1:5:10:365 EcoTip Blog

October 2, 2008

:276 Insulated Slab Edge

Welcome to today’s 1:5:10:365 Tip for becoming a better steward for our home and planet environment.

1:5:10:276 EcoTip: Insulating the foundation slab edge can help save from 7 to 11% of the heat lost from a typical home.

 

Source: Department of Energy

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 Additional Information:

When constructing a new home the EnergyEdge provides a concrete form that remains in place after the pour to provide slab insulation. During construction is the easiest time to insulate a slab.

 EnergyEdge

Additional information about insulating slabs and foundations is available from the Builders Foundation Handbook

 

Thermal image of heat loss from slab edge courtesy of Restoration Consultants www.moistureview.com

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April 15, 2008

:106 Debris Around Foundation

Filed under: :106 Foundation Debris — Tags: , , , , , , — John Banta @ 12:01 am

Welcome to today’s 1:5:10:365 Tip for becoming a better steward for our home and planet.

1:5:10:106 EcoTip: It is important that dirt, leaves, mulch and other types of debris be kept well below the weep screed and the building’s walls. Allowing the weep screed to become covered or blocked can lead to moisture being trapped in the walls and deterioration.

The entire perimeter of the foundation should be checked several times a year to be sure that the weep screed is exposed to allow drainage and air circulation for drying.

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Additional Information

Suggested Review – :105

 

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April 10, 2008

:101 Hold Down Bolts

Filed under: :101 Hold Down Bolts — Tags: , , , , , , — John Banta @ 4:01 am

Welcome to today’s 1:5:10:365 Tip for becoming a better steward for our home and planet.

1:5:10:101 Tip: The way a building is secured to the foundation has a great deal of influence on structural integrity. Square washers have more holding force than round, but must be installed properly to do their job.

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Additional Information

Suggested Review – :098, :099, :100

banta2.jpg

The round washer on this sill plate has a holding force of 840 pounds

banta3.jpg

This square washer increases the holding force to 1340 pounds.

The following excerpt is from my new book – Extreme Weather Hits Home:

 Increasing Structural Strength

 Cook states:

The Uniform Building Code (UBC) which is designed for new construction and is not intended for retrofit, specifies that only 5/8 inch bolts with plate washers may be used. They should be 6 ft. o.c. (on center) on single and two story homes. … The most significant increase in strength in this connection was achieved by installing large square plate washers on the bolts instead of round cut washers. [Round washers were acting like a wedge and causing the wooden sill plate to fracture.] … This one simple change resulted in a 60% increase in strength.

The sill anchor strength can be improved even more, he continues:

Harlen Metal Products also came up with a type of washer called a Mudsill Plate that is designed to increase the strength of the wood-to-bolt connection. This hardware is so effective that the earthquake resistance of a bolt can be more than doubled by installing one of these washers on the top and one on the bottom of the mudsill. The UBC recognizes a 1/2 inch bolt with a standard washer as being able to resist 840 pounds of shear. ICC report #1148 recognizes that installing one of these washers on top of the mudsill increases that resistance to 1340 pounds, a 59% increase in strength, while installing these washers on both the top and bottom of the mudsill increases the bolt strength to 2040 pounds, a 143% increase in strength. That’s pretty good for a fifty-cent piece of hardware (Cook).

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March 16, 2008

:076 Expansive Soils

expansive-clay-soils-usgs.jpg  Credit: USGS

Suggested Review: See 1:5:10:365 EcoTips :075, 077, :078 for more information about expansive clay soils

Welcome to today’s 1:5:10:365 Tip for becoming a better steward for our home and planet.

1:5:10:076 Tip: Over half of the United States has areas with buildings constructed over varying amounts of expansive clay soils. These soils shrink and expand based on their moisture content. Early identification of the problem can help provide less expensive solutions. Expansive clay soils cause more damage each year than earthquakes and is typically not covered by insurance. 

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Additional Information

In my book Extreme Weather Hits Home, Protecting Your Buildings From Climate Change I discuss how warmer soil temperatures are resulting in less soil moisture and greater damage from expansive clay soils.

For maps of expansive clay soil regions in the United States, and more information about this problem, go to my book blog at http://jbanta.wordpress.com and click on your state.

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March 15, 2008

:075 Photograph Cracks

132-expansive-soil-damage-greer-photo00731.jpg

Suggested Review – none

Welcome to today’s 1:5:10:365 Tip for becoming a better steward for our home and planet.

1:5:10:075 Tip: Keep a digital photo of any structural or foundation cracks. This will allow you to compare the crack with the photo later to determine if and how much the building is shifting. The photo above shows damage caused by expansive clay soil.

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Additional Information

Suggested Review: See 1:5:10:365 EcoTips :076, 077, :078 for more information about expansive clay soils

The sooner shifts in a building are noted the less expensive their causes are to diagnose and repair. Take a far shot to indicate the cracks position and a second close-up with a ruler next to the crack to provide some perspective for the shot.

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