Terrific Broth

The life of two scientists, creating a small home, in big mountains

Category: Our House (Page 2 of 22)

Dressing Up the Door Front – Curb Appeal Take IV

Can you tell the difference between these two photos?




They are the before and after photo of our latest project. Can you tell the difference?





Yes! The quarter round trims! We installed quarter round around the front door and the garage door, where the casing meets the brick! Now the entryways look a lot cleaner.





What we used to trim around the door are pieces of quarter round, which are made of PVC.


What we did was simply replacing the old caulk, cutting the quarter round to size, and attaching them using glue:


During the roof and garage door weather stripping replacement, we painted all the trim a bronze color. However, it was really difficult to get a clean line on the caulking, due to the uneven brick surface:


It is a small detail but does bother Slav and I to a great deal. We decided to add a piece of quarter round to cover the caulk. It is the easiest way to get a clean line between the trim and the brick, and it will also protect the caulk from the outside elements.


We have used PVC trims from Royal Mouldings for weather proofing our garage door weeks prior. We really liked how nice they looked and how easy they were to work with. So we went back and got their PVC quarter round. The color matches the garage door jamb perfectly.

We ran the quarter round all the way to the top of the header.





As you can see, the PVC door jamb and the quarter round are in espresso, which is slightly different from the color of our door casing (bronze). To us, they are close enough so we did not bother to paint the quarter round. But just in case you are wondering, Royal Moulding actually offers a lot more colors than what you can find in Home Depot or Lowe’s, and you can order these colors online.

The quarter round immediately give a finished feel of our garage door. Like a light bulb went off, we decided to use them to dress up our front door as well:




The quarter round soften the edge of the door and made the front door a lot more finished:


Remember what the front door looked like when we moved in?


The whole quarter round installation only took Slav a couple hours and some cuts on his miter saw. It is an instant gratification that we could not resist. This is what the garage door looked like before the quarter round trim:



And here are the “after” look with the quarter round:



If you have been keeping score, you will agree that the curb appeal became much better since we moved in five months ago:


We took down and prison bar-like storm door, cleaned up the front porch and changed the light:


Then Slav took down the ugly porch cover:


I then painted the front door, and Slav installed a new storm door:


The soffit, fascia and trims got a new coat of paint when we replaced the roof and gutter:


And I think these quarter round just bumped our score a bit higher!


Garage Ceiling, Gone!

Demoing is my favorite part of the renovation. Despite dust and debris, it usually leaves a much cleaner and simpler state for us to work with. Most of the things we have done during the five months living in this house are demos: old carpet on the main floor, stinky carpet on the stairs, satellite dish on the roof and wires, rusted metal awnings, broken concrete patios, window wells (here and here), a wall or two, and a backyard garden shed. Our ranch must feel 1000 pounds lighter now.

And last weekend, garage ceiling got its turn.

Boy, did we have fun demo the garage ceiling! It was not only unwanted, but also crazily ugly. It lacks both form and function. This attic ladder is a good representative of the current state of the garage ceiling:


(Please applause for the DIY ski rack in the background – it looks so good!)

I had Slav on the ladder with a pry bar, mom’s cheer, and an utility knife. The only thing we did not have was mercy. In a couple hours, we went from this:


to this:


And to this:



To break it down, Slav removed all the drywall ceilings with a pry bar, and I was on the ground cutting the drywall into manageable pieces using an utility knife. While I bagged all the drywall pieces in big trash bags, Slav went around and removed all the nails, screws, and ladder hardware from the bottom chord.


You can see the plywood sub-roof now:



The ridge opening is covered by ridge vent, which is designed to let moisture and heat out of the garage.


Slav also removed many random boards and lumber nailed onto the bottom chord. Many of which do not have any function.


He did leave one section intact. The southeast corner of the bottom chord has several really nice boards on top. We decided to keep it as a potential storage.



The next step will be rewiring the electrical to accommodate more ceiling lights. The current electrical situation in the garage is pretty pathetic:




After the electrical work, we will likely seal the roof with plywood for a better look. At the mean time, we are perfectly happy to look up and see our beautiful garage roof trusses:


One step closer to our cathedral ceiling!

Garage Ceiling Goes Cathedral!

Hey friends! Last time I left you with the ranch house garage, it looked like this:


It was organized, but far from renovated. Most of the walls and ceiling are still the original and full of nail holes.

I also left you a lengthy to-do list for our next stage of work in the garage. Most of the things on this list concern insulation:

1. Demo the broken dry wall ceiling
2. Upgrade the lighting
3. A new attic entry
4. Northern wall insulation
5. Finish/paint the northern and southern walls
6. Replace the old window
7. Replace weather stripping and broken trims around garage door
8. Insulate the garage door with a layer of foam
9. Fix the garage slab and replace the old weather stripping under the garage door

You can see that we have already replaced the weather stripping around the garage door and leveled the concrete slab at where it has settled. These steps stopped almost all the winter draft coming in from the garage door, which helps the garage to stay warm in winter. Our next task, is a completely overhaul of the garage ceiling – including replacing the ceiling, adding insulation, and updating the electrical.


Here is what the garage ceiling looks like. The problems are…many. I do not even know where to start. Let us put it this way, I cannot think of anything good to say about this ceiling, at all.


It is a random collection of drywall pieces. You can see that some seams are taped, while others are not.


The drywall pieces are small, leading to many gaps in between. They allow heat to escape in winter. Ever worse, some pieces are completely missing:


The drywall pieces are mostly nailed to the bottom chord. In some places, they are held up by random pieces of lumber:


This ceiling not only seriously lacks form, but also function. There is no insulation whatsoever above the ceiling – just imagine this garage is an abandoned, broken barn.

The electrical in this garage is also a mess. There is only one electrical outlet on the ceiling, and not many light sockets.


As a consequence, all the lights in the garage are interconnected with loose wires.


Last but not the least, allow me to present to you the king of the problem – the attic ladder:


Or I should say, the leftover of the attic ladder:


The bottom of the ladder is broken off and the whole thing is slowly peeling off the drywall cover. If we want to go up, we need to use a long ladder to put on top of the broken attic ladder – a true safety hazard. Unfortunately, due to the “hot” Denver housing market, we did not have the leverage to ask the previous owner to fix anything. We bought the house “as-is”, and this is it…

Although the ceiling looks terrible, the roof structure is no doubt in a good shape. With a new roof over the garage, we feel pretty good about our starting point. We believe that with a completely ceiling overhaul and some new lighting, we can make this garage a really neat place.

Starting last week, Slav started to take down the ceiling piece by piece:


He started from the edge, where there are less electrical connections, and moved his way to the center:



The piece of drywall above the bottom chord is our current attic access. We plan to replace it during the ceiling work. In our city, the code requires the attic access door in attached garage to be 20 minutes fire-rated, and self-closing.

As the ceiling coming down, you can see the stuff stored there and left to us: paneling, screens, and interestingly, a whole plastic bag of receipts.



The roof above the main living area has king post roof truss, but in the garage, we have tri-bearing truss:


The roof pitch is 4:12, which is not steep at all. But over the whole span of the roof, the highest point is over 4 feet above our existing 8’4″ ceiling. I cannot help but thinking how great it would be to keep a cathedral ceiling here, instead of installing a new flat drywall ceiling. It will not only makes this compact garage feeling more spacious, but also save all the effort and cost to drywall and mud. And think about the cool lighting we can have instead of standard can lights!

I had the idea brewing in my head for weeks before discussing with Slav. He was immediately on board! And not in a tolerating kind of way, but in a “Great idea” and “Let us do it” kind of way. 🙂 I am such a lucky woman.

So now the question became: how do we insulate the ceiling, and what do we use to as ceiling finish? We decided to go with the same 5-mm plywood that we used on the garage end wall. It is light and easy to work with, and has a nice finish. We can put fiberglass batt insulation right between the plywood and the roof, just like in the walls. The plywood will not only cover the insulation, but also hold them in place.

I am excited about using the same plywood finish on the ceiling as the end wall. The continuous wall to ceiling treatment should draw the attention up, especially with white walls flanking it from both sides. It should make the garage feel deeper and taller, something like this.

With a solid plan in place, we are just waiting for a warm weekend to tackle the garage ceiling project. As of today, half of the garage ceiling has been removed! So stay toned, friends! The tall ceiling is coming!

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