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4 Answers

Backup waterproofing for waterproof concrete walls

I'm considering using a crystalline waterproofing admixture* in my foundation walls. Would you install backup waterproofing for this? Small cracking is self healing, but it seems like larger cracks in the concrete could lead to waterproofing failure. I'm planning a finished basement, with interior rigid foam, so the concrete won't be readily accessible for repair. (Rochester, NY area)


Asked By John Ranson | Nov 8 15
6 Answers

What to do with mineral wool excess insulation?

Hello all,

I special ordered a bunch of Owens Corning mineral wool insulation that is 16" x 47" x 7". I would say it is exactly the same as Roxull, however I am not for sure. I used it in my walls and now I have about 80 pieces of 16 inch wide x 47 inches tall by 7 inches thick left over. I also have probably 150 pieces from my wall studs that are 1.5" thick shavings. I was originally going to fur out my walls 1.5 inches so the 7 inch thick piece of insulation would fit right in. However things changed and I did not end up doing that, the result is a bunch of leftover shavings.

Asked By Nicholas C | Nov 7 15
4 Answers

Are there any affordable single home cogen furnaces available?

Just wondering, they were on the news a few years ago, never to be heard from again.

Asked By Alan B | Nov 3 15
5 Answers

Do organic and synthetic versions of #30 felt differ in perm rating? 100 year roof.

I'm looking at roofing underlayment: at a bewildering variety of products.

Among the asphalt products there are "organic" and "synthetic" felts. I understand the organics are mostly paper, and the synthetics are generally a glass fiber. Do they differ in permeability? I assume the cotton or paper felts dry in part by the happenstance alignment of fibers from top to bottom.

Good background reading includes:

Asked By Bryce Nesbitt | Oct 25 15
9 Answers

Suggestions for non toxic dishwasher and range?

moved into a house with new appliances last november.. the maytag range emits noxious fumes when over 400 degrees...have to open all the windows and exhaust fan there some sort of formaldehyde or high vocs they use for insulation of the range walls, or a finish material...headaches and nausea even after all this time...should we just get an older model used range? did they manufacture those using toxic products as well?

Asked By Carole Wiles | Oct 23 15
14 Answers

Chemical smell in a new construction crawl space

Hi folks, great site.

I have a crawlspace in a new house that smells of chemicals. The dirt floor is sealed with a vapor barrier and the walls have Spray Foam Insulation. The space is pretty airtight.

My ERV was installed incorrectly (another story) and sometimes the smell from the crawlspace comes up into the house. Makes my eyes burn, and it gives me a headache. Hopefully that will be fixed this week!

Should I be able to smell the foam 2 months after it has been installed?

Asked By Brett Michaels | Sep 1 14
1 Answer

Who makes, supplies, installs replacement fiberglass windows in Toronto high-rise buildings?

My extensive research of the window manufacturing and installation industry has lead me mostly to the low-rise vendors. Some claim they can install their Vinyl windows in any high-rise building (against Fire Code).

Wood and Vinyl (combustible) window frames are not allowed in high-rise construction.

Aluminum frames are strong but have the highest thermal-conductive rating.

Fiberglass have the best energy performance and least expansion / contraction related to glass.

Asked By David Froud | Oct 20 15
10 Answers

Varathane stain — any way to "seal" the VOCs?

I saw a very similar question at:, but not quite the same.


I am trying to get LEED for HOMES (Platinum level) certified. My contractor (not real familiar with LEED, I have been supplying material specs) used Varathane Stain, 266267. The VOCs are extremely strong!

Asked By Bruce Johnson | Sep 19 15
19 Answers

Exterior paint

We intended to use Safecoat for exterior paint, but our builder (who has never used Safecoat before) has expressed concern about its lack of fungicide and durability issues. For those who are familiar with Safecoat, what are your experiences with durability when compared to "low VOC" products from brands like Benjamin Moore. Is a fungicide necessary in exterior paint? We do want to avoid the need to repaint often and also don't want to need to power wash the house with chlorox. Would these needs become necessary if we were to use Safecoat exterior paint?

Asked By J C | Oct 16 15
12 Answers

Cellulose insulation and poly

We are using Applegate cellulose insulation, and the installing company recommends using a regular 4 mil poly to hold the cellulose in place. Is poly common and necessary? We are looking to use the least toxic materials necessary, and we are unsure about the health safety of poly. Insight will be appreciated. Thank you so much!

Asked By J C | Oct 16 15
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