Community: Plans Review

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28 Answers

How would you spend $40,000?

Hi GreenBuildingAdvisor community - I've been reading off and on for the past 12 months as we gear up to build our home. It's simulatneously depressing and empowering to read through how much is required to properly build a home.

We're pretty happy with the plans (the ones I'm including are not quite the latest - we'll be adding a few windows and moving some interior walls around) but before we do the next round of changes - we need to make a decision about ICF or no ICF. It's a $40,000 question for us.

Asked By Adam W | Apr 27 16
6 Answers

Is this my best foundation choice?

First off, Green Building Advisor has been invaluable in my research to design my future home and have found it well worth the membership cost. So thank you, to all you who have made this site what it is.

I am planning on building a 1700 sq ft ranch style straw bale house near Cortez Co (climate zone 5B). Currently I am sketching up layouts, making lots of notes on building techniques, choosing home fixtures (doors/windows), HVAC systems and researching different build options, before I take my plans to an architect so he can refine and incorporate them.

Asked By Ken Hodge | Apr 29 16
98 Answers

Ideas for this floorplan

Hi all! I'm new to the site here and was hoping to gather some feedback, or to change my plan altogether.

I'd like to build a ranch on a basement with plenty of southern glazing. I found the attached plan as a starting point but I'm afraid that if I move forward, I'll just spend a bunch of money creating blueprints only to find that I needed to change something after the fact.

Asked By Drew Baden | Mar 9 16
18 Answers

Solar glazing

With all of the excellent advice I've been given, I decided to join GBA today to show my appreciation and support.

In my opinion, the value I've gathered thus far exceeds the amount of the membership cost.

At any rate, many of you have seen my plans that I'm creating and now I'd like to discuss my window options. I have decided to utilize the attic space as a bonus room and tossed a couple of windows up there.

I have my eye on Intus windows but I'll also price thermotech since they're geographically nearer to me. I'm still sourcing a manufacturer for the doors.

Asked By Drew Baden | Apr 8 16
2 Answers

Conditioning an existing attic in a 1900s Queen Anne wooden home

conditioning an existing attic in a 1900s queen Anne wooden home.
Location: coastal South Carolina
two story wooden home built 1901
attic dominations: 22'x46'x(10'at peak of roof)
planed usable newly conditioned attic space 10’x46’
2 gable end vents & ridge vent.
no gable end sheathing or sheathing on first or second floors.
roof is a standing steam installed over asphalt shingles.
rafters are true 2x4 and roof decking is true 1x6 tongue and groove.
HVAC for upstairs is located in the attic with duct work through ceiling of second floor space.

Asked By Woody Truluck | Apr 13 16
2 Answers

Separating R-value at site/retaining wall

I'm working on a sloping site and trying to figure out the best way to deal with site wall/earth berming.

The goal is to have driveway/ped access at level 1 but then allow access to rear (upslope) portion of land from second floor.

I'm trying to accomplish this without creating a completely buried wall (for reasons of waterproofing, thermal bridging, fear of ants in foam, etc.), which leads to the shifted floorplans you see in the attached section.

Asked By Ethan T | Apr 8 16
8 Answers

Overdoing south-facing glazing

My current plan includes roughly 148 sqft of south-facing glazing on a 1400 sqft house. We have some nice views, and some small interior spaces that I want to open up with large windows. The house is in zone 6 at ~45* N latitude.

I have relied on the annual analysis calculator at to determine that I want a 3' eave overhang 1' above my 5' tall windows. However, there is a 10' wide glass door that will receive too much sun.

Asked By Jim Tyler | Nov 4 15
1 Answer

Furring strip inside of exterior foam or nailbase Zip sheathing?

I am working on a home envelope renovation in climate zone 7 and we are trying to add insulation to existing exterior walls.

As shown in sketch, existing exterior walls have clear plastic sheeting (probably not "smart") between studs and GWB at interior, fiberglass batt in 2x6 stud cavities, and plywood on exterior.

I am proposing 2" of foam to exterior as well as nail base Zip for a total of 4" of foam.Contractor wants to add furring strips between existing exterior sheathing and new foam.

Asked By Ethan Timm | Mar 23 16
26 Answers

Double Stud Wall sheathing and vapor barrier


I am building a 10" thick double stud wall that will be dense packed with blown in cellulose. I live in Virginia in climate zone 4 in a mixed-humid climate. I am worried about warm air getting into my wall cavities and possibly condensing on the cold sheathing during the winter months. I have been thinking about my different options and was hoping to get some advice on each option.

Asked By Jimmy Nguyen | Sep 30 15
8 Answers

What complexities exist in building a racquetball court under the garage?

What additional design details might be requires to go from more typical 9 foot basement wall to 20?
Location: Southern Maine
SIZE: 20X40X20'

However, Some things I had though about were:

helical tiebacks-to keep wall from bowing
An air exchanger-to keep good oxygen levels
A sump pump to prevent it from becoming a pool
Soils test to see if rock/granite was present at planned excavation site

If anyone could point me to a source for construction design details that would be terrific.

Asked By Hal Sartelle | Jan 22 16
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