Thursday, September 22, 2011

Renovating the back porch

This has been my biggest time-consuming project in a long time, taking up much of September, and it's not quite finished yet. The back porch was just a deck before we bought the place, and somewhere back along the line someone added an almost flat roof over it. Then 2-3 years ago, I closed in about 2/3 of it with insulated walls and a temp door, for junk storage space.

Over time, the roof leaked and everything in that room was a moldy mess and a haven for mice. (I never was out there again, as nothing of mine was stored in the space... so I didn't know it leaked.) In early September, my sister and I decided to renovate it properly so we could actually use the space, plus put both freezers out there, freeing valuable floor space in the house. 

That meant throwing out ruined stuff, cleaning up all the mice mess and mold, fixing the leaky roof, cutting a hole for a window, putting in new vinyl flooring, wiring it for a light and receptacles for the freezers, sealing everything tightly against mice, installing an operable window for both ventilation and daylight and a good insulated door... then painting the wafer board walls. That wafer board stuff really sucks up paint! In the photo above, the end wall and half the left wall both have 3 coats of paint; the lower half on the left only has 2 coats in the photo.

Money being tight, I bought an insulated window sans frame at the Habitat Restore, and enough finish lumber to build a frame to make the window operable for summer ventilation. I haven't gotten to that task yet. Nor have I crawled under the house to run power to the new wiring. There never seems to be enough hours to do all the tasks.

My roof repair was: remove old shingles that had decomposed, put down a layer of new felt, and new flashing, plus roofing cement at the potential leaky places. Unfortunately, It still leaks in the open porch area, but thankfully not in the renovated room! By Spring we should have enough money to buy rafters, plywood and shingles to add a properly pitched roof over the flat roof. I think I still remember how, although the prospect does not thrill me.

Meanwhile, the smaller but still leaking area has a shower curtain fastened to the underside of the porch ceiling to channel the drips out over the railing. It's a Rube Goldberg attempt, but so far it works fairly well. I just want to get it all finished so I can get back to my fall garden projects.

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