Monday, May 27, 2013

Anybody have a giant can opener?

I need a giant can opener. After a great breakfast at a local restaurant, and two cups of high-test coffee (the first I've had in months), I came home and decided not to spend the time writing, like I'd planned. 

Instead, I decided to remove ONE length of the aluminum siding on the back of our house just to see how awful the wood underneath looked. More than 6 hours later, I'd uncovered some of the original narrow pine ship-lap siding (in great shape) and some surprise insulation. Like Husband says, I have no OFF button. 

 I'm thinking it would go much easier with a really large can opener, though. :-)

The back of the house, before removing the rotten trellises and half the metal siding. That was almost two years ago.  Now the bed in front of the little shrubs is filled with blooming perennials and natives.  You can see it in the next photos.
 I have added "metal siding" to my list of Things Not to Allow When Pondering a House to Buy.  I know, that's not very grammatical, but anyway...  This stuff was The Thing back in the 60's when everybody HAD to have aluminum siding.  Now, it's just a dented place for the bugs and geckos to hide.  AND the horrible white foam insulation (like a flat ice chest) makes great munchies for those giant roaches.

Now, the problem is how to remove the rest of it.  This whole house is covered in metal--even the rafter tails. UGH and UGH.  

I finally got more photos of the Great Siding Removal Fiasco Project.  It's obvious to us that we won't be able to finish this by ourselves. We don't do well on very tall ladders, especially when yanking out nails and wrestling with 12-foot long lengths of sharp metal.  So, we're doing what we can reach right now and hope for the best later.

I was really motivated to get this back door trim uncovered and can't wait to paint it.  In the process, we found an unexpected hole in the wall.  Husband says it's probably where the electrical circuit box used to be.  Makes sense.  Luckily, we have leftover pieces of this siding from the great greenhouse removal of last year.

It's hard to see any difference, but the original antique pine (still painted) is underneath the windows and to the left and right of the door.  You can see a bit of the metal siding to the left of the small awning, to the right of the door.  The original pine clapboard siding is much narrower (and hard as a rock, I might add.) There was a very thin layer of foam insulation under the metal on top of the wood.

You can see a bit of the metal siding peeled up to the left of the window.  From that point up, the entire house is encased in aluminum---every scrap of wood, every corbel and rafter tail.  We don't even really know what the house looks like underneath, although other houses nearby give us some good clues.

 In order do maneuver around the door and railings, we had to remove the old white wooden trellises to both sides of the porch.  That was sad, but they were rotted and about to break in two anyway.  I do miss the feeling of enclosure they gave me on the porch, but we'll do something to compensate later on.

In this photo, all of the reachable metal siding has been removed.  We're pondering extending the back porch all along the back of the house to the left to make a small greenhouse area/deck.  I hate to remove those awnings, but there are plenty on the rest of the house--believe me. Also, we'll probably raise the porch roof about a foot so the whole length of it is on top of the windows.


bobbi c.


Kaye George said...

Wow, this is quite a project! Good luck with it.

Bobbi Chukran, Author/Illustrator & Award-Winning Playwright said...

Thanks, Kaye! Yep, that's the last time I say "I want a house that nobody else wants." LOL. We could have left the aluminum siding there--it would have lasted way past our lifetime, but I got so sick of looking at the wood wrapped in chalky white metal. I want to paint this baby! LOL

Kaye George said...

We'll likely have to change the siding on our house in our lifetime, unless we don't live too much longer. It won't be a DIY project, though. Our siding is masonite, but was fixed up just before we moved in. It's not the ideal material in this damp climate. Our fingers are crossed.

Bobbi Chukran, Author/Illustrator & Award-Winning Playwright said...

Some of the Masonite stuff will last forever, but some won't. I once lived in a condo with it, and after ten years, it still looked good.

Kaye George said...

I have looked up the history and I think that the siding in the year our house was built is some of the better stuff. Good news! It's well painted right now, so we have to keep that up.

Bobbi Chukran, Author/Illustrator & Award-Winning Playwright said...

Good news! Yes, definitely keep it painted, especially any edges that might get wet, like the undersides at the bottom, around windows, etc. You might have what they call T-111, which is the stuff that was on my condo. It paints up well, too, and holds the paint for years longer than regular wood.