Sunday, November 7, 2010

Mountaintop update

So I broke down and temporarily patched the barage. I didn't fix it, and I sure didn't fix it right. I thought about just not following up on the previous post but that seems like cheating somehow.

Here's what I considered:

I don't have a house jack or a Sawzall. That's, mmm, $200 in tools. I can work around the jack by building a brace out of 2x4s, and I originally thought I could work around the sawzall by pulling or hacksawing the nails holding the studs to the bottom plate. (Yes, I will use the tools in the future, but right now, it's better to have money in the bank than to have tools for a future calamity.)

The rot isn't very extensive at all. The lower plate is rotten for a couple feet and I'd like to replace about 8' of it. The board above it, the upper lower plate I guess you'd call it, is waterstained but feels nice and hard, not squishy with rot. None of the studs are rotten, and the insulation isn't even ruined.

But I'm not sure I can get the rotten board out without a sawzall! Actually getting the board out to replace it is much more involved than I thought. All the extra work plus the minor nature of damage let me just spray for bugs and cover the hole back up without feeling too guilty.

See, the bottom of the two boards in the bottom plate is sitting inside a little L-shaped lip of concrete. It's going to be difficult to pry it out if all goes well, and it's going to be horrible if it's bolted to the concrete.

From the outside you can see two boards:
Outside of barn

But from the inside, there's a lip of concrete and only one board showing.
Inside of barn

My first rule for home repairs is a modified Hippocratic oath: "First, do not make it worse." I can't fix everything, and some things are really not worth the time/money it would take to repair them. (See: the rattling water pipe that's not attached to a stud inside our fiberglass shower insert.) If I have the right tools and no looming time constraints, I can fix the barn right - but if I hurry I might end up making it worse.


  1. I'm continually amazed at the projects you tackle . . . I would just somehow demolish our entire house if I did half the stuff you have done. It wouldn't be pretty and I would definitely violate the oath of "don't make it worse!"

  2. Do you live near a big box home improvement store? Often you can rent things like a Sawzall, etc. I like the "do no harm" approach to fixing things. Going to adopt that one!


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