Have you ever started a project and found it was 100 times more work than you expected? Well ~ that's where I find myself right now. This spring, I discovered that the corner of my screened porch was rotten. The wood under the paint was mushy and I knew it needed replaced. The people who built this porch before I moved in 23 years ago, did not use treated lumber.
Here is a picture of the side of the porch so you can see what it looked like before.
This is not the side I'm working on, but just wanted you to get an idea of what the before looked like. About ten years ago I had the plywood replaced and I added the trim to dress it up.
This is the corner that is rotten. It consists of three 2x4's and all three were rotten halfway down to the bottom.
I was so hoping it would be a minor repair and the rot would be only above the trim ~ not.
To make matters worse ~ the rot was in most of the 2x4's.
And so a long hot day of work began, tediously pulling things apart and replacing the wood, one post at a time.
Each time I replaced a piece and tried to nail it back in, I discovered the next piece had rot too. Trying to stay true to my new motto, "Replace and repair to the best of my ability and affordability", I realized that while the porch is torn apart, it was necessary to keep replacing each piece in the interest of structural stability.
Now the corner that I originally started with was sound at the top and since it consisted of the three 2x4's and was tied into my arbor, I cut out the bad wood at the bottom and then replaced it. If I had a husband or handyman, I would have torn out all of the three pieces, but I don't have either of those, so did the best thing I could do instead.
Not the best solution, but the best of my ability.
While up on the ladder I kept hearing a noise in the gutters. I thought it was just a bird pecking around in the gutter or at worst a squirrel. But when I kept hearing it and I was working and banging right there, I climbed a little higher to see over the gutter and this is what I found.
Can you see it ~ those two little beady eyes in the gutter?
That rip in the shingles represents where the wisteria on the arbor had grown through the shingle and up onto the roof. When I cut it out earlier this summer, I slipped a new shingle underneath the ripped ones to stop any water from leaking through, but underneath the wood was rotted and flaky. I was planning on covering it up with new wood when I worked on the porch, but now I have this new problem ~ mice inside the eaves. He was pulling crab apples out of the gutter and taking them into his nice little home (my home) for storage. Now I have to think about how to get him/them out of there before I close it up.
Anyways ~ at the close of the first day, this is how far I got.
Better than before, but still a long ways to go. The bottom and top will get treated plywood and trim, and the door needs replaced, it's frame and the cat door. Then I'm going to attempt to make my screens so they can be taken in and out for repair instead of being stapled to the frame.
I realize now, getting this side done right will probably be all that gets accomplished before winter and I'll have to wait until spring to tackle the other two sides. But at least now I know what to expect as I work my way around post by post.
If there's one thing I've learned this summer while working on my own home instead of working on furniture to sell ~ it's inspecting your gutters and downspouts regularly. I have found wisteria growing through the shingles, roots growing 18" up inside the downspout, mice, and wisteria laying on a gutter causing the high end to overflow during heavy rains, which ultimately led to this porch rot. During a heavy rain, take an umbrella and go outside to see where the gutters are overflowing and how the downspouts are draining. If you see any problems, don't put off dealing with them ~ a hard lesson learned.
I'm a mother of one "out-of-college" daughter, inheritor of one cat,a dog and four chickens, full time medical secretary, gardener, painter of furniture, fixer-upper and handy woman around my house, passionate about decorating, lover of flea markets and yard sales, restorer of old things, but most importantly, a daughter of God. Blogging is a way to journal and share my life, passions, and journey with anyone interested enough to follow along.