Barndominium Part 2-Foundation and Shell

*This post originally appeared as two articles on the Green Building Advisor website.*

The bardominium, part storage facility, part shop, part man-cave with a home inside.  Working on this type of project has had its difficulties.  We have taken the framing crew outside their comfort zone, though they are well versed with post and frame structures, they were not familiar with many of the materials I was asking them to work with.  I was able to have them change some of their sequencing, but I lost of few of the battles.   On top of those difficulties, the project started about a month later than expected forcing crews working during sub-zero temps, that’s, 0°F.  Progress at times has been slow.  The foundation portion earlier in the fall went well, though I think I would change a couple of the decisions we made.  More on that in a bit. Continue reading “Barndominium Part 2-Foundation and Shell”

Construction Design-Air Sealing Windows

I often hear during energy audits, complaints about windows.  Many homeowners feel the windows are cheaply made and replacement will result in substantial energy savings and an increase in comfort for the home.  Sometimes the windows are a major cause of comfort problems, more often, the window installation is the issue.  This blog post is about three different ways we air seal windows today.

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Shorts-I’m Still Here

So, it’s been a couple minutes since my last post, and unfortunately, it looks like it’s going to be a couple more.  I had a job scheduled over this winter that took longer than expected which has now backed up a couple other jobs I have going.  On top of that, I have my first writing deadline on two articles that hopefully will be appearing in Fine HomeBuilding Magazine.   I also have four articles committed to the Journal of Light Construction and my regular two articles per month at Green Building Advisor.  I know, I know, quit whining.  Be thankful for the work!  I am thankful, just no time to write in the Northern Built blog for now, but I will be back.

I am still gathering content for some future blog posts, I’ll leave you with this photo.

This is one of the projects I am working on.  If you’ve been following me for a while, you probably know I do some custom tile work, I have four custom showers going in this project.  This is a brand new multi-million-dollar custom home using #15 felt for the WRB.  Would this be your choice?  (I’m not criticizing the decision.)  I have some thoughts I’ll share in the future on this build along with more of the exterior details.  Stay tuned.





Shorts-Attached Structures Outside the Air Control Layer and Blower Door Testing

Whether you are performing blower door testing or hiring someone to perform the test for you, it’s a good idea to understand how a home should be setup for the test.  Should a door be open or closed?  What can be sealed off?  How to address rooms attached to the house but are outside the air control layer?  That’s today’s topic, attached garages and three season porches.  How should those spaces be setup for a blower door test?

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Shorts-Climate Zone and Heating Degree Days

I have a confession to make, but you will have to read this blog post before you’ll know what that is.

I woke up this morning to a very cold temperature.  Nowhere near the coldest I’ve ever experienced, which was right around -50°F.  (I remember that stretch of weather back in 1996, Minnesota set its all-time low temp about an hour away from where I live, that temp was -60°F.)  This got me thinking about the climate zone I live in and heating degree days.

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Construction Materials-Tape Test-Part 3

This is the final post on this round of construction tape testing.  As you might recall, the first tape test post was about cold temperature application of the tapes, and then trying to remove the tapes off various substrates while remaining cold.  (See the first tape test post here.)  Some performed better than others, but none had the tack of the second round of testing which was performed on plywood at room temperatures.  (See that post here.)   This final round of testing came about because I still had a question.  Will the tape bond increase if the tape is applied at cold temperatures and then warmed, much like a normal construction application might experience?

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Construction Materials-A Less Common Sheathing

This post first appeared on the Green Building Advisor’s website.

When I first started working in the trades as an electrician back in the mid 1990’s, we worked for a couple contractors that liked to use buffalo board sheathing.  I suspect the product was given this name because of its resemblance to buffalo chips.  (If you don’t know what a buffalo chip is, you’ll have to look it up, it’s not the kind of chip you eat.)  I’ve heard it called several other names, bildrite, beaver board, brickboard, bagasse, but it is best known as fiberboard sheathing.

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Shorts-Tape Test, Part 2

A few days ago, I posted a test about the cold weather application of construction tapes.  A few of the tapes performed well, but most I expected more from.  Many of these tapes aren’t cheap, some are downright expensive.  I thought a second, quick test was needed at a more normal application temperature (68°F) compared to installations in cold weather.  Here’s what I found.

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Construction Materials-Construction Tapes-Cold Weather Testing

In 1845, a surgeon figured out if he used a little adhesive on a piece of cloth, a “bandage” could be used for wound care, the first tape was invented.  Through the 1900’s, the evolution of tapes continued.  1925 saw the development of masking tape used in painting. In the 1930’s, scotch tape was invented.  This clear tape was hugely popular and had many uses. Water resistant duct tape was invented during World War II, originally designed to seal military ammunition cases.  More recently, the tape evolution has exploded into the construction industry.

Continue reading “Construction Materials-Construction Tapes-Cold Weather Testing”