Changing Colors

We thought it might be nice to be able to light the windows in the attic with colored lights – and change the colors as well. As a starting point, we got an internet controllable light from  But since we had 5 windows, we hoped to just point the bulb up, and bounce off the walls.   Alas, the attic had never been painted (not counting some tests from 20 years back) 

Poked around in the basement and found some leftover paint. Since the goal was just to reflect light, a quick paint job on most of the upper surfaces should be enough.   

Maybe someday we might do a second coat,  but for now, this seems adequate .

Stacking the Deck

With the front facade done, it was time to resume work on the back of the house.  But since I had all of the scaffolding stacked in back, it seemed a good chance to do the deck facia. The first step was to set up the scaffolding as a rolling cart.  For the first phase, I was able to add some planks to get easy access via the deck stairs. 

I wanted to ensure drainage, so I needed standoffs to keep the Trex facia away from steel framing. I had found some PVC lath that I used on the front, but it was a bit thicker than I wanted. So, a few passes through thickness planer and I had what I needed. After cutting them to 8″ lengths, I taped them to the steel frame, until I could run the screws through them. I also set up some clamps and blocking to support planks until I could anchor them.

Once the planks were cut to length (and a 22.5 degree miter on the ends), I was able to slide the planks into the blocking, add a few shims and screw them into place.

Pulled the scaffolding around the corner, finished up the south side, and took the scaffolding down and got it ready to go to its next job in South Troy. 

Return of the Painted Lady

We were finally ready to start painting. But first, A couple of minor details. We had to pick the colors so this involved a bunch of different samples and some test swatches to see how it looks against the brick. We also needed to test how well the paint wood it here to the PVC to see if we needed to prime it or not, so an adhesion test was done.

Although the PVC trim was able to take paint directly, the existing would need to be primed. Before I can do that, I thought it best to cover my neighbors car, as I was pretty sure she did not want her car to be primed with my house.

In order to keep paint drips off of the brick, something that previous professional painters did not bother with, we attach some drop cloths to the front of the house. These actually blew out slightly from the base which provided very good coverage in trapping all of the drips of paint. With the priming done we’re ready to start painting the colors. We started with the base color, sort of a tan, called Abby Stone. An interesting painting accessory, was this little paint cup that along with a nice handle and liners, it had a magnet on the backside which will hold the brush for you when you want to change hands or just take a break.

With the basecoat done, it was time to start the accent color which was a dark blue, known as secret society.

With the façade done, we could start taking down the scaffolding, and as we went down the front of the house, paint the window frames of the downstairs windows. The attic windows we actually could do for the roof or from inside the attic itself. Before we could take the last top bit of scaffold down we had to finish the last piece of trim which had been backordered.

The scaffold got stacked up in the gangway, and we were able to paint the front door using regular ladders.

Plastic Fantastic. 

Who we already had some 4 x 8 sheets of PVC sheet for the front façade, we still needed the actual trim pieces that would be attached to it. A few phone calls and a few days later a truck arrive from Curtis lumber with some trim, a long, very long, very thin pallet.

The pieces on the side needed to be notched to go around the new brackets we had previously installed. I did not want to attach the front piece directly to the plywood, so I added some strips of PVC to provide a standoff; a drainage plane for the front sheet.

With the flat sheets in place, we started by adding a horizontal band which is the top of the horizontal pieces. Above this we built some brackets to support a second band that projects out that will eventually catch the crown molding.

The 16 foot piece of crown molding was just barely long enough. However we had to do a little splicing to get the final piece for the front. Several temporary supports were  needed to hold stuff in place while it was cut to length and then finally glued and screwed into the position.

With the crown molding in place, we can now start with the rest of the decorative trim, we were basically following the original pattern that was on the house 30 or 40  years ago.

We did have some fun one gluing the PVC in place. The tube of glue split and started losing out the side so we had to sort of useless crap as an applicator which made for a little messier job but hopefully the pain will cover all that. We also took some time to correct some loose bricks.  A little support from below, and we were able to remorter the bricks into place.

A Roof Overhead

Some of the roof deck around the edge of the tower had reached the end of effective service life.  Along with the deck, the underlying support brackets had failed as well.  The first attempt at new brackets didn’t end well.  Framing lumber from the box stores doesn’t want to hold screws. 

So back to the workbench to cut some brackets from plywood. With these in place, and with some mechanical help, we slid new plywood roof deck under the old roofing material; which was replaced in recent history, unlike the deck. 

With the new roof deck in place, we made some custom drip edge, slipped it under the remaining roofing, and with a generous helping of roof coat and fabric, rebuild the roof. 

I hope this is the end of my roof work.

The Over under.

With the framing the place, and the work done it was time to do some sheathing. Although you don’t typically paint the sheathing, this seems like a good time to experiment with color combinations and patterns. It also seems to be easier to do all the priming and painting inside downstairs rather than up on the scaffold. After priming the plywood and marking the pattern out with the pencil, I went over the edges with masking tape for the basecoat.

Once the yellow paint was mostly dry I could remove the masking tape and came back and just with a careful hand, added in the green trim color. In the actual facia this will be raised trim but for now will just go with the color.

Once the green paint has dried, I hoisted  the sheathing up to the top of the scaffold and put into place. Finally the tarp can come down. 

A chip off of the old brick

With the old brick remove it was time to start building up the wall again. Rather than using brick we decided to use a layer of block followed by lumber so the first thing we do is hold some blocks up to the and marked where we need to cut them.

We then transferred these marks to a block we had cleverly left down on the ground, and got out the hammer and chisel carefully score in cut off that little corner we didn’t want We then hauled the cut block back up onto the scaffold and set it into place. Where it promptly broke in half.

I did not want to damage my good circular saw by using it to cut block. Fortunately one of my friends had several old circular saws that he was glad to give me with the proviso I throw them out when I’m done. With a replacement black cock I was able to lay out all of the blocks on top of the existing brick work but first I put down a section of metal durra wall to help hold the thing together.

With the block in place we added anchor bolts and fully grouted all of the block openings and gave a nice level and smooth top to start the sill plate. On top of the pressure-treated sill, we added vertical two by sixes and pressure-treated endcaps at an angle to tie into the two sidewalls.

With a little push from the rail road jack, we could slide the rest of the studs into place. On the brick side of the end caps we added brick ties and as we build up with the bricks we could bend the ties on a place to tie the Brick-side walls in to the end caps.

Finally with a little more work, a few bricks and 250 pounds of mortar we have the side walls done.