How to move an old playhouse and replace damaged wood
A: The answer to whether it’s worth repairing depends partly on the nature of the damage. But the level of repair that you would find satisfactory is also important. Targeted repairs and fresh paint can do wonders, especially if you need the building to last only for the years of your daughters life. After all, small buildings such as garden sheds and playhouses are not collateral for a 30-year mortgage.
The photos you sent show damage to the bottom siding and corner pieces (possibly metal flashings) that have twisted. The adult height door at the end also has rot at the bottom. But other than that, there doesn’t seem to be much that a good scrubbing and repainting wouldn’t fix.
Inside it may be a different story, but it’s hard to assess without clearing the debris first. If hornet nests are near doors, treat them first with a can of hornet and wasp spray, applied at night or early in the morning from a distance. If you are very allergic to stings, call a professional. Fox Pest Control (fox-pest.com; 855-953-1976), who works in Northern Virginia and various other parts of the country, said fees typically range from $150 to $200. You could ask the company to treat the ants at the same time at no additional cost.
What questions do you have about maintaining your home?
Judging from the photos you sent, the inside of the structure appears to be dry. Put on a disposable respirator and gloves and go inside. If the ground seems solid, move large objects outside and scrape small debris into a pile, so you can scoop it up with a dustpan or flat-head shovel. Dust off cobwebs and sweep up or vacuum what’s left.
If parts of the walls or the underside of the roof are black, it is almost certain that water has penetrated. Using a screwdriver or an awl, poke into the wood; if it penetrates more than ⅛ inch, rot has probably started. That’s not a good sign, but it’s not necessarily the death knell for a shed or play structure if the damage isn’t extensive.
On the other hand, if the ground is so soft that it seems unsafe to walk on, or if many roof posts or rafters are spongy, you might conclude that it is best to have the building demolished by a contractor. storage and transport it. , a bill that can range from around $200 to $2,000, according to 1-800-Got-Junk. The company also offers advice on the steps to follow, if you want to take care of it yourself.
However, there is a good chance that the building still has years of life. In that case, you might want to reorient it before tackling repairs. If you have friends who work in construction or landscaping, invite them to talk about the process and ask for their help. You or a landscaping team will need to prepare the new site before moving day; the structure should sit on a flat bed of ¾ inch crushed gravel four to six inches deep (or deeper if you need to fill in a low spot). Sheds and playhouses usually sit on 4 x 6 inch pressure treated pads between the ground and the gravel, but the 4 x 4 pieces supporting the structure should now suffice. Cut them after the move, so that they do not protrude from the building.
Purchase enough PVC Schedule 40 pipe (four or six inches in diameter) to be able to cut three or four pieces a foot or two longer than the distance between the 4-by-4s. (A 10-foot piece of pipe six inches wide costs $101 at Home Depot; a four-inch-wide piece costs $52.96 but would make the move more laborious.) You will also need four jacks, such as the six-inch hydraulic bottle jacks from a ton ($32.98 each at Home Depot).
Before buying, check that the highest setting is sufficient to at least slightly raise the corner of the building farthest from the ground. And have some thick planks to use as a ramp when the building rolls over the gravel, plus more that you can tuck under the building to keep it level while you roll it, and some plywood pieces to put under the jacks, so that they do not sink into the ground.
On moving day, with helpers present, use the jacks to lift the building just enough to move the concrete blocks away. Lay the pipes perpendicular to the 4-by-4s, run some lumber under them to level the pipes, and gradually lower the building onto them using the jacks. Then use your men to move the house to the new location. As a pipe becomes free in the back, move it forward to keep the building on its “wheels” all the way, and insert more scrap wood to keep the house level . Depending on how you want to move the building, you may need to change these directions, such as adding another pair of 4-by-4s perpendicular to the existing ones first, so you can place the pipes to roll the building in a different sense.
To repair the exterior, wash the liner and let it dry. If the siding is plywood, you can probably repair the rotten bottom edge of the siding and adult door by first brushing on an epoxy wood hardener, then filling with an epoxy putty, such as Abatron LiquidWood & WoodEpox ($42 for a 24- ounce kit on Amazon). If the liner is made from wood chips, get some tips in my June column titled “How to Repair a Damaged Shed Lining.”
Finally comes the final fun and transformative steps: repainting the interior and exterior, as well as decorating.
Only you can decide if it’s all worth it.
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