(Version: 005)

Hobbit's house project

This describes the property in question, primarily in terms of the work needing to be done on the house as well as general layout.

Each picture is a clickable link to a larger version that gives the full detail.

front rear  
  Front     Rear
Typical small wood-framed Cape style, although without the small front dormers that adorn many others. It may be balloon-frame but I haven't completely verified that.

Ignore the small roof-thing at lower right in the front picture; it's part of a fake "well" lawn-decoration slated for removal. The yew bushes right in front of the house are also going to be taken out in early springtime, allowing easier roof access.

Some relevant data
Lot plan rev 05 In-progress lot plan and rough roof diagram, overlaid on a shot of the septic-rebuild plan copy I have on the wall over the toilet [i.e. showing where it goes when you flush, but more importantly where it is inadvisable to drive trucks]. Exact dimensions have NOT been verified, which is one reason there aren't any real measurements on this yet.

Click picture for full-detail version.

	80 x 145 feet, about 0.25 acre
	Not sure about minimum required setbacks at the moment
	Foundation is 28' x 27' or pretty close to that
	External stair/stoop sets are single precast concrete units
	1050 square feet total, or 10.5 squares
	Ridge is 28 ft long
	Extant shingling is 2 layers, outer is old "hurricane" style
	Decking is 1x8 or so planks, not plywood/OSB
	Shed-dormer pitch is about 4.6" per foot
	Other pitches are pretty close to 1:1
	First floor: 27' x 23.5' == about 635 sqf
	Second floor: 27' x 19' minus small strips == 489 sqf
	Total about 1124 sqf living space, counting interior-wall thickness
	Basement: 26'7 x 22'9, 605 sqf, adds to "conditioned space"
	Mostly fake-paneling finish on walls
	Hardwood floors on 1st, unfinished plywood on 2nd
	One bathroom ; no plumbing present on 2nd floor
	Oil-fired forced air, ancient Oneida 60K btuh furnace, 275 gal tank
	Homebuilt window-AC rig for token summer dehumidification/cooling

Planned renovation

Roof:   complete tear-off, repair rot in deck and [hopefully not too much] framing, reroof with standing-seam metal. Tending to favor plywood rather than OSB. Leaning toward "chainsaw retrofit" with over-deck foam insulation and built-up secondary roof to bring attic into conditioned space and extend eaves coverage -- either as "hot roof" approach if its advantages outweigh a "cold" vented system. See note below about chimney under HVAC. All non-structural rakes/fascia/soffit trim to be replaced with synthetic, non-weathering material such as Azek or equivalent.

Siding:   Complete tear-off of old shakes, repair rot in sheathing and possibly sill/joists. Improvement of drainage plane [which likely doesn't really exist right now]. Again, use of OSB discouraged. External rigid-foam insulation layer integrated with similar treatment of the roof and a much tighter overall envelope based around that, as opposed to trying to re-insulate inside existing walls. Vapor barrier placement and surrounding construction based on green engineering considerations endorsed by Building Science and Green Building Advisor. Close off and cover old gable vents in favor of improved roof/attic system. Remove old bathroom window, patch opening with studs and sheathing to match exterior part of wall. [What kind of numbskull puts a *window* in a tub enclosure, anyways?!] Re-clad in vinyl siding, using synthetic trim material where possible. Possible new basement bulkhead door, or adapt work to existing [but rather old] one. If possible, retrofit sill area to better protect against decay, insects, and air/moisture infiltration -- this may simply come as a side effect of exterior insulation details.

Doors:   New fiberglass door/frame unit at east side. Replace/rebuild any rot in surrounding framing/support. Possibly add hard awning/canopy over side stoop, or just rely on new roof overhang for better weather protection. Front door and portico can stay as they are for now, although portico support columns might want a bit of an upgrade (please make recommendations; I'm thinking structural fiberglass pillars).

Windows:   Plans are not 100% specific yet, but highest likelihood is complete replacement of all 13 units [and their storms] with low-U fiberglass-frame units and updated flashing details around rough openings in the process. Windows located as "innies" at original wall plane with suitable exterior jamb-extensions and trim past new insulation. Adapt drainage-plane details accordingly in a best-practice manner.

HVAC:   [Original direct-exchange geothermal idea has been mostly discarded, as the smallest such system is overkill for the anticipated design.] High-efficiency inverter-drive air-to-air heat pump system for heating/cooling, roughly 12,000 btu/hr capacity. Yes, that's really one ton of heat/cool for the whole place -- this is how energy retrofits work, and backup resistance-strips can always boost output if needed. Capacity can be slightly larger if system can turn down for low load conditions, but in a fully variable fashion -- no klunky "two-stage" stuff. Inside coil/air-handler *must be central ducted type* and include typical resistance heating capability, adapted into existing furnace ductwork. Addition of whole-house HRV connected appropriately to ducting return side and outdoor intake/exhaust vents. Removal of old furnace, oil tank, and associated fuel handling is the obvious happy consequence to all this, coordinated appropriately with the rest of the project such that the chimney can be deconstructed down to attic-floor level and the hole decked and roofed over like it was never there. Old chimney flue becomes duct chase for one of several HRV stale-air intakes.

Masonry:   Patch minor cracks/holes in basement-bulkhead foundation. Ideally, deconstruct chimney top down below attic-floor level and abandon, as the intended HVAC rework no longer needs it. That's something I will probably do on my own after heating season is over.

Contractor considerations

Project timeframe is spring/summer of 2012. But don't wait to begin talking to me about it and scheduling site surveys, as I want to get the bulk of the project lined up well in advance and a clear picture laid out for anyone involved. This webpage is an attempt to provide a general overview and encourage holistic, well-integrated thinking rather than only considering small individual pieces.

Attention to detail and quality of workmanship takes precedence over price. This is not a two-day slapdash job, it's an opportunity to build something lasting and well-thought-out that showcases your adaptability and pride in the trade. This reference may help set some expectations. The field of "green building" is advancing rapidly, and this client encourages you to be both a builder and an educator and bring solid research into materials and technique to bear on the project. While we're not trying for a "zero energy" home here, its efficiency situation can certainly be improved. The house is surprisingly low-leakage already for its type of construction/vintage and old or nonexistent insulation in spots, but some of that is due to certain compromises made on interior layout and usage.

Every effort must be made to protect incomplete work and materials against inclement weather when needed, and anticipate when doing so will be required. You're encouraged to plan ahead and avoid the hassle of trying to work in bad weather.

All project personnel are asked to drive carefully and respectfully through the surrounding neighborhood, as the residents are quite sensitive to traffic issues and have little tolerance for unprofessional behavior on the roads.

At this point I am not ready to begin any renovations on the interior other than the HVAC work, but we can talk about that.

Email:   hobbit@techno-fandom.org

_H*   120215/x