Wednesday, December 3, 2014
Siding the House
Wouldn't you know it, the very day we started siding our house a month ago the temperatures plunged and except for a couple warm weekends where we have also got snow, it has remained cold. It makes siding and all outdoor work slower going for sure. Despite that, we have two sides of the house completed.
The front side seen above was pretty straight forward and to keep my wife happy, it is the side facing the road. All the trim is out of white pvc so it will never rot and never needs to be painted again. That was a no brainer decision. We thought about replacing the windows which are original to the house which was built in 1973 since it would be the easiest time to do it. In the end, we decided cost was the issue. To do the windows would have more than doubled the cost of the project. Also, the windows that are there besides needing another coat of paint aren't in bad shape. They don't have gas filled interiors like modern windows do but they do have two panes separated by an air gap that has seals all the way around it. I figured that even if I drastically reduced my energy bill by 50% by putting in new windows, it would still take about 30 years to pay them off in energy savings. A more realistic estimate would be 25% in energy savings and that would mean 60 years or in other words, out of my life expectancy. Yes it would have been nice to have nice new windows that can be cleaned from inside, but at the end of the day, I just couldn't justify the cost right now. So we trimmed them in metal cladding and pvc and I will paint the remaining exposed would in springtime when the weather is a bit warmer.
The original front stoop was lined with faux cedar beams made from 1" thick material. They hung down from the stoop roof about 14 inches which in turn blocked a lot of light that we might be getting on this side due to the southern exposure. They were also ugly to boot. So after doing some investigating, I found out they weren't load bearing (I thought there might have been a beam inside the faux part bearing the load) but they weren't. The actual load bearing part for the roof structure were two 25 feet long 2 x 12's in the attic. I have never seen ones that long and I'm not even sure they are rated for the load that the roof can see in that section if we had a particularly heavy snow. I could see however that the beam had sagged over time a couple inches and so I ended up putting a beam back on the porch to take some of the load and then covered it with a pvc sleeve to protect it for my lifetime anyway. We extended the soffit all the way back to the house giving us 14 more inches of sunlight coming in all winter. Plus I think it looks nicer that way.
On my part, I took the opportunity to replace the outside outlet and weather cover which was worn out, replaced the outside spigot which also was worn out and also put a new dryer vent on that contains flaps that fall down and block the wind when not in use. I also did a lot of gap filling with foam around windows and doors because back in 1973, doing such things were just not done. I'm hoping with the house wrap that I added between the siding and the sheathing, along with the foam, I will reduce my energy bills quite a bit just making things more air tight.
As of writing this, we have finished the east side where you can just make out a ladder that held the scaffolding and are starting on the north side which is the most difficult side to do. The original picture I took before making an offer on the house is below and as you can see, not only is there a chimney to work around and some siding on the basement, but there is a deck in the way. There is also some water damage issues that I will get into in a future post. (Note the previous owners painted the house but never got around to painting the top part of the chimney.) All in all though, things are going well and I'm hoping we can finish it in another few weeks is the weather permits.