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calendar   Wednesday - May 30, 2012

Here, now go get rich

A few years ago our condo park signed a deal to get vinyl siding for all the units. The price they agreed to was outrageous, but at least they did get top quality siding, all new gutters, and coated metal fascia board wrap. And top end insulated garage doors. We’re all paying the project off over 10 years. The gang who did the siding was fresh off the boat from Poland, and since our building was the first one done, it was their training ground. Now, 4 or 5 years later, the same gang is back, repairing their mistakes for additional money. Grrr. There’s never time or money to do the job right the first time, but there’s always funding to come back later and do repairs.

These units used to have wood siding and wood fascia boards. And we had carpenter bees, by the millions. With the vinyl siding and covered fascia, we now have many less of those little buzz bomb bugs, but we still have them.

I am not a builder or a siding installer, but it would seem to me that the smart way to put on siding would be to remove the fascia boards first, install the siding right up to the underside of the roof, then to wrap the fascia and put it back up. That is not how things were done. Instead, the siding ends were cut to “close enough” and slid under the edge of the fascia boards, and when that was done the metal covering was cut and bent to length, and installed in sections. In other words, the fascia never came down. No surprise, this left some major air gaps, and the carpenter bees came right back. Granted we have fewer of them, but we still have plenty, and we were all expecting the bugs to be gone completely once the project was finished.

For the past few days we’ve had guys up on the roofs here, and up on ladders, tearing off the fascia and exposing all the bug nests underneath. And we can see that “close enough” was often half a foot or more away from the actual underside of the roof decking.

This got me to thinking. Even if the fascia had been removed, and the siding cut to within an inch of the decking edge (or whatever the approved distance is to handle weather expansion and contraction), it would still leave a series of gaps. Our siding is the mock clapboard style, rows of triangular shaped slats attached to the outside of the buildings. So even if they had been cut close to the edge, there would be an endless number of openings for bugs where the triangles narrowed. Even if they had used the end “J” channels, even if they had used the end “J” channels and the flatter designed “dutch lap” style siding, it would still leave space for bugs because the fascia always rides a short distance above the siding.

You can’t have an airtight seal under the gables at the top of a wall. There has to be some room for airflow, so that humidity can escape. A lot of roofs these days are installed with a ventilated peak for the same reason. The roof decking stops a couple inches shy of the peak, leaving an air gap, and a length of stiff, open celled foam with a V bend in it is installed across that opening along the peak, and then a bent top shingle goes over that. Bugs can’t get in through the foam, but humidity and excess heat can escape.

Why not make a similar thing for fascia? It wouldn’t have to be more than 2 or 3 inches wide, and perhaps 3/4” thick. Open cell foam, pretty much like one of those scrubby pads you clean pots and pans with. Something compressible. One side would have a dry adhesive on it, with a peel away cover strip. Attach a length to the lower part of the inside of the fascia, about an inch in from the edge, then nail the fascia in place. The foam would squish down over the siding section peaks, and stay puffed out over the siding section valleys. You’d get a hidden foam edge that would stop bugs forever, but would allow water vapor to escape. And it would be dead easy to install, needing only one finishing nail every couple of feet to hold it in place. The product would be quite similar to those rolls of adhesive door foam insulation, but 4 or more times wider, perhaps a bit thicker, and made from a much more open and stiff foam.


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If this product exists already, why isn’t it being used? Why isn’t it demanded by building code?



The repair the builders are doing right now consists of replacing the metal sheathed wooden fascia with a plastic composite fascia board. The bugs won’t be able to eat it or to burrow in it to make nests, but they’ll still be able to get behind it and build their nests in the plywood sheathing under the siding and in the 2x4 spacers (not insect proof pressure treated lumber) under the eaves that support the fascia board. In other words, their solution is at best a half-assed one. The bugs will come right back.

So take my idea, and go make a fortune.


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 05/30/2012 at 10:04 AM   
Filed Under: • Miscellaneous •  
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