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15 Answers

Please help with poor man's insulation technique?

I know closed cell spray foam would be the best for this application but I simply can't afford it. I live in Chicago and am trying to finish my attic as a conditioned space I have a dog house dormer that has 3 1/2 " walls and I already have some r 15 fib batt ins.that I would like to fill the vertical space with. The roof of the dormer as well as the rest of the roof will accommodate 6" of extruded polystyrene which I also have on hand will this work? I know it isn't the best way but do I have any potential problems?The main roof is a hip roof. Please answer.It's getting cold here.

In GBA Pro help | Asked By Richard Briede | Nov 5 12
1 Answer

How to build a wood floor over a new slab

I am building a "healthy home" based on Building Science/ Bau-Biologie principals. I'm trying to follow them to the greatest extent possible, however I'm stuck on one problem:

We poured the slab, 18", 9 months ago. The bottom floor (on the slab) is a walk-out basement. Since the slab is new, it still has a lot of moisture (I bought a meter and am measuring it). I have radiant heat in the slab, and have cranked it up for two months now, though there isn't much of a difference in moisture content per the meter readings.

In Green building techniques | Asked By Michael Rosenthal | Nov 14 12
2 Answers

Retro Renovation website announces its Blogger of the Year

The Retro Renovation website has announced its 2012 Blogger of the Year.

Thanks, Pam!

In General questions | Asked By Martin Holladay | Nov 14 12
3 Answers

What would be the best insulation choice for a chemically sensitive family?

What would be the best insulation choice for a chemically sensitive family whose primary concern is indoor air quality for the cathedral ceiling areas that have no attic space?

The home is at 6,000 ft elevation at LakeTahoe, Nevada.

In GBA Pro help | Asked By Neil Adams | Nov 14 12
14 Answers

Bad Appraisal on a New Green Home

We recently received a very poor appraisal on a new home we are trying to build for one of our customers. They/we are shooting for Gold/Emerald certification under the NGBS. Closed crawl, conditioned attic, upgraded insulation, tight envelope, extremely high performace HVAC, solar water heater, passive solar design, etc. Point is, we are not just doing a few small things and calling it green, trying to go the extra mile, shooting for a HERS below 50.

In Green products and materials | Asked By Danny Kelly | Aug 9 10
4 Answers

What is preferred, rainscreen or rigid foam insulation?

If I have only about 1 1/2 inches to work with, which is preferred; rainscreen and no exterior rigid foam insulation or exterior rigid foam insulation and no rainscreen? This wall could be sheathed with:

1/2 inch plywood, 1/2 inch rain screen and then 5/16 inch Hardie panel.

Or, it could be finished with:

1/2 inch plywood, 3/4 inch foam board, and 5/16 inch Hardie panel.

I know that exterior foam insulation AND a rainscreen is the best option, but I am restricted by door trim and an electrical mast that I do not want to move.

In Green building techniques | Asked By Robert Sanders Jr | Oct 23 12
5 Answers

Rainscreen wall with insect screen

I've got a small project where a mid-90's wood-frame wall in the mid-Hudson Valley of NY needs a rainscreen retrofit (paint's peeling off in large pieces, fairly certain there's a bit of moisture getting behind the cedar clapboard and then being cooked in the sun).

In Green building techniques | Asked By Cramer Silkworth, PE | May 15 12
24 Answers

Tilt and turn windows (Intus)

What are people's experience with tilt and turn style windows? I have not really seen any except for the Marvin one in person. I am looking more specifically into the Intus Upvc vinyl window. I would prefer fiberglass, but the ratings of these windows and the cost appear much better then Inline and other similar windows.
I am a little apprehensive of the turning part coming into the room, being in the way and such. Also are they fairly stiff and stay in place or do they tend to swing more freely like a door?

In Green products and materials | Asked By Jesse Lizer | Apr 26 12
4 Answers

Indoor dryer vent kit?

Does anyone have any feedback on indoor dryer vent kits? Are they a good idea/bad idea? I have a electric dryer for our new house we're building in New Hampshire, but would like to avoid putting an additional hole in the wall if I could. If I didn't already have a dryer, I would likely have gotten a condensing dryer that doesn't require venting.

In Mechanicals | Asked By Scott McCullough | Nov 13 12
1 Answer

Duct-free bath fans?

Does anyone have experience with these?

Do they satisfy the IRC 2009 code for a powder room (just toilet & sink)?


In Building Code Questions | Asked By Kevin Dickson, MSME | Nov 14 12
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