Today’s Ask an Architect query comes from Catherine, the owner of a lovely frame house in the South Slope. Her question is being answered by Joseph Vance of Joseph Vance Architects, a full-service architectural firm located in Brooklyn with extensive experience in townhouse renovations. Have a question for an architect about your wooden house? Send it our way!
Q: We will be redoing the front of our frame house next summer. Is it necessary to patch up holes/gaps on the brick under the siding in a brick-filled frame house? We did this on the back of our house, but the contractor for the front of the house is saying it is not necessary.
A: The brick you see in your exterior wall is there to provide some level of fire protection and is not structural. It is not necessary for the mortar joints to be tight but it would be a good idea to fill in any holes that are a half brick in size or larger. However to give some added solidity to your house (in the wake of what could have been much higher winds during Irene) I suggest having the contractors GLUE AND NAIL the new wood sheathing (beneath the new siding) to the exterior. A heavy construction adhesive like PL 400 should be used. Be sure they use galvanized or stainless steel nails or staples. Also be sure they flash above all window and door openings AND properly install an air barrier like Tyvec.
As a bonus Catherine sent us photos documenting the renovation of the rear of her house (and just to clear up any confusion, Joseph Vance was not affiliated with this). Enjoy!
Have a question about your wooden house and need some expert advice? The Wooden House Project is launching an exciting new feature: Ask an Architect! We have retained a panel of trusted architects with experience in frame house restoration that is ready to tackle your toughest questions! Questions and answers will be featured regularly on the blog. To ask a question, email elizabethfinkelstein (at) gmail (dot) com or fill out the contact form HERE.
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