Podcast 204: Patio Doors, Plant Spaces, and a Too-Tight Window
Replacing huge patio doors, creating an indoor plant space, and getting rid of a masonry chimney.
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The regular crew hears from listeners about galvanic corrosion, eating honey that’s 160 years old, and what the VHB in VHB tape really stands for. Then they take listener questions about replacing a monster sliding patio door, getting a too tight window to fit and removing a two-story masonry chimney from a foursquare.
Listener feedback #1
Barbara from Georgia writes, Can I just say you definitely can’t put aluminum gutters on a house with a copper roof? You can’t even let aluminum touch pressure treated wood because the copper in the chemical treatment will corrode aluminum so aggressively. I have some aluminum tubing as part of my outdoor shower mounted between two pressure treated posts and I used special PVC flanges to keep it from touching the wood. And I have some aluminum towel hooks on the outdoor shower too, screwed on with stainless steel screws. I cut little pieces of vinyl flashing to put behind them to be sure the aluminum wouldn’t be eaten away even though I painted the post first.
Listener feedback #2
A few podcasts ago, you spoke about things people have found while working on old houses. About 15 years ago while renovating an early 1800’s Charleston single, my carpenter and I found a stockpile of old bottles, mason jars, and old musket balls buried in the crawlspace of this house. As we continued to dig and unearth more bottles, we found an old mason jar that was half full of honey with honey comb, dead bees, and all. My carpenter, a very rural guy in his late 60’s, decided to open the jar and try the honey. “Honey don’t go bad,” he said. I swear, he pulled out the honey comb and chewed up every single piece of it. I was torn on whether or not to take some preemptive action and call the EMS or trust his judgement. I’m aware that honey is antibacterial, but I would not be willing to test that fact by eating 160 year old honey! Keep up the good work!
- Oldest bottle of wine remains sealed since the 4th century
- Book: The Billionaire’s Vinegar: The Mystery of the World’s Most Expensive Bottle of Wine
Listener feedback #3
Ryan writes, I got a serious laugh when you guys were talking about VHB tape in the last episode. We all think it stands for “Very High Bond” and the 3M website says it will “permanently adhere one substrate to another”. I bet the Engineers trying to remove it during testing called it a “Vehemously Monstrous Bitch”, said it’ll give you “Very High Blood pressure” in the process, and overall causes “Violent Hatred and Berating” for those that designed it. To be politically correct 3M had to settle on “Very High Bond” though…
Keep up the good work, it’s been fun to hear you guys mix up the podcast crew lately and I really like hearing from Justin once in a while.
Listener feedback #4
Bryan of Pioneer Builders writes, Hi All, Wanted to let you know that Season 2 of Abstract the Art of Design is now streaming on Netflix. Kiley mentioned this program in a previous episode. I actually discovered this show because of BD+C (Building Design+Construction) a couple of years ago.
Thanks for what you guys are doing. Appreciate it.
Editors’ give feedback on their recent Summit experience:
Question 1: Does it make more sense to repair or to replace my damaged patio door?
Bert in St. Louis writes, Hi there, I’ve been listening to your podcast for the last few months now trying to learn about how to improve the efficiency of my 1954 slab-on-grade mid-century ranch. The central living/dining/kitchen area of the house has beautiful (single pane) floor-to-ceiling windows, including 2 10-foot x 80 inch sliding patio doors. Well, yesterday my lawn guy had a little ‘oops’ on the back patio and shattered the fixed portion of one of those sliding patio doors, a 1/4 inch thick 75×60 inch piece of glass. He is taking responsibility and sending a window company he’s worked with in the past out to figure out what we can do. While I’m sure it’s possible to simply replace the pane, it seems like the cost of doing so is likely to approach the cost of a replacement with a far more energy-efficient option, and any repair is likely to come out looking a bit wonky with paint colors that don’t exactly match and slightly different glass on the fixed and sliding portions of the door. The door itself also doesn’t slide easily or lock securely, so there are many reasons for an upgrade.
At this opening size, I’m curious to know how different options might compare, including French doors with sidelights, similar sized sliding doors, or some other arrangement. The two large doors were a huge selling feature of the house, so I’m not sure whether we should press to have both replaced at once. They are visually separated from each other, but it does feel nice to us that they currently match. Thanks for your podcast!
Question 2: What’s the easiest way to fix a rough opening that is too small for a new window?
Cam writes, Hi all, I’ve subscribed to the magazine for years now and only found the podcast last year. I love it. The interplay of the various hosts is great and the substantive stuff you discuss, even when it isn’t air-sealing, is well done.
Here’s my question: I ordered a custom replacement window, and it arrived built to the exact size of the rough opening. I measured the opening down to the ’16th, as I’ve always done when ordering replacement windows, but this time, for whatever reason, it arrived without the additional installation gap they usually build in. The window only barely fit after I shaved the vinyl welds flush and whaled bucks outward with a hammer. Even with that, it’s a struggle to get in. Returning and reordering (with very careful instructions) is undesirable, as the orders take 3+ weeks to turn around.
What are my options? Jamming it in seems like a humid day away from a big problem, and I don’t have a great idea of how to efficiently and evenly remove stock from the inside of rough opening. Is deconstructing the opening and rebuilding it a little larger my only hope? Is there a shaver-downer tool I haven’t yet met?
Question 3: What details should I include to make a bathroom/greenhouse moisture-proof?
Aaron from Pittsburgh writes, Greetings podcast, I have (another) odd project that you might find interesting. My wife is in love with plants, and in lieu of adding a full blown conservatory to our reno plans I want to make our master bathroom into a pseudo-greenhouse.
The bathroom has three large windows and two large sky lights. It is also on the 3rd story so it gets plenty of light.
What I worry about most is controlling humidity and temperature, which will be higher than the rest of the house. My current plan is to NOT tie this space into the existing HVAC system. I hope to heat the space via radiant floor heating, but I’m struggling with the best way to cool the space in the summer and regulate the humidity. Is a mini split the answer? We are in Pittsburgh, Climate Zone 5.
I’m also concerned about sealing off the bathroom from the rest of the house. The humidity will be consistently higher in this space and I don’t want to tax the rest of the house. We’re going to do a custom glass door for the shower, so perhaps we can also do a similar glass door, with a full seal around it, for the main door to the bathroom?
Should I also consider special paint or sealed can lights for high humidity spaces?
The house is a three story, 1880’s town house with a flat roof (and easy install for a mini split). The space is currently gutted down to the original wood sub-floors and brick walls so we’re starting with a totally blank slate. Best Regards from the Steel City.
- Preventing Moisture Problems in Bathrooms
- Houseplants need Humidity
- Venting a Bath Fan in a Cold Climate
Question 4: Can I remove my furnace chimney and replace it with a power vent?
James from Central New Jersey writes, Hi Guys. Really enjoy your podcast. I own an American Foursquare in central NJ and I’ve been slowly (VERY SLOWLY) replacing all of my roof slate around all four sides of my house. I currently have 3 sides done and was wondering what to do with chimney at the back. I love my house, but I hate the fact that it has the chimney running right through the middle. Part of my day job is making virtual reality (3-d) tours of new homes and I’ve noticed that all of the new homes have power vents for their hot water heaters and furnaces. Could this be a good option for me? I would really benefit greatly by removing my chimney. For one, I won’t have to build a cricket and flash it on the roof. I would gain larger attic space. I could gain space for shelving in my 2nd floor bathroom and most importantly allow me to open up my small kitchen. Really hoping you say this would be a great idea….and thanks
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