Constructing the Porch and Reviewing the Mechanical Systems

Project: Building an Addition for an Elderly Parent, Episode 5, Part 1

The addition is nearly complete and it is time for the mechanicals, porch, flooring, and fireplaces. Homeowner Howard Brickman is putting a large farmer’s porch along the entire width of the home. He uses western red cedar for the decking and trim because of its natural tone, strength, and rot and insect resistance. A green building material, western red cedar boards are a dream to work with because they can be applied as decking or ceiling, vertical or horizontal siding, and with the rough or smooth side facing out.


Inside, Bob checks out the hydro-air boiler that runs the heat, hot water, radiant floor heat, and the indirect hot-water tank with a dual-coil feed to make use of the 30 solar heat collectors on the roof. Bob checks out the radiant-floor heating tubes, copper supply and return pipes, and the solderless sealed joints. The roof is insulated with dense-pack blown-in cellulose that is borate-treated for fire retardancy, mold and insect-resistance. Fiberglass-faced sheetrock completes the installation for mold-free walls. A new wood-burning fireplace is installed and faced with a lightweight thin-stone veneer. Prefinished red oak flooring is installed, the walls are professionally painted, and birch-veneer four-panel doors are hung.

Part 1: Constructing the Porch and Reviewing the Mechanical Systems
The Norwell home will have a big farmer's porch running the whole width of the house built with Western red cedar. Bob talks with Peter Lang from the Western Red Cedar Lumber Association. Western red cedar is renowned for its natural beauty and can enhance the look of any house.

Western red cedar is a green building material in that it's a naturally renewable resource. It is harvested in a sustainable manner and is recyclable and biodegradable. From a carpenter's perspective, Cedar is a dream to work with. The boards are reversible and can be used either horizontally or vertically and in ceiling applications or as decking.

Bob talks with Tim Cutler from TJ's Plumbing & Heating about the Viessmann boiler, which is heating the home's hot water, the radiant floor heating, and the hydro-air heating system. A concrete cutter came in to cut an opening in the basement between the old portion of the home and the new addition. Bob talks with Bill Sloan from Viega North America about the radiant slab heating in the new addition which uses PEX tubing. Viega manufactures the manifolds for this tubing and the copper tubing used to transfer hot water to the PEX tubing. ProPress joints that do not require any soldering are used for this system.
Part 2: Insulating the Roof and Installing Mold-Resistant Drywall
Part 3: Putting in a New Fireplace, Painting the Interior, and Installing Doors and Floors
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.