Renovation & Design

Spring projects already looking for attention

Mustard has big plans for his grandsons

Laurie Mustard / Winnipeg Free Press

Mustard has a sinking feeling it is definitely time to level the floor on his veranda.

Spring having sprung, we switch our focus from moving snow from here to there (especially this winter), to the much more pleasant “PROJECTS” department.

And no question, probably as with so many of you, I have a lengthy list of projects awaiting my attention, oddly enough on mine, numerous from last spring’s list, because I didn’t get them done.

One of them being, leveling, jacking up, the porch/decking on the front of my house, which settled a lot through our recent very dry summers. The rear part of the deck is fine of course, because it’s attached to the house. Not so the front, which “floats” with the ground level.

When being constructed, to give the porch that old fashioned veranda look, I had them install a couple of support posts from the deck surface to the eaves, for cosmetic use only, designed (top end) to slide up and down, with the heaving or sinking of the porch.

The stain line on each post, in this case, telling me how much settling there has been. I actually did get at this last spring/summer, each post having dropped about five inches, a combination of the earth settling and the concrete pad sinking into the dirt.

Between space restriction, ornamental bushes having filled in the areas I needed to work in, and the cats having designated everything “below deck” their outdoor litter box, it was a job I was thinking I should find somebody else to do.

Nope. My house. My job. There are three support posts under the beam at the front of the deck, each, after jacking up the beam, needing to come out, the concrete pads removed from the Manitoba gumbo they’ve become mired in and exchanged with pads with a larger footprint, leveling done, posts replaced and…guess what? Between heat, mosquitoes and cat poop, I crawled out, decided it would be a fall job, and never got back to it again, ‘til now.

My house. No guilt, no shame, it is what it is, so here’s this year’s plan. First, before heat and mosquitoes, I’ll remove any and all surface dirt containing cat “leavings”, replace with clean fill, cover same with landscape fabric, add a layer of river rock, and done. Then I’ll slide in a sheet of quarter inch plywood to work from, replace the pads, and replace the posts with adjustable telepost style supports that can easily be tweaked as needed. Much better. I’m almost sure I’m going to get right on that as soon as everything dries up. Icky job though …

No worries, the next job in line is much nicer. Enjoyable even. Prior to re-roofing the caboose, water leaked through and rotted a couple of spots in the ceiling and wall panels (minor), and thanks to my scrounging capabilities, I managed to find (free ads section) some really nice old wooden wall paneling that is perfect for the repair. This job will actually be fun.

And I suppose this should be the year I install the aluminum awning I’ve had sitting for a little while (5 plus years) over the man door on my shed. It’s not so much the installation as what I have to clear out of the way first that’s been holding things up. The grandboys keep asking, “What can we help you with Grandpa?” It’s time to take them up on their generous offer, following which, they’ll probably never ask me again.

I think the main problem with these ambitious spring and summer projects for those of us with yards, is that we mean well, we take a much deserved post winter pause, then growing and mowing season cuts in big-time and suddenly…it’s spring again!

Not quite sure how that happens. Not even sure I want to figure it out. Happy weekend!

Comments and column ideas welcome!


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