Insulation. It’s not just for thermal resistance and minimizing energy consumption, though that is what first comes to mind.
We used a variety of insulation materials. Exterior 2×6 walls got R-19 fiberglass batten insulation. Interior walls got R-11, primarily for sound-proofing. Amazingly, the batten insulation is so light that it was merely packed in and hung between the interior studs, prior to the dry wall going in.
And, the framing between the second story and the first floor likewise was insulated, for sound-proofing.
Ceilings received R-38 spray foam insulation. As you can tell from this picture, the spray foam is much better at filling all the gaps in the walls, and hence overall a much better insulating material.
And, finally, you may wonder — do you insulate the garage? For a custom home, the answer clearly is “yes.” As long as you have the crews on site and the walls open — as my builder says — the cost is “pennies” (er, well perhaps dollars). But, you get the idea.
Protecting outside water hose bibs from freezing is not one of my favorite tasks. Since this is a second home, I was interested in a way to avoid wrapping pipes or dripping water, especially since a cold snap can occur unexpectedly in the Winter.
We found these frost free hose bibs, which are more commonly used up north. The key is the actual water cut-off valve is located at the end of a six inch shaft. When mounted, the cut off is located inside the insulated wall, rather than exposed to the cold weather.
So, when cut off, the water is not exposed to the cold, and any remaining water in the faucet shaft just drains out. A great solution to freeze problems.
Here is an interesting innovation in pest control. Our builder has installed small distribution tubes in the walls, that can be used by the pest control company to spray for bugs. Seen below, the system consists of the thin green lines, looped near the white sewer lines. The lines have small perforations, so when spray is injected, the lines evenly spray the chemicals inside the walls.
The lines are installed along all the exterior walls and interior portions where there is plumbing. Obviously, these are best installed during new construction, prior to dry-in.
The pest service technician does not even need access to the interior of the house to spray. The lines all converge at a central location where they are connected to exterior ports, which are secured and accessible to a technician outside the home.
Here is a picture of the port box on the outside of the home.
Taexx system details can be found at this website https://pestdefense.com/faqs/
Here is a cautionary note, if you are building a two story house. Plan ahead for the location of the A/C heating duct work, in the framing for the second floor.
In our case, the duct work details were not part of the architect’s plans, and it seems the normal process is to work the details out after framing is complete. That works if you have a house with a large attic, but here we had only about 18 inches of space in the joists to run first floor duct work. That led to some changes and compromises in our final layout.
Here’s the story. We planned to put the downstairs air handler in a closet in the garage, since we ran out of interior space in the house. While it struck me, the owner, as a strange location, it was the best to maximize the interior space in the house. But, after framing the house, we had a walk through with the A/C subcontractor, and he immediately made it clear that the garage location was a non-starter. It would not provide needed access to return air and the duct work exiting the plenum did not work with the framing. So, we lost a hall closet, and had to encroach about a foot into the master shower for the air handler.
But, a bigger concern was where to locate the duct work to serve the first floor rooms? Obviously, the duct work needed to run in or under the second floor joists. But, as you can see from this picture the joists are so tightly spaced there was not room for the main duct between them. Lowering the hall ceiling was aesthetically not an option. We debated demoing/moving one joist, to create extra space, but that posed structural and cost issues. We also have a triple glulam beam that runs the length of the house, and presented a barrier to duct work crossing from one side to the other.
Ultimately, our builder found a nice solution.
The main duct would cross under the glulam triple in the master shower, and we would lower the shower ceiling about 15 inches. We also lost about 12 inches in the ceiling of the master closet, where another run of duct work crossed under the triple, the orange beam shown in this picture. This fix was much better than exposed duct work, or lowering the ceiling in the main hallway. But, the take-away is to plan ahead, especially for the major mechanical features of a new home.
One of the nice details of the Family Room is the ceiling height of about 22 feet, and large timber trusses, supporting the roof. The base of the horizontal truss is about 14 feet above the floor. Here is the look, installed.
For a better perspective, here is the original design, which we changed slightly to lower the point where the lateral braces attach to the king post.
The trusses are fabricated from Canadian Fir, rough-hewn with some distressing. After installation they will be stained.
Here is the tie-in to the wall, note the five 2X6 supports, below the truss.
Finally, a look from below, up through the trusses (the 2×10 boards to the left are just temporary walkways the framers were using).
More framing. We moved the camera to a different location to catch more of the side of the structure. Roof trusses are nearly complete. Notice the Tyvek vapor barrier installation. Getting pretty close to drying-in the entire structure.
Not to overdo it, but more framing. We adjusted the camera to aim slightly higher. You can see lots of action on the second floor. We are using 1 1/4 inch sub-floor on the second story, which is really solid to walk on. Good weather and good progress.
We are now starting to make some real progress, with the start of framing. The exterior walls are all 2×6 lumber set on 16 inch centers, to provide strong support for the second story, and better insulation. Foundation plate sill is pressure treated, and tied to the foundation with anchor bolts. Weather has not been cooperating, it has been wet and that has slowed us down a bit, but the framing crew works pretty much other than when it is pouring. This video is a tad long, but bear with us, you can get a real sense of the progress now, and we have been awaiting this for many weeks.