Installing Fiber-Cement Siding and Cellular PVC Trim

Project: Building an Addition for an Elderly Parent, Episode 4, Part 3

As the house is being closed in, work can begin on the roof. Homeowner Howard Brickman decides to install a special underlayment that will allow the roof to breathe and clear any attic moisture that might build up. A peel-and-stick membrane is applied to keep out exterior moisture before the Galvalume standing-seam metal roof is installed using a steel and aluminum mix that prevents rust and deterioration at the cut edges.


The roof is finished with a set of photovoltaic panels that will absorb the sun’s energy and send it to a basement inverter that will convert it into AC power and store it for the household's electricity. If more power is generated than needed, it will be sent back along the power grid to the power utility for a homeowner's rebate to offset future energy spending.


The closing in of the house is completed with fiberglass-framed windows that feature low-e glass, a slim-profile sash, dual-operation sash that go up from the bottom or down from the top, and a tilt-in design for easy cleaning. The core humidity in the building materials is logged and the moisture is sucked out to dry the house before walls are installed and mold has a chance to take hold. Outside, preparations are underway to attach fiber cement siding and cellular PVC molding that will last without painting and can be profiled on site.

Part 1: Installing Galvalume Metal Roof and Solar Panels
Part 2: Fiberglass Windows, Sliding Glass Patio Doors, and Mold-Growth Prevention
Part 3: Installing Fiber-Cement Siding and Cellular PVC Trim
Bob talks with homeowner Howard Brickman about a device he's invented that measures the relative humidity of the interior of the concrete and predicts what will happen after the concrete is covered with a floor covering. It's critical that the concrete that makes up the floor be dry before the wood floor is installed. This is especially true in southern climates where there is a high amount of humidity.

While the house is being dried out, the siding can be put in place. The furring strips are attached to the foam exterior with an adhesive foam. Bob talks with Jack Armour from Powers Fasteners about the fasteners used to secure the HardiPlank fiber-cement siding. The trim in New England houses has traditionally been made from pine or cedar. Bob talks with Kristen Baer of Azek Trimboards about their product, a cellular PVC trim manufactured with a "free foam" process. The Azek boards have the look and feel of wood boards without any of the hassles.

Azek is impervious to water, termites, and other insects, and comes with a 25-year warranty. These trim boards are especially useful in New England where harsh weather conditions cause freezing and thawing and expansion and contraction. They hold up well in coastal areas, too, and cost roughly the same as trim made of clear cedar. Azek trim pays for itself through savings on paint and maintenance. It doesn't need to be painted for protection but holds paint nicely. Homeowners should use 100 percent acrylic latex paint and, if they choose a dark color, VinylSafe by Sherwin-Williams is recommended.
More and more homeowners are converting their houses into multi-generational homes for themselves, their children, and their aging parents. In Norwell, MA, Bob Vila meets a couple making room for a mother-in-law.