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1 Answer

Attached garage with steps leading into Basement

We are building in SE Wisconsin. Currently just figuring out floor plan, in a rough design stage. Main level of house approx 1 ft above grade to approx 4 ft above grade on south side. Basement of house to be partially finished on south 1/2 of house. Attached garage on north side of house. Garage to be on same level as main floor of house. My questions deal with having a stairway in the garage leading to the basement level.

Asked By Dirk Denzin | May 26 15
1 Answer

Best backfill material for frost protected shallow foundation?

We have a frost protected shallow foundation (monolithic slab) at our house in NH (zone 6), there is 4" of XPS for the slab edge (protected by the aluminum flashing) and wing insulation. The white material is cellular PVC board and then spruce clapboards.

When we finished the insulation, we covered it in some leftover screened sand to protect it before we were ready for landscaping. I've attached a photo showing some sand scraped away, there's anywhere from 2-6" currently on the wing insulation depending on location.

Asked By Brian P | May 26 15
17 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
0 Answers

What type of rigid foam is best for under siding?

We are removing the existing siding down to the diagonal board sheathing. We are making some necessary repairs at this area where windows have leaked, then covering with Grace Vyncor env-s self-adhering housewrap. This seamed to be a good choice to seal all the gaps between the boards. All penetrations are flashed to this level. Then we plan to install 1" foam panels with seams taped, 7/16" Zip panel strips for a rainscreen, then LP Smartside lap siding. We plan to use foil faced poly iso board. Is this a good choice?

Asked By mike labesky | May 26 15
5 Answers

Slow rise foam or dense pack cellulose in roof slope?

Cape Cod style house– i.e., under roof is kneewall, slope, and small collar attic above the flat bedroom ceilings

1925 house in Washington DC area with slate roof on front side of house, asphalt shingles in back. Roof deck is boards, not plywood or OSB. Currently there is a small amount of cellulose on “attic” floor and some poorly installed fiberglass batts on some areas of roof deck in kneewalls.

Asked By elizabeth hilder | May 17 15
7 Answers

New high-rise condos

I read about a large scale high-rise condos being built in downtown Phoenix. What I was surprised at was there is nothing mentioned about energy efficiency. We are talking Arizona and no solar panels are being used to offset the electricity. There is no LEED certification being sought. Nothing about how energy efficient the building will or will not be.

http://www.portlandparkcondos.com/team/

Asked By Peter L | May 24 15
6 Answers

Loud popping in ceiling or attic since newer insulation and roof

We live in the northwest. In the winter there is no noise. As soon as it starts to warm up there are very loud popping noises that sound like they are coming from the attic or ceiling. Wondering about heat in the attic. Workers said there is a lot of insulation - not sure what kind.

Any ideas what to investigate?

Asked By M Miles | May 20 15
3 Answers

Passive solar orientation and shade-free zone

Friends,

I am writing to double-check my thinking on our passive solar building orientation and a shade free zone.

Next week a surveyor will stake out the building layout for our 1,100 sq foot passive solar home at 46 degrees N in Minnesota.

The structure's southerly, solar-gain wall will be oriented at 210 degrees (30 degrees W of true south). Solar studies I have done show that we will get good sun light penetration into the structure during the winter with this orientation.

Asked By Randy Bunney | May 13 15
3 Answers

Is there an energy efficiency penalty for an oversized dehumidifier?

If i buy one that is oversized for my basement it will presumably run fewer hours a day at higher wattage, is there any penalty or lower effectiveness on this?
The one i am considering is 1.85L/kWh energy star rated compared to another 1.85L/kWh unit.

Asked By Alan B | May 22 15
1 Answer

Perlite in wall cavity recommendations.

I have a 2x4 wall cavity that is only about 5" wide. The cavity contains a steam pipe which is uninsulated. The cavity is obscured by another wall that makes access to it very difficult.

I would like to fill the cavity with perlite to insulate the steam pipe. I can close up the wall to prevent the perlite from leaking out, and have access to the top.

The house was built in 1928. From the outside: brick, air gap, roofing felt, 3/4" tongue and groove.

Asked By Kurt Kiley | May 25 15
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