Welcome to the 371st Metamorphosis Monday!
Greetings! How was your weekend? Hope it was great! Mine was productive and I’m happy to report that I was able to successfully repair the damaged roof of my Lazy Hill Dovecote and restore it back to the garden in time for the spring nesting season. You may remember a woodpecker (we suspect a Pileated Woodpecker) drilled a huge hole into the roof almost two years ago.
I delayed repairing it because Good Directions, the company that now makes all the Lazy Hill birdhouses, no longer uses cedar shingles. They build all their bird houses using redwood shingles, now. I was concerned redwood shingles wouldn’t match the existing cedar shingles, and was never able to find cedar shingles (or cedar wood pieces that could be cut into shingles) in the right thickness needed to repair the roof.
Fearing the house would be forever ruined if I didn’t do something soon, I finally settled on using redwood shingles. Good Directions kindly sent the shingles I’d need, along with another bird house I purchased at that time. (The new bird house can be seen in this post: Copper Roof Dovecote)
I removed the damaged dovecote from the post and brought it in about a week or so ago. It had been raining so the roof was really wet. That’s why it looks so dark in these photos.
While awaiting the shingles in the mail, I pulled out and discarded all the nests I found in the various nesting cavities of the house. You’re always supposed to clean out old nests from bird houses because they can have ants or other parasites in them, plus most birds just want to build their own nest from scratch.
I also started cleaning the exterior in preparation of giving the house another coat of paint. When I first purchased this dovecote back in 2008, I had just had the exterior of my home painted with Sherwin Williams, Duration, the paint my painter highly recommended. He said it would last a very long time and it has!
When this dovecote first arrived back in 2008, the paint looked very thin, so I gave it a coat of the SW Duration paint. Underneath all the dirt, you can see the siding has held up well.
In addition to cleaning the exterior, I finished removing the remaining broken and splintered pieces of the damaged shingles (see arrows below) along with the nails that had held them in place. Truthfully, I think the whole house could stand to be re-roofed, but the cost for the shingles to re-roof the entire house would be $150. I may still re-roof the house down the road at some point. After making this repair, I feel fairly confident I could do it, if necessary. Okay, back to the repair.
Notice the gaping hole near the bottom of the right side where the arrow is pointing. As I worked on the house, I noticed a couple of the perches were really loose. Over the years the wood had shrunk a bit and I think that may have caused a few of the perches to come loose. You can see the perches laying there on the towel in front of the house.
I removed the two loose perches and using wood glue, reattached those back to the bird house.
Next I got to work filling the large hole Mr. Woodpecker left with this spray foam insulation. Spray foam insulation is what the folks at Good Directions suggested I use to make the repair. I wasn’t worried about the birds coming in contact with the insulation because there’s a wood floor to the attic space of the house, so the nesting cavities on the upper level do not have access to the area where I sprayed this foam insulation.
When I first sprayed it, it didn’t really expand like I was expecting it too. So I added a bit more. I left the room for a few minutes and when I came back, it looked like this! Yikes! I ended up slicing off the excess with a knife later on after it had completely hardened up.
While I waited for the insulation to harden up overnight, I caulked around the bottom of the house where the sides connect to the base. Next, I gave the siding a coat of exterior paint, the same that’s on my own home, as mentioned before. Afterwards I noticed there were a good many cracks where the sections that make up the sides had shrunk over the years, so I caulked all those and repainted those areas.
Lazy Hill Dovecotes are now made with cellular vinyl so I don’t think this will be a problem with the new dovecote I ordered. I don’t think cellular vinyl will react to the elements the way wood tends to do.
By the time I had finished cleaning out all the nests, cleaning the house, repairing the two perches that had loosened, had repaired the hole in the roof with foam insulation and sanded, caulked and painted the bird house, the new shingles had arrived in the mail.
To attach the shingles, I used my DeWalt Brad Nailer seen in this photo below when I built a Cubby Organizer. (Brad Nailer is available here: DeWalt Brad Nailer)
See the tutorial for this Pottery Barn Inspired Cubby Organizer here: Cubby Organizer
When I built the organizer, I purchased three different size brad nails for that project. Fortunately, the 1-1/4 inch nails I bought back then, were exactly what I needed for the roof repair. (Notice the nail I removed from the dovecote lying on top of the box alongside the example picture on the box.)
The nail brad gun worked great for the repair! I noticed each of the older shingles was held in place with three nails, so I nailed the new shingles on in the exact same way.
To roof a house like this, you start at the very bottom because as you progress upward, each successive layer of shingles overlaps the layer below. That meant trouble lay ahead for me once I reached the upper level, but I decided to deal with that issue once I got there.
I had to use a pair of needle-nose pliers to reach up under the remaining shingles to remove the old nails that had held some of the shingles damaged by Mr. Woodpecker. There was no way to slide the new shingles up underneath, with the old nails still there blocking the way.
I found the best technique for that was to slide the pliers up under the shingle and then pull firmly sideways, thus avoiding dislodging the shingle. Using that technique, the nail would come right out. The hardest part was just seeing up under the shingle to find the nail. A flashlight helped for that.
I was really glad Good Directions had sent along some extra shingles because one of the shingles cracked as I nailed it into place. (See arrow below.) I removed the cracked shingle and replaced it with a good one.
I’m not sure why but when I got to this row, (see arrow) two shingles weren’t enough to fill the gap, but three were too many. I remembered having removed a very skinny piece of wood, thinking it was a piece of a shingle left from the woodpecker damage, but once I ran into this issue, I decided that maybe the person who originally roofed the house had run into the same space issue and had split a shingle in half. I found the piece I had removed and reinstalled it back to fill the gap. (See arrow below.)
Now I just had one last row to go and it was going to be a pain because there was no way to nail it where the nails wouldn’t show since the row of shingles above was in the way.
So for the last three remaining shingles, I used this: Fabri-tac. At first I tried to use wood glue, but because I was gluing the shingles on in a vertical position, the wood glue kept running right out from under the shingles and down the roof of the bird house. Ugh.
Fabri-tac worked great because it’s like a glue gun in a bottle. It’s not very runny at all. I just noticed this picture of Fabri-tac doesn’t mention that you can use it on wood, but the bottle I have clearly states that it works on “wood and trims.”
In addition to the Fabri-tac adhesive, I was able to sneak one brad nail into each of those last three shingles by slanting the brad nail up under the row of shingles above, and hammering it in with the edge of the needle-nose pliers. The redwood shingles are relatively soft and pretty easy to get a nail through, so that helped.
The old finial had definitely seen better days and was beyond repair. In fact, just handling it made it fall apart.
Good Directions kindly sent me a new finial. While I was awaiting its arrival, for fun I stuck this little ceramic birdie I’ve had for years, on top. The bird conveniently has a hole in the bottom and it fit perfectly over the tall screw that was still sticking out of the top of the dovecote. I thought it looked pretty cute up there!
I had a problem with the new finial: the hole in the finial wasn’t near as large as it needed to be. I ended up having to widen the hole a good bit with my drill. I kept trying slightly larger drill bits until I got the hole to the perfect size, but I could tell the pressure of trying to screw the new finial onto the house was risky. It just felt like I was going to shove the top through and into the house. Plus, the screw began to just spin around and around. That was not going to work.
So I used an even larger drill bit and made the hole in the finial large enough to fit over the screw that was sticking out of the top of the house.
Then I put some wood glue and some Fabri-tac over the screw and glued the finial into place.
Here’s how the house looked after my repairs–whole once more! I also used some brass polish to polish the little Lazy Hill brass plate on the front of the house. It polished up very nicely.
The lighting was much better outside, so I took one more photo before installing the house back atop the pole in the garden. What do you think? Think it will hang in there for a few more years?
I’ve read recently that cedar turns gray when exposed to the elements. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the cedar shingles on my bird house read the same article. 😉 For now I’ve installed the house with the repaired section facing away from my home and driveway. There’s a row of Crepe Myrtles on that side so once they fill out this spring, no one will even notice the repair.
Once the new shingles gray out on the bird house, I can unscrew the house and rotate it around if I want the little Lazy Hill brass plate to be visible from my side again. I like having it visible, but I don’t think it’s worth the hassle of rotating the house later on.
So here’s how it looks from my yard.
So we went from this…
…to this. As soon as the weather warms up, I’m going to wash down the pole and give it a new coat of exterior paint.
I need to weed and re-work my perennial garden but hopefully it will look more like this later in the summer. At least, that’s the goal! 🙂
If you would like a Lazy Hill Dovecote for your garden, you’ll find this style available here: Lazy Hill Dovecote
The one I just purchased recently is this one with a copper roof, and it’s available here: Lazy Hills Dovecote with Copper Roof
BTW, an 8 ft, 4 x 4 pressure treated pole is perfect for installing this house in the garden. That’s what I have my current dovecote on and once you sink it into the ground, it makes it a great height for viewing and for the birds.
You can find pressured treated 4 x 4 poles at almost any hardware store and they are not expensive at all, I think under $10. Make sure it’s a pressure treated 4 x 4 so it will not rot or get eaten by termites. Mine has been in the ground for 8 years and is still in great shape.
Looking forward to all the wonderful Before and Afters for this Metamorphosis Monday!
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