Monday, June 20, 2005


The previous owners of my house subscribed to the age old adage that everything can be fixed with plywood. So instead of fixing the leaky porch roof over the small alcove off the kitchen they put plywood over the damaged plaster inside the house where the leak was, and never fixed the leak on the outside.

This a common leak for a lot of houses. It is where a first story roof meets a second story wall. About two years ago I removed the plywood and all the plaster came with it, along with mold and dirt, and who knows what. The plywood didn’t stop the water put it did divert it in to the wall. Yea! So the wall was ruined too. Anyway, the first time we got rain I had a puddle in the kitchen. Actually, it wasn’t the kitchen at that time. The house came with 4 kitchens and I was using one of the rental kitchens in the house.

As soon as I got some dry weather I went up on the porch and fashioned some flashing. You can see it in the photo below. That second story wall with the shingles is now my bedroom. It was one of the rental kitchens. You can see the small square vent on the wall. That is what is called a “California Cooler”. They were popular in the Teens & 20s around here. When ever you see them on a 19th century house, like mine, the cooler is a later addition.

The way a California Cooler works is that you have louvered vent on the inside of one of the kitchen cabinets. This vent lets cool air in to the cabinet from the outside. The shelves in the cabinet are thin wooden slats or wire mesh so the air can circulate. They used it to store dairy and other semi-perishable things in the days before the refrigerator was a common household item. The weather here is remarkable on the coast in that it stays cool all year round. Temps in the 50s are the norm for over-night lows in the summer, and the days never get over 75. High 60s and low 70s are common for daytime temps. In fact, I’ve been wearing long johns for the last few days while painting in the kitchen. I’m down to a plank sub floor and the cool air comes up through the cracks in the floor. It is a little cool while sitting on the floor painting the bead board. But I digress. Back to the leak.

All seemed fine with my flashing. For almost 2 years I’ve had no water in the kitchen – until I plastered. We got rain on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. It really came down hard on Saturday, all day and night. On Sunday I noticed a small wet spot on the plaster. You can see it in the picture below, in the upper, right-hand corner. That is just below the flashing the first photo. The plaster is still very firm, and it didn’t seem to have suffered any real damage, but it was a disappointment to see it. This means another trip up on the porch roof tomorrow. One of two things has happened. Either the flashing never really worked completely, and a little water has always gotten in, but only enough to dampen the framing, or this is a new problem. Not sure which it is, but at least I discovered it before I painted.

Speaking of painting, I’m in the middle of it right now. I got the walls and all the trim primed. All that is left to do is to primer the ceiling. I took a little break to post to the old blog and shove some grub in my gut before I finish up. I also had to do some laundry because I have a job interview tomorrow. I’m not sure if that is a good thing yet, but I had to dig out something nice to wear, and I rarely wear anything nice, so I had to wash it. It is not a suit and tie, don’t worry. I own one suit and the last time I wore it was when my Mom remarried. I told her then, the next time I wear it will be at a funeral and it will probably be mine. She didn’t think that was funny.

The interview is in a different profession than I normally work. I’m looking for something different. What ever I put down in my blog profile was a lie. That was all part of my master plan to thwart the international gang of identity thieves that hound me at every turn. Right now I work for a small, local manufacturer doing sales and IT work. It is only part-time work, that is why I’m able to do so much work on the house and actually get things done on “a school night”. The new job is for a small telecom company. It is an entry level position but I need a change. I guess the fact that they are giving me an interview is a good sign. I mean, they didn’t just laugh and throw away my resume. Not sure it I’m ready for full-time work, though. Some how I’ve managed not to work full-time for more than 15 years now. We’ll see what happens. Don’t wish me luck.


heather said...

So sorry to hear about your leak! I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it is an easy fix and something that once it's taken care of you don't have come back. Especially with all the hard work you have done on that plaster.

heather said...

So sorry to hear about your leak! I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it is an easy fix and something that once it's taken care of you don't have come back. Especially with all the hard work you have done on that plaster.

derek said...

That sucks about the leak. It looks like a difficult place to flash, you can't really get under the shingles on that mansard roof. That downspout could be extended down to the gutter, I've see that done on newer houses. I hope you find the leak, not fun.