Year: 2014

December 9, 2014

Just in time for the holidays, our construction crew (Gosnell Builders) received a fine lesson in taping from Santa’s finest little taping elf (Michael Hindle, CPHC, Passive to Positive). Our elves were happy with the performance of both SIGA Wigluv and Tescon Vana tapes, which are being used over our primary plywood sheathing air barrier.
LESSON ONE:  Get in the field and see how planned methods work. Get your hands on the materials yourself to see that what you draw actually works. Or doesn’t.
michael taping
LESSON TWO:  With membranes and plastic sheets, corners matter. A lot.  Don’t just drape the membrane into an area with hopes that it will be sealed by the extra material.  Cut neat, flat areas in the field of an assembly, and bring them up to – but not over the corner – and tape it off.  Then tape a smaller, more manageable patch to fit into the corner.  Neatly fold the corners with sufficient, but not excessive overlap (it really is just like wrapping a gift).  Above may require a YouTube video of of above mentioned elf.
house taping
LESSON THREE:  As defined in our Sequence of Operations, we installed our SIGA membrane over the top of the foundation wall and under the sill plate, to be taped to the exterior sheathing later.  When the guys were installing this membrane, they used a large strip with lots of over-lap. This made it hard during taping because where one sheet ended and another picked up, the overlaps were so excessive that it was very hard to know if you were getting a continuous taped seam.  Also the excess material flapped in the western breezes over the course of a month and was in less than pristine taping condition.  If we use this method again, we will stipulate that overlaps be no more than 6″ and only narrow strips of material be left “hanging out” and be taped down temporarily.

December 3, 2014

Fall in New York is spectacular, especially for an unplanned weekend getaway. The foliage of Central Park reflected on the water, the kids (and adults alike) iceskating, together with the street musician signing Bocelli under the arched bridge satiated all the senses. However it’s the little discoveries that make it exquisite. Making my way through ticketing at the Met, I overheard a few inquiring on the medieval armor collections. I must admit I was partial to that as well, having young boys often enact those times of chivalry. Yet it wasn’t until I saw the little 6th cent. b.c. colorful vases that I realized I had touched home. Perhaps some of you have an affinity to Missoni, or simply heard of last year’s Target-craze when Missoni-for-Target was launched. Yes, it is those distinguishable lines, earthy tones that reflect the colors of the Adriatic, Ionian, Aegean and Mediterranean seas, the long and snarly coasts, the shrubs and small fruits. We seek these colors and patterns in today’s terra-cotta tiles, wallpapers, articles of clothing as they were once reflected in century old perfume bottles. New York is full of surprises.

November 14, 2014

We are so excited to see these loewen bifold doors installed in the nautiwoods house!  Cannot wait to see them open onto the soon to be built beautiful, new cumaru deck with sleek cable rail detail.
bifold doors

November 5, 2014

framing 2
And suddenly…it’s a house.  The trusses arrived and were set at 24″ on center on top of our 24″ on center 2×6 structural wall on top of our 24″ on center MSR 2×10 floor framing on top of our basement wall.  Walking through the skeleton to see the clean, aligned bones was really exciting.  Our framers did a fabulous job with advanced framing and aligning all the structure.  It sounds simple and straightforward, but I’ve walked in many that seem junked up with unnecessary studs and multiple upon multiple jacks and kings.
framing 1
The blue line along the top plate is Tescon Vana magic tape sealing the corner edge of our plywood air barrier. Each spliced top plate is taped as well.
Next comes the roof sheathing, finalizing the plywood air barrier and taping all the seams.

October 28, 2014

The slab pour was a successful event!
photo 3
1.  Use slumps for leveling rather than puncturing your vapor barrier with pins.
photo 2-2
2. Hold your hose up off the vapor barrier.
photo 1-2
3. Make sure Michael has plenty of coffee if you’re going to make him get up that early.
photo 3-1

October 9, 2014

Two 5″ staggered seam layers of Roxul RockBoard80 have been laid as our under slab insulation. The total 10″ of insulation was decided on because it simplified foundation construction and ordering. Only 8″ was necessary per dynamic modeling.
photo 2
LESSON LEARNED:  Next time, we will use the higher 11 lb density Roxul ComfortBoard CIS under slab due to construction traffic issues, and lay boards across for walking paths.  It would be advisable to also immediately cover the mineral wool to protect it from getting wet.
photo 3-1
After all mineral wool was in place, our vapor barrier – Tu-Tuff by Sto-Cote – was installed.  Tu-Tuff claims to be an environmentally preferable product and is a cross-laminate, virgin polyolefin (rather than standard polyethelene).
LESSON LEARNED: Tu-Tuff is a 4 mil product, and we tried to tear and puncture it to no avail – it actually was tuff (sorry, Michael) and meets all the technical requirements.  Lesson(s) learned, 1) their proprietary tape is not up to snuff when it comes to sticking for air sealing purposes and we had to scramble to find tape to replace it – always have some Wigluv or Tescon Vana on hand!; 2) you can’t tape when surfaces are wet with dew; 3) Tu-Tuff being only 4 mil and thin did not stay smooth, but rather preferred to stay wrinkled.

September 25, 2014

The Roxul Rockboard 80 mineral wool has made its installation appearance on site.  It has even been deemed “fantastic” to work with by our contractor, Jeff Gosnell of Gosnell Builders! We would like to thank the team at Roxul for their endless hours in ensuring the appropriate foundation application of their product.
The lovely turquoise product is our Rub R Wall waterproofing, a 100% rubber, asphalt-free waterproofing membrane.

September 10, 2014

The FoamGlas blocks were placed below the footing, footing poured and concrete blocks for foundation wall are now being laid.

FoamGlas below footings

FoamGlas below footings

poured footing over slipsheet over FoamGlas

poured footing over slipsheet over FoamGlas

laying block foundation wall

laying block foundation wall


August 20, 2014

We are excited to be moving forward on one of the first Passive House US foam-free foundation assemblies in our birdPASSIVEhouse! We will be using a slab of FoamGlas below the footing and a block of FoamGlas between the footing and framed wall to meet structural bearing requirements. Below the slab we are using 10″ of Roxul RockBoard 80 in lieu of the typical foam insulation and to save money on a full FoamGlas construction. We have designed the walk-out basement with a frost-skirt assembly to reduce the amount of concrete and insulation required for a standard footing wall.
wall section a _ Drawing
Michael Hindle, our Certified Passive House Consultant, embracing a slab of FoamGlas.
Our full construction team form Gosnell Builders enthusiastically gathered together for our kick-off meeting. We are fortunate to have all subcontractors on board early to help us meet our Net Zero, Passive House goals.

July 23, 2014

excavation, utilities and site prep. waiting for FoamGlas and Mineral Wool subslab and foundation insulation to arrive!
more information on this “in process” project.