Podcast 309: Flying Saucers, Rainscreen Walls, and Barndominiums
Matt, Brian, and Patrick hear from listeners about outdoor cats, sawhorses, and flying saucers before taking questions on wall assemblies for a barndominium, winter indoor humidity, and how to vent rainscreen walls.
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Wallpello on YouTube takes us to task for promoting outdoor cats. Rob shares his ’60s-era sawhorse brackets via video. Carson offers his thoughts on staying warm. Brad describes his experience of building a flying saucer. Ian asks about roof and wall assemblies for his barndominum. Jeff asks about running his HRV and humidifier at the same time. Kurt wants to know about venting rainscreen walls.
- Brian’s air filter
- Matt’s dog house, battery-powered nailers
Listener Feedback 1:
From wallpello on YouTube Episode 301 writes: Outdoor Cats are horrible for the environment for a guy that is constantly preaching green having an outdoor cat is super irresponsible.
Your average outdoor pet cat still kills around two animals per week, according to the Wildlife Society and the American Bird Conservancy.
Researcher Pete Marra of Norwalk Connecticut, He and colleagues used mathematical models to analyze data from local cat predation studies going back more than 50 years. When they extrapolated the data to reflect national trends, they were stunned. According to their calculations, outdoor cats killed somewhere in the ballpark of 2.4 billion birds and 12.3 billion small mammals in the U.S. per year—far exceeding any other human-influenced cause of avian death, such as pesticides or collisions with windows.
Listener Feedback 2:
Rob writes: Long time subscriber and podcast listener. Keep up the good work.
This week I read fine Homebuilding’s recent saw horse review – good stuff. If you’d like to see what saw horse technology looked like back in the day, I can help.
I was plumbing through a cooler of tools today (what better way to spend one’s Thanksgiving!). The tools all came from my wife’s grandfather’s basement 25+ years ago, and I’m slowly reviewing and incorporating the tools into my collection.
I made the attached short unboxing video of a (then-state-of-the-art?) sawhorse kit. It’s one of those sheet metal ready-to-cu-your-hands types. And, as a bonus, I found gold leaf in the cooler – something every well-equipped toolbox needs. I hope this helps show how far we’ve come.
Listener Feedback 3:
Carson writes: Dear FHB crew, I’ve found the parabolic radiant space heaters great for staying warm when it gets a bit chilly in the mitten. The parabolic disk makes the emit rays nearly parallel, so the radiant energy stays fairly constant as a function of distance; at least to 15 feet or so. As an added bonus, if you like the smell of toast you can enjoy that nice toasty smell when you make a lot of sawdust. Mine was between $60-70 at Costco.
- Durabold Dish Heater Parabolic Electric Heater (affiliate link to Amazon.com)
Listener Feedback 4:
Brad from Minneapolis, MN writes: Hi all, I’m a bit behind on my podcasts and just heard episode #267 where Joe from Des Plaines, IL commented on an old Popular Science article. Like you guys, I consumed both Popular Science and Popular Mechanics throughout my youth. When I wasn’t reading another article about flying cars, I was perusing the classifieds for go-cart and minibike plans. After building both of those, the ad in the next issue of PM leapt off the page: The Bartlett Flying Saucer!
I couldn’t part with my $4 fast enough! I was 14 years old and embarking on my biggest project adventure yet—a 9’ diameter hovercraft constructed in the same fashion as WWI biplanes with muslin fabric stretched over a lightweight wooden rib structure and coated with a zillion coats of airplane dope. It “flew” under the power of a salvaged 3.5 HP Briggs & Stratton lawnmower engine with a junkyard radiator fan welded to the shaft. (I later ponied up the $300 for a legit airplane propeller after one of the radiator fan blades buckled under the static pressure, struck an engine strut, and demolished the engine. That’s OK, I had a 7 HP Tecumseh just waiting for a chance to fly!)
Below is me taking an early test flight. Evidently, I had no parents at this time in my life—note the bare feet, lack of a blade guard over the propeller I’m straddling, and using some hastily attached clothesline to hold on to. Safety features were evidently planned for another day—perhaps when I got my flying car and didn’t have to rely on mom for rides to the hardware store!
Always-mild-and-sunny Minneapolis, MN
Question 1: What’s a cost-effective way to insulate my new barndominium?
Ian from Tiffin, OH writes, Hello Fine Homebuilding! We are building a two story barndominium 44Lx22Wx30H with a 12/12 pitch scissor truss ceiling. Bottom floor will be a 4-car garage/workshop and the top will be living space. We live in north central Ohio (Tiffin) and want to insulate the house but be sensitive to my son’s allergies. I have been getting conflicting information in regards what would be cost effective to insulate our building. The garage does not need to need to have strict climate controlled – a shop heater should suffice.
Question one: Would you recommend Envelop sealing the building with REX/Tyvek then open cell spray foam the exterior walls.
Question two: The company that is building the shell with metal exterior, uses REX felt on the roof. We have a 12/12 pitch roof with scissor trusses. How would you recommend to insulate that area? Spray foam directly to the metal, or to roof, or use mineral wool above the ceiling? How would you vent the attic area?
Question three: Would you spray the underside of the floor? Closed cell to help seal out the odors from the garage?
BTW: We have a found a company that met our green/low VOC needs for spray insulation. Natural Polymers IIc.
Thanks in advance for your advice.
- Questions about a stick built barndominium
- Ventilation or no ventilation in spray foam insulated building?
Question 2: Is it OK to have a humidifier and an HRV in the same house?
Jeff from Excelsior, MN writes, Hello all, I am a long-time listener of the podcast. As a pro (Remodel Carpenter) and unhinged DIYer, I thoroughly enjoy listening to the podcast every week. I enjoy nerding out over houses too and hearing about your own ongoing projects.
I’m writing to you about my own home. I’m not really sure what style the house is… possibly coastal farmhouse?? But, it is a two story (twin cities, Minnesota) spec home built in 1996, which, much to the bane and joy of my wife, I am meticulously remodeling one room at a time. That is to say, when I’m not battling contractor burnout and have motivation to work more after work, between jobs, or on the weekends.
In a feeble attempt to make it a “high performance” home, I’ve done a great deal of air sealing, reinsulated the roof and whatnot. Although I haven’t used any type of blower door on the home, I speculate that I’ve done a pretty good job based on the window glass making a significant amount of noise when I open and close the bedroom doors. So scientific, I know. Ha ha
Anyways, I am writing to you Because I recently installed a whole home humidifier, which is controlled by a 3rd Gen Nest thermostat. The home also has a HRV on a forced air furnace. I wanted to install the humidifier because the humidity levels in the winter would drop down as low as the high to mid 20’s. I now have the minimum humidity set to 35% and take great care maintaining my HRV.
After too much thought about the setup, I figured I’d ask the experts. How will the HRV and humidifier work together? From my understanding they are opposing forces. … Did I waste a few hundred dollars on a humidifier and a day’s worth of work, which included pulling a new thermostat wire. Should I have just turned down the HRV and focused more on air-sealing?
Thanks in advance for a lesson on how these systems work together. My apologies if you’ve already covered this one.
Self-indulgently, I attached a few photos of the house and some highlights of DIY projects.
Question 3: Can you vent the top of a rainscreen into your roof vents?
Kurt from Arlington Heights, IL writes, Hello, I’m designing a new house near the coast in St. Petersburg Florida which will have a rainscreen behind the siding. The roof will be a hot roof so it will not be ventilated. However, in between the two, I have enclosed eaves (soffits). Should I vent the rainscreen through the eave or is this just a way to introduce warm moist air into the eave space? If I’m relying on the stack effect to circulate the air, wouldn’t it be better to connect the eave to the rainscreen? If that’s a bad idea, does the eave need a vent separate from the rainscreen, so the air inside doesn’t condense and rot the framing from the inside out or should it have no ventilation whatsoever?
Attached is the image of the house design and a detail I’m working on.
I appreciate the show and all the helpful information and discussions.
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