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Before and After Photos How To's

Before and After Cottage – Siding and Colors

As readers know, I love a good before and after project. The following is from a cottage that didn’t look very cottage-like with its beige dutch lap siding that was installed by the prior owner. I knew there were cedar shakes underneath but wasn’t sure of the condition that they were in. Fortunately, they were in very good shape.  I finally decided to take the leap (back into maintenance) and remove the vinyl siding.

Before

This is ‘fine’, just not as cottage-like for my taste.

The prior owner meant well, but the vinyl job buttoned the cottage up and caused a number of water issues.

  • First, he had a reverse J-channel above the sill. You should be able to see it in the first photo. I think he did this to be able to have a full course of siding that began at the top of the deck, but he carried this “water catcher” around the entire cottage. This little sill could have been done for cosmetic reasons, but it allowed water to land and flow behind the vinyl siding. Not only did the water flow behind the vinyl, but it then had the opportunity to sit on top of a board that he used to fir out his starter strip.
  • The siding starter strip was catching water. This starter strip was a piece of clapboard turned upside down. This gave a 5/16″ ledge for water to run back toward the house. This sent the water beyond the shingles and wicked into the sill plate of the interior wall. Of course this wicked into the drywall and the baseboard trim. MOLD!! We pulled the affected trim, drywall and got things dried out. Problem solved. This was then our perfect excuse to tell the wife that the vinyl siding had to go. I had been waiting for a good reason for a few years.

After

Now this is a classic cottage look. Shingles, bold paint color. High contrast. A light fixture would look better than those wires though.

red and white shingle style cottage New York

After pulling the vinyl and the interior wallboard, I realized how much the prior owner reduced the window size. He went from a 30×46 window down to a 28″ x 38″ window. This is seasonal cottage. Light and airflow can be the best part. Not only did he shrink the windows, but he also covered a window completely so that his wife could have a wall shelf inside. See photo below.

He meant well with every project on the cottage, but the consequences left a house that was wicking water for a number of years and had reduced air flow due to window sizing and the buttoning up from the vinyl siding. Old houses, especially in humid climates, need to breathe. They either need to breath the way older structures did, or they needed methods to create air exchange like a new house does.

The buttoning up of this small house along with the fact that it was in a high humidity environment led to mold. There was mold in the outer walls due to the damp sills from the siding job. In addition, the vinyl siding, vinyl windows, and covered soffit and fascia didn’t allow the house to breathe sufficiently. Water and moister is always present. There are no gutters and this allows water to land close to the house and keep the crawl space wet. The windows that were added were not done properly. There was NO weatherproofing. Typically, you would add a window and caulk the flange. After that, you would add weatherstripping tape to the top of the flange before adding the trim. None of that was done. The window was simply screwed to the top of the trim boards and trimmed with J-Channel. Not only did this allow for mold, but this caused wood rot in some areas (see image below).

Article: How I Dealt With Mold In Our Cottage / Cabin / Seasonal House

Categories
Handyman & DIY Tips How To's

How I Dealt With Mold In Our Cottage / Cabin / Seasonal House

Mold!
Mold under a window without proper flashing / weather proofing

MOLD!!
Mold under siding

MOLD!!!
Mold in wall due to high moisture and wicking via the wall sill.

How do I get rid of mold and the mold smell?

Step 1! Everyone will tell you this. Everyone should tell you this. Deal with the moisture coming into the home first!

The following is an extensive list of products to help with mold and musty smelling houses. Ours is a seasonal place on piers above a dirt crawl space. It is by a lake which means the humidity level is always high. Mold LOVES humid environments.

Here is a batch of products that have helped us a great deal. We have used each and every one of them. Feel free to ask questions in the comments below.

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Ozone Generator. I bought an Ozone generator after a couple of people suggested that I get one. Read up on these items. The science seems to make sense in how it kills active mold spores. Not only that, it is a relatively inexpensive item. For about $70 it was worth a try. I have absolutely noticed a difference in getting rid of the lingering smell in our cottage.

Odo Ban Cleaner. I use this as an additive to when I am cleaning/wiping things down. It has been around for years.

Damp-Rid (great for small spaces with little to no air flow). We use these under beds.

Under House Fan. If you have a dwelling that has limited airflow in a crawl space order under the home, this will help to always keep the air moving.

Gable Fan. As you can tell, air flow is key. I have this gable fan in the attic that runs when the temperature reaches a certain level. This acts to cool the house and keep fresh air moving in.

Passive Inlet Wall Vent. This helps to allow fresh air into a buttoned up space.

Air Freshener. Not so sure about how much these ‘purify’ the air, but they can sure help to make sure a place can smell nice.

Dehumidifier. Can’t go wrong with a good old Dehumidifier in a space. This one is WiFi enabled so that you can check in on it and control it remotely. I pipe our directly outside so that it can run beyond a single tank. This is perfect for our sunroom that is slab on grade.

I hope that these products are helpful to someone. They have helped me in a variety of ways and to a varying degree. I have to say, once getting rid of our water source, the best product has been the inexpensive Ozone generator.

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Interior Projects

Basement Musty? That’s not Healthy!

 

Building science research has shown that the quality of indoor air is more often than not worse than that the air outside your home. The air inside the living spaces in your home can be contaminated several ways: pet dander, insect infestations, unwanted mammalian pests, excessive moisture, poor ventilation, radon gas, and toxic chemicals like smoke and cleaning agents. The basement usually has the worst air quality of any other space in your home thanks to what’s going on down there: wet and damp foundation surfaces and poor ventilation.

Basement with mold issues due to water infiltration - Buffalo NY

If your basement, cellar or crawlspace smells musty, this is a strong signal that you have a dampness issue. On the other hand, if you have noticeable areas of wetness on the ground, foundation walls or even on the ceiling, you actually have a water seepage problem. In a situation like this, if you want healthier basement air quality, than you absolutely have to remove the source of the water seepage by calling in a basement systems and waterproofing specialist.

How Basement Moisture Management can improve the Air Quality in Your Basement.

Actually, with diligent maintenance it’s simple to stop the harm that water damage will cause to a home and the air quality inside it – really easy, in fact. If more homeowners would consider moisture management a routine home maintenance task, moisture & water issues would disappear. It’s as easy as that.

A basement moisture management checklist is pretty simple to manage. Here a number of pointers for raising the level of basement air quality by managing moisture levels:

• Identify and fix damp or leaky pipes, faucets and valves.
• Consider methods to improve air flow and ventilation.
• Examine your basement for dampness and odors frequently
• Use commercial products that absorb moisture and dehumidifiers to dry the air especially in problem zones like laundry rooms, crawl areas, and attics— all locations that a major contributors to poor air quality.

If you want healthier air in your basement or cellars and you’re not inclined to “do-it-yourself” then the best way to create a maintenance-free, moisture free environment down under is to call a Basement System or Basement Waterproofing specialist. It’s worth the small investment.

Categories
Before and After Photos

Mold Removal Project – 2005

Mold Removal Project

Dealing with Mold in a basement? Take a look at this before and after.
 
This is from a project that we completed around 2005 but we hadn’t posted this directly on the WNY Handyman site.

We had some mold issues due to neglect, improper grade, tree and shrub growth, a block foundation, plugged gutters, and downspouts draining straight down at the foundation.

  1. Corrected water problem (outside grade, downspouts, gutters).
  2. Removed tree, overgrown shrubs, and trimmed growth back from house.
  3. Bleach and water treatment to remove the mold. More Information can be found at www.epa.gov.
  4. Patched failing mortar joints inside and out.
  5. Drylock walls after moisture subsides.

If you have your own mold issue, there is hope.

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