Framing Exterior Insulation REBuild

Crafting a Sustainable Home: Construction Insights from Framing and Exterior Insulation – Real Rebuild Episode 2

Foreword by Ian Thompson, Editor

Framing and insulation: perhaps the most important performance consideration.

It’s framing week on The Build Show! Matt’s back with another meaty episode diving deep into the framing and insulation details of his personal home rebuild project.

This one is packed with all the nitty-gritty you’d expect from Matt. He walks through his unique “Monopoly framing” approach to creating an ultra-airtight exterior envelope. We’re talking continuous insulation from the foundation all the way up to the ridge, with taped sheathing acting as the home’s raincoat.

But don’t worry, Matt hasn’t forgotten about the importance of overhangs. He reveals how he used innovative site-built SIP roof panels and rafter tails to create proper shading for the walls below.

Matt also geeks out on all his insulation solutions, like using polyiso foam boards with radiant barrier facings on the walls. And you know he’s doing something different at the bottom plate to prevent air leakage there.

As usual, Matt questions some of his decisions along the way. Would he still use LVL framing? Or maybe he’d opt for raised-heel trusses? He’s not afraid to call out potential areas for improvement.

There are tons of valuable construction details in this video. Matt covers everything from subfloor glue selection to avoiding squeaky floors with a robust joist hanger system.

Crafting a Sustainable Home: Construction Insights from ‘Framing and Exterior Insulation – Real Rebuild Episode 2’

Video Transcript

All right, my friends. Welcome back to episode two of “The Real Rebuild series” That’s right, we’re actually going to be talking about the build process on this video. If you saw episode one, I spent a whole episode explaining myself, trying to figure out why I wasn’t, or why I didn’t, remodel the house. But here’s where the fun begins, guys.

On this episode, we’re getting into framing. We’re going to talk exterior installation. I’m going to get into all the specifics of Monopoly framing. We got a lot to cover today. No better build, better, let’s get going.

The “Real Rebuild” build original series is brought to you by James Hardy. This episode, in particular, is sponsored by SPAX.

Okay, so let’s start this episode right here. We’re in the slab stage. Right, we took the house down to the slab, and we’re starting over again. We’re using a 1970 slab, which was relatively flat. And stay tuned for a later episode to show you how we insulated that slab.

But the framing contractor, this is a guy that I’ve used a bunch, Bill Wood and his crew, did a terrific job. And you’re going to notice here, though, that we did something a little bit different. Let’s tune in. A 2×4, it’s not a traditional 2×4. This is LVL studs. Have you seen these before? An LVL. That’s right, so we didn’t frame with traditional lumber. This is the first thing you’re going to notice that I did a little weird on this house. We used all engineered lumber, all LVLs.

A little backstory on that: As I was rebuilding this house and chronicling on YouTube in kind of a haphazard way, this series is meant to kind of bring it all together and tell you the best of, and also say what would I do differently if I were to do this again? I’ll be honest, I got a donation of, I forget how many studs, I think they gave me 500 studs for the project.

Now, I ended up using way more than that, and it kind of became a thing like, “Oh, if I’m going to use LVLs for my studs, I should also use LVLs for my rafters.” And I bought every bit of my Roseburg LVL rafters that I used for the house.

But it kind of started with a donation, and I built a house for an engineer in particular, that’s spec LVL studs, it’s about a year or two earlier. This guy named Jeff, that’s probably the ultimate “Build Show” nerd, an incredible researcher, and I’ve learned so much from Jeff. Hopefully, he’s watching now because Jeff took the time to really research not just straightness on LVLs, but what was their strength.

And when we were building Jeff’s house, he said, “Look, man, I want to use all LVLs. I want you to use this type of nail, this type of glue, this type of sheathing. We used some close-cell foam. We really kind of nailed the shear details because he wanted his house to withstand, you know, some crazy high winds.

You know, let’s say we had a Category 3 hurricane blow through town. He wanted his house to be the only house standing and still build it out of kind of normal wood construction.”

And so he spent the details and the time thinking about it. Now, I didn’t go to quite that degree. White Smith, who did my engineering, I didn’t tell him that I was looking to survive a tornado in this house. But certainly, I’ve got much better strength rank with LVLs. I also had not a single call, absolute dead flatness. And so I’m super thankful I did it.

Would I do it again, though, or would I recommend them to you? I’m not sure if I would, to be honest. The cost, I’m not sure quite justifies the benefit. Now, if you have no budget, if you ultimately want the best no matter what it costs, certainly LVLs are a way to go. But do you have to do it?

No, no. I would not in any way disparage anybody who didn’t use LVL studs. And of course, you could go LSL studs, which is kind of like an OSB stud, but I really liked that feeling of extra strong plywood studs that I got with the LVLs.

But had I to do this project again, I think honestly, I would have probably gone with SPF, Spruce Pine Fir, 2x4s. And by the way, the reason for 2x4s compared to 2×6, what really just came down to the footprint on the house and this being a rebuild rather than new construction.

Everything was laid out for 2×4 construction. The previous house had 2×4 construction, and I knew I was going to put a thick blanket of exterior insulation. So I didn’t need that extra stud depth to go to, let’s say, R20 bats rather than R15 bats like I used from Rockwool. It wasn’t necessary, and the 2x4s worked really well.

Okay, speaking of LVL trusses, let’s watch this video on how we engineered my open attic and how we made all those connections between the LVLs.

Continue Reading

All right, guys, so we’re on the second floor now. We were standing right above us on top of that decking. Now, what do we need to know about tying all this together?

All right, these ceiling joists are what we were using as the bottom cord of our truss up there. What we were calling our truss, so as those rafters try to separate as they get loaded, they put a horizontal force on the top of the wall.

These ceiling joists will resist that horizontal force, so the joists will have a tension load in them. And it’s important that where we splice the joists, that we have a connection that’s properly designed to transfer that. It’s a tension load in the member, but it’s a shear load in the splice.

That’s correct. There’s a great new product line out there among several of the manufacturers where they have what is a replacement for a lag screw. Ah, that’s what this SPAX power lag is.

So here, we have SPAX power lags. These have similar values to lag screws, but they’re a smaller diameter. They don’t require pre-drilling, and they’re easily installed with an impact driver. That’s pretty nice. We’re big fans of these, yeah.

We’re using them a lot. And talk to me about the outside, speaking of those, because we actually kind of did a little extra on this outside wall, didn’t we?

Well, I like it, though, as a structural engineer. I like seeing a little redundancy in a project. What we have here is we have our power lag. We’re using this as a truss screw. They make other product lines out there that are similar to a truss screw. They’re designed to do is be a replacement for a traditional hurricane tie.

We like hurricane ties. We use them a lot. But these can be a little bit more discreet. They don’t protrude out from the wall and conflict with your drywall installation, and they actually install faster because this will have tin nails, where this is only one.

Yeah, so in this case, we’re going through that double top plate into the rafter with a long power lag, and then we’ve got a shorter power lag that’s connecting the ceiling joist or ceiling rafter, no ceiling joist, with the rafter together, right? So those are both inch-and-three-quarter members. We’ve got a 3-inch screw to connect.

Right, and we can’t lose sight that that’s a very important connection in this structural system because that’s what connects this compressive member, the top cord of the truss, to our tension member, this bottom cord of our truss.

Yeah, so in this case, we’ve kind of re-done a redundancy, though, on the uplift capacity because we we didn’t necessarily need to use those. Funny story for you, though. White designed us all to use the SPAX power lags, and my guys are so used to installing these that before I could tell them, “Hey, don’t bother. We don’t need those,” they were already installed. I think that happens a lot on job sites. We like it. Engineers like it when we come out and we see double duty.

Okay, now that you’ve seen where I used SPAX on my particular house, or at least a few of the places, I had to grab some samples because I wanted to show you a few things, and what’s changed since we shot this video a couple of years ago.

First off, if you’re not familiar with SPAX, man, they make some bomber screws, and their catalog keeps getting bigger every year. I’d highly recommend you actually pick one of these up. I’m sure you can get it from those guys, but back in the day, you know, 10-20 years ago, when I started using SPAX, I’d have to get them from, this online resource that had a great catalog.

Today, you can get them at all kinds of places, at BFS, at your home centers locally, hardware stores, all that kind of stuff. They’re going to stock a lot of these types of screws right on the shelf.

They’re multi-material screws. They’ve got a bunch of nice cabinet-style screws, waffle-head screws, that sort of thing. But you may not see everything stocked on the shelf on the power lags, and that’s what I mention I want to mention specifically.

So, like when you look at this box, this green-looking screw right here, this is a power lag. It’s basically an alternative to pre-drilling and putting an old-school lag in. And you saw at my house, all those LVLs that were carrying load, like above my garage, where I put foam up first and then lag that LVL into the structure behind. These things are awesome. They work really, really well.

But one thing I would want to point out is they’re moving to a black HCR finish instead of this green finish. This is approved in pressure-treated wood. This is approved for out on the elements, but it’s black now instead of that greenish color. I kind of like that a lot.

I used power lags in other locations as well, like when I was screwing down my tail extensions, which went over Monopoly framing and were able to over-frame my roof so I could make that overhang. We also used those in my brick tie areas.

A sister company to SPAX called TRUE FAST makes a bunch of the fasteners I use there, too. And this is a particularly nice one if you’ve not seen it before. This is a two-piece tie. It’s a tie that gives some thermal break. It also has a pointed face on it, so when it penetrates that foam, it actually makes a nice kind of washer gasketing effect to your air barrier, your WRB, in my case, my ZIP system sheathing. And it’s going to seal out air and water from coming through that screw hole area.

But it’s a two-piece tie, meaning we screw this in first through the foam, and then it’s got a washer in there already. And then next, we’re going to put that tie on. And this appears to be a galvanized tie that has a little bit of float up and down, top to bottom. It also has this polymer sheath on here, which is going to break that metal-to-metal connection, so it’s going to give you a few more BTUs saved on there.

But while we’re talking about it, TRUE FAST also makes a bunch of other options if you’re doing any exterior insulation like I did all over my house. They’ve got some really nice options out there. And under the TRUE FAST brand, they also make SIPS fasteners.

This is a fastener that’s not intended to be exterior-rated, ’cause this is going to be covered. But I used these on my roof, which ended up basically being a SIPS roof. I had two 2-inch layers of insulation on the roof and then I’m screwing through a new layer of ZIP system sheathing.

Okay, next up, let’s talk about bottom plates. You’re going to notice that we have actually a double bottom plate going on here. Let me explain to you why we did that.

Here, a double bottom plate, that’s a little unusual out there. You don’t see that very often. And you’re going to see that in these interior walls. We’ve also used Sill sealer. You’re familiar with Sill sealer, right? That’s that blue kind of foam gasket that’s at the bottom of the house, that’s everywhere on the outside walls as well.

But we’ve done an extra air-sealing step that you may not have seen before. I got some videos of the guys doing that from the Madera crew while they were running.

Basically, we’re going to take an acoustic sealant. There’s a couple different options out there. We used both Trim-Tec acoustic sealant, as well as this that comes in a sausage tube, this by pro clima, and this is called Contiga HF. They’re both what’s called acoustic sealants. An acoustic sealant is different from a regular sealant because it never skins over. It never hardens. It’s basically forever elastic.

And the way that we’re using it for air sealing in this house is at the bottom plate. We ran a bead of that down on the concrete before we put our bottom plate down, and then we turned the bottom plate over, stapled on the Sill sealer to that, but you’ll notice we only stapled it on one end so that then we could run another bead of that acoustic sealant between the Sill sealer and the bottom plate, that pressure-treated 2×4 bottom plate.

So that then when we put that down first, you’ve got this kind of Z-shaped gasket on the bottom. Sill sealer alone does a good job of being a capillary break. It does not do a great job air sealing, and I’ve learned that the hard way over the years. But air can flow through there. And so this is a great, inexpensive detail from my buddy Steve Baczek on how to air-seal that area that’s really hard to air-seal.

You’ll also notice we used Sill sealer in the interior walls as well. If you’re framing on top of concrete, I think anytime you’re doing that, Sill sealer’s a great detail. In the South, another great benefit to Sill sealer on that bottom concrete is it’s going to add just a little bit of insulation value to that bottom plate so that you might have less chance of mold growing because of some condensation happening at a cold area of the house. So, it’s just an overall great detail as a capillary break, but I would use it on the interior as well.

And I didn’t get into it yet, but the reason why we double bottom plated on this house is because I ended up doing a top-of-slab insulation. We’re going to get into that later. But you’re going to see later on that we put insulation down and then subfloor on the top slab. But that being said, let’s get back to framing.

Here’s what a California Corner looks like. You can see I’ve got a stud here, and then I’ve got a stud in the flat so that I can shove insulation back there. However, I’m not quite as worried about those insulation details being perfect because ultimately, we’re going to use this for insulation on the outside. This is Atlas insulation. It’s polyiso, and we’ve got 2 inches of polyiso on the outside of the building, 4 inches on the roof up above.

Now, we haven’t framed any of this roof here. This is my master bedroom. So, there’s the door to the master. We’ve got some great window locations. There’s the door into the bathroom. We walk in here, and this is my wife’s closet area. Vanities will be right here.

Go through this doorway here, and then we’ve got a shower here. We’re going to do a nice zero-entry curb shower with Schluter systems to get that all taken care of. And then this room over here will have a doorway here, and this will be my closet. I got the tiny closet, of course. You know what? I totally forgot I changed the floor plan even after I made this video. I totally forgot about this.

I’m pointing to my closet and my wife’s closet at this stage in the remodel. I left the original master bedroom layout, and it didn’t work well. I had a phone call with a buddy of mine, a guy named Gary Klein, who is a well-recognized expert in plumbing layouts.

And I was talking to Gary about how I should run my hot and cold lines for quickest hot water delivery. Go check out some of Gary’s videos and online papers about how to run your plumbing lines so that you can get hot water delivery to any fixture with only maybe one cup of water going down the drain before it gets hot.

So, I’m reviewing this layout with Gary, and Gary says to me, “Matt, this master is terrible. What are you doing?” And I said, “Well, Gary, you know, I’m kind of trying to reuse all the plumbing.” And he said, “Matt, I know you didn’t call me for floor plan advice, but you know what?

I’m actually pretty good with closets and layout, and this is absolutely awful.” And so on a napkin sketch, Gary wrote down a better floor plan, texted it to me, texted me a photo of the napkin sketch. I gave it to Kit, my architect, and said, ‘You know what, kid? Actually, let’s move the plumbing, because this is way better.’ And that’s how I got to the layout that we’re at today.

So, at this stage of framing, believe it or not, I’m actually going to remodel some of these walls again. And when you’ve seen the floor plan of my house, this is the original floor plan, not the floor plan that I ended up with.

Okay, first-floor walls complete, we’re ready to start decking the second floor. Now, you’re going to notice I used I-joist on my first floor, and you know, this is one of those areas where, had I to do it all over again, I think I actually would have raised my house up another 6 inches and moved from 12-inch I-joist to a 16-inch 2×4 truss.

I’m slab-on-grade, I don’t have any services in the basement, so everything had to run through the floor system, including cans. I really tried to reduce the amount of ductwork that was going in there. Stay tuned for a future episode on that.

But I-joists, they’re a great product, they’re super solid, they’re super straight. I’ve had no squeaks, but again, with that solid web, it can be difficult to route your services through there. Also, I found that my inspector made me have the warehouse I-joist drilling guide on-site because he wanted to verify that every single hole that I drilled in those I-joists met the manufacturer spec, so that was honestly a little bit of a pain.

I didn’t have that on my first inspection. I didn’t foresee him asking for that, caused me a couple-day delay in framing, not a big deal in the end, but had I do it over again, I think I probably would have used 2×4 trusses.

Now, let’s talk about subfloor and install. Now, I’m a huge AdvanTech guy. I had, on my very first custom home I built in 2005 as my own builder, I put 1-inch and 3/4-inch plywood down, we got a fair amount of rain during construction on that house, and every one of my seams buckled, and I ended up spending about $1,000 on sanding all those plywood seams down. I switched to AdvanTech on my house next, that was like 2006 that I built, and haven’t gone back. Amazing product.

One thing you need to know about AdvanTech, though, that I learned early on that you guys need to know, is you can’t use standard glue on AdvanTech. For years, as a production builder, I used standard glue, PL400 glue, that was really ubiquitous in the industry. If people said ‘glue,’ they meant PL400. It’s a non-polyurethane-based glue, basically a solvent adhesive. And because the AdvanTech has so much polyurethane glue in it, it does not stick great to PL400 — not that it doesn’t stick at all, but it doesn’t stick great.

In fact, I made a video early on in my YouTube career, like 2011 or ’12, where I pulled sheets of AdvanTech off different joists with different glues, and I found that it was actually pretty straightforward to remove PL400 or other solvent-based glues from AdvanTech because of not-great adhesion. So, at that time, I said, ‘Look, you need to switch to polyurethane glues.’

Well, fast forward a decade, now AdvanTech makes their own polyurethane-based glue, it’s the purple stuff that you’re going to see in this video of my guys putting subfloor down. Once you stick that glue down, it is not going anywhere, and in fact, so much so that I never use screws on my projects. I really just glue it and nail it, and I’ve yet to have a call-back on one of my houses. It is absolutely stuck tenaciously.

And that’s what I found in my house. This whole 8-minute video is us putting down — I’ll show you the entire process. It’s a really straightforward process. The guys are super used to it now. Also, it saves a bunch of time, honestly, because you’re not queuing up cartridges of glue like one of those polyurethane cases. I forget the exact number, but I want to say it replaces something like eight cartridges of glue by using that AdvanTech stuff. So, this is a terrific system. Big fan.

Let’s switch gears now, though, and let’s talk Monopoly framing. This is a good point to do it because now we’re finished with the first-floor walls, and we’re just starting to frame that second-floor deck on the house we’re going to be talking about under construction that looks like a Monopoly house.

Now, y’all grew up playing Monopoly, right? These houses on the board, it’s not really meant to be a house, it’s just the shape, the iconic shape of a house. And yet, this house behind me looks incredibly a lot like a Monopoly house.

Okay, let’s pause the video here. This is a little further on in construction. We’ve got the second-floor walls up, and we’ve got the roof on both of these. But what you’re going to notice is the sequencing here. I wanted to make sure that I built the second-floor walls before the roof that’s on the garage and the porch got built, so that I could make sure that my insulation was continuous and also my air barrier was continuous.

I was trying to get the best air barrier to separate the house from the garage. And you’ll see later that we actually sheathed the inside of the garage with AdvanTex sheathing, such that the only break in the AdvanTech kind of shell on the outside of my house for sheathing was the I-joist that separated the garage ceiling from my boy’s bedroom above.

But this really shows you that iconic Monopoly framing where the walls actually touch the roof sheathing, the wall sheathing touches the roof sheathing, and that allows you then to tape that joint and get a perfect air seal.”

Now, if you’ve seen photos of my house, though, you’re going to notice that my house does have overhangs. But there’s no overhangs at this stage, so we still need to build an over-roof. But let me show you the details first on the rest of the Monopoly framing before we jump into that.

We got a big green house that happens to be the color of the Huber Zip system sheeting, but we also have no overhangs on this house. Now, you’ve heard me say on multiple episodes that overhangs are good for a house, so why am I building a house with no overhangs?

Today’s build show talking about Monopoly framing got a lot of good stuff for you today. Let’s get going. Alright, so the house behind me, guys, this is actually my family’s personal house, and you would think that a house that I’m building would have overhangs.

But yet, you look at this, and as I said, it looks a lot like a Monopoly piece, doesn’t it? You know that Monopoly piece, no overhangs. Although, funny enough, these new pieces have just a slight overhang, nothing on the gable end, but a little bit on the front and the back of the house.

The point is, though, this house behind me, no overhangs. Look at that gable up there on the second floor, you can see the wall runs right into the roof. Now, why am I doing that?

Let’s think about this for a minute. Most houses that are framed traditionally, they’re going to frame platform framing, which means you’re going to frame the first-floor walls, the floor is going to sit on top of the walls, then you’re going to frame the second-floor walls. Then, on top of the second-floor wall, you’re either going to have traditional roof rafters, let’s say 2x8s or 2x10s, or you might have some trusses.

Now, the house that was here before had trusses, and those trusses had a two-foot overhang on the house on most locations. Now, overhangs are good for houses. Why am I not doing it here? Well, I’ve basically taken Joe Lstiburek’s perfect wall concept, and I’ve applied it here. I think the term Monopoly framing or Monopoly house might make a little more sense, and here’s basically what we’re doing.

We’re using the Zip system sheeting that’s that green sheeting you’re seeing behind me, and we’ve framed it so that the roof rafters, as we put those on, are clipped at the wall. In other words, I’ve got 2×8 roof rafters, so my first-floor wall ends, and then it’s about 8 inches taller up there on the roof behind me, so that then I could run that Zip sheating all the way up to the roof deck, and then the roof deck then goes continuously all the way up to the ridge.

And the reason why I’m doing that is I want a really good raincoat on the outside of the house, but especially even more importantly, what I’m looking for at this layer is a really good airtightness layer.

Let’s think about it for a minute. If this is a real modern house with no overhangs, it’d be akin to putting my raincoat on, putting my hood up, and hoping for the next 100 years that I wouldn’t get wet on the house. And when the rains come, I’m making sure that my raincoat keeps me dry. Yep, yep, I got wet.

Well, my body did fine, my face got a little wet, right? No overhangs to protect me on the top, my pants got a little wet, but for the most part, oh, I got a little wet down here. Hopefully, my mic’s still working right now. For the most part, my body is dry. So this house is going to do a good job for the most part of the main body, but we really want those overhangs.

So, you know, if that rain came, and instead of just having a jacket, I had a jacket plus an umbrella, like an old-school house would have, what’s going to happen when I have a good umbrella going? Nothing. I might get a little bit of the bottom of my pants wet, but that’s really it. My body is going to be just fine. And you know what?

My raincoat’s not even zipped up. Look, my dry duck jacket here, didn’t have to do any heavy lifting. The raincoat did everything for us. And that’s really why old houses did really well, ’cause they had a big umbrella over them. The raincoats were pretty terrible 50 years ago, but they had that big umbrella, and that big umbrella is what saved those old houses.

So, what I’m going to do on this house is the best of both worlds. Joe Lstiburek calls it the perfect wall. I’m going to call it the Monopoly framed house or the Monopoly house. And here’s what we did from the foundation all the way to the peak of the roof. You can see I’ve done a really good job of taping and using some fluid applies to make sure that that house is nice and watertight, but even more importantly, airtight.

And then, after I got the house all zipped up, let’s actually physically zip my raincoat here. I’ll even put my hood on, just for visuals. Now, I’m going to put my insulation layer on top of that. If I can get my coat on, okay, so now my insulation is going to go on top. Now, if I were just to go ahead and have the hose come out now, I would get wet again, wouldn’t I? So instead of that, let’s think about if I were to take this and now put an umbrella on the house.

All right, I took it a little bit longer than you needed to, but the point is, we’re putting our raincoat on, we’ve got a nice air and water-tight layer with a Monopoly framing, and then we’re going to put our exterior coat on.

And in fact, you’ll see here, we did 2 inches of foil-faced poly ISO on the outside of all the walls, and then on the roof, I actually did four inches of unfaced poly ISO or fiberglass-faced, and then we’re going to build the overhangs after that. This is really where it gets fun.

In order to make that a little bit easier, you’re going to notice behind me there, we used window bucks on the outside, and we’re actually going to get into that here in a second. But what I did was I took a 2×2 and wrapped the windows all the way around in that 2×2 so that it would make it a little easier for me to terminate the foam on the side of the window and have something solid to install the window to. But let’s let’s actually go look at what that wall insulation looks like.

 Be talking about exterior in action coming to you from my house this is my real rebuild project where we made a bunch of videos. Catch up on those before you watch this if you haven’t seen them. But on today’s video we’re going to be getting into all the details on how to do exterior installation. What are the benefits?

How to do the details correctly to make sure that you’ve got a nice thick blanket of insulation on the outside of your house. All right guys welcome back to my house as you can see we’ve made some great progress on the outside of the house.

I think the last video I posted was either Monopoly framing or the the rooftop insulation and man it is looking amazing around here. Now we just started a little bit of out of order cuz actually we did the rooftop insulation then we did the wall insulation so now that I think about it, well, we can get the wrap up from this video. Basically, what you’re seeing here is for the rooftop insulation.

We first put down the overhang, and what I did for the overhang was we made an LVL tail that we ripped out of some scrap pieces of LVL, and we’re using the 2:1 method, so we went 4 feet up the wall, or up the roof, I should say, and 2 feet out. And I cut it in an L shape so that when I put the first layer of foam down, the second layer would cover over and be flush with the top of the tail. Let me show you that here.

Here, we’ve just started about a week ago on our wall insulation, and you can see we’re pretty much done at this point. We just have a little bit to fill in in a few places. I was thinking this video showed that, but what you’re going to see is on that rooftop insulation, we made those rafter tails.

We screwed them down through the ZIP sheathing into the actual rafters, the true 2x rafters that were up in the holding the roof line or holding the roof on, and that allowed me to make this fake tail, so that, or not a fake tail, a structural tail, so then I put my next layer of ZIP system sheathing down.

We used the brown 5/8 ZIP. I basically made a site-built SIPs roof, so I made a sandwich of ZIP system sheathing, foam, and then ZIP system sheathing again. So now on my entire roof deck, I have 4 inches of polyiso.

Depending on which foam you get, it’s going to vary anywhere from maybe R-5 to maybe as much as R-8 per inch, so I want to say my actual roof was something around R-22 or so, maybe R-24, but again, that’s going to vary a little bit. It could be as little as R-20, it could be as much as let’s say R-28 maybe in 4 inches.

If you’re building this same house in the North, in a real northern cold climate, you may consider going a little thicker. 6 inches would be even better. You could do that in two 3-inch layers, or you could of course do it in three layers of 2 inches, but this allowed me to get that really solid overhang on the outside of the house, but have it look pretty normal.

And if you look at this paused image right here, you can actually see we ran that 2-inch foam out 2 inches past the face of the wall foam, so they would actually touch each other, and I would truly get that continuous exterior insulation over the full side of the house.

Now, in this particular image, you’ll notice that most of the foam is facing silver side out. If you’re in the South, that foil facing on the foam is going to give me a radiant barrier benefit, and believe it or not, even the black ink on that logo there is not going to radiate the heat, so I left one logo in deference to Atlas, which SP sponsored this particular video, but everywhere else, I actually ran their logo facing inward and ran the silver out.

And then also, you’re going to see here that we bucked the windows out, like I mentioned earlier, and you can start to see some of those details we’re actually going to go into a little bit that in a second.

But let me finish up this video on exterior insulation details, places we’re using Atlas’s polyiso insulation. This is foil-faced, but they do make a bunch of different flavors and varieties on this. Now, this foil facing you’re seeing on the outside here has a couple of benefits for us. Number one, a radiant barrier. This is going to radiate the sun’s energy back on us. In fact, I even have a couple of scrap pieces over here we’re using as a bounce on this video because it’s bouncing that sun’s rays, so it’s helping us on energy efficiency.

Beyond just insulation, but remember, whenever we’ve got a foil facing, we need an air gap in front of that for that to actually function correctly. That’s why you saw me on the roof not worrying about using this, because I was making a sandwich on the walls.

However, I’m going to be putting a 1×4 batten on each one of the studs, and then I’m going to add my James Hardie siding on top of that, which means I’m going to have 3/4 of an airspace in front of this foil facing, so when the sun gets through there, it’s going to hit that, and because of that air gap, it’s going to radiate the sun’s radiant energy through.

Now, if you remember from high school science class, we’ve got conduction, convection, and radiation. The radiant barrier helps radiate out, and then the 2 inches of polyiso on here are going to help with conduction and convection.

Now, polyiso is a very high R-value. That’s one of its big selling points, a lot of R-value per inch. And in fact, this 2-inch panel is R-13, so on my entire outside of the house, I’ve got R-13. I bet you didn’t catch that on the original video, did you?

My house, I’ve got R-11.4. Now, this is an older neighborhood. I’m rebuilding this house. This is a 1970s house. All my neighborhood is 2×4 construction, and it’s typical in 2×4 construction to see batts in that cavity at either R-13 or a high-density batt of R-15. The problem is with standard insulation in the walls, you’ve got all these studs in the way, and every time you hit a stud, you have a much lower amount of insulation.

Studs and wood in general are roughly R-1 per inch, which means on a 2×4 stud, you tell we’re filming during the pandemic. I’ve got my babushka on there that I was able to slide up over my nose and make sure that I had my mask on during times we don’t need to watch the whole video. I think I got the basics with you guys. I think you kind of got the biggest idea, but one thing I do want to talk about here is one detail that isn’t quite apparent, and that’s this one.

So, it’s 1.5 inches by 2 inches thick, and we’re screwing that into the base plate of the house all the way around the house, and then in this case, so what I did was I ran a 2×2 pressure-treated 2×2 at the base of the wall. I screwed that into the bottom plate, and that gave me a ledge to drop the foam onto so that I didn’t have to worry about bug tunneling up and hitting that foam. Now, the pink stuff you see in there, that’s Pro’s joint and seam filler.

That’s a fluid-applied flashing. Again, just a belt and suspenders to make sure that I don’t get air or bugs or ants tunneling up on top of my slab and getting in between my framing. And then on top of that 2×4, see how I’ve got some zip tape right there? What we did was we ran a basically like a through-wall flashing with zip tape, ran it over the top of that pressure-treated 2×4, and now when I drop that insulation on the wall cavity on the outside, it’s again captured at the bottom.

That’s a great detail. If you didn’t want to do this, you could also use a bug screen detail, which would take that down a little bit lower, but to be honest, my house was fairly low to the ground in a lot of areas, and I know that I’m losing some BTUs by having that solid wood there, but for me, it felt like the right thing to do from a durability perspective.

And in general, I’ll always pay a difference to durability over plate of the house all the way around the house, and then in this case, we’re using ZIP sheathing as my water and air barrier in the house, so we’re putting a pie of big ZIP tape 6 inches tape up the ZIP sheathing over the top of the 2×2 and down the face, that way I don’t have to worry about bugs or insects coming up, and I’ve got some protection on the base of that insulation so nothing happens to get it ragged.

You’ll also notice that we put some bug screen on here. This is just a cheap aluminum bug screen. I bought it in 25-foot rolls. I staple that up to the sheathing, and what I’m going to do eventually is when my 1×4 battens come, I’m going to flap this up, and we’re going to staple this onto my back, so what you can’t tell from my hands right there is I stapled that onto the ZIP system sheathing a couple inches up before we put our foam down, kind of like a flap.

Then I drop my insulation on top of that, and where you see my hands there, that’s where that 1×4 batten is going to go, which is going to create my rain screen, and now that 3/4-inch air gap has a bug screen. It’s not perfect because there could be some flaps in there, but it’s going to do a lot more good than not a bug screen there, and it’s going to try and keep those bugs out of my cavity.

Now, I will be honest, I think that I’m going to need pest control every six months or so at my house just to make sure that I don’t have ant colonies or other things moving up the side of my slab, but I really need very little pesticides or very little maintenance on this. I really just want to make sure that I’ve got a perimeter spray of my foundation on a regular basis, like I said, about every could be as little as four months, but four to six months on the outside to make sure that I don’t have pests to worry about.

A frost line, so all of my attic space is really my mechanical space. Now, check this out. This is really cool. See that foam right there on that wall? That’s okay, let me point this out. I’m about to talk about it on here on the film, but I mentioned earlier that we framed the second-floor walls of the house before we put the roof over the garage.

Directly above my head is the rafters that form the roof over the top of the garage, and that roof runs continuous and forms the porch roof on the house. You’re seeing that energy shield on there that actually was on first, and then that ledger, which is kind of like a deck ledger that my roof rafters are hanging off of, was screwed through the foam and into what is that beam called over there, basically into the beam that’s holding on my joist on that first floor.

So now I’ve got that continuous exterior insulation all the way around without a break, and the ZIP system that’s on there first is totally taped, so I’ve got a perfect air barrier. Now, where my finger’s pointing right here, though, is the one weak part of the house. That’s the joist bay where the top of that AdvanTech sheeting right there is the boy’s bedroom, and below that is garage space.

Now, we haven’t sheathed the garage walls yet. You can kind of see from the garage here into the kitchen, which is beyond, that’s going to be sheathed with ZIP system sheathing in a future episode, but stay tuned as we talk about how to air-seal and how to insulate that space in a future episode.

A second-story wall, I’ve got kids’ bedrooms beyond there, and then I’ve got this little shed roof right here from my garage that lands on that. That foam actually got put on that wall first and ran continuous, and then we ran the rafters, and so the way you do that is the wall foam goes, yeah, that’s a great image of it right there. You can really see it. That foam is up, and then the rafters and then the ledger board is screwed through that, and then the foam that’s on top up there can be dropped down as well.

And in fact, what I did first, though, was we were in the decking for the roof, and then I taped that decking to my ZIP system so that if any water were to get behind the foam, it wouldn’t drip into my garage. It would get kicked out onto the porch roof. I don’t know if I have an image of that detailed, but you can picture that in your mind, being in this location right here.

This roof plywood or AdvanTech, I should say, is going to go back here and touch this, and then I’m going to have a piece of tape that’s going to transfer any water that comes onto this phase onto that plywood, onto that ZIP system sheathing, so that it would get kicked out and not get into my garage.

And then we lagged that ledger board on with some long Spax screws, that’s a green-headed screw right there, and we verified with the engineer the thickness on that, but basically, all this framing out here is outboard of that insulation, so my insulation truly goes from my foundation, from the lowest point in the house, all the way to the ridge continuously.

Now, you can actually see that over here in the front of the house. Let’s see if we can walk around and show you. You may have seen my other video that I posted on this. This is my through-wall flashing at my brick area, and now we can see this foam right here coming up the wall. And check that out. There’s my 2 inches of foam, that’s or pardon me, my two layers, I should say, of 2-inch foam that’s on my roof deck. My wall is going continuous.

Look at that. My framer, even angled that wall foam as it came up to have that really meet that roof foam as it was overhang. I really couldn’t have asked for a better crew. Bill and his guys just totally nailed this build.

But what I like about this is I think that with these details and with this series, even if you were going to build this house again today, which by the way, you could – this house is available in the home plan library at Builder First Source – I think if you watch these details with your carpenter, with your crew, I think you can nail these details on your house too.

Okay, the last thing I want to mention here before we wrap this insulation and framing video up is we detailed the joint between the framing and the foundation. And I mentioned this quickly earlier with Pro’s joint and seam filler. There was a few areas that were a little tricky. For instance, in my front porch, my framing basically came all the way down to my porch, and I was worried that we might have water backing up, so what we did was we did a lead-in flashing detail.

I took a stainless steel flashing. We curve-cut the concrete and dropped that flashing into that curve-cut with a nice fat bead of Pro’s joint and seam filler, and then we made sure that all that flashing was taped and fully sealed to the ZIP system sheathing so that in the future, if I did get water on my porch, none of that water could back up and touch any framing.

I want to really make sure that anything that’s wood is number one going to stay dry, and if it does get wet, that it’s got an opportunity to dry. My friend, David Nasro, says if it can’t dry, it’s going to die, so we’re always making sure that water is going to get out if it can get in, and if it gets in, it’s not going to touch any wood.

I mean, that’s the reason why I’ve always, for gosh, the last 15 years now, sloped the sills on my houses. I can’t believe that’s not a standard detail by just cutting your cripples at a 5-degree, let’s say, making sure that sill has a little bit of pitch to the outside so when you make your pans, that water, if water were to get past that window, would drain out.

We’re going to talk about window install in a little bit greater depth. We’ve got a lot more to cover, guys. Stay tuned for the next episode where we get into mechanicals and plumbing, but I think you got the basics today on framing insulation. Long episode, but certainly a lot of details, and we’re not done. There’s a few specific details we’re going to go back and review on some future episodes, but with that being said, guys, no better Bill, better let’s get going.

THE REAL REBUILD – Project Introduction Ep. 1

Monopoly Framing: The Ultimate Air Barrier Technique for New Construction