Saturday, August 20, 2005

Planning the Addition (1991)

By 1991 we had begun to outgrow the outbuilding. Doug needed more room for all of the lathes he had been acquiring, and he also wanted a music space that would be large enough to host big band rehearsals. Cyndy also needed a larger space for piano teaching and performance classes.

We met with a architect who helped us design a 24’ x 44’ three story addition connected to the house with a 12’ x 20’ section which would contain a centrally located new stairwell. The basement of this addition would contain Doug’s shop, the main floor would be a large open performance space with teaching areas for both Cyndy and Doug, and the top floor would contain a master bedroom area, a laundry room, and an addition bedroom and bathroom. Our old house was heated by radiators, but it had many deficiencies in the insulation department, starting with the wadded up newspapers in the walls.

Doug became interested in having the new addition be as energy efficient as possible and decided that building it with foam core panels would be the best way to accomplish that. People in the homebuilding business were not too familiar with it at the time, but Doug did the necessary research to enable the architect to design it and to get the plans approved.

Foam core panels consist of 6 ½ inches of EPS (expanded polystyrene) foam sandwiched between sheets of ½ inch OSB (oriented strand board). The standard panel size is 4 feet by 8 feet, but we got 10 foot panels so that we could have high ceilings. Each panel is solid foam except for two horizontal chases and one vertical chase per panel. These chases are hollowed out of the styrofoam by the manufacturer so that electric wires can be run through them. Most of the panels attach to each other with OSB splines and a bead of caulk to seal between the foam of each panel. The construction techniques result in a very solid house - probably more solid than it sounds – and it has an extremely high "R" value.

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