Archive for the 'exterior' Category

Open Concept Is In Right?

Step one was done. The chimney and two fireplaces were gone after a long sweaty weekend of removing 15 tons of block, brick, & rubble. With a new 20 yard dumpster delivered it was on to step two of the demo. Flannel Man & Papa Flannel had a week off to start the demo off right. First the long wall between the master bedroom and the living room was removed.

That was our master bedroom and closet.

Next up the master bath demo.

If you leaned just right you could see the TV in the living room from the master bathroom toilet. Talk about open concept!

A view of the future master bath which will extend all the way to the left wall.

With the fireplace removed we’ll be able to expand the closet. The master bedroom will be smaller but the closet will be bigger. With a built-in storage system I think it will work out just fine.

Day 4 complete.

When we tore out the fireplaces we found that there were no joist hangers used in this important area. We added them to every joist we could reach. Of course the angled floor joist hangers cost 3 times as much as the straight ones and cost $100 just for this small area!

Raising a floor joist to restore the correct alignment.

This area of the living room will be the future master bedroom and closet.

No more big hole to fall through!

Removing the last little bit of the basement fireplace.

End of Day 5. The concrete block stacked in the corner we saved.

Day 6 was for window reframing! Hmpf this is the only decent picture Flannel Man took all day. But trust me there were temporary walls built to support the trusses as the exterior load bearing walls were reframed.

Here’s what I saw when I came home that night. Previously the bedroom window with one of the new bedroom windows on the left and the new bathroom window on the right.

The previous living room window with the second bedroom window on the right.


The future master bathroom windows. The slider is staying roughly the same size so no framing needed to be changed.

No wonder we would find bugs in this corner of our bedroom! There was a huge woodpecker hole complete with stick nest in the wall. When the second owners resided it 10 years ago they didn’t seal up the hole. It kept the birds out but still allowed determined bugs in.

Patching up the old window locations.

We are planning on residing the house in the future so we want to be able to remove the new windows without tearing out drywall. To do this we removed the interior frame and used the pre-drilled holes instead of using the metal clips.

Master bedroom windows.

For the master bath we went with fiberglass windows purely because condensation is an issue when you mix humidity + cold winters even with ventilation. My parents have mold issues on their wood windows because of repeated condensation. Running around every day wiping off the condensation gets old fast!

Re-hanging the siding. Luckily we had some left over siding pieces that were left from the previous owner. We were able to reuse almost every piece.

For the wood windows (Marvin Ultimate) we upgraded to a chunky exterior trim and sill. It’s made out of extruded aluminum and comes already attached to the windows. The cost was comparable to cellular PVC trim like Azek but it won’t become brittle when exposed to cold weather or sunlight like PVC. Plus we didn’t need to worry about waterproofing issues!

The only problem was that the fiberglass Integrity windows don’t have an exterior trim option so we needed to copy the design with some PVC trim. We don’t expect these windows or trim to last as long as the Ulitmates with aluminum trim but we’d rather deal with replacing them in 10 years or so instead of dealing with the condensation every winter.

We didn’t want to delay putting the siding back up so Flannel Man and I spent the night running back and forth between Menard’s and Home Depot to find the closest sized trim. To match the angle on the top of the sill we screwed some composite shims between two pieces of trim and then ran the piece through a table saw to square it up. After some notching to fit around the nailing fins I hung out of the window holding the trim in place while Flannel Man screwed it in.

On the right is the Marvin Ultimate window with the aluminum trim and on the left is the Marvin Ingrety with the PVC trim we made to match. I think we did a pretty good job matching the other windows! Don’t you think?

We Finally Found Our Garage Doors!

You know you’re a remodeler when you get excited about garage doors. But after 3 months of searching and 2 months of waiting we almost have our doors!

Our number one requirement in a garage door was a high R value. Because our garage is actually part of our basement it is surrounded by space we heat and cool. Our dining room is one of the coldest rooms in our house in the winter and that is due to the fact that it’s directly over our garage. The garage also has two doors that lead to the interior and though they are sealed they still transfer a lot of air between the spaces. When we started looking into getting new garage doors we were surprised to realize that it is common to have little to no insulation in garage doors. While garages aren’t a conditioned space they can provide a nice buffer between your home and the outside so why wouldn’t you insulate them as much as possible? Granted we do live in an area that gets to be -10°F or lower in the winter so we take every step we can to insulate our house. Since the doors face south we also wanted them to have windows to provide light to the space so of course we wanted insulated windows also.

Our second requirement was looks. When you drive up to our house all you see is our garage door (soon to be doors) and our dining room windows. You can’t even see our front door. So having attractive and inviting garage doors was important to us. Originally, we were going to get a standard white door with some windows. Sounds nice enough right? But then I started looking online at house exteriors and I soon realized that I was drawn to houses that had a contrast between the garage door color and the exterior trim. Since we have and want to stay with white trim I wanted to spice things up and go with a dark garage door. But picking a color now for our garage doors when we don’t even have our future siding colors picked seemed like a color mishap waiting to happen. We do know that we both want dark wood front and possibly side doors so we thought it would be easiest to coordinate with that.

But real wood doors were not an option for us because our last requirement was that the doors were low maintenance. We didn’t want to have to stain a door every other year or try to prevent rotting and cracking so we needed a steel door. So the search was on for a well insulated, attractive steel garage door painted to look like wood that had windows…

After doing some searching I found the perfect door. There aren’t many companies that make steel doors that are painted to look like wood. I was so excited I called to get some quotes only to find out they don’t make the door in our size! Because our garage is on the same level with our basement it is much shorter than the standard garage of today. We need two single doors that are 9 feet wide and 6.5 feet tall and that short height isn’t very common anymore. So we got quotes from every other option that would fit our door. But no door met all of our requirements. We were bummed and decided to wait on buying garage doors for a while (this was back in April).

Then one day in June we got “the call” from one of the garage door installers we had gotten a quote from. In response to customer complaints (one of which was probably us) Clopay had decided to start manufacturing 6 ½ foot tall doors in their Gallery style! They were going to start manufacturing them in mid-July so we ordered two right away. Our new doors will be installed next Monday! Here are some pictures of Clopay’s Gallery collection:

Our door’s specs in case anyone is looking to get something similar:

  • Two 9’ x 6.5’doors
  • R-value = 17
  • Insulated glass windows
  • Dark Oak Ultra Grain paint
  • Short grooved panel design
  • Four plain square windows per door (no grilles)
  • Semi-carriage style appearance
  • Standard spade lift handles

I’ll update with before and after pictures as soon as they are in so stay tuned.


This is the story of two twenty something newlyweds who are learning to adjust to life in their first house, a 1973 fixer-upper.
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