Our exterior work was wrapping up in autumn 2012 when cold winter temperatures arrived in November and delayed the application of exterior stucco to the lower level. The area under the front porch was tented for warmth and stucco applied. But most of it remained bare naked through winter and early spring. By June 2013, exposure to sun and weather had started to degrade the surface of the 10-inch-thick blanket of Neopor foam that wraps the foundation. It was finally warm enough to try again.
Exposure to sunlight and the elements melted the foam.We filled in the gaps with new foam.The above two images show our repair patches. Also, the partially completed stucco from last fall had cracked.We have used masonary caulk on these cracks. Later, the stucco will be painted for a more uniform and lighter grey.The stucco product that we used was Parge-All 825, specially formulated to apply over foam. When the company was contacted, they suggested that cold weather caused the cracks last fall. The product instructions say don’t apply if the weather drops below 40 degrees. However, when we applied new stucco at the end of August, we still got cracking, even with temperate weather.
Researching online information, combined with on the job testing, solved the problem. First, we applied a thin scratch coat to set up the surface of the foam, letting it dry for several days. This layer always cracked. Then we applied a final top layer that sets up without cracking. With our exterior foam repaired and the stucco applied, the house was buttoned up for winter 2013.
We broke ground one year ago today so the installation of the mailbox is now a grand symbolic event marking how far we’ve come. Nicholas was asking today if we’d ever again see Nick Ford and Al and Adam and the guys who built the house. Lily was asking for a dog. Chris and I are reflecting on the passage of time. The bullet points of this three-year journey: rennovating our 1880s home in Rhinecliff, selling so quickly, living in a hotel for six weeks to finish school in Rhinebeck, renting a drafty old rambler in Valatie for 11 months, adjusting to a new school district, doubling-up with my parents next door for 10 months, and moving into our dream house just two weeks short of a year since Ted Bombola and his backhoe broke ground. I am ridiculously pleased to see our mailbox standing tall at the end of the drive, ready for Peggy the postmistress to deliver letters containing good news only.
Lily selected Amelia Island Green. Nicholas picked Carrot Stick. They devoted hours to painting, reaching all but the highest spots with gallons of Benjamin Moore Aura. Throughout the build when adults have asked, “What color are you going to paint your room?” they have always answered “turquoise” and “orange”. They meant it.