Innovative solutions for creating healthy, efficient, eco-friendly homes

May 2003

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Aside From Wood and Vinyl

When Good Pipes Go Bad

The Evolution of Vinyl Siding

Homeowners can be an obsessive bunch. They think it's good sport to drive around new, upscale subdivisions and study siding. It's fun to see how that Victorian reproduction has mixed natural-colored, hand-split shakes with ivy green, half-round shingles. That Colonial looks striking, with its crisp, gray clapboards, trimmed out with white crown window molding and corner blocks flanking the doors. But look closely. The biggest surprise might be that most of these handsome facades are created not from wood, but from vinyl. There was a time when vinyl-clad houses were easy to spot.

Foundation Options

As discussed in the previous installment, a building foundation performs a surprising number of tasks. The four critical tasks are to: Bear the weight of the building loads, Anchor against the forces of wind and earthquake, Prevent vertical motion due to frost, and Isolate the building from ground moisture. In general, there are nine different foundation types. Each is capable of satisfying these four basic requirements if built properly.

Ruling Out Radon

The PVC pipe in the garage is installed at a prescribed pitch along the ceiling. Once it is run up into the storage space above the garage, a 1.5-amp fan is installed and plugged into a standard electrical outlet.

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