Tuesday, December 22, 2009

A Winter Wonderland

Saturday night over a foot of snow fell on Cape Cod.  They bore the brunt of the storm and, for a change, northern New England received less snow than the Cape.

The siding installation started today.  We're happy with our custom color.  I was worried it might look too much like primer, but it has a nice 'warm grey but not quite tan' color.

It may seem like a small thing, but the Azek trim is 5/4, which means it's 1" thick rather than the typical 3/4" thickness.  5/4 used to be the rough cut dimension before drying and planing, but that's a little outdated now that the trim is cellular PVC rather than wood.  If you look at the enlarged photo, you can see there's a nice shadow line because the trim is about 1/4" thicker than the siding.  I don't know if others will notice, but I do.

Things look a little better each time we see the place.  I'm looking forward to seeing the installation of the cupola windows and weathervane, but for the moment we need to concentrate on the siding.

The photo below showns what things looked like just before the storm.  The stone wall is in place, ready for the septic system installation.  The newest part of the wall is under the blue tarp.  Once the septic is in place, the remainder of the stone wall can be installed.

Thursday, December 17, 2009


I didn't know if it should be Weathertight or Weather Tight but, according to Daniel Webster, either is correct.  We've had some significant rains the past few weeks and, even though the roof sheathing is on, much water came in.  Now that we're weathertight, things can dry out.

The shingles look good.  They are Certainteed Independence shingles, which are one of my favorites.  They have some black strips and added layering which gives them a kind of a textured wood look.  They have a lifetime warranty, for what it's worth.  In the fine print it states that after the 40th year, the maximum payout is 20% of the maximum liability, but I find it worthwhile to pay more for a better, more attractive shingle.  Unfortunately no one in New England stocks them any more.  Shepley was able to get them in short order, but there is a restocking fee if I ordered too many and a short wait if I need more.  Part of the back roof is not shingled and we'll be close but don't know yet if we have the right amount.

The large plywood panel is where the sliding glass door will go.  In New England it's called "the slidah".  It came in with a white frame, but the door and the grilles were different colors.  With Eagle you can get the window frames one color, the sashes a different color and the grilles yet another color at no additional charge.  They've remade the door panels and the corrected door is at the lumber yard.

The stone wall at the raised septic system is going in now.

Per previous posts, I never expected this work to have to wait until December.  We've had a warm fall and pre-winter and now, just in time for masonry work, the temperatures have fallen.  They cover it at the end of the day and provide heat at night.  They will finish enough of it this week to enable the septic system installation, but that's Christmas week which means it may or may not start next week.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Road Trip

Yesterday we went to Castleton, Vermont to see lights being made at Hubbardton Forge.

We're looking for light fixtures which are kind of Arts and Crafts style, but not in the most literal sense - something kind of contemporary but with classic lines and forms.  They have some designs which are not quite like anything else we've found, and it's nice that they're actually made at their factory in Vermont.  They don't often provide factory tours and we were fortunate to have had the opportunity.  Here's a video showing how they're made.

Afterwards we stopped at the Handmade in Vermont store, which has a comprehensive display of Hubbardton Forge lights.

They have a very liberal return policy, and the lights they receive back are sold in the store only, not online, for a fraction of list price.  We picked up three light fixtures for about what one fixture would have cost.  This is their helper named Industry.

It's kind of interesting that one of the lights we bought has been to Anchorage and back.

On the way back we stopped at Trikeenan Tileworks in Keene, New Hampshire.  They make beautiful handmade tile and they have seconds available at their factory store.

We picked up some tile for the upstairs Bathroom.  Since the tile is handmade, some of the imperfections seem like part of the natural variation.  I doubt that the guests will notice that they're getting seconds - unless they read this blog.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Windows at Last

The roof sheathing, fascias and much of the trim is in and, in the last couple of days, the windows were installed.  They've been hanging out at Shepley's for almost four weeks and it's good to finally have them in place.

The shiny stuff on the outside of the house is Dow Tuff-R insulating sheathing.  It provides an additional R-5 of continuous insulation, which has the advantage of not being compromised by thermal bridging from the wood studs and headers.  It's kind of an additional insulating blanket around the whole house.  Here's a Guide to Insulating Sheathing from Building Science Corportation and a guide to Rigid Foam Insulation from Green Building Advisor.

These are the windows in the Living Room.  The mondo metal straps are to hold the impact windows in place.  They look kind of appropriate for the big double hung windows, but seem like overkill for the little awning windows.

This is a view of the windows in the Kitchen and Dining Room.  The Kitchen windows are casement windows with simulated divided lights which make them look similar to the other double hung windows.  Notice how that, when the windows get smaller, the window proportions stay the same.  Many new houses have haphazard window patterns which can sometimes look rather odd.

The inside of the house was a little wet.  Next week we should be water tight.