60 feet of gutter, 155 feet of leaf guard

We’re coming up on nine months in the house. Startling to think time passes that quickly.

Two things we’ve learned include:

  1. We need a gutter at the front of the house. Water cascades when it rains off the upper roof, hits the lower roof over the front door, and you get soaked stepping to and from the front porch.
  2. We need leaf guards at the gutters on the kitchen side of the house. We will need leaf guards at the new front gutter. The oak trees that surround the house start dropping acorns in September. They rain against the roof with sharp retorts that scare the puppy. Then, in the existing gutters at the side of the house, the acorns collect by the thousands; this will repeat at the new front gutter, under that canopy of mature oaks. Steven has had to climb up to the roof and blow out the acorns twice already — and it’s only early November.

A call to M&R Seamless Gutters brings them back to Emerald Hill to calculate an estimate, which Steven approves. Adriel and Simon arrive about 4 pm Wednesday. The sun is already low in the Fall sky. They set to work. As it got darker, Steven fished a work light out of the garage to help them see and work safely in the dark. 

Here’s a photo essay.

Adriel holds one of the sections of leaf guard -- a metal mesh that allows water through to the gutter.
Adriel holds one of the sections of leaf guard — a metal mesh that allows water through to the gutter.
Adriel borrowed Steven's camera to shoot this photo of several leaf guard sections screwed into place atop the garage.
Adriel borrowed Steven’s camera to shoot this photo of several leaf guard sections screwed into place atop the garage.
Mario, at back, set up the brake machine and the roll of metal, and the machine spit out 60 feet of seamless gutter.
Mario, at back, set up the brake machine and the roll of metal, and the machine spit out 60 feet of seamless gutter.
Mario, at left, and Adriel carry 60 feet of freshly formed gutter to the house.
Mario, at left, and Adriel carry 60 feet of freshly formed gutter to the house.
And up it goes. Mario at right. Adriel at left. The sun went down. It got pitch black. They kept screwing the gutter to the house, working by lights built into the electric drills. They finished with the downspouts and leaf guards after 7 pm.
And up it goes. Mario at right. Adriel at left. The sun went down. It got pitch black. They kept screwing the gutter to the house, working by lights built into the electric drills. They finished with the downspouts and leaf guards after 7 pm.

Transforming the garage floor

We built a third garage bay with a storage loft above and enough space at the back for a workshop.

But the floor of the original garage was covered with what we suspect was cheap, 50-year-old, red linoleum tile that was glued down.  Someone apparently used the garage as a rec room during the history of the house.

Ranserve hacked away at the tile and glue for days. The glue just would not come up.

We opted to cover it with roll-out floor mats that we used at Sea Eagle, and we used heavy cardboard Ramboard to extend a walking path to the cars from the mudroom door into the garage — because if you walk on the glue, you will stick to the glue and drag it all over the house and into the cars.

With a recommendation from Ranserve, Steven hired Monty Patton and Krystal Flooring to grind clean the glue and top layer of concrete.

Monty, Jose and Roberto arrived about 930 am and finished about 4 pm.

Here’s a photo essay.

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A “before” shot. The yellow and brown crud is the glue. Heavy cardboard still laid on the floor as a walkway.

Another "before" shot.
Another “before” shot.
A closeup of the glue and crap. You can still see the pattern of the 12x12 tiles.
A closeup of the glue and crap. You can still see the pattern of the 12×12 tiles.
On his knees, Monty uses a heavy grinder to test clean a small section of the floor. Jose supervises.
On his knees, Monty uses a heavy grinder to test clean a small section of the floor. Jose supervises.
Jose takes over the heavy grinder and works by hand while Roberto navigates the big grinder back and forth across larger sections of floor.
Jose takes over the heavy grinder and works by hand while Roberto navigates the big grinder back and forth across larger sections of floor.
Shot from the other direction, Roberto on the large grinder, Jose on his knees grinding by hand.
Shot from the other direction, Roberto on the large grinder, Jose on his knees grinding by hand.
Working into the back corner on the side of the garage where Steven parks.
Working into the back corner on the side of the garage where Steven parks.
And finally into the far back end of the garage.
And finally into the far back end of the garage.
With the glue gone, with the bare concrete exposed for the first time since maybe the 1970s, it's time to spread and apply a hardener to the naked concrete.
With the glue gone, with the bare concrete exposed for the first time since maybe the 1970s, it’s time to spread and apply a hardener to the naked concrete.
The hardener reacts chemically with the concrete. It dries quickly. Monty, Roberto and Jose have to continually pour water on it, and push the water around with squeegees.
The hardener reacts chemically with the concrete. It dries quickly. Monty, Roberto and Jose have to continually pour water on it, and push the water around with squeegees.

And then we let it dry overnight.

This is the prize-winning after shot of a floor that has not been this clean since the house was first built.

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When the drain line under the mudroom bath backs up …

When the drain line under the slab, under the mudroom bathroom backs up, water and crap comes up from the toilet and shower drains. It’s a flood. Second time this has happened since we moved into the house. The immediate crisis is to mop up the crap and get a plumber to the house in the middle of the night to snake the line clean.

After that, we let the room and walls dry out. Then Ranserve comes back to peel off the ruined baseboard trim. And we discover that mold has begun to grow on the drywall paper. We caught it in time. Small spores. Odell from Ranserve sprayed a mold killer. 24 hours later Steven applied a second spray, waited 24 hours, applied a third spray, waited 24 hours, scrubbed the drywall as clean as possible with an abrasive sponge, then a fourth spray of mold killer.

1-dsc_3781Now Odell gets to come back to install replacement trim — and Steven is scheduling a plumber to inspect the main lines under the house with a camera, in hopes of determining why this has happened twice, whether it is systemic, and what the options might be to keep the lines clean.

Making Jadin’s window operational

The tall window at the back of Jadin’s bedroom opens partially. Crank it further open and it hits the exterior eave under roof. To fix this, Ranserve brought in Cris and Kevin to cut open the eave from underneath, and the fascia.

On 2 November, M&R Seamless Raingutters returned to Emerald Hill to cut a section of roof gutter away opposite the window. They installed a splash guard above the window, at the roof, to push water to the left and right, capped the gutter at each end, and installed a new downspout to the side of Jadin’s window.

One less problem to solve.

To finish, the painters will have to come back to caulk all the joints and paint it all up.

Utility sink, part 1

One shortcoming is … there is no utility sink in the garage. Jacquela does NOT want Steven washing out paint brushes in the kitchen.

Steven proposed a utility sink during the design and build process, but it would have required a ridiculously expensive change order — and busting up more concrete.

Fortunately, when we shifted the sink in the mudroom bathroom, it wound up on the wall that is shared with the garage. This puts the water supply and drain lines into that shared wall. Which means we can open up the wall from the garage to tie in hot and cold water supplies, and connect the drain line from the utility sink to the drain line inside the wall that connects to the mudroom sink.

It just requires imagination, a budget, and a plumber.

Mike Rodriguez and his team from Elite Plumbing arrived 21 October to cut open the wall — photo above — and connect the pex lines — photo below.

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Steven’s job is to install a backer board to attach the sink to, re-insulate the wall with foam, replace the drywall, patch the drywall, then glue a plastic sheet against the drywall to serve as backsplash. Here’s what that looks like when Steven is done:

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Now Mike can return to the scene of the crime to hook up the sink and water lines.

Taking apart the shelf in the shower

The grout under the gray quartz shelves in the master shower cracked, giving water a route to the structure behind the tile. We discovered this in July. Jacquela and Steven have used the shower in the hall bath since, to ensure no more water penetrates behind the tile and into the lumber.

Today, Joe from Austin Stone carefully chiseled the grout away from the quartz shelf, freeing the shelf, exposing the blue waterproofing that was applied to keep the lumber dry. In turn, that revealed how the shelf was cemented — with the same epoxy grout used to seal the joints between wall and floor tiles. This epoxy grout is inflexible — which means … it apparently cracked apart as it cured and as the shower pan and walls settled.

Joe begins with a painter's blade, scraping grout out of the joint under the shelf.
Joe begins with a painter’s blade, scraping grout out of the joint under the shelf.
With the grout removed between the top of the shelf and the wall tiles, Joe levers the shelf up -- carefully.
With the grout removed between the top of the shelf and the wall tiles, Joe levers the shelf up — carefully.
That reveals the spacers and dried epoxy grout used to mount the shelf -- and the blue waterproofing used to seal the structure of the shower stall.
That reveals the spacers and dried epoxy grout used to mount the shelf — and the blue waterproofing used to seal the structure of the shower stall.
The shelf, lifted free.
The shelf, lifted free.

For the next step — Odell from Ranserve and Joe applied silicon to the blue waterproofing. Silicon is flexible where grout is not. This will allow the shelf to “float” as the house continues to settle. Finally, they set the shelf into the silicon — to spend the weekend curing into position.

Bling me

Last night, Jacquela and Steven attended the “Champions Dinner” hosted by the Austin chapter of the American Diabetes Association. We were invited to thank us for raising more than $1,000 to help research to find a cure for diabetes. Jacquela is type 1. Steven pedaled 48 miles in the Tour de Cure.

Steven got one medal — “25” — for riding in the Tour. The second medal goes to Champions, for raising more than $1,000.

"Make it new." Ezra Pound.