Dear All,

Let me first thank you for taking the time to answer these questions. I have been through a lot in the last few years and want to do this job CORRECTLY!

I am about to strip my home for the second time in less than 5 years. The first contractor didn't flash, trim the windows well, or even lay the shingles correctly. I'm facing significant interior damage, likely structural damage and possibly all new windows thanks to their faulty attempts at making the then-new vinyl windows watertight.

A few facts to consider...
I have an 80-100 year old, colonial-style, single-family, ATTACHED home. We call it a "Twin" in the Philadelphia area or you can think of a set of two town homes. My main roof has a significant slope and I have smaller roofs that are considered flat. Under the main roof's decking (where I'll be finishing the attic), you can still see the nail strips from the original cedar roof...this may be critical for venting. The attic is stripped down to the framing and will be finished into an additional bedroom and bathroom. The interior will be gutted room by room, as the original plaster is paper-thin in some areas and there is no insulation to speak of. I think it is balloon construction. I'm sensitive to noise and want as much dampening as possible. I'm also "over" this whole remodel process and want long-lasting and maintenance-free products whenever possible.

Metal? I like its durability, but is there a way to deaden the sound of rain? Triple-laminate asphalt shingles (e.g., Certainteed's Presidential Shingles) are very nice looking, but are they worth the price? Will they really last? Regular dimensional shingles?

A ridge vent was installed with the rest of the mess and will have to be closed/repaired, as it is a fire-jump between the two homes. What do I do then? Box vents? How do I insulate the attic ceiling and still allow for breathability? Does it even matter if I use closed-cell foam insulation?

When I insulate, the walls will be completely exposed. I like the idea of closed-cell foam, but I'm worried about wood rot that I'll never see. I'm also worried about the newness of the product. I like the tried and true fiberglass batt, but there are so many opportunities for air leaks and heat loss. e-Shield worries me all on its own because I can't seem to find an R-value. It is also hard to get a straight answer about whether or not it should be applied in addition to fiberglass. I don't want to lose any ceiling height and my joists are only 6 inches deep. Help!

What are the differences between Crane Board and pre-painted Hardie Board other than the actual material and fire rating? Is there a large difference in R-value after rigid foam insulation is applied to the sheathing? Do they look significantly different after installation? Are there maintenance issues with either one?

Sorry for all the questions. I've found that starting from square one has its own set of challenges. Again, I want to do everything once and I want to do it right. After all the money I've spent, I'll have this place forever, even if only as a rental/investment property.

Thank you for your time!