Community: General questions

Q & A Instructions

[Click map to enlarge]

The web site has a wealth of articles on a wide variety of construction topics. Before posting your question, you may want to check out the articles on this page: How To Do Everything. You just might discover an article there that provides the information you seek.

Please register for a free account or sign in to ask and answer green building questions.

If you want to post a question, the usual rules of courtesy apply:
1. Be nice.
2. If you can't be nice, be polite.
3. If you can't be nice or polite — well, please be brief.

To attach a photo or illustration: Under the box labeled “More explanation,” look for the words “File attachments.” Click that, and you should be able to attach a photo.

Thanks for joining the conversation!

2 Answers

Moisture content in new vs. old wood

My question is about moisture content of new versus 100 year old wood found in an attic.

I was recently in an attic and noticed dripping condensation in the vintage home's attic. The dimensional lumber planking used as roof sheathing had a few new white pine planks installed. With a pin type moisture meter, the MC in the new white pine was 22%. In the adjacent softwood (SPF?) the MC was twice at 40%.

Does an attic do funky things to wood long term? Certainly the sap has dripped out over repeated summer heat and maybe the wood has a greater capacity to absorb moisture?

Asked By Greg Labbe | Dec 31 13
3 Answers

How to prevent a cathedral ceiling from condensating?

I noticed icicles on the exterior of my siding, after further investigation I determined that it was the result of my roof condensating. I have R-30 insulation with air chutes and ridge venting, I realize that the design of my cathedral roof system was a recipe for failure.

Only a few bays are problematic, the others are dry. Will installing a product like 'Ventilation Maximium' help or compound the problem by drawing more warm inside air out? Any advice would be appreciated.

Asked By scott davis | Dec 30 13
1 Answer

Basement corner frame around electrical panel question

So I'm looking to finish a space in my basement. The space has an electrical panel near a corner of the concrete walls. I am putting up 2" rigid foam on the concrete and that will leave me 2 1/4 inches to the edge of the panel. What is the best way to frame that corner? If the panel has to be moved then that would also require extending about a dozen wires coming out of it that run to various locations in the house so it would be nice if I didn't have to move the panel.

Asked By Wade DeWerff | Dec 29 13
5 Answers

Can a wood interior be air sealed?

I'm working away at a cottage in southern Ontario, zone 5.
I've been researching all my different plastering/drywall options, and I just had to ask...
Can a wood interior be reasonably air sealed? If one was to use poly vapor barrier behind T&G lumber, wouldnt' it leak like a sieve due to all the fastener penetrations?

Thanks again,

Asked By Richard Baumgarten | Dec 26 13
1 Answer

Can a windbreak be planted on the south side of a home with a passive solar design?

My family recently moved into a home with a passive solar design in a winter climate. We love the way it is performing. However, we have strong and persistent wind from the south/southwest for most of the winter. I would love to plant a windbreak to reduce wind (and snow drifts), but don't want to block our solar gain. Recommended distance for trees maturing at 50 feet high is 150-200 feet from the house. Any thoughts on whether or not this would block our winter sun? Thx!

Asked By lisa miller | Dec 26 13
3 Answers

Insulating walk-up attic space

I own a house in Detroit (zone 5) that I am renovating and will probably sell when ready. The house has a basement, 2 floors, and a walk-up attic. The total square footage per floor is about 550 square feet.

The house has cedar shake siding with no insulation in the walls. It has about 2 inches of vermiculite insulation below the floor boards in the attic. The attic has a peaked roof and measures about 11 feet from the floor to the ridge board. There are no soffits and no venting (other than generally being vented or leaky everywhere.) There is a window at each gable end in the attic.

Asked By Gregory Worrel | Dec 23 13
6 Answers

Basement window and door detail

This is probably a pretty easy question but I'm having a hard time finding the information. I am looking for a detail of a basement window installed in a brick foundation wall. I just want to know how to properly frame, install, and flash the RO and window for a water and air tight install.

Asked By Brian Coppola | Dec 17 13
1 Answer

How to insulate an above-grade interior foundation wall and curb?

We have a concrete slab foundation. Plan to lay Delta-FL down on the floor with plywood and hardwood flooring on top. Problem is that there is an above grade concrete curb surrounding the floor that protrudes five inches above and about 2 to 3 inches out from the drywall on the walls.

There is also one wall where the concrete foundation wall is about 3 feet above the floor (above grade with a crawl space on the other side), Exterior moisture intrusion is not a problem.

Asked By Ken Messenger | Dec 22 13
3 Answers

Cold climate basement subfloor questions

I'm finishing a 400 sq ft section of my basement to be used as a general purpose rec room and TV area in our home in Winnipeg, Canada. Our winters are extremely cold and dry but our summers are quite hot and can at times be humid. In 15 years we've never had water issues in our unfinished basement other than very short-lived signs of moisture "darkness" on the concrete floor in times of summer high humidity (especially if the central air conditioning had not been left running).

Asked By Kent Wothers | Dec 13 13
2 Answers

Insulating copper pipes for a heat pump that run in an exterior wall.

Hi gang. I've been installing mini-split heat pumps lately, all as retrofits until now. My latest install is in a new build and I've had to run the insulated copper pipes inside an exterior wall. My concern is condensation on these pipes when the unit is used for cooling. My plan is to insulate the back of the cavity with 1.5" xps, seal the edges and all penetrations into the cavity with spray foam, and then finish insulating with batt. They're using poly for an air barrier behind the wall finish. What do you think? Should I put xps on the sides of the cavity as well?

Asked By Marc Bombois | Dec 20 13
Register for a free account and join the conversation

Get a free account and join the conversation!
Become a GBA PRO!