Monday, August 15, 2005

CSI: My House

I want there to be a TV show that crosses "CSI" with "This Old House." Each week, there would be a different abused old house with a bunch of stupid decisions made and projects poorly executed in its past, and the investigators would dig down into the situation and there would be animations illustrating the scientific principles behind the investigators' current theory of the crime.

So today, if my house were featured on "CSI," there would be two (non-exclusive) theories of the crime:
  • The previous owner painted over tannin-stained, weathered wood, and the paint simply didn't adhere. (Animation 1: Tannins migrating to surface of cedar planks. Animation 2: Paint adhering to the outer fibers of decayed wood and pulling them away from the body of the siding.)
  • The previous owner put a latex-based primer and paint over patches of oil-based paint. Latex paint expands and contracts more with temperature changes, and this loosened the formerly sound areas of oil-based paint. (Animation 3: Latex paint expanding and contracting, stressing the underlying oil-based paint.)
Of course, both of these theories roll up to the master theory:
  • After some desultory scraping and minimal surface prep, the previous owner slapped on some latex paint and primer over the mostly-peeled old oil paint and called it a day. (Flashback scene: sinister handyman whistling as he works.)

Additional complication #1: The 1958 remodelers of the house did not always allow for adequate overlap between the siding boards. Some of them overlap by only 1/4" of now-weak old cedar. Ideally, the siding would overlap enough to keep water out, but those gaps would not be blocked, so that water could drain out if it did get in. I'm thinking about caulking those areas--the lack of good overlap means I have to choose between keeping water out, or letting it out. I think I'd rather keep it out.

Additional complication #2: I can't remember right now and I have to go to yoga.


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