Passive House video — Episode 3

In “Superinsulated Slab,” the third episode in a series of videos on Passivhaus construction, the crew installs 10 inches of rigid foam.

After the concrete was placed, more rigid foam was installed above the slab. The finished floor assembly is rated at R-50.

Watch the video

Produced by: Colin Russell and Justin Fink


Superinsulated Slab. Architect Steve Baczek explains why (and how) he chose to install 10 inches of expanded polystyrene (EPSExpanded polystyrene. Type of rigid foam insulation that, unlike extruded polystyrene (XPS), does not contain ozone-depleting HCFCs. EPS frequently has a high recycled content. Its vapor permeability is higher and its R-value lower than XPS insulation. EPS insulation is classified by type: Type I is lowest in density and strength and Type X is highest.) foam underneath the concrete slab of a Passivhaus he designed.


Passive House video — Episode 1

Passive House video — Episode 2

Passivhaus Homes are Extremely Tight and Energy-Efficient

Passivhaus For Beginners

Are Passivhaus Requirements Logical or Arbitrary?

Visiting Passivhaus Job Sites in Washington State

Passivhaus on a Budget

Podcast: Passivhaus, Part 1

In Part 3 of a five-part series on building a Passivhaus, architect Steve Baczek explains how he and his crew designed and built a concrete slab insulated to R-50. He chose to use 10 inches of EPS under the slab: a 4-inch layer atop a 6-inch layer.

Using foam this thick meant developing some new techniques. The crew used a reciprocating saw rather than a tablesaw or circular saw to cut the foam; they drilled a pilot hole for each penetration, then drilled from both sides of the foam with a spade bit; and they tacked the inside pieces of foam to the first layer of foam to keep them from shifting.

After the slab was poured, workers bumped up the R-value of the floor by fastening pressure-treated 2x4 sleepers to the slab, and then fitted pieces of rigid foam between the sleepers and filled remaining gaps with spray foam. Only then did they install the subfloor.

Watch the video above; read the companion Fine Homebuilding article at right; and then join the conversation with the designer of this house, Architect Steve Baczek.

Over the course of the next several months — as each new issue of Fine Homebuilding magazine is released — this collection of articles and videos will cover:

Passive House design
Airtight mudsills
Superinsulated slab
Double-stud walls and insulation
Windows and doors

To watch Episode 1 of this video series, click here.

To watch Episode 2 of this video series, click here.

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