Wednesday, November 21, 2012

On Copper Roofs and Trusting Life

The past couple of weeks have been quite a challenge on the building forefront. What we are dealing with is my lack of knowledge and the excessive amounts of moisture in our current environment.

It all began with a bad decision. I wrapped the house in tarps to keep it dry. Well, as it turns out that wasn't the best choice when the weather got rainy. Instead it held the moisture inside, which you would think would be obvious to see. But it is one of those situations where when you are “in it” it is challenging to step back and realize what is actually going on.

So I made a mistake. The walls got very moldy inside and out, and now I get to deal with it. Though there seems to be a problem with the specific plywood that was used…

The first attempt we made to rid the environment of mold, was to spray and wipe the walls with 100% bleach (with vapor respirators of course), which was disgusting. Then move the trailer (house) to another location, where it can stay out of the rain with air movement on all sides. These actions made me feel much, much better.

But the mold was back in less than a week.... worse than before - a white fuzz coating the body of the trailer. This sent me towards despair! I am putting all my energy, love, hope and money in to this house and what do I get? Mold? I know I am getting much more than that, but sometimes it is hard to see.

I have learned something sense then. Bleach is not efficient at killing mold on porous surfaces. Because mold sends spores deep in the material and the ion structure of sodium hypochlorite (bleach) does not allow it to penetrate porous surfaces. So when you put bleach on mold - which is on a porous surface, the bleach part of the solution sits on the surface and the water part soaks into the wood, actually encouraging the mold to grow.

Instead we will use vinegar which seeps in to porous materials and kills 82% of molds. So keep your fingers crossed we are dealing with the "right" mold!

Plan #2. Seal the windows and doors, dry the trailer out using a dehumidifier, a heater and a fan. Spray the dry interior with vinegar and wipe it down. Dry the house again. Paint the interior with Kilz primer with a mold-icide additive. Then do the same process on the exterior using a heat gun and working in patches.

I have been realizing recently that rest is important. So today while waiting for the trailer to dry out we decided to head to Seattle and gallivant around architectural salvage warehouses! But we took the wrong exit off the freeway and got a bit lost. My dad saw a sign for a sheet metal and roofing company. And being who he is, he decides we are going in.

Long story short, we meet a really nice guy named Nick who has been in the sheet metal business for thirty years and really likes our projects. He offered to help me build whatever kind of roof I would like... for the cost of materials! He encouraged me to stick with my ultimate goal of using copper – but this might have to change since copper is very expensive right now. My mind is spinning with ideas!

Here's to wrong turns and trusting life!



Sunday, November 4, 2012

Mock-up and Mold

Click on each photo for descriptions

We mocked up all the furniture in my house, and spent a few days rearranging things until they felt just right. Next we made cardboard windows and determined size and placement! Everything is so exciting.... until I discovered a black and white fuzzy mold coating the majority of the walls. Inside and out. It turns out I didn't have enough ventilation, and with the moisture around here it created the perfect environment for mold to thrive.

So, I made a trip the hardware store today, coming away with respirators, neoprene gloves, spray bottles and bleach. The surprises never end, and we've got our work cut out for us!

Off to work,