Moulton Farm House
The project team earned a 0.36 ACH @50 on their pre insulation blower door test using SIGA.
- Building Location
- Waterbury, VT, United States
- Project type
- Project size
- 2,000 sq ft
- Kevin Dennis Design
- Marc Coviello
- Products used
- Majvest® 500 SA, Majrex® 200, Wigluv® 60, Wigluv® 100 & 150, Wigluv® 230, Fentrim® IS 20, Fentrim® 230 grey, Fentrim® 430 grey, Rissan® 60, Rissan® 100 & 150, Twinet®
What was your air barrier approach?
My primary air barrier was taping the seams of the plywood sheathing. I then chose the Majvest 500 SA as my weather barrier because I wanted to combine a secondary air barrier and weather barrier in one and that was the best belt and suspenders approach.
A mid-wall air barrier is hard to damage during the lifetime of the building, and it’s the easiest surface for achieving a continuous seal.
Did you do any of the construction yourself? And what pieces?
Yes, I decided to do all the window flashing myself. I also installed the Majrex 200 vapor barrier throughout the house.
I gotta say, I found it sort of therapeutic. I have a full-time job, Covid-19 happened, kid doing home school and family doing lockdown. So, spending my evenings, nights and weekends installing it was a way to focus on getting the job done and done well.
That first night, I was thinking to myself ‘what have I gotten myself into?’ But by the second night it was fun. I know it’s crazy, but the feel of the material is nice, it doesn’t smell, and I could get into the zone.
It also taught me a lot of tricks for installation that even the regular training and mockups I do with SIGA hadn’t taught me. You learn something really well by doing it every night.
I have the satisfaction of knowing the components I installed will provide my family and I one single layer of happiness and confidence.
You know what I don’t like? Painting. I hate painting. I painted the exterior of the house and I hate that job and how messy it is.
What challenges did you face during construction?
Weather was a challenge during the installation of the Majvest 500SA. It went on during a wet January, so we had to pick our days. We lucked out.
[To learn more about moisture levels and the installation of the Majvest 500 SA, you can download the Majvest 500 SA Acceptable Moisture Content Levels within a Substrate Technical Letter.]
We also had some problems with sub-contractors. Majrex was cut to expose the insulation and some wiring and it wasn’t supposed to be sheet rocked until it could be re-taped. I came back the next day and it was sheet rocked, which we had to remove to see if they had taped up the Majrex before the sheet rock had been installed. It wasn’t.
We also had to remove some sheetrock panels to re-tape around outlet boxes. Or the Majrex was cut and not taped back up, etc.
How would you recommend overcoming some of these challenges?
Definitely training and emphasis on the goals of the project with everyone on the project team, including subcontractors. But sometimes that’s not enough and people cut corners.
Every project needs someone who is dedicated to making sure the air barrier is installed right.
How are you testing your air barrier?
We’re doing 2 blower door tests. One before the insulation is installed and one when all everything is complete, and the finishes are installed.
The pre-insulation blower door test has already been done and we got a 0.36 ACH @50.
What energy financing or rebates are you taking advantage of as a homeowner?
The goal was to reach Passive House-level airtightness, but overall we were going for a high-performance house and not Passive House because we wanted a gas stove.
We participated in Efficiency Vermont. With that program we received free energy consulting and were eligible for certification and third-party testing. We also received $3,000 cash back by hitting the High-Performance Level.
- Efficiency Vermont Certification: High Performance Level = $3,000
- Efficiency Vermont Certification: Base Level = $2,500
Moulton Farm House in the news
JLC: Using theatrical fog to see air leakage of house
Vermont-based home-performance consultants, Jim Bradley and Chris West, used a high-volume theatrical fog machine to fog the interior of the newly-built Moulton Farm House.