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Things You Do Not Need

And a few things you do

Posted on Feb 9 2018 by Martin Holladay

Houses are changing. Anyone buying a new home in 2018 expects the home to be quite different from one built in 1918, of course.

What “new features” is the typical buyer of a new home seeking out? It depends. Some buyers are looking for a foyer with a 20-foot ceiling and a master bathroom with a big Jacuzzi. Others, including the typical reader, are looking for low energy bills and superior indoor air quality.

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Image Credits:

  1. Image #1: Midwest Construction

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There’s Rot in the Roof

An unvented low-slope roof is showing signs of water damage. What’s the best fix?

Posted on Aug 7 2017 by Scott Gibson

Chuck Kramer's home in Enumclaw, Washington, was built in the 1980s with unvented cathedral ceilings, insulated with cut-and-cobble rigid foam insulation and roofed with cedar shakes. A small section of the roof is showing signs of water damage, and now Kramer is trying to find a way of repairing the problem area without tearing into the rest of the roof.

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Image Credits:

  1. Chuck Kramer

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Leak-Free Skylights

A peel-and-stick membrane under the flashing guarantees that the skylight won’t leak — ever

Posted on Jan 21 2016 by Mike Guertin

I used to worry every time I installed a skylight. Even with the best installation detailing, I could still expect a storm to hit from just the right direction and drive water behind the flashing.

When I discovered peel-and-stick membranes, my worrying days ended. Now I follow a series of simple steps that hasn’t failed in more than 15 years’ worth of installations. The key to success is integrating the membrane and the flashings with the shingles to direct water back to the surface of the roof. Although the project shown here is a retrofit, I would flash it the same way on a new home.

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Image Credits:

  1. Charles Bickford

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The Pros and Cons of Skylights

Consider both when designing or fixing a home

Posted on Jan 13 2016 by Allison A. Bailes III, PhD

Everyone loves skylights. Right? They bring so much light into a room they can turn a Seattle kitchen into a bright and sunny Florida room. Especially at this time of year (in the northern hemisphere), having that extra light can brighten even the darkest days of winter.

But skylights have a dark side, too. If you're not aware of that when incorporating these roof windows into a home, you can end up with high energy bills, rooms that are unusable at certain times of the year, or expensive repairs due to moisture problems.

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Image Credits:

  1. Energy Vanguard

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South-Facing Skylights: Threat or Menace?

Owners of sunrooms have developed a variety of ways to address their buyers’ regret

Posted on Jul 10 2014 by Martin Holladay

There are two kinds of sunrooms: those that have sloped glazingWhen referring to windows or doors, the transparent or translucent layer that transmits light. High-performance glazing may include multiple layers of glass or plastic, low-e coatings, and low-conductivity gas fill. and those that have only vertical glazing. Sunrooms with sloped (or in some cases, curved) glazing are more common (and, of course, more uncomfortable). In order to make sure that these rooms are sunny, they are often located on the south side of the house.

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Image Credits:

  1. Martin Holladay

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Why I Hate, Hate, Hate Skylights

Skylights have a low R-value, provide cold surfaces for condensation, interfere with roof venting, and contribute to ice dams

Posted on Mar 4 2014 by Erik North

Why do I hate skylights? Because I’ve rarely seen one that isn’t either causing a problem or in the process of causing one. They fall squarely into a category with recessed lights and cathedral ceilings: Homeowners love them and energy pros come to loathe them.

They lead to uncomfortable conversations that can be summarized as: Yes, they’re a problem; no, they can’t be easily fixed.

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Image Credits:

  1. Christian Guthier

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A Passivhaus-Certified Skylight Hits the U.S.

Triple-glazed Lamilux skylights get a Class A certification from the Passivhaus Institut in Germany

Posted on Feb 7 2014 by Scott Gibson

A Brooklyn-based retailer of high-performance building components says it will begin stocking a skylight certified by Germany's PassivhausA residential building construction standard requiring very low levels of air leakage, very high levels of insulation, and windows with a very low U-factor. Developed in the early 1990s by Bo Adamson and Wolfgang Feist, the standard is now promoted by the Passivhaus Institut in Darmstadt, Germany. To meet the standard, a home must have an infiltration rate no greater than 0.60 AC/H @ 50 pascals, a maximum annual heating energy use of 15 kWh per square meter (4,755 Btu per square foot), a maximum annual cooling energy use of 15 kWh per square meter (1.39 kWh per square foot), and maximum source energy use for all purposes of 120 kWh per square meter (11.1 kWh per square foot). The standard recommends, but does not require, a maximum design heating load of 10 W per square meter and windows with a maximum U-factor of 0.14. The Passivhaus standard was developed for buildings in central and northern Europe; efforts are underway to clarify the best techniques to achieve the standard for buildings in hot climates. Institut, a move that eventually will shorten the lead time for delivery to U.S. builders to a week or less.

The company, 475 High Performance Building Supply, said its first order of the Lamilux FE Energysave skylights is on the way from its German manufacturer. Once they're in the company's warehouse, the lead time will drop from 10 to 12 weeks to one week or less, said 475's John Druelinger.

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Image Credits:

  1. 475 High Performance Building Supply

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A New Encyclopedia Article on Skylights

GBA Pro members have full access to dozens of informative articles in the GBA Encyclopedia

Posted on Feb 5 2013 by GBA Team's library of articles and blogs continues to expand. The newest article to be added to the ever-deeper GBA Encyclopedia covers skylights.

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Skylights add natural light to building interiors

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Image Credits:

  1. Wasco Skylights
  2. Scott Gibson
  3. Fakro
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Wasco Skylights to Open New Plant in Nevada

A Maine-based manufacturer looks for ways to expand business west of the Rockies

Posted on Nov 8 2012 by Scott Gibson

Wasco Skylights will open a new manufacturing facility in Reno, Nevada, by next April in hopes of expanding its distribution west of the Rocky Mountains and keeping pace with industry giant Velux, company CEO Jeff Frank says.

About 5% of Wasco's business now comes from the dozen states west of the Rocky Mountains, Frank says, a market that represents about 26% of all construction spending.

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Image Credits:

  1. Scott Gibson

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