Podcast 313: Pony Studs, Cold Floors, and Hiding Foundation Insulation
Rob, Brian, and Patrick hear from listeners about gas mitersaws, vinyl-wrapped windows, and ladder safety, before taking listener questions about building-component etymology, urea-formaldehyde foam, and hiding foundation insulation.
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Pete writes in about getting old in the cold. Mike sent a photo of a brilliant weedwacker/mitersaw hybrid. Ken suggests a novel way to color match a window and asks about covering the foam insulation on his foundation. Another Ken shares a scary tale involving a breezy ladder setup. Jared wants a more-appropriate name for “cripple” stud. Mike asks about the history of his foam insulation. Nicholas seeks a solution to his cold floors.
- Rob’s kitchen update
- Brian’s desk update
- Patrick’s cabinet countertop update
Listener Feedback 1:
Mike writes: Tool for Patrick to review I know your love of two cycle engines, and cordless tools. Enjoy!
Listener Feedback 2:
Pete writes: Patrick, Heard your comment that you are not as (cold) hardy as you were as you age. Sad news – it feels cold as the temperature drops below your age. I know, I’m 63!
Listener Feedback 3:
Ken writes: Hi Rob, you weren’t too far off when you joked about running the Zip tape over the white vinyl window frame. I have done a window like yours and needed it to be dark green to match the client’s storm door. While there are painting products/protocols that will stick to the vinyl, I brought the window to my local truck vinyl wrap shop and he wrapped the frame with matt finish dark green scrap for $30. It looks like Pella factory and will last much longer than any paint product.
Listener Feedback 4:
Ken writes: Hey FHB podcast people. Your podcast is one of my favorites and I have been listening to it since the beginning. I am also a print subscriber and have been reading Taunton magazines since the 80’s. I have some comments about a recent topic.
I was a programmer analyst for a large Wall St firm and after 15 year working there got laid off in 2001. After that I started working with friends painting and performing renovation carpentry. In the intervening years I have done plumbing and bath renos, store fixture and laminate counter top fabrication, furniture and mill work repair, deck building and many others. Had more jobs than I can count, but that’s a discussion for another day.
I am writing to you today to comment about ladder safety. Have had a few close calls, nothing adds spark to the day like having a ladder slide down the face of a wall while high up on it. However, one day my luck ran out. I was hired to clean out a house that the owner was selling. It was three days before Christmas and I was removing stuff from a big platform/ shelf the owner had built in top of the ceiling joists in his garage.
Ladder safety tip #1: Don’t be lazy. I was using a little giant type ladder and only extended it to rest on the joist that was at the front of the platform. I didn’t extend it past the top edge like l should have. I was tossing stuff over my shoulder into a pile to go into the dumpster, when I tossed a box of ice skates over my shoulder it was like a cartoon. The box hit a piece of lumber that was sticking out like a diving board and it launched the skates back towards me in a perfect arc to strike the base of the ladder. This caused the ladder to kick out from under me and I fell straight down about five feet landing on my foot. I lay on the cold floor waiting for the pain to subside which it didn’t. I was alone in the home so I needed to call for help. Tip #2: If you’re working alone always have your phone nearby.
I thought my phone was in my jacket pocket so in considerable pain crawled through the house used the stairs and railings to reach my jacket and…found my phone was in the truck. Somehow, I got to the truck and called for an ambulance. Long story short I fractured a vertebrae and spent several months recovering. It was a very painful lesson.
Question 1: Is there a less-offensive name for “cripple” studs?
Jared from Le Sueur, MN writes: Dear Podcast Team, I am an Industrial Technology teacher in Minnesota. One of my courses is an “intro to the trades” class. One of the units of this class is on framing, and I have run into a very uncomfortable situation regarding framing member terminology. Even though I don’t like it, I am willing to deal with “King” studs and “Jack” studs, even though there are no “Queen” studs (and even if there were, they would no doubt be somehow lesser than king studs). I can explain to my female students that historically this job was done by men, and therefore they used “male” terminology. However, I have a very hard time using the term “Cripple” studs given the inherent degrading nature of that term, especially when I have had students in my class who use wheelchairs.
Before making any suggestions, I want to make sure that there is not another explanation for using that term other than what I am assuming it represents. If there is, I would love to know so that I can share it with my students. If not, what are your thoughts? Do you agree that we could probably come up with a better term for this? Any suggestions for replacement names? What does the process of getting the word out look like so that people in the industry (if willing) will make the change? There will always be people that will never change, but if we could get enough people familiar with a new term, then perhaps it could eventually take hold.
Love the work you do. I look forward to hearing your thoughts. (Also, I look forward to getting a sticker!)
Question 2: How can I tell when my house was insulated?
Mike from Ontario Canada writes, Hello FHB podcast gang! Just recently I have gotten into podcasts and have really enjoyed listening to fhb episodes. I am writing from Ontario Canada.
My house is a small bungalow built in 1959.I renovated the main floor and found many things you’d typically expect, including 9×9 asbestos tiles. What I did not expect to find was pink fiberglass insulation (not paper backed) in the walls. Most homes I’ve worked on of this vintage did not have any insulation at all. There was a builder in town who would pull the insulation out of the house once the inspection passed and use that to insulate the next house!
My biggest surprise was to find foil faced rigid foam sheathing, while I am not certain of when that practice came into play, I understand it to have been much later than when my house was built.
Through a small job from work I found the same product on a house of similar age.
My question(s) for the podcast gang would be how or why do you think this insulation got there?
My theory is that the house was insulated with UFFI Insulation, and later had it removed, and at the time of doing so, that was when the insulation and iso board were applied. I should also note that there isn’t any plastic vapor barrier, just the space blanket strips on the edges of the studs.
In a few electrical boxes, as well as in the floor joists, I found small bits of spray foam that behaved just like my boss explained UFFI to me. There’re several houses in my neighborhood that were insulated with UFFI and still have it so I don’t think that it’s such a stretch my house was too.
I hope to hear everyone’s take on this. Thanks for all the trade tips, promotion of the trades, and of course keeping craft alive.
Question 3: What’s the best way to insulate a clean, dry conditioned crawlspace?
Nicholas from Mason, MI writes, Hi all, I’m a long time DIY’er and a recently licensed residential builder. My education and career are in engineering and product development so I love hearing you guys discuss unmet needs so I can add those ideas to my product development funnel. Keep them coming haha.
We recently purchased a 1963 brick ranch and are in the process of renovating nearly every space. The house is beautiful with good bones, but was a 1970’s time capsule inside. I’m surely going to be reaching out again in the future as new challenges pop up.
For now, I’ll start with what is hopefully an easy one. There are conditioned crawlspaces under the ends of the “T” shape of the floorplan. They are clean, dry, and have concrete poured in there on the floor. Overall pretty nice and unfortunately pretty big (800 sf total). However, they are cold enough that you can feel the difference in floor temperature on the main floor when walking from a basement section to a crawlspace section. My challenge is, how the heck should I insulate these spaces? Specifically, how am I supposed to get all of those foam boards in there through the roughly 3′ diagonal openings? I can’t get behind ripping foam panels and lugging them in there. Should I do the floors and walls, or just walls? Because it’s pretty dry, should I cut corners and throw batts under the main floor? Or just resort to wearing slippers and ignore my inner engineer? Side note, the rooms with ducts running through these spaces blow “not hot” air into the bedrooms, and it’s only December.
Any help would be appreciated. See attached images.
Question 4: What can I cover my foam foundation insulation with to make it more attractive?
Ken from Rindge, NH writes, Dear Fine Sawhorse-building podcast, Thanks so much for the compilation of articles that came out today about sawhorses. I was just about to buy a new set of plastic ones but I think I’ll do something nice out of wood instead. You’ve given us lots of options and I appreciate the reorganization of web resources that is currently underway.
I’m writing again about my western NH house pictured below which is just about done. We completed the brown stain just before the temperatures dropped and just need to do the porch cable railing to complete the exterior.
My question this time around is about the foundation, which you can see in the attached pictures. I need both aesthetic advice and technique so I’d really like to hear from Kiley as well as the guys. You can see in the photos that the addition has a plain poured concrete foundation wall above grade. It is properly insulated below grade. The original house, however, dates to 1999 and I think it was poured into rigid foam panels, and then a scratch coat of cement applied to hide the insulation above grade. My painter says I should get rid of the foam because it will make a home for insects but I did not see any evidence of this in this past summer. This would be fine with me but it may be that the cement is grooved like the foam we can see. I’d also like to make to two parts of the house look more unified so I am considering his idea. Other ideas would be to apply some horizontal PT 1×4 or 1×6 as a way to create some architectural interest but this seems to be a waste of wood and one more thing to maintain. And I wonder what that will look like against the vertical board/battens above. My wife is suggesting some applied stone veneer or a product like Evolve Stone but the house is rural and rustic and I want to keep some simplicity to the design. Should I just apply cement-board to the old section? If so, how to attach it? Can you take a look at the pictures and let me know what everyone thinks?
Many thanks, Ken.
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