It’s been beautiful here the last week or so! Over 70F in the heat of the day, plenty of sun. Time to get serious about summer projects.
I really should have figured and ordered all my supplies to insulate and reside the house weeks ago, so I could get started now, but I always underestimate how big a project the shopping part is! The overall plan is to finish insulating the exterior of my not-so-well insulated-for-Anchorage 2×4 construction ecoplex. Last summer we dug 4′ down and 4′ out around the basement and insulated the concrete block foundation/basement with 4″ of exterior styrofoam. There is about 4′ above ground that I really need to flash and coat with a protective layer of something, and I have been agonizing about the right product to coat it with. You can search posts from last summer to see lots of pictures and get details of that big project!
This summer I want to remove the windows on the north side of the house (replacing the living room picture window with a couple little peeker windows instead), rip off the siding, put on 4″ of blueboard foam insulation around the whole house, and reside with hardie fiber cement lap siding. The windows will all need to be reset in the new wall thickness, so I am taking the opportunity to replace two old single pane windows as well, although swapping out windows is not very cost effective, comparatively, for me. I will also throw another layer of fiberglass in the attic, because although I already have a foot of fiberglass in there, another 4″ or so (~R-13) is economically justifiable.
I have spent some time on websites and calling folks to find people that carry what I need, and I still haven’t figured out my definitive window source yet. I called Aurora, and I may go that route, but I’m not sure if I want wood frame windows (which they have). I know I don’t want vinyl or aluminum. I’m pretty sure I want fiberglass due to its durability and thermal properties. I’ve emailed a manufacturer in Fairbanks and am waiting to hear a quote. Anyone know a distributor of energy efficient, fiberglass windows in Anchorage?
What I have had luck with is the insulation and siding materials. Searching the websites I had determined that it was hard, right now, to find the smooth hardie fiber-cement lap siding that I had decided on – everyone seemed to only have the ugly wood print (instead of smooth) in stock. Part of me really wants to shop at Spenard Builders Supply – the local building supply place – but they are just so much more expensive for the same thing. I don’t know what to do about that. It turned out they could get me the siding I wanted, but I knew I might be able to do it cheaper at a box store. I prefer the blue big box store over the orange one. So I called up Lowes to see if they could get it here, along with other stuff I needed but the website didn’t show them as having. I tried to reach the building material department, but no one ever picked up, so in desperation I hit the number for the commercial sales department. Best thing I’ve done in a while. Right away this very helpful guy, Levi, picked up. He wasn’t sure he could get the smooth lap, it certainly wasn’t showing up as available to him either, but he went to do some checking. A few phone calls later and I am all set up with an account with them and pretty much all I need to have delivered, including a product to coat my foundation insulation!! There were deals and sales and he really did some work to find and order me products and get me what I needed at a good price. Sheesh – now I sound like an ad. Well, I just had a good experience, and feel like I didn’t just spend all my project money before the project is done, but please, still try to source things used or local or green as you can. I have the constraint of living way the heck up in Alaska and needed to finish my project by September to get my home energy rebate, so I’ve justified buying new stuff from the big box because insulating my home is a good thing.
So here is what I ordered for the ecoplex, which is about 34’x26′ with a sticky-outy porch section and about 2.5 stories above the ground surface (I’m fearful that I’ve made a calculation error in my excitement to finally order and will end up with less of something that I need and then will have to special order a small amount, but I’ll deal with that when/if it happens):
28′ aluminum extension ladder
16 rolls of R-13 40sf fiberglass insulation (for adding a layer in the attic and where I remove windows on the N. side of the house)
255 planks of smooth 12’x8.25″ lap fiber-cement siding
87 8’x4’x2″ blue foam boards (I have 19 left over from the basement project)
155 1″x3″x8′ premium furring strips
5 pails of Styro Tuff II trowel-on foundation/foam insulation coating + the sticky mesh needed to bond it to the foam board (see the manufactures website for info). It comes in colors! I chose ‘wheaton’ – at no extra cost.
All of this plus delivery to my house at just under $6k – what a deal 🙂
I still need fasteners and paints/stains for the project, as well as flashing and trim, but I think I can find most of that locally and shove it in the back of G’s station wagon or a work truck. And the windows – gotta get that nailed down! I’m hoping to get everything and be going by 4th of July weekend – hopefully the learning curve is short and we are done by the end of July. Hopefully!