Basements / Guides

Renovate, Remodel or Rebuild? How to choose which is Best for Homes
Wall assemblies - renovation

Should I be renovating my home or tearing it down & rebuilding?

...basements are cheaper to upgrade as you don’t have the demolition costs and material disposal to consider. If you're home is located in a cold climate area, and the foundation is cracked or made of stone or cinderblocks, it is best to insulate them from the outside to avoid introducing a new environmental strain wher...

Slab-on-grade for Ecohome's upcoming video building guide
Slab on Grade

how to build a slab-on-grade on standard soil

There are many ways to build a slab-on-grade (or frost-protected shallow foundation), the following is a step-by-step walk though of a thickened-edge slab floor we built. XPS or EPS high-density foam is typically used under concrete slab floors, in this case we used Rockwool mineral fiber insulation ( formerly known a...

Insulating crawlspaces as part of home renovation
Crawl spaces

How to insulate crawlspaces properly as part of renovating an older home

Crawlspace insulation - be careful to get it right A crawlspace comes with all the downsides of a basement, but it is just too low a space to be functional either beyond the folded plastic christmas tree and a couple of boxes of baubles. Unless there is a good reason for it, going through the process of pouring a fo...

Mobile tiny house
Tiny house

Is Tiny House living in a cold climate good or bad for the planet?

...Basements are not usually figured into square footage, so if you want to downsize, try skipping the basement and build a small house on a slab-on-grade where everything is on one floor including beds, baths, mechanical room and storage. Before anyone goes away with hurt feelings, remember that we think building small...

Installing foam panel insulation, which is best?
Insulation and soundproofing

Rigid insulation panels: which ones to use for different applications

Polyisocyanurate (PIR), Extruded Polystyrene (XPS), Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) or Styrofoam? When building or renovating a high-performance building envelope there are really three main kinds of rigid foam panels you are going to have to choose from - Polyisocyanurate known as Polyiso (PIR), Extruded Polystyrene (XP...

How to plan and budget for home renovations and new builds
Concept and design

Important tips for a successful build or renovation

1. Make a realistic budget and schedule: This is, without a doubt, the starting point to a successful build - don’t underestimate the time and money it will take to complete a build or renovation. Even professional contractors tend to underestimate the costs and duration of a project. Get advice from multiple prof...

Poly vapour barriers in air conditioned houses can cause mold and rot
Healthy indoor air quality

Why you should Never Install Air-Con in a Home with a Vapor Barrier

Vapor Barrier + Air-Con = Damp Moldy Walls So here's a little known fact that most HVAC installers won't tell a potential new client for central air; Polyethylene vapor barriers in combination with air conditioning in homes can rot walls because of the condensation they may cause. This is why if you have a newer hom...