front & sidesDraft # 295? 

Ryan here posting up our latest blueprint drafts from our engineering company IONCON. We now have plans for a front porch (hopefully ready to add on @ a later date). The change in the pitch of the roof also adds a bit of character to the home.

Fumes am I running on…

Last night I was up until 2am meeting with my contractor friend Matt. He owns HEWN INC. and runs a team of pro builders here in Asheville. We discussed the need for professionally graded land, and a properly constructed foundation. We went over many terms and brought up insulation, walls, floors (no cork floors for us… sorry Brook!), piping, plumbing, electric, and just about everything else as well! left-side-&-front-porchOnce again touching on insulation… we agreed that closed cell is the best way to go and worth the cost. I might even try to spray it on myself with a DIY kit. Still expensive but WAY cheaper then paying labor for installation!

On that note I think now would be a great time to start bwalluilding a glossary of terms! Here’s a few for this evening as well as updated images of our wall blueprints on the right…

Closed Cell Foam – “A much more dense type of foam than open cell. It has a smaller, more compact cell structure. It is a very good air barrier as well as a water vapor barrier. It is often used in roofing projects or other outdoor applications, but can be used anywhere in the home.” – Wikipedia

R-Value “The R-value is a measure of thermal resistance used in the building and construction industry. The higher the number, the better the building’s insulation effectiveness.” – Wikipedia

Thermal Bridging When insulation is used between wooden or metal beams and the beams exposed through the insulation creates an un-insulating effect.  This negative effect allows heat to flow through the path of least R-Value resistance seriously reducing the insulation value of the materials around it.

I believe this is enough vocab for tonight.

foundationFrom tha’ ground up:

Apparently (after a lengthy discussion with Matt) the correct way to build a home is from the ground up. Once this fact was settled, we continued last night’s conversation  with a focus on the land, footers, concrete slab, and sonotube foundation.

Upon further chatting I came to discover that foundations are actually quite complex in nature. They do not simply consist of pouring concrete into a box and letting it dry (as I originally assumed). It seems a concrete slab foundation is actually constructed by:

slab_detail1- Grade land and run utilities.
2 – Build footer with CMU’s (concrete masonry units) for retaining wall.
3 – Backfill the retaining wall with dirt, Tamper it down (pack it down with a tamper machine), pour gravel in the retaining wall. Tamper again.
4 – Lay down 6-mil thick polyethylene (plastic) vapor barrier and then 2-inch thick extruded polystyrene insulated sheet foam.
6 – Lay down 6×6 WWM (welded wire mesh) and zip-tie insulated PEX piping to the WWM.
8 – Pour cement slab and let it set (dry).

sonotube rebarThe sonotubes are a bit more complex then I initially thought as well. You can see how they are constructed on the bottom of the blueprint image of our wall found above (fourth image from the top). For these we will need to use a bit of #5 rebar, and a specially constructed mounting bracket.

Updated cost of foundation: 6K+ and worth every penny. Another VERY important piece of information absorbed last night: most important (and expensive) aspects of a home are: Foundation, Insulation, Roof.

backHope this has been a bit more informative on radiant floors. Still planning on filling the pipes with anti-freeze for now and capping the system off until we can afford to finish it @ a later date. Once radiant floor is finished, the home should be incredibly cheap and efficient to heat/cool. With the wood stove we will be installing, the next issue is VENTILATION! But I will leave that one for another night 😉

Final note… our 4th engineered blueprint draft interior for your pleasure:



3 thoughts on “From tha’ ground up…

  1. One small upgrade to your foundation lay up, if you take the polystyrene and make it into an accordion type surface you dramatically increase thermal barrier non transference as it also provides an air barrier. Try it on a smaller structure first, it is quite amazing and adds no real extra cost except a little labor but once you have a system down it goes rather quickly.

    1. Hi Jason,

      After doing a bit of research I was unable to find anything on this method of insulating the concrete. Do you have any images or a link to more information on this accordion polystyrene technique? I am very interested. Thanks!


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