High Performance Enclosures on an 1800’s House

Recently we did a project with Black Oak Builders and Barry Price Architecture in Saugerties, NY. Interestingly for us, the majority of the project was not timber frame (though they do have a sweet little timber piece off the side of the garage that may someday house a small maple sugaring operation). No, in this case Black Oak Builders reached out to us to partner on the enclosure system for three additions to this 1800’s home; a master bedroom suite, an office/bedroom wing, and a two-story garage.

Our goal with High Performance Enclosures (HPE) is simple—to help builders achieve better building performance for their clients and to make the projects go as smoothly as possible. With our knowledge in systems building (from years in timber framing, as well as construction experience in our Finger Lakes backyard) we can bring the nuances of off-site construction to enclosure building and pre-panelization to those looking for custom solutions. Our construction team built 66 panels in about 2 weeks and headed out in a snowstorm to install the them in January. This off-site minimizes the time needed on-site, saving projects weeks and speeding up the deliverable of a finished space to a client.

The enclosure was our MartixS wall system. Built of 2×6 framing, ½ OSB, 60mm wood-fiber insulation (Steico in this case), house wrap, and vertical strapping for attachment of the siding. All designed to fit within the 8’6” shipping constraints. The Steico wood fiber insulation allows one less petroleum-based element in the system and an opportunity for carbon sequestration—both pieces that help our buildings carry a load in slowing climate change. Used with the Mento Plus house wrap (a weather resistant barrier that is extremely waterproof and air tight while allowing the wall to dry to the exterior) and the tightness of the panels themselves, the performance of these new spaces should make a sizable impact to the client’s comfort, HVAC costs, and do a favor for our planet.

From a timeline standpoint there are advantages for off-site enclosure construction as well. “Framing of all three structures was achieved in six days. This significantly reduced the schedule timeline, as well as the inconvenience to the owners living on the site. These are not small considerations from an owner’s standpoint,” says Barry Price.

As with all of our projects, there had to be a twist. Because of the tight site, the panels were delivered to a parking lot up at the main road and shuttled to the site on smaller trailer. We then strategically began installation of the master bedroom before raising the garage walls which restricted access to the back of the site with equipment. Then, in order to allow Black Oak Builders to delay demolition of the existing stacked stone walls until they were closer to having the new additions dried in, we left off on installing the tie-in walls for when construction was a little further along.

To us, it’s just another day and the challenges are what keep projects interesting. If you have a custom project you’re looking and you’re looking for an enclosure partner, be sure to give us a call or email and let’s chat about what’s possible.

The Envelope: Performance, air tightness, pressure boundary

Much of our design and construction planning focuses on reducing the energy our projects consume, not only to the benefit of those enjoying the home, but to the larger community and the planet. One of the best ways to influence this: special consideration, planning, and detailing of wall and roof systems (aka: the project’s envelope). I chatted with Ty Allen AIA, our design-build manager, who took us a bit deeper our current innovations and processes with our home enclosures:

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Built to Last – Part 3 in the Welcome Home Series

Timber Home Living magazine continues coverage of the Olsen family home, a reclaimed timber frame raised in 2014. Progress on the home continues as our construction team encloses the frame with high efficiency SIPs (Structural Insulated Panels) and our Matrix Wall:

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