While all this has been going on I have been researching what we were going to build for the shell of the home. The roof was easy, everyone I spoke with was unanimous that a rubber membrane roof was the best choice. I obtained an estimate from Dana Geno who owns Dayco Inc. an insulation and roofing contracting business in Sharon, VT.. The Sarnafil PVC roof system he proposed was well within the allowance we had so I checked that off the list.
The wall system and insulation was a more difficult decision to make. There are a number of efficient ways to build and insulate walls now that have different performance characteristics and costs. The Internet ( generally)and Fine Homebuilding magazines online library (a paid site well worth the money if you are building a home) were very good sources of comparative information. In the end it came down to two choices for us, a 2″x6″ wall insulated with fiberglass and then wrapped with a 1″ of rigid foam insulation or a 2″x6″wall spray filled with open cell foam. We decided to go with the open cell foam 2″x6″ wall as it is an easier wall to build and provides the same effective R 20 insulation value. For the roof we will use a combination of fiberglass and rigid foam board to get and effective R45 or better. The entire shell will be sheathed using the Zip System which is a treated oriented strand board sealed with tape that is water tight when finished. Check that off the list.
Windows….. Buying windows is a pain in the ass. There are no really good easily digestible comparative data sources out there for windows that I could find. The Internet was somewhat useful with manufacturers websites also being somewhat useful. Physically handling windows at showrooms was moderately useful. We looked at Anderson 400 and A series windows, the Marvin Integrity and Ultimate lines, LePage and Lowen windows. Lowen clearly has the best window of the bunch, also the highest costs and we were just not able to justify the extra expense. LaPage is a well built window that has great solar heat gain, but again they were higher cost. In the end it came down to using Anderson or Marvin and we choose to use Marvin Integrity windows and Ultimate Doors. The combination came in just above our budget and we are confident they will provide more than adequate performance for our new home.