Walls that dry / Guides

Building Climate Zones USA & Canada Maps Help with Specification of Homes
Planning and Design

Climate Zones in USA & Canada for Building Homes

...dry climate zone corresponds to the portions of IECC zones 2 and 3 in the dry category. Mixed-Dry climate zone Defined as: any region that receives less than 20 inches (50 cm) of precipitation annually, that has approximately 5,400 heating degree days (on the 65°F basis) or less, and where the average monthly outdo...

Condensation on windows leads to mold & mildew in homes, ERV & HRV systems help

Ventilation & air exchangers

...that profess that walls need to breath and that 'houses are too airtight', but this myth is completely false and very damaging to your home. Walls need to be able to dry, ideally in both directions. Natural air flow: If you hold a door open a crack in winter, natural convection will draw air in at the bottom, and...

How to Build With Less Wood for Best Performance
Wood and organic materials

How to build high performance homes with less lumber

...that is fully insulated and protected from moisture, you will have a dry, healthy and durable basement that won’t develop mold in walls since it is separated on all surfaces from ground moisture. ICF walls are also airtight, soundproof, earthquake resistant, and reasonably well-insulated. So what’s not to love? Well…...

Pre-fabricated straw bale SIPS panels, an environmental choice
Wall assemblies - new construction

Modern straw bale SIPS construction: high performance, durable, affordable & interesting

...that a straw panel will be able to dry to either side, compared to most homes that include an impermeable barrier of polyethylene that prevents drying to the interior during our hot, humid summer months, which can cause condensation and hence excessive vapor & mold in the house walls . Straw bale built ...

Choosing between OSB or Plywood for house sheathing for Roofs, Walls & Floors.
Wood and organic materials

Which is better, OSB or Plywood for Roofs, Walls & Floors?

...that is tried and true. It keeps the sheathing warmer, and there is no question that that reduces the chance of condensation forming inside walls. In modern times, this is known as the REMOTE wall . and if you stick a hefty amount of mineral wool on the exterior of sheathing that lets vapour go right through it, all th...

Slab on grade or a foundation and basement?
Foundation choices

Slab-on-grade vs foundation and crawlspace or basement

...walls are dry. Allow 2 years for concrete to shed excess moisture. All walls need to breath in one direction and since the exterior foundation walls are buried in wet ground, they must breathe to the inside. A vapour barrier prevents that from happening and you will inevitably trap moisture inside your walls. Depen...

Dense-packed cellulose wall insulation
Wall assemblies - new construction

Dense-packed cellulose insulation wall systems

...walls to also dry inwards. This is especially important in homes with air conditioning. Dense-blown cellulose is a quality product that has many benefits above and beyond the traditional batt insulations. It is something that should be much more commonly available in Canada than it is today, but that will require cha...

Choosing a building envelope
Wall assemblies - new construction

Choosing a building envelope - starting with the perfect wall

...walls and breaking thermal bridging. If you are considering this route, there are pre-fab walls that meet LEED standards , and even turn-key prefab homes that have successfully achieved LEED Platinum certification . Pre-fab walls can seriously speed up the building process, and reduce waste as well. Simply find a qua...

How to REPAIR DRYWALL - jam that sticky white stuff in those holes folks
Walls and ceilings - interior surfaces

How to repair drywall - fill holes, cracks and dents in walls like a pro

...drywall loose, be sure to use a screw to secure the drywall tightly to the stud before mudding. Make sure drywall is secure before starting a mudding repair job, so have some drywall screws at the ready in case. Cured drywall compound has no flexibility, so if there is any movement in the drywall afterwards you will ...

Air barriers are essential to a properly functioning wall system
Air and vapour barriers

What is an air barrier?

...that would be to sandwich it between two solid materials like drywall for example, but this route unfortunately adds a measurable amount of cost. Airtight drywall approach (A.D.A): With the help of gaskets and sealants, gypsum board (drywall) is a very effective air barrier, so long as the joints are sealed with dr...

The LEED Platinum infill house in Toronto
Real estate

Farnham Avenue House

...that common on a confined city lot, such as geothermal heating and cooling. There are major elements that are reclaimed such as the exterior brick and structural timbers. Numerous locally sourced materials are incorporated. And some components are cutting-edge technology, such as the bifacial solar panels tied into t...