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16 Answers

Is there a standard factor General Contractors use when calculating their fee to construct

I am in discussion with a builder to construct my new home in zone 4B. We have engaged the services of an energy modeler to determine how to build the most efficient house within the budget. We are grossly over budget, at the moment. I noted that the GC has build a 16% fee into the budget to build the house. This is on top of all the subs and the contigency. Not wanting to negotiate something I have no background on, I'm wondering if this is a negotiated fee or is there some standard? I understand my builder needs to make a profit but I would love to get 16% return on my investments!

Asked By scott schroeder | May 22 15
3 Answers

Membrane in unvented roof

I am installing 1x6 T&G boards above my 2x8 rafers in an addition cathedral ceiling project. I plan to follow with a layer of 5/8" plywood (for roof structure), and 6 inches of polyiso above that.

Asked By Harold Orozco | Apr 30 15
6 Answers

OSB versus Styrofoam

I live in climate 3 in warm humid Louisiana and will be building in the next six months. Most of the builders in the area use OSB in the corners and 1/2 styrofoam over the rest of the home for sheathing. I understand the styrofoam has much better insulating value than OSB but I also don't want a home that is structurally weak in a wind storm. Any advice on this?

Asked By Shane sims | May 22 15
21 Answers

Soundproofing Bedrooms

What's the general consensus for economically soundproofing bedrooms for guests/family comfort during normal daily life? I'm aware of using more than one layer of drywall, and would like to avoid this option.

Any ideas?

Thanks in advance for your advise,


Asked By Robert Car | Oct 15 10
7 Answers

ADA sealant recommendation please

I'd like to air seal my baseboards to my drywall and concrete slab as part of an ADA.
What would you guys use to seal wood to acrylic paint & unfinished concrete?

I picked up some GE Silicone II Gutter & Flashing which says it sticks to wood and concrete, but was wondering if there was a better choice.

Thanks for your help,

Asked By Richard Baumgarten | May 21 15
14 Answers

Guidance for designing and building a low-lifetime-cost home in North Texas

My wife and I want to build (or buy) an energy efficient home in North Texas sometime in the next 5 years. We are not strongly attached to certifications, R-value-comparison-contests, or even a particular style of home. We just want to build something cost-effective that we can live in for the next 40 years without having to maintain high-income jobs to pay for the utility bills and mortgage. I have been doing a lot of research, but I wanted to get some expert opinions to help guide me in the right direction.

Asked By Chase Johnson | May 16 15
0 Answers

What new idea would you like to see pursued?

ORNL is running a competition for new ideas for building energy efficiency technologies. You can submit an idea or read and vote or comment on ideas that have been submitted. You have through the end of May to submit new ideas.

The leading idea right now is vacuum insulated panels that are plumbed to a central vacuum pump rather than being permanently sealed. Do you have a better idea than that?

Guidelines for ideas to submit, from their FAQ:
Innovative technical design ideas that are not yet prototyped

Asked By Charlie Sullivan | May 19 15
1 Answer

How do I remove hydrostatic water pressure?

We purchased a home in central Missouri recently and we see evidence of slab/footing movement. The home is built halfway down a hill. It has a walkout basement with a large patio off the walkout. The downhill side of the walkout has risen about an inch. There is a perimeter drain along the front and down the downhill side until the foundation wall begins the step down toward the patio, so it covers the front and half of one side. If I extend the drain to the patio will that help with the water pressure? I need to mention that the soil is clay.

Asked By John Beavers | May 19 15
6 Answers

CARB2 Kitchen Cabinets - Formaldehyde

Hi all, Last year we did a kitchen remodel (in California) and my cabinets are CARB2 compliant. I know this because I had some of the plywood independently tested. Post remodel we did an air test (sealed off from the rest of the home) and I'm getting a 150ppb reading for Formaldehyde. I'm dumbfounded by how this happening. Is it possible for CARB compliant cabinets to off gas this much Formaldehyde. Any ideas what else could be driving this? Thanks!

Asked By Mike Miller | May 17 15
1 Answer

What are your thoughts about sealing interior poured concrete basement walls and floors?

The basement walls in our newly constructed home are insulated on the outside. We do not plan to finish the basement for a a year or more because we want to watch as everything settles and be able to visually check for cracks. We used a spray-applied water-proofing sealant on the outside of the concrete foundation and Tremco WARM N DRI for exterior insulation and water diversion.

The basement walls and floor were poured in mid-November. Since mid-January we've maintained a temp of 60+ and have kept RH in the 30 - 40% range.

Asked By Dave Brooks | May 18 15
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