The Last of the Windows Arriving

Posted from: MD, USA

The front porch framing just going up in this photo taken yesterday by Terry Hill. Work on the side porch and roof framing, (not shown) is now complete. Work on the west side deck framing is underway.

Thanks to Al Cobb for his clear explanation of the details of air sealing the SIP panels in the last two posts.

 This Friday, January 14, the last of our windows will arrive at the site! Construction has been held up for weeks while the manufacturer dealt with problems with the glass suppliers, but that will now be behind us and work will proceed apace.  Once windows are installed and taped next week, we will perform the first blower door test. Then, as Al noted, Panelwrights will tape all interior SIP joints and the test will be performed again. This double testing is not a part of the Passive House protocol for certification, but for our own verification of SIP performance.

 Once we are satisfied with the blower door testing results, we will schedule our close-in inspection with the County, and proceed with interior finishes. Suddenly big changes will become apparent, and as importantly, the workmen doing interior work will no longer have to work in sub-freezing weather!

Here is a series of photos of the out-sulation work which is now just about complete:

The first picture shows the nailer around a basement window before insulation is applied. You can see that this is basically a sandwich of two pieces of solid wood with high density rigid foam between them providing a thermal break. The outside face of the wood is in the same plane as the outside face of the EPS insulation that will later be installed.

In the picture above, that insulation has been installed above the window, not yet along the sides.

The window above has insulation installed, Tyvek housewrap installed over it, and taping all done. You can see two tapes here. The light colored tape is the flexible Tyvek tape that is adheres the Tyvek to the wood window framing. This is done before the window is set in place. The dark tape then seals the window’s metal mounting flange to the adjacent Tyvek. Bot these tapes are addressing moisture issues, not air infiltration issues. As Al pointed out earlier, we deal with the air sealing from the inside of the wall. Our primary goal on the outside of the wall is to keep the water out. The vertical wood strips to the right of the window are the furring for the HardiePlank siding, which will be the last step in closing in the wall. We fur the HardiePlank out from the face of the Tyvek to create an air space that allows for drainage of any water that gets through the HardiePlank.

Finally, below is a picture of the retaining wall at the rear (north east corner). In a typical home, the masonry wall would be tied into the concrete basement wall to make one integral structure. Here, we have kept it away from the basement wall so that the exterior foam insulation can run through uninterrupted. This required that we brace the retaining wall independently of the house. (The plumbing penetration has been foamed where it pierces the concrete and the gap in the visible insulation will be foamed as well before the exterior finish is applied.