After Cottage – Siding and Colors

As readers know, I love a good before and after project. The following is from a cottage that didn’t look very cottage-like with its beige dutch lap siding that was installed by the prior owner. I knew there were cedar shakes underneath but wasn’t sure of the condition that they were in. Fortunately, they were in very good shape.  I finally decided to take the leap (back into maintenance) and remove the vinyl siding.

Before

This is ‘fine’, just not as cottage-like for my taste.

The prior owner meant well, but the vinyl job buttoned the cottage up and caused a number of water issues.

  • First, he had a reverse J-channel above the sill. You should be able to see it in the first photo. I think he did this to be able to have a full course of siding that began at the top of the deck, but he carried this “water catcher” around the entire cottage. This little sill could have been done for cosmetic reasons, but it allowed water to land and flow behind the vinyl siding. Not only did the water flow behind the vinyl, but it then had the opportunity to sit on top of a board that he used to fir out his starter strip.
  • The siding starter strip was catching water. This starter strip was a piece of clapboard turned upside down. This gave a 5/16″ ledge for water to run back toward the house. This sent the water beyond the shingles and wicked into the sill plate of the interior wall. Of course this wicked into the drywall and the baseboard trim. MOLD!! We pulled the affected trim, drywall and got things dried out. Problem solved. This was then our perfect excuse to tell the wife that the vinyl siding had to go. I had been waiting for a good reason for a few years.

After

Now this is a classic cottage look. Shingles, bold paint color. High contrast. A light fixture would look better than those wires though.

red and white shingle style cottage New York

After pulling the vinyl and the interior wallboard, I realized how much the prior owner reduced the window size. He went from a 30×46 window down to a 28″ x 38″ window. This is seasonal cottage. Light and airflow can be the best part. Not only did he shrink the windows, but he also covered a window completely so that his wife could have a wall shelf inside. See photo below.

He meant well with every project on the cottage, but the consequences left a house that was wicking water for a number of years and had reduced air flow due to window sizing and the buttoning up from the vinyl siding. Old houses, especially in humid climates, need to breathe. They either need to breath the way older structures did, or they needed methods to create air exchange like a new house does.

The buttoning up of this small house along with the fact that it was in a high humidity environment led to mold. There was mold in the outer walls due to the damp sills from the siding job. In addition, the vinyl siding, vinyl windows, and covered soffit and fascia didn’t allow the house to breathe sufficiently. Water and moister is always present. There are no gutters and this allows water to land close to the house and keep the crawl space wet. The windows that were added were not done properly. There was NO weatherproofing. Typically, you would add a window and caulk the flange. After that, you would add weatherstripping tape to the top of the flange before adding the trim. None of that was done. The window was simply screwed to the top of the trim boards and trimmed with J-Channel. Not only did this allow for mold, but this caused wood rot in some areas (see image below).

Article: How I Dealt With Mold In Our Cottage / Cabin / Seasonal House

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Handyman & DIY Tips How To's

How I Dealt With Mold In Our Cottage / Cabin / Seasonal House

Mold!
Mold under a window without proper flashing / weather proofing

MOLD!!
Mold under siding

MOLD!!!
Mold in wall due to high moisture and wicking via the wall sill.

How do I get rid of mold and the mold smell?

Step 1! Everyone will tell you this. Everyone should tell you this. Deal with the moisture coming into the home first!

The following is an extensive list of products to help with mold and musty smelling houses. Ours is a seasonal place on piers above a dirt crawl space. It is by a lake which means the humidity level is always high. Mold LOVES humid environments.

Here is a batch of products that have helped us a great deal. We have used each and every one of them. Feel free to ask questions in the comments below.

[amazon_link asins=’B0795P2674,B000ZOQ9HY,B00Q3FM8WE,B000N4WOWK,B000LNII4Q,B003SXWSXI,B005PV1X3W,B07JNZFRC8′ template=’ProductGrid’ store=’wnyhandyman-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’ea337a4b-65a9-4d86-bfd1-00051de02ded’]

Ozone Generator. I bought an Ozone generator after a couple of people suggested that I get one. Read up on these items. The science seems to make sense in how it kills active mold spores. Not only that, it is a relatively inexpensive item. For about $70 it was worth a try. I have absolutely noticed a difference in getting rid of the lingering smell in our cottage.

Odo Ban Cleaner. I use this as an additive to when I am cleaning/wiping things down. It has been around for years.

Damp-Rid (great for small spaces with little to no air flow). We use these under beds.

Under House Fan. If you have a dwelling that has limited airflow in a crawl space order under the home, this will help to always keep the air moving.

Gable Fan. As you can tell, air flow is key. I have this gable fan in the attic that runs when the temperature reaches a certain level. This acts to cool the house and keep fresh air moving in.

Passive Inlet Wall Vent. This helps to allow fresh air into a buttoned up space.

Air Freshener. Not so sure about how much these ‘purify’ the air, but they can sure help to make sure a place can smell nice.

Dehumidifier. Can’t go wrong with a good old Dehumidifier in a space. This one is WiFi enabled so that you can check in on it and control it remotely. I pipe our directly outside so that it can run beyond a single tank. This is perfect for our sunroom that is slab on grade.

I hope that these products are helpful to someone. They have helped me in a variety of ways and to a varying degree. I have to say, once getting rid of our water source, the best product has been the inexpensive Ozone generator.

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How To's

Defy The Cable Company With A DIY HDTV Antenna | Popular Science

This might not be your typical “Handyman” project, but for those cord cutting DIY types, this is right up your alley.  If you are tired of paying for cable just to receive your local news channel, consider an HDTV antenna that you can make yourself.   This is a simple antenna and I expect that many of you will be able come up with something a bit more attractive, but at least this “How-To” will help you to understand the how and why of an HDTV antenna.

DIY hdtv antenna

Defy The Cable Company With A DIY HDTV Antenna

Categories
How To's Interior Projects

DIY Concrete Countertop Guide – The Easy Way

The following is a guide to create your own concrete countertop.  The nice part about this tutorial is that you don’t need to order expensive product and build your own form.  This is an additive process that is often referred to as “faux crete” since it is a cement top layer and not a counter that is complete concrete.  The process allows you to essentially build your counter with a wood frame along with some plywood and cement board. Once that portion is built, you can layer on a cement based product called “Feather Finish” from Ardex.  When I needed a bag of this product for a project that I had, my local flooring installation supply store had it in stock and it was reasonably priced at around $12/bag.  I used this product to skim coat / encapsulate a floor adhesive in the past. It is a fantastic product to use.

faux-concrete-counter-top

This tutorial comes from Sarah’s Big Idea and is described well with plenty of photos along the way. Each step of the project is very logical and the final steps give you the opportunity to bring in some customization with finishes and texture.  The terrific part is that you could experiment, decide you don’t like it, and then simply add another layer to cover the prior.  When building a “true” concrete countertop, the material is expensive and your form work results in a lot of wasted material.  Let’s not even talk about what you would be  faced with should you make a mistake when measuring/reversing your form (trust me, I mean my brother, it happens!).

skim-coated-Ardex-countertop

If you are looking to build some custom concrete countertops on your own, take a look at this how to.  Good luck.

http://www.sarahsbigidea.com/2013/09/faux-crete-counters-from-scratch/

 

Categories
How To's Tools and Reviews

Make a New Top with an Accurate Fence for a Cheap Table Saw

If you are like me, you might have an inexpensive (“cheap”) table saw that you use as a job site or backyard saw.  If you don’t, you can pick one up for about $100 from most big box hardware stores.  If you do have one, you will also know that these are not very well made.  The deck of the saw is just fine and the motor will get the job done, but the fence system is another story.  In addition to that, the size of the deck will limit the ability to cut pieces of any significant size.

Well, this clever handyman (Wooden Tool Man) came up with a simple design for a new table top along with a very simple, yet functional fence system that can’t help but stay square to your saw blade.  As most of you know, a fence that is out of square does not lend itself to a nice looking finished project.  I know that a few of you have probably developed techniques with the poor quality of the fence.  How many reading this cut things a little proud since they know they will have some rather large swirl marks to remove?  Hands down.

The following video runs through the building technique for the tabletop and fence.  This is one that I will have to build myself.  Thanks “Wooden Tool Man“.

Categories
Before and After Photos Cottage Project How To's

Is this Maintenance Worth it? You Decide.

Everyone seems to strive for low maintenance in a home nowadays. Well, it isn’t always the best option. We had a sunroom project to work on at a cottage where we are replacing 9 storm windows that were caulked shut to keep out the water. A sunroom that doesn’t have an operable window might as well be called a greenhouse. It got hot in there and there was very little air flow. Since were were tearing the vinyl siding off of this room to install larger (operable) windows, we decided to get rid of the vinyl siding (not very cottage’y). When we decided to remove the vinyl, I considered the options for replacing. The surface area on the room is not too large and we wanted some options in terms of color. A cedar shingle seemed perfect. A cedar shake on a cottage is a classic look. Sure there is maintenance, but it is really minimal (and worth it).

Old:
IMG_2494  IMG_2496 OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

New:
Cedar shingle siding IMG_4888 IMG_4886 Shingle cottage on the lake

Take a look at the before and during photo below. The siding still has 1 more 5″ course to go before the look is complete, but it is a massive improvement.

For this shingle project, we were able to located a grade of shingle that wasn’t just the “utility” grade from Home Depot or Lowe’s. We found a nice grade from LenCo Lumber in Buffalo that is only about $25 per bundle. Each bundle covers 25 square feet. When comparing that to a vinyl siding that has the shake look, the price is less than half. I must say that I am thrilled with the look.

We decided to go with a shingle pattern that was not just a repeated reveal. The original cottage did have cedar shake and the reveal alternates every other row. There is a 5″ reveal followed by a 7″ reveal. When installing, we simply made a 5″ x 7″ block and this helped us to be sure we were keeping our fasteners hidden and our rows true.

Take a look at the images below for the Before/During (not quite after). When looking into installation methods, we decided to follow the “how-to” in the following “Installing Cedar Shakes” video. We are using a weaved corner rather than a corner that has a trim piece to but up to. This is another part that creates more work, but the look is worth it. The method involves using a pin nail to fasten the 2 corner shingles. I was skeptical, but it seems to work out well.