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

Q & A Instructions

[Click map to enlarge]

The GBAGreenBuildingAdvisor.com 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

How should I finish brick and concrete block walls on a partially completed house I aquired?

I aquired a "shell" of a house and I am looking to finish it. The walls are brick facing backed by concrete block protected by a hip roof with wide overhangs. The brick is in great shape and the roof was just replaced. The interior is completed to the point of stud walls laying out the rooms. The house is not insulated and is still bare block on the interior side of the exterior walls. The windows are single pane glass and will be replaced. The house was started in the 1950's and made weather tight but never finished inside.

In Energy efficiency and durability | Asked By Dan Harbaugh | Mar 2 13
6 Answers

Register locations

In constructing a very tight near passive house (1 1/2 story) with a hydronic hot air system is it ok to place all registers (supply and return) up high or on the ceiling? The HRV is integrated in the heating system (NuAir Enerboss). One of the return registers is close to the wood stove to hopefully move some of that heat around the house.

In Mechanicals | Asked By Elizabeth Kormos | Mar 7 13
2 Answers

Is emulsion paint waterproof?

We have peeling paint on a chimney breast in a bathroom. It's ordinary emulsion paint. Some peole say I need special waterproof paint to cure the problem I think I need special breathable paint to let the moisture flow in and out of the wall without knocking the paint off. I can't find a clear answer as to whether normal emulsion paint is vapour proof. I imagine it depends a bit on the type. We used vinyl silk as its a bathroom, I imagine this is less permeable than matt. I get the general impression that emulsion paint is a bit permeable, not fully 'breathable' but not fully 'vapour proof'.

In General questions | Asked By henry parr | Mar 8 13
4 Answers

Compare merits of dense pack fiberglass vs dense pack cellulose in walls + loose pack in ceilings

Dense pack fiberglass is now easily available from reliable contractors and carries a higher R value than cellulose. Cellulose is more environmentally friendly. Some assessments suggest cellulose does better at higher depths and is able to absorb moisture better. What other things should be taken into consideration when choosing cellulose vs fiberglass dense pack for a wall design that includes 2x6 walls with 4" polyiso (could reach R45 which is "high performance" in VT with fiberglass and not cellulose) and planned 2 ft loose pack in ceilings? Thanks!

In Energy efficiency and durability | Asked By Phil Lawson | Mar 7 13
2 Answers

Green adhesive

Hi all, does anyone have a good recommendation for a non-toxic low or no VOC adhesive like liquid nails? I'm gluing some cedar panels to a wall in my kids closet. The wall behind it has various low voltage wiring behind it and I want to avoid using nails or staples. Thanks.

In General questions | Asked By Eric Schroeder | Mar 6 13
0 Answers

Comfort Line FiberFrame windows?

Do you have any opinion about Comfort Line FiberFrame windows? They were off my radar until a Boston trade show this week. I will be purchasing about 30 casement, awning and fixed windows for a new house in Portland ME this year. For my performance/price point, Accurate Dorwin is my current first choice, although without a local distributor, the windows will need to come direct from Winnipeg, 2000 miles away. Thanks for any help and suggestions.

In Green products and materials | Asked By Mark McCain | Mar 7 13
5 Answers

Exterior wall help on new home construction

This is my first post, but I've been reading and gathering all the information I need to make and informed decision on how I would like my walls to be constructed. We will be building in Central Iowa (Des Moines area) and I am trying to have the house to follow the IECC 2012 standards at minimum (based on budget and needs). We live in Zone 5 and I am ultimately trying to achieve an R30 Whole wall.

Here is the wall from built outside in Please let me what your thoughts/concerns. I am open to any suggestion.

1. Wood fiber reinforced cement lapped siding
2. Exterior latex paint

In Energy efficiency and durability | Asked By Matt Anderson | Mar 6 13
9 Answers

Critique my cathedral roof insulation

Hello GBA -

I live in a very wet climate in Alaska (Kodiak Island) where our mean winter temperature is around 32 or so degrees. It is almost always wet. I just purchased a new place and am going to take advantage of a state provided program to help out w/ subsidies to weatherize places.

I have a single slope cathedral ceiling with a brand new rubber type roof. My plan is to install polyiso beneath the ceiling to help insulate it. Here is a picture of my plan.

http://i.imgur.com/9wFvmaT.jpg
The big x's are the rafters and the polyiso would go below the rafters.

In Plans Review | Asked By Kevin Lauscher | Jan 29 13
3 Answers

Insulating Finished Attic on a Budget

I'm renovating a house built in 1950 that has a finished attic with very little insulation. I've been trying to figure out the best compromise for insulating my attic that is going to be both cost effective and energy efficient.

I've gotten estimates for installing closed cell spray insulation (very expensive) and applying a couple layers of polyiso above my roof sheeting (expensive and I can't find an experienced person in my area who has adequate experience doing it).

In Energy efficiency and durability | Asked By Norris Anthony | Mar 5 13
1 Answer

"Condensed" vs "Condensated"

In discussions, I sometimes see the word "condensated" used as a verb, rather than "condensed," which is what I would used when the verb is required (we're not talking about "condensation," the noun). Maybe my age is showing; I don't know, but when I see "condensated" used as a verb I keep thinking it's wrong. I googled on definitions and one vs the other, with no luck.

In General questions | Asked By Dick Russell | Mar 6 13
Register for a free account and join the conversation


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