Trim, Shingles & Siding
Vernon wanted to complete the trim work at the eaves before installing shingles. This way he could assure the proper finish of the drip edge. So, we had to wait a long time for the framers to return to do the trim: they had commitments to frame two other homes. It only took them a day, but then we had to wait for the snow to melt! So it goes. I’m thankful they are committed to stay on to complete the rest of the exterior work including porch decking.
The roofing was completed on December 19. I chose “Weathered Wood” which harmonizes nicely with the plan for white trim and “Burlap” siding paint.
As it turned out, Rodrigo & his crew were worth waiting for. They did a fabulous job framing the house and are doing an equally great job with the trim & siding.
The mechanical rough-in proceeded smoothly during most of that waiting period. While we couldn’t do insulation and drywall without a weather-tight roof, we encountered other sources of delay on our critical path to project completion. Our chief worry as of this date (12/25/17) is for drilling the geothermal wells needed to safely and economically heat the interior prior to installation of hardwood flooring. Vernon asked Bryan Boer (who sub-contracts for the well drilling) to get the heat on within the next month. He’s a good guy and we’re hoping he can get it done.
End of Year Images
Trim work on the east and west porches will continue after the decking is installed
Photos from January 20, 2018
Photos from January 27, 2018
Photographs from February 3, 2018
With the decking installed, the west porch is really coming together. I expect to spend a lot of time there over the years to come. My builder initially assumed we’d use pine for the decking front and back. That didn’t particularly excite me given its softness and maintenance requirements. Since I’ll have a gravel driveway, I could imagine the front steps would wear quickly. So we started to explore alternatives. For a variety of reasons, Vernon discouraged the use of wood composites like Trex. Based on my experience, I agreed. Even though they handle the elements well and are very kind to bare feet, composites are relatively expensive and stain easily.
I knew something about tropical hardwoods. Aside from their higher cost, their hardness, rot resistance and beauty attracted me. So I suggested that we use Ipé for the front steps and center portion of the front porch. Vernon thought that might work. As I researched and thought it over, I soon convinced myself that it would be worthwhile to also use Ipé for the entire west porch. Ipé is said to last 70 years or more with minimal maintenance. It is now being sustainably harvested.
When Vernon was getting ready to place the order, he suggested that we do the entire front porch in Ipé. At that point, the marginal cost to go all in was too small to worry about. We did pause to evaluate cumaru and tigerwood, which are also beautiful, durable and slightly less expensive. It turned out that Ipé was the best match for the exterior color scheme and offered a greater contrast to the interior flooring.
Now we’re investigating whether we should treat the Ipé or leave it natural. If we use any finish, I’m adamant that it should be non-toxic. The Ipé dealer recommended a product that was 5-10% petroleum distillate accompanied by a materials safety data sheet filled with warnings. That’s a non-starter. I’ve had good experience making furniture finished with pure tung oil diluted with limonene, but have no knowledge of whether it would be appropriate for Ipé. Please let me know if you have a recommendation. Otherwise, check back to learn where we landed on this issue.