less box, more house

gables up!  remainder of roof trusses and sheathing to be installed today (gary nichols and crew lifted trusses WITHOUT a crane – manpower, baby!).  nice savings of $1200 on crane rental! 😉  garage framing to follow next week….roof installation the following.  we will be “in the dry” in about a month.  startin’ to look like a house.

drewexim uno

our drewexim windows and doors patiently await installation while sitting in a warehouse in bangor.  we selected these windows primarily for their energy performance characteristics.  in this house, these include heat loss (“R” value), solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC) and visible light transmittance (VLT).  basically, our goals are to minimize heat loss (losing precious heat through the glass during the heating season), maximize heat gain during winter months (its that solar-thing, you know, capture the sun’s heat through the glass) and enjoy the benefits of natural daylight.  fine-tuning the tri-pane glass to attain these goals is readily accomplished with this window.

so, here are the numbers….

R-value = 5.  the triple pane glass is comprised of three layers of 4 mm glass separated by two, argon filled 10 mm air spaces.  the glass has low emissivity (Low-E) coatings on the appropriate faces.

SHGC = 0.50.  we could have upgraded to .62 (higher is better), but there were two factors working against us.  one, it costs more – the minor increase in solar heat gain wasn’t sufficient to offset the added cost.  second, the two large, primary solar-oriented window units had to be tempered glass (per code due to the adjacent stairway and proximity to floor level) and the SHGC upgrade is not available with tempered glass.  we could have mixed the two types of glass in different units, but were concerned there might be a slight difference in appearance between the two glass types.  again, the minor performance improvement did not warrant the the cost….cost as in the risk of an apparent visual difference (not aesthetically desirable).

VLT = 0.70.  again, higher is better, and this is very good.  we want abundant daylight because its good to have natural light and to minimize dependence upon artificial (electricity!) lighting.

another functional consideration is the construction of the window itself.  a large, beefy wooden frame (about 3 1/2” square) encompasses the window unit.  the exterior is painted aluminum applied to the wooden frame.  this aluminum is a significant extrusion with an integral rainscreen  that provides an airspace/drainage plane between the aluminum and the wood.  so, any water (rain) that might penetrate behind the aluminum exterior will drain to the outside.  thus, greatly decreasing the likelihood of wood deterioration/rot due to moisture infiltration.  and, this aluminum exterior is attached in a manner that permits its removal and re-application should that be necessary for maintenance, repair, painting, etc.  yeah, pretty cool!

this information summarizes the performance issues supporting our window choice.  other deciding factors include aesthetics, operation and  cost.  these will be reviewed DREWEXIM DUO, a forthcoming post.

drewexim windows and doors are manufactured in poland (the country, not the town in maine!).  all windows and doors are custom, as in made to order by size, configuration, finish, etc. nate campbell of fenestrations plus in bangor is the local distributor.  you can reach nate at www.fenplus.com or call him at 207.631.5041.

happy client!

construction continues as jessica patiently awaits completion.

GOOD NEWS!!!!  my client/daughter is pleased with construction progress (so far!).  yesterday, we had the first opportunity to “tour” the house with most exterior walls in place.  access to the house was unimpeded, so jessica could get in and roll around and begin to get a real sense for the spaces on the first floor as well as the backyard and front entry court, both important outdoor spaces.

jessica liked what she saw and experienced.  the backyard is large enough to provide enclosed exercise space for dogs murphy and cash.  the house will be flooded with daylight – this will help the smallish house feel spacious and reduce energy costs (less dependence upon electrified lighting!).  jessica was satisfied the house is of sufficient distance from the street (for privacy), yet it is consistent with the other houses in the neighborhood.  and, the master suite appears to be of ample size, including jessica’s studio space that will be baby boy’s nursery for the first year, or so!

BTW, the little guy (currently referred to as “rupert” – its a long story) is due to arrive on october 25.  so, my varied project roles will soon include GRANDPA!  i gotta hurry up and get this house finished….

more SIPs

more SIPs going up.  still a little rough, but starting to look like the house as it exists on paper.  this week’s work is to install the second floor framing.  next week the boom truck/crane returns to set roof panels.  then, the following week roof trusses go up.  so, by the end of september, this box will really start to look like a house!

stay tuned.

SIPs two

SIPs (Structural Insulated Panels) erection started on wednesday morning with arrival of the boom truck.  first panel was set at 8:30am.

wall panel numero uno!

about fifteen minutes later, the second wall panel goes up.  don’t worry, i’m not posting a photo of each panel!  the first two panels are of significance due to their importance re: plumb, level, etc. and stability (the corner configuration inherently braces itself).  more to follow on that plumb, level stuff.

panel numero duo. the guy in the blue shirt setting the panel is gary nichols, the owner of nichols construction.  gotta like that!

by 9:30, we were building up a head of steam! things were moving along nicely. then….

things got a little sideways when we discovered that the fourth panel had a minor issue of levelness.  1/4″ over 18′ in height doesn’t sound like much, but if we didn’t fix the problem then we’d be fighting it for the rest of this wall.  so, we got things back on track only to discover the next panel we had installed backwards!  yes, we’re amateurs (hey, its our first time installing SIPs!).  after a thirty minute delay to extract the incorrect panel and turn it around, we really got moving.  by one o’clock (4.5 hours after starting) we had all tall panels on the west wall erected.

detail photo showing adhesive/sealer (the gray stuff) that goes between each panel and at the bottom. the holes are pre-cut chases for electrical wiring. not sure how that will work, but….

by three o’clock, all 18′ tall panels at the north and west walls were up.  the boom truck was dismissed and erection continued with 8′ tall panels that can be installed by two men. all-in-all, the process went very well.  we knew there’d be a learning curve, but it wasn’t too steep.  next week more “manual” panel installation and second floor framing will take place.  boom truck return is scheduled for the following week to install the long roof panels that sit atop the 18′ wall panels.  then, our building shell (including insulation!) will be mostly completed.

diagonal bracing to keep the wall upright!

end of SIPs day one! what is with that truck with eagle, flag and hippie stickers????