A Building Expert's Comments

A Building Expert's Comments

Some thoughts on the May/June ‘93 issue:

On More Efficient Wood Use (p. 18):

We must conduct a massive educational campaign to wean the majority of builders and building inspectors (architects, too) away from their obsession with what I label 11th commandment framing. A recent poll by the NAHB shows 67% of those polled still framing 16 inches o.c. A more recent study by the Forest Products Laboratory found the majority of houses framed 16 inches on center even with 2x6 studs. Nothing better exemplifies the attitude of builders’ obsession with energy and cost-ineffective framing than the following from Jim Locke’s,

The Well-Built House:

“Since two-by-sixes are sturdier than two-by-fours, we can place them twenty-four inches on center rather than the sixteen inches that two-by-fours require. Using fewer studs means two-by-six wall framing costs are similar to those of two-by-four walls… Since each stud creates a break in the insulation blanket, fewer studs are


On Water-based Polyurethanes (p. 7):

Our customers are very pleased with the performance and look of oak floors treated with D-503 Pacific Strong. Over the last 5 years these floors have taken quite a beating. Although some scratches are evident, we are happy with the gymnasium non-gloss finish. We’ve experienced no grain raising because of the water content, but that may have been because the floor was screened after belt sanding. Skill, care in application and finishing, and proper curing time are essential with waterborne urethane finishes.

On FiberBond (p. 6):

The 1975 Leger House (name given to it by Gautam Dutt) had as one of its objectives the use of materials with the lowest embodied energy, and the lowest life-cycle cost. This was at a time when, although many large manufacturers were (this was not well known) concerned with embodied energy—they kept their findings private—too many in the energy conservation community seemed little concerned with embodied energy, the energy cost of construction, or the energy cost to maintain a structure over its lifetime. Sadly, this is still too true.

Notwithstanding the recycling problem and the added costs, (Value Engineering might show the higher cost justifiable) weigh FiberBond’s negatives against its advantages. It is difficult to cut, and ordinary drywall tools will not do the job. A FiberBond finished wall is much harder, more like plaster than drywall, and not susceptible to the settlement cracks found in plastered walls. Now drywall contractors are able to compete with plasterers. Better sound deadening, mildew resistance, better screw and nail holding—no screw anchors necessary—and a plaster-like finish at a drywall cost, are just some of the advantages of FiberBond. As with any product, there are those who swear by it and those who swear at it. If it makes no sense to ignore the environmental consequences of buying products produced in Nova Scotia, it makes even less sense to buy fruit and vegetables shipped from California (and redwood and Douglas fir), Texas, and Florida. How much locally grown produce is available in local Shaw’s and Shop-N-Save chain supermarkets?

Keep up the good work.

Gene Leger

Leger Designs

New Boston, NH

Published September 1, 1993

(1993, September 1). A Building Expert's Comments. Retrieved from https://www.buildinggreen.com/op-ed/building-experts-comments

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