An End-of-Season Exterior Update

I am taking a short detour from posts about the One Room Challenge because it is finally time for a positive update about the exterior of BHH. At the beginning of the summer, I was a starry-eyed dreamer, expecting to call a contractor or two, and poof! All of my wishes would be fulfilled. I even wrote a post about how to find a good contractor. Please know that I still stand by what I wrote even though we went through a rough patch.

This summer, instead of follow-through, I got weeks of unreturned voicemail messages, unfulfilled promises to arrive to do the work and someone even went to jail. I was not born yesterday, so, fortunately, no money changed hands during all of this. Apparently, we are not the only folks in our area who had problems this year. After talking to many people, I discovered that it was a particularly poor year for contractor performance.

I had almost given up on the drainage and the sleeping porch projects when I got someone on the hook again. Eyeing the contractor’s promises through a more cynical lens, I did not hold my breath on the day he planned to arrive. Happily, my concerns were unfounded.

The Sleeping Porch & Roof

The sleeping porch and roof project was initially supposed to be a DIY. I ordered Hardie shingle siding and roofing supplies. Once I got into the demo, I realized that the job was more than I could handle. I am capable of learning new skills, but I did not have the time or physical strength to see it through.

Once our contractor got to work, the rot above the bifold doors quickly went from bad to worse.

He seemed surprised at how fast things went sideways on this project. Not me. I had been down this rabbit hole before.

The entire project took about four days. To cut costs, I only contracted him for the basic work sans paint. That is why the finished project looks so, well…unfinished. To me, it is beautiful.

We made some minor tweaks to the overall structure. The contractor changed the pitch of the roof under the sleeping porch to allow for better drainage. Also, once everything was opened up, I asked him to add R-30 insulation to the walls of the sleeping porch. The windows are still a drafty disaster, but insulation in the walls brings us one step closer to using the porch for all four seasons.

Also, we now have new shingles all the way to the ridge. Next summer or the summer after, we can get new shingles on the rest of the porch roof. There is no real hurry since the old ones are still in excellent condition.

Gutters!

This same contractor arranged for a separate company to put gutters on BHH. They are doing all of the finish work today, but so far, we are thrilled. The color matches the trim perfectly.

Can you see the new gutters? Barely, and that is exactly what we wanted.

Just to refresh your memory, BHH used to have gutters, but they were completely trashed by ice dams in 2014 and 2015. When we got a new roof in 2015, we left the gutters off the house to see how it fared without them. Everything was great until this spring when we got a ton of rain. It became clear that, without proper drainage, we were at risk of compromising the structural integrity of BHH. Obtaining gutters moved back to the top of the queue.

For our project, we asked for extended downspouts to divert the water away from BHH. Next summer, I will paint them all Hale Navy to match the house. We want them to blend in rather than stand out.

The company did a beautiful job working with the architectural elements of the house.

We added two additional downspouts which brings the total to six vs. the four we used to have. I look forward to seeing how these new gutters perform during the next rainstorm. That will be the real test.

So, that’s a wrap on most of this year’s exterior projects. Everything still looks a little unkempt and trashy around here, but we are two steps closer to curb appeal perfection. Next year, during the warm months, we will continue to improve the flowerbeds and finish painting the details. Now, everything is in place to hit the ground running as soon as the weather turns in our favor.

 

 

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