Our project manager answers questions posed by fans of DIY Network’s favorite interactive series.
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Q. What is the elevation of the property? How high has storm surge been at this site during hurricanes? How deep is the water in front of the home and also out to the barrier islands? Is there a channel if it is shallow?
A. The surrounding land varies from 3-5' above sea level. It is 5' around the house. The house itself has been raised to 8'2” ASE while straddling the FEMA 6' and 7' lines. So the house is anywhere from 1'2” to 2'2” above the flood-plain requirements. The highest surge, which reached the window sills, occurred during Hurricane Isabelle. The sills were about 2' above the original floor height of 5' ASE. So the highest surge known is 1'2” below our new elevation. Core Sound, the body of water in front of the house, is fairly shallow but has channels throughout. Twenty-foot boats have docked at the site during high tide.
Q. Were the persimmon trees and fruit-bearing bushes located near the water preserved? Were the green hydrangeas around the screened porch saved?
A. Yes, no fruit-bearing trees were removed. Pecan trees frame one of our cozy outdoor areas. I had saved the hydrangeas during the original demo but they unfortunately dried out during one of my extended absences from the cabin.
Q. What form of pest deterrent will there be under the porches? Will a termite prevention system be incorporated?
A. Due to flood-plain requirements, we cannot block any of our foundation flood vents (including areas under the porch). A liquid termite treatment system was used at the perimeter footings as well as a pressure-treated 2x12 at all mud sills.
Q. Why did you choose the ceiling heights that you chose after the original framing was dismantled and the home rebuilt?
A. The original ceiling heights were only 7', which is way too low by today’s standards. To maintain the home’s original proportions and modest design, 8' ceilings were chosen. I did not want the house to appear vertically enhanced after the renovations. As the south side of the house was only slightly over 20' wide, a 4'6” height increase (required for 9' ceilings) to the original 17' eaves would have made the completed design too tall for its width. Instead, the 8' porch roof was wrapped around to achieve a more low-slung look and obscure the main roof height increase.
Q. Will there be access to the crawlspace under the house in case it's needed?
A. Yes, there is a 24” x 18” crawlspace door on the north side of the house.
Q. Will there be any water features — a pool or a hot tub?
A. Unfortunately not this year. Due to the high water table, an in-ground pool is not an option. Since we had a hot tub last year (hot for those cold Maine nights!), I focused on cool and relaxing outdoor living areas.