Nearing the Home Stretch
Exterior finish work has started and insulation is coming soon
Carl Seville and his wife are building themselves a new home in Decatur, Georgia. The first blog in this series was titled The Third Time’s the Charm. Links to all of the blogs in this series can be found in the “Related Articles” sidebar below.
As our house moves slowly towards completion, I find my stress level reduced, if only slightly. The number of details to manage is only slightly more than the boxes of hardware, lighting, and plumbing piling up in and around my house.
The house is completely dried in and the roof is installed. The siding, exterior trim, and soffit work is underway. It is starting to look more like a house, which pleases us as well as the neighbors.
Due to some foolish limitations of my historic district, standing-seam metal roofing is not allowed, so I opted for a standard architectural shingle. There was nothing special about the installation other than selecting a product with a lifetime warranty.
One nice detail I was able to incorporate was manufactured kickout flashing at the roof/wall intersections. I used a product called DryFlekt, preformed out of TPO membrane. The flashing comes in both right-hand and left-hand shapes, and is perfect for keeping that pesky water out of walls.
Kickout flashing is a very important detail that far too many builders miss or ignore. When we are certifying homes it is one of the most frequently overlooked items, often taking weeks or months to get installed, holding up the certification process.
I was fortunate to locate a talented siding and trim crew that, thankfully, is focused more on quality than speed. We discuss how details will be worked out in advance instead of after they are wrong, and once they start they are consistently productive.
We are installing TruExterior trim and siding from Boral. It's a fairly new composite product made of coal fly ashFine particulates consisting primarily of silica, alumina, and iron that are collected from flue gases during coal combustion. Flyash is employed as a substitute for some of the portland cement used in the making of concrete, producing a denser, stronger, and slower-setting material while eliminating a portion of the energy-intensive cement required. More info and recycled polymers. The manufacturer states that it doesn’t expand or contract, nor is it susceptible to water damage, and it is Cradle to CradleTerm used to describe the recycling of waste materials and manufactured products into new products rather than permanently disposing of them (see cradle to grave). The concept and its societal implications was the focus of the 2002 book Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things by chemist Michael Braungart and architect William McDonough. certified, which should get me some credit towards LEEDLeadership in Energy and Environmental Design. LEED for Homes is the residential green building program from the United States Green Building Council (USGBC). While this program is primarily designed for and applicable to new home projects, major gut rehabs can qualify. and other certifications.
Even if it wasn’t as sustainable a product as it appears to be, my favorite feature is the variety of sizes and patterns available. Unlike other composite products on the market, TruExterior is available in multiple authentic siding profiles, as well as tongue-and-groove beadboard, 1x, 5/4, and 2x stock in widths up to 12 inches.
We elected to use their 1x6 resawn siding pattern. Combined with 5/4 corner boards, this pattern provides a much more authentic look than other composite siding products.
Siding is being installed over HomeSlicker vented rainscreen, which will help keep bulk moisture out of the house by providing a gap behind the siding for any rain water to drain out. The rainscreen is installed over the sheathingMaterial, usually plywood or oriented strand board (OSB), but sometimes wooden boards, installed on the exterior of wall studs, rafters, or roof trusses; siding or roofing installed on the sheathing—sometimes over strapping to create a rainscreen. , after windows, doors, and all pipes and wires are flashed, before the siding and trim is installed.
The video below shows the siding installation.
Although I have used Zip sheathing on renovations before, I have never used it on an entire house, so I was anxious to see just how good a job it does with the air sealing.
Since I installed it on top of my second-floor ceiling joists, I was able to complete the air seal of the entire building envelopeExterior components of a house that provide protection from colder (and warmer) outdoor temperatures and precipitation; includes the house foundation, framed exterior walls, roof or ceiling, and insulation, and air sealing materials. before drywall, allowing me to do a rough stage blower door test. As soon as the doors and windows were sealed with foam, I installed the blower door frame and fired up the fan.
Being confident in the airtightness, I didn’t even bother with the larger blower door fan, instead opting for the duct blasterCalibrated air-flow measurement system developed to test the airtightness of forced-air duct systems. All outlets for the duct system, except for the one attached to the duct blaster, are sealed off and the system is either pressurized or depressurized; the work needed by the fan to maintain a given pressure difference provides a measure of duct leakage. fan, something we typically only do in small apartments. The results were pretty amazing: 670 sfm50 for a 2,600 square foot house, an ach50 of 1.5, or an Envelope Leakage Ratio of 0.11 cfm per square foot.
It probably would have been even tighter had the framers not missed taping a few seams in the attic floor and sidewalls before they framed the main and porch roofs. I expect that the end result will be tighter once insulation and drywall are installed.
Onward, upward, and outward
As I write this I am waiting on my insulation to be installed. I will be using Owens Corning blown-in fiberglass in the exterior walls and attic, and batts for sound in the walls and second floor.
A strong building market and limited workforce is delaying this work, but I’m willing to wait a while to make sure it is done properly. Insulation should be complete by the end of the year, followed by drywall, flooring, and interior finishes early in next year.
Site work, including a few masonry walls and a lot of pervious paving, will start soon. Our current target is to be complete in March. Fingers crossed.
- All photos: Carl Seville
Jan 3, 2017 9:47 AM ET