All Decked Out

The second-floor sub-floor is up, and Ted just finished installing the stairs that lead up to it. While sitting up there in the sun today and eating some pizza, we thought it might be nice to just leave that part open. Maybe we should revise our plans to a one-bedroom house with large rooftop deck.

OK, so maybe that’s not such a great idea, but it’s fun to hang out on the deck while it’s there.


2 thoughts on “All Decked Out

  1. Hi Eric and Alex,
    I read up on the Structural Insulated Panels (SIP) on the FAQ of SIPA ( and I had some questions …
    I am curious about how the house will age. That is, how can it be changed over time without affecting the integrity of the panels? We live in a 1950s house which doesn’t have enough electrical plugs, or overhead lights. Changes after 40-50 years are pretty straightforward … you rip out the drywall (or punch some holes) and fish the new electrical where you want it to go. If the SIP electrical conduits channels are sealed up, how do you make changes in the future? I.E, we didn’t think that flat panel TVs would be invented and could be mounted in the middle of the wall … (not that I really want a big TV, but you get the idea). Secondly, the FAQ website suggests that you have a pretty good HVAC system and that things remain sealed. OK, does that mean that you should be keeping windows and doors closed? Does it require an AC? I’m used to PNW weather where you just use a fan and leave the doors and windows open all summer; I’ld hate to live in a “prison”, like most of the suburbia tract-homes I’ve visited. On the other hand, I don’t want to have mold issues since we certainly have high humidity ’round here. Thanks for your insight …

    • Those are good questions. The SIPs panels have conduits pre-drilled into the foam every few feet or so. I would assume you could punch through the drywall in about the same way as you would in a stick-built house to install a new electrical box (or whatever gizmo we’ll be installing in the future). I’ll ask our electrician how it all works next time I talk to him.
      As for keeping the house cool in the summer, we’re not installing any AC. The heat pump can chill as well as heat, but we didn’t think it would be worth the expense of installing air ducts. All the windows open, except two that are too high up to access. Ted Clifton, the designer of the house, has perfected a system using an exhaust fan that draws moist air out of the bathrooms and kitchen and pulls fresh air into the house through a HEPA filter:

      “On days where the temperature is expected to climb up into the 80s or 90s, run the fans at high speed for 1/2 hour or so early in the morning when it is still cool outside, you will exchange all of yesterday’s hot stale air for nice cool 65 degree air. Then the house will not heat up that much during the day. Our homeowners are reporting maximum indoor temperatures around 76, even on those near-hundred degree days we had last summer.”

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