Inching Alo…EEK!

So, a few days ago I discovered lots-o-rot. Today, I discovered more above the west-facing Sewing Room window.


All the rotted sheathing removed. The 2×6 studs are mostly OK. Whew. I will sister two of them. 


All this was caused by issues with the built-in gutter. I think I know why. And I think I can fix the problem.

But all that will be a bit later down the road.

I do not actually get freaked out about this type of discovery. No, rather I am just upset about having to do more shingling. I really am sick of shingling. Can I please just, I dunno, decorate the dining room? Please? Pretty please?




  1. Michael J Bazikos on July 11, 2020 at 8:41 pm

    At least you’re not finding bats, other animals or bugs invading your house. Nothing more stressful than suddenly seeing a bat flying through your house, and knowing it just might have a hundred friends in your walls or attic.

    • Ross on July 11, 2020 at 8:45 pm

      Curiously, Michael, I’ve only ever found one bat, which I posted about several times.

      He/she was, thankfully, in residence outside the house!

      • Michael J Bazikos on July 11, 2020 at 9:03 pm

        You are fortunate. It cost me nearly a $1000 and a lot of stress excluding them from my house. Animal Control captured one about 10-12 yrs ago and it had rabies. One time I woke up and my finger was itching. I had what looked like two punctures. I thought I was bitten by a spider or maybe a centipede. Some years later I looked up bat bites and that is exactly what it looked like. It didn’t occur to me to see a doctor at the time. I learned you can be bitten by a bat and not feel it, and I was asleep when that happened. When I had the roof deck restored and the roof reslated, I guess the 30# roofing felt under the slates keeps them from getting into the attic between the roof boards. Yes bats are important but they can live somewhere else as far as i’m concerned.

        • David F on July 13, 2020 at 10:15 am

          Ugh! Bats! We found one rabid bat in our basement once. Hilarious removal story ensued that included a net from the fish pond, 2 pieces of cardboard, a Buick and the neighbors asking what all the activity was at 2am. When we were redoing the 3rd floor/attic of an 1885 house, I found half a dozen squirrels (that had chewed the knob and tube wiring and been instantly fried), 2 raccoons and 50,000 bees. Managed to only get stung once before calling an apiarast. But it did explain the sticky stuff oozing through the plaster and lath in the bedroom below.

  2. Sandra D. Lee on July 11, 2020 at 9:48 pm

    I think it’s remarkable that shingles and wood underneath are in decent shape….in spite of wood rot damage from built-in guttering. Is the south facade in the worst shape as compared to the other sides? With regard to this kind of deterioration and damage? It makes me smile when I see the superb craftsmanship you do, to correct these wrongs and make it right for years onward…yay Ross!

  3. Christine on July 11, 2020 at 10:05 pm

    I can understand you being over shingles. Have you counted how many you have made? Mounted? Painted?

    I’m waiting for the kitchen… Personally, I like the wrecked walls with the glamorous chandelier, windows and table in the dining room.

  4. Leigh on July 11, 2020 at 11:16 pm

    Aw Ross, almost done… almost done. *Hugs.

  5. JCF on July 11, 2020 at 11:36 pm

    “The 2×6 studs are mostly OK. Whew. I will sister two of them.”

    For the ignorant here, sistering means?

    I hope you’re thinking (re the rot) “this could have been so much worse”! 🙂

    • Ross on July 11, 2020 at 11:42 pm


      Yes, I think: This could have been so much worse!

      Two of the visible 2×6 studs are kinda punky along their outer edge. I will “sister” on new 2x6s to them, and attach the new sheathing to the new bits.

    • Stewart McLean on July 12, 2020 at 11:47 am

      Sorry Ross, no disrespect intended, but I am writing this because I feel that JCF doesn’t know what process your use of the word “sistering” describes.
      JCF, Sistering means putting a new board beside the old damaged one. By attaching it into the sound part of the old damaged one, it makes them “sisters”. Although Ross is going to use 2×6’s like what is there, often a smaller size board, like a 2×4 is sistered on to give a nailer for the sheathing that is easier to slip in behind the good old sheathing while still providing a secure surface to nail the new sheathing into.

      • JCF on July 12, 2020 at 5:34 pm

        Thank you, Stewart. I thought it perhaps meant something like that, but it’s good to have it confirmed. [I take it you can’t “sister” something that’s load-bearing though, can you?]

        • Stewart McLean on July 13, 2020 at 12:57 pm

          If a sistered post sits on a load bearing wall or footing and supports the load too. At that point the original bearing post would become irrelevant.
          You would have to have someone who is knowledgeable about such things, like an engineer to look at it first.
          Ross has a great series of posts showing how he installed a beam on the first floor to bear the weight of, I think, the wall of Mrs. Cross’s sewing room where the original structure had failed. I am sorry to say that I have scrolled through the menu to find those posts about the beam and couldn’t find it. Guess I’ll have to read the whole blog again so I can refresh the sequence of events in my mind.

  6. Seth Hoffman on July 12, 2020 at 12:06 am

    Is the interior plaster affected as badly as the exterior sheathing here?

    • Ross on July 12, 2020 at 12:20 am

      There is zero impact on the interior, Seth.


      • Seth Hoffman on July 14, 2020 at 4:28 pm

        Wow, lucky (unusual!) break!

  7. Dan Goodall-Williams on July 12, 2020 at 7:43 am

    I hope soon you are able to repair the gutter. I feel your frustration. It’s like, ugh, shingles, shingles, shingles. Let’s just do something fun!

  8. tura wolfe on July 12, 2020 at 12:12 pm

    Yes, I will be thrilled when you decorate the dining room worthy of Architectural Digest, even if it is Grand in it’s current state being well lived in and changed around use for more than 100 years. But, these singles are enough to drive a Saint nuts. Just a few more giant and baby inching along and surely this side will be made Ross perfect. Hold on to this side almost finished. God bless your sweet heart! Love and hugs to you!

  9. Linda A. on July 12, 2020 at 1:50 pm

    So you are going to fix the gutter issue now? And explain the problem and how you fixed it later? I think I should have been a contractor…I love all the posts explaining the “how” and “why” of things. But I love to decorate too! So here! Here! Let’s move to the dining room….AFTER a bathroom!!!

    Also, can you cut new shingles ahead of time and stock pile them? Or only cut them as needed?

    • Ross on July 12, 2020 at 3:14 pm

      Linda, finishing the painting of the south second floor is a line item on the 2017 Heritage Grant.

      After that is done, I will return to the pointing of the north chimney, another line item.

      At that point the grant work will all be done and I become a free agent. Then I will get to the gutter.

  10. Mike on July 12, 2020 at 2:21 pm

    I am curious as to how you will fix the built-in gutter too. My house originally did not have gutters, but a distant cousin remodeled the wrap around porch in the 1920s and removed the small gables over the two sets of steps and then had built-in gutters constructed. (He also removed all of the spindles and railings, replacing them with columns). Over the decades they were patched and resealed umpteen times until I finally had enough. I had the gables rebuilt over the steps to shed water to either side, reinstalled all of the turned posts, spindles, railings, etc, and then decked and shingled over the built in gutters. Presto, problem solved. I graded the landscaping to make sure that rain water drains away from the house, so it all works very well. I know that’s not an option for you, so best of luck on your situation.

    • Ragnar on July 12, 2020 at 3:46 pm

      I like the system of semi-hidden regular gutters that seems to be common in some places in Europe! The bottom foot or so of the roof is metal and the half-round gutters actually sit on top of the roof rather than hanging from the rafter tails. It’s used whenever a house has a cornice that goes right against the roof, without exposed rafter tails. I’m not 100% sure how the tiles or slates meet the gutters though.

      • Michael J Bazikos on July 13, 2020 at 12:13 pm

        The slates or tiles have to rest on a cant strip which supports the first slates at the proper angle on the roof. In this case the cant strip will be under the top edge of the gutter metal. The first course of slates are called the ‘under eaves slates’ and their length is the headlap(usually 3″) plus the exposure(the part of the slate that you see). Then the first regular course of slates are the full length, with the ends at least 3″ from the joints of the underlying slates. I believe as a matter of course the flashing, i.e. gutter metal, usually extends 6′ under the edge of the slated main roof. Did you get all that?

  11. Jackie on July 12, 2020 at 2:57 pm

    I’m curious (and anxious) about the jumble of bricks that we can see there. Surely they’re not meant to be like that? But as no-one else has mentioned them can I assume it’s just fine like that?

    • Ross on July 12, 2020 at 3:12 pm

      That’s the back of the south chimney.

  12. Linda A. on July 12, 2020 at 4:13 pm

    Gotcha! I was just confused and didnt want the gutters to wreak havoc on your new repairs. I can’t wait to hear what the problem is and what solving it will entail.

  13. Terri on July 13, 2020 at 12:28 pm

    We should have started a shingle making club a long time ago to help Ross get these dang shingles done! I look forward to seeing how you’ ll decorate the inside. For now, all I can do is cheer you on. Go Ross, GO!

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