The Woodka Remodel: Weeks Eighteen & Nineteen

After weeks and weeks of indoor work (which still continues this week), the focus for the next two weeks shifts back outside. The work team hopes some decent weather will allow them to get the new James Hardie fiber cement siding and wood decking by Tigerwood fully installed.

James Hardie Fiber Cement Siding

Delivered last week, the beautiful new fiber cement siding from James Hardie is ready to go. The rich blue color the homeowners have chosen is a big change from the orange/brown siding of the 'old ' house. Owners have many choices for siding materials, and there are many factors that determine which is the best to use: appearance, durability, price, and for green homeowners, the enviromnental impact of the product. The Woodka owners have decided to use a fiber cement siding by James Hardie. Let's take a quick look at why.

Fiber cement siding is made from cement and reinforcing fibers. As you can imagine, the result is a very durable, very long-lasting, and very low-maintenance siding material. From a green perspective, fiber cement siding is a much more sustainable product; it offers all the benefits of more traditional vinyl siding without the toxic chemicals and waste issues that vinyl has.

Fiber cement siding is also a good alternative to wood siding. As the Woodka owners know all too well, wood siding, especially in a damp environment such as a on a lake, is very susceptible to moisture damage and insects. Here again, fiber cement siding is a preferred material; it is completely rot-resistant and impervious to termite or other insect damage. It's resistant to shrinkage and warping, and can withstand the brutal assault of high winds, snow, hail, and rain. It's very tough stuff, but has an appearance that can be made to look just like many different styles of wood siding. To learn more about fiber cement siding, click on our link HERE. Our article on James Hardie siding can be found HERE.

Cork flooring is made from the bark of the cork oak tree. The bark is trimmed and removed from the tree approximately every nine years. The interior bark layer is left untouched and that allows the tree to continue to generate new bark. It’s common to have a 200+ year old tree still producing cork bark. Cork is commonly used for wine bottles; cork flooring is made using from leftover pieces and scraps fromthe manufacture of bottle corks. The fact that trees are not killed for cork, and that the cork flooring is made largely from waste materials make it very environmentally-friendly and sustainable.

Tigerwood Decking

At the same time that the new fiber cement siding is going up, the crew is also beginning the installation of the new deck. The front of the home will feature a new deck area, as well as a large deck on the lake side of the home. The owners hope to spend lots of time with family and friends in both areas, enjoying the beauty of the warm months in Michigan .

As with siding, it's important to choose decking material carefully. Any material on the home's exterior is going to have to stand up to the harsh elements. Here in Michigan, that means four seasons of threats; extreme heat and cold, rain, snow, wind, and the harmful rays of the sun. Decking material has to be able to handle it all, as well as tread lightly on the planet in the case of a green-built home.

For the Woodka decking, the owners have chosen a product called Tigerwood.There are many decking options available for green builders that have less of an environmental impact than unsustainably-harvested wood treated with toxic preservatives. Many of these products are made with recycled plastics and wood waste to create long-lasting, low-maintenance decks, but in the Woodka's case the owners wanted real wood for their new decks. After much searching, they chose Tigerwood . Tigerwood decking will give them the real wood beauty they desire, and also provide superior durability and lower toxicity than standard treated wood.

Tigerwood is also known as Goncalo Alves, Brazilian Koa, or Muiracatiara. It has a lovely light golden brown to reddish-brown coloring with black and brown streaks. It's an exotic hardwood that is resistant to rot and insect damage, and will last for over 25 years with absolutely no toxic preservatives necessary.

To avoid deforestation or other unsustainable forestry issues, Tigerwood is sourced responsibly froma carefully managed forest; it is considered a true renewable product. It is similar to teak, another exotic hardwood, but has a much lower cost.

Indoors: Cambria Counters, Cabinets & More

As we mentioned, not all of the action is outside these two weeks. There's lots of things happening indoors too, as we rapidly approach the end of the renovation project.

There's a lot of attention being paid to the new kitchen area during weeks 18 and 19. First up is the new countertops by Cambria.

Cambria offers quartz countertops that are incredibly durable as well as beautiful.While many counter companies can make this claim, Cambria is also a leader in environmentally-friendly design and manufacturing, which is why it was chosen for the Woodka's kitchen counters.

All of the minerals used in Cambria counters is mined here in the U.S., which greatly minimizes the transportation impacts of other products mined internationally.

All of the water used to manufacture Cambria counters is recycled. All tooling equipment is re-tooled and re-used over and over; scrap waste is recycled as road construction material, not landfilled.

Cambria meets the GREENGUARD Environmental Institute indoor air standards for low chemical and particle emissions, and may help projects achieve LEED points towards certification.

Also being installed are the new Decora upper cabinets and the beautiful crown molding. The new appliances are also being delivered and installed. In keeping with the overall green focus of the renovation, they new units are extremely energy-efficient, Energy Star units. The refrigerator is a Kitchen Aid built-in model (KSSO48FTX) with door panels that match the cabinet doors. The stove and oven is a large Kitchen Aid KDRS483 model that will be big enough to prepare meals for the owners' large extended family. Since the renovated home is heated with geothermal, and the on-demand water heater will only kick on when the geothermal unit can't supply enough hot water (which will be infrequently) , the stove and oven are about the only things using gas in the home. The natural gas bills are going to be much lower from now on!

In less ex citing news, the sink plumbing is installed during this period, as is the putty, spackling,and painting of the window and baseboard trim.

Week Eighteen/Nineteen Roundup

The light is definitely visible at the end of the tunnel; the Woodka renovation has been ongoing for months now, and the owners are definitely ready for it to be done. The good news for them is that the completion date is now only a couple of weeks away. With any luck, the owners will be celebrating Christmas in their new home with the family. See how things progress with the holidays rapidly approaching in Week Twenty...HERE.

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