Monday, June 9, 2014

Further Adventures in Home Ownership

What my house looked like all winter
Small water stains on a window sill and around the door were the first indications of my problem. Though I had made three previous attempts in the last few years to locate the source of the moisture, it took ripping off the framing around the front door to get even a hint of the extent of the problem. Last fall while replacing the front walk and covering the front steps with stone I had the trim around the front door alcove pulled off and we discovered some wood rot.

It took removing a whole section of the alcove around the front door to even get an idea of the severity of the problem. The more of the wood clad alcove they pulled off the worse it looked. Without removing the stone facing on the front of the house it was impossible to determine the full extent of the water damage and its source, but it was clear I had a very big problem and what was going to be a very long and harsh winter was on its way. We sealed up the house using house wrap from Lowes in hopes of a mild winter (ha-ha) where we might be able to repair the house. Moisture and water infiltration is the major route of home destruction and needs to be addressed before your home is consumed by the elements and nature. Water stains can be caused by roof leaks, other leaks or condensing moisture. There's a lot of moisture generated inside homes. Small water leaks of all kinds can be ignored for a long time, don’t, they tend to grow into larger and more expensive problems.

It was not until spring that I finally had the entire repair project scoped out and the components ordered. The plan was to remove the stone facing from the front of the house, remove the house wrap, OSB subsiding and insulation and check all sub-structure for rot or other damage and replace and repair as necessary with pressure treated lumber. Once repairs are made, install new r-15 insulation on the main part of the house and insulate the garage then use pressure treated plywood to replace subsiding and wrap all exposed siding with DuPont Tyvek. Tape all joints and properly flash all elements. Over the winter we decided to replace the existing palladium window with a newly purchased Marvin window and the front door, transom and sidelights with a Pella door, so the contractor ordered those components in early spring increasing the cost of the repairs by about $12,500. Finally, after all the structural repairs are made we plan to install a Driwall Rainscreen system by Keene products on top of the Tyvek and then install the new stone facing.

After delivery of the door and windows, they were ready to begin work on my project. (My contractor has several projects underway so had assigned two carpenters and a helper to work on my house.) Earlier this month the work began and the stone facing was removed from the house.
 Section, by section the contractor began removing, repairing the structural elements and rebuilding the walls. The garage actually had no water damage so it was quick work to insulate, install the pressure treated plywood and wrap the wall in Tyvek.
When the carpenter pulled the Tyvek off the main portion of the house he found both beams on the cantilevered floor were rotted as well as the wall below the palladium window and the supports for the window.
Rotten beams the vertical support and moldy insulation had already been removed

Other fun finds were a nicked wire that had charred the insulation on the house. The electrician was sent for to rewire all the outside lights. The electrician suggested that the damage might have been caused by a lightning strike years ago. All the old insulation was removed and trashed, some of it damp and moldy.
Note the nick on the wire and the charred insulation.

The electrician rewiring the front of the house.
This is no HGTV project. We’ve come to a screeching halt. The carpenter had a death in his family back in Texas and headed home. He is going to stay for a bit. It doesn’t really set the project back because the Pella door was ordered incorrectly. We ordered a door for a four inch wall and the front wall of my house is a six inch wall. The good news is Lowes/Pella will take it back (even after being temporally installed in the house), but we have to wait for a new custom door to be made to fit the 6 inch thick wall. Also, the second try on ordering the door allowed me to adjust other elements of the door. So, I should be happier with the end result. The Marvin window salesmen came out to the house to measure the windows and went over all the elements of the order, so that there were no problems with that order and the windows are beautiful.

This is an almost 10 year old home built by Patriot Homes owned by Lennar. Oh, one last comment. If you suffered through the polar vortex last winter you might want to check to see if the pipe on your hose bib burst. One of mine did and the other was broken when the stone was removed.
The beams have been replaced, new insulation installed and pressure treated plywood installed on the first floor.

Top of the temporary front door is visible below the carpenter rebuilding the wall. 

After rebuilding the base of the wall the new flashing comes up a foot beyond the steps.

What the house looks like at the current stopping point thanks to Majestic Lnadscapes

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