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Old 05-08-2011, 10:20 PM   #1
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Sheathing 130 Year Old House


Ok, long story short: girlfriend and I bought a 130 year old Victorian fixer in August of last year. Needs a lot of work and the weather is warm now, so time to get cracking. Current priority is remodeling the kitchen, which is located in one corner of the ground floor. We're in the process of repairing studs that have been damaged by rot/termites. New electrical and plumbing is also going in at this time. We are reluctant however, to install insulation and/or sheetrock or complete any finishing work right now because...

The existing siding is a mess. The house is sided with wood clapboards nailed directly to the wall studs. This is the original siding and it's really starting to show it's age: rotting, cracking, splitting, leaking, missing, etc etc. Our intention is to remove one section of the clapboards at a time and install sheathing/weather barrier and then insulate from inside. (Currently up in the air about what material we will be re-siding with, but that's not the issue)

My issue is this... I'm looking for the proper method to install the sheathing once the clapboards have been removed. If this were new construction, I'd be all set, but I'm a bit confused since I'll be working around an existing addition. (See the attached photos. The small structure on the left side) I feel confident about installing the sheathing until I get to that point. Would I cut the sheathing to follow the pitch of the addition's roof? I'm sure that I'll have to temporarily move the power meter, are there any other considerations that can be thought of for this project?

... And now with photos!
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Sheathing 130 Year Old House-house2.jpg  


Last edited by Pittsville; 05-09-2011 at 01:40 AM.
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Old 05-10-2011, 01:14 AM   #2
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Sheathing 130 Year Old House


"Our intention is to remove one section of the clapboards at a time and install sheathing/weather barrier and then insulate from inside." It is always good to fir out w/ 1x2's between the Tyvek (or whatever you'll use; 30 lb asphalt felt is good stuff, too) and the sheathing, which I hope will be plywood instead of OSB. I see no real option on following the roof line of the addition, unless you move it off completely and hang it back on. Dense packed cellulose inside, no poly VB, and use the airtight drywall approach, unless your code mandates poly (probably not) or you are in an extremely hot/humid location (poly may be recommended on the outside there).

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Old 05-10-2011, 03:16 AM   #3
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Sheathing 130 Year Old House


Make sure you address any window and window and door framing issues with these oldies but goodies before you even worry about anything else. It looks like you found a real cutie. And don't seal it up too tight. I think we are all going to pay a price in the form of sick buildings with R500 ratings because they, and those of us in them, cannot breath even if we are either warm or cool depending on the season. At least plan on some extra flow through ventilation, when it is not 40 below outside, from basement to attic. Add humidification and dehumidification systems to your HVAC if needed.

Firing out from the Tyvek (or whatever wrap---their some that breath a bit better in my opinion). I don't have the distaste for OSB that others do but you are sunk if it gets wet or moistened before you get it covered. And last I looked, I guess it is not that much cheaper anymore so go plywood if you can.

As for siding, just don't go tacky and put box store vinyl on a nice old Victorian. Historic preservation people might cringe but some of the higher end synthetic, recycled fiber and composite materials look like the real thing and will last forever. The real thing, cedar, redwood, cypress, etc. will last forever also and will never bother the historic people. I refinished a house a few years ago that was covered in 100 year old cypress and cedar. It had 900 layers of paint on it but I got that off, primed it nicely and gave it two coats of stellar exterior paint. It won't have to be painted in 10-15 years and then maybe a touch up. The siding will be there 100 years more.

If you are going to do this in sections? Make sure you know your starting and end points and scale some things out so you stay square. You won't be able to see the old lap siding joints once you cover them so snap some chalk lines and go over them with a straight edge and permanent marker on your Tyvek.
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Old 05-10-2011, 11:59 AM   #4
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Sheathing 130 Year Old House


I'd not worry about being "too tight". I would get it as tight as I could, sealing all penetrations in exterior walls, gaps, cracks, etc, then run an HRV or at least exhaust fans on timers and passive fresh air ducts. Seal your plywood w/ flexible caulk and tape the seams, too. You MUST ventilate, though, somehow.
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Old 05-10-2011, 12:39 PM   #5
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Sheathing 130 Year Old House


Quote:
Originally Posted by jklingel View Post
"Our intention is to remove one section of the clapboards at a time and install sheathing/weather barrier and then insulate from inside." It is always good to fir out w/ 1x2's between the Tyvek (or whatever you'll use; 30 lb asphalt felt is good stuff, too) and the sheathing, which I hope will be plywood instead of OSB. I see no real option on following the roof line of the addition, unless you move it off completely and hang it back on. Dense packed cellulose inside, no poly VB, and use the airtight drywall approach, unless your code mandates poly (probably not) or you are in an extremely hot/humid location (poly may be recommended on the outside there).
I'm a bit confused by the suggestion about furring out with 1x2s between the housewrap and sheathing. Wouldn't this make it difficult to wrap the house and possibly cause tears in the Tyvek? Are the furring strips for attaching the new siding? If so, wouldn't it make more sense to have them on the outside of the Tyvek? I'm sure I'm misunderstanding, so please clarify if you can.

As far as the sheathing goes, I'm looking at plywood or possibly a "hybrid product" like Zip System which incorporates the weather barrier. I'm researching the product, so the jury is still out.

I've spoken to some builders and done some research at buildingscience.com and from what I can tell, a vapor barrier is not recommended in my area. (Eastern Shore of Maryland)
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Old 05-10-2011, 01:01 PM   #6
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Sheathing 130 Year Old House


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Originally Posted by sdsester View Post
Make sure you address any window and window and door framing issues with these oldies but goodies before you even worry about anything else. It looks like you found a real cutie. And don't seal it up too tight. I think we are all going to pay a price in the form of sick buildings with R500 ratings because they, and those of us in them, cannot breath even if we are either warm or cool depending on the season. At least plan on some extra flow through ventilation, when it is not 40 below outside, from basement to attic. Add humidification and dehumidification systems to your HVAC if needed.
We think the house is absolutely beautiful. It needs some work obviously, but we wouldn't trade it for anything. I'll post more photos when I get a chance.

We have about 16 replacement windows sitting inside. (They're HUGE and HEAVY by the way!) We were going to install them after we got some of the siding cleaned up, but you're suggesting that we address the windows first? I'm actually glad to read a comment like that as there are times when we look at the house and say "Where the heck do we start? What order should we be following?". Many of the window sills need repair, so I guess that's job #1.

I assume opening windows would provide the extra ventilation that you're referring to? This house gets an amazing breeze that blows through when the front and back doors are open, so this shouldn't be a problem.

Quote:
Firing out from the Tyvek (or whatever wrap---their some that breath a bit better in my opinion). I don't have the distaste for OSB that others do but you are sunk if it gets wet or moistened before you get it covered. And last I looked, I guess it is not that much cheaper anymore so go plywood if you can.
Yep, going to try plywood or something like Zip System panels. If I use OSB anywhere, it's probably going to 3/4" T/G for floors.

Quote:
As for siding, just don't go tacky and put box store vinyl on a nice old Victorian. Historic preservation people might cringe but some of the higher end synthetic, recycled fiber and composite materials look like the real thing and will last forever. The real thing, cedar, redwood, cypress, etc. will last forever also and will never bother the historic people. I refinished a house a few years ago that was covered in 100 year old cypress and cedar. It had 900 layers of paint on it but I got that off, primed it nicely and gave it two coats of stellar exterior paint. It won't have to be painted in 10-15 years and then maybe a touch up. The siding will be there 100 years more.
I'm not sure what species of wood the original siding is, but it's really starting to look rough. I'd love nothing more than to strip and repaint it, but so much of it is either cracked or rotting that this isn't feasible. (The previous owner really didn't take care of the house, which is upsetting) As far as new siding, absolutely no vinyl! The options that we're looking at include wood, fiber cement or some other composite material. Cost is going to play a huge role in our decision.
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Old 05-10-2011, 02:22 PM   #7
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Sheathing 130 Year Old House


Just a plug for composite fiber when you get around to making the decision. We did an addition on our wood-sided 1930's bungalow a few years back and used Hardie board. It's for all intents and purposes indistinguishable from wood, is fairly indestructible, and I believe it's more energy efficient too but I can't find anything to back that up. We went with plain flat planks, not the ones that they sell with some wood texture on them which just end up looking fake, ironically.
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Old 05-10-2011, 03:31 PM   #8
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OOPS! Gross error on my part; typing and eating are too complex for me. The firring strips go OUTSIDE the Tyvek, which is against the sheathing. That makes for a rain screen, in case any water gets behind the siding, allowing it to run down instead of sitting there "soaking". I have heard good things about the fiber/cement-type siding, too.
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Old 05-10-2011, 07:53 PM   #9
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Sheathing 130 Year Old House


Depending on your budget: A couple of things that catch my eye are the lines from the A/C units, maybe these are the freon lines to the units in the attic, and the electrical service. Could these be moved during your re-modeling? The electrical service could possibly be moved underground and eliminate all that wiring showing above the meter can. The freon lines could be re-routed inside the wall cavity so as not to be seen. Just asking.
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Old 05-10-2011, 07:55 PM   #10
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Sheathing 130 Year Old House


the house may be balloon framed, in which case, it _"should"_ have 1x (actually 7/8th's) plank sheathing. if there is no sheathing.... definitely something to correct, but make sure and get some fire blocking put in first.
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Old 05-10-2011, 08:07 PM   #11
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the house may be balloon framed, in which case, it _"should"_ have 1x (actually 7/8th's) plank sheathing. if there is no sheathing.... definitely something to correct, but make sure and get some fire blocking put in first.
Lost your logic for a second but think I know what you are suggesting. It could very well be ballooned end to end with, hopefully, something holding that gabled structure over the porch up. Anyhow explain why exterior sheathing would have to be 7/8". Thickness needed to keep the walls for the balloon from sagging or bulging?
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Old 05-14-2011, 10:14 AM   #12
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Depending on your budget: A couple of things that catch my eye are the lines from the A/C units, maybe these are the freon lines to the units in the attic, and the electrical service. Could these be moved during your re-modeling? The electrical service could possibly be moved underground and eliminate all that wiring showing above the meter can. The freon lines could be re-routed inside the wall cavity so as not to be seen. Just asking.
We have asked about burying the electrical service so that we could get that weatherhead off of the house. Will cost us $1300 according to the power company. This will be done eventually, but finances don't allow for it right now. Too many other projects to be completed first.

You're the first to suggest running the freon lines inside the walls. We are scheduling an HVAC technician to come out and look the system over, so we'll ask about having this done. Would certainly clean things up a bit on the outside. Thanks!
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Old 05-14-2011, 10:31 AM   #13
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the house may be balloon framed, in which case, it _"should"_ have 1x (actually 7/8th's) plank sheathing. if there is no sheathing.... definitely something to correct, but make sure and get some fire blocking put in first.
I never really put much thought into this subject, but I guess I should. The exterior wall studs are notched with HUGE horizontal beams sitting in the notches. The corner studs are notched and there are large pieces of bracing installed. About where the first and second floors of the house meet, there are large horizontal beams that are mortised to except the tenon from a wall stud. The mortise is not large enough to allow the stud to pass all the way through. Based on this information, does this sound like balloon framing? I'd like to take some photos today or tomorrow and post them to get your opinion if you don't mind.

As far as sheathing, there definitely is none. It's just wood clapboards nailed directly to the wall studs.
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Old 05-14-2011, 03:54 PM   #14
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Sheathing 130 Year Old House


howdy, what a cute house. this is going to look stellar when finished up. i was in a similar position as you a couple of years back. of all the options for a victorian house re-siding, the ones that are historically correct and would also look nice and is something that a DIY can do is board & batten, or clap board. check my posts on this in other threads, i gave lots of info. One tip i wish i knew before i started the project ... if you get your house designated as historical, then the city heritage foundation will pay for some of your costs of renovation. this is a bigger decision to make then it sounds though cause there are lots of implications.

stucco also looks nice but it is not a DIY project because you need to be an expert trowler & the colour is difficult to get consistent.

note the part about your house being balloon frame (as mine was also). if that's the case, then it is important that your sheathing is 1" thick. if it is, this will also make doing your siding job so much easier because you can through a nail anywhere, no need to bother finding the studs.

remember to waterproof properly with the house wrap your window & doors while you have it all exposed. don't forget drip edges & might as well check out the eaves and address any soffet venting issues while you're up there.

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Old 05-14-2011, 09:35 PM   #15
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"As far as the sheathing goes, I'm looking at plywood or possibly a "hybrid product" like Zip System which incorporates the weather barrier. I'm researching the product, so the jury is still out."------

Sell me on the Zip System

Gary

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