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Big Toys & Childhood Dreams

1913 Renovation Project #Home Improvement

Good morning! Backyard Brian here.

Some of you have been following the posts that Victoria has been sharing on the renovation of our own house here on Walnut Avenue in Waynesboro. We’re really excited to have the ability to renovate this old place and are currently focused on the interior remodeling so that we can move in soon. However, I wanted to take a few minutes to show you all the backyard and expand on some of our ideas for the renovation of this outside space in the future. This is one of the things we really like about this house. The backyard is one of the main reasons we chose to purchase this place.

As you can see, this is a pretty old, classic home on the side here. It’s got a great, full, wrap-around front porch. Here in the back, we have a second-story balcony porch that we’re really excited about. It’s a great space up there. We have a deck on this side, so we have brought our table over.  We also have a swimming pool! This was not something we were intentionally looking for, but with teenagers in the house and lots of extended family, we are really excited about having the opportunity to host fun, outdoor gatherings. This is one of my favorite places in the backyard.

One slight, problematic thing I’ve observed about this existing setup is the deck right here; our main gathering area. There’s a rail between it and the pool, which means that you have to go down these steps and through the gate to get into the pool area. We’re planning to change that since most people will gather on this deck. Changing this will enable people in the pool to go back and forth easily. Our goal is to add another deck light level here to bridge the elevation difference between the pool and this upper deck to create easier access to the pool.

We also have a gate over there for security on the pool, which can be closed to create a better space here. The pool deck is concrete right now and a bit cracked. We’re planning to lay Travertine over the top of this concrete surface. Travertine is fantastic for swimming pool decks because, unlike a lot of stones, when it gets wet it increases the traction rather than becoming slick. It stays cool underfoot and looks great. We plan to also remove this scraggly tree and fill in some of these beds with hardsapes instead of mulch so as to prevent tracking into the pool. The pool has just been opened, and we got the pump and filter running to continue clearing the water up. We also plan to extend the hardscape around the pool so that there is more space for people to gather and hang out. Our extended family lives close (and there are lots of them) as well as many of our friends, and they are all excited to hang out here at the pool.

Beside the pool over here, we have a garage, which was an unexpected blessing. We weren’t planning on/looking for a detached, but it was a bonus. Once again, this fence will be removed to create more open space around the pool. Since we’ve got the security of the larger fence on the outside, there’s no real need for this fence here.

Another long-term dream we’ve talked about is to build a covering for this deck – possibly a rooftop sundeck – which will create shade down below. So, maybe a two-story, deck addition down the back that would tie into the garage and create a little more space inside the house. Those are a few things we’ve considered and look forward to implementing.

This second-story porch is really nice as it provides a great space to relax in the shade and overlook the pool. We’ll share progress as we go, but this is the beginnings of it all.

Everyone have a great week!

We will talk to you later, bye.

Sun rooms and Screen Porches – Home Improvement

Good Morning, Backyard Brian coming to you live from a softball field near you. It is that time of year again. Even though it’s a little cold this morning, travel softball season is getting started. We’ve got our first tournament of the year with my daughter, Kaitlyn, here this morning, down close to Richmond. Anyway, before I get too far along, I just want to give a shout-out to all my fellow Virginia fans who took such a heartbreak last night. The sun did come up this morning, and we’ll get to move on to another day. I will cheer on some of the other ACC teams as we go through the tournament here. Now I wanted to take a few minutes and talk with you about sun rooms and screen porches, because I believe that we live in one of the most beautiful places in the country.

I love Central Virginia. I love Waynesboro. I love the Blue Ridge mountains. I grew up here, and it’s just a beautiful place to be. One of the best rooms that you can have in the house to enjoy all that beauty is a sun room or screen porch. So I want to briefly talk about some of the options that we have. And I’m pretty excited.

I’m a little late this week to get my video out because we were out in Ohio this week to receive training for a new sun room system that we’re bringing on here at Bear Creek. I’m really excited. I’ve built a lot of custom sun rooms through the years, and we work hard to make sure the windows fit and everything’s trimmed out really nice, but it’s not an efficient system.  With the code requirements that we now have today – in terms of energy efficiency – it’s very hard to build a sun room and get the energy efficiency that meets code, looks clean, etc…

We have a new system that we’ve partnered with called Living Space Sun Rooms. They make a factory-built system that uses composite materials for the whole structure. This helps to maximize the glass, get a clean, finished look, and doesn’t take near the time or disruption in your house that traditional construction methods would take. It allows us to get in, get done, and get out of your hair. I know how inconvenient it is when we’re working in your home.

These sun rooms are amazing, and the other thing they’ve got for us is a product called The V Series. It is a system that allows you to have your screen porch that won’t let any rain in. When the seasons are changing and you want to control the temperature, you can easily close it up. And this feature comes at about the same cost of screening a porch.

It’s an amazing system. I’ll have to show it to you to explain better, but it does allow you to update an existing screen porch so you don’t ever have to worry about the rain coming in. You can shut off the wind when you need to or you can block the sun if it’s too bright. This system allows you to utilize your screen porch much more throughout the year. If you don’t want change it, if you don’t close it, you can still use it like a screen porch.

Anyway, it is a pretty exciting system. I would be glad to show it to anyone who would like to take a look at it.

So the question is, “What would you do with a sun room?” You know, my in-laws have a sun room that we built years ago. We custom built it, and when we gather as a family, it’s the number-one place we hang out. It’s where the Christmas tree goes and where we all gather when we first come to the house. It’s a great room that has a great view, and we really enjoy being there together.

It takes a little bit to envision. How could a sun room or screen porch be a gathering place for your family? What relationships could it spur? What could it mean for a place for you to read, write, or enjoy your coffee in the morning? Sun rooms and screened porches are great rooms in our climate, especially for the beautiful natural world that we have. If you’ve got any questions about that give me a shout, and I’d be glad to talk with you. Look at your home, figure out how that might be possible. We’ll work together to create something amazing that your family can enjoy.

I hope you have a great weekend. There’s still plenty of basketball on even though the Virginia Cavaliers aren’t in it, but we are going to enjoy the rest of our weekend and the softball tournament. I’m about to get my gloves and hat on and get back out there. They’re getting ready to play here in a little bit, so you guys have a great weekend with your family. Take care. We’ll talk to you later. Bye.

 

Trex Decking – Home Improvement

Good afternoon everyone, Backyard Brian here. I’m going to take a few minutes and show you something that we’ve been working on. It’s a trex deck that we are starting to install. This is pretty cool because we’re able to take an old deck and pull off the old decking that was pressure-treated, splintering, and falling apart. We’re putting this nice, new surface down here that you can see, and we’re putting them down with clips. These clips are hidden fasteners that go in between the boards and so that there are no screws in the face of this deck. It is a completely clean surface and made with composite material that is made from wood fibers and plastic. It also has a nice shell that’s pretty indestructible and doesn’t fade or scratch. This deck will last a very long time.

The next thing we’re going to do on this particular deck is lay this white vinyl tile, and it will have a complete pergola over the top as well. I’ll be using these posts; the mosaic will be all vinyl; and there is no painting, which is what this homeowner wanted.

I’m getting ready to head out to my daughter’s softball game a little bit later this afternoon for Waynesboro High School. First scrimmage of the year, and we’re excited for that. We’re going to do one other thing. We’re going to Highland County to the Maple Festival for the spring, which is going to be lots of fun. Can’t wait to get some maple donuts and maple syrup pancakes, which is kind of carb load. Then I’ll get back to eating healthy next week. Anyway, I hope you and your family have a great weekend. We will talk to you again soon. Bye.

 

Putting in a Foundation – Home Improvement

Good afternoon, Backyard Brian here.

Today, I’m going to explain to you the beginnings of a garage so that you can see what a foundation looks like as it goes into the ground. This particular foundation is recessed back into a foundation wall that will form the back of this garage. Since the footings hit rock on top, they had to form the footings on top of the ground. Sometimes they’ll dig trenches into the ground, but these are formed on top.  The first thing you’ll notice is the ReBar coming up out of the concrete. We found a footing, and so this will go up in the block walls to be secured to the foundation well. 

We’re going to have dirt filled against the back of this foundation wall, so we need to have those footings. The other thing you’ll see is an orange nail in the corner that’s been painted around. This is included because the foundation has been set with a surveyor, and they’ve come in after the footings were placed. They have marked all the corners so that they’re nice, accurate, and square. That’s what we’re going to use to build the foundation for this office. This gives you an example of how these things are built behind the scenes.

All right, I hope that everyone has a great weekend with their families and have lots of fun in Virginia. It’s gotten a little bit warmer, but we’re going to have a slight change in the weather with snow coming tomorrow. It’s going to be a great weekend. Have fun with your families. Talk to ya later. Bye. 

The Sun is Shining! – Framing a Floor

Good morning, Backyard Brian here.

The sun has come out after many cold days, and we’re excited for some sunny weather here in January. We’re getting outside to frame the floor, so I want to show you a little bit of what we’re doing. Here’s the process that’s involved with framing the floor for a backyard structure. This floor system is being built with TGI Joyce, and the advantage of this choice over conventional lumber is that they can span a much farther distance. They stay nice, straight, and flat. They have this OSB-like feature that’s used as a rim board here around the edges. Then, based on loads above, we put insert these squash blocks that help reinforce the frame to make everything is nice and strong.

This particular structure is on a block foundation that we installed this past week. You’ve also got a pressure treated plate that won’t rot under the moisture on top with a foam sealer underneath to keep moisture out. Then there are bolts inside here (anchor bolts) that secure the floor system to the foundation. That’s kind of how this all gets built and put together. We’ll show you some pictures as we go along. We’re using a zip-wall system on this particular structure, which we’ll be able to show you as the walls start to go up. We’re also using AdvanTech sub-floor here. It’s a tongue and groove, three-quarter sub-floor. It’s treated to be weather resistant so that it doesn’t swell like traditional plywood or OSB when it’s rained on, which is important this time of year.