Been out-of-town so I missed out on a few days at the building site.  Insulation has begun and our EnergyStar consultant has been visiting the house.  The rigid insulation is being wrapped up outside and the front porch is on as well.  While I was out they didn’t run the insulation all the way down my studio wall when they put the front porch on.  I’m contemplating removing the porch, install the rigid and then lag the north side of the porch through the foam into the studio studs.  On the other areas of the house the ledger board is against the house, my prefered method for structural reasons.  Thermally though this is a train wreck mitigated only by the fact that where the ledger board ends up vertically it’s at or below the floor joists.  We’ll over compensate inside with lots of spray foam in the joist bays atop the Superior Walls.  I can’t do that in my studio.  The issue is compounded because there are water lines that run in that studio wall where the porch meets.  Best thing may be to start over on the front porch.

The fireplace is in, just waiting on the inspection.  I’m getting some feedback on the housewrap on the outside of the chase, but need to check with the inspector, I’m not sure what the issue is.  I also need to bring out the air intake 4″ so it will project past the rigid insulation.  Finally the fireplace installer inserted some pink batt insulation in the chase areas.  We’ll pull that out and make sure it’s insulated properly.

Cost is becoming an issue so we’re cutting back where we still can.  We’ll delay the air cleaner and humidity control on the furnace.  They can be added if necessary down the road.  One nice thing about doing them now was getting the 30% tax credit on the entire geothermal system including these add ons.  But omitting them now saves some money.  We’re also omitting all the stone on the house and will install that after we move in.  Stone is planned to go on the foundation, fireplace, chase, garage and front porch area.  We picked out a really nice cultured stone product that gives a nice stacked stone effect.  No big deal waiting.  Need everything to grow back in before the house is book / magazine photo shoot ready anyway.  Inside we’re reevaluating the kitchen cabinets and may switch to laminate door fronts.  Laminate will be less authentic, but more durable and may be able to get a better match / consistency of color and visual texture vs. playing with real wood.  Countertops may switch from concrete to laminate as well.  Though there are several other materials we’ll look at.

The greenest thing is to buy durable materials that you don’t have to replace down the road. But with every plan, flexibility is the key to success.  There comes a time when various points on the quality, quantity, cost triangle have to move in or out.  We’ll omit the front hall built in for now too, that can wait until we’re moved in.  Items like the screen porch, certain light fixtures and transoms above the bedrooms will wait as well.  Other items can be upgraded down the road such as the lighting in the boys bathroom. Several fundamental items were never up for consideration such as the HVAC hybrid geothermal system, appliances, roof, siding and insulation.  We’re balancing as best we can.

Some items will have to wait til Spring regardless including exterior painting.  It’s just too late in the year to reliable paint the house on the outside.  Siding doesn’t start going on for another week.

Insulating the house takes about 5 working days.  The first few days are spent spraying expanding and non-expanding foam in the joist bays and windows respectively.  ALL wire and pipe penetrations between floors get sprayed with expanding foam.  And all the seams between framing members get caulked to stop air penetration in its tracks.  Seeing this in person is awesom, not the act but rather the result.  I’ve actually dreamt of this day and I’m downright gitty I get to see all the caulk lines in person.  This is so above and beyond what cookie cutter builders have been doing for decades (centuries).  It’s also simple and cost effective.

Here are some pics, enjoy.

Not thrilled with how much 4" rigid we'll lose out on with the ledger board mounted so high on the studio wall. may remove porch and do over. Note, porch ceiling gets OSB and 1" rigid insulation. Should be 2" rigid but lights are designed to slide down only and 1.5" inches. I may box out around lights and add another inch of insulation everywhere else. It's living space above so it's critical this area be air tight and insulated.


Spray foam, roof baffles for air flow and corrugated "blockers" for the end of each rafter bay. Note, when we switched from engineered rafters to stick built, we gained a nice thermal break between the 2x4 and 2x8 rafters as shown here. this kneewall area is our line of defense. We'll insulation and tack up insulation wrap under the 2x4's to keep everything thermally copacetic.


QuadraFire EDGE60 pellet burning fireplace. Will burn sunflower seeds, corn, sawdust or switchgrass. 4" flue pipe is easy to exhaust, though it's crooked when it exits our house.


Window insulation is non expanding foam. Expanding foam will warp your windows.


can see white caulk on all framing seams. Expanding foam in joist bays above.


unfinished fire place chase. not rigid insulation under chase. air intake for fireplace shown.


styrofoam baffles stapled to underside of roof for proper air flow to keep roof in good shape for years to come.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s