Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Wood Fence: Part I

As far as ranking favorite projects at the house go...the dry bar (post on that hereis definitely up there, but I think the new wood fence on the side of the house on the top of the list for me as well. A new wood fence isn't the most glamorous or flashy thing in the world. I mean its not a brand new kitchen, but when you disliked the previous chain link fence with green privacy slats as much as I did, a brand spankin' new wood fence feels like the best thing since sliced bread!

In the last post we ripped out the ugly chain link fence

That very night The Engineer and I picked up the materials to start building the new fence, which quite honestly maxed out our little truck!

It was still early enough to start work so we off loaded our materials and set up a string line along the property line. No one wants a crooked fence right? 

The property line happens to be the most unfortunate part of this project. I suppose it’s not the property line itself that is the problem, but rather the things that are on the property line. There are several trees that are directly on the line. Yes I said directly on the line, and yes I said several.

Luckily, this was not a surprise to us. We knew we had trees on the property line because they had pushed the old chain link out of the way to facilitate their growth ergo, we knew we would be working around multiple trees.

Our stretch of fence was approximately 80 ft. long and we started in the back where we would have our longest run of pre-constructed panels. Our plan was to use pre-constructed panels where possible (the cost turns out to be the same as buying the materials and building them yourself) and then build around the trees with raw materials and a little creativity.

After locating the spot for our first fence post, we almost immediately ran into root problems. Because some of the trees on our property are so old, their roots are pretty substantial and we immediately resorted to cutting them with the Sawzall. Any other method would have taken much more time and patience :)

We placed our first post, measured the location for the second, and got that one in the ground too. Since we were losing the light we held off until the morning to attach the panel. No reason to work in the dark :) We admired our two posts and packed up for the day.

The next morning got the first panel attached in no time. We shimmed the panel at the bottom to allow some clearance. With the wood away from the dirt it will be less prone to rotting. We then screwed the panel into the post once we had it level (we got it level by adding more shims).   

I was so excited to finally see a wood fence there! 

It was a simple rinse and repeat for the next several panels. 

If you recall from the demo of the chain link (here) we didn't dig up the concrete bases form the posts with the hope that we wouldn't have many new posts falling in the same position. Our bet paid off and we only had to dig one out. To get it out we dug around it until we could wiggle it and then attached ratchet straps to it and pulled! Point for us!

With six panels up it was time to get into the difficult areas around the trees. I’ll catch you in the next post for that.

Doesn’t it look good so far though?? Even with all the garbage in front of it it is way better <3

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Removing the (oh so ugly) chain link fance

You guys! We got rid of the chain link fence! Do you know how excited I am?! I don't. think. you. do. That's ok though :) I'm so so so excited. The chain link fence with its green privacy slats was such an eye sore for me. The fence along the back and on the opposite side of the house are both wood, so it was out of place on top of being ugly.

In my last post I mentioned that a few friends offered to help The Engineer fix the pipes under the house. However, he finished that task so quickly that we instead asked them to help us remove the fence. Thank goodness for the extra hands!

The Engineer and I actually started work on the fence a week before on a whim. The long-winded story of how this all got started is as follows:

The house next door is a rental property and is now in between tenants. The owner is doing some pretty serious work to fix it up (!!!) so we knew it would be a perfect time to replace the fence. A landscape crew came and did a ton of tree trimming on that property (which was a good thing) and they cut everything on their side of the fence up to the property line. Again, this was great because it needed to be done, but there were a few tree limbs that they cut which we needed to cut all the way back to the tree trunks on our side.

One evening after work we went out there with the chain saw and clippers and cut everything in sight.

We did have a problem when it came to cutting the stumps off the trees though...the chain link fence was in the way.

So we figured there was no time like the present to start taking it down.

Since it was already evening, we only removed enough to get to the tree. We took the top bar so we could bend the chain link away from the tree. With the top bar removed, I actually used that bar to hold the fence away from the tree while The Engineer cut a notch in the bottom of the stump.

Once we got everything trimmed, we left it that way until the next weekend when we could tear the fence down for real.

Enter friends who didn't know what they were getting themselves into (insert evil laugh here). With the help of Tanner, Birelle, and Jason, we got the rest of the fence down in a three of four hour session. I think if it was just The Engineer and myself we would have been out there all day!

We started by removing the metal ties that held the chain link to the posts. 

Then the guys used some elbow grease (ok, probably a lot of elbow grease) to get the bottom of the chain link out of the ground where the roots had a firm grasp on it. 

From previous experience removing a few random posts elsewhere in our yard, we knew that the posts were concreted in the ground. We didn't want to go through the trouble of digging them out, releasing them from their root captors, and heaving all that weight out of the ground, so we opted to dig to the concrete and cut the posts off. In doing this, we were running the risk of having to remove one of the concrete bases if a new fence post happened to fall in the same spot, but this was a risk we were willing to take (spoiler: it paid off, we only had to remove one).

The Engineer and Jason dug out the posts ahead of Tanner who was manning the Sawzall. 

That Sawzall cut through the posts like butter! Brielle made sure that the posts didn't bop Tanner in the need to do any more damage than has already been done right ;-)

I think Tanner did get a little consumed with the Sawzall because once all the fence posts were cut, he then proceeded to cut any and every rogue stump or limb he could find! I think I know a good gift for this guy :)

Glad you cleaned the place up a bit Tanner!

Removing the chain link is already an upgrade in my eyes, but I am SO excited to get the new fence in!

A huge thanks to Tanner, Brielle, and Jason for their hard work! And thanks to all of you for reading. You know what to expect next around here:-D

Monday, February 2, 2015

Hubby fixed the hot water

About a month ago we had a hot water pipe burst under our house. Burst people. It was like Niagara Falls down there. We (and by we I mean The Engineer) temporarily fixed it by capping the pipe before the rupture (shout out to my dad for that great idea), which gave us hot water in the kitchen and one bathroom. This only left us without hot water in the other bathroom (sadly the bathroom with the real shower) and the laundry room.

Last weekend The Engineer bypassed the rupture and re-piped the hot water line to the bathroom and laundry room :-D No more showers in the tub!

Now there aren't too many pictures of this fix...because it was in the crawl space. The Engineer has been down there on a number of occasions for a number of reasons, but he is such a good hubby that he hasn't made me go down there yet! I really just wanted to give you guys an update from this post in December where I listed some things in the house that were having major problems ;-/

The portion of the house with the bathroom and laundry room is an addition to the original house. The crawl space there is separate from the rest of the house, meaning we had to reopen the tiny access hole under the washing machine The Engineer created to fix a leak back when we moved in. 

So out came the washer, up came the stick on tile, off came the cover, and in went The Engineer.

To get the pipes through the double wide cinder block foundation wall separating the two crawl spaces, we had to get a new tool. 

Yup, that's a 16-inch bit. I was a little fearful that The Engineer would be down there for an hour grinding his way through those foundation walls, however; with the right tool it took him 30 seconds haha! He made quick work of the rest of the job since we used CPVC. He cut and glued most of the pipes outside and only had a few fittings to glue under the house. 

He made it look easy to me at least! We even had a few friends volunteer to go under the house and help him fix it, but he finished before they even showed up at our house! I was so impressed that they were willing to go in the crawl space. Kudos to them! 

We didn't let them off the hook that easily though. Getting ahead of schedule allowed us to start on our next project...the fence on the side of the house (SO EXCITED FOR THIS GUYS!!!!) We had them help us rip out the chain link fence so we could put up a new wood one. Thank goodness because it was a lot of work. There are numerous trees on the property line that had grown into the fence and wound their roots around every bit of the bottom of the fence. 

Say goodbye! I really hated this fence. I don't like chain link fences, and I really don't like the green privacy slats that were in there. I'm honestly cringing looking at the pictures again. 

Now you know, we have hot water again and I am super stoked to be installing a new wood fence :)