Categories
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

Categories
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.

Categories
Buffalo Real Estate Bargains Real Estate

Lake Erie Cottage Bargain

I occasionally write about real estate bargains throughout WNY.  There are some that perplex me a bit when they sit on the market for a while.  The following listing is located in Portland NY within a small community named “Green Hills”.  There are only about 15 or 20 other cottages in Green Hills. This lake front cottage was built in 2007 and is only asking $139,000.

Take a look at the listing yourself.

http://www.ccbrmls.com/public/search/advanced/summary.asp?Listing_ID=1036915

I can personally attest to the amazing sunsets.  We have a place about a mile down the road.

lake erie cottage bargain

Categories
Exterior Projects

Build this Cabin for Under $5,000

When I came across this article/guide, I knew that I had to share it.  Most of you probably don’t have a chunk of land to build something like this on, but for those who do, you will love this simple cabin plan.  The plans come for free from Mother Earth News.  I am not sure of the year that the $5,000 figure comes from, but hey, a simple cabin plan is always worth a look.  cabin assembly diagram

There are some construction techniques that are a little more old school that what you would typically see in new construction today.  The floor is tongue and groove (T&G) instead of plywood and many of the joints call for techniques that add a lot of strength, but can probably be sidestepped.  The top of the porch posts are notched, mitered, and lag bolted, the sill framework has a half lap joint at the corners and there are rafter supports that are notched in where you might see simple blocking today.

 

http://www.motherearthnews.com/print.aspx?id={01269B31-2863-4866-913E-7147CF196A34}

The plan includes a complete material list that you can utilize to price your items and see how close you are able to get to the $5,000 figure.  There are areas where you can probably replace the material with other items to save a bit.  These areas will give you an opportunity to make this your own.

Good luck with this project should you choose to move forward.  If you don’t build with this, it couldn’t hurt to review the plans for future consideration.  A technique picked up here and there will often lead to a better project in the future and might even give you the knowledge to build something properly when the time comes.

http://www.motherearthnews.com/diy/cozy-cabin-zmaz06jjzraw.aspx?PageId=1

cabin-build-under-5k

Categories
Buffalo Real Estate Bargains

Cottage on Rushford Lake – Real Estate Bargains

From time to time I will point out some real estate bargains around WNY.  As someone who searched for a cottage for about 5 years, I came across a number of properties in many different price ranges and in doing so, gained a sense of where things should fall (in terms of price).  When I saw this cottage listing on Craigslist, it stood out as a possible bargain property.  There are some negatives that include the fact that the home is not directly on a lakefront lot, but that is remedied by the fact that you do have your own swath of lakefront along with a deck and the all important boat dock.

As of this writing, the property is priced at $64,900.  $64,900 doesn’t usually get your much let alone lake front.  I like the fact that the dock is not part of a community dock, but is actually your own.  This provides much more privacy on a small lake.

If you are seeking a cottage getaway on a beautiful lake, take a look for yourself.

Listing on Zillow:
http://www.zillow.com/homedetails/8120-County-Road-49-B-Caneadea-NY-14717/29632903_zpid/

Link to Bing Bird’s Eye Map:
http://binged.it/1Hsqj9b

Categories
How To's

Water Heater Savings – Weekender Cottage Life

If you have a “weekender” type of cottage, it is possible that you could be saving a few dollars by managing your hot water heater usage.  You don’t have to do anything crazy, just a simple on off switch to cut of power usage by the tank when you are are not there.  That is the most basic part and many do that.  They will turn the tank on when they get there on a Friday and turn it off when they leave on a Sunday.

Well, there is an additional step you can take to save a few dollars (you tree huggers will love this one as well).  Today’s hot water tanks are fairly well insulated.  So much so, that the tank will retain its heat for a couple of days.

Electric water heater savings

I have found that our new hot water tank takes about 1 hour to get up to temp (115 – 120 degrees).  After the tank is up to temp, it will retain that for the period that we are at our cottage.  Since there are only 3 of us on most weekends (one being a 9 year old who is averse to bathing) our usage falls below the capacity of our tank.  Because of this, we are able to heat the tank about an hour prior to needing hot water and turn the tank off at that point.

You can estimate your own usage.  Let’s assume that 2 adults each take a 4 minute shower (longer than it sounds).  The flow of our shower head is 1.5 GPM (gallons per minute).  At that rate, our 40 gallon tank will only lose 24 gallons (2 adults x 2 showers x 4 min each=24).  Let’s assume that typical handwashing and dish washing eliminates another 10 gallons from your tank.  This will allow you 1 hour of heating for an entire weekend of use.

If you have a similar usage pattern, give it a try.  You will feel a bit more green that you already are.  If you do have a demand beyond the tank capacity, know that it only takes about an hour for the average tank to heat.