kimchi & kraut

Passive House + Zero Net Energy + Permaculture Yard

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Roof Details (Air Sealing #3)

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Top of Wall and Roof Connection

Once the wall assembly details were figured out, and our ceiling set-up detailed, the transition between the two became the next challenge. In other words, how to carry the air barrier over the top of our exterior walls.

I found this helpful article by Chris Corson from The Journal of Light Construction:

 

An Affordable-Passive-House  (pdf)

 

Using a waterproof peel-and-stick membrane to wrap over the top of the wall (going from exterior sheathing — in our case 7/16″ Zip sheathing — to interior side of the top plates) seemed like the easiest way to maintain a continuous air barrier at the wall-to-roof junction. The membrane would also have a nice air sealing gasket effect after the trusses were set in place.

I also found this excellent Hammer and Hand video on YouTube (one of their many helpful videos):

 

Wall-to-Roof Air Barrier

 

Also, by being able to carry the Zip sheathing up above the top plate of the wall, hugging the bottom of the trusses, meant our 4″ of Roxul Comfortboard 80 over the Zip sheathing would rise above the top of our walls, so that thermally we would be protected going from the exterior walls to the attic, which will be filled with 24″ of blown-in cellulose — making our thermal envelope continuous for the whole house: under the basement slab – exterior of foundation – exterior walls – attic (except for one small gap at the footing-slab-foundation wall connection, which I talk about in a separate post: Foundation Details).

A high R-value wall meets up with a high R-value attic, with no thermal bridging, making our thermal layers continuous. When this is combined with an equally air-tight structure, conditioned air cannot easily escape — resulting in a significantly lower energy demand for heating and cooling (and therefore lower utility bills), and added comfort for the occupants.

Here’s a nice diagram from Fine Homebuilding magazine showing a similar set-up:

 

021221072-2_med.jpg

Diagram from Fine Homebuilding magazine.

 

I tried using rolls of conventional peel-and-stick window flashing membrane, purchased from Home Depot and Mendards, but they performed poorly, even in unseasonably warm temperatures for February in Chicago.

I then switched to Grace Ice and Water Shield, normally used as a roofing underlayment along the first 3-6′ of roof edge.

 

grace-ice-water-shield

Purchased this box at Home Depot.

 

Since it came on a long roll about 4′ wide, my wife and I cut it down to a series of strips that could more easily be applied to the wall-top plate connection.

 

 

While the sun was out, the Grace membrane worked fairly well, especially when pressure was applied with a J-Roller.

 

grace-vycor-in-the-sun-ii

Grace Ice and Water Shield applied to the top of our wall — covering the Zip sheathing/top plate connection.

 

Unfortunately, the sun and warmer temperatures didn’t stick around long enough for me to finish.

 

sealing top of wall w: Grace Vycor in sun

Using a J-Roller to get the Grace Ice and Water Shield to stick better.

 

 

grace-vycor-in-the-sun

This Simpsons sky didn’t last long. In a matter of hours it was back to rainy, gray, and cold — typical Chicago winter weather for February.

 

When the weather went gray and cold again, we started to use a heat gun to warm up the Grace membrane, which had turned stiff and nearly useless in the cold.

 

wagner-heat-gun

Wagner heat gun for warming up the Grace membrane.

 

After wasting a lot of time and effort trying to pre-heat the Grace membrane before installing it, I finally relented and switched to the much more expensive (but also much more effective) Extoseal Encors tape from Pro Clima. Where the Grace membrane lost virtually all of its stickiness, the Extoseal Encors stuck easily and consistently, with the J-Roller just helping it to lay flatter and more securely.

 

extoseal-encors-as-gasket

Pro Clima’s Extoseal Encors available from 475 HPBS.

 

It was a case of trying to be penny wise but ending up pound foolish. Looking back, I would gladly pay an extra $300 in materials to have those hours of frustration back (including the time it took to run to the store and buy the heat gun, which turned out to be ineffective anyway).

 

installing Extoseal Encors on top of wall cloudy

Finishing up the top of the wall.

 

After finishing sealing the Zip sheathing-top plate connection on all the outside perimeter walls over the weekend, it was time for the trusses to be installed.

 

 

Trusses

Zach asked me to stand by the front door rough opening and give the crane operator hand signals. It was a fun way to watch the roof take shape.

 

first-truss-swinging-into-place

First truss swinging into place.

 

 

trusses-going-in-from-inside

Sammy, Zach, and Billy (out of view to the right), landing and setting the trusses.

 

Once the trusses neared the front door, Zach could signal the crane operator himself, so I was able to get some shots from just outside the construction fence.

 

 

 

starting-garage-trusses

Sammy, Zach, and Billy landing trusses on the garage.

 

 

long-view-of-crane-and-house-east-side

Setting the trusses on the garage. The basic silhouette of the house starts to come to life.

 

Once the trusses were on, and the guys had a chance to install the final top row of Zip sheathing (up to the bottom of the trusses on the exterior side of the wall), I could move inside to seal all the connections from the interior.

 

 

Top of Wall (Interior)

Because of the cold, the Grace membrane was beginning to lift at the edges in certain spots, so just to make sure it had a nice long-term seal, I went around the perimeter of the house and used a layer of Tescon Vana (3″ wide) tape to seal the edge of the Grace membrane.

 

sealed top plate from interior

Trusses sitting on Grace and Extoseal Encors (other sections of top plate), with the final, top row of Zip sheathing sealed to the trusses with HF Sealant.

 

The picture below shows all the connections involved: top of Zip sheathing meeting the roof trusses and the top plate of the outside wall:

 

sealed top of wall from inside

HF Sealant helps to air seal the Zip-truss and Zip-Grace/Extoseal Encors connections.

 

view of top row of Zip sheathing 1

Looking up at the top row of Zip sheathing attached to the outside edge of the raised heel trusses.

 

 

Shingles

We had to wait for shingles for quite some time. First we had to fire our GC’s, and then I had to find a roofer and a plumber (to make penetrations through the roof before the shingles went on). But before the plumber could even start, I had to get the Intello installed on the ceiling. And even before that, I had to figure out the insulation baffles, which I’ll talk about in a separate post.

It took awhile to find a roofer since they would have to make three separate trips for a relatively small job. The first trip was just to set down the Grace Ice and Water Shield at the edges of the roof, along with a synthetic roof underlayment (the consensus was that typical roofing felt wouldn’t hold up to long term exposure). As it turned out, it took weeks before the plumbers made their penetrations through the roof sheathing (literally the day the roofers showed up — a long, horrible story in and of itself that I’ll save for later).

 

synthetic underlayment at roof peak

Synthetic underlayment covering the ridge line until the shingles and a ridge vent can be installed.

 

The second trip out was to install the shingles on the roof of the house, while the third trip to install shingles on the garage roof could only happen after the Roxul on the exterior of our Zip sheathing was installed (in order to make a proper sealed connection between the wall of the house and the garage roof).

There weren’t many roofers willing to work with our unique Passive House sequencing, but Peterson Roofing was kind enough to take it on.

 

Grace ice and water shield rolling up after wind

Grace Ice and Water Shield rolling up on itself after the wind got ahold of it.

 

Unfortunately, the day after the guys installed the Grace membrane and the synthetic underlayment, we had a cold, blustery day. Once the wind grabbed the Grace membrane, the membrane rolled up on itself, turning it into a real mess.

Because of our recent past bad experiences with general contractors, I just assumed I was on my own, so I spent a couple of hours putting down new layers of the Grace membrane. When Peterson roofing found out, they were shocked I did it myself, and assured me I could’ve called them and they would’ve come back out. We were so used to people not following through, that low expectations meant it didn’t even occur to me to call them.

We initially were going to use Certainteed’s Landmark TL shingle, which mimics a cedar shake shingle profile, but Armando from Midwest Roofing Supply in Schaumburg, Illinois was kind enough to take the time to walk me through the options available, and explained that because our roofline isn’t steep, only the neighbors from their second story windows would get to appreciate the effect. He recommended we save some money, while not giving up on quality or durability, and go with the Landmark Pro product.

 

shingles being installed w: vents

Shingles going down on the roof of the house.

 

The shingles went on quickly since we have a relatively small and simple roof. In addition to the aesthetic leap the shingles made on the appearance of the structure, it also meant I didn’t have to go around cleaning up the subfloor every time it rained.

Although the synthetic underlayment worked pretty well at keeping the rain out, if there was significant wind combined with rain, the water easily found its way under the underlayment where it could then drip and fall on the subflooring below — pretty depressing showing up to the job site after a hard rain knowing I was going to spend the first hour just cleaning up and looking for leaks.

 

roofers shingling south side

Seeing this felt like a tremendous amount of progress was being made. It also meant an end to our roof leaks on the interior.

 

 

shingle installation progressing

Shingles going on quickly. Only two penetrations through the roof — main waste stack and radon.

 

After they cut the opening for the ridge vent, but before it was installed, I managed to get this shot from inside:

 

attic just before ridge vent installed

Attic as cathedral.

 

Foundation Details (Air Sealing #1)

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Footings

For the top of the footings we used a product from Cosella Dörken called Delta Footing Barrier. Acting as a capillary break, the membrane is supposed to help prevent moisture from wicking up from below the footing, where it could then migrate into the foundation wall and into the basement, or even the wall assembly above (worst case scenario), causing mold or other moisture related damage. It should contribute to making the basement a very livable space (especially when combined with significant amounts of insulation on the exterior walls and under the slab).

Here’s a detail from the construction drawings:

 

footing-thermal-bridge-up-from-soil

Red arrow shows thermal bridge and gap in the vapor barrier up through the footing from surrounding soil if Delta membrane were not present.

 

In other words, this junction represents a weak point in our thermal envelope and vapor barrier. Passive House proponents often talk about using a red pen on a construction drawing to follow the air barrier and thermal envelope (the goal: no gaps in air sealing or the layers of insulation) . In theory, you should be able to do this all the way around the structure without once lifting your pen. If you can lift your pen (meaning there’s a gap in your air barrier or thermal envelope — which would be the case without the Delta membrane on top of our footing), then it’s a weak point that should be addressed (if at all possible).

Even with significant insulation on the exterior wall of the foundation (Roxul Comfortboard 80: 2″ + 3″), along with a sprayed-on waterproofing membrane, as well as a vapor barrier (Stego Wrap) and insulation (Roxul Comfortboard 80: 2″ + 2″) under the basement slab, this junction where the three elements meet — slab, footing, wall — is a weak point. Although it doesn’t address the weakness in R-value, at least it should keep the moisture at bay (probably the biggest complaint associated with basements).

With a 9′ basement, we’re hoping the temperatures at this depth are consistently mild enough to avoid any kind of significant energy penalty. I’m confident this will be the case because in our last home, a typical suburban tract house without much insulation, the basement always stayed cool in the summer and warm in the winter, even though the ducts to the basement had been closed off so the space never saw any direct benefit from the HVAC system.

For minimal cost in materials, the Delta membrane seems well worth it for the added peace of mind.

 

foundation-delta-membrane-in-box

Rolls of Delta Footing Barrier on site and ready to go.

 

 

 

Here is a video and some photos from our job site:

 

 

The guys from Tynis Concrete didn’t seem to mind trying something new, and the membrane went on without any issues.

 

foundation-delta-fabric-close-up-in-corner

A corner of the footing with the Delta membrane “keyed” into the footing.

 

I couldn’t find any local suppliers who carried the Delta membrane, so I ordered online from: spycorbuilding.com

 

foundation-mud-shot

Detail of the bottom of our hole, being prepped for the footings.

 

 

Foundation Walls with Roxul Comfortboard 80

For the walls, first we used a spray-on waterproofing membrane from Tremco:

 

 

After the waterproofing was complete, we began installing the two layers of Roxul Comfortboard 80 (a dense, rigid form of insulation that can be used below grade, to the exterior side of wall sheathing, and even under a basement slab), which will give the basement foundation walls an R-20 of insulation value.

 

roxul-delivered-to-the-site

Roxul delivery shows up on site (Comfortboard 80: 2″ and 3″ thick). Roxul is showing up in the Big Box stores here in the Chicago area, so it’s becoming easier to order.

 

When questions came up about how to install Roxul, or which product to use where, their technical help via email was great — in our case, Fiona Schofield, who gave us a lot of useful information — including the document below, a study on the long-term condition of Roxul (aka stone, rock, or mineral wool) in a below grade application (i.e. up against an exterior foundation wall):

 

external-thermal-and-moisture-insulation-of-outer-basement-wall (pdf)

 

In addition, after finding the video below online, in which what looks to be a European version of Roxul is attached to a cinder block wall with an adhesive, or a thinset mortar,

 

 

I contacted Fiona and heard back that it was ok to use an adhesive for our first layer (PL Premium, or similar polyurethane adhesive caulk), so long as we used a mechanical fastener for the second layer. In effect, the first layer just needs to stay on long enough for us to get the second layer up and attached with a mechanical fastener. This really saved us some time since the guys didn’t have to drill two full sets of holes.

 

sammy-butters-the-back-of-the-roxul

Sammy hitting the back of the Roxul with Liquid Nails before setting it into position. The adhesive worked really well at keeping the Roxul in place, even when the foundation was damp in certain areas.

 

The guys also didn’t seem to mind cutting or otherwise working with the Roxul. We used serrated knives we purchased from Home Depot, made especially for cutting rock wool…

 

serrated-knife-for-roxul

This knife, purchased from Home Depot, works really well cutting the Roxul.

 

…which worked fine, but then after some experimenting, the guys also began using a small, handheld sawzall (reciprocating saw), and even a table saw, to get the exact-sized pieces we needed to ensure staggered seams. I had my doubts about the table saw, but Phil said the Roxul cut easily, and it really didn’t seem to kick up a lot of dust (although he did wear a dust mask for protection).

 

nils-and-bill-getting-1st-layer-of-roxul-up

Billy and Nils (in the hole in the background) gluing up the first layer of Roxul.

 

Once the first layer of Roxul (2″ thick) was in place, we could then install our second layer of Roxul (3″ thick) over the top of it.

After a lot of research, and even posting a question on Green Building Advisor…

 

Attaching Roxul Comfortboard 80 to Exterior of Foundation Walls

 

…we decided to go with the Rodenhouse fastener (Plasti-Grip PMF):

 

 

These really are as easy to install as depicted in the video. Using a hammer drill with a 5/16″ bit, the guys drilled a hole to the depth of the fastener, before tapping the PMF fastener home with a hammer. It’s a genuinely straightforward process. Sometimes a fastener wouldn’t sit perfectly, but as long as a majority of the fasteners on each board did, it didn’t seem to be a problem. Based on what I read online, they were much easier to work with than if we had to use Tapcon or similar concrete screws.

 

rodenhouse-fastener-close-up

Close-up of the Rodenhouse PMF fastener.

 

They weren’t cheap, but they were well worth the cost in materials for the savings in labor (and frustration). And Mitch Mahler, from Rodenhouse, was easy to work with via email in terms of ordering or getting answers to technical questions.

 

rodenhouse-fastener-box-w-label

The box the fasteners came in.

 

 

in-the-trenches-w-roxul

In the trenches, as the second layer of Roxul gets attached with the Rodenhouse fasteners.

 

 

long-narrow-piece-of-roxul-w-3-fasteners

Long, narrow piece of Roxul with 3 Rodenhouse fasteners.

 

Normally, Roxul recommends 5 fasteners per piece (4 in the corners, 1 in the middle), but we found that 4 on a normal piece, and 3 for a long, narrow piece worked fine — at least for the foundation, where the backfill will help to keep the Roxul in place over the long haul.

 

 

Thermal Bridging in the Foundation

Following Passive House science principles, we tried to remove as many points of thermal bridging in the structure as we could. One area where this was addressed in the construction drawings was a 7″ thermal break between the basement foundation and the attached garage foundation. In other words, there would be no physical connection between the garage and house foundations at all. The only connection would occur above, at the level of framing, where they would be tied structurally together. The idea was that we could place our two layers of Roxul (2″ + 3″) in that gap, thus maintaining our 5″ of Roxul on the exterior of the foundation, uninterrupted (the key point here) around the perimeter of the basement foundation.

On the day the footings were installed, however, our concrete subcontractor expressed serious reservations about the long-term structural stability of the framed house and garage above this gap — in effect, he was worried that over time the two foundations might settle and move apart, wreaking havoc with the framed structures above.

So I was back to post another question on Green Building Advisor (a fantastic resource for any green build or self-build) on the topic:

 

How important is a thermal break between a house foundation and an attached garage foundation?

 

Here are some photos showing these connections:

 

foundation-north-corner-garagehouse-connection

Garage foundation meeting up with corner of house foundation (north side of house).

 

 

foundation-garage-house-connection-north-corner

Close up of this garage-house foundation connection, from inside the garage.

 

 

foundation-front-porch-garage-to-house-porch-to-house-connections

Front porch. Thermal bridge from garage to house is off to the far right.

 

 

foundation-garage-house-connection-inside-corner-of-garage-inside-corner-of-front-porch

Inside corner of garage where garage-front porch-house connect.

 

 

foundation-front-porch-to-house-connection-outside-corner-of-porch

Outside corner of front porch. Technically, another thermal bridge from porch to house foundation.

 

 

foundation-side-porch

Wing wall for side porch stoop. Yet another thermal bridge to the house foundation.

 

Unfortunately, there just doesn’t seem to be a lot of information available as to how to proceed. In the end, we decided to ignore these connections, hoping that the thermal bridging at these two points (garage-house, garage-front porch-house), in particular, won’t be all that significant (to our heating and AC costs, or, for example, cold getting into the foundation and then rising up and getting into the wall assembly above these two points where it could become interstitial condensation — unwanted, and potentially dangerous, moisture in the wall).

I assumed Passive House builders would incorporate rigid foam insulation into the concrete forms at these points, but I couldn’t find any pictures or descriptions showing or talking about this in books, magazines, or anywhere online. Either Passive House builders ignore these kind of connections, or I just missed the information somehow. 

 

*** If anyone knows of good sources on this, let me know, and I will post links here to help others in the design stage of their own build ***

 

 

Update: David Goodyear is building a Passive House in Newfoundland, and he has successfully used rigid foam between the house and garage foundations. You can read about it on his blog here:

 

Flat Rock Passive House: A Tale of Two Foundations

 

 

foundation-side-porch

BEFORE: Monument to Italian Brutalism.

 

 

side-porch-getting-wrapped-in-roxul

AFTER: Wrapped in snuggly blanket of Roxul. The wing wall was eventually entirely covered except for the tops.

 

Below are the other points of thermal bridging in the foundations, now covered in Roxul:

 

south-inside-corner-of-garage-w-roxul

Corner of garage foundation meeting up with house foundation (standing inside garage).

 

 

south-view-of-garage-house-foundation-connection-w-roxul

Same corner, from outside, looking at house foundation to the right.

 

 

inside-garage-garagehouse-connection-w-roxul

Garage-front porch-house connection (from inside garage).

 

 

front-porch-w-roxul

Outside corner of front porch meeting up with house foundation.

 

We did our best to cover these thermal bridges, but clearly it’s imperfect, so all we can do is hope there won’t be a significant energy penalty associated with these connections.

 

 

Basement Windows and Roxul

As the Roxul was going on the foundation, Phil and Nils installed window bucks for the two basement windows. The bucks were sized so they meet up flush with the two layers of Roxul. Eventually a layer of HardieBacker board and two coats of Tuff II (the product we’ll be using for the parge coat) will cover the window bucks, and also the transition between the top of the foundation walls and grade around the perimeter of the house.

 

nils-installing-basement-window-bucks

Nils installing the basement window bucks as the Roxul is being installed on the exterior side of the foundation.

 

I initially intended to use the R-Guard line of liquid membranes by Prosoco for air sealing and waterproofing all seams and window/door openings, but cold temperatures made this impossible (they require 40° F and rising, which would be the exception rather than the rule here in Chicago for December and January). Maybe because of years house painting (caulking and drywall patching) the liquid membranes seem easier to use and less fussy to get right (the big issue with the tapes is avoiding wrinkles and properly shingle flashing to get water moving in the right direction).

Our Plan B was the series of Pro Clima products sold by 475 High Performance Building Supply. Most of them, including the sealant, can be used down to 14° F without issues.

Another option would’ve been the line of Siga tapes, another popular choice used in Europe, available from Small Planet Supply.

So as the window bucks went in, I followed, applying Contega HF sealant to all the seams and gaps. The sealant is acting as our first layer of air blockage. It’s super sticky, so I don’t doubt that it’s permanently flexible. I did a mock-up of our wall assembly months ago, and the HF on the seams is still tacky to the touch. It goes on light green, then slightly darkens as it dries.

 

contega-hf-sealant-in-20-oz-sausage

Contega HF sealant in a 20 oz. sausage. It’s also available in the more familiar 10 oz. caulk tubes.

 

A few suggestions for using the HF Sealant:

  • I’ve found that completely snipping off the metal clip on the end of the sausage (as opposed to just cutting a couple of small slits around it) prevents it from getting jammed in the front end of the gun.
  • If I have a half-finished sausage of HF at the end of the day, I put it in a tightly wrapped plastic bag overnight (see photo below), which allows me to use it within a day or two without any problems.
  • Use a tiny spatula (see photo below) to tool the HF into place rather than your finger, as you normally would with a caulk — it’s just too sticky.
  • Because the HF is so sticky, I wear Nitrile gloves, so when it starts to get everywhere — and it will get everywhere if you let it — I just simply change to a new pair.
  • For clean up, the Citrus Solvent we’ve been using with the tung oil works great.

 

newborn-sausage-gun

The Newborn brand of sausage gun we’re using for the HF sealant. Found it on Amazon. A really well-made tool.

 

 

ateco-spatula

Found this on Amazon. I thought it was construction grade, but it’s made for kitchen use. It’s durable, and I like the thin blade since it offers more “feel” than a thicker blade, making it easier to tool the HF into place without displacing too much of it in the process.

 

It’s easy to forget the realities of a construction site when planning details, like the use of the Pro Clima tapes. I pictured it being a pretty straightforward process, not a winter day in the 20’s, fingers numb, propped up on an unbalanced ladder in the hole, while the other guys are cutting wood and Roxul around me — a case of adapt or die, I guess, and a reminder not to be overconfident about the products you’ll be using, or the installation process that inevitably goes with them.

 

installing-pro-clima-tapes-on-ext-side-of-base-wdw-bucks

Applying the Pro Clima tapes to the exterior side of the window bucks.

 

It was important that the connection between the window bucks and the concrete of the foundation be air sealed and made water tight before it gets completely covered by the two layers of Roxul.

It’s been in the 20’s and 30’s, so the HF sealant took a couple of days to firm up before I could then apply the series of Pro Clima tapes. I’m using a combination of tapes, including the Tescon Vana (the bright blue), Profil (light blue — great for making inside and outside corners), Contega Solido Exo (black, 6″ wide), and the Extoseal Encors for our sills (475 HPBS has a great series of videos showing how to use each tape).

 

installing-pro-clima-tapes-on-basement-window

Finishing off the buck from inside the basement.

 

We knew the bucks would be sitting for some time, exposed to the elements, before the windows actually show up, so we decided to completely cover the openings just to be safe. This gave me extra practice using the tapes, which definitely helped, and it meant not stressing out every time the forecast called for rain or snow.

 

basement-window-buck-covered-in-tape

Basement window buck covered in Contega HF sealant and Pro Clima tapes.

 

The only tape that’s giving me fits is the black Contega Solido Exo. It’s thinner than the other tapes, so it has a propensity to want to stick to itself (wrinkles are more difficult to avoid), and I find it much harder to pull it away from its peel-and-stick backing than the other tapes. I worried that the Extoseal Encors might be difficult to get right, but it — along with the Tescon Vana and Profil tapes — has been surprisingly easy to work with.

This video was my Bible for installing the Extoseal Encors:

 

 

In lieu of on-site training from someone who’s used a specific product consistently, videos like this one are invaluable when using new products and you want to get the details right. Without videos like this, you’d be in for a frustrating process of trial and error.

For instance, even with this excellent video, I noticed when I did our mock wall assembly that because the Extoseal Encors can stretch around corners it’s easy to stretch it too much, thereby inadvertently thinning it out. I’ve found that when I get to a corner it’s better to just fold it around the edge rather quickly, without overthinking it too much, which helps to maintain the thickness of the material at and around the corners (arguably the product’s strongest attribute in helping to avoid water damage).

I can’t recommend enough doing a mock wall assembly, or practicing on scraps, to get a feel for using these products, before you find yourself on-site doing it for real.

 

basement-window-buck-before-roxul

Basement window buck sealed and taped on the exterior side before being covered in Roxul.

 

 

close-up-basement-wdw-buck-covered-by-roxul

Basement window buck surrounded by two layers of Roxul.

 

 

basement-window-buck-and-roxul-meet-up

Close-up of outside edge of basement window buck and Roxul connection.

 

We’re almost ready to climb out of the hole. It will be exciting to watch the guys start framing so we can see the basic form of the house begin to take shape.

 

foundation-tools-ready-to-leave-site

Tools ready to head to the next job site. Concrete guys (they’re mostly guys) are the unsung heroes of construction (excavators should be included as well) — like offensive linemen in football, no one pays much attention to them until a mistake is made.

 

 

foundation-concrete-jewelry

Concrete jewelry.

 

 

queen-of-dirt-mountain

Queen of Dirt Mountain.