slab

All About Basements

Posted on May 06,2015 by user-756436 in basement

Foundation discussions can get heated. For some reason, builders often dig in their heels when the topic of slabs versus crawl spaces versus basements comes up. It’s time to declare a truce. It’s perfectly possible to build a great house on any one of these three foundation types, as long as everything is properly detailed. Each type of foundation has advantages as well as disadvantages. If you have a foundation type that you prefer, that’s great. I’m not going to try to change your mind.

Placing Concrete for a Passivhaus Foundation

Posted on May 06,2015 by acarango@me.com in Amherst

As they set out to build a single-family Passivhaus on Potwine Lane in Amherst, Massachusetts, Alexi Arango and LeeAnn Kim asked themselves, “Is it possible to live without burning fossil fuels?” One measure of success would be meeting their goal of net-zero energy performance. This is the third blog in a planned series.

Foundations — Part 2

Posted on May 06,2015 by ChrisBriley in basement

Phil and I have returned to continue our discussion on foundations. In Part One, we covered slabs and frost walls, and in this part we cover basements and crawl spaces.

The Highlights:

**Do you really need a basement?** If there's no programmatic need for a basement (like the need for a workshop), then perhaps you can do without one. **Insulation: Inside or outside?** There are many reasons to insulate on either side. We weigh the pros and cons.

Foundations — Part 1

Posted on May 06,2015 by ChrisBriley in basement

Not too long ago I found myself in a deep conversation (pun intended) about frost-protected slabs with some other architects and building professionals. I was surprised at the energy surrounding the topic. We all seemed to have developed substantial differences in the details on our own and we were all learning from each other. I was equally surprised at how fresh this concept seemed — I mean, haven’t we been founding our wood structures on the ground for centuries now? Millennia, even?

Do I Really Need a Concrete Basement Floor?

Posted on May 06,2015 by ScottG in basement

Rob Rosen is diving into a basement remodel, a job that involves digging out and removing a concrete slab to provide more headroom so the basement can be turned into usable living space. He'll reinforce the footing and foundation as needed, but when it comes time to build a new floor for the basement, Rosen wonders whether he can go with something other than a concrete slab.

Making Green Affordable, Part 2

Posted on May 06,2015 by ChrisBriley in affordability

Part Two of this episode brings us to construction details for high-performance affordable homes. Again, I feel the need to point out that we are not talking about low-income housing or housing that makes a difference between shelter and non-shelter. I'm talking about high-performance homes that will compete, on a financial level, with those cheap vinyl boxes that litter suburbia and urban areas alike. Phil and I have refreshed our drinks and are ready to talk about building envelope construction from the bottom up. Let's get started.

How to Install Tile Over Concrete

Posted on May 06,2015 by ScottG in ceramic tile

Tile can contribute thermal mass to a passive solar house, and to Christa Campbell it would make a more appealing finish floor than concrete. Although tile can be placed directly over a concrete slab, products such as Schluter’s Ditra are designed to separate, or “uncouple,” the tile from any potential movement in the substrate and protect the tile and grout from cracking. The question for Campbell is whether using Ditra offsets some of the thermal mass gains in a passive-solar design.

Air Barrier or Vapor Barrier? - Building Science Podcast

Posted on May 06,2015 by JoeLstiburek in air barrier

_This podcast series is excerpted from a two-day class called "Building Science Fundamentals" taught by Dr. Joe Lstiburek and Dr. John Straube, of Building Science Corporation._

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