Friday, April 3, 2015

chim chiminey

well, hello...

Have you ever had a nightmare it which you're frantically trying to do something, but everything's moving in impossibly slow motion?  That's been the past few weeks here.  Slow.  As.  Sludge...

But there are people on my roof now, we saw the Decemberists a few nights ago, and the chimney is done.  Betcha didn't even know we were working on the chimney eh?  Well, we have been.  For months.

We're lucky enough to still have all five original chimneys, 4 on the main 1886 house, and one on the 1890's kitchen addition.  All were in danger of collapse when we bought the house, and we rebuilt the four main ones immediately because they tied into the slate roof work and flashing.  Not to mention had they collapsed they would have done major damage to the new roof and gutters.





The one on the end of the kitchen wing on the other hand was willfully ignored.  We weren't working on that section of roof yet, and other than someone parking under it, nothing would be harmed if it came down of its own accord.  Unfortunately, the spalling bricks impacted the plaster walls all the way down, but that damage was done long before we came into the picture.


the moss is a nice touch isn't it?  This is not what the inside of a chimney should look like!

So long story short, we met a new mason, he was willing to do our bidding (it's quite a bit harder than you'd think to find people willing to use the proper materials for restoration), and he didn't think we were strange for wanting to put our "collection" up top.  You see, when the top of this chimney had partially collapsed before we bought the house, it lost it's massive sandstone cap, which would have been very expensive to reproduce.  It was also the ugly stepsister to our other chimneys.  So, two house demolitions and one freecycle pickup later (all over the four plus years we've been here), and the forgotten chimney has a bit of eclectic British charm.



nicely bedded down in 4 inches of mortar



Perhaps the happiest part of all this is seeing yet more of my "clutter" get incorporated into the house and out of the way.  Unless you're in the enviable position of being Scrooge McDuck, the only way to tackle a massive project like this is to grab materials as you find them, even if it means storing them for years.  Yes, your friends and family may seek professional help for you (even though in this case I am a professional), but just remember, they're not the ones taking on an impossible project (I mean, if they truly cared they'd offer to pay right?).


9 comments:

  1. Yeah, I'm a big fan of "put your money where your mouth is". If they think it's that crazy that you have random columns and whatnot hanging around as "clutter" for years on end, have them pony up the dough to get the project going. I say this to my mom all the time, and it usually ends the bellyachin'... for awhile.

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    1. Luckily, most of our friends and family either don't give a hoot about the project, or are fascinated by it. Either way works for me, although some do need a gentle reminder from time to time about why it is we're ok with not being able to walk through our basement...

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  2. Ohhhh, I am jealous! Your chimneys are all done! I have three chimneys on my 1894 pile. Two were repointed (thank God) by the previous owner, but the third is scary. Scary! I need to get to it, but it will have to stay in one piece for like another two years. I am crossing my fingers!

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    1. It's amazing that it only took 4 years to finish one project in it's entirety! In fact, now that I think about it, the chimneys are the only project that is completely done. Luckily, gravity works in favor of chimneys staying upright, tornadoes, not so much...

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  3. Oh man, I wanted a chimney pot in the worst way! Sadly, by that time we were so far over budget I had to let that idea go. One more thing in a series of things we couldn't afford to do. I'm glad at least one of us got one! :)

    I hear you about people not wanting to do anything out of the ordinary. At the end, I gave up trying to convince tradespeople to do something different and just told 'em to finish the damn place. A person gets tired after a while. ;P

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    1. Now I sort of feel guilty for having three...

      I suppose with a new house current ways of doing things aren't a problem - but around here re-pointing in particular seems to be the kiss of death for so many structures. It makes no sense, it's not any more difficult or time consuming to do things the right way and yet, no one does. Boggles the mind...

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  4. I always love seeing properly-built chimneys on Victorian houses. It's such a significant part of the architecture, but so often you see tem rebuilt with just a plain rectangular shape, shortened, or just pked over with mortar

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    1. Yeah, in the one picture you can see where it looks like someone lobbed concrete globs at the interior to hold the collapsing bits together. But as bad as the "repairs" were, the chimneys were still there, which is more than we can say about a lot of the house.

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  5. My roof has fallen into a drastically terrible state. I'm taking time to consider what the best medium for a new roof would be. Right now I am trying to learn all that I can about slate roofs. How well do they hold up in a snowy climate?
    http://www.slateroofingrepair.com

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