What started out as a simple bee infestation has turned into a full blown rehab project at our house. Where I originally believed that the nest was responsible for the rotting wood, it turns out that there has been an ongoing penetration of water into this corner of the house for probably 20+ years. Indeed the bees chewed and bored right through the joists and studs, using the next-over pocket between joists as a dumping ground for the chewed up lumber- there was 10 pounds of sawdust mysteriously piled up in there, and sort of petrified into a mound with bee saliva.. But the real damage was caused by H20. In these situations, it needs to get worse before it gets better- kind of like cutting away gangrenous limbs. I had to cut a little bit past the decay and rebuild from that point. The pictures are self-explanatory but I like explaining things.. I did a similar rehab on the east end of the house where an outdoor duplex outlet was also penetrated for years and the sheathing rotted to mush. That was a little bit easier to fix.
This little crevice was packed with thousands of honeycombs, filled with squirming larvae, meaning that their numbers were about to double or triple if we did not poison them to death.
Thank God that fist joint was not destroyed- the end is a little rough but it is otherwise solid, and I used it a base to re-build around. The fascia 2x10 had to be cut to the centerline of the next floor joist.
3/8x16 bolts hold the new material in place securely, above.. below, that sheathing is split in two pieces for a reason- if there is going to be moderate penetration and decay at a corner, only the 4" wide piece of sheathing is affected while the rest of the sheathing escapes serious damage. It almost worked in this case (orig built in 1963) and I simply repeated the design- I did not come up with it. Below you can also see that the left hand side of this set-up required a saw-toothed piece of sheathing to be custom fit in place. That was the hardest part.
Below, meet my new best friend- peel and stick flashing! This stuff was not around in 1963, but if it had been this whole mess might have been avoided. Love it. The new trim pieces you see are not real wood, but impervious-to-everything PVC. It doesnt even need painting. I love it so much I could cry..
Only two more pieces of trim, some new cedar clapboard, and one soffit panel to pop in there. Then I'll secure that little crown moulding that's pulled down, apply caulk to all the joints, prime and paint. I figure a contractor would have charge me $500-600 labor to do this work, plus materials. It is going to take me about 20 hours total, and I don't exactly hustle when I want to do a job like this correctly. I take my time.
Hey did I mention that I rode my bike today? Yeah, the 2nd time since Providence Cross Fest. Did about 45 awesome miles down to Narragansett and now I feel like a human being again!
Thanks for reading.