Rot & Relief

The last month has really been a roller coaster ride. Our insurance deadline is today, and after countless days and nights of work, I sent in the pictures of all our hard labor and waited. After three hours of very tense silence, I finally got the email back - the improvements pass inspection, and our insurance is saved! Huzzah! That is an amazing load off my chest. We still have a lot of work to do, getting all the trim painted, getting the last bits finished - but I don't have a looming deadline hanging over me. No longer will I feel guilty for going to bed at 11:00 at night, instead of staying up until midnight - or later. Nor will I feel guilty for taking off a whole day! God really, really came through for us - as did all our friends!

Let me just take a moment to mark something off my todo list:
Roof: repaired. Done.


All that being said, now we can take a deep breath before we get back to work! I think the first "next task" is getting rid of the rotting supports, and replacing them with something a little more stable. I've been trying to think of a good way to do that, and I may have come up with a way.

The Problem

There are four porches on the front of the house: NE top, NE bottom, NW top, and NW bottom. Each porch has has six supports. The top porches support the roof, and the bottom porches support the top porches. Of the porch supports, two are built into the wall, and have no rot whatsoever - nor do I expect any. They are made of cypress, after all. The other supports, however, are pine, and not nearly as robust. Still, the upper NW porch has no rot that I can find. The upper NE porch has one bad support, from constant dripping water. Some from the badly-installed drain, but oddly enough, some from the trees, too - I don't know why, but the trees at that corner leak water. There is a constant cooling rain just at that corner of the house... refreshing, but not wood friendly.
The lower NW porch has quite a few rotted supports - one at both ends, one at the top, and one at the bottom. The lower NE porch has one that's rotten all the way up, but only on one side, and a second (under the 'raining tree') that is rotted all the way through, and looks like it may blow away at any moment. It is by far the worst of the lot. To make it worse, much of the wood around it is rotten as well, from top to bottom. We will have to recreate the crumbling accents, as the bits that are there now are nothing but paint-shells full of dust.
As for the rotten supports, they will need a little design as well; each support is made of three boards. The center board has square edges, but the other two boards that sandwich it have the edges trimmed. It gives it a good look, but it'll be interesting to match.

The solution

First, I'm shutting down access to the NE porch completely. If something does give way, I don't want anyone to be near it.
Second, I'm actually going to start with the other porch; it's the main access to the house, and the supports there are still mostly sound. A little rot here and there is easier to fix than trying to replace an entire corner. I'll need to get all the wood, first, of course, as well as a heavy-duty support board, something that can hold things in place while I work. I'll attach that board right beside the rotten board I'm replacing, nail it in place, then pull down the existing support. Once I have a support, I can design a template that will go over the replacement support. It will simply drop over an edge, and I can use my belt sander to sand it into the right shape. Shaping the replacement boards should be easy; I'm planning on manufacturing all the boards I need before I go about replacing anything. Then all I need to do is slap them in place, put in some super-heavy-duty nails, and my porches will be safe for all! That's the plan, anyway.

TODO: Everything else

There are a lot of things I need to do. Lots of tiny things, and lots of huge things. I have electrical work, plumbing work, carpentry work, and every other kind of work associated with houses... but now that I'm out from under that deadline, it's not as much work as it used to be. Funny how that works, eh?

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