Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Roofs, Bricks and More Bricks!

On Friday the roofers completed work on the garden house at both the Amstel & Dutch Houses. There are a couple of items that need to be addressed on the new roofs, and they are returning tomorrow to take care of them:

1) On the Amstel Garden House, they used some shingles that are wider than 9.5". We are concerned that they may split as the shingle expands and contracts. If a split occurs below the joint in a course above or below it, it's possible that it may leak.

2) On the same building, they allowed joints between shingles to repeat after just two courses instead of three - which is preferred for wood roofs.

3) On the Dutch House garden house, which has a hip roof, they did not match the overlap detail at the ridges on the hips. the shingles should overlap in an alternating pattern. Instead they mitered them and butted them against each other allowing two joints directly above each other - another possibility for leaking.

4) The shingles are uneven where they meet at the northwest ridge.

5) A few shingles split or were not wide enough to complete the miter joint at the ridges.

Here's a pic of one of the hips that needs to be addressed:

In chimney & fireplace news...

On Friday we met with our mason, architect and general contractor to discuss how to proceed with the fireplace and chimney restoration. We discussed plans to keep the fireplace in its original configuration with as little restoration as possible. I think we'll be keeping the original plaster in place and will not use new plaster to fill in areas of missing plaster. We'll also rebuild the chimney as it was originally - voids and all. Finally, we will rebuild the squirrel-tail bake oven some time in the future - under a different project (time to write some grant apps!).

We also talked about ways to make bricks for the hearth ourselves. We'll be digging a big hole in the Amstel House yard about mid-June for a dry-well. We're keeping our fingers crossed that the hole will yield some good clay that can be used to make bricks. Our mason suggested getting our members and the public involved in a brick-making workshop. Then we may explore having our handmade bricks fired at Colonial Williamsburg or - in the ultimate historic brick-making fantasy - build our own kiln here in town and do them ourselves in an authentic 18th century manner. Since the brick-making process will take some time, we'll keep the existing hearth as is and fill in around it with additional bricks temporarily. Sounds like a cool project in whatever guise it eventually takes!

Today, I went brick-picking and brought back 89 more historic bricks - that brings our salvaged total to 389! Unfortunately, my brick picking skills leave a little to be desired so the masons may reject alot of what I've recovered so far (I'm hoping for only a 30% reject rate - we'll see!).

I also set up a display in the kitchen to show how bricks are molded and differences in bricks used for paving hearths. Here's a pic:

I think that's about it for today. I let you know how the roof goes tomorrow (hopefully it won't rain).

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