Monday, April 30, 2012

A can of worms

Awhile back, if you been hanging around, I mentioned that this ugly front post was being put on my to-do list.  And it's almost done.... 
But I wanted to re-cap what's gone on so far, and what a tough project this has been.
As you can see the post is built into both the soffit....
....and the concrete steps, neither of which we want to replace.

Since my dad is soooo handy I enlisted his help again, and after he probably regretted getting himself into it.  It was in fact my dad who called this project "a can of worms," and in a minute you'll see why.

Our first plan of attack was to leave the initial wrought iron pillar in place and build a "sleeve" around it to make it look like a solid wood post. 
We used wood glue on the edges...
....and then a nail gun to secure the four pieces together.
We also had a little supervisor who enjoyed a snack while watching.

So before putting up any trim, priming and painting it....we stood back to take a look.  The consensus?  It was too big for our tiny house.  It looked fine, and it wasn't going anywhere, but the width of the sides were just too big to look like the pillar was meant to be at our house.

Back to the drawing board....

Next, we decided to tackle the post itself.  Take it down and build something in its place.  So I headed back to Home Depot and picked up three 2 x 6's and was going to glue/gun them together to essentially make a 6 x 6 post, and then we could make another wood sleeve just like we had before.

Cooper inspected the wood....
Then I lathered them up with wood glue and hoped for the best....

The wood glue couldn't hold because the wood was ever so slightly warped, and I didn't have any clamps to hold them together.

Plan C.  Just buy a 6 x 6 post.  Done.

Now to the tough part. 

First we used a crow bar and removed all of the wood surrounding the top of the post at the soffit.  Thankfully that's all that was holding it in place.
Then, we took Nate's my SAWS-ALL and sawed off the bottom of the post near the concrete.

And removed the post!
The bases around the rods keeping the post in place wiggled right off, but we were left with the rods which were embedded into the concrete.

Good luck!


Back to the handy dandy SAWS-ALL and at least now we are dealing with a level surface....

The next task was opening up the soffit.  This part was the can of worms I was talking about.  First, there was a piece of plywood up there that seemed to be misplaced, the two by four with which we were going to use to connect the new post was already cut out a bit, and the angled two by four going into the corner was right in the way of where the new post should go.  Oh, and we also didn't know if our soffit pieces would be salvageable since we had to bend them so severely to get them out in the first place.

The next step was all about measuring.  Ever heard the rule, "measure twice, cut once?"  Follow it.  Every time.

So because of that pesky corner beam, we had to cut out a chunk of the top of the new post to get it high enough into the eaves and at the same time having a piece of wood to go through with our bolts to secure the wood to the house.

Do not be fooled....the cutting that led up to the picture below took HOURS.  My dad is a saint for doing this and was sooo patient throughout the whole process.
As you can see, the piece fit perfectly.  Measuring sure did pay off.
Here it is...in place, but not secured yet.  Oh and bonus points if you notice anything else different about the front of the house shot....yup-new storm door!  That was a whole other can of worms (yeah right 45 minutes to install yourself!).

Then I was off to prime and paint the post.

In the meantime, I picked up this.  An post anchor u-clip.  This is how we fastened the post to the concrete.  I think on a subliminal level I forgot entirely to photograph any of this step, because I wanted to forget it.

Basically I got the biggest concrete drill bit I could find.  My dad and I drilled a hole into the concrete using both batteries on both of our drills and then we still had to get a shorter bolt because we just couldn't get far enough down into the concrete.  Once the bolt and clip were in place, we set the post on top of it, and screwed the u-clip right into the post.  Long story short-post is secured to clip, clip is secured to concrete.  Then we secured the top, using our pre-drilled holes. 

Finally we cut the trim pieces (re-purposed from when I added new trim to our kitchen a few years back).  Primed and painted.  My dad is a wizard with saws....his cuts were perfect.  Every time.

 And then we arranged them around the bottom and top of the post.







 We used clamps to get them in place and then the nail gun to secure them together and to the post.

 So here is what I mean in that I am almost done.  There still needs to be quite a bit of caulking done around the edges of the trim, which will then be painted.


And if you look up at the top, the soffit needs work. 

 We will probably need to get one new piece, since jimmy-ing the old one back in there isn't a long-term solution.
 Here it is from the side before adding the top trim....

And finally, the almost end product!  And no, it has not since been vandalized, I just scribbled out our the new address numbers I made!
It looks so much more clean and simple, especially with our new storm door!
 Nate once told me that there is a list of house items that bring in the biggest bang for your buck when you go to sell (not that we are!), and the number one item....the front door.  So even though we didn't replace the front door, it sure does look a whole lot better, and helps the overall curb appeal of our house greatly.  In case you were wondering, next in line were garage door, kitchens and bathrooms.


So here is a long overdue before and after.....
Goodbye ugly wrought iron post, hello beautiful new wood post, and thank you, thank you, thank you to my dad who spent soooo many hours helping me with this transformation!

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