Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Catch Up Time

It's been a while since we've had a post - mostly because it's been pretty quiet around here. But I still need to catch you all up with what has been done.

Before and after the Fourth of July weekend, the masons completed their work on the west chimney. They replaced around 50 bricks, dismantled and relaid the crown of the chimney, and re-pointed the whole thing down to below the shingles.

They also parged the inside of the flues from the top down as far as they could reach - about 3 feet.

Like the kitchen chimney, this one had a void in the masonry between flues - posing a fire hazard if the fireplaces were ever used.

Since the void was visible, we decided to fill the cavity with the same vericulite/cement mixture that we used on the kitchen chimney. Again, our thought process was to incure the long-term survival of the building. We found a problem so we addressed it rather than cover it up. If the house ever has a different owner that tries to use the fireplace, we don't want them to have a bad experience!

Finally, they capped the chimney with metal that slopes from the center down toward each side to shed rain (it's shaped like an upside-down "V", except much flatter). They installed temporary flashing that will be removed once the roofers are ready to build a cricket to protect the chimney.

The chimney was out of level by 2.75" across the width at the top - pretty bad considering it's only about 5 feet wide. They were able to correct it by using some slightly thicker bricks and increasing the size of the mortar joints slightly. The trick was to do this in a manner that would be imperceptible from the ground. In the following pic you can see that the courses of brick rise from the left side of the chimney to the right side:

The results are great - the chimney looks excellent with the chimney mortar matching the adjacent gable end mortar perfectly.

So the next project is the roof on the Amstel House kitchen wing. The roofers arrived today, and the tear off process has started. As I write this, they have removed all the shingles from one side of the house and are in the process of installing plywood over top of the lath.

We're using the same installation process that was used at the Dutch House, so I won't rehash that again here.

The wood shingles will be standard "royals" with a normal thickness - no tapered butt like we did at the Dutch House. We are matching the shingles that are in place on the roof of the main block (that roof is not being replaced since it has several years of life left in it).

In addition to the roof, we'll also be correcting some gutter issues and completing some minor repairs to the metal roof that is on the 1905 rear addition. the roofers should be on-site for about a week - barring any weather-related delays.

Gotta run - I'm expecting our architect to arrive any minute to inspect the Dutch House and check out the progress thus far at the Amstel House.

More tomorrow!

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