White PVC pipes run under the slab where the domestic hot and cold running water tubes are housed and run. These plumbing tubes are part of the Hansen House’s wet wall, a structural wall designed to house plumbing pipes for fixtures like sinks, dishwashers, washing machines and toilets. The tubes are connected into the manifold and then distributed throughout the house to the designated fixture. Consolidating plumbing in a single wall increases efficiency as well as cutting down on building costs. The black PEX tubes are for the radiant floor heat which also run to the manifold where the water will be heated by an electric water heater. The PEX tubing was attached to the rebar which was laid out in a checkerboard pattern on top of the foundation’s 4″ of insulation. Then concrete was poured to form the slab. The kitchen island location and outline were marked by tape on the floor for reference points. After the plumbing tubes were all in place, the cellulose insulation could be sprayed. Netting was installed on ceilings and walls to hold the blown in cellulose in place. The netting was used so that the drywall would not have to be installed before the insulation was blown in, which could cause moisture problems. The windows and doors were covered with plastic to be protected during the spray insulation process. Polyurethane, the yellowish material, was sprayed to seal any plywood seams to ensure a tight building envelope. Because the insulation is blown in an excess of material tends to accumulate; therefore, while one person blows in the cellulose another person vacuums it up where it is sent back to the truck and recycled back through the process. The metal braces seen in the picture below are part of the t-bracing which prevents lateral movement. Rigid foam was added to the cavity so that settling of the insulation was minimized and controlled.
The black tar paper around the window openings is for durability and to protect the window sills. As you can see below, the corners of the openings have water and ice shield for further protection. The InLine Fiberglass windows are triple pane low-e casements with fold down cranks and colonial grids between the window panes. All of the windows in the Hansen House have white exteriors and Oak laminate interiors, except for the windows in the garage which have brownstone exteriors and Oak laminate interiors. Using the window orientation as a reference point to help determine where the sconce should go, our Project Manager had the great idea to put the sconce on a 2×4 and have the homeowner move it up and down the wall to help him visualize where he wanted it placed. These exterior shots show the timber framed side porch, without the roof on it yet, and the installed windows. The Marvin Integrity Center Hinge French Doors with sliding screen are found on by the side porch and off of the front of the great room. This custom entry door’s arch matches the arches of the existing barn and mill house. The arched door is located under the timber framed entry way which is part of the wrap around front porch. The next post will cover the spray cellulose insulation so check back to learn all about it!
The reclaimed stone for the Hansen house was found on the property. The original owners had purchased the stone from a church was that being dismantled because it matched the stone used for the original farmhouse. KeeneStone cut 1” is a 3-dimensional drainage device for 1.0” masonry cavity wall applications. They are designed to catch and hold mortar droppings while allowing moisture to pass through and drain out of the wall as well as suspending mortar drippings above the weep holes to prevent the drainage channels from becoming blocked or clogged. The marble cornerstones are also reclaimed from the property. On some of these marble pieces, the drill holes from the original mining process. The masons from Stonescapes, Inc. did a beautiful job on both the chimney and the stone walls as seen in these amazing detail shots. The arched door matches the radius of the doorways in the barn and the well house. These exterior shots show the craftsmanship of the masons and a quick preview of what is to come. Check back for the next update on the installation of the windows.
The fireplace insert is a Mendota Gas Fireplace. Mendota Gas Fireplaces offer BurnGreen technology featuring environmentally friendly practices such as adjustment of heat and blower output, which allows the user to conserve fuel. To maximize combustion efficiency and preserve indoor air quality, the direct vent design uses 100% outside air for combustion. Once the fireplace was connected and tested then the framework for the stone chimney could be constructed. The face of the fireplace was protected while the custom stone chimney was built around it. Local stone artisans from Stonescapes Inc. were the masonry contractors who created this beautiful chimney. The chimney is two stories high and extends through the second story loft. The combination of wood and stone provide beautiful details. The stone was reclaimed from around the property.
Sill seal was installed in between the concrete foundation and the sill plate to reduce air infiltration. Sill seal was installed all around the house. A termite shield was installed between the foundation and the sill plates’ wooden components that are joined to the foundation. The termite shield is a metal barrier shaped in a way that diverts water from running down the face of the wall and eliminates the movement of termites from the soil into wood framing members. The garage was framed out with 2×6’s and engineered framing materials to create open and useful spaces. The 2-car garage also has a back portion that is designated for the homeowner’s motorcycle collection. I-joists were installed in the garage to support the bonus room above the garage. The end of the parallel strand lumber (PSL) beam was cut to create the opening for the stairwell. The PSL beam allows the floor to end so that the motorcycle section of the garage is open to the above. PSL’s are strong and have a high load carrying ability. While the garage was being framed out, the crew started on the rest of the house. The garage roof slopes in a way that adds dimension to the roofline and style to the entire structure. This roofline, along with the motorcycle collection, help define the atmosphere of the garage. The beam in the picture below was salvaged from one of the barns on the property. This is just one of the many reclaimed/found items that the owners wanted our design team to incorporate in the design of their house. The beam was repurposed and used to create the entryway from the foyer into the office.
The month of July has been very busy at the Hansen House. Once the insulated foundation was complete the plumbing pipes, as well as mechanical conduit piping, were laid out, run and installed. Plumbing pipes have to be run at a slight downhill slope so that the waste in the pipes can drain properly. Weld-On P-68 primer was used to help join the pipe and fittings. This low VOC product is compliant with LEED Green Building Rating System and can be credited towards indoor environment quality. The same GreenGuard rigid insulation that was used with the foundation walls was installed before the slab was poured. These products contain up to 30% post-industrial recycled content and help reduce energy consumption and improve durability. On top of the 4 inches of insulation the rebar was laid out in a checkerboard pattern used to reinforce the concrete and prevent cracking. The PEX tubing for the radiant floors is also attached to the rebar structure. PEX tubing is a tough, flexible plastic that is easy to layout in loops and bent around corners. The PEX tubing is where the warm water is circulated to heat the radiant floors. Select floors throughout the Hansen House will have radiant heat. The PEX tubing for the radiant heat will run to the manifold in the mechanical room. Here it will be heated with an electric water heater and pumped back through the piping. The electric water heater will be run on energy generated from future solar panels. The concrete is then poured over the PEX tubing and rebar. Using products made from recycled materials is a standard operating procedure for HJLCMS. The concrete for the Hansen House was made with 20% fly ash and is sourced locally. This recycled material content is closely tracked should the need for LEED certification be considered. Fly ash makes the concrete more durable, water-resistant and stronger. Fly ash shrinks the environmental footprint of concrete because it reduces the amount of water and Portland cement in the mix. Once the concrete had set, the power trowel was run over the surface to smooth out any imperfections and get a tight, glossy finish. The more passes with the power trowel will give you a more glossy finish. The broom finish on the concrete floors for the wrap around porches gives a unique and distinguishing feel to these outside areas. A material called River Jack was added to the concrete as the aggregate giving the East porch a textured surface. Check back for the next post as the crew begins to frame out the garage.
A note from HJLCMS’s president and founder, Hugh J. Lofting, on open building methods… We, at HJLCMS, practice “open building” methods of construction. This concept considers a housing project is never completed; it is always under construction. In order to achieve these goals we think of ways to make access to electrical, plumbing and HVAC easy and adaptable in the building. One of the obvious ways to achieve this is to use “open web” floor joists. As long as there are access ports to the floor joists, it is easy to add mechanical and electrical needs in the future. Another principle of open building that comes into play is spanning the entire width of the buildings in order to reduce the need of bearing walls. This is also achieved with the open web floor joists.
Since HJLCMS broke ground on June 1st on the Hansen House, there has been a lot of progress on site. We wanted to make sure that none of the trees were unnecessarily disturbed by the construction process so signs were placed at drip lines of the trees to protect the root systems. The new driveway was engineered to share a portion of the existing driveway to reduce the footprint of new construction. Gravel was used because it is a permeable surface that allows rainwater to be absorbed and therefore naturally filtered. Once the driveway was complete, the crew excavated the area for the house and dug out the footers. The Hansen House is designed as an energy-efficient building. One of the keys to an energy-efficient building is the use of high levels of insulation. The concrete footers and block foundation both contribute to the super insulated slab and insulated slab ledge. Because heat is lost through foundation walls and concrete slabs, it is important to insulate them. There is 2” rigid foam insulation along the perimeter walls of the block foundation. The foundation is part of the house’s thermal envelope. A clear penetrating sealer has been applied on all perimeter walls from the footers to the tops of walls to damp proof the foundation. The insulated foundation contributes to the conservation of energy and heating and cooling costs and also eliminates potential moisture and mold problems. Check back for the next phase of construction.
Introducing the Hansen House – HJLCMS’s newest project. On June 1st HJLCMS broke ground on our newest project in Chester County, PA, the Hansen House. This is one of the several projects HJLCMS has going on during this busy spring and summer. In line with the mission statement of HJLCMS, this project will be built around sustainable systems incorporating the highly energy-efficient green technology standards we at HJLCMS hold ourselves to. In the early stages of planning and siting the Hansen House, HJLCMS and the Owners performed a careful evaluation of the solar access, water resources, vegetation, soils and other important natural areas of the site. The information they gathered helped to guide not only the actual location of the house but also some key design elements of the house. For example, the house is designed to utilize passive solar heating, day lighting and natural cooling. Because of this careful planning, there has been minimal site disturbance and all the topsoil will remain on site to be used later in the construction process. Make sure to check back soon for our next post on the Hansen House!