Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Not so level-headed

Been celebrating my 50th birthday over the last couple of weeks -- I call it Betseyfest -- so I haven't been as diligent about projects.

My brother and sister visited prior to my birthday. Part of their gift was to help me with one little project -- installing new closet doors.

Sliding doors, from Lowe's, check.

Tools, check.

Level framed opening? Not so check.

My brother was determined to make it work. So out came the shims. A few (six, seven, who's counting?) shims later, we leveled the top frame. He fudged the bottom by cutting it at a small angle, and I provided the know-how to plug the bottom of the hollow doors (thank you, DIY Network!).

I just need to put a piece of wood to cover the framing, but it looks pretty good.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Operation Siding Transplant: Update

I began Operation Siding Transplant last week. So far, so good. So good, that in fact, I decided to add Operation Insulation, MacGyver style.

A couple of nights ago, I started peeling away some damaged siding, and I dutifully began fitting the donor siding in the empty space. Thankfully, they fit, but I didn't nail them in just yet.

I was thinking, Hey, while I've got the outside cavity open, why don't I look at the options of adding insulation? A couple of minutes on the Internets, and I had a plan.

The next morning I called the insulation company I used to blanket my attic. The salesman said they didn't do retrofit work, but explained how to get it done.

First, I peeled away a few more boards of siding to reveal some of the framing toward the top and the bottom.

Next, I unfurled the insulation (kraft paper backed, 23 inches wide, and 3 1/2 in depth) and began cutting to size. I got the right size by fishing my measuring tape into the cavity. After cutting the insulation to match the cavity, I slowly stuffed it in. On the full lengths, I stuffed them in increments, so I didn't have too long of a piece to navigate through the hole.

I'm about finished -- still have to stuff the space above the windows and figure out how to get into spaces that now are obstructed by pipes (such as a kitchen vent), but I'm pretty confident I can finish this up, button up the holes with the donor siding, then prime and paint. And voila, I will have three sides of my house painted.

Some tips:
-- I'm in the South, but the insulation folks recommended that I buy insulation with a vapor barrier, and face that toward the interior walls.
-- I hope the wood studs don't sweat and cause condensation within the cavity.
-- Don't work on insulation when it's 90 degrees out. Oy.
-- Take a break, so you don't make mistakes out of sheer exhaustion.