Monday, December 11, 2006

Project Backdoor

When we had our home inspection, the guy said there was one thing that absolutely had to be done to the house. And that was the set of doors on the back of our woodstove room would have to be replaced.

The back of the woodstove room is primarily a wall of glass. It looks awesome and gives you the sense of being in a sunroom sometimes, but it is really worn down and beat. There are four vertical panes - the center two are doors that open into the room while the outer two are fixed and don't open.

The doors are probably 20 years old, and were rather cheap -- single pane glass, not very thermally sound. Really not made for use in this part of the country. The first couple of cold nights in late November really woke us up to the reality that this wall of glass was a heat sink, and it was probably warmer outside on the other side of the glass than it was on the inside.

lucas jake geoff
gonzo brodie geoff

From these photos, you can see that the bottoms of the door and the door frame outside are trashed. The deck and the house are flush to one another. There isn't a step down. This is often referred to as "California Style" decking, when you just walk straight from inside to deck.

That's great for California, or the desert, but in places where it rains, the water hits the deck and splashes back at the doors and the house and you end up with a lot of water damage. Especially if the roof doesn't have a gutter or a diverter or a really nice long lip to channel water away from the deck. Which our roof does not have.

And that is exactly what was happening here -- the water would hit the deck and splash up. For years and years. The doors were swollen and weak, and Brodie was able to eat the moulding off of the doorframe one day when she was out on the deck hanging out this summer. Combine the poor thermal properties of the doors with the splash back California style decking, and we've got a project. We hired our contractor to come out and figure out all that needed to be done.

We wanted the following:

1) new doors, in the exact same style as what we have but really good quality.
2) deck - gone. We'll decide what to do with the space later. We need to go a step-down and one cannot really step down out of the doors to another deck... there isn't room between the house and the ground to have a step to deck. So we're thinking patio.
3) inside the room, a 20 square foot area of tile where the doors open, because the wide pine flooring in that area is already beat to hell and we're just going to wear it out more with dogs, kids, mud, dogs, mud and kids.

Todd, our contractor, was afraid when he pulled the deck off that the sill under the doors was going to need to be replaced. Luckily, it was in fine condition. The siding all around was shot, and he discovered that up above the doors there is a mysterious water source that he can't pinpoint the location of. When he took the doors off and the siding down, water came flowing towards him from up above...

Just what you'd expect. The minute you start to do one project, another one rears its ugly head. He thinks the area around our chimney for the woodstove may be compromised and leaking so when he is done with this, he'll climb up there and take a look.

So that's where we are. The doors were removed, the deck was removed (see yesterday's entry for that photo) and new doors were put in. They're great -- much better at keeping the room somewhat warm than the old things, where if you placed your hand on the glass it would freeze like Flick's tongue in "A Christmas Story." I double dog dare ya.

The finish work needs to be done, and the flooring inside. Todd should have all that done by next week. He's got three projects going on and the holidays are upon us. I wanted to have this done before Christmas, but I guess I'll be happy to have it done for New Years. And we won't freeze to death in the end. Horray!

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