Category Archives: Dry Rot

Time lapse progress

This was all a week or so ago.  Nothing particular exciting or unusual about the process, other than the typical, “Oh, is the color too dark?  No, it is just right”.

Getting ready to prime

The prime coat

Color coat #1

Color coat #2


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Next house, I’m buying a pickup truck

Yesterday’s sewage issue is solved – thank you nice Roto Rooter man.  Yes, it was roots. Yes, I’ll be buying a new mop.

It raised a new-ish issue that the unused and turned off toilet in the laundry room downstairs is busted and leaks (clean) water.  These are not related other than the cleanup involved both of us jostling the toilet during mopping and dislodged whatever was barely holding the tank to the bowl.  He’s been threatening to officially cap the toilet for a while now – looks like that is on the list for the weekend.  The valve may be busted as well, which is a bigger job and one I don’t want to contemplate right now.

Back to the bedroom.  In preparation for finishing the bedroom, I had to go to the lumberyard to pick out new trim for windows, baseboards, and ceiling.  We aren’t putting in official crown moulding, but VHU (Very Helpful Uncle) suggested that we use a smaller casing about 3 inches down from the ceiling line and paint it and those 3 inches to match the ceiling to add the illusion of height.  A lovely idea.

The room dimensions are laughably small, but not so small that things that run horizontally along full walls are easy to transport.  My Honda can handle trim up to 10 feet if I put the seat down in the back and have it rest on the dashboard.  Naturally I needed 11.  (Well, 10 1/2, but I needed room for cutting errors.) The ceiling casing – which is a very plain cheapo molded casing – is very lightweight.  We stuck it out through the trunk, back seat, and then out the front passenger window.  I drove along as many side streets as I could.  Let’s just say if anyone was watching what I was doing, they clearly thought I was an idiot as the casing FLEW and bounced all around the front.  No, I didn’t tie it up.  Yes, I can see that I should have.  Oh well.

Next day, I got the baseboards at Home Depot and we (the dudes in the parking lot and I) wedged it against the sideview mirror.  That – coupled with the fact that the baseboards were much heavier – made for a safer driving experience for all.

Where is a Ford F150 when you need one?

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Day 28 – Sloppy workmanship


Not flush to the drywall


Yes, we’ve been working hard getting the room put back together. I’ll get to that in another post. The thing that is stuck in my craw is the framing they did around the window. It isn’t flush to the sheetrock – it sticks out.  See?

On the day that I worked on nailing up baseboards and window trim, we’d had a heat wave.  You can imagine how pleasant that makes me to be around generally, much less in a room where I have to keep the windows closed because of the smell of roofing tar. (Oh, I guess I’ll get to THAT in another other post.)

And for ALL that framing that is in the “new” wall? Where ARE the studs? I’ve made a dozen holes in my beautiful baseboards trying to find a piece of wood for a nail to catch. Grrrr…

I’ll let you know later how my handy dandy Japanese pull saw worked as I gently try to saw this piece of window framing flush to the wall so I can move on with completing my window trim. It will be a challenge to be certain I’m not going to damage the wall above it.

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We’re workin’ heyah…

I’ll be posting the photos and commentary on the most recent progress, but we’ve gotta eventually go back to sleeping in the bedroom, so I’ll focus on that and catch you up in a few days…

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Day #… whatever – OHAI!

They came back on Monday morning and they still have their hearing, which I think speaks well of my ability to control any leftover migraine rage about the wet sheetrock.  I recounted the weekend’s events to them, they pulled sheetrock, they told me that the hole that let the water in was somehow there all along – it was simply a new sheetrock seam which offered a low resistance to water that allowed us to see it.  Otherwise, we’d have had wet insulation and soaking sheetrock above our heads FOREVER. Ok, not forever, but until mold grew through.  Blech.

I pointed out the torn plastic and my belief that they could have done a better job protecting the gaping exposed parts of the roof.  I received an acknowledgement that perhaps they should have given me their cell number so I could have called them directly on Saturday.  I suppose we called it even, though it really sounds like I lost in that exchange.

We agreed that they’d let the wood dry out and they would return on Wednesday to apply the second coat of stucco and fix the big hunkin drywall hole so I could start priming and painting and – oh, I don’t know – sleeping in my bedroom.

End of day today (Wednesday):  the stucco looks great.  Brand spanking new.  Wanna see?


Rear view - pretty stucco



Check out the roofline - so SHINY!



The less exciting but still well done side view


Remember how I said that the sheetrock was going to be done today.  Yeah, not so much.  They ran out of time.  Tomorrow they arrive in the morning to apply the spray on texture  THEN do my sheetrock.  I hope.

In the meantime, has anyone seen Ceiling Cat?  Tell him I said OHAI!


An Ceiling Cat sayed, im in ur waterz makin a ceiling. But he no yet make a ur. An he maded a hole in teh Ceiling. An Ceiling Cat doed teh skiez with waterz down An waterz up. It happen.


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Day 18 – Thin plastic does not a downspout make

Light rain Friday night into Saturday morning.  Very light – not enough to wash the sidewalk chalk off the front walkway.  The migraine was fully entombed in my skull – still beating out the rhythm of the previous day’s tunes and the silent screams of “get out of my house” that ran as the refrain in my mind all afternoon Friday while I waited for the work crew to leave.

We needed primer for the walls to “freshen” and cover the new drywall, so we spent 30 minutes in the room measuring for new trim and making plans for how the weekend’s work would play out.  At some point after the 30 minutes I remembered to go back in the room and carefully look at the seam of ceiling-meets-wall because I hadn’t thought it looked very neat when I saw it on Friday.  After some careful staring – remember that migraine? – my heart sunk.

That wasn’t as-yet-to-dry joint compound.  It was water.  We had a leak.  All along the seam-line of the ceiling patch of drywall.

Ok, get out the ladder and up I go on the roof.  These clowns did manage to put plastic over the work area, but ripped a hole where the downspout of the roof is to allow the water to drain off the roof.  Great.  Did they tape it down?  Do something to stop the water from trickling back under the ripped spot to sit in the low spot on the roof?  No.  Did they NAIL the plastic down and do some sort of curler thing with 2by4’s that made it impossible for me to UNDO it to drain the water off the roof properly? Why yes.  Yes, they did.

Now we have wet sheet rock.  No, no one returned our phone call yesterday.  Yes, tomorrow I will insist they show up with a new piece of sheet rock and pull off the wet section – let it dry for a day – and put up a replacement piece on Tuesday.  Is any of this a function of the legitimate work they did on the house?  No.  It was Friday afternoon laziness.  I noticed a house on the next block up that is having extensive work done – they had tons of nice tarping over their house.  I guess my expectations were too high.

I’m including some photos of the roof line in progress:

The tear-off and repair starts at the roof line

More blech in progress

First level of waterproofey improvement

The yawning downspout of death

Paper & Wire, up and over the top

A neighbor's nicely tarped house

Our little plastic cover - back view

Downspout punched through plastic - looks more hooptie on the inside of the roofline

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Days 8 thru 17 – I WANT MY HOUSE BACK

I dutifully took pictures daily to chronicle the progress.  I suppose I composed the corresponding blog posts in my head because neither seem to be here.  Too bad you can’t read any of it – genius stuff, I assure you.  Nevertheless, I’ll correct my omission as best I can.

Let’s see, lots of work.  All the rotted framing was replaced on that 15 linear foot run (10 on the side 5 in the back).  Earthquake retrofitting was done – bolting that part of the house well and thoroughly to the foundation, strapping the crawl space walls to the first floor, and much sheer walling with thousands of nails.  The framing  area that meets the foundation was double flashed – first with a tacky tar peel-off sticky stuff and then with metal flashing over it.  NO WATER is coming in at the bottom.  Not that this was really an issue, but I suppose better than creating a new issue.  And the inspector insisted, so the foreman did it.

Brand new insulation was put in – pulverized blue jeans!  Cool stuff.  There was some verbal back and forth about the window sill and the framing underneath it and whether that was covered in the original contract.  I invoked the likelihood of finding fingerprints of the project manager (who incidentally hasn’t been on the property ONCE since this project started) on the rotted wood and it was magically covered under the contract.  Two days later, the foreman talks about how my name has been going around the office a lot over this issue.  I was uncomfortable with that.  If I’m going to be accused of throwing a hissy fit, I’d at least like to actually THROW one.  I guess someone’s got one coming then… stay tuned.

Sort of out of order, but since the contract is paid against milestones reached, it took me by surprise that they were so fixated on having the framing inspection done despite their lack of ability to show up and do a full day’s worth of work during those first 10 days.  I was late to the party on the concept but it was all made clear when I got the invoice with the pretty pink sticky note.

What else?  The paper and wire went up – this is the tar paper barrier and the chicken wire that holds the stucco in place.  Another inspection, another check.  The first coat of stucco – called a scratch coat – went up on Thursday (day 16) and they re-did the sheetrock in the bedroom on Friday (day 17).

These guys have shit taste in music by the way.   And they don’t remember to turn off the stupid radio when they go to lunch, so I’m stuck in the house with who-the-hell-knows-what blasting through the bedroom wall.  By day 17, I’d hit my limit of “PEOPLE” being in my house and am quite sad that they’ll be back Monday morning to do some more interior work.


Ground level insulation and framing

Bedroom wall framing

Sheer wall

Insulation & the interior view of the new framing

Look at the beautiful hunk o' wood above the window

Paper and wire

New sheetrock

Stucco scratch coat - side view

Stucco scratch coat - side view

Stucco scratch coat - back view

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