Of Air Barriers and a Bit of Snow….Someone’s Been Shmitten!

Well, well, well fans of Middle Earth! It’s been a long time but we’ve made progress this weekend at everyone’s favorite Hobbit getaway location. Okay, maybe not a lot of progress but considering the sub zero temperatures we have been experiencing I think we did pretty well. Oh yeah, and of course it had to start snowing like around 1:30 Saturday. This new devilry is really getting to me. Me and about 175 million other people who are now officially sick of winter.

So Ethan made a guest appearance this weekend as did Jude. Jude is experiencing spring break. (If you say so. It doesn’t feel much like Spring.) Doesn’t spring officially start March 20th? Anyway I had forgotten that Jude lost his Super Bowl bet with his cousin. Result: Jude now has a goatee and officially looks like Walter White from the show, “Breaking Bad.” All he really needs to do is shave his head. Good thing he isn’t that much of a betting man.

It was good seeing the Men of Bree again. It was even better getting them to do some of the heavy lifting over at the Hobbit House. Oh, and before I forget! Jude has officially been shmitten. Yes, the lad will never be the same. The jury is still out on his girlfriend though. I haven’t met her yet. I’ll have to test her on her Lord of the Rings/Hobbit prowess. We shall see.She’s from Long Island. Another strike against her. I hope she doesn’t talk like Theresa from “Long Island Medium.” Oh my Gawwwwd!

I really have to apologize to anyone who’s not aware of either “Long Island Medium” and or the sound of a Long Island accent. I’m sorry.

No sense in going on ad nauseum about that situation. I’ll have fun breaking his chops re his shmitten state….. Oh yes, chops will be broken.

So let’s get back into the business of building a Hobbit House shall we!

I’m really trying to write this blog but these dopey sons of mine won’t shut up and let me concentrate. Why does everything have to be some sort of reference to something I’ve done in the past? The cackeling afterwords is really starting to bug me. It’s like one of those old time celebrity roasts. I seem to be the brunt of everyone’s joke here. I’ll have the last laugh though , trust me.

Okay let’s get started. The Plan.

The plan, if you will, was to get up at the crack of dawn and head over to the Hobbit house and hit a home run. Alas, plans don’t always go the way they’re supposed to. It was really cold out at the start of the day. Single digit ¬†cold. Anyway I had a commitment from Terence to give me a hand around 10 am. We got over there around 10:30 and got started. I had Terence start by pulling up the first two rows of styrofoam at the entrance into the house. These pieces were covered in ice. Like I said before there was surprisingly little snow blown into the house but the bit that was there melted and refroze over the course of the last month or so. Here he is working away.

Terence replacing the first couple of sheets of styrofoam
Terence replacing the first couple of sheets of styrofoam

The Plan: Well the plan was to install the air barrier for our house this weekend. Or at least get started on it. First replace any ice covered styrofoam, fill in any voids around pipes, etc.  with styrofoam and use spray foam to complete the seal, cover the floor with 6 mil polyethelene, and then put four inches of styrofoam on top of the 6 mil poly. That was more or less the plan. While Terence was taking care of the ice covered styro I began cutting and patching around the pipes. Let me show you kind of what I was doing.

Patching around the pipes.
Patching around the pipes.

So the patch doesn’t have to be great as long as you cover the majority of the void. After you get all of the patchwork done we just went around with a can or two of spray foam and filled the gaps around the pipes. I forgot to take a picture of the spray foam but you get the idea.

Anyway, around this time the other two lads showed up and started giving us a hand. The key to the vapor barrier is to make sure there are no open ends where drafts can develop. So it’s really critical to make sure there is nothing on the styrofoam that can puncture the poly. I had Jude start sweeping the styrofoam and had Ethan give Terence a hand. (Jude’s gonna need a lot of practice sweeping. I hear Long Island women like their homes broom swept.)

Men of Bree preping the styrofoam slab for the vapor barrier.
Men of Bree preping the styrofoam slab for the vapor barrier.

Once we cleared the floor we did a final sweep. Jude’s girlfriend would have been proud! Heckofajob Jude! I actually had everyone look it over because there were quite a few pebbles all over the place.

Final sweepdown! Long Island homeowner's approval too!
Final sweepdown! Long Island homeowner’s approval too!

The next step was to roll out the poly and open it up.

Roll out poly and leave plenty of overlap.
Roll out poly and leave plenty of overlap.

So now it’s just a simple matter of opening up the poly and laying it down on the foam. Well, it’s not that simple. As you can see from the above picture we had our second layer of styrofoam readily available on the right and I also had our starter course pieces available as well. Starter course pieces you say? Yes, my friends, starter course pieces. Let me enlighten you on the starter course pieces. So the idea behind the starter course pieces is to stagger all the joints in the slab styrofoam. Doing this will help reduce any drafts and heat transfer through the styrofoam caused by any imperfections in our previous styro layout. I did spray foam any large gaps between pieces but this kind of makes it a much better job. Anyway what I did was start with a two foot wide strip of styrofoam and run it perpendicular to the first layer we installed. Here’s a picture of a piece I cut. I cut it using an 8 and quarter inch skill saw. It snapped off a lot better than using a 7 and a quarter.

Starter piece of styro 24 inches wide.
Starter piece of styro 24 inches wide.

So then we spread out the air/vapor barrier and started with our starter course pieces. Then we started laying full sheets of styro down. Once we had all the styro down we took the 3M 8067 tape and taped all the styrofoam together so that they wouldn’t spread apart. We just used little strips to tie it togther. Anyway like I said it started snowing and we pretty much got half the slab done. So we kind of wrapped up after that.

The one other thing I want to show you is sealing the air barrier around the perimeter. We overlapped the poly up the sides of the wall and than taped it against the wall with the 8067 tape. Here’s a picture.

Sealing the air barrier to the wall.
Sealing the air barrier to the wall.

So I used a 1×4 straight edge as a guide and cut the excess poly off 1 inch above the styro. Then we taped it to the wall. 1-2-3 done. Now the air barrier is completely sealed. I’ll show you what I’m doing where the pipes come through the slab next week.

Oh yeah, unfortunately the boys wanted to have lunch at you know whose house. They told me to put it on the blog.

Lunch at you know whose.
Lunch at you know whose.

Well, like I said last week thanks for hanging in there and we’ll talk again next week. Believe it or not we had a warm Sunday here. About 40 degrees. I’ve got to get outside and get some air.

Take it easy!

Jim

7 thoughts on “Of Air Barriers and a Bit of Snow….Someone’s Been Shmitten!

    • Please Mike, I’m “Going to the mattresses” on this one. I need the key to that safe house we set up in Queens way back when. I’ll be calling you.

      Jim

  1. What a great picture,my three bears look sooo: handsome. Well you went and provoked Long Island,lets see how you handel that,maybe you’ll lay off me for a while.Good job Casey,I also look forward to meeting you. nanny.

    • Hello Nanny! Well, provoking Long Island doesn’t seem to tough to do. On the other hand you’re such an easy target I don’t think I’ll be able to leave you out of my weekly loop.

      Oh yeah, and let’s not get all mushy over Casey. Giving her the old atta boy is not going to help.

      ….and one other thing, have Terence stop by and show you how to use spell check. I thought I was bad. Geez.

      Have a good day and stay warm!
      Jim

  2. Hi,
    First, let me say I’m honored to have made the blog… even if you have unfairly given me two strikes. That is okay though, I’m not much of a baseball fan. I’d like to state that you have picked a fight with the wrong girl; you’re going to need a lot of help from Gandalf in this war and even that won’t be enough. One does not simply mock Long Island and get away with it. I can be stubborn, just ask Jude.

    As for how I talk, I do not have that GAWD awful accent Theresa has. I’ve never even seen her show. But I’ll tell you, “I have a grandmotha.” Anyway, I will give it to you I do not know much about Lord of the Rings. I know that the books are always better than the movie, but I did see all three movies and own a DVD version that is a combination of the first half of the epic. So I am not completely clueless.

    Just know this, you have provoked the land of Long Island and our wrath is one to be feared of. You should hope your hobbit house is better hidden than the City of Gondolin, or it will fall just as the elven city did.
    Have a great day!
    -Casey

    • Hmmmm. I wasn’t expecting this. We’re going to have to go over the rules of engagement though.

      Anyway, your comment on the city of Gondolin was impressive. Most impressive. Thanks for writing and I look forward to meeting you! Enjoy your day!

      Maybe I’ll write about the wrath of Long Island in the next blog post.

      All the best!
      Jim

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