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Old 07-15-2012, 01:49 PM   #1
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Re-Siding Advice Needed


Hi Folks,

I'm hoping to get some professional opinions on a re-siding project Im about to embark on for our home. I'm an avid DIYer, and I am aware of the scope of the work I am about to take on. I've done a fair amount of research but I would appreciate some professional input before I start tearing things down and rebuilding.

The house is a 1950's ranch in upstate NY (below freezing in the winter, high 90's in the summer), approximately 2000 above ground square feet, approximately 2500 square foot of siding area. The house has a series of additions that were added over time, and so there are mismatched areas of siding (some are real wood clapboard, others are a cheap fiberboard product that is rotting through in many areas), not to mention the insulation is less than favorable (only R-7).

Rather than try and cover up the existing problems, my goal is to tear the wall down to the framing from the outside, and start from scratch.

My objectives in order of priority are:

-Improve Structural Integrity/Weatherproofing
-Reduce Energy Costs
-Improve Appearance/Raise Value of Home

I have attached a diagram of the current wall structure as best I can determine (I removed a peice of siding along the back wall to determine the design) as well as my planned restructured wall. Plan is to remove everything down to the framing and then add a layer of 1/2" OSB Sheathing to the outside, and then have all-borate cellulose insulation densly packed into the wall cavities. After that I intend to do a housewrap around the entire house, and finish with a high quality foam backed vinyl insulation.

Does this seem like a technically sound wall system? Any concerns or pitfalls to look out for? I know that Ideally housewrap should extend underneath the window cavity, but as this is not new construction that will not be a posibility so I intend to tyvek tape them as close as possible to the cavity, and flash over the seams

Additionally I seem to be getting conflicting information about the need for a vapor barrier. Should I install one against the drywall before covering up the framing with the OSB? (ie stapling it to/around the framing as I go)? My understanding is Tyvek allows water vapor to pass through so my thoughts are that any vapor that does make it into the wall cavity should have a way out, and the latex paint on the interior side should serve as a reasonable vapor barrier itself, but I know theory and practice do not always come to terms with eachother.

We intend to live in this house for quite some time, so my goal is do this once, do it right, and never have to deal with it again. Any professional insights would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 07-15-2012, 02:08 PM   #2
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Re-Siding Advice Needed


Dense (dry) packing cellulose in walls (in new construction) is typically done from the inside before the drywall is hung by way of slits in a polypropylene mesh that is stapled to the studs.

How do you intend to do it ?

Arky

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Old 07-15-2012, 04:01 PM   #3
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Thanks for the prompt response.

I was planning on having the cellulose installation hired out, since my understanding is the rental machines typically dont provide the force required to do a dense pack, but my thought was to use a hole saw on the OSB Sheating to make an access point in each cavity (and then of course plug it up once the job is done and before housewrapping).
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Old 07-15-2012, 05:25 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TimeDivided View Post
Thanks for the prompt response.

I was planning on having the cellulose installation hired out, since my understanding is the rental machines typically dont provide the force required to do a dense pack, but my thought was to use a hole saw on the OSB Sheating to make an access point in each cavity (and then of course plug it up once the job is done and before housewrapping).

I figured that was the way you were planning.
The videos on the web that demonstrate the dense pack method, however, show using an aluminum tube on the end of the hose to effectively reach all the areas.
They have a hole slit right at 4' level and fill the bottom to the hole, then extend the tube to the top and pack it to the middle.
This might present a problem using a hole in a solid covering like OSB.
If you use just the flexible tubing, I wonder how effective you would be packing it.
Supposedly, the minimum density to prevent settling is 3.5 #/cu.ft.

I wanted cellulose in my walls (new construction) as well, and ran into the same problem.
Actually, there are no companies in my area that do the dense pack method; they all use the damp (wet) blow method. I definitely did not want to use that method; it just didn't make sense to me to 'wet' the insulation. Furthermore, there is no rental company in my area that has a high pressure cellulose blower.

I had pretty well resigned myself to using Roxul batts when I had a brainstorm idea on a way to do it myself.

The method that I used is slow, but it worked for me.
(Sure couldn't do it this way for a living, however)

First, I made a shredder to turn the compressed cellulose into loose fill.
I simply put together a plywood box (inverted pyramid shaped) and covered the top with 1/2" x 1" wire mesh. I made a stand for the box so that a plastic storage bin would fit under the bottom. By rubbing chunks of the compressed cellulose on the wire mesh, it crumbles (surprising quickly) into the bin below.

On the walls (2x6 on 24" spacing), I bought some of the polypropylene mesh 4' wide and cut it in 8' lengths. Then I cut a sheet of osb into (5) 16"x48" pieces and (2) 8"x48" pieces.
Stapling the poly on the bottom 16" of two bays, I then used drywall screws to fasten on one of the osb pieces.
Then it was just a matter of dumping in the cellulose and pressing it down with the flat side of an 8" length of 2x4 on which I attached a 12" handle.
With one person shredding the cellulose and another packing the walls, it actually goes faster than it might seem.

When I first started, I computed the density at 5.5 #/cu.ft.
Then I made myself press lighter with the 2x4 and got the hang of making it right about 4 to 4.25 #/cu.ft.
Of course, the last 8" at the top, I just pack it in by fistfuls while holding a short piece of osb over where I'm packing.

When finished, simply remove the osb pieces, and install the drywall.
As I said, slow, but you know there are no 'loose' areas and you can do it at your own pace. Since I'm retired and have more time than money, it worked out for me.

But, back to your situation; the main problem with using my method on the outside would be inclement weather and/or time constraints.
However, if you were to consider this method, you could put up your osb sheathing immediately following each two bays that you filled.

Or, if you have a company that does the dry dense blow method, you could cover the outside of the studs with the polypro like they do on the inside, and when the company is finished blowing all the bays, have a lot of helpers on hand to install the sheathing in a timely manner so you don't have to worry about the weather.

As far as holes in the sheathing, I would be skeptical that you could get a good voidless fill using just the flexible hose without a stiff tube on the end to direct the flow to all areas.
Also, without being able to see the fill (like you can through the poly), you couldn't be sure of a uniform fill.

Anyways, best of luck to you,
Arky
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Old 07-16-2012, 08:59 AM   #5
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Thanks for the insights, I may have to rethink the cellulose installation. Aside from that does the composition of the wall seem logically and functionally sound? Do you have any thoughts on vapor barrier against the drywall? Thanks!
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Old 07-16-2012, 03:40 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TimeDivided View Post
Thanks for the insights, I may have to rethink the cellulose installation. Aside from that does the composition of the wall seem logically and functionally sound? Do you have any thoughts on vapor barrier against the drywall? Thanks!
Well, I'm not a professional builder; I just do what seems to make sense to me.
In my neck of the woods (western Arkansas), it is considered a mixed humid climate.
According to the building science folks, you should not have a vapor barrier in a mixed humid climate. One of their reasons is that in the hot summer, with the air conditioning on, the vapor movement is from the outside towards the inside.
In your neck of the woods, if I remember right, I believe they recommend the same, however, they recommend foam board over the sheathing to keep it warm enough in the winter to prevent any vapor condensation from forming on the inner surface of the sheathing.

As far as the foam backed vinyl, since the drainage plane is behind the vinyl, I just don't see where the foam on the vinyl adds any R value, or at least enough to justify the increase in cost. In your case, I think I would put the money saved over non-foamed vinyl to adding foam board over the sheathing.

You might want to visit their website; they have several articles on the proper wall construction for various climates.

One thing about the dense pack cellulose; it is very resistant to air filtration to start with. Also, it's ability to wick any moisture that might migrate past the wall surface to the drier side, not to mention its resistance to mold, mildew, insects due to the borate additives.

I might be off some for your climate, but I think that the way I would make the wall would be (from inside to outside:

Latex paint
Latex primer
Drywall
Dense pack cellulose
OSB (or preferably plywood)
2" or so of closed cell foam board (seams taped)
House wrap
Non-foamed vinyl siding (.046 thickness or better)

On second thought, it may be that the building science folks say that the foam board goes on after the house wrap; I don't really remember.

Here's their web site for 'the perfect wall':

http://www.buildingscience.com/docum...-perfect-wall/

Look at figure #9 on that site for the residential wall.

I basically made my walls like that, except I didn't use any foam board due to my warmer climate. I also didn't use any house wrap because I used Zip wall panels for the sheathing (they have a membrane adhered to the outside that makes the house wrap unnecessary).

Arky
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Old 07-17-2012, 05:18 PM   #7
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That diagram is exactly what I was looking for. Thanks so much. I think I'll end up doing the cellulose the way you de, scribed as well using polypropylene mesh to hold it all in place while I pack it. I really appreciate the response you've been a great help

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