With the walls gone, the only thing left of the bump-out was the floor. That’s not to say that was the only thing left to do for this project, because there were also large holes in the side of the house and exposed plywood. One of the last things we did when removing the walls was to put the upper corner piece of sheathing on. That hole had served as the primary means of getting in and out of the bump-out. Unfortunately, I realized I’d missed a step, so we wound up taking it back off.

Bottom sheathing temporarily attached

The missed step was to cut the pieces of sheathing that would cover the bottom of the wall and the exposed ends of the floor joists. These pieces couldn’t be fit until the floor was gone, but from the outset I knew I didn’t want to haul them up a ladder. Instead, I cut them and Sarah helped hand them through the re-opened hole so I could screw them to the wall just above where they would fit. That way, once the floor was gone I could simply take out the two screws and lower them into place. I measured the size of the opening at both corners and made sure to leave about a quarter inch extra.

Upper house wrap installed, starting removal of joists

The next step was to put on the house wrap on the upper portion of the wall while I still had a nice platform to put a ladder on. Normally, house wrap is put on bottom-up, because it’s ship-lapped with each layer overlapping the one below. I put on the middle piece first, leaving the bottom foot or so unstapled, then put on the top piece normally. Then I taped the seams, which honestly makes me question why it’s ship-lapped at all, but whatever. The bottom house wrap would have to wait until the bottom sheathing was in place.

My trusty cheap Harbor Freight reciprocating saw

I was concerned that cutting off the joists nice and straight at the right spot was going to be tricky, but a new blade on the reciprocating saw is a marvelous thing. It was easier than expected, and soon I was ready to fit the first of the two pieces of sheathing on. Of course, it didn’t fit. I must not be a very good carpenter, or at measuring, or something, because I swear it never fits. I use a clamped guide when I cut, I measure multiple times in multiple places, but it still never fits. Some of this I attribute to the old wonky house, where nothing is straight, but this seemed pretty consistent when I measured.

Right side joists removed

In any case I then had to maneuver the piece of sheathing onto the remaining joists so I could trim a quarter inch off of it, at which point it did fit correctly. I got that screwed in and then proceeded to cut off the remaining joists. A smarter plan would have been to preemptively cut the other piece of sheathing while I still had a platform to set it on, since I cut them the same size. Instead, I cut off all the remaining joists and tried to fit it, only to discover that it, too, was about a quarter inch too big to fit.

Last joist

Now I could either take it down the ladder, cut it, and then haul it back up, or I could balance it on the ladder while Sarah held the top edge out far enough from the wall to fit the circular saw, going hand over hand between studs to get the saw down the length of the board, swapping positions halfway through. I think you know which option I picked. This (surprisingly) went to plan and I got it trimmed down. If anything I cut off too much, but given the sheathing throughout the house has gaps pretty much everywhere, I’m not especially concerned.

Sheathing and house wrap in place

Back on the ladder, I got the second piece of sheathing attached. The last step was to put the bottom section of house wrap on (under the edge of the course above), including taping it. Being that this was while on a ladder, it took a bit longer than it sounds. I had to move the ladder about four times to get everything tidy, but finally, the house doesn’t have a bump-out!

No more bump-out!


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