Northern Construction Specifications

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TexasBred

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Have been thinking about all the extremely low temps. you folks up north have to deal with and was just wondering how homes etc. were constructed in that part of the country as apposed to the warmer areas of the country? Thicker walls?? Extra Insulation?? Basements?? Plumbing, heating and cooling, etc.
 

Toby L.

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TexasBred":1zge19dz said:
Have been thinking about all the extremely low temps. you folks up north have to deal with and was just wondering how homes etc. were constructed in that part of the country as apposed to the warmer areas of the country? Thicker walls?? Extra Insulation?? Basements?? Plumbing, heating and cooling, etc.

6 inch exterior walls filled with R-19 fiberglass insulation with a 6 mil vapor barrier. The attics get at least an R-30 blown insulation on top of vapor barrier, with vents along the eves of the house for ventalation so the attic's can breath. They usually fill the gaps between the windows and doors with spray foam, and seal everything really tight with tape or caulk around every penatration. And then use air exchangers to bring clean air into the house and filter out the old musty air. If you want to spend a little more money while building your house, you can have the exterior walls and attics sprayed with foam. It takes a couple of years but you can make the money back, plus you will have a stronger house as the closed cell foam will hold everything together.
 

hillsdown

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TB we live in a pine log home. The south side is mainly windows and they were designed so that in the winter we get full sunshine so that even if it is minus 20 out if the sun is shining it heats the house. Our attic is insulated extremely well and we also have hot water heating throughout the house and in floor heating in the basement..

The only time I feel the chill in the house is when that north west wind is howling in -40 weather and it is usually only on the kitchen as that is the corner we have the walkout for the basement ..

In the summer our house is usually very cool thanks to the design of the log home ,so most hot days we do not even think of wanting air conditioning.
 

mnmtranching

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Houses are built and insulated very well up here. Toby gave a good description. Still lots of old homes and mobile homes around. Some of the old homes have been remodeled and some are very cold. Mobiles may take more energy then then a modern house.
Is there fuel assistance in the South? BIG deal up here. Many have their entire fuel bill paid for by the taxpayers. I use 12 chords of cut, spit and dry wood.
 

alabama

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hillsdown":1sjswm61 said:
TB we live in a pine log home. The south side is mainly windows and they were designed so that in the winter we get full sunshine so that even if it is minus 20 out if the sun is shining it heats the house. Our attic is insulated extremely well and we also have hot water heating throughout the house and in floor heating in the basement..

The only time I feel the chill in the house is when that north west wind is howling in -40 weather and it is usually only on the kitchen as that is the corner we have the walkout for the basement ..

In the summer our house is usually very cool thanks to the design of the log home ,so most hot days we do not even think of wanting air conditioning.

If you move that house to Alabama I bet you put an AC in it quick and run it from April through October. And as well as you have it heated you might even run it all winter.
 

alacattleman

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hillsdown":3mvd6k2d said:
TB we live in a pine log home. The south side is mainly windows and they were designed so that in the winter we get full sunshine so that even if it is minus 20 out if the sun is shining it heats the house. Our attic is insulated extremely well and we also have hot water heating throughout the house and in floor heating in the basement..

The only time I feel the chill in the house is when that north west wind is howling in -40 weather and it is usually only on the kitchen as that is the corner we have the walkout for the basement ..

In the summer our house is usually very cool thanks to the design of the log home ,so most hot days we do not even think of wanting air conditioning.
what is hot too you in canada anyway 65 above :p try on a few days in the upper 90's too 100.. not including the humidity of 110... cows are panting like they ran a derby .. you sweat like a pig just standing and breathing
 

Aaron

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hillsdown":ne947e6j said:
TB we live in a pine log home. The south side is mainly windows and they were designed so that in the winter we get full sunshine so that even if it is minus 20 out if the sun is shining it heats the house. Our attic is insulated extremely well and we also have hot water heating throughout the house and in floor heating in the basement..

The only time I feel the chill in the house is when that north west wind is howling in -40 weather and it is usually only on the kitchen as that is the corner we have the walkout for the basement ..

In the summer our house is usually very cool thanks to the design of the log home ,so most hot days we do not even think of wanting air conditioning.

My plan is to eventually build something similar to HD. Don't know if this policy is similar everywhere, but in Ontario, log-constructed homes have a very low property value assessment..they see them as essentially worthless, because they don't use commercial timber. I was told that the highest they value a log home in Ontario is $40,000, which is great to keep your property taxes low.

Proper insulation in your attic space is what makes or breaks a home in the north. Some people have R-20, some have R-40. Some people do 2x8 studs on the exterior walls. For heating, my top choice would be outside wood boiler with in-floor heating in the basement floor, with emergency baseboard heaters and indoor wood stove. A lot of people in our area have switched to geothermal. I wouldn't do it because it is not only expensive (~$17,000 CDN) , but it only provides constant temperature in the 60-65 F range. I want my home at a minimum of 70 F in the winter. People make up the extra temperature difference with supplemental heat sources...but I crunched the numbers in my head and if you can get a outdoor wood stove to last you 10+ years before replacement, your always money ahead.

Insulating basement walls is also a good idea. Basement walkouts, like HD has, are convenient, but are a source of a lot of heat loss. I wouldn't probably put one in my home. :cowboy:
 

TCTara

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Aaron":3cpmjaqh said:
My plan is to eventually build something similar to HD. Don't know if this policy is similar everywhere, but in Ontario, log-constructed homes have a very low property value assessment..they see them as essentially worthless, because they don't use commercial timber. I was told that the highest they value a log home in Ontario is $40,000, which is great to keep your property taxes low.

I hate to disagree but I live in Ontario, in a log home which is presently assessed at over $600,000, only on 1.5 acres , with a log shed as well. Unfortunately, we are taxed on this amount. The land is assessed in this area at 4 acres for 120,000 (lot across from us, vacant land, owned by a friend) so it's not all land value.

We have R40 in the attic, only the logs for insulation in the walls, have central air which is only on a few days a year--logs insulate very well against heat as well as cold....it's worst when the kids leave doors and windows open, winter or summer...
 
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TexasBred

TexasBred

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TCTara":1h5fyefm said:
Aaron":1h5fyefm said:
My plan is to eventually build something similar to HD. Don't know if this policy is similar everywhere, but in Ontario, log-constructed homes have a very low property value assessment..they see them as essentially worthless, because they don't use commercial timber. I was told that the highest they value a log home in Ontario is $40,000, which is great to keep your property taxes low.

I hate to disagree but I live in Ontario, in a log home which is presently assessed at over $600,000, only on 1.5 acres , with a log shed as well. Unfortunately, we are taxed on this amount. The land is assessed in this area at 4 acres for 120,000 (lot across from us, vacant land, owned by a friend) so it's not all land value.

We have R40 in the attic, only the logs for insulation in the walls, have central air which is only on a few days a year--logs insulate very well against heat as well as cold....it's worst when the kids leave doors and windows open, winter or summer...

WOW...sounds like you need to go before the board of equalization and try to get something changed. $30,000 an acre?? You must be living on "Silk Stocking Avenue". :nod:
 

hillsdown

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FYI we do get warm summers granted it only lasts a few weeks but we do get into the low 100's sometimes..Ask BeefmasterB he was in Alberta last year and contrary to popular belief we do not live in igloos and our main mode of transportation is not dog sleds... :p I have been to Texas and Alabama and I even got a sun burn in late October the last time we were in Alabama so I do know that AC is a must in your part of the world :nod: ..

Aaron I do not know what it is like in Ontario but Log homes are expensive here and we pay the taxes for it..Our home was actually built from pine brought in from Quebec and the construction team was from there as well..That could be why all of the light switches are backwards... :lol2: Also the little lady in your life may make you build a walk into the basement with a mud room..unless you are going to be cleaning the house all of the time ;-)

Here is a pic it is the only one I have on photo bucket for now but it gives you an idea of the design..

IMGP0402.jpg
 

alacattleman

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hillsdown":364wli7z said:
FYI we do get warm summers granted it only lasts a few weeks but we do get into the low 100's sometimes..Ask BeefmasterB he was in Alberta last year and contrary to popular belief we do not live in igloos and our main mode of transportation is not dog sleds... :p I have been to Texas and Alabama and I even got a sun burn in late October the last time we were in Alabama so I do know that AC is a must in your part of the world :nod: ..

Aaron I do not know what it is like in Ontario but Log homes are expensive here and we pay the taxes for it..Our home was actually built from pine brought in from Quebec and the construction team was from there as well..That could be why all of the light switches are backwards... :lol2: Also the little lady in your life may make you build a walk into the basement with a mud room..unless you are going to be cleaning the house all of the time ;-)

Here is a pic it is the only one I have on photo bucket for now but it gives you an idea of the design..

IMGP0402.jpg
great looking home....
 

Aaron

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Based on TCTara and HD's remarks, I guess it is a local thing. Mind you our land prices are extremely low at a few hundred an acre. But a friend who owns a log house on agriculture-assessed land says his is valued at $40,000. Small home, one level, bout half the size of HD's if that.

Nice home HD. Looks pretty similar to what I am thinking of...except I most likely would not have an upper level. As far as a mud room, I would use a small, main level indoor porch for that before I would use the basement level. I know we have a north-facing basement access as well on my parents home and it is a significant source of both water accumulation onto the basement floor and heat loss.
 

mnmtranching

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Log homes in the US are more costly to build [sq foot] then conventional. There are always exceptions of course. And homes are taxed on value. Lake homes to rich people is a big deal up here. and there are MANY conventional and log homes valued in the millions. Makes a good tax base. All the towns have new schools etc.
Windows and doors are the main heat loss areas in homes. R 7 windows and doors are max. While walls will normally be R-22 ceilings R-40.
6 inches of fiberglass has the same R factor as 12 inches of dry wood. Wet wood and cracks lowers the R-factor. 6 inches of fiberglass is also equal in R factor to 12 feet of solid concrete. :shock:
 
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TexasBred

TexasBred

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Pretty amazing what it takes to survive the extreme cold up there. Thanks for all the info. Down in this area "cool" is the big thing but that too requires plenty of insulation and a very efficient air conditioning system. But, typical new home construction is more along the line of 2x4 studs with insulation between the studs, 2x6 ceiling joist with 10-12 inches of blown in insulation (don't know what the "R factor" would be). Many homes have no insulation at all in interior walls. Very few basements as most new home construction is on concrete slab. We do use a lot of double pane insulated windows and doors and reduce the number of windows on West side of house along with adding a porch for an overhang. Heat pumps are being used more and more for both heating and cooling with a majority of homes being all electric. Fireplaces are more for looks only as they seem to pull more heat out of a house than they put in. Some do use inserts in fireplaces with blowers to put heat into the house and wood pellet stoves are catching on more and more.
 

cre10

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Geothermal is the route to go. Typically around here you design it to a -5 degree heating day. This will give you geothermal heat 95% of the time and then on the occasion when it does dip below you have your resistance strip heat that kicks in. Up north you design for lower temperatures and use a larger heat exchanger (more pipe in the ground). Here in the US you have a 30% tax credit for installs and lots of electric companies are giving a $750 per ton rebate. Average house is 4 tons and average outside cost is $900 per ton. This offsets the extra cost for the heat exchanger outside and levels the playing field with conventional systems. Geothermal is more expensive initially but the cost savings add up quickly to make that money back. I've literally been around hundreds of these jobs. I know of a guy with a 3000 sq ft house, indoor pool, 3 deep freezes, big tv's and his bills are on average $110. This is in the midwest so he sees temperature extremes both ways. Then I know of some other people with a similar house minus the pool and their bills hit $400. It is a brand new house and now they are regretting not going geo. The biggest thing is insulation and tightening up the house. A blower door test will expose all the potential problems..outlets, seal plates, attic fans, recessed lighting, fireplaces, etc. Wet blown cellulose is the way to go! I've got geo in my house and couldn't be happier. I do burn a lot of wood though, not because I need to but bc I enjoy getting out for the exercise of cutting it, cleaning up the place, and love propping my feet up in the recliner relaxing and watching the fire. A gas furnace will be around 90% efficient if that while geo is up to 400%. Another guy I know has an old farm house. The power company is doing an audit on his house to compare what his bills were with propane and what they are now since he has geo. Haven't talked to him since December but at that time he had saved $900 already as a result of getting rid of propane and going geo. The biggest thing with geo is make sure you have a good installer and check his references!! There are some guys that do less than ideal work.
 
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TexasBred

TexasBred

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Not a lot of propane used around here unless they have absolutely no access to natural gas. Most will go all electric rather than pay the high price for propane.
 

ChrisRet

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I'm in Ontario, old farm house heated with oil. A few years ago I almost put in an outdoor wood furnace, had it all speced out and then talked to some folks at a horse banquet who have an outdoor wood furnace. He was keen on it, she took my wife aside and said "don't do it!". So I looked around some more and put in geothermal with ground loops. For the winter I had wood backup, but I've since switched to a nice propane fireplace big enough to keep the first floor liveable in a power failure.

The trouble with the outdoor wood, and the reason folks end up hating it is the smouldering smoke in the yard all winter. They don't have tall stacks so the smoke is low, and the wood smoulders when the flues are shut. I have seen places wrapped in smoke in the morning! My wife is asthmatic, which is why I had to get rid of the wood stove. Smaller villages around here are starting to ban outdoor wood furnaces because of the annoying smoke and smell.

So if you're looking at outdoor wood, be sure to visit a place while it is burning and see what happens when the thermostat shuts off the airflow to bank the fire.
 

Aaron

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ChrisRet":2hh1iy7y said:
I'm in Ontario, old farm house heated with oil. A few years ago I almost put in an outdoor wood furnace, had it all speced out and then talked to some folks at a horse banquet who have an outdoor wood furnace. He was keen on it, she took my wife aside and said "don't do it!". So I looked around some more and put in geothermal with ground loops. For the winter I had wood backup, but I've since switched to a nice propane fireplace big enough to keep the first floor liveable in a power failure.

The trouble with the outdoor wood, and the reason folks end up hating it is the smouldering smoke in the yard all winter. They don't have tall stacks so the smoke is low, and the wood smoulders when the flues are shut. I have seen places wrapped in smoke in the morning! My wife is asthmatic, which is why I had to get rid of the wood stove. Smaller villages around here are starting to ban outdoor wood furnaces because of the annoying smoke and smell.

So if you're looking at outdoor wood, be sure to visit a place while it is burning and see what happens when the thermostat shuts off the airflow to bank the fire.

Outdoor wood only works out in the country and in areas dominated by ag producers or loggers, no rural wannabees. Any other way and your bound for complaints. In Ontario, a $400 carbon tax was added to outdoor wood stoves, to be paid annually. All in the name of saving the planet. Thankfully, I live in one of the last municipalities in Canada not to have building codes, so no one gets taxed on their stoves.
 

mnmtranching

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It's funny that we are so close and rules so different. Here they burn of the slash, Tops, branches, dead trees, undesirable wood, brush, bark.
The fires are huge and you can see the billowing smoke for a hundred miles.
They also burn off the bogs, lots of smoke here and the MN DNR is active in these burns.
These burns will make more smoke the all Canadian house wood fires put together. :shock: :help: :cowboy:
 
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