Q&A: A Forum for Green Building Experts and Beginners

[Click map to enlarge]

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

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!

4 Answers

Our installer has so far only installed dampers in the supply ducts. Wouldn’t this cause some pressure imbalances in the off zone rooms when the blower is running?

In Mechanicals | Asked By David Adams | Oct 2 11
3 Answers

Approxiamately 1 year ago, I was involved in a home basement renovation that included spray foaming the headers throughout the basement as well as insulating all the exterior walls(2 out of the 4 were exterior) of a converted storage/cold room(appr. 5'x 12'. In the last month or so, the home owner discovered mold along the entire length of the baseboard and part of the way up the wall, on the longest of the 2 foamed exterior walls, approx. 12'. The ext. walls have about 4-4.5" of closed cell insulation and there was also a heat vent installed, dropped to just above floor level.

In General questions | Asked By Ken Wigboldus | Sep 29 11
1 Answer

My sun room is quite cold in the winter, and I am sure it is not just due to the amount of window to solid wall ratio. I don't really have any room to work above the area, do to that it is a roof over a roof situation. The sun room originally had a flat roof that was a patio on top. At some point a pitch was added sloping away from the house, and eliminating the patio. I have taken a peak up through a repair patch to see that I had about 2 inches of batting, and then the underside of the original tongue and groove roof.

In Energy efficiency and durability | Asked By Chris Snelgrove | Sep 30 11
3 Answers

It's getting close to ice damA ridge of ice that forms along the lower edge of a roof, possibly leading to roof leaks. Ice dams are usually caused by heat leaking from the attic, which melts snow on the upper parts of the roof; the water then refreezes along the colder eaves working it's way back up the roof and under shingles. season for those of us in cold climates.

Last winter, I spent a lot of time hacking my neighbors out of their house because ice dams on their breezeway roof flowed over their gutters and froze the side door shut.

In Energy efficiency and durability | Asked By Daniel Morrison | Sep 28 11
20 Answers

Hello GBA,

I am in Northern NJ, and I have a question on the proper way to retro-fit a finished 3rd floor with insulation, for both comfort and energy efficiency.

In many old colonials and victorians in my neck of the woods, what was once un-finished attic space has been converted to living space. The rafters typically have had gypsum board installed, with a flat ceiling framed above and kneewalls dropped, leaving kneewall "crawlspaces" to either side. The floor of this newly finished 3rd floor is typically un-insulated, as is the case with most homes of this era.

In Energy efficiency and durability | Asked By Grant Salmon | Dec 28 10
10 Answers

I am wondering why EIFS is almost never mentioned in this website. It seems to offer it all: a spray-on or rolled-on WRB that also performs as an air barrier; a drainage plane; outsulation that also provides a thermal break; a finish surface that doesn’t require painting. Talking to my local installers, I’ve learned that 4” of foam costs little more than 1”. Adding 4” of EPS to a 2x4 bay with dense-pack or sprayed cellulose results in about an R-29 wall assembly that is relatively economical.

In Green building techniques | Asked By David McNeely | Sep 27 11
18 Answers

As I am firming up my design, we will have a walk-out basement. The plan is to use an ICF basement, with 12" double stud walls for the upper part of the house.

My original thought was to do the ICFs on the 3 "below grade" sides, and then change to the double stud wall on the walk-out side to save cost and make for easier construction of windows, doors, etc. (plus if a RO gets framed wrong or something changes, we are fixing wood and not concrete...).

In Green building techniques | Asked By Jesse Lizer | Sep 19 11
2 Answers

We live in a 150-year old schoolhouse - brick over plank walls - Walls and attic insulated well. STone and mortar foundation ~ four ' deep two' thick with large beams on top supporting building.

In Energy efficiency and durability | Asked By Sue Russell | Sep 28 11
7 Answers

Hello all,

I have to first thank all of the active members. The Q&A forums have been a trove of information as I gut and remodel my Cape Cod. I'm in Western PA in a zone 5 climate.

I recently purchased a foreclosed home that my wife and I are living in as we renovate. It is a 1965-built home with 2x4 stud walls and a finished attic with 2x6 (possibly 2x8) rafters. The home was vacant for at least one winter. Ice dams and water leakage have necessitated removal of the old fiberglass insulation and rotten framing around the windows and doors.

In Energy efficiency and durability | Asked By Kartik Babu | Sep 23 11
13 Answers


I've read some question threads with opinions running against using in-floor hydronic since the warm toes effect would only happen if the house shell was poorly insulated. For a well insulated house the expensive in floor hydronic could be omitted for a much less expensive system (even electric baseboard). I understand this argument.

In Mechanicals | Asked By Karl Overn | Sep 23 11
Register for a free account and join the conversation

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