White Horse Beach, Manomet, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA

White Horse Beach, Manomet, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA
White Horse Beach, Manomet, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

"Fixing a Hole Where the Rain Gets In....," Bartlett Pond, Manomet, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA


Like the old Beatles tune said, "I'm fixing a hole where the rain gets in ........"  This 60 year old chimney has been leaking for at least the 12 years we've owned the cottage.  It had been our plan to tear down the entire house so over the years I took no action to fix it.  Now, however, since we are NOT tearing the house down but rather will be repairing it, I need to finally address the leak.


So on a blistering hot 90+ degree day with brutal humidity, the construction crew starts work with hammers and chisels to knock it down brick by brick. More later on the men who did the work.


Three men working in the hot sun spent half a day to knock it down into a pile of  loose brick, mortar, and rubble.


I picked out many of the bricks that came out whole and  was able to chip the old mortar off somewhat easily.  100+ of them will serve as a path in Amy's garden. And rather than put the rest of them in the dumpster to add to the landfill, Amy found a man on Craig's List to haul them away for free to reuse to make at least two backyard barbecue/fireplaces. How's that for the concept of repair, reuse, recycle?  

The S & H label on each brick marks it as a product of the Stiles and Hart Brick Company, our state's only brick manufacturer. I am amazed that so many of the bricks, 60+ years after installation, still look so good. 

Here is some of the rot that was on part of the wall.

After removing the bad wall, the carpenters discovered the rot reached all the way down to the sill plate so they had to jack up the floor of the house to be able to insert a new repaired section.

They also had to brace the ceiling during rebuilding because so much of the wall was rotten and had to be removed.

Here's a new window, part of the wall, and the bump-out that will house the fireplace. The new trim is composite so no more painting or rotting.

And here's the finished wall.  Yes, the vent is supposed to be off-center for our installation. It's amazing that today's design allows a fireplace to be vented safely in this manner instead of needing a tall chimney. It's a 40,000 BTU, Heat & Glow Model 6000CLX.  We chose to bump-out the wall and not bump-in so that we didn't have to relinquish any space in the living room of this small cottage. This model propane powered fireplace will function with or without electricity - so we can have heat even during winter storm power outages. 

July 8, 2012 - last year - the old version with chimney.

July 16, 2013 - this year - the chimney is gone and the front wall shingle siding is being added.

July 20, 2013 - almost all complete! (an early morning, low light, no-blue-sky picture).

The house sure looks different without the chimney sticking up above the roof. Note that we had a bit of project creep.  The street side wall was also repaired, windowed, trimmed, and shingled.

We used Jim Callahan of Jade Carpentry and his associates. He had built our sunroom rehab/addition 12 years ago.  He gave us a great product/service at a fair and reasonable price both back then and now.  His men were skilled, personable, reliable, and unbelievably hard-working in the brutal heat/humidity conditions of this heat-wave summer in Massachusetts.

I spent every day on the job site (which is why I haven't blogged much in the past week). It's amazing to watch what a difficult and involved task this is considering that it affects such a small section of house. It was a pleasure to watch experienced craftsmen with knowledge, experience, and the right tools go about their work purposefully and efficiently.  If I would have tried to do this job it would have taken me a month to do what they did in a few hours - not that I could even have accomplished most of it. There is no good substitute for skilled and talented professionals - and that's who they are.


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