Just a note – I might not post on a particular schedule, but I promise I’m back. No more giant spans of time missing from action around these parts!
As I mentioned last week, I’m shifting priorities to the front of my house because the City of Newark has taken me to court over a few things.
What things? I’m glad you asked. There are 4 specific violations.
- Peeling paint
- Rust & loose newel posts
- Rotted wood
- “Hole in porch”
And here’s what things look like now, after I’ve started demo -
Things always look worse before they look better, right?
The peeling paint is really a by-product of the wood rotting & the cast iron rusting. As you can see, I’ve already removed most of the rotted bits.
The eyebrows above the front 2 windows are actually metal (cast iron, I believe). Both have been scraped and the far right one has had about 50% of it wire brushed. Time to break out the big(ger) guns. Just scraping & wire brushing is too time consuming.
The missing concrete is (I think) my “hole in porch”.
As you can see, I’ve already started chipping away at the loose pieces and prepping it to be patched.
The iron newel posts are loose and one is rotting away at the bottom.
I’ve spent the better part of 2013 thinking about how to address these issues and what exactly needs to get done. Here’s what’s on the old TO DO list:
- Blast/Strip/Sand/Remove old paint from the wood, as well as the paint and rust from the cast iron.
This is obviously easier said than done. There is A LOT of surface area to strip before I can get down to a good solid surface. I’m also dealing with the highly likely possibility of having lead paint. I haven’t tested but c’mon; the house is OLLLLLLD. Like ‘feed your babies lead for breakfast’ old.
The paint-removal part of the prep is honestly the biggest job of the whole thing. Literally everything needs to be stripped &/or sanded down.
- Fix newel posts & have a gate made.
This is probably a job for the pros. I don’t know how to work with cast iron and repairing ye-old-newel-posts is not a job for a noob ironwork DIYer. I also want to have a gate fabricated. Back in 2009 (yup. 3.5 years ago!), we miraculously found the perfect piece to make a gate from but never got around to it. My circumstances may have changed but the house might finally get its gate back. Here’s a pic of where I should have a gate, along with a pic of the neighbors who do.
- Patch the concrete.
This one is relatively straight forward. The inspector doesn’t want to see the bricks peeking out from underneath the stone step? Fine. I’ll patch the hole – when it gets warm enough. Have I mentioned February in NJ might not be the BEST time to tackle a major outside project?
- Replace the rotted pieces of wood in the stoop surround & rebuild.
This. This is going to be interesting. Part of this is already in the works but that’s going to be a whole other post. All I have to say is – my mother is one clever woman.
- Get new windows.
Like how I just snuck this one in there? New windows aren’t a stranger to the overall House-To Do list. I actually talked about pulling the trigger on some back in 2010 (when there was a MUCH better tax credit than there is now. whomp whomp.). Needless to say, we didn’t get windows and they’ve only gotten worse. If you’re sitting on the couch in the living room, you can hear perfectly clear a conversation happening out on the sidewalk. Not a screaming match on the sidewalk – a normal conversation at a regular volume. SO yeah. Maybe new windows while we’re at it. (HEYYYYYYYYY, Project Creep!!)
Finally. Paint = Project is almost done! It’s a victory to get this far. After conquering the other tasks, I will relish painting. Now, if the weather would only do me a favor and get itself above 50 degrees. You can’t paint (or strip, for that matter) when it’s 30 degrees and snowing.
The most challenging part of this whole process has been the weather. The chemical stripper is to be used at temperatures between 65-85 degrees F and paint is supposed to be 50+ degrees F. Jersey isn’t exactly an arctic zone but we don’t usually see those kinds of temperatures in January & February. But, of course, the city doesn’t much care. I brought up the whole ‘you can’t paint below 50 degrees’ thing the last time I was in court. It wasn’t met with much sympathy. In fact, the prosecutor looked me in the eye and said, “Well they build houses in the winter all the time.”
Did I mention I go back to court February 25? I don’t have to have it completed by then but I do have to show progress – freezing temperatures & snow be damned. If you want sneak peeks at how things are going, you can follow me on Instagram.
So. I that’s what I’m working on figuring out how to do. Build this house in the dead of winter.