Keep Bath Vents Away From
To the Editor:
I am currently involved with a whole-house rehab on a
ten-year-old ranch house. The bathroom vent fan exhausted to
the outside near the soffit vent strip. Inside the attic, the
roof sheathing was nearly completely black with mold from the
soffit (in the truss bay directly above the exhaust) all the
way to the ridge vent, with the mold fanning out in a V pattern
about 6 to 8 feet wide at the top.
While I did not find it necessary to "fit my cap with a chin
strap" while working near the soffit vent, as Arne Waldstein
it might have been helpful to keep my jaw from dropping so far
when I reviewed the proposed remediation cost of $6,488. (The
attic did have some other minor areas of mold, as well.)
It may not be common sense, but I'll be locating vents away
Conneman & Associates, Inc.
To the Editor:
The article about
by Mike Guertin (1/04) was interesting. However, Mr. Guertin
states, "A roofing nailer helps, since you don't have to lift
the shingle very high in order to sneak the nailer nose in
If you are not lifting the shingle very high, I assume that
the nail is not being driven into the shingle at a 90-degree
angle. Therefore the nail head is not flat on the shingle, and
the shingle is possibly cut where the nail head is at an angle.
This can cause premature shingle failure from high winds.
Redwood Falls, Minn.
Mike Guertin responds:
I'm in complete agreement with you regarding the proper way to
nail asphalt roof shingles. I can see how my phrasing in the
article could cause concern. Nails must be driven perpendicular
to the roof surface so that the nail heads lie flat, not only
for the wind resistance you note but also to prevent raised
edges of nail heads, which can damage the underside of
Here's how I position the nailer (see photo, above). Since
nails are positioned about 5/8 inch above the butt edge of
overlying shingles, I only have to gently bend up the exposed
portion of the shingles above the row I'm nailing. This avoids
putting stress on the line of nails holding those shingles
down. To squarely position the nose of the nailer, I need only
lift the butt edge about 2 to 3 inches. By contrast, hand
nailing would require the top shingle to be curled back in
order for the hammer swing to clear.
Saw Is a Winner, but...
To the Editor:
I couldn't agree with Tim Uhler more
Wormdrive Saws," 2/04). The DeWalt saw that he and his crew
agree to be their favorite is definitely a winner. I've only
had the opportunity to use the Skil HD 77 and the Skil Mag 77
while framing and running exterior trim. Both saws are
bulletproof, but heavy.
The first time I saw the DeWalt saw, I liked it immediately.
For two years the saw seemed perfect, then it was downhill from
there. Unlike the Skil saws, DeWalt made no provisions to add
to or change the gear lube in the hypoid gears. Thus, as the
factory-installed gear lube dried up, the gears proceeded to
shred themselves. The only way to change the lube was to
completely disassemble the saw or send it to a service shop,
which meant downtime.
DeWalt has made a winner of a saw, but they need to make it a
proven champion by redesigning it so that carpenters can add or
completely change the gear lube! I went through two of these
saws in two years. I haven't bought one since, but if DeWalt
changes the design, I'm sure the price will continue to be
appealing to all who love this saw.
APA Recommends Building
To the Editor:
In his article
"Fixing the Holes
Where the Air Gets In" (1/04), Mr. Torrey is right in
believing that very little air moves through the wood
structural panels (plywood or OSB). He therefore recommends
using only sealing tape on the horizontal joints, rather than
the usual housewrap. For air infiltration alone, which is the
subject of the article, the tape alone probably works.
Unfortunately, the article makes no mention of protecting
against water intrusion — plain old leaks —
which can lead to mold and structural decay if prolonged.
Weather resistant barriers such as housewrap or building paper
create a drainage plane to help protect against moisture damage
within the wall.
This concern over leaks through siding joints and around doors
and windows led the International Building Code and
International Residential Code to require paper behind
all exterior sidings. APA also recommends it as inexpensive
insurance against potentially damaging water leaks.
APAThe Engineered Wood Association
Likes ASHRAE 62.2
To the Editor:
As usual, the January issue of JLC has excellent coverage of
building science issues. Your consistent inclusion of balanced,
results-oriented, and science-based content on moisture, air
quality, energy, combustion, and hvac issues is the main reason
I subscribe to JLC. But I was disappointed by the news piece
about the new ASHRAE ventilation standard 62.2
(In the News,
1/04). While you cover the basic facts and history accurately,
it seemed to me strangely biased toward the reactionary,
suspicious stance of NAHB and GAMA regarding the
Just because there are no established residential exposure
limits for most indoor pollutants, does that mean we should do
nothing? Why do we have ventilation standards in commercial and
office buildings and yet none for homes, when home is where
many of us — especially our children — spend
more hours than any other single place? It is largely because
of the building industry's reluctance to accept the benefits of
mechanical fresh air ventilation. Years ago I taught people
about ventilation almost as an apology, as a strategy to employ
when you build a house tightly on purpose. But a lot of homes
get built "too tight" by accident, and I've seen plenty of
leaky homes with mold or other air quality problems that
ventilation has helped solve.
A simple, inexpensive ventilation system — at a
minimum — is a good idea in every house. Once
installed, you don't have to worry about "too tight," and many
callbacks can be solved quickly over the phone. Ventilation
doesn't fix everything, but it's cheap insurance. Let's not be
afraid of this becoming established practice in the residential
Conservation Services Group