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!


5 Answers

Is insulated vinyl siding worth the cost and is it effective? I am on the coast of Maryland.

Vinyl siding is inherently ventilated typically so it seems that any insulating value would be washed out. If that weren't an issue, isn't the relatively thin insulation enough to cause vapor drive issues in the winter? Minimum exterior foam thickness for my climate is 1" but 1.5" would be safer. We usually opt for 2".

In Energy efficiency and durability | Asked By Mike Labesky | Feb 22 16
17 Answers

Insulating cold bedroom not in building envelope

My wife and I recently bought a brick, 1925 Victorian twin in Philadelphia. It has 3 floors + attic, but the 3rd floor and attic spaces do not extend over the top of the bedroom at the back of the house. We are planning to use this room as our main bedroom but it is significantly colder than the rest of the house.

I've been reading as much as I canon GBA and many other site and online videos, but I am at a loss to know how to improve the comfort level in the room.

In Energy efficiency and durability | Asked By Chris Trollen | Feb 22 16
5 Answers

Where to put membrane on unvented metal/polyiso roof

Hey folks,

I'm renovating an old house in Tucson, Arizona and I'm just about to put a new roof on. The previous owners of the house knocked out the old drop ceiling, closed off the vents, and stuffed a bit of fiberglass between the roof and a tongue-and-groove ceiling. It's a very low-sloped roof, so they created a glorious 6" cathedral ceiling and a mold problem. Hopefully I can do a bit better.

I've been reading lots of articles on GBA and I've got a plan, but I want to put it up for scrutiny to make sure I don't overlook anything obvious. Can you give me a quick stupid-check?

In General questions | Asked By Aengus Anderson | Feb 22 16
1 Answer

Safety of new baseboard heaters?

I'm really torn on what we should do for baseboard heaters. Dimplex and Likewise makes compact (inexpensive) baseboard heaters... 40" long for 1500W. Everything else is about 65"(ish) for the same wattage. But I'm concerned about the Likewise and Dimplex because the tops are open with a grate thing. Someone told me that they're fire hazards because the tops are open. So then I thought about getting the "old style" with the panel at the top (where it's open more in the middle).

In Energy efficiency and durability | Asked By Sarah Poulin | Feb 23 16
4 Answers

Faced or unfaced?

I have talked to you before. Hopefully you can help me once more. I'm in Zone 2a. The building is metal. It's going to be a/c only.

I wanted to foam it -- but $$$$, so I'm going to put a vapor barrier in the cavity, an air space will be maintained at the metal, then put a Johns Manville wool/fiberglass batt in the wall, then drywall and paint.

In Energy efficiency and durability | Asked By Bill Metzger | Feb 22 16
2 Answers

Consultant needed

My wife and I are looking to build a new home in St. Louis, MO. We would like to find an architect who can help us build a very green home.

I have a good architect in mind, however green is not their focus. We were thinking it would be useful to work with a consultant who could guide us and work with the architect to design an extremely efficient home. We are not necessarily looking to be net zero, but we would like a home that is built to the very best efficiency standards available.

In Project management | Asked By Peter Perkins | Feb 22 16
12 Answers

What is the best way to install floating laminate over basement slab?

We are installing laminate flooring (and one room of tile) over an unsealed basement slab. The basement has exterior waterproofing, drain tiles, and sump pump. We live in the midwest - so lots of temp changes and humidity. What is the best way to install floating laminate flooring over basement slab? We do not have rigid foam installed under the slab unfortunately, so I am thinking we do need some under the flooring. I want to do everything we can to prevent condensation and moisture/mold/mildew problems. The basement is a walkout on the entire 4th wall. Thank you!!!!

In Green building techniques | Asked By Carolyn Farrow | Feb 13 16
13 Answers

Basement insulation / wall framing with limited space

Hi. I'm working on a basement in a 1960s ranch in Minneapolis, all below grade, with a concrete block foundation. I've read pretty much all of the articles here about basement insulation, and I was set on doing the following: 2 inches of XPS glued to the block, then a 2x4 framed wall, and then either XPS or spray foam in the stud bays. HOWEVER...

In General questions | Asked By Jay | Jan 20 16
8 Answers

Old house insulation, vapor retarder & ventilation

Good morning,
Having read your articles for years, I want to confirm my understanding of the literature with you, as we proceed with a remodeling project in our 1897 home in south/central eastern Iowa. Our balloon construction house has more than 6400 sq ft of living space, with gambrel style roofs on three sides. There is no soffit for ventilation, except near a bay window covered with a low, flat almost turret roof. There is no insulation in the rest of the house.

In Energy efficiency and durability | Asked By Denise McMonagle | Feb 22 16
21 Answers

Geothermal+DHW+Radiant Heat

As a newcomer to GBA I ask for pardon if this question is worn out. I'm in a very preliminary design phase for an 18K square foot residential home in central North Carolina. The design is to incorporate precast insulated concrete panels, and SIPs with radiant floor heat on 2 levels. Does adding radiant heat along with air conditioning and hot water make a better case for geothermal? I've gotten conflicting information and recommendations from several HVAC folks. All experienced and educated feedback is welcome.

Kind Regards,

Mark Payne

In Green products and materials | Asked By Mark Payne | Feb 20 16
Register for a free account and join the conversation


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