Archives: Pennsylvania

We’ve been so busy with another project this year that I could only make it back for about three weeks in July. I needed to repair some gutters that got damaged in the heavy snow and ice the past winter and also install or have installed snow guards on my steep roof. I should have had them done when they put the new steel roof on, but the guards are a little ugly and I was pinching pennies. Waiting wasn’t a total loss, though. Since last year, the roofing company I used have changed the style of snow guard […]

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One of the last major updates to the exterior was the roof. From day one I wanted to redo the exterior in steel. It’s modern, durable and (sometimes) low-cost. Unfortunately, 2007 saw greatly inflated steel prices because of the temporarily-surging Chinese economy and global demand. I didn’t want to put off my siding. Because of the changes and upgrades that were already being done, parts of the house were not sufficiently weatherproof for the winter. For practical reasons I decided to go with vinyl siding. I replaced the gutters and repaired the loose shingles and hoped that it’d be […]

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I originally envisioned the outside to be finished in red vertical steel siding, with the roof in silver vertical steel — very barn-like. I got estimates from local siders and roofers and they were all coming in at over $7,000 for the siding and $5,000 for the roofing. That seemed a little steep to me for the Punxsutawney area, but part of what was driving up the price was the high cost of steel this year. I weighed my options and decided, in order to keep the project moving, I’d go with vinyl and install it myself. Also made […]

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Typical staircase, but after determining that the walls were not load-bearing, I saw a relatively easy way to open up the floor plan a little. Before and afters from the living room and top of stairs. During demolition. This was the bedroom wall which also formed a makeshift closet above the staircase cieling. The new loft-like floor plan begins to emerge. Immediately after tearing out the staircase walls, I removed a lot of the old drywall and plaster, which is why the loft area (which is going to be an office/work space) looks like a barn here. You can […]

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Photos not related to my money pit. Morning off: I blow the dust off the kayak and head for one of several nearby lakes. This particular body of water is called Keystone Lake. Keystone is 5 1/2 miles long, 850 acres and as deep as 90 ft, but there are a few shallow inlets where the water is calm enough to attract birds like the sleeping duck above. – – – Punxsutawney trestle

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The original kitchen was kind of depressing, but I didn’t have the cash or time for a full-blown redesign and new appliances. Here’s my attempt at a budget spruce-up. First step always seems to be: Tear everything out. Sent the old pilot-light stove to the scrap yard, but was able to clean and keep the fridge. The sink and cabinets are c. 1950s steel construction, durable but rusty and very dirty. Refinishing them was a project in itself. Ended up sanding and spraying them in my garage. Almost wish I’d taken them to a body shop and forked over […]

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Floored

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After installing the windows, and patching and painting most of the walls and cieling, I was ready to put down the new floor. I’d considered milled hardwood and laminate. The milled hardwood was going to run me about $5 to $6 a square foot not counting the varnish or oil finish. Laminate on the other hand was much cheaper: in a range from around $2 to $5 per square foot. After looking at numerous patterns and manufacturers, I couldn’t get around my prejudice towards the fake woodgrain in the laminate flooring. This was entirely in my head, because at […]

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Windows 2.0

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I liked the original windows in this house. They were at least 60 years old, possibly closer to a century, and most of them still looked and functioned like new. These were probably very economical windows at the time, too. But, they had to go. The single-pane glass was incredibly inefficient. Previous owners had put aluminum awning over all of the windows in an effort to stay cool in the summer. And, when I bought the house in the winter, the owners were using clear-plastic storm windows to try to keep their gas bills down. I saved all of […]

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Probably spent close to 24 hours crawling around in the hot, dusty confines of my attic. The second story had no wiring to speak of, so I had to drop electric line and install boxes for every switch and light in each room. I also had to install a ventilation fan in the bathroom. After all that was done, I wanted to top the old blown insulation off with a thick layer of fluffy, yellow fiberglass. The attic entrance. Beginning to roll the new fiberglass insulation. The blown stuff seemed pretty deadly, so I wore a respirator the whole […]

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Bath-Roomy

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One of the features of the old house that stood out when I bought it was the size of the upstairs bathroom. Usually in a house this age and square footage, you can expect the bathroom to be pretty small, but this one was downright roomy. In fact, it’s the exact floor size of the kitchen, which is directly below it. I did not want to spend a lot of dough on the bath. Everything worked fine — that is, until the sink drain line sprung a leak and trashed the kitchen ceiling. I had planned on using the […]

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My baby blue spruce grew over half a foot while I was away. – – – This container is packed solid. Over two tons of crap that I tore out of the house and was not able to reuse. I’ve filled two of these so far. This is what gives me the energy to work 14-hour days. My back yard. Standing in the back yard looking toward the house The new mower. Useful until I can figure out a way of getting rid of all of my grass.

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