The Woodka Remodel: Week Eleven

The eleventh week of work on the Woodka Renovation has a bit of a "same old story" feel to it; the workers have settled into a routine as a number of projects carry over from previous weeks. Let's take a look at what's going on this week....

Window Installation Complete!

The installation of the all-new windows that began last week has finished up in week eleven. All windows are now in, which the build crew will appreciate as colder weather begins to set in. The homeowners have chosen Andersen windows for their superior reputation, durability, and extreme high-efficiency. Having an air-tight thermal envelope is critical for a home to save energy, and windows are notorious sources of air infiltration into and out of homes. By installing high-efficiency windows, infiltration is kept at a minimum. The windows will also keep heat from the sun out of the house, further increasing the homes' efficiency.

Some of the environmental benefits of the new windows include:

 

Deck Framing

The Woodka home is undergoing a major facelift on its exterior, and one of the most exciting new features of the new exterior are the covered decks that are being added to both the front and back of the home. The new decks will add a great deal of outdoor living space to the home; a large, inviting front porch and a sheltered deck area on the lakeside of the home for enjoying the beautiful lake views. The rear deck will also overlook the swimming pool that the homeowners have planned for a future installation.

The new deck areas are being built with Brazilian hardwood decking material. There are many different types of decking materials available, and choosing the right one can sometimes be a difficult task. Any deck material needs to fist of all be extremely durable. Decks take incredible punishment from the elements, from the heat of the sun to the cold, snow, and ice of winter, to potentially damaging water.

For homeowners who want a 'green' deck, there are other things to consider, such as the sustainability of the deck material. Some traditional decking materials are made from trees harvested unsustainably, and treated with toxic chemicals.

Homeowners worried about durabiity and environmental impacts have excellent alternatives to choose from. Composite decking materials are made from recycled plastic and wood waste material such as sawdust (keeping these materials out of landfills). These composite materials have their color locked in, eliminating the time-consuming task of having to wash, stain, or paint the deck every few years. Composites are extremely long-lasting, reducing the need to replace the deck over the years.

Sustainably-sourced hardwoods are another choice for 'green' decks. These woods come from forests that are carefully managed to eliminate clearcutting and preserve natural habitats and ecosystems. Hardwoods are also very durable, reducing maintenance and replacement over time.

The Woodka owners have chosen Brazilian Ipe hardwood material from Mataverde for their decking. Ipe is a very hard wood (3 times harder than red oak) native to South America. It is incredibly resistant to decay, insects, and abrasions, and is often used for railroad ties and high-traffic boardwalks. Ipe is also resistant to the splitting, splintering, and twisting associated with inferior decking materials. Decks built with Ipe hardwoods are often still in good shape after 40 to 50 years!

Ipe decking from Mataverde is free of toxic additives or preservatives, and is FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified to verify its harvesting doesn't contribute to deforestation.

In addition to its durability, Ipe is a beautiful natural wood product, another reason it was chosen for the Woodka remodel.

Insulation Application Continues

Week Eleven is also seeing the continued application of spray foam application to interior walls. While the inside of the home is torn apart and the wallboard removed in most areas, this is the perfect time to add a layer of beneficial spray foam insulation to the outside walls.

These temporarily exposed wall cavities are being coated with high-efficiency spray foam insulation. Unlike the more familiar pink fiberglass batt insulation, spray foam forms a continual sealed barrier with no gaps that can allow air and moisture to infiltration the homes' thermal envelope. The result: a very airtight structure with much lower energy bills.

Prior to the beginning of the renovation, all of the exterior walls' old fiberglass insulation was removed, exposing some of the problems with batt-type insulation. Much of the old insulation has shrunk or fallen away from the wall studs, leaving lots of very large gaps in the wall cavity. These gaps allowed air and moisture to get in, as the mold growth in the old insulation showed. The new spray foam insulation will eliminate these problems altogether, and make the home more comfortable and healthy to live in.

Additional Week Eleven Projects

These aren't the only things happening around the Woodka site in week eleven. Work continues to install the new electrical wiring in the home; this complex task takes quite a bit of time.

Also this week, deliveries continue, bring a load of brand new brick pavers for future use in the landscaping, as well as some of the new high-efficiency kitchen appliances. These items will be stored until they're ready, which hopefully shouldn't be too long.

Week Eleven Wrap-Up

Like the recently-completed tower, the new decking in the front and back is really changing the look of the Woodka house. The new windows have sealed the house off from the elements, which here in Michigan in the autumn can change literally from minute to minute. What's happening in Week Twelve? Find out....HERE!

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