Tags: ‘foil barrier’

Flooring…Now or Later?

Upon the completion of the sheetrock phase, installation of some of your flooring may begin.

floor-333165_1280If you select natural hardwood flooring, the wood must acclimate to the environmental conditions of your new home. Delivery of the product you selected ten days to two weeks ahead of installation is absolutely necessary. Natural wood will expand and contract with current weather conditions, more or less moisture in the home causes the wood to expand (more moisture) or contract (less moisture). Imagine the result of installing moist wood when you turn the heat on in your new home…the drying out will cause gaps between the planks. The opposite occurs if you install dry wood in your new home…the moisturizing of the planks will cause them to expand, forcing the gaps to buckle up and cause “cupping”. A number of alternatives now available in pre-finished wood flooring allow for installation at a later date, but acclimation must still be included in the process.

That brings us back to decisions, decisions, decisions! If you elect to use natural hardwood, installation takes place prior to the trim phase. Following acclimation, a subcontractor will cover the subfloor with black felt paper that acts as a moisture barrier and then staples the hardwood planks in place. Once again, the flooring needs to rest before sanding and the application of the first coat of stain and polyurethane. During the initial sanding and application of stain phase, other activities in the home are curtailed. The resumption of other activities may resume when the floors have completely dried, after a protective cover of paper is placed over them. The last coats of polyurethane are applied near the end of completion of your new home.

Ceramic TileIf you have decided to use any tile flooring in your new home, installation begins while newly delivered hardwood acclimates. The first step includes installation of cementitious board in the tile areas, including walls for showers and tub surrounds. This board creates a hard, solid surface under the tile, and insures that grout joints will not crack. The tile you selected will then be set in place with mortar, allowed to dry, and grouted. Covering finished tile floors prevents grout from becoming dirty before the application of sealer.

Carpet

The installation of carpeting and sheet linoleum occurs during the end phase of completion, but before the final coat of polyurethane on natural hardwood floors.

 

The order of the building process prevents accidental damage to floor surfaces and costly repairs. Have questions? Drop me a note, and I will be more than happy to try to help you.

Insulation

Most of us know insulation installed in wall cavities, overhead in our attics, and under a home constructed over a crawlspace, contributes to the control of temperature in our homes. In the winter, insulation keeps heated air in our homes; and in the summer, insulation keeps cool air in our homes. End of story, right? If you desire an energy and cost efficient home, new products brought to market in recent years to combat the ever increasing costs of heating and cooling a home warrant some exploration.

Types of insulation vary and building codes only set a minimum standard. The U. S. Department of Energy sets a minimum standard for walls, attics, and crawlspaces defined as a “resistance” value, commonly referred to as an “R” value. For instance, building codes require exterior wood frame walls be insulated to an R-13 value in a home built in Williamson County, Tennessee. When we talk about an R value, our goal is to set a resistance value to inhibit the natural process of heat seeking cold. We use more or less insulation to inhibit heated air from reaching cold air. The higher the R value, the longer it takes heat to transfer to cold. The following chart represents energy code requirements set by the U.S. Department of Energy by zone.

DOE-INSULATION-MAP

Three common insulation methods used in our climate include batts, blown, and spray foam forms. The most common method of insulating used in middle Tennessee utilizes batts in walls and between floor joists in crawlspaces, and blown insulation in attics. Minimum requirements may be attained using these mediums; however, additional efficiency may be realized by using a combination of spray foam and batts in wall cavities, crawlspaces, and attics. A method referred to as “flash and batt” utilizes spray foam to seal seams and joints in cavities before installing batts. This method costs more than standard batts only, but less than a full spray foam application. Keep in mind that areas in a home that incorporate many windows have less wall space, and spray foam used in these areas provides the best insulation.

An experienced General Contractor will guide you through the selection process when you consider all of the insulation possibilities available.