backyard deck

This Old House: Episode Recap 12

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As the 37th season of the PBS show This Old House slowly comes to a close, the Arlington Estate reaches a turning point. This week, some of the finishing touches get added. Check out the progress so far and see what exciting new developments are taking shape!

New Shingles for the Front Façade

When the first scene opens, host Kevin O’Connor walks up on Tommy adhering the first red cedar shingle to the front of the house. He’s already primed the house with a combination rain screen and air barrier that will allow moisture trapped behind the shingles to dry out.


He begins installing the first course after explaining why he’s created a kick down so the first few courses will flare slightly. Tommy then explains that he chose a 2-inch, seven-penny stainless steel nail for the job. The second course gets attached with the help of a straight edge guide, and he uses his knife to cut the excess from two corner shingles before running the courses up the wall.

Keeping in mind the 5-5 ½ inch row recommendation, he measures and guides the courses so they’ll be flush with any windowsills. He also creates what Kevin calls a “perfect reveal” that will extend along the bottom of the sill all the way around the house. Using the same method, in two weeks time the crew will have the entire exterior covered with the pre-treated cedar shingles.

Privacy-Focused Window Treatments

Next, we move inside where homeowner Emily meets with interior designer, Jill Goldberg, and window expert, Donna Boerner to address a possible privacy issue in the family room. The goal is simple: let nature and outdoor landscaping in during the day and conceal the family’s privacy at night.

window treatments

Without enough wall space to stack drapery, curtains aren’t an option. Instead, the group opts for shades. For insulation and UV protection, Donna recommends a Honeycomb Shade. After matching the color of the window treatments with the trim, they make their way into the dining room.

Without the same frame depth, Donna explains why it’s necessary to do a frame mount on the shade which fixes to the face of the face-casing. She initially displays a flat fold Roman Shade, but Jill recommends a waterfall grass shade that sits inside the window casing. Though there are some questions about whether or not it would impede the window from opening, the homeowner is ultimately more impressed with the cleanliness of this treatment.

After, Jill helps match the shades to the warm William Morris wallpaper they’ll be using in the dining room then the three take off for Seraphina’s room.

The two shallow windows present a similar issue to the downstairs dining room and Emily has to decide if a fabric Roman Shade will make the cut. After she gave her approval, they take a look at neutral color options and discuss an inset box design for added flare.

Old Heating Meets New Radiant Floor

Where the main house had radiators, in the new addition’s bathroom, homeowners selected radiant floor heating that has imbedded tubing pumped with hot water that converts the entire floor into heat source.

radiant flooring

The project gave the homeowners a great idea—what if radiant floors could replace all the original radiators in the entire house?

In the following scene, Kevin is in the basement below the dining room grinding away nails protruding from the subfloor, so the radiant floors can be attached from underneath. Steel tracks that are the site for the tubing are then added two inches from each joist. He puts on a layer of silicon to increase heat expansion and cut down on excess noise.

Once tubing is piped all the way through and connected to the Manifold circuit, a pump can be added to supply heated water throughout.

New Pre-Cast Stone Fireplace Surround

The family room has a new chimney and Kevin explains he’ll soon be putting on a pre-cast fireplace surround.

pre-cast stone fireplace surround

But first, in the dining room the goal is to reclaim the mantel that’s already in place. Mason and Mark McCullough, explains the aesthetic issues sustained after the original chimney settled. To correct the problem he begins by digging out any loose joints and repoints them with red mortar he’s created to match the existing brick.

He then goes on to show the process that was required to make new pieces for those that were missing from the home’s original mantle. He lays the newly cast mold and original pieces into the same batch of mortar for a uniform finish.

As he moves on to the façade, he has a plan to match things up, including a fresh coat of paint for the mantle.

Backyard Patio gets a Deck

The 8.5’ X 4.5’ simple deck is sure to be a standout feature of the home. At its completion, the deck will be small, but functional with several steps leading down to the patio.

First, the foundation gets flashed to avoid any disruption from water runoff. Next, the ledger goes in and 4X4’ posts are notched out.

backyard deck

With three 2X8’ joists in place, Tom and Kevin are ready to being laying out their Ipe wood.

Next week, the daughter’s room gets painted and screening plants are added to the front landscaping.

The anticipation getting to you? Only 1 more week till our beautiful Amhurst mantel will be unveiled on February 9th. But if you just can’t stand it, you don’t have to wait to see our finished product on the show. Contact us to start the process on your own dream fireplace or hearth!

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