Tag Archives: rain screen

4 Year Anniversary Tour – The Exterior

I haven’t done anything to the front yet, but the plan is to restore it as close as possible to its original appearance. I’ll restore the original brick and marble, eliminate the plague of aluminum siding and awnings, restore or replicate the original wood trim, install wood windows (new or old). You can read more about this process here, here, here, and here.

Let’s pretend this other house is my after, though I plan to 2-tone the cornice and not have white paint on the marble.

The back started off in this grim state. The big square bay was wood framed with very crudely applied modern stucco. The rest is load-bearing brick protected with a thin layer of older stucco. Plus, rusty plumbing stack, rusty downspout, and tangle of cables.

But it got worse quickly when I started enlarging the back bedroom window and discovered how poorly the stucco was installed on that bay. Under it were 3 layers of asphalt siding, and these were damp! If you look carefully at the closeup of the bay, they installed flashing like corner molding, so it channels water INTO the wall. Then below this was the original siding, some of it rotten, nailed right to the studs. So fun times, off it came.

So this was a nice sized extra project when I was already in the middle of that back bedroom. I got the rotten clapboards replaced with new plywood sheathing and all of it wrapped in tar paper and let it go. And then came the polar vortex, the downspout froze solid and I had icicles inside! What a pleasant surprise for the day insulation was supposed to get blown in.

So when it came time to side it we overdesigned it absurdly. Lots of tar paper, flashing, indestructible cellular PVC trim sealed to the brick with silicone (to be eventually embedded into new stucco), and a 3/4″ air gap behind the siding that’s vented so if water does get in, it should stay on the outside of the tar paper. The wood strips are marine grade for nailing the siding into.

Speaking of siding, I was too snobby for vinyl even on a barely visible spot on the rear second floor, so I used HardiPlank. This is almost as nice looking as wood and more durable. The wider siding is not period correct but I figured it was less to install and my parents might want to use my leftovers. I had already committed to white trim and painted the siding a color that I learned is Wedgwood blue, not navy. The beadboard underneath is light blue to try to make this closed in urban space look cheery.


And here’s what it looks like now. The original stucco was in lousy shape and I was on a budget, so where I altered old window openings we filled them with whatever and I’ll have it all stuccoed later. You can also see that the patio door job involved ripping off some of the beadboard. I’ve been lazy lately but maybe I can get it fixed this year. Also, sorry Ross, but yes my ceiling fan has a light.

When this is all done, the plan is to have trim around the patio doors just like the windows above, have the stucco white or very light grey to reflect as much light into the living room as possible, and most importantly, I want a texture that looks like it belongs on an old house. What texture I get doesn’t much matter. The back of this house has no architectural style to speak of. It just needs to look old. The idea of a McMansion stucco texture on my house is enough to give me night sweats.


Prepping for the siding, Part 2

Well, today is Father’s Day. I know we all should show our appreciation to our fathers, but I think I’m forced to point out that mine’s better. I may have attempted to move the holiday up 2 weeks to suit my schedule (and do something he liked), but he didn’t have to work outside all day in the heat. But then, he didn’t have to do this last year either. He also named that post. He’s awesome.

I haven’t punking you. We’re getting it up tomorrow. I want to say all of it but let’s not get our hopes up. The plan was to get it up today after doing the prep this week. But instead it rained every day and we did the prep today and I’m taking off work tomorrow instead of pushing everything back forever. So we made a lot of progress today! But before I show you that, I want to show you the object of my envy: a roof deck. It won’t be feasible on my house. But if it were, I could look at this every day.

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Getting started with the siding

Remember the list of things I planned to do in May? It’s looking like I should have one of the three done in June. I’ve ordered Hardiplank siding for the cantilevered bay on the back. This is basically a mixture of sawdust, sand, and cement, similar to asbestos shingles but without the asbestos, that looks like wood siding but costs half as much and doesn’t peel. It gives me a little fire retardance, which is nice since the houses are a weensy bit close together. This photo doesn’t even do it justice since every bay has one about 2 feet away on one side. The green one and the beige one are actually farther apart from each other than they are from their other neighbors. But you get the idea.

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