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Terry Ruth
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I've design this craftsman style spec home for a client. Wood finished is one of my weak areas. I designed the front gable timber truss for aesthetics out of cedar since my timber suppliers said so and I want to stain it dark to match the ebony on the widow and door trim. Any ideas?

Also, any ideas on an inexpensive decorative something to put below the truss that would maintain the craftsman appeal and not look cheesy? This is a highly energy efficient home I hope to be net zero. The gable wall is highly insulated so I don't want to put windows in it plus the vaulted ceiling is right below the truss going through the gorbels.

Notice the craftsman style muntins on the windows and that is a hay hood at the ridge.

If you click on the pics they get larger

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Terry Ruth
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Another weak area is landscaping & horticulture any ideas (trees, etc) for this KS home? The climate here is mixed with winter average lows around 10F and hot humid summers @ 80-100% relative humidity and 80-100 F days and lots of wind. This home is going in a sub-division so cant get too out of the ordinary. My hired landscaping budget is around $10-15K
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Terry Ruth
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Welcome to one of the most natural energy efficient off grid natural homes in the USA I have designed with no foams, plastics, house wraps, glues, vapor barriers, etc......even the natural concrete polished floors I have modified at 100%+ breathable and are able to manage vapor and toxins with no vapor barriers or plastics. This home complies with International energy and building codes surpassing most local codes by far, and will fit into most USA sub-divisions at a price that is lower than mainstream construction with less features and more toxicity. Not easy, but lets consider it done. It will be presented to the public here in a central US location in one week on a very large wide 4K screen at a regional home show

The best part about this home is it will meet or exceed new "US Passive House" standards recently in from Germany but with a 100% breathable envelope meeting the .5 ACH @ 50 pascals requirement, but, without the worry of air sealing in toxins or ventilation rate controversies & debates since I took that out of the equation.
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Terry Ruth
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More PICS
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Terry Ruth
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More info

PARAMOUNT HOMES – PARAFLEX
(Next Generational Smart Home of the Future)

DESIGN FEATURES

FLEX SUITE “HOME WITHIN A HOME” PROVIDES FLEX FAMILY LIVING (MULTI-GENERATIONAL).

2,830 SF: TWO (KITCHENS, LIVING AND LAUNDRY ROOMS) FOUR BEDROOM, THREE BATHS.

SLAB-ON-GRADE, ZERO ENTRY DOORS, CURBLESS SHOWERS…. FLEX SUITE ADA WHEEL CHAIR ACCESSABLE.

ALL ELECTRIC, ENERGY EFFICENT (INSULATED 3X “KS NORM”) INCLUDING FINISHED GARAGES. DESIGNED FOR OFF-UTILITY-GRID “NET ZERO OR POSITIVE” ELECTRICAL (NO UTILITY CO) FOR BUY BACK METERS (GAS OPTIONS).

WIRED FOR SOLAR PANELS/BATTERY PACKS, CAR CHARGERS.

led lights, ENERGY STAR APPLIANCES. EXCEEDS LEED, ENERGY STAR, HERS, RATED “GREEN HOMES”.

INCORPORATES NATURAL(NON-TOXIC BUILDING MATERIALS)

VAULTED 18’ MAIN AND DUAL 10’ TRAY (COFFER) SUITE CEILINGS, FOR A VERY “OPEN” FEEL.

COMFORTABLE THERAPUTIC HYDRONIC RADIATION IN-FLOOR HEAT WITH MINI-SPLIT COOLING.

SMART HOME TECHNOLOGIES; “SMART” WINDOWS.

LARGE LOTS, NOT STACKED ON ZERO LOT LINES.

ATTIC AND GARAGE WALL STORAGE

STORM SHELTER OPTIONS

LANDSCAPING AND APPLIANCES INCLUDED

MOVE-IN-READY & AFFORDABLE - QUALIFY S FOR ENERGY EFFICIENT MORTGAGES (EEMS), FED AND STATE LOW ENERGY TAX CREDITS.

OPTIONS
CABINET, FLOOR, PAINT COLORS
CEILING/WALL HR HEATING AND COOLING (IMPROVES COMFORT)
NATURAL EARTH OR LIME PLASTERS, INTERIOR WALLS(RAMMED EARTH, ADOBE, HEMPCRETE, COB, CORD WOOD); MAGNESIUM (MAG BOARD)/PCM DRYWALL – ADDS HYGROTHERMAL MASS THAT BUFFERS HUMIDITY, TO LOWER ENERGY BILLS, STORES & PREVENTS HOT AND COLD SPOTS, AND REDUCE SOUND TRANSMISSIONS
NATURAL CARPETS IN ROOMS
WOOD BURNING OR ELECTRIC STOVE
GLASS LITES, ENTRY & GARAGE DOORS
GAS HOOK-UPS
SOLAR PANELS AND BATTERY PACK STORAGE (UTILITY ROOM PRE-WIRED).
STORM SHELTER (GARAGE) OR BUILT IN CLOSET.
TRIPLE PANE WINDOWS
AESTHETIC BARREL TYPE RAIN WATER CATCHMENT, WELL WATER AND/OR IRRIGATION.
CEILING TIMBER BEAMS, WAINSCOATING, NATURAL WOOD WALL/CEILING PANELING.
ADDITION SECURITY SYSTEMS (BASIC PRE-WIRED)
ADDITIONAL AUDIO (BASIC PRE-WIRED)
ADDITION CAR CHARGING STATIONS ( ONE PER GARAGE PRE-WIRED)




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Terry Ruth
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Few more PICS....Photo image quality PICS and videos of the build coming...
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Terry Ruth
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For more info and sales my contact info is below in my signature....

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Terry Ruth
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Foundation is highly insulated with heated concrete floors, all wood framing with a 12" energy heel on trusses. Option to go all Timber framing for additional cost check out my blog below we have pro-timbewright's proven with decades of experience ready to go.
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Brett Hammond
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Location: Maryland, USA
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solar tiny house woodworking
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Hi Terry. Very interesting plans. Thank you for sharing them.

When I think craftsman I picture porches with half walls and square columns, and large overhanging open eves with rafters exposed, which I don't see here. But I am not an architect, so take that with a grain of salt.

I like the idea of finished concrete floors, although I understand why some object. I love the look of the concrete acid stains and using it as a heat sinc to moderate temperature swings. I would put more windows on the south side in the great room for more passive solar heating. It can save a fortune in heating bills for very little cost, especially since you are using all electric.

How can this be built with more insulation and features than conventional cconstruction, for less money?

How did you solve the problem of moisture coming up from the ground into the concrete? Did you provide expansion joints or control joints to control where the concrete will crack? I would cut control joints into a pattern on the floor and fill with grout to make the concrete look like stone or tile. Then, if/when the slab cracks you can regrout.

Best of luck!

/
 
Terry Ruth
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Hi Brett,

It's not full craftsman, since it is "flex" home design it has craftsman features like window lights, some interiors. It is difficult to design Specs to the general public. It 50' x 83', sits on a 70' x 140' lots as show for sub-divisions, set backs, easements. I can add wrap around porches for fees if lot and zoning allows.

I like the idea of finished concrete floors, although I understand why some object. I love the look of the concrete acid stains and using it as a heat since to moderate temperature swings.


I'm not using any "acids", epoxies, or harsh chemicals on the floors". The pigment comes from earth oxides, a topical all natural proprietary sealer, and polishing.

I would put more windows on the south side in the great room for more passive solar heating. It can save a fortune in heating bills for very little cost, especially since you are using all electric.


The total SF of windows does not exceed 15% of facades. Windows are thermal holes even at the U=25 these are, I offer an option to go to triple panes at U=18 but not cheap, for winter....The cost of windows to get more solar gain is not worth it compared to putting more $$$ into solar panels where there are better gains. Besides, how effective solar gains are to mass depends largely on ALOT of other factors such as SHGC if you can find it, again more $$$$, and care must be taken to not overheat in conjunction with HVAC zoning. The thermochromic coatings on my windows are smart $$$.

How can this be built with more insulation and features than conventional cconstruction, for less money


My list price for the same finish is at market only I offer far less in utility bills, EEMs, Eco-Policy HO insurance packages to my clients, to name a few.

How did you solve the problem of moisture coming up from the ground into the concrete?


Capillary uptake into slabs from ground sources depends on a lot of factors, not all do despite the myths. If they do my design allows fast drying. Many site soil test determine the design.


Did you provide expansion joints or control joints to control where the concrete will crack? I would cut control joints into a pattern on the floor and fill with grout to make the concrete look like stone or tile. Then, if/when the slab cracks you can regrout.


I personally like the looked on aged pigmented concrete with cracks, whether they crack depends on the top coats most polished do not. We get the stone cut concrete look without cutting. For additional fees, we can add grout lines although they become a maintenance item that is not necessary.

Thanks for the inquires.


 
Brett Hammond
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Location: Maryland, USA
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Terry,

We will have to agree to disagree on passive solar. I am a big fan of Keep It Simple, and a few days per week of sun, along with that concrete floor mass releasing the heat back out at night, could make a huge difference in heating bills. You would also get the benefit of less expensive windows on the south side by eliminating the reflective coating, and more natural light in the living space with more windows. But perhaps you are in an area of the country that gets little winter sun, in which case active solar may be your only option.

You mention a lot of nice features that I agree will lower operating costs, but they would add significantly to construction costs. So without any construction cost savings mentioned, am curious how you can build it at "a price that is lower than mainstream construction..."

I am still curious how you deal with moisture coming up through the at-grade concrete slab without a vapor barrier. Moisture will cause mold problems under rugs, cabinets, etc. And will prevent the owner from the option of installing floor coverings (carpet, hardwood, etc) in some rooms, lest mold grow under them. I have read of concrete moisture problems where no vapor barrier was used under the concrete when poured, so as the concrete cured moisture was forced out of the slab into the area below it (sand, insulation, stone, dirt, or whatever is directly below the slab) and it subsequently took years for the slab to dry out completely because the moisture had no where to go expect back up through the slab to evaporate, which is a very slow process. Whereas a slab poured directly over a vapor barrier, even with a few holes, will dry out in a few months (in many climates) so it can be covered safely without causing mold. There are ways to do it without a vapor barrier (i.e. provide sub-slab ventilation, raised slab, etc.) and was just wondering how you solved this problem.

I am not a concrete expert, but most concrete experts and engineers I have read would say a huge slab like that will crack. Either as it dries, and/or over time, especially with the huge temperature/humidity changes you mentioned for your area. Not necessarily a big deal if managed correctly, but needs to be addressed. I would be concerned about it cracking where it would be difficult to get to (under a wall, cabinet, appliance, etc) where I couldn't seal it to keep out bugs/gasses. Or concerned that stresses could build up to create a very large structural crack in one or two spots, rather than an insignificant hairline crack every 10 or 15 feet at control joints.

Kind regards.
 
Terry Ruth
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Brett, alot of what you stated above is inaccurate and I don't have the time to debate it. The professional CFD models I use to design to are based on prescriptive builds around the country. I also offer to clients with approved financing output technical and financial reports consisting of mold growth analysis and pay back periods. I don't debate to words, it sounds like you have data to prove my designs wrong, if you do at the site and based on the design I show please post it, otherwise this is another of many post/threads found on the internet by unfounded heresay.

If you have funding or cash and want to purchase the design I can provide more proven design details. I'll need to verify an intent to purchase beforehand. My designs are backed by my three decades of engineering design-build experience here in the US....I don't why but it sounds like you are trying to educate me on basic engineering design principles inaccurately I learned and have put into proven builds over three decades ago?

I look forward to a link of your professional Engineering designs or proven builds? You can find mine on our website, my Linkedin profile, and in my blog below in my signature. On my Linkedin page you will also find the multi-million test MI lab I consulted as a mold growth Project Engineer where we solved issues for International fortune 500 clients in the field, I can also provide a resume to clients for more details on my education and experience.

I'll be back with some photo image quality pics of the spec build and the build s/b breaking ground within a month or so. I'll be offering 5 more designs soon, and professional Architectural modeling and rendering to the public.

 
Brett Hammond
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Terry,

I'm sorry. I thought this was a discussion. My apologies if the intent of your post was to just promote your house plans.

For those that are interested in why a vapor barrier is necessary immediately under an on-grade concrete slab, please click below and scroll down to where Dr. Lstiburek talks about the vapor barrier. Click on his name at the top of the article and you will see his credentials are impeccable.

http://buildingscience.com/documents/insights/bsi-003-concrete-floor-problems

I have read many, many accounts of mold from slabs that never dried out because there was not a vapor barrier immediately under the on-grade slab. Just google it. I do not claim to know all and do not claim that Dr. Lstiburek, or anyone else, is always right. I am open to other points of view, which is why I was curious about how you solved the problem. I weigh it all and try to accept what makes the most sense. I understand building technology is always changing, and we are always learning new ways to skin the cat (some better, some worse), and sometimes find that what we thought was tried-and-true, can sometimes turn out to be a bad idea, or just a bad idea for some applications (soil types, climates, etc.), or that new ideas turn out to be bad ideas after time. For example, for a time the concrete engineering industry recommended a fine substrate (but not sand) be placed immediately under the slab, which has since been repealed. So new ideas and "proven" technologies are not always best.

I have also been involved in the home improvement business for decades and encountered mold in walls, under floors, and in carpets because of concrete slabs not having proper vapor barriers when they should. Most hardwood floor manufacturers will not warrant hardwood installed over concrete anymore, because of all the moisture problems experienced with improperly installed concrete.

I can't provide you with the "proof that my design is wrong", although I would never use those words, because you don't provide details of your slab, other than it has no vapor barrier or control joints. I am not out to prove you wrong. I was hoping to have a discussion and sharing perspectives on building techniques, which is the purpose of this discussion group. My apologies if my questions and suggestions put you out. It was not my intent.
 
Terry Ruth
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Brett, we're good. I understand where you are at, now you have my interest up. Following Joe L and all these other so called " Building Scientist" that change thier publications and minds about at the same speed they create them have damaged the US building industry by promoting what is not "right" or economical but rather what gets them more sponsors. The average life of American building's is 25 years, some less, some not much more. On average 50. You call that good designs? How often do you see them promoting a natural building material that cost very little or you can get out of your back yard? That is FAR superior to junk OSB and Foam they promote? That in most cases like soil is far better and "managing", not barricading liquid water and vapor. I'd like to see a BSC publication that Joe L released that calls out that every concrete foundation in the world needs a "vapor barrier" as you put it. If he did I will personally call him and tell him how wrong he is and prove it. I been kicked off most of those building science sites for proving them and their sponsors wrong, they have even called me asking me to stop. At that time I will have completely, and I mean 100%, lost all respect for the guy and he is one I consider a college at best, not a mentor as he is you. I do like his jokes anyway and the way he thinks, sometimes. We do agree on one thing, most do not know what they are talking about due to a lack of education and experience. Then, again they would like us all to believe that so we hire them again to get out of the mess they help put in building codes. I hope you don't believe they are not sponsored by manufactures and people like Joe to make money too.

I do like what he did with classes of vapor "retarders" (1,2,3 blah, blah, blah) to TRY and make some sense out of the different requirements, under a slab or concrete foundation would call or spec out depending on the results of a soil test. "Vapor barrier" is very limited in knowledge, like "r-value", or 'perm rating' .....When I see those meaningless words without the rest I know the person I am dealing with is one that has no idea what they are talking about. A sieve test of 200 or less or 6% granular size by weight would need ZERO vapor management or especially "barrier" that would potentially be a food for fungi since most especially plastics and foams are not "inert" or chemically stable, especially mated to what "Building Scientist" tell people to mate them to that have no idea what they are talking about or have the chemical data to support their advice. Just add more and more layers to fix the problem is what they advise. This world has for a very long time done without "barriers" air or vapor, do some more research on history and stop following American "Building Scientist" and their sponsors $$$$.

It is a complete waste of my time to try and make sense or educate someone on complex building science without the proper Engineering education or equivalent experience. These people that have done successful designs know this and I can tell those that have no designs or builds to speak of just alot of bad advise, it is impossible without the proper design tools. Ask your mentor Joe.

Most of my bread and butter unlike Joe, etc, comes from Aerospace Engineering. I play with building science just for fun Easy stuff, no challenge at all. All I have to say is WHAT A MESS THIS AMERICAN INDUSTRY IS TODAY!!! I don't follow any of it.

Enough for one day....
 
Terry Ruth
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Here is a ref thread that explains some of the design principles my homes use, http://www.permies.com/t/52699/natural-building/Natural-insulation-walk-cooler

Many that know no better try and relate steady state r-values that do not apply. Enthalpy is far less understood. The reason I went to a double wall has nothing to do with u-or r-value or I can easily do that with single wall construction and the way most construct double they thermally conduct. Most do not understand "dynamic thermal conduction or r-value" or the conditions that real value is obtained and therefore advise inaccurately. Enthalpy works to create two independent enthalpy interior/exterior systems that can react to their respective boundary condition requirements. So in the case of a "natural material for a walk in cooler" a desiccant like aluminosilicate zeolite in a plaster would provide the evaporation cooling by phase changing a liquid vapor to a gas that heats the zeolite by heat of adsorption, that is an open loop (no sealed vacuum) system. Same happens with certain clays, limes, woods, etc, with high intracrystalline voids but not as fast. Materials of lower moisture content indexes (MCIs) don't perform as well, concrete is not as good as these materials despite the myths. Also zeolite is not damaged by the process. I just described a great way to manage indoor humidity with water vapor in liquid, condensation, or vapor form that cools a room and lowers HVAC requirements at a fraction of the cost. The desiccant, like zeolite retains 100% of it heat of adsorption with no loss.

At night when it gets cold and the dry hvac is running or the next day when the zeolite sees solar heat it reverses its process, converts a gas to a liquid that releases vapor or condensation back to the atmosphere for humidity buffering. Great part is as the heat is increased so is the amount of vapor. The desorption of heat and vapor is slower than adsorption for night time. The heat of condensation is released to it's surroundings lower heating bills. The cycle repeats.

Since these materials are chemically stable and insert there is no microbial growth in the presences of liquids and heat, unlike many plastics, foams, glues, used. These dynamic mass systems can accommodate any environmental conditions.

An entirely different independent system that handles a different set of exterior conditions can be designed on another wall/wythe. Airflow is the best insulator between the two wythes. Imagine that FREE air. Has nothing to do with r-value that would be HIGHLY misleading as usual. The math is complex, one has to assume an adiabatic process to quantify the dynamic hygrothermal systems. It should be obvious that adding a vapor barrier would ruin the process most would advise that know no better, same for house wraps that would ruin the systems. The same design can be applied to walls, roofs, foundations
 
Terry Ruth
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Here are some pics at a local home show. Trying to change the way people think to natural and energy efficient has been very positive and unusual to most. Our local certified home energy rater has given me the largest HERs rating in the state based on plans. Most people are very attracted to the bag of hemp I have on the table .....and the other natural materials we use most have never heard of. The suppliers next to me are not liking much of what I have to say about the toxic products they sell and use. We have a latex paint rep next door and been having people smell the difference between our zero MVOC natural mineral silicate paints and the ones they use. We have been doing water test on mineral wood rigid boards we use that are impressive right in front of people. I have been also explaining our breathable envelops and how they vapor dry and shed water, fungi, bacterial in most homes and many have agreed and showed us pictures of it in their homes .....

The challenging part is the banks, we exceed LEED, Energy Star, "Green" buildings most use as sales. The bankers here don't understand EEMs (Energy Efficient Mortgages) we qualify for. ...They think we are a "new concept" and a risk. Imagine that when all we have done is resurrected better building practices from history and made them modern.

I think as things progress and people catch on as they are we and others natural Architects and Builders will make a large impact on the American Sub-Divisions which is the heart of the home building industry. That my Permie friends is not an easy task.
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