This year seems to be a good (or bad depending on how you look at it) year for ice dam problems in my area, the intensity of ice dams seems to change year to year. I was recently on an ice dam diagnostic with an insulating contractor and a general contractor, the home was built in the early 1990’s and there is evidence there have been issues from the beginning. We spent a couple hours testing this home, I’ll get into what we found in a bit.
Continue reading “Building Science-Ice Dams”
This three-part series first appeared on the Green Building Advisor website and has been condensed into one post.
An unconditioned and uninsulated crawlspace, an unsealed and uninsulated forced air heating system, and an uncovered dirt floor, which by the way has a sewage leak. If this were your home and you wanted to make improvements, where would you start? Continue reading “Building Science-Existing Construction Improvements”
I’ve written about sub-slab insulation and heated floors several times over the past couple years, this post is about something I’ve been thinking about for a while now, using a fibrous insulation, like Rockwool’s ComfortBoard 80 or 110 under a concrete slab with hot water heat. The questions I had about this strategy are one, will there be an issue with compression of the insulation when concrete is poured over the product? And two, will a staple be able to hold the hot water tubing in place?
Rockwool ComfortBoard being installed below a concrete slab. Photo by Travis Brungardt
Continue reading “Construction Design-Using Fibrous Sub-Slab Insulation with In-Floor Heat”
This post originally appeared on GreenBuildingAdvisor – Green Building Advisor is the one-stop source for builders, remodelers, architects & homeowners looking for expert advice on green products, strategies & proven construction details.
I was introduced to using closed cell spray foam (CCSF) below a slab a few years ago by New England contractor Wade Paquin of WKP Construction. He was insulating the below grade slabs of his new homes by spraying a couple inches over a bed of stone, then pouring the concrete. I have now had the opportunity to try this insulation method over a couple projects, Continue reading “Construction Design-Closed Cell Spray Foam Below a Slab”
I’m a big fan of exterior insulation. It’s rarely used in my area, mostly because the State of Minnesota has eliminated that code requirement. It has to to with our wide use of polyethylene sheeting as a vapor retarder on the warm in winter side of a wall assembly and then adding a low permeance plastic insulation product as exterior insulation. These plastic foams would be the choice for most contractors, lower cost and easy to source. Very slow vapor movement in either direction when a wall assembly becomes wet. This posting isn’t going to get into the foam insulations, but more into what exterior insulation can do for a home. Continue reading “Building Science-A Benefit of Exterior Insulation”
You would think that in my very cold climate of Northern Minnesota, we would be putting as much insulation in our walls and roofs as possible. Not the case. The majority of new homes I blower door test have the code minimum R-21 of wall cavity insulation Continue reading “Construction Design-Continuous Exterior Insulation”
The concreteless slab on grade home was in the planning stage for over a year. One of the first conversations I had with the owners was they wanted a home that was comfortable, healthy and had low operating costs. Extra insulation and good air sealing is how we planned on accomplishing these goals. Continue reading “Construction Design-Concreteless Slab on Grade-Walls”
This past winter has been one of the snowiest and coldest I can remember in my 50 years living in Minnesota. I wasn’t completely sure what to expect from the home I purchased late last fall. I know it has issues, especially with the roof air sealing and insulation. Continue reading “Construction Design-Fixing Ice Dams from the Interior, Part 2”
We moved into my 1952 Cape last December. Winter was upon us, no time or desire to start any of the major renovation and energy updates I have planned. My office was moved temporarily into the extra basement bedroom with a plan to build-out a new office adjacent to the bedroom. Continue reading “My Cape-Office Build-Out”
Last week we talked about Minnesota code requirements for insulating foundations in new construction. This week we’ll hit existing homes.
Continue reading “Construction Design-Below Grade Insulation-Existing Homes”