We have decided to start a new series here on Bordering on Finished – Mistakes We Have Made. Because we make plenty of mistakes, consider this Episode 1 of an ongoing series. Hopefully, documenting our mistakes and the reasons for them will help us avoid similar problems in the future. It might even help some of you from following our (bad) example.
Mistake 1: Framing Related
This mistake happened when the framers were still here. Basically, one thing we hadn’t figured out before they started work was how we were going to deal with the exposed rafter tails. We knew we wanted exposed rafters tails, and we knew exposed wood in Florida is very susceptible to rot and insect. But, we hadn’t really come up with a plan for how to get the look we wanted without the problems we didn’t. For that reason, we let the framers build everything with regular lumber. (Around here that means Southern Yellow Pine.)
Of course, after the fact we realized what a bad idea that was. In some cases, unfortunately we couldn’t do anything to change what had been done. We just have to seal and paint the heck out of the rafter tails and hope for the best. However, the small shed roof that covers the bump out over the dining room and kitchen was an area we decided it was best to repair. What that meant was ripping out the work we had paid someone else to do and redoing ourselves.
Once we decided to replace it, we had to decide what to replace it with. We had used finger-jointed redwood for some of the decorative rafter tails in other areas. But because these rafters are actually carrying load – not much but some – we decided to go with cypress, which has natural rot and insect resistance properties.Of course, we had to special order it. (Nothing can be easy, can it?) Once it came, we had to cut the decorative detail and prime them all before installing them. You may remember this image of that process from our Instagram. Here’s what we have now that the repair is complete.
Time and money lost, but we feel a lot better about the longevity of the materials.
Mistake 2: Window Related
We are planning to have inset windows. One, we prefer the look. Two, it is period appropriate for the house. The trouble is setting the windows into the wall leaves a lot of possibilities for water to get in there as well. So, we need to be sure to seal the window opening completely. When we were getting ready to start prepping for the windows, that didn’t seem like a problem at all. Once we actually started prepping, the problem quickly presented itself. We didn’t have the right tape. Trying to stretch around all the corners and into the little nooks and crannies of the windows requires special tape. It is so special, in fact, that we couldn’t find it in store anywhere around us. Because we wanted to make progress, we decided to make due with what we had. Unfortunately, we ended up with something like this.
Because it was the wrong tape, we couldn’t get into the corners the way it should be. Above you can kind of see where it is pulling away. The longer the tape sat, the worse it got. We worried and worried about it and finally decided it was time for a do over. We removed the wrong tape (VERY sticky job, by the way)…..
….and got the right tape.
Luckily, we were able to get rid of the wrong stuff and install the new stuff in one day. (Let’s just not think about all the time we spent installing the wrong stuff in the first place.) In case you were wondering, this is the right stuff. Try not to cringe when you see the price.
What We Learned
Honestly, the reason for both of these mistakes is the same. We rushed ahead before we were really ready. We hadn’t thought enough about what we needed or hadn’t done the necessary research to figure out the best way to proceed. It can be difficult to slow down when there is so much to do. The natural tendency is to want to move forward and make progress. We have learned the hard way that doing that before we are ready can end up having a high cost – both in terms of time and money. We aren’t foolish enough to believe that we’ll never do this again, but at least we are going to be much more conscious of trying to be as prepared as possible before going forward.