Buttoning Up

With one carpenter cutting OSB sheets on the ground and two working from the bucket of a lift, the crew works its way up the side of the building.

A site-improvised bracket bolted to the underside of the lift bucket helps the crew load, lift, and place the sheathing.

A view of the Monaghan project’s neighbors on the Promenade, a row of carefully restored Victorian classics. Neglected for years, the old building is one of the last opportunities for an update on the picturesque Promenade, which defines the edge of the Portland peninsula’s East End.

A view of the water from the sidewalk on Portland’s Eastern Promenade. With boat access, walking paths and trails, scenic sidewalks, grassy recreation areas, and even a light-gauge railroad catering to the tourists who visit Portland on cruise vessels in summer, the Eastern Promenade is a classic urban outdoor amenity, helping to make the East End one of the more attractive neighborhoods in the city.

Nearby in Portland, crews are drying in a four-story mixed-use building at the top of Munjoy Hill. In the background, morning sunshine gleams off the window of the Portland Observatory (built in 1807), the last surviving maritime signal tower in the United States. Convenient to downtown and well-supplied with local shopping and restaurants, the Munjoy Hill neighborhood has thrived in recent years.

In Greenwood, Maine, forty miles from the coast, builder Jesper Kruse finishes the eave on a superinsulated ski-lodge addition. The air-barrier fabric between the eave outrigger ladder and the wall of the house to Kruse’s right will connect with fabric wrapping down the roof and fabric coming up the wall, completing an airtight control layer around the high-performance building shell.

Kruse sets an OSB stiffener and nailer into place where the eave attaches to the I-joist wall buildout for the superinsulated addition.

A view of the sunny side of the Kruse project, showing the completed eave framing and finish fascia, as well as housewrap and roof and wall flashing details.

Kruse’s crew wraps and straps the north wall of the addition. The airtight Mento Plus fabric over the I-joist buildout forms the air pressure control layer as well as the weather-resistive drainage plane for this wall system. Criss-cross wall strapping will serve as nailing for wood siding.

In Blue Hill, Maine, carpenter George Reefer blows insulation into a corner cavity on an EcoCor custom project. Superinsulated panels for this Passive House were pre-insulated in the panelizing shop, but some joints have to be insulated in the field.

Most of the field-insulated panel-to-panel joints were insulated with dense-pack cellulose from the inside of the building, through holes drilled in the building’s OSB air barrier. Here, Pro Clima Uni Tape patch has been used to seal one of the field-drilled insulation holes.

Early winter sun casts shadows on the south wall of the Blue Hill EcoCor project.

On the north side of the Blue Hill house, dark metal roofing wraps down part of the wall.

Inside the Blue Hill house, Corson examines the distribution return manifold for the home’s Air Pohoda energy-recovery ventilator, which his crew is still installing. This type of joint will be sealed with tape.

The supply distribution manifold for the Air Pohoda system is equipped with manually adjustable control dampers, allowing system airflows to be balanced and fine-tuned at the distribution box.

A supply register for the Air Pohoda energy recovery ventilator, showing how hose connections are sealed using Airstop Elasto tape.

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