Community: Plans Review

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30 Answers

Any recommendations on new house plans?

My family is in the process of our first new home build and I've been lurking on GBA for the last few months gathering as much information as I can. We recently got the first round of plans for our home and I was hoping that some of the experts here might be willing to take a look at them and provide suggestions for improvements. We're not going for anything like a Passivhaus but are definitely interested in green improvements that would improve the quality of living and/or offer a short to medium term payback.

Thanks in advance!

Asked By Ryan Melena | Jan 25 18
6 Answers

What issues do you see here?

Hi there,

Im building a cost effective shouse in northern British Columbia, living in Zone 7A with 5040 degree-days (no rainscreen or seismic requirements) and planning on building a workshop with dwelling above in the summer.

I need some experienced folks help who have livedin or built similar shops with dwellings to tell me what you would change. I plan on installing a 1.5" concrete topcoat in the suite. Both floors to have hydronic heat. Windows are triple with R8.3 ratings, U 1.02.

Asked By User-6964558 | Jan 18 18
33 Answers

120 year old uninsulated home siding retrofit

Hi all,

LP Smartside 76 series 8” 7/16” lap siding has been purchased by our contractor and now I am finalizing details.

Please review for compliance, efficiency and best practices and fill in my blanks. ;-) We plan to live here for a long long time and want to make sure we do it right.

Strip cedar shakes and old lap to 3/4" diagonal bracing or studs if bracing is rotten.
Replace rotten diagonal bracing with __?__.
Install tyvek as an air barrier
Install 1.5" R6 Roxul Comfortboard with 1x4 strapping screwed 1.5" into studs 16" OC

Asked By bridgette downer | Jan 10 18
8 Answers

Layout for ducted minisplit?

My house's floor plan has too many partitions to depend on comfortable heat distribution with ductless so I'll take the slight efficiency hit to use duct ed distribution. The plan is to keep the ducts inside the "conditioned" envelope and very simple and all in the ceiling service cavity, both supply and return for the air handlers. My house is a rectangle with the long side running east to west. A central hallway divides the north and south areas. My proposed layout uses two air handlers, two zones, one "bedroom" zone on the east and a "daytime" zone on the west.

Asked By Jerry Liebler | Jan 13 18
74 Answers

1952 Cape Cod


First-time poster. In the past 2 months, I’ve read a hundred or so GBA articles and comment threads; I’ve been amazed by the expertise and generosity of the community. I’ve also read extensively at buildingscience and finehomebuilding -- I’m new to but very interested in building science. Here’s why:


Asked By FrankFulton | Dec 11 17
42 Answers

CLT + Wood Fiber + Cork Facade

I have been through the ringer here with these walls and have circled back to what seems to inadvertently simulate an actual tree buildup.

(Heartwood --> Trunk --> Sap --> Cambium --> Bark --> EXT) is replaced by (INT --> Cross LAminated Timber --> Air Barrier --> Wood Fiber --> Cork --> Ext).

The roof assembly is a bit different, replacing the cork with an air gap (is this necessary?) plus sheathing and either TPO or EPDM.

Asked By Ethan T ; Climate Zone 5A ; ~6000HDD | Aug 22 17
24 Answers

Marine Zone 4 — Wall insulation — addition

Zone: Marine 4
Location: Seattle, WA
House Built: 1915
Square footage: 900 ft2 single story with 900 ft2 finished basement.
Wall height over basement: 12 ft
Current siding: Cedar, Paint in poor condition.
Insulation: not much, some fiberglass bat stuffed in nooks and crannies as they opened walls in the past. And dirty so there is plenty of air gaps.

GOAL: Comfort

Asked By User-6933356 | Oct 11 17
0 Answers

Service cavity and other high performance dimensioning

OK... so now we're down to nuts and bolts here - drawing plans, permit set, etc.

I have never dimensioned rooms with service cavities... I'm guessing I should dimension to the service cavity, and just count it as part of the framing... any other quirks to dimensioning thick, high performance walls?

Asked By Ethan T ; Climate Zone 5A ; ~6000HDD | Nov 7 17
2 Answers

How to replace inefficient AC in an old house?

I'm planning a major renovation of my 90+ year old house in western Pennsylvania (zone 5). The existing central air system was installed by a previous owner at least 10 years ago. It boosts my electricity cost about $200 a month in the summer time and does an adequate job of cooling & drying the indoor. As it is close to EOL and I'm going to make a lot of other changes, I'm looking for suggestions on how to replace/upgrade this system, reusing existing pieces to the extent that makes sense.

Asked By Robert Binder | Nov 4 17
3 Answers

Plywood sheathing over rigid foam

THIS IS LONG BUT PLEASE BEAR WITH ME. Any advice on this project would be greatly appreciated! My home is located in the 6A zone. To start I purchased a home 3 years ago and decided I wanted to replace the windows and doors. The house was built in 1978. Upon further inspection of the home (which my home buyer inspector did not catch) I discovered that my house does not have any wood sheathing. It was built with 1in blue tounge and groove styrofoam board and had aluminum siding attached to it nailed to the wall studs. The rigid foam was never taped at the joints either.

Asked By Rg14 | Oct 18 17
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