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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Posts
    1

    Default A Little Bit of an Emergency

    I live in a Victorian house built somewhere between 1880 and 1900. The actual date is still being researched. It is a "Grant Woods" type farmhouse, likely a "pattern book" house that is balloon-framed, with board and batten siding. It was updated around 1980, with urethane foam insulation which required numerous 2" round holes to be drilled through the exterior siding to inject the foam. The house is pock-marked with the round holes all over, some of which are missing altogether. The construction, as near as I can tell, is of tall outer boards going from basement to attic, covered at each join with a strip of wood the same length. Under the outer shell is about a 3" gap now filled with the foam insulation, sandwiched with an inner sheathing that mimics the outer, the inner walls then finished with horizontal beadboard. The interior walls were covered with drywall in the 1980 renovation.

    We are currently renting this house, but have an agreement with the owners to eventually buy it. The owners are bent on "improving" the house before an appraisal.

    The current owners are hell-bent on repainting the house and prepping it with a strong power wash. I am convinced that this would be ruinous. Water would be forced between the wood siding and under the "battens" which cover the joins, soak the interior sheething and modern insulation causing wood rot and mold growth, and basically destroy the house from the inside out. My landlord thinks I'm a silly woman who doesn't understand "man stuff."

    I love this house whether I am ever the legal owner or not. What's best to do?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Portland, Oregon, formerly of Chicago
    Posts
    1,583

    Default Re: A Little Bit of an Emergency

    ancestralhome,

    Short of pulling off some of the board and batten siding, it is difficult to tell what the actual wall construction is. Typical for that period would have been an under sheathing of diagonal boards. Before the advent of plywood sheathing, diagonal boards gave the house stability against racking out of square. The house may have had tar paper or rosin paper as a wind and water shield before the board and battens were applied.

    The house would have had no insulation originally. Built of true 2x4 studs, there was plenty of air moving around inside the wall. This is one reason these old buildings did not readily rot. Even if they got a little moisture, they rapidly dried out. I grew up in a 1883 Queen anne in Chicago with just such construction.

    As to pressure washing: I think people generally overestimate the amount of water infiltration during the washing process. A medium size power washer will be putting out about 3 gallons of water per minute. Remember that the washing wand is never held in a stationary position. Doing so causes damage to the wood. Most experienced power washing people know enough not to get too aggressive.

    Your battens are lapping considerably over the gaps between the boards. This further resticts the ability of the power wash water from getting behind the outer siding boards. After all, this is their purpose for having been put there in the first place. They keep rain out during driving rain storms.

    I would be more concerned with water entry through the missing insulation plugs, than through the battens. If they must be replaced anyway, do so before the power washing.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    florida
    Posts
    598

    Default Re: A Little Bit of an Emergency

    Ditto.........ordjen

    You can bet the Old Lead Based paints are gonna be a flyin.....Protect any edible growing vegeeeeee's if you have any.

    Does the house have an active used well that the lead base paint chips can leach into?
    Gizmo

    Cut it 3 times & it's still to short.
    Inventor of the Miter Master Plus.

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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    florida
    Posts
    598

    Default Re: A Little Bit of an Emergency

    Ditto.........ordjen

    You can bet the Old Lead Based paints are gonna be a flyin.....Protect any edible growing vegeeeeee's if you have any.

    Does the house have an active used well that the lead base paint chips can leach into? If so then thats where the word EMERGENCY comes to mind.
    Gizmo

    Cut it 3 times & it's still to short.
    Inventor of the Miter Master Plus.

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