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Old 05-01-2020, 08:39 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Need advice on exterior rennovations

I was seriously tempted to post in General Efficiency Discussion after seeing redpoint5's thread on solar PV, given how quiet this section is, but I think this topic might be just a bit too much of a stretch.

I have a few questions on which I seek the advice of fellow ecomodders. Let's start with some pictures of my 20% completed home exterior renovations.










My wife and I purchased our first home in February of last year. It was basically bottom of the market, and needed a lot. We've been working on as our only full time hobby since closing. Siding is probably the most critical repair. In places it seems only the paint is holding it together, and if we let it go another year we may be replacing most of the sheathing as well.

We've mostly finished one side - still need to transition to the soffits, there's exposed house wrap, and I may want some opinions on how to do that. Our basic process is:

1) Rip things down to bare sheathing, remove windows, replace sheathing where it has damage
2) Wrap house with tyvek
3) Put in new windows with nailing flanges
4) Flash and seal windows and doors
5) Side from bottom to top
6) Seal all seams and gaps
7) Paint

The next side I'd like to do is the front of the house. Unfortunately, we have a chimney there, as well as the penetrations for electricity, cable internet, and our heat pump.

When I called the power company and asked what to do about the electrical meter, I was told they could come by in the morning and shut off the power, I could then start removing the old siding, and when I was finished with the new siding (preferably no later than 2pm) they would come by again and turn the power back on.

QUESTION 1)

So, I'm trying to figure out how to do this properly. Best I can gather, with vinyl siding most exterior fixtures use J blocks. For most other types of siding it appears the electrical box typically screwed directly to the surface of the siding.

My best guess is that I can do demolition around the electrical box and leave only a small square of siding where it attaches to the house, have our service disconnected, remove the meter and remaining bit of siding from the the house, slap a 4'x4' square of house wrap centered where the meter is going back on, attach a block of some sort to the house (what should this be made of?), and then put the meter on the block. I think this is something I could accomplish in a morning, and we could then proceed at our own pace with the rest of that side.

Thoughts? Is this a reasonable way to do this?

~

Regarding the chimney -

It's a pretty ugly old block chimney, and it isn't used anymore. Over winter I pulled the oil boiler out of the basement and sold it, then closed up the chimney hole. The chimney's only functional purpose now is to fill in the hole it would leave in my roof if I pulled it off the front of the house.

QUESTION 2)

What should I do with this old chimney?

1) Pull it off the house, patch the roof
2) Paint it again in some less offensive color and hope it doesn't peel off
3) Put some kind of veneer over it - maybe a brick veneer? Example:



4) Actually brick around it.
5) Something else??

~

Regarding the deck -

The deck is pretty rotten in places. I can either:

1) Remove the deck. Toss it all in a burn pile. Maybe leave the metal roof, put down some pavers? Probably not the best idea as I believe the deck adds value to the house.

2) Replace the deck.


Given all we've had to dispose of, I've come to appreciate the full life cycle of a material. For example I don't think I'll be laying down any more carpet, because it ends up in a land fill. So I'd like to take that into consideration when selecting new materials.

I have a few options for deck materials:

a) Rough cut hemlock from the local saw mill. Not sure if this is a great idea as it could be a splinter hazard, I'd need to sand it smooth. However, material cost is around half that of dimensional lumber, and it's gorgeous. It will also need to be treated to stand up to the elements.

b) Dimensional lumber, which will need to be treated with something.

c) Pressure treated. Can't say I'm keen on this because I'm not for burning PT lumber, so it ends up in a land fill. It may be less expensive than dimensional lumber after considering the treatment, however.

d) Some kind of composite board.

e) Something else??


QUESTION 3)

What kind of material should I use for my deck? And, if it's something that needs to be treated, what kinds of wood treatments are available that would not prevent it from being burned safely, which are not a pain to work with, and which also actually preserve the wood? Maybe linseed oil?

Thanks all!


Last edited by Ecky; 05-01-2020 at 08:46 PM..
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Old 05-01-2020, 08:48 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ecky View Post
What kind of material should I use for my deck? And, if it's something that needs to be treated, what kinds of wood treatments are available that could prevent it from being burned safely, which are not a pain to work with, and which also actually preserve the wood? Maybe linseed oil?
Autoclave-treated eucalyptus became quite common for exterior decks in my country some years ago, and it's used even around swimming pools. Not sure how this treatment would affect flame spread in case of fire...
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Old 05-01-2020, 10:11 PM   #3 (permalink)
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1. Sounds reasonable to me.

2. Is the chimney still active? Even if it's not, veneer might be the cheapest/easiest way to go.

3. Replace the deck. A good deck is amazing, and yours has a roof! The hemlock sounds really cool. Let it season a while before you treat it, that'll be good for it and give you/us time to think of the right treatment.
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Old 05-02-2020, 01:00 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Are those your chickens? I'm in a similar situation, although not as bad, right now as well so I guess we will both be learning from this thread.
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Old 05-02-2020, 06:23 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cRiPpLe_rOoStEr View Post
Autoclave-treated eucalyptus became quite common for exterior decks in my country some years ago, and it's used even around swimming pools. Not sure how this treatment would affect flame spread in case of fire...
I would love to have access to something like this. In the US, our access to good wood is far more limited, and it tends to be expensive.

Locally, we have maple, hemlock and birch trees, none of which hold up well to the temperature and moisture extremes of the climate when cut and left raw.
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Old 05-02-2020, 06:25 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
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Are those your chickens? I'm in a similar situation, although not as bad, right now as well so I guess we will both be learning from this thread.
Yep, we have three hens whose eggs we don't eat, a dog that doesn't guard, and a cat who wouldn't hurt a fly, much less a mouse.

The birds do seem to keep the insect population down, at least.
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Old 05-05-2020, 01:48 AM   #7 (permalink)
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I just had a contractor quote residing our house last Thursday. (Going over T1-11 plywood siding with hardiplank cement siding)

1. Behind electrical meters, water faucets, lights, or anything else attached to the exterior wall he uses flat rectangles of hardipanel fiber cement board. That goes over the new house wrap, flashed at the top, and is painted to match.



https://www.homedepot.com/p/James-Ha...0525/202035433

2. I would demo that chimney. I'm thinking of doing the same for my working chimney / fireplace. We never use it and it takes up a bunch of room in the garage. A chimney also increases insurance cost.

3. Here in the Pacific Northwest the deck material of choice is cedar if you don't want pressure treated or plastic engineered decking.

EDIT: Personally I prefer patios to decks. I would pour a slab to replace the deck. If you want to get fancy you can tile it.


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Old 05-05-2020, 02:13 AM   #8 (permalink)
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You pegged my forum picking thought process precisely. I didn't want to post in a low activity forum if I could reasonably get away with posting in a more active forum.

I too would nix the chimney considering it's an opportune time to do so when residing. If it isn't attractive and it isn't functional, then it should go.

I've got no other comments since I have no expertise other than to say that porch looks great and should not be eliminated.

I recently purchased deck stain knowing my rental house needed a fresh coat. Little did I realize that it needed a bit more than staining. I'm leaning towards some sort of plastic deck material since I don't have time to stain every year or two, and this is the south side where it doesn't get destroyed by sunlight.
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Old 05-06-2020, 11:15 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Seems like turning that deck into a patio won't be a bad idea at all.
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Old 05-06-2020, 08:08 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Ripping out a chimney sounds exhausting! Can you not do that so that I don't feel tired?

Now, if you get rid of the brick, wouldn't you have a higher R-value once you fix the house?

What would you do with the brick? I vote for a fire pit or pizza oven!

I have watched many videos by this Canadian.

He reused as many boards as possible, while there were many commenters saying "I do this for a living. You should have ripped out everything and started over!"

I believe that it was here he said to not use composite decking, it is hotter than wood, so you need to wear shoes when you are relaxing on your deck:
A quick search says that heat retention is proportional to the density and composite is denser than normal wood.

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