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Old 07-11-2009, 04:29 PM   #1
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Sheathing versus Winter Weather

Hi everyone.

We are in the process of renovating the exterior of an 1830s (with additions in the 1840s, 1870s, and early 1900s) timber frame home in Michigan. In particular, we are replacing the cedar siding on the outside of the home, as it has remained on the home far too many years past its prime. A good description of it would be to say that the paint is trying its best to fall off completely before the next winter season, rotting the precious cedar underneath as quickly as it can.

So, we have a dilemma. We have a *lot* of siding to replace and only 3 months or less before it starts getting to be winter-esque here in Michigan. Thus, we have to either 1) live with the old siding another season or 2) find another way to protect the structure until the siding can be replaced. The issue with #1 is that the current siding is seriously compromised in its structure and a winter season of neglect this past year for several portions of the home (while we worked on other sections) invited in water, and has thus rotted the 8 x 8 handhewn sill plate in a number of places. We obviously have to repair those sections, but are most worried about another winter season with the old siding.

Thus, we have been considering taking the old siding off and replacing it with sheathing for the winter. We haven't read anything that says this is a terrible idea, but haven't read anything supporting the idea as a decent stop-gap measure while we rush to replace the siding and repair the sill plates. We were considering tearing off all of the siding, putting up 1/2" plywood sheathing, caulking the sheathing at the butt joints, and even putting on Tyvek to ride out the winter months. We are very scared about getting more moisture onto the timber frame structure--it's already endured a lot and is a wonderful historic home otherwise. We'd be happy to post pics if people are interested in seeing the issues we are facing.

Any thoughts or suggestions would be greatly appreciated!! Thanks a bundle!!

Emily and Bill
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Old 07-11-2009, 04:55 PM   #2
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You should be okay just putting on the sheathing for now. You might want to use Typar instead of Tyvek because it is a little better and holds up in the sunlight longer. You shouldn't need to caulk the joints if you install the housewrap properly. You may consider running a few piece of strapping vertical on tall walls or areas that the wind may work its way under the wrap. Also, a cap gun instead of stapler is much preferred. Double up the wrap on the corners, inside and outside and this will keep it from wearing through like you might have seen on places that have had wrap on for a few months. Use flashing around the windows and doors to keep the rain and snow from getting in. You might even put the trim on before the winter. Another thought, you might want to look at doing a rainscreen behind whatever siding you are planning on installing.
Josh Jaros Remodeling in The Woodlands, Texas
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Old 07-11-2009, 05:17 PM   #3
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And use the tape to join the seams together
I put up sheathing & house wrap to protect one side until my garage went up
Instead of 1 year it ended up being 3 years before the garage went up
When the house wrap came off the sheathing looked like new for the most part

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