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.


  1. Wow! It is starting to look like a house!

  2. Yes, it is finally looking like a little house. Still a ton to do, but it is satisfying to see it take shape. Thank you for commenting on my blog. If you didn't comment, I would be almost totally devoid of comments.