rigid foam

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Polyethylene Under Concrete Slabs

Posted on April 27,2015 by user-756436 in blotter sand

What goes under the concrete in a slab-on-grade home? In the old days, not much — just dirt. Eventually, contractors discovered that it made sense to include a 4-inch-thick layer of crushed stone under the concrete. The crushed stone provides a capillary break that reduces the amount of moisture flowing upward from the damp soil to the permeable concrete. Since the crushed stone layer provides a fairly uniform substrate, it also may also reduce the chance that a concrete slab will be poorly supported by random pockets of soft, easily compressible soil.

Part 3 of GBA’s Passivhaus Video Series

Posted on April 27,2015 by GBA Team in EPS

At the Passivhaus job site in Falmouth, Massachusetts, architect Steve Baczek specified the installation of 10 inches of EPS under the slab-on-grade foundation. After the concrete had been placed, more rigid foam was installed above the slab, to bring the finished floor assembly to R-50.

This House is Assembled With a Screw Gun

Posted on April 27,2015 by ScottG in kit house

A French design studio has come up with a prototype for a house made from blocks of expanded polystyrene foam insulation, lengths of laminated veneer lumber and not much else. The Pop-Up House from MultiPod Studio in Marseille is a 1,615-sq. ft. building assembled on site in just four days with nothing more than a screw gun and long screws, according to a blog by Matt Hickman at Mother Nature Network.

Two New Exterior Insulation Products for Walls

Posted on April 27,2015 by user-756436 in DuPont

Exterior wall insulation? That usually means rigid foam and furring strips — although occasionally, it means mineral wool insulation and furring strips. But there are other options. Two new products offer builders new ways to keep their wall sheathing warm.

Cut-and-Cobble Insulation

Posted on April 27,2015 by user-756436 in cut-and-cobble

Here at GBA, readers regularly ask about the best way to install rigid foam insulation between studs or rafters. A typical question might go like this: “I’d like to insulate between my studs with strips of 2-inch-thick polyiso. I plan to cut the rigid foam pieces a little bit loose, and seal the edges of the polyiso with canned spray foam. Will this work?”

Insulating Low-Slope Residential Roofs

Posted on April 27,2015 by user-756436 in attic insulation

UPDATED on September 12, 2014 There are lots of ways to insulate a low-slope roof, and most of them are wrong. In older buildings, the usual method is to install fiberglass batts or cellulose on top of the leaky ceiling, with a gap of a few inches (or sometimes a few feet) between the top of the insulation and the roof sheathing. In some cases, but not all, there is an attempt to vent the air space above the insulation to the exterior.

Coping With Termites and Carpenter Ants

Posted on April 27,2015 by ScottG in ants

Ralph’s new home will be in Cleveland, Tennessee, not far from Chattanooga and solidly in termite country. And that’s the problem.

Do We Really Need 12 Inches of Foam Under Our Slab?

Posted on April 27,2015 by user-961160 in EPS

[Editor's note: Roger and Lynn Normand are building a [no-glossary]Passivhaus[/no-glossary] in Maine. This is the 21st article in a series that will follow their project from planning through construction.]

Exterior Insulation Is Like A Sweater For Your House

Posted on April 27,2015 by user-1048334 in EPS

There are many construction and insulation approaches which allow a builder to create walls and ceilings with high R-values and low levels of air leakage, creating a much better envelope than is achieved with standard framing methods. Structural insulated panels (SIPs), insulated concrete forms (ICFs), double-stud walls, and advanced framing can all produce more energy-efficient buildings than the ol' stick-built number. The one thing they can’t do is to improve the efficiency of an existing house.

Making Healthier, Greener Foam Insulation

Posted on April 27,2015 by AlexWilson in EPS

As readers of this blog know, I’ve come down fairly hard on certain types of foam insulation over the years. The downsides include the blowing agents used in extruded polystyrene (XPS) and most closed-cell spray polyurethane foam and the flame retardants that are added to all foam-plastic insulation to impart some level of fire resistance.

Basement Insulation — Part 1

Posted on April 27,2015 by user-1095434 in basement insulation

A common truism (that isn't) is “heat rises.” Actually, what rises is air that is warmer than the surrounding air. Anyone who has lived with a wood stove knows this — it's a lot hotter at the ceiling in the room with the stove than it is at the floor. But heat flows from hot to cold, so it readily goes from our houses down into whatever connection they have with the ground, because the ground is cooler than the temperature most of us like our homes to be at.

How to Insulate a Basement Wall

Posted on April 27,2015 by user-756436 in basement

Here at GBA, we regularly receive questions from readers about the best way to insulate a basement wall. Since these questions pop up frequently, it’s time to pull together as much information as possible on this topic. In this article, I’ll try to explain everything you always wanted to know about insulating basement walls.

New Green Building Products — February 2012

Posted on April 27,2015 by user-756436 in Duct Blaster

My folder of interesting new building products is getting thick, so it’s time for another new product roundup. I’ll review three brands of photovoltaic roofing designed to integrate with asphalt shingle roofs. I’ll also discuss several new types of insulation: a new type of rigid foam, batts made from plastic fibers, and batts made from hemp.

New Blowing Agent Addresses Climate Impact of Foam Insulation

Posted on April 27,2015 by Tristan Roberts in blowing agents

Honeywell has introduced two new blowing agents that could dramatically reduce the global warming potential (GWP) of a variety of foam insulation types. Marketed under the brand name Solstice, they are designed to be “drop-in” substitutes for blowing agents currently used to manufacture insulation for both buildings and appliances, including extruded polystyrene and closed-cell polyurethane foams.

PODCAST: How to Insulate an Unvented Roof

Posted on April 27,2015 by Daniel Morrison in foam insulation

Attics are a great place to reclaim living space without the expense of an addition. If you have the headroom, you can gain at least one extra room by finishing your attic. But with energy codes requiring more and more insulation, it can be difficult to pack all of that R-value into the skinny little rafters that are common in older houses.

Video: Installing Rigid Foam Under Footings

Posted on April 27,2015 by skycat12 in foam under footing

This construction site video of the Karuna House in Yamhill County, Oregon, demonstrates installation of a geofoam foundation that will superinsulate the bottom of the building envelope and help the project achieve Passive House and Minergie-P-ECO certifications. Lead Carpenter Scott Gunter narrates the process of:

  • screeding out gravel,
  • back dragging with rake as needed,
  • compacting gravel,
  • marking outside foundation wall line on foam,
  • setting and aligning geofoam, and
  • drilling and pinning geofoam into place.

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