How I spent my Spring …
Last year our neighbors asked if we’d be interested in having a clubhouse that they had in their yard. It had been built by a local vocational school and sold at auction (I’m not sure what it went for) and then later resold to them for a few hundred. After several years of use by their 3 boys they had decided to get rid of it and were planning on just burning it down unless we wanted it. We need only find a way to move it from there yard to our yard. Structurally, it was mostly sound, but it had seen better days and being the play place of active boys had been through a bit of “remodeling”.
It was electric capable with 2 outlets and a bulb as well as having double pane windows on either side of it. The front door was one of those dual stable type doors (the bottom and top opened/closed independently) and there was a frame in the top for another window (although that window was missing). There was significant damage to some parts of it. Just inside the front door the floor was completely rotted through as well as significant rot on either side of the door in the front. The roof was riddled with nails and bits of board nailed to the roof (thus the source of the water that rotted the inside) and one of the windows had the front glass panes broken out. The entire structure was also covered with paintball strikes and smeared mud (at least I hope it was mud!). I had been occupied in other projects last year so missed the good weather opportunities to work on the house, but this year I made a personal promise to myself to get this thing fixed up and usable for my girls.My first goal was to fix the roof. I bought a square of shingles and proceeded to re-shingle the roof only to find out that about a quarter of it was very rotted. I scrounged up some old sheets of plywood and cut out the rotten stuff and patched the holes. All said, it was about a 3 foot by 7 foot section of roof replaced. You can see the redone roof in the first image. Notice the alternating colors on the peak cap? I ran out of shingles and had to scavenge some that we kept in storage for our house. Much of this project was completed with scavenged materials around the house because every time I went to the store to purchase something the sticker shock nearly made me pass out!
Here is a close up shot of the front (being modeled by my youngest daughter). You can plainly see the old paint ball marks and some crude patch jobs done by the neighbor boys on either side of the door at the bottom. The window in the door was missing entirely. I used an old piece of plexiglass that was large enough to cut two layers out of. An old trim board allowed me to border the window.
I tried to replace the missing trim on the door, but I had nothing that matched correctly to what was originally there. In the end I removed most of it and started over with new wood. The rotted sections on the bottom left and right was a problem. Unless I wanted to try and hunt down the same kind of sheet wood that was used on the original surface I needed to come up with another way of fixing it. I decided that I would cut out the rotted wood and cover the holes with flower boxes. I was concerned that somone would sit or stand on the flower boxes at some time and it would rip them out. The solution : I decided to use up some old 1″ x 1″ x 8 wood strips to build a deck!
Next I broke out the power washer and tried to clean the old paint and mud off the entire clubhouse. I have no idea how long that mixture of paint ball and mud sat on those walls before we got the clubhouse, but I do know that they marinated there for at least a year under our ownership thus proving quite difficult to clean. It was obvious that the whole thing needed a new paint job so we piled the girls into the car and went down to the Lowe’s. My wife and I agreed that we would allow the girls to select any color they wanted – Body and Trim.
They immediately put their heads together and agreed that each would select a color. Our plan was to use one color as the surface paint and the other as trim on the outside of the clubhouse, and then do it just opposite on the inside. Our children took this decision quite seriously and each diligently selected a favorite color. Pink and Yellow were settled upon.
After suffering some serious sticker shock on the cost of the paint, we dug through the basement, shed, and garage for old paint stashes in search of something to use as a light primer. We had 1 shot at painting this thing because we bought 1 can for both the inside and outside. There would not be enough to do2 layers, it had to be done correctly the first time. Unfortunately the best primer we could find was concrete sealant! But we improvised and decided that not only would we get a nice, lite, primer color, but we’d be able to seal all those places that water and bugs were getting in at the same time. It really worked out well. The stuff we used was intended outside masonry and proof against water leakage, so the only worry we had was if the paint would have a problem sticking to it. We worried for nothing because it worked great!You can see in the image above the new deck the kids got. This was not enough in their eyes, of course. They made noises about wanting a wrap around deck with stairs leading to an upper level observation deck. The sad thing was that I actually did a mental inventory of the old stuff we have laying around! I was half cocked to try and do it! Fortunately we don’t have the materials and those plans remain in the dream stage.
Here you can see the ‘semi-final’ end product of the outside. At this point there was still a little more outside work to be done with the door trim and the electrical cable for supplying power. I plan on blogging about the inside work at a later date so will go into more detail on that, but suffice it to say that the external plug in was also rotted and corroded and needing replaced. Rather than suffer the same problem of it becoming weathered I decided to build a small “junction” box where the clubhouse power could be plugged in and protected from the elements.
The deck is still unprotected and I had actually planned on staining it today, but the weather was blistering hot inside as I was drywalling and when I ran out of drywall screws I was only too happy to clean up and call it a day. Unfortunately I forgot my plans to stain the deck before heading in and the weather is predicting storms for the next few days so that may not be done until we get a string of clear days again.
All in all I’ve put in about a 14 days of work on this with an average of 6 to 7 hours a day. I realize that some proficient carpenters could probably knock this thing out in a few days, but I’m quite satisfied with the progress I’ve made. I’ve also made some interesting additions to the inside that I’m eager to blog about later, but I’ll save that for when I’ve progressed a bit more. I’ll leave you with the final shot of the outside with door trim in place and a protective box made up for the electrical plug on the side in the back.
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