Now I'm a symmetrical kind of person. I don't do abstract very well. If things are uneven, bad things can happen, like..oh..the earth could start rotating off it's axis or something. So when I looked at the windows, my mind's eye blinked. We went back outside to look again. Yup. the grids for the center window are completely off with the side windows.
After making a list, I went back inside the apartment to call the window folks. I wasn't happy.
Some of the upstairs windows were good to go so those went in. It's funny how every little step makes such a big difference on the appearance of the structure.
That big upstairs window will be in the library. Actually it's more like a very large family room with lots of books at one end, but it's fun to call it my library. I wonder if I have enough books to file them by Dewey Decimal System.
Monday five of the missing windows were delivered. Ed realized he had framed two of the openings a little too small and had to rebuild them. He rarely makes a mistake and isn't very forgiving of himself. First thing this morning he corrected the error and placed the remaining on-site windows.
Speaking of mistakes, let me share my fiberglass door fiasco. Maybe in the process I can prevent some other poor soul from repeating my mistake. We bought six sets of Codel fiberglass french doors for the south side of the house. I wanted to stain and seal them, like we had done for the apartment door. Codel recommends Minwax gel stain, but gives no specifics for application. I chose my color, Aged Oak.
On the can it says:
- Test stain on hidden area to verify desired color.
- Using a high quality natural bristle brush, spread a thin, even coat over the entire surface, starting with the raised panel sections. Always make final brush strokes in the direction of the embossed grain.
- Minwax® Gel Stain remains brushable for an extended period of time. Areas of heavier coats should be evened out before moving to a new section.
- Gel Stain, while wet, is easily removed with a rag moistened with mineral spirits.
- Allow stain to dry approximately 6 to 8 hours.
- To darken the color, apply additional coats of Gel Stain by following the instructions above. Allow approximately 6 to 8 hours between coats for the stain to dry.
Ok. Well I had a medium quality, heavily used bristle brush, but I was pretty sure it was adequate and I went to work. I stained the three downstairs sets of doors. I was having a problem because the gel stain was setting up really fast and getting tacky. Once it gets tacky there's no going over it with the brush. But I worked faster and pushed on. By the time I was done with the third set I realized that they didn't look like oak. They looked like some kind of antiquing paint kit from the 60s. They were a streaky mess. It was several hours of work, but it would all have to come off.
I read what I could on the internet on how to remove the gel stain, with very conflicting information. I didn't want to damage the fiberglass doors in removing the stain. I guess the Minwax folks have such confidence in their product that they can't conceive that anyone would want to remove it because there is no information on how to do so.
I called the Codel door company and explained my problem to the Codel service representative. She was a very pleasant woman.
Codel: "Well it says here, you should wash the door with soap and water and let dry."
Me: "Really? Because this stuff has dried on for 6 hours, and I don't think it's supposed to just wash off. Are you sure that isn't how to prepare the door to stain? I want to take the recommended stain off without damaging the door."
Codel: "I'm sorry, that's all it says under "stain".
I thank her for her time and hang up.
"Hmm, " I think, "Dad always thought highly of Jasco products. He said that Jasco could get stuff off faster than a sailer with a $2...." Well never mind what Dad said. I e-mailed Jasco customer service, and got an immediate response. No Jasco product is recommended for fiberglass doors. Ok then.
Next stop, Sherwin William paint store, where I'd picked up the Minwax gel stain. Those guys know everything there is about paint. I explained my dilemma, and was met with grim news.
"Pretty much nothing will take off that gel stain.Your problem sounds like your applicator." The Paint Guy shook his head, "You may have to just prime and paint the doors."
I was sick. I was blinking as hard as I could because I hate to cry in public. I bought a large bag of rags, a new white china bristle brush, two packages of staining pads and some Goo-Gone. I headed for Home Depot.
Home Depot carries a product called Citristrip, which is a mild, low fume paint stripper. Some internet chatters went so far as to label it ineffective. "That outta be safe for fiberglass", I thought. I bought the big jug.
Sometimes you just hit the sweet spot. The label says to apply the gel, wait 30 minutes and remove the
residue. Granted, there was only one coat of stain and no coats of varnish, but I'd been led to believe that this gel stain was the cast iron of the stain world. That stuff started to lift and bubble right away!
I started painting the gel on the French door and by the time I got around the frame, it was ready to come off. I used a green scrubbie, repeatedly rinsing the gunk into a bucket, then wiped the whole door down with a clean wet cloth. Once the whole door was done, I wiped it down with denatured alcohol. I was ready to stain again. It took about 3 hours to strip the set, and I have two sets to go. I was so happy I wouldn't have to prime and paint them, I didn't even care.
In the meantime, Ed was working at getting the cedar plywood up on the back porch soffits. The drywall lift seemed to be the right tool for the job, and sure beat trying to lift them manually.
We discussed using tongue-in-groove wood, or even beadboard, as we have seen done in other homes. It looks beautiful. We decided to made do with the cedar plywood here and we can change it out later if we choose. It looks great and it's easy on the budget.
The HVAC guys are still working on the ducts. All that work, and most of it won't show.
We love the Robinson Plans floorplans. The blueprints leave a little to be desired, as they're short on detail. In this case the detail that is missing is how to run the mechanics from one floor to another. There is no space to run the HVAC ducts from the basement, through the first floor, to the second floor. We had already forfeited an entryway closet and moved the guest powder room to accommodate the ducting, but because of where the joists are, a bulkhead will still need to be run in an awkward path through that powder room. We'll make it work, but it was an unexpected surprise. The Entek HVAC boss, Phil, is very careful to explain each step and keep us in the loop.
It has been a very cold summer, and on the rare warm days we have noticed a lot of moisture on the basement floor. How can this be? Short of magical spells, Ed has done everything possible to insure that the basement is leakproof. Finally he picked up a bucket and found his answer. Under the bucket was dry. The water isn't coming from under the cement, it's coming from the air! Just like a giant iced tea glass, the warm damp air hits the cool concrete and the water condenses right out of the atmosphere. What a relief!
Finally, today Ed and Rick started shingling the sides of the house. Now that the doors and windows are well on their way, the next step to winterizing the structure is to get those shingles on.
It'll take weeks and weeks. Boxes of shingles, hundreds of perfectly fitted pieces. Hopefully this beautiful warm autumn weather will hold, and the rains won't start until mid October. We often have our most beautiful weather in the fall.