Earth Sheltered Home Design

Rich

The Living Force
freesurfer said:
I' ve make my training in switzerland, so very "square-head" for the details of completions, you know..

Out of interest, what training did you do?
 
Citation de: freesurfer le septembre 19, 2013, 09:34:13 pm
I' ve make my training in switzerland, so very "square-head" for the details of completions, you know..

Out of interest, what training did you do?

Spot on. Very inspiring, especially the quality of workmanship.


I'ts my passion .. It's my problem !!
I'm tiler-mosaist and love it.

:halo: I just realize that my english have some problems..

I think we said "Tile (wall and floor)and mosaic setter" . Also naturals stone setter..
For to be professional in switzerland you need 3 year of apprentiship ( maybe we don't said training)
but this included 4 days practical work and one days at professional school, you learn how to make drawing (plan)
and what they call technology of the material, so knowledge for exemple about cement chimical reaction (28 days in the case) and so on..

so just a normal and simple "Tiles seller" ;)

but have work for my self the last 9 years in Geneva, it was promising..
but this kind of life was not for me, I sale chip, to my second partner, (the fisrt was my wife) and choice an other life with my all small family..
and I' m here now and still changing my way, I think.. my professional future is open ;) will see ..

still thank's everyone
 

Voyageur

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freesurfer said:
Citation de: freesurfer le septembre 19, 2013, 09:34:13 pm
I' ve make my training in switzerland, so very "square-head" for the details of completions, you know..

Out of interest, what training did you do?


so just a normal and simple "Tiles seller" ;)

Well freesurfer, i've seen a few tile setters and must say that your attention to detail is very refreshing. Also, liked how you incorporated the staircases (one a simple spiral). As for the cement counter-top framing and final pouring/finishing shown, this is something i would like to learn (was thinking of this for at home) and have not acquired the confidence to do this yet - thanks for sharing your excellent work! :cool2:
 

LQB

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I was asked (somewhere) if I would do anything differently now that I've spent time in the home. I have to say yes to that.

I originally assumed that a one foot thick exterior wall (5000 psi) would be sufficient insulation on its own against winter cold in mid-south Tenn. This recent polar vortex cold says otherwise. Portions of the interior of the exposed wall go so cold that water condensed on the wall even though interior humidity was around 50%. This was due to about 3 days of air temps below freezing and down to single digits (deg F) at night. That continuous cold temp eventually made it through to the inside.

So, now I need to insulate that exterior facing wall and ceiling structure near it. Unfortunately, 24 feet of that wall is covered by finished kitchen. So there are three treatments:

1) thin metal-backed closed cell foam for the exposed wall (with cedar to follow)
2) blown foam on the ceiling near the wall
3) blown cellulose behind the kitchen wall from above and below

Remediation is a b*tch!

Although not design-related, a year after moving in we discovered Phorid flies coming into the house via drain and/or vent lines. After snaking the main drain line from the septic with a camera, we discovered a cracked PVC pipe and questionable coupling (poor workmanship by the guy I had do the drain lines). This was fixed with an epoxy/felt liner installed under air pressure. The problem is there was more than a year of leakage before the fix.

The larger Phorids are gone but there is still a very small (very hard to see even in flight) fly that is apparently attracted to CO2 and warm moist places (ie mouth and nose). They are no bother unless quietly reading or sleeping. It also appears that they can set up shop in your nose and continue breeding. I have yet to get one of these buggers under a microscope for identification prior to extermination. Anyway, the moral of this story - get the drains done right!
 
Hi LQB,
remediation is.. Ho yeah!
well, the drains stories are always something... always.
That also depends what kind of constrution you are doing :P
Anyway your problems are not really bigs problems, but.. I know.

For the concrete wall, for the cold and so on,
an other idea is just make an other bric's (or earthbric) wall outside, with rockwool (8cm) between the two walls, and use somethings like sheet of foam on the edges (windows,door) and also on ceiling near the wall, like this one http://us.wedi.de/_shared/_pdf/us/wedi-Building-Panel.pdf

Now just a question about the drain,
you mean the main drain goes in the septic tank?
But anyway, I don't think the flies come from the drain,( my 2 cents) the drain have no direct connection with the house..

Saludos
 

Voyageur

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LQB said:
So, now I need to insulate that exterior facing wall and ceiling structure near it. Unfortunately, 24 feet of that wall is covered by finished kitchen. So there are three treatments:

1) thin metal-backed closed cell foam for the exposed wall (with cedar to follow)
2) blown foam on the ceiling near the wall
3) blown cellulose behind the kitchen wall from above and below

Remediation is a b*tch!

Fwiw, remembering back when discussing foam insulated blocks for exterior walls and the problems of heat transfer. There was an engineer (article i read) who also did not think they were a good idea for this type of house. Given what you have said, should cold temps remain or come back, interior modifications as described "may" only solve part of the problem, as the walls may still weep moisture. The walls may be covered, yet moisture may still seek and collect lower down. I do not know this for sure, yet perhaps a fix would be to apply a foam sheeting to the exterior wall to the depth of 4 ft (standard frost wall). The reason being is that "standards" for things such as "slab on ground" here in the north, require a 4ft frost wall or, a lesser depth if exterior wall is insulated with foam sheeting. Unfortunately, this would require excavation work, yet it may or may not be easier? The thinking here is that the frost layer is protected while still maintaining the heat/cool transferee aspects below 4 feet of your original design.

Although not design-related, a year after moving in we discovered Phorid flies coming into the house via drain and/or vent lines. After snaking the main drain line from the septic with a camera, we discovered a cracked PVC pipe and questionable coupling (poor workmanship by the guy I had do the drain lines). This was fixed with an epoxy/felt liner installed under air pressure. The problem is there was more than a year of leakage before the fix.

The larger Phorids are gone but there is still a very small (very hard to see even in flight) fly that is apparently attracted to CO2 and warm moist places (ie mouth and nose). They are no bother unless quietly reading or sleeping. It also appears that they can set up shop in your nose and continue breeding. I have yet to get one of these buggers under a microscope for identification prior to extermination. Anyway, the moral of this story - get the drains done right!

That's not fun. :( They sound like global warming flies with all that CO2 ;) Hope you can get a handle of that secondary fly.

freesurfer said:
Hi LQB,
remediation is.. Ho yeah!
well, the drains stories are always something... always.
That also depends what kind of constrution you are doing :P
Anyway your problems are not really bigs problems, but.. I know.

For the concrete wall, for the cold and so on,
an other idea is just make an other bric's (or earthbric) wall outside, with rockwool (8cm) between the two walls, and use somethings like sheet of foam on the edges (windows,door) and also on ceiling near the wall, like this one http://us.wedi.de/_shared/_pdf/us/wedi-Building-Panel.pdf

Now just a question about the drain,
you mean the main drain goes in the septic tank?
But anyway, I don't think the flies come from the drain,( my 2 cents) the drain have no direct connection with the house..

Saludos

Looks like a good product you linked to. About the drain, you may be right, unless they somehow get around the "U" traps or they got into the house as larvae only to hatch later.
 

LQB

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
freesurfer said:
Hi LQB,
remediation is.. Ho yeah!
well, the drains stories are always something... always.
That also depends what kind of constrution you are doing :P
Anyway your problems are not really bigs problems, but.. I know.

For the concrete wall, for the cold and so on,
an other idea is just make an other bric's (or earthbric) wall outside, with rockwool (8cm) between the two walls, and use somethings like sheet of foam on the edges (windows,door) and also on ceiling near the wall, like this one http://us.wedi.de/_shared/_pdf/us/wedi-Building-Panel.pdf

Now just a question about the drain,
you mean the main drain goes in the septic tank?
But anyway, I don't think the flies come from the drain,( my 2 cents) the drain have no direct connection with the house..

Saludos

Hi freesurfer,

Yes, they are not big problems - just painful/costly since I have to work around the existing finish work (kitchen).

I can't insulate the outside of the exposed wall since it has a stacked stone facade. But most of that interior wall is bare so the metal backed closed cell foam (R-16) glued to the wall should work fine and provide a good vapor barrier - in fact this is already up on all of this wall interior (except about 20 feet of kitchen wall). The sprayed foam will work the ceiling that borders this wall.

On the drain, yes, it is the main house drain to the septic tank that was cracked and leaking into the soil for about a year prior to discovery. Phorid flies originally gained access to the tank through the vent line that was exposed to the environment during construction. The soil (chert) around the leaking pipe built up organic material that, I suspect has supported these (and other) flies under the concrete slab floor. The damp environment produced in the 5 inch gravel layer under the concrete slab floor has supported a fungal growth on the gravel, and this fungus is food for the flies. So, part of the remediation is to seal all possible air entry into the house from under the slab.
 

LQB

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
voyageur said:
Fwiw, remembering back when discussing foam insulated blocks for exterior walls and the problems of heat transfer. There was an engineer (article i read) who also did not think they were a good idea for this type of house. Given what you have said, should cold temps remain or come back, interior modifications as described "may" only solve part of the problem, as the walls may still weep moisture. The walls may be covered, yet moisture may still seek and collect lower down. I do not know this for sure, yet perhaps a fix would be to apply a foam sheeting to the exterior wall to the depth of 4 ft (standard frost wall). The reason being is that "standards" for things such as "slab on ground" here in the north, require a 4ft frost wall or, a lesser depth if exterior wall is insulated with foam sheeting. Unfortunately, this would require excavation work, yet it may or may not be easier? The thinking here is that the frost layer is protected while still maintaining the heat/cool transferee aspects below 4 feet of your original design.

The metal-backed closed cell foam glued to the bare interior wall should prevent any condensation. The holes drilled through the kitchen cabs for the blown cellulose will get permanent vents so that some air can still flow. This whole insulation issue is only a problem when it gets extremely cold over multiple days.

If I had it to do over, I would certainly insulate the foundation on the exposed wall side. The way things are right now is that there is a very large concrete pad poured right up to the exterior wall (and retaining walls) across the entire length of the wall.

Another thing I would do is seal the slab entirely before doing any interior finish work - I'd love to do another one from scratch!
 

Voyageur

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LQB said:
If I had it to do over, I would certainly insulate the foundation on the exposed wall side. The way things are right now is that there is a very large concrete pad poured right up to the exterior wall (and retaining walls) across the entire length of the wall.

Another thing I would do is seal the slab entirely before doing any interior finish work - I'd love to do another one from scratch!

Ok, I see your situation with this.

LQB, perhaps you will get another chance... I know this design, or similar, has been on my mind - so thanks for the thread!
 
Hi freesurfer,

Yes, they are not big problems - just painful/costly since I have to work around the existing finish work (kitchen).

I can't insulate the outside of the exposed wall since it has a stacked stone facade. But most of that interior wall is bare so the metal backed closed cell foam (R-16) glued to the wall should work fine and provide a good vapor barrier - in fact this is already up on all of this wall interior (except about 20 feet of kitchen wall). The sprayed foam will work the ceiling that borders this wall.

Yes, "just" painful/costly of course.. and I know this is an expensive work..
But again, sorry, but yes "YOU CAN" insulate the exterior face in the future if your remediation investment have not resolve all the problem..

What I mean is, if the (Tiles) stones work are what I think they are, ( well, is what I can see in the last picture, despite the poor detail of the resolution herehttp://fr.sott.net/article/17990-Preparatifs-en-vue-de-la-tempete-imminente ) is not a big job to take out all the stones, maybe one or two full days work (with some friend around a bbq with good music ;) ) just with a hammer and a good chisel..
I also must said to you, I've make this job a lot of times, and 75% of the times, the necessary preparations of the concrete (before put the stones) is not done perfectly.. (I mean scratching, sanding the concrete, and using the right tack coat.. in fact, in general in don't install Tile, stones or mosaics directly on concrete, is not a good idea.. we know that today)
so, if is the case you don't need a hammer , but just a simple trowel to remove the (tiles) stones and still entire.

You can make a test for know if the stones are properly glued to the wall, and the "secret" is.. take a hammer of one kg or half,(or any heavy metalic things) and rub the hammer making bigs "S". When the stones are really glued that sound normal, as that sound when you make it on the concrete wall on the side, so more and less the same noise, but if they are not properly glued or disbonded, that will sound like "empty", you hear imediately..

Well, I understand that the job inside is done , but before making the job where is the kitchen, make the test outside on this area.. and really if the stones are not well glued or already disbonded (with this colds days), hear me .. remediate outside, remove the stone of this part, put a WEDI of 2" (5cm minimum) glued and assure the installation of the wedi panels (or a same product) with straw, treat all the surface with a flex tile adhesive including a reinforcement mesh, (not just the joints) and after you can also put on that a waterproof layer, like sikalastic or whatever is compatible with the stone or tile flex adhesive..
and install again your stone on that.. that's 100%, I've done a lot of project with this material, like sauna, refrigeration room etc.. and never one problem, no leak..

Anyway if you have already buy all the rest of the material, make it like you decide , but I must said to you that is not a big job and we CAN make it, if you find a professional, is maybe one or max two weeks work, and 100% sure.

and this fungus is food for the flies.
and maybe the flies are food for us :lol:
just a joke

have fun..
take care

I hope my english and recommendation are understandable..

ciao
 

LQB

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
freesurfer said:
Well, I understand that the job inside is done , but before making the job where is the kitchen, make the test outside on this area.. and really if the stones are not well glued or already disbonded (with this colds days), hear me .. remediate outside, remove the stone of this part, put a WEDI of 2" (5cm minimum) glued and assure the installation of the wedi panels (or a same product) with straw, treat all the surface with a flex tile adhesive including a reinforcement mesh, (not just the joints) and after you can also put on that a waterproof layer, like sikalastic or whatever is compatible with the stone or tile flex adhesive..
and install again your stone on that.. that's 100%, I've done a lot of project with this material, like sauna, refrigeration room etc.. and never one problem, no leak..

Anyway if you have already buy all the rest of the material, make it like you decide , but I must said to you that is not a big job and we CAN make it, if you find a professional, is maybe one or max two weeks work, and 100% sure.

Good points freesurfer and I'll think on them some more. A complicating factor is the awning that runs the length of that wall and its iron support trusses. The stacked stones are just concrete molded blocks and were carefully placed around the iron trusses.

As for the kitchen wall, the cost for the blown cellulose is pretty minor, and the holes have already been cut for the application. In those holes, I will also install permanent vents so that I get some air flow plus a way to check on conditions back there. If that is not good enough for very cold conditions, then I can look at the exterior.
 

domi

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
LQB,

I've been thinking about you and your wonderful home recently and I was wondering if there's anything that you've learned now that you've lived there for quite a few years. Any issues that have come up other than what you already described a few years ago?

D.
 

LQB

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
LQB,

I've been thinking about you and your wonderful home recently and I was wondering if there's anything that you've learned now that you've lived there for quite a few years. Any issues that have come up other than what you already described a few years ago?

D.
Nothing really new Domi, but I have been telling folks that there is really no need to bury the structure to gain the benefits. You can eliminate tons of steel by earth-berming on 3 sides and using a very well insulated conventional roof. You keep the rebar and 5000 psi concrete but, for the roof, use a good steel truss structure with metal roof and foam insulation plus conventional batting. Pitching the roof to the rear allows you to collect water runoff at the rear and divert it away from the bermed structure. You still must make sure that all points around the house have positive drainage away. I have had no problems with water intrusion - even after major downpours.

Since you will still have a sealed structure (and windows on just one side), you will need forced air both in and out which you can control on a periodic basis. I also use an indoor dehumidifier in winter to keep the humidity under 50%. The exposed front wall MUST be insulated - either inside, outside, or both.

This type of structure should be cheaper than a quality stick frame home (depending on local costs).
 
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