Weekend Warriors

Some people use weekends to relax, take a break from work, and do nothing.

Then there’s my husband, and our house.

With the second floor of the addition removed, as shown in the mid-addition house tour, this weekend went into full swing to get the new second floor erected. As a reminder, this is what the house looked liked with the old addition in tact (minus roof).

While I took care of some things inside the house and the garden, the guys worked on the layout of the walls and roof. Since we’re going to have exposed collar ties (those beams that you sometimes see across rooms) it was extra important to have everything look perfect. You know, and for structural reasons.

With section one of the first wall complete, Andy and I made sure we liked the height (approximately eight feet).

We both agreed it was tall, but we liked it. So up went the other sections. Oh, and if it looks like we’ve attached the boards between the original house and the new house improperly I can assure you it’s correct. When you look down it looks a little more like this.

When putting up the wall between the original house and addition we had to watch the chimney. Even though we’re going to re-top it in brick, we aren’t removing it. Without the roof helping to hold it in place it is slightly wobbly so one wrong slam with the wall could have potentially done some damage.

I don’t want you to think this was all cake and ice cream. I know sometimes tv shows and blogs make it look like this stuff is extremely easy, but it’s not. A big challenge of adding on to an old existing house, especially one that has already had an addition added on, is the fact that nothing is level. Trying to make everything as true as possible is definitely a huge part of this, and it takes a lot of discussion and math. To get the walls even between the second floor of the new addition, and the second floor of the old addition, was fairly intensive.

With the calculations complete and the shims tacked in place so the walls would be as true as possible, it was time to lift the walls Andy and Casey built.

The wall looked pretty good, but it deemed one more check of plumb and level.

Both the boys and Winnie considered this moment a success: the boys for the two hardest walls being complete and true, and Winnie for snack attacking dinner scraps.

On Sunday morning Andy and Casey put up some more structural bracing to straighten the walls.

Once the walls were straightened, the top plate was put on. This top plate keeps the walls straight, and is what you secure the rafters to. The top plate is made of 2×4’s and secured to the top of the wall. In the photo below it’s the lighter of the two pieces of wood. Rosie even likes it. I’m telling you, this dog loves renovations.

The focus of the rest of Sunday was laying out and cutting the rafters. Andy and Casey took a bit to decide on the pitch they wanted, and what that meant for cuts.

When all was said and done, the guys hand cut 70 rafters. Seventy. Seven. Zero. That is a lot of rafters.

During this entire weekend, we needed to eat. And what better than smoke some food right in the driveway?

Rosie was hanging out with us most of the day, and once she smelled the smoker going she got pretty excited.

The girls realized they weren’t getting any smoked chicken, so they snuggled right on down…on the jobsite.

Who needs a dog bed when you have plywood and dirt?

We had heard there may be thunderstorms, and we were a little concerned given there was no protector between the rain and our house. With no roof to divert the rain, the joint between the additions and original house was susceptible to water leakage. At about 2:30am we heard what sounded like a waterfall. Make that multiple waterfalls.

It “leaked” (down-poured) in the first floor of the new addition.It leaked in the first floor of the old addition.

Some of these photos were during the night before it started pouring in even more, and some of them were this morning after it was cleaned up some. I couldn’t get photos during the worst of it because the rain started coming into our office, where not only my soaps are stored, but where everything that can’t get wet is stored. I was pretty furiously trying to save my soaps (thankfully I did, I only lost a few) but also to make sure that we could stop the water. All I remember at this point was saying “the back of the shelf is saturated, we can knock it out” and two seconds later Andy ninja punched it and it fell out in one piece.

You see where the rain is all pouring in? Yep. That shelf is where I stored my product for Green Barn Soaps.

Andy threw some rigid insulation in from the other side to channel the water into the old addition and into a garbage can so we could keep the water away from everything in the office. A mahogany desk, heirlooms and walnut side tables don’t exactly appreciate water infiltration.

On a side note, I realized this morning that my office had never had so much natural light. Even if it’s temporary, it’s kind of nice. Despite all of this, the only real casualty of the rain was our front door. The wood around it swelled up and I had to do the foot-on-the-wall-pull-real-hard maneuver to get it to open this morning. It’s a good thing this door is out of here anyway! I’m very thankful we didn’t sustain much damage, because it was a heavy rainstorm. My heart is with people who have experienced flooding or any other natural disaster. If we hadn’t woken up when we did, we would have sustained some pretty serious damage to a lot of our important items.

After cleaning up as much as we could, we went back to bed and laid there and I just laughed-and then I passed out, and woke up late for work. It’s definitely one of those renovation stories that will always be a lot more fun to tell down the line. Now let’s hope the rain tonight holds off, I’m not up for a repeat performance.

It’s all worth it.



4 thoughts on “Weekend Warriors

  1. Keeping my fingers crossed for you. That must have been an adrenaline filled night after a very hard day.

    1. Aww thanks. It’s all in the name of renovations, so that makes it all worth it.


  2. Ooooh gosh, renovations in old homes can be the pits! We’re only one room in, but as a result, our level bathroom floor sits about 3 inches higher than our wacky kitchen floor.

    I’m glad you guys woke up in time to save your furniture from the rain!

    1. Haha they are the pits, but I sort of love it. That’s a crazy huge difference between flooring, hopefully once you’re further in you can fix it. I would trip over it constantly haha.


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