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2009 July » Our Sustainable Home
Archive for: July, 2009

Stairs, Floors and Delays

July 31st, 2009

Now that’s comedy.

I’m not sure what the stair company was thinking when they went ahead and installed our stairs for us. You’d think that when we said “Hey we don’t want chipboard risers and plywood corners. These are supposed to be solid wood.” they would just take them back. But they decided they’d fix them on site.

But the truly bizarre part is that the ground floor stairs don’t even fit. They aren’t long enough by TWO FEET and overhang the basement stairwell. But they put them in anyway.

We’ve been trying for weeks to get either Home Depot, Dynamic or the stair manufacturer/installer to tell us how they plan to fix all this but no one is talking. Our builder’s last note to them indicated he was just going to cut them out if they didn’t reply and as far as I know, they didn’t.

The worst part is that the stairs are holding up drywalling, flooring and other finishes. That, in turn, is holding up installation of the kitchen and bathrooms. We had managed to avoid this ‘delay spiral’ up until this point but it looks like it’s got us in its grips now.

Posted by Colin
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Firewall for the North wall of loft

July 8th, 2009

Just before going on strike our inspector indicated he wanted the North wall of the loft area to have a 45 minute fire assembly. (The loft is singled out since it is a stick-frame construction, not ICF like the rest of the house.)

Any walls of a house that face a neighbouring property (at a close distance) need to have a 45 minute fire rating, but this is usually just for fire that would occur inside the house. As such, putting 5/8″ drywall on those walls is sufficient.

But (as I understand it) a “45 minute assembly” needs to have that rating on EVERY side of the wall (top and bottom, too). Because we didn’t have a good way to do this, we were looking at having to drop our cool soya-based spray-foam insulation from the north wall, and use Roxul.

Roxul is a great product but it doesn’t provide the air-seal that spray-foam does. This morning, *just* before the drywall was to go up, the fellow from Ryerson who is researching our house called to say he had an engineer who could give us a letter describing a fire assembly to satisfy the city requirements!

A flurry of phone calls later, it looks like our friends at Foam Comforts can come back tomorrow to complete the air-tight seal we’d been hoping for in the loft! This is another one of those: it now feels ‘right’ moments. And more importantly the house temperature will ‘feel right’ too!

The loft area uses 4.5″ of foam (R-31) insulation on the roof and walls.

The solution, by the way, is quite simple: We just need to put 5/8″ drywall (probably concrete board for moisture protection) on the outside of the house as well. Our builder was very worried about the spray foam carrying a fire through the wall, but since each 5/8″ sheet provides 45 minutes, the flammability of the inside of the wall can be discarded (assuming it isn’t an accelerant, which I don’t think it is). Then we just add our ULC-rated cladding (hardieboard, in this case) to the outside of the house and we’re good to go!

Good save, team! 🙂

Posted by Colin
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Front Doors Installed

July 7th, 2009

I should open with some bad news on the finishes front: Raw Linseed Oil apparently attracts mildew; It just loves the stuff.

I found this out *after* I had treated the our brand new front doors with it.  But the doors should be fine. After waiting 4 days for the Linseed to dry (that’s an other problem with it) I put on the requisite coats of varnish, which should seal out any mildew that might otherwise want to take up residence in the door.

We’re currently investigating the Circa 1850 line of non-toxic finishes and cleansers for our baseboards, kitchen counters, etc.

So all is well, and the doors were finally installed today!

Front Doors Progress 25: Front doors and porch

Posted by Colin
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