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Day 506 – Why remodeling an old house is never easy

November 6, 2011

November 5, 2011 –

We put off buying corner trim for awhile, and now that we have it we can start finishing some of the last bits of siding on our house. Which brings me to the title of my post, why remodeling an old house is never easy.

To the left of our front door is a small section, an alcove really,  of the original part of our house that we removed siding on way back when our remodel began. It’s sort of the frontier, because it’s where the older asbestos siding will meet the newer hardiplank siding around a corner, one of only two spots where this happens. It’s this corner that’s the issue, because it’s not square in any respect of the word. I can’t blame the builder for this one, it’s just old house at work here.

Corner trim

The corner trim wraps around both edges of the house, so I have to make sure it’s plumb on both sides. This isn’t too hard the new construction part of our house (when they actually made a corner) and even on this corner I have the luxury of having one side of the trim only visible from within our house. But the other side of the trim is visible to the street, and only a few feet away from the front door, and within sight of at least three other vertical references which ARE plumb. Aack!

What to do? Well, fake it. I can’t really make it level, because square to the world for this corner means the trim isn’t even on the corner. The interior corner of the little wall (the wall in this alcove is about 25 inches or so) is generally just as out of plumb as the exterior corner, so that means my board runs are all within .25 inches of each other. Odd, yes, but then not so much.

The corner with trim and 1x6

What complicates this already complex issue is that this corner is the leftmost edge of our front porch. We started an architectural feature on the right side of the porch in which we ran a vertical 1×6 down from where the porch beam met our house, to give some illusion of a structure holding it all up. Really, I think we just missed our wraparound porch and wanted to symbolize it somehow, or perhaps we were just lazy and didn’t want to do a giant span of hardiplank and instead wanted an excuse to do smaller runs. Whatever the reason, we need to mirror this on the left.

I might be able to get away with out of whack corner trim, but there’s no way that a crooked 1×6 wouldn’t get noticed. My tentative plan (and I say tentative because there’s only three nails holding it up) is to run my 1×6 plumb to the opposite corner, so it looks straight to the other vertical references nearby, but cut at an angle on it’s leftmost side where it meets the out of whack corner trim. So the 1×6 starts out full at top, but as runs down, it gets narrower and narrower. It’s not a perfect solution, and my three nails gives me some time to stare at it before I make it permanent.

To get this wall ready, I had to hack a bit at the porch railing. It was obviously put in, or significantly altered, after our house got the asbestos siding layer because it met up perfectly with it. The hardiplank is a much thicker siding, so I deconstructed the end of the porch railing and cut it down to accommodate the siding depth.

From → Porch

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