Interior framing is always exciting. It's when the building interior design begins to take shape. It is also when all of the carefully planned, measured and placed rough plumbing is reconciled. In the case of the carriage house - - all good! More photos coming soon . . .
Not a fancy topic, but a necessity in properly vented homes. The 4" pipes have been painted black and almost disappear on the black roof.
The custom proper vents on the east and west eaves consist of 1/2" foil-faced polyiso foam board, supported by 2x2 nailer, and located 1/2" down from the roof deck. These custom proper vents prevent "wind washing" of the attic insulation (coming soon), which will be blown in cellulose. This application allows 2" of free airflow between attic insulation and the roof deck creating a "cold roof", which eliminates condensation on the underside of the roof decking and icycles hanging off the eaves.
The carriage house and garage sheathed and taped ceiling serves as an air barrier between the conditioned (living) and unconditioned (attic) space. It will also serve to support a heavy insulation load in the attic (approximately 24" of cellulose or R70+).
Happy New Year! Despite the pandemic, and shortage/high cost of materials and help, we're still making progress. Due to the fact we have taken over 500 photos to date (many of which are technical pics for the builder), included below are a series of slideshows, encompassing the past 6 months. Details and descriptions coming soon. Enjoy!
site work, new electrical service & pre-foundation work
The carriage house is located on the former barn complex site of the Hayes Farm, in the approximate location of the former dairy barn. The super insulated slab foundation begins approximately 2 feet below grade, with minimal site impact. Since the soil composition is clay, many loads of gravel were brought in to provide essential drainage and a compacted base for the foam board insulation. Thank you, Herb!
A passive radon mitigation system is included at the perimeter and will vent through the roof. Note: Since radon levels typically run high in portions of Washington County, this builder believes passive radon mitigation needs to be included in all new construction homes and buildings. Should radon levels test higher than normal after building completion, a radon fan will be placed in the 4" ventilation pipe.
The frost protected shallow foundation consists of two layers of 4" EPS type IX foam board (8" total or R38.4), with 15 mil radon/vapor barrier taped and sandwiched between the two layers of foam. 8"w x 18"h EPS foam blocks make up the non-load bearing wall and eliminates thermal bridging at the slab edge. 24" of tapered wing insulation extends beyond the foam block wall for proper drainage and frost management. The 4" perimeter drain to daylight is set in gravel and wrapped in landscape fabric and backfilled.
12" of compacted soil fills the interior of the foundation after the waste and drainage pipes are installed, allowing for a thickened edge slab of concrete. Carefully placed rebar (measured and marked) on chairs is installed in the house and garage foundations, with 2x4 and Zip Wall bracing to support the foam block walls during the concrete pour. Note: The 2x4's and sheathing were reused for saw horses, rain screen, and window frames.
concrete slab foundation
Here come the concrete trucks! Concrete work by JD Masonry, Schaghitcoke - neighbor Don Buck and team. Pouring concrete is an art, and requires expertise in order to be done correctly. The house section was poured first, followed by the garage several days later. The 4000 psi concrete slab foundation was then covered in plastic for about a week to slow the cure. The support bracing was then removed, and a protective foundation coating was applied to the foam blocks.
Let there be walls
The window and door boxes were built first and provide additional structural support for the windows and doors, and the connection between the walls. The double 2x4 framed walls were then constructed and Zip Wall sheathing applied and taped. The walls jacks were life altering and allowed both walls to go up together. The walls sit on an EDPM continuous sill sealed gasket to provide air, vapor, water and critter protection where the walls meet the slab foundation.
window and door prep while we wait for trusses
Insulated headers, anyone? The headers above the windows and doors are single ply 2x12, insulated with 2" EPS foam board and 9" of Rockwool for a total R-value of 48. The top of the walls were capped and sealed with Zip Wall and liquid flashing.
Proper window and door preparation is essential when creating a water resistive system. For this house, a 2-1/2" rip of 3/4" Advantech was applied to the window box where the window will rest on the sill. This "back dam" stops any water from entering beyond the sill, and allows any "Easton" rain (see ...BROUGHT TO YOU BY EASTON below) to drain away from the building. Primed beveled cedar siding is then applied, butting to the back dam to create a positive slope. The window and door openings were then flashed utilizing a "hybrid" method; Liquid Flash at the head and sill and Zip tape on the jambs.
speaking of windows and doors . . .
Yep, the windows and front door came all the way from Ireland. Why? Because Klearwall makes high quality, affordable, Passive House certified windows and doors, with a European style that outperforms most of the big named American windows. (I won't mention any names.)
so what's a plenum truss?
The carriage house was designed to include a 12"h plenum truss, which will provide semi-conditioned space for all of the duct work. Due to the fact the truss manufacturer had never heard of a plenum truss, education and patience was provided.
Once upon a time, not so long ago (during a pandemic), there were four family members and a neighbor . . .
. . . With absolutely no roofers available, even after weeks and weeks of phone calls and texts, these four family members and a neighbor proceeded to set all of the building trusses alone with a crane. Yes, it took them quite a few hours because they were slow. And yes, it rained. But despite the delays, obstacles, and weather, these four family members and a neighbor had a successful day.
piggy backs, sheathing and septic system
Piggy backs are the truss "peaks" that go on the roof after the trusses have been thoroughly secured and supported, and the remaining area of the roof has been sheathed.
The septic system was installed by Snell Construction and Septic Services - Harold Snell and sons. Their work was precise and meticulous.
making pretty aka "Grading"
Many thanks to Harold and sons for grading around the building and main house before the weather turned cold.
looking good while waiting for a roof
temporary window protection, brought to you by "EASTON"
Due to its own weather pattern, regardless of what's going on in surrounding towns, we have identified this weather anomaly as "Easton". For example, we were delighted to have the roof sheathed, knowing for certain, the inside of the building would remain dry until the roof was shingled. Nope. "Easton" rain doesn't fall down from the sky. Instead, it swirls and whips and dances - - right through the window openings. As such, we devised a plan to combat the "Easton effect". So one Sunday in November, we built and installed 2x4 frames with 6 mil poly temporary windows, and Zip Roof doors. Problem solved.
Custom Zip Roof overhead door enclosure (above), complete with hinged door opening and "lock" (hint: looks like a piece of 6x6).
pent roof north and cool bird patterns
The custom made "Z bend" (aka counter flashing) for the pent roof, is applied at the wall to roof juncture over the top layer of singles. When properly installed and folded, a durable and weatherproof joint is achieved when taped. The fasteners are hidden as well.
the front porch is born
Look closely at the ground. There are six (6) helical piles that were installed by Techno Metal Posts of Albany. Many thanks to Matt Reagan for, once again, doing stellar work.
Note: Under the Sun has been using Techno Metal Posts for over 10 years. It is the much stronger, neater, less labor intensive option to manually digging 4 foot holes!
The front porch includes Douglas fir posts and triple 2x12 beams that were laminated with Liquid Flash at the wall juncture to provide air sealing. The beams were supported by galvanized hangers to reduce framing and thermal bridging in the carriage house. The trusses were lifted into place and secured with TimberLok heavy duty screws. The gable truss was set remotely (controlled from the ground).
a roof coming soon?
On Wednesday, the roofing materials were delivered; 25 SQ of shingles - about 40 bundles on the roof and the remaining on pallets in front of the building. And then . . .
on thursday - - the big snow of 2020
37" total snow in Greenwich in about 12 hours. Yes, that is our red truck (above) in that great big white pile. Several hours later, our F150 and Fisher plow cleared us out to the road. But wait - - we couldn't go anywhere, because the town didn't plow our road until 4:00PM. So on Saturday . . .
. . . We spent 5 hours moving snow . . . because on the following Monday . . .
a roof at last!
Non-snow covered roof photos will be added as soon as the roof is clear!
window and front door installation
European windows do not have nailing flanges. Instead, windows are installed using metal clips. Lots of them. But when installed correctly, they fit nicely into the window openings and are secured with shim screws. These tilt and turn windows open two ways; turn the handle 45 degrees and the window will tilt inward at the top. Turn the handle 90 degrees and the window pulls into the room.
Backstory: We were introduced to Klearwall windows during the winter of 2017 while touring a Habitat for Humanity Passive House in East Montpelier, Vermont. Thanks to builder Chris Miksic, we were able to see and use the windows in person. We were also super lucky to meet with Klearwall rep Nate, who answered all of our questions while sharing a meal and a Fogal Banger at Prohibition Pig in Waterbury. Since then, we knew our future zero energy homes would include Klearwall windows.
Suction cups are absolutely essential for setting heavy European windows. Since they do not have window flanges to hold on to, carrying the windows by the handles are safer and easier to install, and allows for two or more individuals to carry each window. The 9-footers required four strong people to lift and set!
Under the Sun is delighted to have begun construction on the Easton Carriage House. This zero energy 1156 sf two bedroom/two bathroom, open floor plan carriage house has an attached garage, covered patio to the west, and a large entry porch that faces south. With near passive house standards, this energy efficient home will be third party verified and ENERGY STAR, EPA Indoor airPLUS and WaterSense certified.
Under the Sun Homes will begin work on the Easton Carriage House as soon as the "stay in place" order for New York has been lifted. In the meantime, we continue to prepare for this exciting build, utilizing some of the best products and materials available. Check back soon. Be well.
Check out the October 2016 issue of Saratoga Lifestyle Magazine
The inside cover features a full page Under the Sun ad . . . and on pg. 30-31 a great article about Zero Energy Homes, consultation services, and future plans for Under the Sun.
After careful planning and consultation, a solar array has been installed on our south-facing roof. Our new ENERGY STAR certified, DOE Zero Energy Ready home is now a ZERO ENERGY HOME, producing ALL of the energy it requires - - PLUS. Our future utility bills will be less than or equal to $0.00.
There are many solar installers out there, but Lampros Solar, LLC from Cambridge, NY was our ultimate choice. Tom and Keith, together, have decades of knowledge and experience in the solar, electrical, building and engineering industries. Kevin assisted and brought the builder's perspective to the project. Our installation was professionally completed, with careful attention to detail at every step in the process. Even the building inspector recognized the high level of quality and neatness of the finished product.
We selected 300w modules from SolarWorld - a quality German panel manufactured in the United States - with a 25-year warranty. Our inverter is an SMA Sunny Boy 6.0 and includes a built-in DC disconnect with integrated wireless monitoring.
Although the house was modeled for net zero (HERS 0) with a 7.5kW grid-tied solar array - - 25 modules in landscape, with 5 rows of 5 - - further discussion with the installers reduced roof penetrations by 32 by installing the modules in portrait - - 27 modules, with 3 rows of 9. This new configuration has given us an 8.10 kW array (HERS -0). Less the current state and federal tax incentives available to home owners, our new system will pay for itself in less than 6 years.
We selected quality products for the house interior that were aesthetically pleasing and affordable.
The kitchen cabinets are Medallion Designer Gold plywood construction in Central Park West style and Seagrass paint; Top Knobs pulls and knobs in black. Kohler large single bowl stainless steel sink and pull down faucet, with soap dispenser. The countertop is Cambria quartz from Stone Creations in NH. All appliances are stainless steel, American made and ENERGY STAR rated- - GE Profile induction range and coordinating venting mcirowave, GE dishwasher, and Maytag bottom freezer refrigerator.
The flooring is Bruce engineered hardwood in harvest oak, over a foam underlayment. The masterbath and laundry floor is a no-slip Armstrong luxury vinyl tile in slate blue.
All of the walls were finished in bull nose bead, so there are no sharp 90 degree corners anywhere in the entire house. The wall color is autumnal equinox, with glass slipper in the master suite. All doors and trim are drifting snow. The paint is Benjamin Moore Regal Select Eggshell.
Solid core Masonite Safe n Sound interior doors; hardware is brushed nickel throughout, with Kwikset Ashfield handles and locksets in rustic pewter.
Master bath and powder room vanities and matching mirrors are Bertch with Cambria quartz tops, porcelain sinks and Delta fixtures, accessories and grab bars. Wall sconces are Potterybarn Mercer in satin nickel and chrome. .8 gallon Niagara Stealth chair height commodes.
100% LED lighting - - Philips Lightolier 2700K in ceilings; Lithonia Versi Lights 4000K in all closets and garage. Bulbs in wall sconces and outdoor fixtures are all LED. Hunter ceiling fans are ENERGY STAR rated.
Our energy rater Matt Evans and colleague Jamie Lyons from Newport Ventures were here on Tuesday to perform our final blower door test. We are delighted with the results: .98 ACH Pascals (cfm50), far exceeding ENERGY STAR's current standard of 4 ACH Pascals or less. Our first ENERGY STAR certified/DOE ZERO ENERGY READY home is a great success!
Under the Sun Building and Remodeling, LLC
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