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This Old Crack House

From log house to farmhouse. Farmhouse to townhouse. Townhouse to apartment house. Apartment house to crack house. Crack house to our house. Our house to our home.

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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Roof Progress

Progress on the roof is slow. I still have to home educate my daughter and I have had to attend many meetings this month. Both can mess up a construction work schedule. Still, I do what I can. Last Saturday I had around 14 people show up to help move this



to this



We managed to get the bulk of the pile in the front yard cleaned up as well. We also hauled 120 bundles of faux slate to the third floor. We all celebrated afterward with pizza and beer.

The roof went from this



To this



Then it rained for a day and a half! Now I have to finish recreating a frame for the gutter so that I can walk on it and remove the rest of that slate. I can then get tar paper down and then, hopefully, I can put the water buckets away.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

What a Difference a Day Makes .....

Day three photo of the fire escape tear down.




Every time a section gets cut out I have to stand back and calculate the order in which i have to cut wood beams so that the entire thing doesn't collapse on me. I got the roof off with some help from a neighbor. Day two and three were solo. Today I got help from the neighbor again and here are some photos of us before the final showdown. These were taken just before the final two cuts were made in case they were to be the last photographs of us alive! This really was a scary project. Doing the roof and gutters does not scare me. Tearing this thing down did and I don't scare easily.



The entire structure had moved about an inch away from the brick wall over night. I wouldn't walk out on that top platform today whereas yesterday I was standing on it cutting wood. My neighbor in position as far away as possible holding a rope to pull down the remaining structure.



Here I am making the final cut.



Here are some more after pictures.





When done with this we threw a bunch of crap out that door onto the pile below. Now I have room for the 119 bundles of shingle that I have to get up three flights of stairs. I am hoping to get the layers of tar out of the gutter and the wooden part of the box gutter re built this week. I have already removed a ten foot section of tar and rubber membrane from the gutter. Some of it was so thick I had to use the sawz-all to cut it out in sections. Each small section weighed about 30 lbs.

What is amusing is that it rained today after we got this thing on the ground and my roof leaks less with this thing down!

How's That Roof Coming along, Mayor?

Slowly! In fact I haven't got started on the roof because I have been busy tearing down the fire escape so that I can rebuild the roof and a 10 foot section of gutter. The fire escape was put on this place way back in 1962 when the third floor was turned into an apartment and the building was zoned commercial. It was made of wood and had corrugated fiberglass nailed to the sides for protection against the elements.

I thought it would take me two days to tear this thing down but it is in worse shape than I thought so I can't work off any of the platforms inside the structure for fear of the floors collapsing. The steps have all started to collapse as well. I have to work off of a ladder for the most part.

The top of this is about 40 feet off the ground and cutting wood with a saw-zall while standing on a ladder this high up is a little scary. Especially if you cut the wrong piece of wood.




Day 1 got the roof off. This took a few hours to do.



Day 2 Got it this far.



Yesterday was day 3 but I don't have pictures yet. I expect it will be down by this evening.

I have only been able to spend a few hours a day working on this due to meetings and numerous phone calls. This is more than the trivial roofing project that the local paper wanted to portray it as. I think they are realizing that because they sent a photographer out to to take pictures of me working.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Die Fledermaus

I always thought it was mice leaving poop in the middle of my floor in the "attic." Every so often I would catch one in a mouse trap. These things come back every year and I witnessed one climbing up the fire escape once so I knew how they were getting in. Well, it isn't mice. We have a resident bat. Here is proof.




This one bat left this much poop in a week!



I haven't been bit by a mosquito in a while ......

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Let the Sun Shine In!

The work on the roof project has begun. The first phase involves removing the front porch in the front of the house and the fire escape in the back of the house. Yesterday the front porch came down and today I ripped up the floor of the porch. I also have to get the roofing supplies from the back yard to the third floor of the house.

Here is a picture of the house without the front porch. It hasn't looked like this since around 1906. That was the date on a piece of newspaper stuffed into a cavity by the window trim that was covered by the porch. I found it interesting that the porch was put on before the house was painted red.



The pile of wood from the demolition.



After the fire escape comes down I will rent a dumpster and invite all those people who volunteered to help me over for pizza and beer so we can transfer the piles into the dumpster! The work on the gutters and the slate will begin after that.

I am going to be installing the faux slate shingle instead of real slate. The main reason being that it can be installed with regular roofing nails instead of copper or stainless steel nails and I am less likely to break the tiles. They also come pre-shaped so there is no specialized cutting to be done. The total cost so far for the tools and supplies has been about $8200. Remember, I was quoted $43,000 to do the job. I predict that the total cost will be between $10,000 and $12,000 after renting a dumpster and buying a few more tools if I can't borrow them or rent them.

This is going to be a tough job and probably time consuming. I will know in a week or so as I start to work on the back section of the house. It could be worse though. Last week we were in Belfast, Maine where I took this photograph. I have to admit, we have our fair share of abandoned property in Dayton but this is proof that someone, somewhere is worse off than you!