As part of its Build a Better Home program, APA-The Engineered Wood Association has launched a Web site (www.buildabetterhome.org) to instruct builders, designers and homeowners how to safeguard a home against moisture infiltration into the building envelope.
“Many factors have contributed to an increase in moisture intrusion problems,” says Steve Zylkowski, the APA’s director of engineered wood systems. Among them, he says, are a lack of trained carpenters and a lack of time for contractors to train new ones. “This has resulted in some misapplication of products. Through Build a Better Home, we will help train and educate the industry on the proper application and de-sign techniques that will help prevent moisture intrusion.”
The centerpiece of the program and the site is a 2,200-square-foot demonstration house being built by the APA, the Southern Pine Council and the USDA Forest Products Laboratory Advanced Housing Research Center on the laboratory’s grounds in Madison, Wis. The four-bedroom, three-bath, two-story house is scheduled for completion in September. It will be open to the public and be the site of better-building seminars and meetings.
The Advanced Housing Research Center will use the house to conduct wood-frame housing research focusing on the improved use of traditional wood products, recycled and engineered wood composites, natural-disaster resistance, energy efficiency and indoor air quality. Instrumentation of the walls was being done in May.
Each phase of the house’s construction is being photographed and videotaped for educational use. Web site visitors now can see a photo of each completed phase along with an explanation of what was done and why.
The project partners chose an “off-the-shelf” house plan and a local general contractor for the demonstration house. Construction techniques involve only slight modifications. “We have not reinvented the wheel here,” Zylkowski says. “The crews working on the house stay within budget and finish on time. Our changes will reduce the threat of moisture intrusion without penalizing the builder.”