We started off easy with some landscaping and road reworking. I got a load of fill and dropped it into a spot low on the hill of our property in order to level off a nice flat spot for a later project or for an emergency turn around. I then seeded and mulched it and left it for the summer to grow. I also did a bunch of pruning and thinning of smaller trees. Hundreds of them to open things up, promote healthy growth and get more light, particular up behind the camp. I even made a quick stab at a small stretch of MTB trail that I never actually got the chance to finish before things got going in earnest.
From there I moved inside and did a couple small plumbing projects which included adding a new kitchen faucet with a sprayer hose, which we'd not had in the past. Very minor but a nice touch compared to what was originally there. Next I moved on to the fridge and plumbed in the through door dispensed water and ice maker. Another small project that yielded huge practical benefits as I adore ice with water.
|Filling them in.|
The next project in line, the second prerequisite to the siding was the roof. When they built the camp they went cheap and easy and the roof had no end eaves on the gable ends. This means no overhang to help pitch water and the elements off the building itself. It also looks like ass IMHO, so I planned to add wing rafters to get a full foot of overhang on both ends. To match, I needed to extend the roof rafters about 4" to get the common 12" of eaves all the way around and give a good straight surface for the fascia and square returns with soffit that I had planned to finish it off.
So as the weather started to get warm, I got started pulling the old fascia off. What I discovered behind it was decades of rodent leftovers, literally filling the space between the rafter overhang in the eaves. I figure I pulled close to a hundred pounds of material out. It was a mess and not an awesome job to have. Then came the gable ends and the trim boards and various layers of metal drip edge and flashing that had been used to try and seal things up. Deconstruction and prep took days and days to complete but finally I got it all done, pulled all of the old nails from the removed material and sorted and piled it out of the way.
With the extensions on the back side of the roof I moved on to the wing rafters, deciding that the extensions would have been easier to align and level with the end rafters already in place. Regardless, I did the first end backwards but got the wings built in two pieces, one for each slope of the roof. They were 11' long and a foot wide and were blocked out every two feet. The result was a pretty heavy wooden structure that I needed to hang pretty high up by myself. That required making some braces to screw to the side of the camp and hold the wing in place while I aligned and sistered it to the existing rafter with lags and screws. Next I moved the braces and repeated the other side of the same end, typing the rafters together at the peak through the butted adjoining blocks to hold them as securely as possible and tie it all together.
|Adding a helping hand.|
Then it was on to the other end, which was easier in that I was working on the deck which was a nice flat and level surface compared to the ground around the camp, which by and large was not. I also had to pull the chimney down to get at the peak, which was no problem and was a project that needed rework later on as well. As I was working on that side I found the remnants of the tree that I remember the neighbor had said hit the camp roof years before we bought it. Seems the previous owners just threw some tin over the hole and never actually repaired it. That made for a nice little side diversion cutting the old busted sheathing out, putting some reinforcement along the mangled rafter and then patching it all back up so as to be rodent proof. Seems I found at least one place where all of the mice had been coming in and out. Fortunately, that last wing rafter pair went up easier than the first and soon I was on to the final side, the long front side, which was also high up with the ground continually sloping down along it.
|Raw wings going up.|
|Old roof and new wings and extensions.|
For the roofing project, putting the tin on, I had my brother helping me again, luckily. We did one side at a time on two of the hottest days of the summer. It was pretty miserable work. The roof had a layer of asphalt shingles under the old tin and then strapping over it to affix the tin to. This is common if not ideal. The right way to do it would have been to strip the shingles to bare underlayment. The problem is what to do with the old material. The rural VT thing would be dig a big hole and bury them, but that isn't legal any longer and a dumpster would be expensive. It would also take a couple days of pretty miserable work to strip the shingles off so I caved in and followed suit, leaving the mess there hidden under the new roofing. We did go through and double the strapping to give more support and to anchor the roof deck to the rafters more solidly with, you guessed it, lots of 3" deck screws.
The first sheet is always the hardest, trying to get a square piece to fit into a not usually square area. The second sheet then start to reveal the true scope of the problems as you start to see just how much it is walking or receding. So then you stretch and bend that which is rigid and inflexible in order to make up the 1/8" which in three sheets will have you back on track just as the roof starts to walk the other direction. It's a fun game, one that I've had the chance to play half a dozen times over the past couple decades. On day one, a Sunday in July, we got one side complete. On Monday we finished the next side. It was equally hot but we got it done and it looked really, really nice.
Then began the prep for the actual main project of the summer, the one that all of the prior work was leading up to, the residing of the entire camp. First though there was the small business of removing the existing siding, old dried out weather beaten cedar shakes. If roofing was fun, this was a party. I quickly remembered why I went to college, only to retire and work as a laborer for fun. Yes, I'm simple.
Last summer I'd strapped and then insulated along the outside of the foundation with foam and put an exterior grade sheathing over it. The new siding would cover and level all of this making it look seamless. Problem was that it wasn't level or seamless. The foundation which we had added was square or darn close to it. the camp, well, not so much. That meant irregular and variable overhangs which needed to be compensated for. Much head scratching and shim shingles were required.
One side left, the front gable end. Working on the level surface of the deck and only one window, one door and a chimney flue to contend with. This went faster because I decided not to strap and insulate. My reasoning was simple, I plan to tear it off again as soon as next summer for a future addition where the deck is. That said, I wanted to finish the whole project off rather than leave one odd, ugly side. Two days later all of the ancient cedar shakes were long burnt and the siding was complete. I was very very happy to start to see a light at the end of the tunnel.
|Functional corner lighting.|
|Chimney and stand.|
The only thing left was to choose the stain color and then liberally apply it. On our vacation week, the final week of the summer, during one of the hottest stretches all year, Cathy and I stained the camp, semi-translucent natural cedar tone for the main color and a cream color for the trim. It took us a couple of full days which we spread out over a few days, saving some time for bike rides. And just like that, the summer was over and our projects were complete, whether we were actually finished or not.
|From the day we first looked at the property.|
|From the day we first looked at the property.|
|Now, minus a corner board that is now installed.|
|Finished product as it sits now.|
I'm very happy with the projects and love the way they turned it. I can now look at the outside with the same pride that I take in looking at the inside.