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Old 11-08-2012, 07:09 AM   #101
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Congratulations on your new house. It is interesting reading about the different remodeling ideas. Our house could use lots of remodeling. Take care of yourself and have fun making your decisions.

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Old 11-08-2012, 08:34 AM   #102
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Originally Posted by pb4uski View Post
I know two different couples who have had problems with Hardi-board. Unfortunately, I don't know the details.

That said, we had cement-board on the north side of our old house for about 10 years and never had a problem with it.

It would be interesting to know what trouble they had.... it might be related to the installation... from what I understand it is not 'easy' to install....

I had it on my old house.... replaced almost all exterior wood except for a large beam on the front of the house.... worked great...

Current house has particle board.... but I have not seen any problems with it so far, so am not going to replace just to replace....

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Old 11-08-2012, 10:33 AM   #103
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Mice, not rats, in a crawl space is a common problem. They like to move in when the weather gets cold. The easiest thing for you to do at this time may be to call an exterminator and then place traps for those who want to try to move in. Be sure that your trades workers foam all penetrations so that they don't move in to the walls.

I agree that after changing the locks your first plan should be to identify plumbing related remodeling issues. Know where you will want your future kitchen plumbing fixtures.

Keep in mind that you may also be doing work on your waste line.
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Old 11-08-2012, 11:55 AM   #104
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Originally Posted by kyounge1956 View Post

Now I'm starting to think about the repairs & stuff. I think the very first choice I need to make is between copper & pex for re-plumbing ....
I feel that you are over-thinking some of these issues. I applaud your efforts to be environmentally conscious, but either plumbing choice is going to last many decades - amortize a few pounds of one versus the other over their lifetime, and I think there are far more important areas to focus on. I'd look at the things you do each day, each season, each year. I don't have pex in my house (built in the 80's), but I like what I've seen on it.

Originally Posted by pb4uski View Post
I know two different couples who have had problems with Hardi-board. Unfortunately, I don't know the details.

That said, we had cement-board on the north side of our old house for about 10 years and never had a problem with it.
I have it on the back (east) and south side of the house, I had those areas re-sided when we added on. The ~20 YO cedar siding it replaced was in bad, bad shape on those sides. The other sides were in good enough shape that a few replacements and repairs got it looking OK. But after six years, the paint on the cement siding looks almost perfect - if I look closely, I can see it seems it might be 'wearing' off - it seems thin in a few places.You need to look for it, no one but me (or a painter) would notice, unless I pointed it out. But no peeling, bubbling . And I painted that myself, and I know didn't get as even a coat on there as a pro would. After six years, the ceder siding would not look anywhere near that good, it would definitely be ready for a re-paint, and probably need a lot of scraping and repairs and priming.

I'm curious what the issues were. A little googling mentioned a few bad installations - nailing does have to be done correctly, and it different that other types of siding. Easy to blow it out, or sink the nail too far.

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Old 11-08-2012, 07:56 PM   #105
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Originally Posted by kyounge1956 View Post
I didn't completely understand the document about conditioned crawlspaces after a quick skimming. One question that occurs to me, is can this be retrofitted or does a building have to be planned and constructed with that in mind from the first? Also, what if there is no insulation on the ground below the vapor barrier? I don't know if this house has any or not--I would guess not from the age and from the fact it was felt to be desirable to insulate the floor. Wouldn't a conditioned crawl space lose a lot of heat to un-insulated soil if that's the case?
Yes, you can create a conditioned crawlspace after the house is built. The easiest way is to tear out the existing insulation, put thick plastic down over the soil (to prevent water vapor from entering from the ground, seal up the vents to the outside, insulate the walls of the crawlspace (usually using spray foam or rigid foam panels, and then fit a small supply and return air supply to the crawlspace. Very little heat is lost to the soil for a number of reasons, but primarily because dry dirt is a fairly good insulator and also because the soil a few feet down stays at a constant temperature year round that is warmer than your winter temperatures. To help reduce heat loss further, you can add put rigid foam insulation on the ground around the perimeter of the crawlspace for about 24" in from the wall. This approach is more energy efficient and provides les moisture intrusion into you home than the use of fiberglass batts under the floor. It also makes it a snap to access any water, waste lines, electrical wires, telephone wires, or other utilities that may be located your floor. But, if cutting cost is of greater concern right now, then just fixing the present fiberglass insulation will likely be cheaper in the near term.
Originally Posted by kyounge1956 View Post
My mom suggested I might want to change the locks on the doors (I think the house may have been a rental before sale). I checked the workshop and there are a couple of locksets which I think were originally bought for a rental property my parents owned. The house has more than two doors, but maybe I will only need to buy two or three new locks instead of four or five.
Changing the locks should be the very first thing you do. It's a matter of your personal safety and the security of your house, you've got no idea how many sets of keys are now out there. It's relatively easy to re-key some locks using a simpel kit (it just contains new pins that go inside the locks, no need to replace the knob, the whole deadbolts, etc.) Also, not all locksets have the same setback (the distance from the door edge to the hole holding the lock). Locksets aren't very pricey, you might want to splurge and buy new ones you like, especially for the front door. It's something you'll see and touch every time you enter the house. Also, I'm a fan of some electronic deadbolts--they are easy to add a temporary new combo (to give to a visiting friend or a tradesman) and then remove that combo. And it's nice not to have to fumble for a key every time you come to the house. They are convenient enough to use every time you step out, and much more secure than any handset (knob) lock.
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Old 11-13-2012, 07:17 PM   #106
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Originally Posted by kyounge1956 View Post
Now I'm starting to think about the repairs & stuff. I think the very first choice I need to make is between copper & pex for re-plumbing (to be done while the crawl space is being cleaned out and floor reinsulated).
Does anyone here know of a forum or other source that focuses on and provides information for making green/sustainable choices for remodeling and repairing an existing house?
Pex. We've had it in our attic & walls for 23 years and it still looks as good as the original. You don't want to deal with pitting corrosion of copper piping, and pex is a lot easier to fix in a crawl space than solder or Sharkbite connectors. And as SamClem says, you'll be a lot happier with pex if it flexes or freezes.

The practice is to run pex through the walls/crawlspace/attic for most of the path, and then to change to copper for the last 6"-12" before the faucet connection.

Originally Posted by kyounge1956 View Post
I am only looking at plumbing because the existing pipe is 60-year-old galvanized iron and inspector says it is at the end of its useful lifespan. I might be able to live with it, but it seems like it would make sense to deal with it along with other crawlspace issues. If I run short of funds I will probably see if it (the water pressure etc) is tolerable and maybe have the re-plumbing done at same time as a future kitchen remodel, which will require crawlspace entry because it includes changes to the plumbing as well as extending the gas pipe to change the kitchen range from electric to gas.
Galvanized iron piping? Are you sure that's water supply, or is it a drain to the sewage system?

If it's a sewage drain then you could let it go for a long time because it doesn't see a lot of pressure. It's also easy to slice out large chunks of pipe (with a metal saw or a chain cutter) and replace them with rubber & hose clamps.

But if that's indeed pressurized water supply piping (bummer) then it's wise to do the work while you have the space open. Spending up front for that labor will save you lots of re-work over the coming years.

While you're replacing water supply piping, consider a water conditioner and a new water heater. You may not have hard water in your neighborhood, and your water heater may have some life left in it, but again the expense is in the labor and not the materials. It's a lot easier to spend the design time & effort up front (in conjunction with the work you have to do anyway) than to retrofit years later. Professional contractors refer to this foresight philosophy as "Might as well..." syndrome.

Since you've adopted an aging home, you may want to embark on the continuing education program of Family Handyman magazine. $10 at for a year's subscription.


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