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Extreme weatherproofing

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by bolophonic, Jan 8, 2017.


  1. bolophonic

    bolophonic

    Dec 10, 2009
    Durham, NC
    Our little slice of NC is under 10" of snow and 20 degree weather, so I have been returning to my favorite wintertime indoor obsession/hobby: weatherproofing.

    I have detailed in other threads how my wife and I rebuilt a 1911 farmhouse into a semi-efficient modern home. There is still a massive amount of exterior work to complete, but the inside is pretty much finished.

    My love of detail work and sleuthing come together perfectly when it comes to finding and blocking drafts. Even the smallest gap can lead to a chill in the room. I prowl around with a tube of caulk in bare feet and a t-shirt until I feel a stab of cold air. A little bit of searching and I can usually trace it to a tiny nail hole in a baseboard, a split in some trim, or a gap between floorboards. Every year, our house gets incrementally tighter and warmer and our heating bills go down. I suspect that when I finally get to caulk the exterior clapboard, this place will be tight as a drum. Anyone else into this? It sounds weird, but it beats watching tv.
     
  2. blastoff99

    blastoff99 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Dec 17, 2011
    SW WA, USA
    My 1954 house is not insulated. I've been doing similar things but not very heroically. I'll just have the heat bill from hell....
     
    bolophonic likes this.
  3. Fat Freddy

    Fat Freddy Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2016
    Albany NY
    You'll run out of air and suffocate!....:eek::D
     
    10cc, S-Bigbottom and bolophonic like this.
  4. D M C

    D M C Oh good god, this again? Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2015
    North America, Earth
    On the threshold of a verge on the brink.
    Just stand in the corner. There it's 90 degrees.
     
    kesslari, ptg, dgrizzly and 12 others like this.
  5. bolophonic

    bolophonic

    Dec 10, 2009
    Durham, NC
    Our old house was also very inefficient, but it was so small that it didn't bother me as much. This big house is expensive to heat unless we do it right.

    It makes me wonder how anyone survived in here back before we insulated these old tongue-and-groove walls. The wind would whistle through the cracks while we were working on the renovation. The chimney flues were just wide open wind tunnels to the outside. It's insane.
     
  6. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002 Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2002
    Connecticut
    After reading the OP's description, I couldn't help but immediately think of what the actual view must look like outside of his padded cell, as his doctors watch him squeeze his toothpaste tube all over his linoleum floor again.
     
  7. viper4000

    viper4000

    Aug 17, 2010
    Charlotte

    The tongue and groove was tighter back then. The fireplaces all had fires in them. Was probably a wood stove in the kitchen at one time too. My parents house in OH is like this. When it was built in 1890, it was a pillar of construction. Over a hundred years later when they bought it, not everything was tight anymore. All the fireplaces had been boarded up, and the wood stove removed from the kitchen. That house was stupid cold in the winter time. A lot of insulating the basement and replacing windows has made it tolerable. Before the windows were replaced we had to shrink wrap off of them just to tame the drafts.

    I just bought a house built in 1999 in NC that has a draft that I am trying to find. I've tried the barefoot approach, but my poor feet can only stand so much of that!!
     
  8. bolophonic

    bolophonic

    Dec 10, 2009
    Durham, NC
    HA! Dude, this is pure gold right here.
     
  9. bolophonic

    bolophonic

    Dec 10, 2009
    Durham, NC
    It's interesting how much of a difference the temperature and weather affect the house from year to year: I sealed the front door last year from the outside to block drafts. This year, between the cold and the lack of humidity, the door and frame shrunk away from each other just enough for a tiny blade of cold air to begin pouring in. A half-hour's worth of rope caulk later, the front room returned to normal!
     
  10. It's amazing what a bit of caulking can do. We had a ceiling fan installed during a bathroom renovation. During cold weather, water dripped from it after the shower was used. The installers couldn't figure out the problem. But I noticed there was a small gap between the fan unit and the ceiling. It seems that ice cold attic air was mixing with steamy bathroom air and causing condensation. A bead of caulk later and all was well!
     
  11. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Even worse, did anyone else mention in the OP he mentions "bare feet and a T-shirt" but no mention of pants. :wideyed: That plays right into your theory Bryan.
     
    Killed_by_Death likes this.
  12. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Welcome to NC weahter! Isn't if fun? It's supposed to be 70 degrees Friday and my yard is frozen solid right now!

    I don't share your obsession. Our house is pretty sealed up minus some huge picture windows. And short of investing tens of thousands in replacement ones there's not a lot I can do for that. It would take some pretty strong electric bills to make up that kind of coin.

    My own obsession isn't even as cool as yours. Yard drainage. My house sits in a 4+ acre yard that doesn't drain very well. I have made little ditches all over my property for water to run off of.
     
  13. fhm555

    fhm555 So FOS my eyes are brown Supporting Member

    Feb 16, 2011
    My dad (he's 84) has told on several occasions how when he was a kid they would visit his grandmothers and he'd lay on a couple of blankets on the floor at night and look at the stars through the cracks in the walls caused by warped boards. In the winter they would chink them as best they could with whatever they had, keep the wood stove going 24/7 and stay dressed for outdoors at all times.

    And people want to return to the good ole days. :woot:
     
  14. bolophonic

    bolophonic

    Dec 10, 2009
    Durham, NC
    Another thing that I cannot fathom is how much firewood would have been necessary to keep SIX fireplaces going all winter. The amount of sawdust and dirt and leaves that eventually get swept up in a day with just one high-efficiency wood stove going is impressive. Hauling wood up the stairs? How did this house never burn down?? Living in this house must have really sucked for its first 100 winters, you know what I'm saying?
     
  15. Fat Freddy

    Fat Freddy Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2016
    Albany NY
    They were tougher back then.....We've gotten so soft that it's frightening....
     
  16. bolophonic

    bolophonic

    Dec 10, 2009
    Durham, NC
    I completely share an obsession with grading. All other seasons, I am out there redirecting water. We have active springs on the property that overflow and connect with the creek. My patented method is to spend hours looking to see where the contours around the house break, like a golf pro would. Then in the summer, I just go outside when there is a thunderstorm and redirect the water according to plan with a heavy construction rake. The rain does all the work building the trench, and there is no guesswork on where the water now goes.

    When we bought the farm, it seemed clear that A) the house had probably sunk several inches before it settled, and B) nobody had looked into the grading for 50 years. There was a slight berm encircling the house by six feet that served as a catchment basin. Totally unacceptable.
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2017
  17. Fat Freddy

    Fat Freddy Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2016
    Albany NY
    Did you say berm?.....:D

     
  18. bolophonic

    bolophonic

    Dec 10, 2009
    Durham, NC
    I'll tell you, growing up in the country made me different. I can see it in my kids, too. They are toughening up every day. I showed them the well and told them that someone had gone down there and dug it by hand and even I couldn't imagine doing that.
     
    Fat Freddy likes this.
  19. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Aw man. We totally have something in common. I am always outside either during rain or right after a storm picking around with various tools to understand block drainage ditches. My wife is constantly telling me the neighbors must think I'm crazy. To which I reply "Many of them know me....so no mystery there." :D

    Plus, you and I don't always see eye to eye, but I hope you haven't "bought the farm". :cigar:
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2017
    mtdkingstonheir likes this.
  20. fhm555

    fhm555 So FOS my eyes are brown Supporting Member

    Feb 16, 2011
    Taken in context of the times, I'd imagine a two story place with six fireplaces would have been the envy of the community and would have been the best accommodations around. What would have sucked was living in the far more common one room cabins fashioned from sawmill slabs and chinked with old newspapers. I also expect that most of the firewood was cut by hired hands and hauled by either a big family or domestic help, and a typical work day began at four AM. There are still plenty of two and three story houses around here with servants quarters in the attic and a steep narrow interior stairway from there to the kitchen.
     

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