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Best place to ask multiple remodel questions?

Sara Pancake | Posted in General Questions on

Good morning! We’re remodeling a money pit in an area where the contractors are old school. I’ve been using and reading this board to encourage my contractor to do the repairs closer to what’s ‘code’ and more energy efficient. And no, it’s not possible to just find another contractor. There are no available performance builders around here (really, no kidding- really small rural town)

Is there a better place/better way to ask these questions? We’re not building, but we are having to gut a lot of the house.
I appreciate everyone’s help. This place just has so many issues and I value the good advice.

Thanks!

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Replies

  1. Andy CD Zone 5 - NW Ohio | | #1

    Sara, fire away. As long as your questions are generally on the topic of energy efficiency and/or any "greener" approach to building and remodeling, that's what this forum is about. Many of us are in the same boat as you, some of us are contractors; but the exchange of ideas and information is how we all learn.

    Ask unrelated questions in separate threads rather than pile them up in one post.

    General questions about remodeling or code compliance that don't have a "green" component are probably best asked on other sites.

  2. Zephyr7 | | #2

    Any contractor should be building at least to code. Most everyone on this site is going to want better than code though, especially in regards to things like insulation.

    Where is your contractor trying to take short cuts?

    Bill

  3. Sara Pancake | | #3

    Mostly it's an insulation and building technique issue. I ask questions here and then when I talk to my contractor it helps me make decisions on how to rebuild what has to be torn out and how to make sure it doesn't rot again (at least right away)

    Rebuilding a wall with 2x4 (instead of 2x6) and fiberglass batt insulation in an unvented roof assembly (zone I think 5A) is making me really cringe though... I came back this weekend to see the fiberglass up there when I was trying to figure out what it was going to take to insulate that 'new' roof... I really need to ask more questions of more energy minded folks so that I can prevent these issues...

    It is a going joke (but not a joke) that there's no 'code' up here. Only things up here that require permits are well and septic...

    1. Malcolm Taylor | | #4

      Sara,

      Where is "up here"?

    2. Zephyr7 | | #5

      There are places that don’t do inspections, but you’re really still supposed to build to code even if you’re not getting inspected. A lot of the code is there to protect you, to make sure the structure is safe.

      If you started with a 2x6 wall, which is what it sounds like, why is you’re contractor rebuilding it with 2x4s? Usually you’d rebuild the wall the same way it was unless there was some kind of problem. A wall built with 2x4s will not be able to fit as much insulation, so you’ll end up with poorer thermal performance compared to the original wall. There are ways to work around this, but you’ll need to make sure it’s done right.

      If you’re new roof is a vented roof assembly, we like blown-in insulation, especially blown cellulose. There are many advantages to blown insulation (it’s cheap, it installs quickly, and it performs well in part because you can “bury” the attic floor joists to eliminate thermal bridges). Blown fiberglass works too, but not as well as cellulose in some ways.

      Make sure your contractor does a good job of air sealing while the structure is open. This is the time to do it, it’ll never be easier.

      Bill

  4. Sara Pancake | | #6

    "Up here'" is West Virginia- in the hills. Ski area.
    The wall that was replaced was a series of windows- wall and ceiling were all windows (not skylights- windows. The glass said 'ford' I'm pretty sure it cost a fortune even in the 80's. It was 2x4, what was left of it- it was completely rotten since they put rock on the outside and did not flash it AT ALL. The rock was the only thing holding up the wall once they got in there.

    The original house structure is 2x6. There are 3 additions of window rooms that are 2x4.

    As far as air sealing- the 'house wrap' is the same material as they are putting under the shingles on the 'new roof' (which is unvented btw- I asked about venting the roof and It's not currently vented but only about 4' from peak to edge and maybe 20' in width). 2x4's. It's replacing what was a long window unit/series of windows. The drywall for the ceiling will be attached to the 2x4 that are the rafters.

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