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Replacing cladding on 130 yr-old building

verycold | Posted in General Questions on

Curious about a few aspects of a renovation project on an historic building. Keep in mind that I’m no expert. We’re looking to replace the siding of an old building on the coast of Maine (read: cold and wet) which does not need to be winter-proofed, but should at least be able to be heated to a comfortable 50 degrees for a few weekends in November or April. However, we are storing objects that require some humidity control, like shirts and about 8,000 books. My questions are whether and how best to install insulation while replacing the cladding; and whether and how to use a vapor barrier during the process of installing insulation – whether thats pumping cellulose into the walls during a different project or putting a thin external layer of insulation while replacing the cladding. 
Thanks for answers and considerations

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  1. Expert Member
    Dana Dorsett | | #1

    What is the material stack-up of the wall, from the interior finish out to the cladding?

    Things were often done differently in 1879 compared to more recent construction, and that affects what can or should/shouldn't be done to the walls.

    Be prepared to retrofit some window flashing.

    Will the historians allow exterior storm windows or newer windows? If not there is a company in CT that will rebuild antique window sashes milling out old the sashes to accomodate 3/8" thick low-E insulated glass, resulting in a U0.35-ish window (about 1/3 the heat loss of clear glass single panes in wood sashes.)

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