Sunday, September 22, 2013

Back to Reality - Homebuilding, Work

This week has been a serious back to reality week. I was exhausted after coming back from Oregon last week. I slept like crazy. Going to bed early and everything. I had wonderful days at work, busy, but not overwhelming. I have to take my Pediatric Emergency Medicine recertification boards this week. Pretty scary. I studied some, even in Oregon, but you can't study enough to feel comfortable. I am pretty anxious about that. And then there is the house which is going really well. That's mostly what this post is about.

You may recall the we are using an exterior insulation called Roxul. I looked for Roxul Comfortboard  but was unable to find it easily. I could have gotten it from one of the big box home improvement stores but it would take 6 weeks or so to get it in. I did find Roxul Rockboard online from ATS acoustics, an acoustic supply house. Their lead time was about a week. I posted online at Green Building Advisor (my favorite website) to see if Roxul Rockboard and Roxul Comfortboard were equivalent and Albert Rooks of Small Planet Workshop (where I am getting a lot of my air sealing supplies) said that they were. The compression resistance of both products is 743 psi so the products were very similar. I ordered from ATS despite very high shipping costs, but we were able to get the product in one week.

Carlton and Chris and Myron have been installing this material on top of the very well air-sealed exterior for the past week when I was gone.

Front view of the house with the installed 2 inches of Roxul. Foam was used around the windows so we could make sure that we airsealed well around the windows. The rainscreen  which goes on before the siding has not been applied to this area of the house.

You can see the rainscreen has been applied to the back side of the house. The fixed transom window is above the stairway. I know it looks a little funny, but it is about all that would fit there. We were going to put a window in the bathroom, but decided against it because that can cause all sorts of problems with mold and rot. Since we are trying to build a highly efficient, long-lasting, resilient home, it does not make sense to put a window in the bath/shower area to catch water and cause rot in the wall. So it looks a little strange, but it is on the back of the house. To bring light into the bathroom, we will install a sun tunnel on the roof of the dormer.

Driveway, gable end side of the house. Again, the rainscreen has not yet been installed on this side. You can think of exterior insulation like a sweater for your house. There are essentially no thermal bridges on the outside of the house to conduct heat in or out of the house. So the insulation inside can do a much better job maintaining the desired temperature. The comfort level of the house is going to be amazing, I think.
See what a great job they have done installing Roxul Rockboard 80.
You can see the rainscreen details a little bit better in this photo. There is a small air gap around the windows to allow any moisture in the siding to evaporate which will significantly prolong the lifespan of the siding, the sheathing below the insulation and even paint on the siding.

Well, that's where we are this weekend. Next week Carlton and Myron will work on the soffits and more rainscreen on the gable ends. Then I don't know what is next. I have to figure out penetrations though the wall. Most electrical and plumbing should be through the floor (which brings its own set of problems), but there are still some things that will have to go through the wall. I need to make sure that is planned for now.

Carlton's helper, Chris, was switched to the day shift so he is no longer able to help in the mornings before he goes to work. That is kind of sad, because he has been a very good worker and great help to Carlton. We will miss him.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Cycle Oregon Photos - Part 3

We had a rest day in Diamond so I rested. There were all sorts of activities you could do, but since I barely had the energy to walk, I rested. Lynn felt better by that day and was able to come to see me that night.

This is the round barn that we visited as we left Diamond. It was a very beautiful building. Cool inside, too.

Entrance to the round barn

Framing of the round barn

Leaving Diamond, Oregon early in the morning.

Delightful, overcast day

One of the highlights of the trip was seeing Xena, the superstar of the Cycle Oregon Tour. She was pulled by her owner who was a petite young lady. The trailer weighed 22 pounds and Xena weighs about 60 pounds. Xena is an exceptional dog.

I did not take any photos on the last day. It was 73 miles, again a new record for me in the last 10 years. Now the challenge is to keep it up.

Cycle Oregon Photos - Part 2

This is the tent city on the second day in Burns, Oregon. Packing up for the 3rd day of riding

The llama helped carry our bags to the truck for the next town we finished in.

Llama doing its job.

Hot and dry, getting ready to go downhill

See the delightful downhill ahead.

Riding from Burns to Diamond, Oregon. Must check messages on the phone. Oh, I forgot there is no service out here. Well, it is still a good time to take off my shoes and socks and rub my feet.

 Riding to Diamond, HOT!

There is the tent city finally, see the little white blobs. Those are tents and shower trucks - my oasis.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Cycle Oregon Photos - Part 1

I didn't really take a lot of photos because it was a very difficult week of riding for me, but here are some photos to give you a taste of what Cycle Oregon is all about. This year the ride was in Eastern Oregon which is mostly desert, certainly much drier than most people associate with Oregon.

Bus ride to John Day, Oregon from Portland

Highway went along the Columbia River from Portland to Pendleton, a rodeo town. We then went south to the town of John Day.

Tent city in John Day, Oregon

Our tents were pitched on the local baseball field. The grass was very nice and soft.

First morning's ride was supposed to be 70+ miles. I didn't think I could do 2 days of 70+ miles in a row so I rode 13 miles to the first water stop and then back to the same campsite for a total of 26 miles. We stayed in John Day for 2 nights in a  row which was very nice.

Second day climbing

Using every excuse to stop climbing and stretch my neck and arms

I was not the only one who used every excuse to stop.

I decided to break up the photos over 2-3 posts so your pages will load easier. I rode 70 miles on this day which was my longest ride in 10 years.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Brief update - Back from Cycle Oregon

I am in Atlanta on Sunday night waiting for my plane to Greenville and home. I had a very good time in Oregon, got to see Lynn for a couple of days even though she didn't ride. But I am so happy to be going home.

I only have one photo from Oregon on this computer. I think this one is riding into our camp in Diamond, Oregon where we had a rest day. The population of the town of Diamond is 5. So having 2000 cyclists and support staff is huge for that area. .

You can see our tent city way in the background as a series of white spots. I pretended to take this photo for the view, but really I needed to stop and stretch which I did every few miles.

I did not do the entire ride because my body was just not capable of doing that. I did 26 miles the first day, 70 the next, 51 miles the third day, rested on the rest day, 40 miles, then 73 miles, then just road to the finish in the car with Lynn on the last day. 260 miles in 6 days. I was pretty happy about that.

The massage therapists, Tate, in particular were the ONLY reason I was able to ride that much. Tate worked on my neck and shoulders which allowed me to be able to support my head on the ride and turn my head. I actually have more movement in my neck now than I did before the ride.

More stories later.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Oregon - Brief Break from Homebuilding

I am in Oregon for a week to ride Cycle Oregon with my friend, Lynn. I am unsure if Lynn will be able to make it as she is sick. Temperature up to 103.8 today. She is on antibiotics, but it's a 400 mile drive to get to Oregon from Missoula. We'll know better tomorrow how she is doing.

I am not in any kind of shape for this ride, but I'll try it. I have been studying the Oregon map. And studying a little bit for boards as well.

I am trying to figure out how to add photos from my iPad, but I am too tired to do it tonight. Maybe tomorrow.

Ya'll take care.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Sealing up the top of the Back Dormer

The top of the back dormer is one area I've been meaning to seal up. The carpenter crew has taped the outside of the sheathing, but it needs more air sealing. On the front dormer I just sprayed a butt load of "Great Stuff" caulk which looks ugly and I worry that it will open and crack with movement of the house. That is why I have used so much of the Prosoco Joint and Seam sealer cauking sealing most of the interior wall framing elsewhere in the house.

Here is how I have sealed the back dormer air gaps.

When you can see daylight, you know that there is an air gap.
Another view of the air gaps at the top of the dormer. Not a great photo, but you can still see the problem.

You can see the gap clearly here. 

The gaps at the top of the back dormer where the upstairs bathroom will be located were pretty large. I wanted to do a better job that just caulking with "Great Stuff". John cut some beveled polyiso foam boards for me that I was able to fit into these areas. I did bed the foam boards in "Great Stuff" foam so they are secured in place.

I like this solution to sealing gaps much better than just pure blobs of foam. It is a little fussy to do though. If John didn't have his shop right here with a table saw capable of beveling the edges and a radial arm saw making it easy to cut stuff to length, I think I would have gone with the blobs of foam solution.

I will probably tape the top side of the foam boards to ensure that they are well sealed to the framing.
Much better, don't you think?

Caulker's Elbow

As you know, I am the Air Sealing Specialist at John's new house. That duty entails overseeing any possible area of air infiltration or exfiltration that could occur in the building. It's a really tough, thankless job. It is also a high risk occupation for injury. I now have "Caulker's Elbow".

Caulker's elbow is an overuse injury from compressing too many tubes of caulk or joint sealer with your arms awkwardly twisted to reach distant areas of framing. The pain from Caulker's Elbow is localized to the lateral epicondyle which also happens to be the same area affected in tennis elbow. The major difference is that tennis elbow occurs during a leisure activity while Caulker's Elbow comes from a serious occupational duty.
Photo from Harvard Medical School Patient Education Center accessed on 9-2-13.

Research suggests that one of the most effective treatments for Caulker's elbow or lateral epicondylitis is rest. But no decent Air Sealing Specialist can take that option during the home building phase, especially when the framing is still accessible. So we continue to squeeze that caulk gun and smear that caulk and joint sealer without regard to our own health - looking only to the future benefits of air sealing. Self sacrifice and perseverance are major job requirements of the Air Sealing Specialist and I am up to the task.