Seeking information about 1890 Queen Anne Victorian in MI
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VMalcolm



Joined: 14 Oct 2015
Posts: 3
Location: Michigan

PostPosted: Fri Oct 16, 2015 12:28 am    Post subject: Seeking information about 1890 Queen Anne Victorian in MI Reply with quote

My first post, so thanks for admitting me to the forum!

I am doing some research into my home to help with a code enforcement issue. Do any experts happen to know what types of wood were typically used for lap siding in Southwest Michigan in 1890?

There were areas where the paint was chipping off on the back of the house and code enforcement mandated that we paint it, which we were already planning to do and have now done, but the code enforcement guy issued a misdemeanor citation and we have a court case now.

The code specifically exempts rot or decay resistant woods from the painting requirement. The areas that were exposed were just grey and showed no signs of rot.

Basically, I'm trying to find out if it's at least possible or even probable that the siding is a rot/decay resistant wood so we can get that charge dismissed since the code enforcement guy cannot prove that it's *not* a resistant wood.

I appreciate any information you guys may have to offer! Thanks!
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johnleeke
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Location: Portland, Maine, USA

PostPosted: Fri Oct 16, 2015 6:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It seems like the first step would be to positively identify the species and the quality of the wood in your siding, with the identification done by someone other than your inspector. To do this you would either have a wood identification specialist come to your house, or you would take a sample from your house and send it to a specialist who would identify it, and provide a written report.

Also, get a written list or description of what woods are considered decay resistant from your inspection department. Hopefully they will provide this in formal written documentation, and not just be depending on the inspector's "judgement."

(do not consider this message as legal advice)

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VMalcolm



Joined: 14 Oct 2015
Posts: 3
Location: Michigan

PostPosted: Fri Oct 16, 2015 6:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the reply, John!

I had considered doing those things, but right now, since the wood is already painted and there are no pieces falling off, it would involve some form of destructive work to either the paint or the siding. I'm more interested in researching what woods were commonly used in this region during that time.

I don't want to establish whether or not it is decay resistant wood since, if it is not decay resistant, I would be doing the work to prove the case for the accuser. I just want to establish a reasonable doubt to put the burden of proving it's *not* decay resistant on the accuser.

If I can find any documentation or opinions from experts, such as some folks on this forum, that decay resistant woods were in use when this house was built, it reinforces the fact that the inspector needs to prove that my siding is not decay resistant wood.

Thanks again for your reply and I hope to hear more from you or other experts!
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johnleeke
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 17, 2015 7:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If there happens to be no decay currently in your siding after 100+ years, then that is definite evidence that your siding IS "decay resistant."
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VMalcolm



Joined: 14 Oct 2015
Posts: 3
Location: Michigan

PostPosted: Tue Oct 20, 2015 12:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

johnleeke wrote:
If there happens to be no decay currently in your siding after 100+ years, then that is definite evidence that your siding IS "decay resistant."


Just to be clear, it has been previously painted, so it hasn't been exposed for over 100 years. It *has* been exposed for at least 8 years, though and shows no signs of brown rot or white rot.

Is the quote from www.historicnewengland.org, "Historically, the materials used for clapboards included cedar, oak, white pine, redwood and Douglas fir." an accurate representation of common wood types used for clapboards circa 1890?

Thanks!
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johnleeke
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 20, 2015 8:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, in my experience that quote is correct.
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