Tighten Up This "Old" House
Oh my! After reading the wealth of info on this regarding good building practices, air and vapor control I am no longer sleeping at night thinking about my house. Are there any actions I can or should take to tighten this house up a bit? Here is the baseline and a couple of observed problems.
Location is Southern N.H., zone 5a I believe as we are 60 miles NW of Boston. House is a 2 story hip roof colonial of 2900 sq ft built in 1988 in accordance with the building codes at that time. The house was under construction when we bought it so I know the ugly details of it's innards and have been a victim of its sloppy "craftsmanship"
Wall construction - from the outside-in. Cedar clapboard, OSB sheathing, 2x6 framing, fiberglass batt insulation, 6 mil poly "vapor barrier", wallboard and high quality latex paint. No, I didn't forget anything. There is no housewrap, not even around the window openings. Window casings nailed direct to sheathing and siding butted to casing, that's it. Z-flashing was used over the top of windows and doors. Oh, except they forget the flashing over the front door. I had to replace that door and sheathing on both side about 10 year ago. I have had a couple of other places where I have replaced siding/sheathing but I found long ago that the secret to keeping this house standing it to keep the caulking in meticulously perfect shape, tight as a boat or pay the consequences. From the outside, what else can I do? from the inside the wallboard is cold around the windows. No doubt there is an insulation gap in the rough opening. How to tighten that up? I have sealed up as best I could all through-the wallboard protrusions such as electrical outlets and switches, etc.
Situation 2: I have a walk-up attic. It is very well ventilated with continuous soffit vents and ridge vents. I had a real craftsman re-shingle the roof and he put the soffit vents in as part of the work, replacing the old Hicks vent style that was integrated into the drip edge. This attic stays as cold as the outdoors and never has ice dams, even with gutters. The attic was built to be expandable to another room which I will never do, so it has 2x10's for ceiling joists, blown-in fiberglass insulation, no vapor barrier in the ceiling. Most of the attic has T&G sub-flooring. So that limits the insulation to joist depth. The part of the attic that has an open floor has insulation a couple of inches over the joists. There are no ceiling mounted lights on the second floor, bathrooms have fans that exit outside. Here is my concern. I had occasion to pull up some attic flooring to access electrical work. The bottom of the plywood was stained black, looks like mold but was also dry and nothing flaky. The joist were clean and solid. Never any moisture on the inside of roof deck (also OSB) either. I have repainted over the last 5-6 years all the second floor room ceilings which were the original builder paint. We store a lot of boxes and clothes in the attic and never have had any dampness, mold, mildew. Should I be concerned about what I observes with the flooring, and if so what course of action should I take?
Thanks for reading all this,
Sleepless Ted in N.H.
Posted Mon, 12/02/2013 - 18:48
Edited Mon, 12/02/2013 - 18:50
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