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Exterior Renovation of Brick Ranch

mcmreno | Posted in General Questions on

I’m renovating the exterior of a 1950s brick ranch in climate zone 5/6 (cold).   The plan so far is as follows:
1.  Remove brick, leaving a few courses above the soil level.
2.  Install air barrier over existing gypsum sheathing and felt.
3.  Replace windows.

4.  Install two layers of 1.5″ rockwool boards, and wood strips screwed into interior framing for rain screen.
5. Bug screen top and bottom.
6. Hardie board siding and trim.

Here are some questions:
A.  What air barrier is recommended? Tyvec and tape, something else?
B. I’m considering thermal buck for the window install.  Any opinions?
C. The vented soffit is dated but not in bad shape.  I may need to trim it down slightly to keep it.  Are there better options that I should be considering?
D.  How do I transition smoothly from hardie board to soffit?
E.  Are there air sealing techniques that can be employed at the top of the wall now since it is exposed before the insulation and siding go up?

Any advice or reference to helpful articles would be greatly appreciated.


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  1. user-2310254 | | #1

    I'll give you a bump (and add a few comments/suggestions).

    A. If it were my house, I'd use Tyvec since it is readily available and won't have any compatibility issues with the gypsum sheathing. (A liquid applied air barrier would probably be fine as well since this is done in commercial construction all the time.) I would opt for Tyvec Commercial D more for peace of mind than anything else.

    B. From what I've read, builders who are focusing on maximizing efficiency like Thermal Bucks. But if you're watching your budget, plywood or dimensional lumber will be cheaper.

    C./D. No idea.

    E. Canned spray foam and caulk seem to be the most cost effective options. You may want to go here ( and review the air sealing articles.

    1. mcmreno | | #2

      Thanks Steve - bump and advice much appreciated!

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