Pennsylvania Limestone Farmhouse Renovations to an 1863 farmhouse built of limestone

March 27, 2011

More Restoration – Roofs and Windows

Filed under: Deconstruction,Exterior,Stone house restoration — Duane Diefenbach @ 9:46 pm

Now that the old addition is down we now have 2 tasks at hand: 1) remove the soffit and roof on the old part of the house and then rebuild it into something that will stand the elements for (at least) the next 30 years, and 2) restore windows that are now exposed on the front of the house.

To fix the roof on the old part of the house we brought Lee Cowan back to remove the old (rotted) soffit and roofing (including all the bat guano and bird nests), tear down the cinder block chimney, remove the metal roof and install asphalt shingles (the original roof was cedar shakes but we can’t afford that right now), and then rebuild everything.

Here’s Lee and crew dealing with major rot around the old chimney.

You may ask, what is the black and gray box on the left side of the stone house? It’s a bat box. When I looked early this week it had 1 lonely small brown bat inside. And it has been miserably cold all week. Right now (9:50pm on 3/27/2011) there are no bats inside and it’s 29.5°F outside. I hope the poor little bugger knows how to find bugs in these conditions…

But back to the house. I have (at least) two competing tasks at hand. First, the house sparrows are very upset that the roof is being disturbed because this was a very good place to defend a territory, build nests, and raise young. We had holes into the attic on both sides of the house so we had male territories on both the north and south sides. But now that is changing fast and they need to look  elsewhere.

But birds are resourceful and the northern male discovered that he didn’t have to look far and under our porch (see left photo above) there is access to the insulated cathedral ceiling of the master bedroom.  Consequently, I now have to get the tongue and groove hemlock ceiling installed (easier said than done – I have to mill the tongue and groove boards, finish them, and then install them).

Second, I need to install windows in the old part of the house. The learning part for me is to figure out how the original carpenters installed the interior window trim BEFORE they plastered the walls. In some ways you don’t have to worry about details because the plaster can “fix” anything out of alignment. On the other hand, just how firmly attached and aligned does this carpentry have to be affixed?

Here’s my first attempt that trims the old passageway from the dining room to the old kitchen.

Upcoming posts should provide details on installing the porch ceiling and more progress on the roof before rain arrives mid-week. Stay tuned!

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