Ron Tam

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since Jun 28, 2016
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Recent posts by Ron Tam

Kris Minto wrote:The reason why I don't want to build a two story house is I plan on retiring there and stairs are not a great when you 65+ year old.

Is there a difference between walking up and down a flight of stairs to the 2nd floor and walking up and down a flight of stairs to the basement?

I have questioned my ideas on building a basement myself and then decided to go with a walk-out but now perhaps no basement at all. I am wondering if there's truly enough benefits to filling in three sides of the house with dirt, considering the cost and additional preparations one must make for insulation and water/moisture infiltration.

Along the same vein of the OP, I'm also wondering if it's possible to to make the slab out of limecrete or even aerated limecrete. I understand that while lime requires energy to produce, it has much less of a negative impact compared to cement.
2 months ago
I wonder if it would be better to spray paint the galvanized pipe with high heat paint for stoves ...
5 months ago

Terry Lee wrote:
He wants $5 for a 14" x 18" X 36" bale. If I did my math right to covert the 14" x 36" or ~500/144 sq-in or 3.5 sq-ft. That's $5/3.5 or ~ $1.50 sq-ft. That's 3X fibergass ($.50 sq-ft) or mineral wool (roxul) $.70 sq-ft both @ R-15.

What is the r-value of this stuff for codes and certification (energystar, LEED, etc) ?

Gathering this info myself now. Per this, R-value for straw bales is 26-30 for an 18" thickness. So based on your comparison, it's about twice the R-value and twice the cost of Roxul (aside from 4x the wall thickness). So almost equivalent except that you have to factor in the lumber cost saved and also the actual lesser R-value in the Roxul scenario due to the wood framing. Still, personally I don't see a compelling reason to go with straw bale yet ... If anyone has info or links that would help me understand why straw bales might be more economical, I would appreciate it. (I understand it is more eco-friendly)

"Testing for R-value has been conducted several times. Only a few tests of full-scale walls (rather than bales) have been conducted (by Oak Ridge National Labs and the Technical University, TUNS, of Nova Scotia). The R-value for these walls were found to be between 26 and 30, about double that which can be expected from a wall built to most code requirements. (Note that a 2x6 wood frame wall with R-20 batts has an R-value of about R-13 when the thermal bridging through the studs is considered). Strawbales are comprised of over 90% air voids, easily connected to one another."
8 months ago