sixteen foot planks and a couple of dogs
Saturday, July 1 2006
setting: rural Hurley Township, Ulster County, New York
Before I'd left on my brief Adirondack excursion, I'd noticed something troubling about the floor near the door that connects the laundry room to the East Deck. Always a little suspicious of the floor in that spot, I'd put a little weight there with the heel of my barefoot and, unhappily, the linoleum bowed downward more than a half inch. The subfloor under the linoleum had evidently rotted away, probably from water intrusion beneath the door's sill pan. A couple years ago I'd added a gutter above that door to keep rainwater from the roof from dumping directly onto the deck, and I'd assumed I'd solved any possible problem with water intrusion. But the past month or so of unusually wet weather has brought with it a number of peculiar weather behaviors, particularly winds blowing from the east. This has forced a certain amount of rain onto the deck plank nearest the door, and evidently the slope of that plank was such that it could funnel water into the house. That's not something you want.
So I'd removed some of the linoleum, ripped away a five inch wide strip of rotted subfloor from in front of the door, and today I finally got around to mapping out the extent of the water damage. Thankfully, none of the structural joists (which are actually made of high-tech laminates) seemed to have been compromised by rot, but the wall chipboard sheathing behind the exterior clapboards had disintegrated into a pulpy mess that I could dig out with my fingernails. Water had pooled on top of the ceiling drywall and wall ceiling plate of the secondary guestroom below, though neither of these seemed to be damaged. It had also thoroughly soaked a small piece of fiberglass insulation that had been lain against the exterior wall to keep the space inside the floor from being chilled by the outdoors. I tore away all of the rotted wood and soaking fiberglass that I could reach and left the hole in the floor open, with a fan blowing into it. I then caulked a narrow gap between the door's sillpan and the the deck plank, something I probably should have done years ago. My guess, though, is that much of the rot I'd discovered had actually happened before I installed that gutter two (or was it three?) years ago.
This trouble with rot is an unexpected intrusion into the fun list of projects I'd hoped to start while Gretchen is away. One of the fun projects is the installation of the new vacuum-tube solar collector. There isn't any room for it up on the solar deck so I have to build some outriggers to set it upon. With that in mind today I bought a couple sixteen foot long two by eights at Lowes. It's possible to haul such large planks with a Honda Civic hatchback if you open up the back hatch and allow them to stick several feet out the back on one end and six feet out the passenger window on the other. The dogs weren't very happy riding with this big unwieldy cargo. The hatch would thump loudly on the planks whenever I'd hit a bump and the dogs, particularly Sally, would be terrified. She ended up in my lap as I drove, while Eleanor clung as close as possible in the space between the two front seats, throwing the car into neutral a couple times as she squirmed around.
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