FORTIFIED Home-How to make your home more resilient when severe weather hits.

This post originally appeared on the Green Building Advisor website.

In 2013, a thunderstorm with high winds took a large section of shingles off the roof of the home I owned at the time leaving the roof deck exposed to the heavy rainfall that followed.  For more than a half hour I stood by helplessly watching rainwater enter the home, soaking the attic insulation and dripping down through every light fixture in the affected areas.  Fortunately, the shingles and a couple pieces of siding were all that were affected by the winds, the public forest behind the home was not so lucky, thousands of trees were uprooted.  The clean-up and repair along with dealing with the insurance company took weeks, but eventually the home was made whole again.

Continue reading “FORTIFIED Home-How to make your home more resilient when severe weather hits.”

Energy Conservation-Shallow Energy Retrofit-Low Hanging Fruit

This post originally appeared on the Green Building Advisor website.

Through the years, I’ve taken a lot of training and attended dozens of conferences about reducing energy consumption in existing homes.  Everything from BPI’s Building Analyst certification to Huber’s Building Science Crossroads.  Many of these training courses discuss the easiest and most cost-effective areas of concentration for energy reduction, the so-called low hanging fruit.  In this shallow energy retrofit blog, we will be discussing the most common location to improve a home’s performance, the attic and/or roof.

Continue reading “Energy Conservation-Shallow Energy Retrofit-Low Hanging Fruit”

Roofs and Water-Where Leaks Occur

I recently began writing blog posts for several manufacturers.  This specific post was written for Sashco, a sealants manufacturer (Big Stretch and Lexel are two of their product lines).  They also produce a line of log home stain and finishing systems.  I recently visited their facility near Denver, Colorado and was blown away by their values and company culture.  Learn more about Sashco at

There are four control layers to every home, water, air, vapor and thermal, but none are more important than water.  If we can’t keep water out of our building assemblies, none of the other control layers matter.  Water management starts on the roof.

Design has a lot to do with how a roof will shed water.  Simple roof designs with steeper pitches and large overhangs are much more effective at protecting the rest of the structure than minimally pitched (flat) roofs with no overhangs.  Down, out and away rules the day.  Dormers and skylights will add natural light to the home but will also add a layer of complexity to how we approach water management.  Chimneys, plumbing vents and electrical masts, exhaust fans and roof ventilation products may need some sort of hole through the roof.  All these require well thought out flashing and sealing strategies.

This log home with its steep pitch and large overhangs is good at managing the water from rain and snow events. The roof intersects, different planes, dormer and chimney all add a layer of complexity.

Continue reading “Roofs and Water-Where Leaks Occur”