Nick94tt wrote:That's the truth there. For heavy wind areas the "seal" in terms of air movement through
the structure makes a giant difference. Ie - foam filled cavities, house wrap, and gaskets...
You can save a ton of money if you can remove your own siding, wrap, add some 1" foam,
seal all the gaps, and reside. Great time to add things like versetta stone siding. (Fake
stone siding, lightweight but looks good...)
Another thing to check if you have a ridge vent is your eaves. Odds are loose insulation blocks
the venting in the soffits. Fix that, add rafter vent guides, blow in another foot of insulation. ^_^
For the foundation, you can actually dig down by hand and use burial grade closed cell foam
to insulate the foundations, then extend it horizontally outwards to move the frost plane
away from your footings. (The stack of paperwork should be easier where you are. Doing
things to help save energy and all. Hopefully some tax credits) Great time to add or improve
drainage as well.
I was sitting here looking at the frost on the ground outside glistening in the sunshine at the
start of another perfect winter morning and considering all this good stuff
and geographical reasons the type of home built here in NZ in the 1900's evolved rather
differently from some other countries. Our islands have an ocean moderated climate so it
seldom gets colder than one or two degrees below freezing overnight in winter, and warmer
than 25degC during the day in summer.
As a result, the concept of "central heating" with a warm air furnace was pretty much unheard
of before the 1960's and homes only began to install fiberglass "batts" in the ceiling about the
same time. Roof spaces were never ventilated, construction was invariably timber frame with
weatherboards and an iron or clay tile roof. Every home had an open fireplace and I have never
seen a below grade basement. Brick veneer was sometimes used but solid brick houses were
rare due to them being prone to earthquake damage.
Being cold in winter was part of the NZ tradition
However, in the last 30 years as house prices have spiraled out of control, consumer demand
and government regulations have raised building standards to the point where full insulation,
double glazing and heat pumps have become standard for new homes. Open fires are now
banned in most cities because of pollution. Upgrading/renovating is a popular pastime for
those "developers" who make money from those people who prefer to pay others to make the
improvements rather than DIY.
I think that housing evolves to meet the needs of the people in each country. It is interesting
to see how efficient the house building industry is in the US compared to here. I think it is due
to the economy of scale... high production and competition bring about improvements and
should keep prices down. Here our production is low, efficiency is poor and high demand for
homes has pushed prices sky high in the last few years. Bad news for Joe Average with a wife
and kids looking to buy a first home. Good news for the speculators who have the cash to buy
houses just to pocket the tax free capital gains (running at 10-15% PA in recent years).
NZ in a nutshell