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16 Answers

Are holes in exterior plywood sheathing necessary?

We are building a new home on the west coast of BC. Our framer has placed large diameter holes in the exterior plywood sheathing saying this is necessary to meet code and allow the exterior to breathe. Our concern is that when other protective layers placed over the sheathing break down over time (plastic and tape and glue only last so long) we have a welcome entry point for water, rodents, carpenter ants ect. How does this practice fit into an 'airtight' home??
We are not builders but can't find anywhere noted that these holes are necessary. Thoughts, advice or comments appreciated.

Asked By Frances Bucinel | Feb 10 16
2 Answers

Replace 1x6 shear brace with OSB panel?

Hi Folks,

I am in the process of building out my 1350 sq ft barn for use as a sculpture studio (i do mostly wood and metal fab).

(see my other questions here)
Read more:

Asked By Benjamin Jones | Feb 11 16
1 Answer

Drywall above stud wall framing good for fireblock?

First off, the website has been a wealth of information and a great help so thank you. I'm in the process of finishing my basement and have put 2" XPS in the rim joist section and plan to follow-up with 1" XPS on the interior walls followed by the framing in-front of that. For a fireblock, is 1/2" drywall safe in the basement to attach to the joists and then butting the top of the XPS against along with the top plate of the stud wall? I assume this would be an acceptable fireblock but not sure if the drywall would be a safe bet.

Asked By Jason M | Feb 10 16
4 Answers

Is there any way around putting a heat source in every bedroom?

I was speaking with an HVAC guy in my area today who reminded me that code says we have to have a heat source in every bedroom. We're planning on putting a single head ductless minisplit in our 1450 sf high performance home (to be built next year). Are there other exceptions/solutions out there, or do I just stick a Cadet heater in every bedroom and disconnect them after the inspector checks it off his list?

Asked By Alyssa Hoyt | Feb 4 16
2 Answers

Blown Insulation

Hello, we have a bonus room over the garage that does not have an attic. The ceiling of the bonus room is drywall, studs, then roof. The ceiling goes to an angle, then across to the other angle to create a ceiling that looks like the letter "A". I took out the middle line of the "A" and noticed the insulation had been tamped down by a previous owner's rodent problem. I am wanting to blow in insulation between the ceiling and the roof in between the studs, but I am not sure if I will have a moisture problem. Is blown in insulation the way to go?

Asked By John Roy | Feb 4 16
1 Answer

Structural Wall

My husband and I are looking to take out a small "lip" of a wall and aren't sure if we can do so. Let me post a picture:

Also, I don't think we can take out what I labelled as "possibly this" because I think it's a beam, but I'm not sure. If we can, I'd like to.

As for what's in the basement underneath, here is a picture that faces the same way:

Asked By Sarah Poulin | Feb 2 16
4 Answers

Does OSB sheathing need to be installed horizontally over advanced framing studs 24"OC?

A client building in Zone 4 says their engineer told them, "in our wind speed and exposure (105mph - C) neither OSB nor 15/32” CDX can span between studs at 24”oc without being run horizontally". This is problematic because they are not planning on using rigid foam over the sheathing and are concerned about increased thermal bridging and air leakage resulting from expansion joints and additional blocking needed for horizontal installation. I have seen many houses with vertical OSB sheathing over 24" OC studs so this is new to me. Has anyone else heard of this?

Asked By Elizabeth Coe | Jan 28 16
8 Answers

Squat toilet: Alternative minimalist design?

The squatting position is thought by many to important benefits over what we might consider a modern civilized toilet to be.

Are squat toilets now code approved in the US?

If so,they are in my Western eye unsightly and create an undesirable contour in the floor. That said is there a way to help make sure this flap drain doesn't clog if one daily toes a duty down the lifted grated drain during a 15-20 gallon shower? Is there a way to purpose the shower water into a flush? for the drain?

Asked By Hal Sartelle | Jan 22 16
4 Answers

Masonry pier foundation — Code does not allow appropriate depth?

Hi all, I hope I am interpreting this wrong or missing something but it would appear that the Minnesota residential building code does not allow a masonry pier supporting a wood girder for an exterior load bearing wall to be deeper than 4 ft from top of footing to sill plate. The minimum frost depth is 60" here (Duluth, MN) for footings. Am I missing something?


Asked By Oliver | Jan 10 16
7 Answers

What to do with 13" of space between insulated slab and finished floor?

My client has an insulated slab on grade (4" gravel, 2" XPS, 6-mil vapor barrier, slab edge insulation 2' to frost depth) on an addition. The existing home finished floor is 13" above the finished slab.

Asked By Patricia | Jan 9 16
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