herringbone bricks

This Old House Episode 11 Recap

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This week on This Old House, the crew arranged for an electrician to make a big change to the house’s wiring. Owners Emily and Nick Deldon hated the power pole out front, the first thing guests saw when visiting.

Instead, they switched to underground wiring. The electrician explained how: dig a trench, put the wires inside a sturdy PVC pipe for protection, add a red warning sticker to let future diggers know about the buried electrical wire, and cover with sand and dirt. Goodbye unsightly pole.

trench

A Flared Porch

The last couple of weeks on This Old House, viewers have watched the crew build a very pretty porch onto the new addition. This week, they added flared columns. As master carpenter and long-time show regular Norm Abram pointed out, technology is amazing for getting the flared cuts of wood just right.

herringbone bricks

Herringbone Bricks

As host Kevin O’Connor stood with head landscaper Roger Cook, surveying the Deldons’ property, he said, “Our jobsite has taken a beating.”

“You guys basically destroyed the place,” Roger agreed. All the digging and heavy machinery coming and going have made it a landscaping-free zone. But Roger set to work in changing that. He explained the plan for brickwork. Nick and Emily are big fans of Stiles and Harts bricks, which have been made in Bridgewater, Massachusetts since 1886. S&H is the only brick maker left in the state. The company prides itself on imparting “an authentic colonial beauty to every project.” In other words, the bricks are uneven.

So Roger had to work really hard to set a good base of compacted stone and stone dust to make the ground perfectly flat and a uniform three inches below the finished grade line. The Deldons had picked out a complicated herringbone pattern that involved lots of cuts in the brick. Roger demonstrated the technique on a small section of patio. Once he laid out the herringbone design, he poured polymeric sand on top, brushing it in to fill up all the spaces between the uneven brick edges. This will also keep out ants and other insects. Once he swept it in really well, he showered it with water so it would set. Roger’s a real pro, so the Deldons can confidently achieve their dream of authentic colonial beauty without worrying about spraining their ankles.

Cabinets

Inside the house, cabinet installer Erik Frey was doing his job. Since he usually works alone, he has nifty tricks like bringing the cabinets over on little wheels, and using a winch to lift higher cabinets into place. But on TOH, he had Kevin to help him lift everything. Together they got the refrigerator enclosure and some other cabinets into place.

Window Trim

Back outside, contractor Tom Silva showed Kevin how to use a machine that bends flashing at just the right angle to protect window trim. Together the wrestled the trim into place. Then Tom explained how to counterflash the flashing for ultimate protection from water damage.

That’s it for this week. We were a tad disappointed that our favorite character, the fireplace, wasn’t featured, although the episode where it gets installed is scheduled to air in episode 14 on February 9th. If all this talk of home improvement has you yearning to upgrade your fireplace, call your friends at Old World Stoneworks today.

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