Monopoly framing, ZipR, air barrier, thermal break

Monopoly Framing: The Ultimate Air Barrier Technique for New Construction

Foreword by Ian Thompson, Editor

Welcome to today’s exploration—an intersection of innovation to redefine air barrier design. We’re merging Monopoly framing with the visionary ZipR system from the USA.

Here’s the crux: A simplified approach to thermal breaks. Sheathing, ladder framing, and sealing tapes, creating a seamless and simple building envelope.

You will witness a traditional wood framing methodology that maximizes thermal efficiency while ensuring uncompromising air-tightness. Matt and Steve explore the benefits behind this simplified approach to thermal breaks.

Listen as the designers and builders collaborate and detail their meticulous integration of sheathing, ladder framing, and sealing tapes. Their holistic process illuminates a hopeful paradigm shift in achieving a robust air barrier.

Now, let’s pass the baton to Matt, Josh, and Steve, our guides through this relatively uncharted territory.

Monopoly Framing: The Ultimate Air Barrier Technique for New Construction

Video Transcript

What’s up guys? I’m Matt Risinger and I’m Steve Baczek. The Build Show’s on the road today. We’re outside of Boston Massachusetts. Steve, this is a house that you designed. What are we talking about today?

So we are going to talk about something I’ve never done before from new construction. Okay I’ve done it on a lot of retrofits. You might have heard the term “chainsaw retrofit.” This is kind of a modification of how do we bring that chainsaw ref retrofit to new construction?

Yeah, so we’re talking about Monopoly framing, which we’ve got here, and what I did at my house, and we’re going to go through some details on zip r on this video as well—how to really detail it correctly.

Yeah, sound like a plan?

Yeah it does. And you know one of the slight differences here: your house was a low slope roof; we’re here in New England we got a little steeper slope so we can change that detail just a little bit. We got a lot of good details guys. Today’s Build Show all about Monopoly Framing and zip bar details. Let’s get going!

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Alright so we brought Josh into the frame here. Josh is the homeowner but he’s not your typical homeowner. He is um, maybe a typical client for me. One of the beauties of the clients that I attract is that they want to do really good things, but then they’re always asking questions: “Well okay so we have that solution but if, what if we wanted to do a little bit more?”

And so in our interaction here in the design phase, working with Josh him asking questions, we came up with a fully applied detail where we’re going to apply the eve and sofit work after we’re satisfied with total air barrier continuity. Love it!

So Josh let me uh ask you, you’ve seen a bunch of stepen I’s videos uh and put a lot of our work into practice on your own build and Josh you’re a unique builder in that you have an engineering degree, you have a whole career outside of building and build decide to build a house yourself. You’re the GC, you’re also self-performing a lot of the work. How do you explain to somebody who doesn’t know what Monopoly framing is how do you explain what you’re doing here for Monopoly framing?

It’s the it it’s the wall framing technique that allows you to get the best air barrier uh continuity um and avoiding having to block out every single individual rafter uh with this house uh it’s a single story uh it’s a large footprint it’s about 31 hundred S ft so I knew that we were going to have a lot of Rafters Y and I didn’t want to rely on every single one of those rafter connections and those that blocking technique to be uh a as effective as it would be with this approach. So with the Monopoly framing that I did see for the first time on your your build how about that that’s awesome!

Yeah I I decided that that was the approach that I wanted to use and even though we did panelized framing we still applied that same Monopoly style to this construction technique so we were able to take kind of a a different approach and yet still result with the the intended goal of having that airtightness that we were really striving to get.

I like it! And so if you look back at the house behind us you’ll see that the green zip sheeting is actually taped to the brown roof zip sheeting and there’s no Rafters poking through that that’s really uh I think you nailed it Josh and saying it’s that continuity of air Brer. You sound like you’re you’re channeling a Steve you know where I got the word from!

I mean you know the beauty of this is if you sat down with a blank piece of paper and I gave you a red pen—my favorite color—and said draw me the perfect air barrier. You’ draw this yeah you’d go up and You’ trace the roof and you’d come down and Trace the wall without any brakes, without any brakes, and then you would apply all that other stuff later. I love it!

Okay then talk to me through how you’re doing overhangs because it looks to me like you’re partway through. I’m seeing your Gable’s been uh has an overhang on it uh this front wall here has an overhang but the garage and this side of the house doesn’t. Talk me through what you’re doing to create this.

So all of the the ladder rakes have been now installed and that was the first piece that needed to go on afterwards. So uh when we were finished with the original roof truss installation sheathing all of that was uh not there. So we we applied the ladder rakes got those installed. Now we’re building…I’m building the eaves to to connect to those ladder rakes um and once those are done, like those those ladRS run long so that I can cut those once we get those to the right links to match the the eve overhang.

Gotcha yep so if I look at this uh Gable wall here it looks to me like when you sheath the roof youran that zip sheathing long uh and there’s not a break. But on the other hand this section behind me here it looks like maybe you laced it in and taped it am I seeing that correctly?

Which piece? So on this on this rake right here or on this Gable rather looks like your zip is coming out like that sheet that’s on the bottom looks like like a almost full sheet 6ot by yep uh 4T let’s say. But on the front here I’m noticing you’ve clipped it.

How are you going to continue your roof sheeting down the overhang that yeah so that’s what we did over here on this side so that has the eve overhang there’s an18-inch overhang for the E to provide that umbrella right over that over thosetwo windows so that fascia, the subfascia that’s installed there that’s actually we’re seeing the 18 in of the eve overhang and that was just she on top and then taped across that span but that tape is just for the roofing plane it’s not for air tightness in the house it’s for water—with the roof uh being able to allow water to sheet off that way.

Got it and you framed a bunch of those yourself right? How did you doing those yeah yeah I I’ve I rented a a boom lift to be able to get up and down and um and are you pre-building those ladder framing on the ground and then the ladders actually came with the panelized walls so the ladder R were were ready to go yeah yeah and I’m just installing them but again trying to do a 12 12 pitch roof with ladder rakes that are pretty heavy those are six 6 in uh subface of framing so they’re heavy.

I wasn’t trying to do that on a ladder I used a boom lift got them into place used uh SE clamps to clamp it to the roof sheathing and then anchored it into the wall studs and life goes on there you go that’s awesome I love it.

Now Steve talk to me about the zip r that we’re seeing behind here cuz I’m noticing that it looks like you’ve added maybe a 2X two to the bottom or something to drop it on to. Talk me through those details.

Yeah so that’s our standard treated extended seill detail and in this case here because we did Superior wall the anchor bolts are a little more forward into the system so these are actually treated 2×1 12 plates.

Oh wow that they go down and they go in and they’re anchored to that Superior wall on the inside but then they come and they’re set so that they flush mount with the uh inch and 1516 zip R9 on the outside just shy of two Ines just shy of two inches gotta and why are you doing that?

What’s the benefit of doing that uh well it’s susceptible foam right it’s at the risk of rodents turning it into a hotel it’s easy to chew it’s nice and warm nice and dry um but you also want to be able to flash that and and have a hard surface that you can then flash as well as turn the corner and make that airtight attachment.

I mean we did a beautiful job up there. Now the continuity detail becomes as they come down down the wall how do I attach the wall to the foundation system which I’m going to ask you about Josh what is your detail there you’re going to be doing that yourself as a oneman band yeah uhhow do you detail cuz that you know you did such a great job of air ceiling where the wall meets the roof how about where the walls meet the foundation what what’s your plan there?

Was a couple of pieces there. One was Steve’s detail on uh really getting a good mudsill um sealant so uh on top of the superior walls um I used lexel with uh a still use Siloam as a capillary breake ven though the lexel it’s the lexel doesn’t cover the entire piece the Siloam does.

Got so the lexel plugs any of those gaps gives you a nice seal there um two pieces of 2 by treated material uh go on top of the foundation wall the bottom one is to overhang the second one is to allow your sheer nailing for the panel that comes over that edge so you have to have both.

So it’s a double bottom plate in other words it’s a double bottom plate all the way around the house and 2x 12 on the very bottom of and then 2 by 2x 10 next 2 by 10 next gotta and that kind of creates that little Co for that wall panel to sit down into that zip R9 panel to drop down into got it so you can nail it off but then you have a nice flush surface that you can do your capillary or your uh continuity with your air barrier and water barrier there got.

Um so that detail Superior walls has like a broomed finish on as a texture so what I’m using is uh a two-part solution for uh what I’m doing there um I’m using Sega um tape for from the wall to Across the the PT the lower sill and then wrapping that corner and then I’m using a secondary piece um to go from that bottom onto the wall. But because the texture of that Superior wall doesn’t allow the tape to have a really airtight bite.

I’m using a bed of meltel um that will be a strip that runs along at the intersection between the foundation and the bottom of the the sil to to allow that tape to have a good place to be able to have airtight.

So it sounds like you’re using 4inch fum two different uhtapes to kind of overlap each other and then meltel is basically a fluid applied flashing which I think is really smart to get your tape to embed into that textured surface. Why not do the thicker like sea makes a what an eight or 9 intape why not do that?

Yeah that for me just being a one person installer it would be tough to kind of manhandle that that white of a piece of tape and have it exactly where I wanted it to be got it. So going with two pieces allows me to kind of focus on each one of those in a more manageable size and get theme xactly where I need to without it being fussy or potentially getting really kind of out of whack as I try and wrap two different surfaces. Makes a lot of sense.

Steve talk to me about the window openings and maintaining air barrier water barrier continuity with this zi bar yeah I mean it’s you know these herethese aren’t lined yet with the liner sum so what do you mean by liners?

So the what I mean by liners if you remember in days past where we would use house wraps I mean some people are still using it but you would slice the house wrap and you would simply fold it into the corner because that way there then you have some kind of lateral attachment to maintain air barrier continuity.

Water Management thermal continuity all of that stuff and so using the zip R9 coming to that rough frame we need to develop that continuity so we oversize the rough opening by one inch Beyond the 1 inch rough opening so it’s plus two and that allows us to take 7/16 and line the jam Liners in the head on the inside and now we simply tape that and it’s literally we’ve taken what you’re looking at as the green weather resistive barrier here and simply folded it into that rough opening.

I actually showed that on the inside let’s cat to the clip of me showing that on the inside of the house you can see in this door opening here the zip sheathing hasn’t been run on the inside but therest of the window windows and doors have the zip running to the inside.

Now we can see why they’re doing that—the zip are sheathing on the outside of the house 2 in thick then he’s got 2×6 framing on the inside you would have that insulation here and you wouldn’t have a continuous air and water barrierso by running that zip into this opening here and taping this uh joint on the zip we’re covering over this insulation we’re giving a nailing flange and we’re also making that continuity uh of those two layers to the inside of the house.

And then once that was in on the inside then how did you finish off the detailing to make that that window opening both water and air tight?

Yeah so that’s probably one of the things that I have taken the most pride in uh and it was from the details that you you know that we’ve talked about and that you’ve put out there for a long time. Um use two products zip products the zip flashing tape and the zip stretch tape.

I went with a full uh ZIP stretch for the sill um I wanted to make sure that uh that there we were looking at it earlier uh water can just sit on that sill forever. I I don’t care it’s it’s literally wrapped up both sides it’s up over a a back Dam and it runs over the gap between the sill and the sheathing.

If the water’s it dries in place it runs over I don’t care it’s never going to go anywhere because there’s nothing that’s going to penetrate that seill tape that stretch tape. So once that was applied um I used zip flashing tape on um sorry use Zip Zip stress tape on the top corners. Okay folded that out and then did flashing tape across the top and along the sides and then that maintained that air continuity barrier from from inside outside.

Gentlemen this house is super impressive and by the way Steve has made at least four or five maybe even six videos over here uh on all kinds of different systems from the framing to the foundation. Josh you’re killing it man thank you.

Also fascinating that Josh is a GC who is uh normally an engineer but now building his own house also doing a onemaninstall.

Stay tuned for our next video where Josh is going to show you a couple details that absolutely blew my mind on how to do a window install solo including some of these like 600 lb shcouh windows from European Architectural Supply literally by himself and he is not Steve sizeright Steve could probably install a 600lb window by himself but you and I cannot so we got some great details to show you on the next video.

In themeantime go follow Steve on Instagram stepen basic architect go check out his videos on the build incredible work I got to shake your hand man this is impressive thanks man very impressive very impressive.

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