Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Rain and Drainage Problems, my Two Enemies

To say that the soil here is compacted clay with drainage issues, is well, just being polite. What I have  is a drainage nightmare. Though the sycamore tree, planted above the septic tank, and a little too near the house seems to love it. It sends out roots at an alarming rate, all heading under the house, where the moisture lives, sweats, and rots my house. I swear sycamores must be aggressive rooters. Why? Because I just dug up all the roots on the southwest side of the house and then haven't done anything out there for the past few weeks while I work on the walls in the bedroom. Today I went out to even the dirt out and grade it away from the house more evenly. When I dug I hit more roots. Where did these come from? Are they new? And the glass! Oh the glass! I've never seen so much glass! It's like people where throwing bottles at the house at one point. And nails, and all kinds of crap. Wow, can we say flip? What I need is a tiller, and mix in some sand and loam, to increase drainage. Hopefully this will help with the moisture issues with the house. Of course what the house needs is a dry crawl space. But with the vermiculite in the attic, we might not being staying here too much longer. Sad really.
Oh, so I was spray foaming a hole in the exterior wall where moisture and termites where getting in. I decided to check out the furnace house to see if it needed any ago sealing. Of course it does, all over. I got a closer look at where the duct work enters the crawl space. Looks like when they added the HVAC system 30 years ago, they just cut 2 rectangles out of the house and didn't seal those opening. OMG, this can't be good. There's a cold draft coming from under the cabinets on that side of the house where the furnace house butts up against the main house. As if having a separate house for a furnace isn't strange enough. I might need to get some foam board and close that up. But what is the draft? Is it from that opening? You'd think the furnace house would keep it warm. I can only imagine what critters have gained entry from those places. The cat goes right in when you open the door. She knows. There's lots of goodies to catch in the crawl space. Yuck. Lots of mouse poop on top of the furnace too. Great. But my kitty, she catches a mouse or rat or bird a day, so look out.
Also, another factor, which is good for farming, if I ever get to it, but not good for the house, it rains a lot here, it's one of the rainier spots in Georgia according to my USDA precipitation map.
I need to install some gutters, a rain barrel or two, maybe a drainage ditch with gravel around the house complete with drainage tubing, a real crawl space door, or maybe I'll open it up and let the kitty get in there and clean house, or crawl space if you will. I also need soffit vents, I really should have made the seller install them, now that I know what a mess it will be for me to do it. Vermiculite everywhere. Now I know why he didn't do or the mythical "roofer".
It's always something. Grandma was right, as always, renting is easier.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Wall Progress

As the patching and muddying continues, we get closer to finishing this nightmare.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Pervasive Moisture Issues, Cellulose Over Fill, And it's Effects on Wall and Paint Stability

The following images detail walls with a 3 fold problem, cellulose over fill creating bowing/bulging of the interior walls, poorly prepped walls before painting, or painting latex over old oil paint, and persistent unaddressed moisture issues from the crawl space, compromised foundation, inadequately ventilated attic, no exterior plywood, and gaps beneath the exterior siding boards.
Vertical cracks created from bulging walls do to cellulose over fill. The large brown area is where water damage from moisture soaked cellulose caused the paint to fail all the way down to the drywall paper.
The dark water stains radiate outward from the cellulose blow in holes to the right of the window. The cut out rectangle below the window at the baseboard has mold and crumbling drywall from moisture.
Moisture from the crawl space has caused mold and paint failure on this interior dividing wall.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

The Plot Thickens, Or Gets Worse, Which Ever You Want to Choose

I'm still working away at the bedroom walls. While scraping and revealing I uncovered 4 more holes in the wall that is to the right of the window. Both exterior walls have holes, on the inside, where they blew in or had blown by some one else cellulose. I've never seen it done this way, usually if you are going to blow cellulose into a wall cavity they open up a 4 inch hole on the exterior. These hole are about an inch, very small for cellulose to be blown in. More important, and frightening, the water stains on the wall correspond with the 4 holes. I've also discovered that there isn't any plywood between the interior and exterior siding. The envelope for this house apparently goes as follows:
Siding, house wrap, insulation/wall studs, drywall. Is this normal? My theory is that they jammed the wall full of cellulose because the room gets cold, but it's getting cold from the draft floor, crawlspace, and unsealed sill plate. The house is already draft and has a moisture issue. Now the cellulose in the walls is absorbing all the moisture from the crawlspace and poorly vented attic and sweating it out into the walls. Hence the stains and peeling paint. Bingo. Also, they packed so much cellulose into the walls that the walls are bulging in places. This is a disaster. I've decided to stop scraping, patch up what I can, mud it to be even, then I will Zinzer 1-2-3 over everything and repaint it. A more appealing color. One thing I always thought was odd is that the whole house is painted a flat coat of some muslin color, accept the bedroom. It's painted this satin, or semi gloss color that looks the same as the exterior. I'm wondering if he tried to seal the walls up with exterior paint in hopes it would keep the water out and stop the paint from peeling? News flash, sealing the walls will only make things worse because now the water has no where to go. I also figured out, I hope the source of moisture entry causing the mold in the wall at the base board under the right corner of the window. There is some damaged exterior boards outside in the spot near there and when I went to squeeze some silicone into the open area underneath it just kept filling and filling. It might need some expand-foam. And I might need a lawyer.
Until next time!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Kitchen Paint Failure, fixed

Latex paint over oil with no primer. A big no-no.

Large sheets peeled off from the old oil paint.

Nail holes, and cracks, taped and mudded.

Wall after sanding, priming with Zinzer, and first coat of paint. Much better.

Thrifty Cat House

Does your outdoor kitty need a palace, but you can't afford the ones at the store? Well if you live in a mild climate this might be a solution for you. You just need 1/2" pipe foam insulation, a rubbermade bin, pet bed (optional), and cardboard cutter. The bin was $5, the pipe insulation was $5 and the pet bed was $9. Just cut an opening large enough for you cat, cover the edges with the pipe insulation, and put in the bed. I also bought a matching hand towel for a cover flap.

Ice Storm ain't No Thang

We are getting ready for another taste of winter fun starting at around midnight tonight. As long as the power or worse, the internet doesn't go out everything will be fine. Should I put the tarp out and try for another ice rink? Maybe I should. Times like this make me re-adress my desire to put up some solar panels. Just incase we do have troubles I got some hot dogs we can cook in our fire place. I also got some stuff to make our cat a more weather proof house. I post that next. It's cheaper than buying a cat house, and looks better than a cardboard box. I also checked in with the grain company about driving jobs, they seemed interested, but we'll see. I miss driving, as you all know. After the ice storm, I need to get going on that garden plot. We dropped off the soil sample today, and I finished up the kitchen wall I was stripping and patching. It looks a lot better. I'll post the before and afters too. Basically the paint was peeling in huge sheets because some dumb ass had never heard of primer before. I scraped off all the peeling paint. Dug out and patched the nail bulges, cut, taped, and mudded the cracks. Sanded, sanded, sanded. Primed with Zinzer yesterday, and today painted it with a pint of new paint to match. The original paint I found in the garage was from 2010. Luckily this matched perfectly and the wall is as smooth as butter. Just might need another coat. One wall down, one million more things to go. Like the paint nightmare in the bedroom!

The utility workers are ready for any downed lines. Staged in the Wal-Mart parking lot, Madison, Georgia.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Epic Paint Failure

So the paint all over the house is bubbling and peeling away in places. What started out as a simple patching project quickly became an overwhelming undertaking of paint scraping, patching with compound, blending, sanding, and repainting. I haven't gotten to the last two steps yet. I'm not sure what the originating problem is that caused all these failures in each room. Was it improper wall prep? Dirty walls? Wet compound? A moisture issue stemming from the crawl space? Latex paint over existing oil paint? Or all of the above? The bathroom's failure is particularly weird, the wall compound underneath is turning to dust and crumbling away. What's up with that?

What a mess!