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10 Answers

Is there a reason people do not use hydraulic cement to parge an entire stone basement?

I have a stone basement in Wisconsin. It's depositing sand along the edges of the walls in various spots. Not bad, and it only leaks a small drizzle of water if there is a huge downpour, but I want a clean water tight basement.

Asked By PFields | Sep 17 17
3 Answers

Pros - How Would YOU Build?

This question goes out to the pros on this site; those who are builders, building science aficionados, or some mixture of the two.

Many folks, myself included, come here with some vague ideas of how they think they would like to build and then post their ideas asking for advice. Instead of starting somewhere and then working backwards, I'd like to know where the pros would start. So here we go:

Asked By Lance Peters | Sep 18 17
1 Answer

Zip vs. Thermo-Ply in retrofit wall assembly

I am a homeowner renovating a 100-year old foursquare in Manhattan KS (mixed-humid, zone 4). We need to remove our wall sheathing to address some dry rot issues, and are taking the opportunity to improve the envelope details and work closer to a pretty-good house.

The walls are 2x4 balloon framing with interior lathe-and-plaster and 1x12 exterior board sheathing. The cavities are insulated with blown cellulose. After repairing the rot, our plan is to add the following layers on top of the existing board sheathing:

1 – ½ Zip system panels with taped seams

Asked By Nathan Bean | Sep 18 17
11 Answers

Cape Cod--Building a maintainable insuated roof (on the cheap!)

We are purchasing a Cape Cod style home near Dayton, OH (climate 5A, but the southern edge). I've read many of the helpful articles here (thanks, Martin, for the notes about Capes here: . I can't say I wasn't warned!)

Other articles I found very useful:
This situation:

Asked By Mark Waldron | Sep 11 17
3 Answers

Turning off/setting back ductless minisplits, kwh, efficiency, and more

So I talked to an LG engineer today (hint: if you have questions about minisplit performance, don't call tech support, find the number to a local manufacturer and ask to talk to their engineer).

My 4 ton LG LMU48HV condenser can cool down to 14,400 btus. At that minimum, the system will use around 900 watts. This was actually verified by my Efergy Elite monitor, which showed that during 82 degree outside temperature, 3 of my indoor units were on, and it showed a pretty constant energy use of 900 watts for the 8 hours that it was on (2 pm - 10 pm).

Asked By Jimmy Nguyen | Sep 15 17
4 Answers

Sub-slab insulation

I was planning on using 4" of Type II EPS covered with 10 mil Stego under my slab and 2.5" of EPS on the basement walls. I spoke with my concrete guy today and he told me they have been using this product:

Asked By Jonathan Lawrence CZ 4A New Jersey | Sep 13 17
2 Answers

How much do oil-based stains affect vapor permability?

Hi guys,

I stained my siding recently (bevel siding) with oil based stain.

Since my house is built fairly vapor open, I am curious how much oil stains will affect the vapor permability of the building's envelope and ability to breath?

I am guessing it leaves the wood still semi vapor permeable because almost every house has paint/stain.

How do you guys approach this when building a vapor open house? Even if it makes it vapor closed, I do have 1/2" furring strips behind my siding, so would that be suffecient to allow vapor to escape from the house?

Asked By MichaelBa | Sep 13 17
3 Answers

Insulating at the ridge

We finished framing the roof and are getting ready to start sheathing tomorrow. I have a structural ridge (7 x 20 LVL) over a cathedral ceiling and a non-structural ridge (1 3/4 x 11 7/8) with collar ties over the rest of the roof. The roof assembly calls for 5/8" gypsum, Siga Majrex vapor control membrane, 2x10 rafters packed with DPC, 5/8" Zip sheathing, 5 1/2 ThermaCal1 nail base panel (4" of polyiso with a vent channel on top) and shingles (probably cedar).

Asked By Jonathan Lawrence CZ 4A New Jersey | Sep 4 17
4 Answers

Wait to air seal until after blower door test?

I’ve been waiting for cooler weather (in zone 5A) before scheduling an energy audit that includes a blower door test with infrared camera. But now in early fall/late summer is a comfortable time to venture into the attic. Is there any reason to wait until the energy audit to work on obvious air sealing improvements? The only thing that I can really think of is that we might miss out on some potential credits for improvements if our “Before” results limit our improvements.

Asked By andrew c | Sep 13 17
4 Answers

Should I use EPS/XPS or spray foam to insulate basement walls with a brick texture?

I am looking to add a few bedrooms and a bathroom to my walkout basement. It has poured concrete walls on 3 sides, but the poured concrete has a brick pattern / texture to it complete with simulated mortar joints. Since this is an uneven surface, I am wondering if EPS/XPS is an option or if I have to go with spray foam insulation to fill all the voids?

Asked By Macrocks | Jul 18 17
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