Monday, August 30, 2010

And now to the stuffing...

The exterior has been fully wrapped- with standard black building paper for the stucco areas and the orange vaproshield for the areas to receive the rainscreen facade. With everything now waterproofed, Abe started to insulate the exterior walls- He's using Knauff Eco Batts, a formaldehyde free fiberglass insulation product, made from recycled glass and with formaldehyde free resins. The product is as good as fiberglass insulation can get- It's not quite as good as Ultratouch, the recycled cotton insulation though, but this super-green product is also 3 times the price of fiberglass insulation and therefore way out of our reach.
Parallel to that, the stucco sub is installing channel and control screeds on the exterior and we hopefully will have the building lathed by the end of next week.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Paper or Plastic?

We’ve moved on to the next step- to wrap the house in building paper and to install the required screeds and flashings. There are a myriad of different products on the market- each promising to be better than the other one. There’s Tyvek and Typar, which both are in an advertising war against each other (the concept is pretty interesting and we had looked into Tyvek for a bit (Tyvek has a pretty high UV resistance which allows it to be exposed to the sun for an extended period of time)- but since the code requires a 2-layer weather resistive barrier system- so we would have had to have either 2 layers of Tyvek or one layer of Tyvek and one layer of regular paper. We finally decided to go with paper and not plastic- Since the code requires that 2 layers of building paper are being used, some manufacturers offer paper with a double-thickness (theoretically the strength of 2 layers of paper, but the reason why 2 separate sheets should be used lies elsewhere- The tiny gap between the 2 layers functions as a drainage plain- a micro channel where water, which manages to get through the first layer can drain vertically down to the weep screed. Sound pretty simple- and yet, you see the double-layer strength paper being used all the time. The photo shows the South- west corner of the building being wrapped already.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Making it look like one

One of the downsides of wood frame construction without using structural steel is the reduced spanning capability of the naturally grown material- While steel can create exciting cantilevers, wood does allow for some, but needs more regular support through vertical members. This becomes in particular evident in the many corner windows that we have in our project. We decided to incoroporate those vertical members into the aesthetics of the openings- making them part of the window, rather than having them stand out as a cloumn by their own. We achieved this by cladding the posts in the same material as the windows- class 1 clear anodized aluminum. We think this looks great- but see for yourself on the photo above. It shows the corner window of the 3rd bedroom towards the street (see also on the street view rendering above).