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16 Answers

Source of ammonia odor in a home (indoor air quality)

We have built a home which is well air sealed and have registered for LEED status, which will be finalized later, when the alternative energy projects and landscaping are complete.

Asked By Andrew Katz | Sep 10 16
4 Answers

Unrealistic R-value claims are alive and well

OK, someone please explain to me how they claim R-64 while only using 8" of EPS which is around R-32? They claim R-8 per inch of insulation on the wall or roof.

Asked By Peter L | Sep 15 16
7 Answers

Recommendations for exterior molding material

Hi all,

I am working on the trim design for our front porch. I have an idea for how it should look, but our builder is recommending an aluminum wrap to protect it from the elements. I appreciate the concern for the maintenance of wood, but worry that the aluminum wrap will flatten all the details and kill the look. I see there are PVC mouldings that you can get that obviously require less maintenance, but our builder said that PVC will move a lot in the heat and we'd end up with gaps.

Asked By Clay Whitenack | Sep 7 16
2 Answers

Interior door options: MDF off-gasing vs. sound dampening

I am slowly building a house in the coastal mountains of Oregon and have finally gotten to the point of needing to install interior doors. Thus far there is no MDF or other materials inside the house that are known for large amounts of off-gasing. Also, I have gone to extra lengths to make sure that the rooms don't have a lot of sound transfer from one to the other. But now it seems I must make a choice between the two.

Asked By Kail Zuschlag | Sep 7 16
2 Answers


Anyone with any experience with Enduramax by Oldcastle Architectural? The product looks like it could be a great way to add stone veneer to a OSB sheathed home. Adding the exterior EPS and the stone in one step. At least EPS that I will need in Phoenix.


Asked By Jeffrey Savage | Sep 5 16
3 Answers

Is exterior sheathing over rigid foam board okay?

Articles regarding exterior rigid foam sheathing deal with it's installation over the wall sheathing. What about the sheathing over the foam? I'm considering Huber's R-Sheathing as a one step process to achieve both for a new home at the far north edge of zone 5. Their 1½" panel has 1" of foam under their standard green Zip Panel with a total R-value of 6.6. While this addresses thermal transmission, won't it also keep the sheathing colder? And doesn't that cause issues of it's own?

Asked By Robert Ohle | Sep 3 16
8 Answers

Is there a way to seal VOCs?

We had our front stained. The company used DuraSeal stain. I know it isn't the most ecofriendly, but since it was exterior door we agreed because they said it was very durable. Well, they spilled the stain all over the subfloor and brand new drywall on the interior of the house. I am freaking out a little bit since we have a chemically sensitive child. We are installing hardwood floors (which will not create an air seal). I plan to have them pay to replace the drywall that is soiled. However, I don't know what to do about the subfloor. Is there a way to seal in the chemicals and VOCs?

Asked By Carolyn Farrow | Aug 25 16
8 Answers

Safer grout option?

Our tile contractor wants to use TEC power grout. Since this is an epoxy grout, I am concerned that it contains BPAs. I would really like to avoid BPAs in our home as much as possible. Is there a safer grout option out there? Preferably no VOC and BPA free. Thank you!

Asked By Carolyn Farrow | Aug 24 16
8 Answers

How far will a ductless minisplit throw heat/cool?

Assuming an open area with a good line of site, what can you expect a ductless mini split to throw heat/cool. For example, if you have an open, but large floorplan, could you put a mini split on one outside wall and have it throw heat/cool to the other wall which is, say, 40' away? What about 50'?

Asked By Clay Whitenack | Aug 15 16
5 Answers

Provia Entry Doors

Found the Provia entry doors online. They claim a U-Value of 0.10 on the fiberglass polyurethane core doors.

Anyone use these doors?

What about cost for a 36" x 84" door?

Asked By Peter L | Aug 12 16
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