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!


7 Answers

Pine ceiling

We are putting a pine ceiling in our farmhouse kitchen. We think that we want to use 6 inch white pine boards that are not tongue and groove. We plan to paint them white. When we look for examples on the internet, all we see is tongue and groove. Is there a reason that we should consider tongue and groove? We are going for the old time look of a farmhouse.

In General questions | Asked By Lisa Williams | Jul 4 14
1 Answer

Can I install a room addition footer over a geothermal loop?

Our house is at the end of a ridge that falls off steep on three sides. Existing geothermal loop system runs along one side of the house and goes to the front yard. We want to add a garage to the front, but would need to put a corner over the existing loop lines. They are about 5 feet deep. Is it acceptable to just go right over them? I think my footers will be 4' deep, not sure exactly what code here is. We're in zone 5a - NW Indiana. Any advice is appreciated. Thanks!

In General questions | Asked By Matt Bosma | Jul 5 14
6 Answers

Flooring for a passive solar

I am building a home that will use a combination of a mini-split and passive solar in the Pacific Northwest. For thermal mass it has a concrete slab floor with insulation underneath.

My question is about flooring. I was planning on an engineered wood floor but my builder pointed out that this would prevent the sun from heating the slab. He suggests a stained concrete floor or tile. I really do not like either of these options.

How bad is a wood floor? Would a Terrazzo type floor using recycled glass such as Enviroglass be a good option?

In GBA Pro help | Asked By Stephen Carlton | Sep 17 12
4 Answers

Making your own minisplit linesets?

I have purchased several Mini-splits for a rental building I manage (which currently touts window ACs (yuck!)).

With the cost of linesets being so relatively high, what is the problem with purchasing copper and cutting and flaring my own. I have purchased a couple of sets, but find nearly 6 of 12 feet is coiled. I am contemplating cutting in half and reflaring...

I understand the flares are different. And, thus far I havent found a good source of the flare nuts for the new refrigerant. Suggested sources?

In Energy efficiency and durability | Asked By John Granoski | Jul 1 14
4 Answers

HVAC HRV sized correctly for my home?

A HVAC contractor installed a Venmar HEPA 3100 HRV in my new construction home. I was wondering if it is sized correctly for my house and meets the international building code and international mechanical code requirements. HVAC Work began in 2011 but venmar was installed late 2013.

My house is:

4846 square feet with a 486 square foot attached 2 car garage. Total sq ft: 5332.
Bedrooms: 5, Bathrooms: 6..

I was ordering a new filter and noticed it was discontinued and said:

for homes up to 3100 square feet ***
*** for new construction refer to building codes.

In Building Code Questions | Asked By Sam Miller | Jul 4 14
5 Answers

Advice on passive air inlets with bath fan exhaust ventilation?

Background: new construction, climate zone 6 (03846), 12" double stud walls w cellulose, heating/cooling is single Mitsubishi 12k btu heat pump, 2 story, very open floor plan downstairs (and up). Blower door test done before insulation/sheetrock and came in at 0.67 ACH at 50 Pascal.

In Mechanicals | Asked By Brian Post | Jul 3 14
1 Answer

Can we replace fiberglass insulation with XPS?

Hi!

We have a 33 year old townhouse that has a brick exterior on top of wood frame. There is fiberglass insulation in the wood frame, but we have lots of air leakage.

Would there be a problem with replacing all of the fiberglass insulation with XPS rigid insulation or spray foam insulation? If we did, would the XPS and or spray foam be an adequate air and vapor barrier?

Our goal is to reduce the air leakage and heat loss/need for air conditioning.

Thanks . . .

Phil

In Energy efficiency and durability | Asked By Phil Troy | Jul 3 14
8 Answers

Efficient basement dehumidification – how to?

Our deep energy retrofit of a 112 year old masonry building in Chicago includes a basement unit (garden apartment). The old foundation walls always draw some moisture and for that reason are exposed on the inside so that they can dry out. That works fine during fall, winter and spring, when the ERV removes that excess moisture. During summer, however, that moisture starts building up and I have a really hard time to control it.

In Energy efficiency and durability | Asked By Marcus de la fleur | Jun 25 14
4 Answers

Anyone have experience with Aeroseal duct sealing?

I'm considering developing a magazine article on Aeroseal duct sealing. This is a process where registers and diffusers are sealed with plastic and a vinyl based sealant is blown into the ducts. The sealant collects around leaks until they are ultimately closed off. The big advantage is it can seal ducts that are inaccessible for conventional sealing methods.

Here's more:
www.aeroseal.com

Patrick McCombe
Fine Homebuilding Magazine

In Mechanicals | Asked By Patrick McCombe | Feb 26 14
8 Answers

EPS as continuous insulation in above-grade, rainscreen cavity walls

We are building a house in Toronto, Canada. By code we need interior poly, so our walls need to dry to the exterior. The assembly is:

5/8" GWB
6 mil poly (vapour retarder)
2x6 wood studs @ 24" o/c w. R22 Roxul in the stud bays
1/2" plywood sheathing
Tyvek (drainage plane / air barrier)
1" continuous rigid insulation
1x4 PT wood strapping (fastened through rigid)
marine grade plywood or painted hardie board panels as cladding

In Green building techniques | Asked By wendy wisbrun | Jun 24 14
Register for a free account and join the conversation


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