Terrific Broth

Beijinger in Denver | 北京人在丹佛

Tag: Shed (Page 1 of 2)

The Roof Project Completed!

Bing!

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Bing!

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Bing bing!

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Bing bing bing!

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Did I hit you hard with these photos yet? How about some before and after photos:

The main house front before:

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And after!

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Garage roof before:

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After!

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The back of the house when we moved in:

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And the back of the house today!

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Our pipes and vents before, badly rusted and leaking:

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And this is how they look today!

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The brown trims we inherited before:

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And what they look like now:

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We chose to paint the trims and soffit with the same bronze color as our gutter, so the gutter can disappear on the fascia. The goal is to have fewer horizontal lines on our one-story ranch house:

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And being the same bronze as our front door, we made the front doors look taller. The goal here is to elongate any vertical lines on the exterior (doors, windows, so our one-story ranch looks less flat:

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A far cry from what we had before:

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This is what the same area look like now:

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The gutter contrasts the bricks handsomely:

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And even better, we have the same new roof put on our shed as well!

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The shed roof came as a nice surprise to us. When we booked the roofers we did not know that their quote includes the shed. It felt like a Christmas in September when they started tearing down the old roof on the shed! Our shed could use a new roof – aside from missing shingles, the plywood sub-roof was rotten:

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The roofers torn it to studs and put in all new plywood and underlayment.

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And here is our new shed roof today:

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We took the opportunity to extend the overhang out from 10″ to 2′, so the firewood stored underneath are better protected from rain and snow:

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We do not have anything stored under the overhang on the other side yet. But it gives us options for more firewood if needed.

The new shed roof conveniently completed the phase II for our shed renovation, which is a lot faster coming that we expected after phase I! I almost forgot how bad it was when we bought the house. This is the real before:

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Wow, right? Look at this lady now:

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As soon as the whole roof work was done, it has been raining cats and dogs for a solid week. The new gutters and our grading around the foundation are doing a great job to direct water away from our foundation. There was not a bit of moisture in any of our new window wells.

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We are sooo glad that we have crossed all the things off our long, “water” to-do list before the fall rolls around. It was a long list and we did lots of hard work ourselves. I cannot help but having it here again, just so I can do my “Shift+Alt+D” once again:

1. Replace the leaky roof and gutter
2. Extend the downspouts
3. Getting rid of the front flower bed
4. Correct the sloping issues of the front and back porch 
5. Seal the foundation cracks
6. Seal all the exterior holes and gaps
7. Grading around the house

Now, let it snow! We are ready for our first winter in Colorado!

Setting Up Our Compost

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Composting is now in full force at our ranch! We had composted when living in North Carolina and it was pretty easy. We mostly did the trench bury method, with a bit of help from a tumbling composter. It reduced our food waste so much and we were so hooked. As soon as we moved in our ranch, I asked Slav to keep the grass clippings for composting.

Decide the location of our compost bins

We kept our compost bins in mind while working on our shed (here, here, here, and here). Slav got rid of all the bushes around the shed and leveled the ground at the back, leaving plenty of room for wheel barrel to go around and compost bins.

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We want the compost bins to be tucked away from our views. From our back patio and most of the yard, we cannot see the back and the right side of the shed, making them ideal locations.

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You can probably tell by the way we painted the shed where the compost bins would go. Yes, they will be set up at the back of the shed. We need some covered firewood storage. The rake (part of the roof overhanging at gable end) of the shed is longer than the eaves (part of the roof overhanging the back walls). The back is also longer for us to set up multiple compost bins.

Our compost bins

We got this Rubbermaid bin from one of our many trips to Habitat for Humanity.

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This compost bin has an awesome design. It is 3′ long, 2’8″ wide and about 2′ tall on the sides. It is made with hollow plastic walls that are 2″ thick,  making the inside ~18 Cu Ft capacity. There are six plastic pieces: two on the top and four sides. It has holes all around near the bottom for drainage and ventilation, but these holes are not big enough for rodent to get inside. One side panel has a small detachable piece at the bottom to make removing the finished compost easier.

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I loved the design but unfortunately, this compost bin has been discontinued. Luckily, I spotted another one on Craigslist soon after and snapped it right away. Now I have two of them! The new one has lost its color on the top pieces, but it is still strong and fully functional.

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You can see our old window well there too. I plan to use it as a temporary storage for yard waste so I can add them in layers.

What to compost – C/N ratio is the key

As you might already know, composting needs both carbon-rich materials, such as paper and dry leaves, and nitrogen-rich materials, such as coffee ground and kitchen scrapes. The image below is an easy reference for what you can compost:

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What lots of us do not know, is how to balance the ratio of the carbon vs nitrogen. Too much nitrogen rich material leads to rotten compost piles and terrible smell, while too much carbon makes a dry and inactive pile which takes forever to break down. The right ratio is about 30:1 of carbon to nitrogen (C/N), and all the stuff we usually put in the compost bins already have an internal C/N ratio that we need to factor in. Here is a handy list for estimated C/N ratio for commonly composted items. You can see that fresh glass clippings already have a 20:1 C/N ratio, so does food scraps. Since we have mostly glass clippings and kitchen waste, my compost bins need more “brown” materials.

We have lots of cardboard boxes and egg cartons in hand. So they will be stored in the trash can we place in the shed until they are layered in the bins. This is also where the “window well” container comes in handy – we can dry fresh glass clippings before putting them into the bins to increases their C/N ratio.

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Setting up the bins

I assembled both bins and put them along the back of the shed. I made sure that the detachable piece at the bottom of each shed faces outside (the right compost bin has it on the right side and the left bin has it on the left side), so I can remove finished compost without working in between the bins.

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The window wells are pieced together in the middle for extra glass clippings:

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It is recommended to build “layers” when composting, like this:

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Our compost bins do not have a bottom and sit directly on dirt. At my first layer, I put down some cardboard boxes. They do compost, but I mainly put them there to prevent rodents from getting into the bins:

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Then I started layering in the compost bins on the left. First came dried grass clippings:

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Then a layer of food waste. Since my glass clippings was not as dry as I would like it to be, I did not add too much food waste:

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I then covered the food waste with more grass clippings and kept building my pile, until it was about 2 ft tall:

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Then watered it down:

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Putting the lid on and the left bin is set! This bin consumed all of our food waste and half glass clippings. The next step is to keep it wet and turn it a couple times a month. I am not gonna add anything new into this bin, since adding new material will make the breaking done process waaaay longer. Since I have two bins, I will add new material slowly into the right one while this one is cooking. Hopefully this one will be done by the time I fill up the right bin!

Stacking our firewood

Once the compost set up is finished, I turned my attention to the firewood piling up among the fence. Denver is sunny most of the time but still rains occasionally. We would like to protect our firewood from rain by stacking them under the gable of the shed.

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Remember the right side of the shed we reserved for these firewood?

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This is how it looks like now:

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With the shed painted and organized, the compost bins set, and the firewood stacked, my internal OCD is 100% satisfied – I now have the most organized shed, the coolest compost operation, and the prettiest firewood stash in the Highlands! Now we just need the compost to work!

The Shed Revolution Vlog – Adding Bottom Trims and Finishing the Shed

Hey you! Happy hump day! This post is about the finial product of our finished shed and I cannot help but loading this post with videos and pictures. The Shed renovation started shortly after we moved in, in the beginning of July! It feels great to finally wrap it up.

Yesterday I left you with an almost-painted shed (stenciled on three sides) and an almost-organized interior (need to hang some tools):

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With the back of our shed primed but not painted:

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We almost ran out of brown paint after stenciled the front and the two sides of the shed. So Slav suggested to paint the back with whatever exterior paint we had on hand since the back of the shed is hidden (you cannot see the back side of the shed unless you walk behind it). We happen to have some green paint, With the view from the back of the shed being our green backyard, it actually works better from this angle.

Being on the home stretch,  we were so pumped to get the shed finished. We got up super early on Saturday and got to work TOGETHER. I was very excited to finally work with Slav – we usually work in turns on any given project to take care of different stages of work.  For example, with this shed, Slav did the demo, I power-washed. Slav put up the sidings and trims, I painted. Somehow working together makes this Saturday feel special. 🙂

Here is the start of our day:

We got the same cedar wood used for other trims, as well as one 8-ft long 2×4 for hanging tools inside the shed – all explained in this video.

The trims needed to be sandwiched in between vertical trims, so I marked all of them to remember where to cut, while Slav went out for new blades for our miter saw:

As a newbie, I marked all the trims without considering the 1/8″ loss due to the use of the miter saw. Oops! Thankfully Slav double checked and I quickly remarked all the pieces.

Since this is our first time using miter saw, we started by cutting the 2×4 to warm up. Slav installed them in between the vertical studs; and I put some nails to hold up the gardening tools. It turned out nicely and really saved some floor space.

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See the finished interior (!) in this video:

The small stripe of wood next to the door will be used to hold seed packages:

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It was installed on the left side of the door, next to the white shelving unit:

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And the black unit neighbors the garden tools:

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I broke out my paint roller again and half an hour later, our shed had its bottom trim primed and installed:

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I followed with my paint brush and the last bit of brown paint on the bottom trims, and at the last minute, we decided to paint the exposed roof rafters as well. I think it made the shed look more coherent.

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This is Shed Sloniowski, in its glory:

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We painted the entire back of the shed green:

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In person the green looks a lot darker, more like the forest green and very grounded. This side of the shed is always in shade so my camera insisted on over-exposing it.

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Here you have it, our new shed! After seeing it half-way done for weeks, it felt sooo good to have a finished product. Now it is complete, we already started thinking about adding compost bins and firewood storage. This corner will soon become the most productive site of our whole yard!

 

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