No Housewrap – No Problem. The New Way of Weatherproofing Homes During Construction.

By Lance Manlove, in new homes

enviro-driWe build homes in a coastal environment very near the ocean which means wind and wind driven rain.  With the wind comes difficulties keeping the house wrap in place and in good condition during the framing and mechanical phases.

The typical tapes and fastening techniques used to hold down the weather resistance barrier are not very effective in cold weather and windy conditions.  This leaves the exterior vulnerable to future leaks, water intrusion, rot, and decreased thermal performance of the insulation due to air infiltration.  See picture of probable installations.  There are other products on the market that have the weather resistant barrier laminated to the OSB exterior sheathing.  This eliminates the poorly installed weather resistant barrier and the material getting ripped due to wind but the system is purely relying on a single layer of tape to prevent water from getting behind windows and doors.  Also, any nail holes through the sheathing in this system are not covered or sealed in any way.

I have been looking for quite some time and even did some R&D on a system that can be applied over sheathing either in roll or spray form.  At the IBS 2014, I found EnviroDri produced by Tremco.  We currently use Tremco Watch Dog as our foundation waterproofing system of choice so when the same company released a liquid applied WRB I was excited to give it a try.

What are the advantages of the EnviroDri product?

1.       It is liquid applied after the framing is complete and the sheathing is attached so all the nail holes are covered/sealed by the membrane
2.       The membrane at 20mils thick has a perm of about 12.  This allow for drying to the outside of the wall cavity in the event water ever reaches that point.
3.       All the horizontal and vertical seams of the sheathing are sealed with the membrane and taped with a tape mesh.  This is very similar to how drywall tape is sealed over the seams.
4.       The windows are liquid flashed in place to mitigate any water intrusion and a counter flashing is installed over the head flange for added redundancy of water protection.
5.       All penetrations and flashings are sealed and covered with the membrane even the sill plate.
6.       The house is being air sealed the same time it is being weather sealed.  This will reduce air infiltration and the air changes per hour which in turn will benefit the home owner with better energy bills.

The product was applied by either a spray system or roll on system – both worked equally as well.  If there is a breeze on the location the rolling may be a better option as this will reduce any chance for over spray.  It dries to the touch in about 30-40 mins depending on the temp and humidity when applied but the working time of the product was great.  Once it was cured overnight windows and doors can be set.  I really liked the application of the product and the first phase of weather protection on the house.

I will write part 2 of this blog once we have installed the windows and installed the membrane flashing. Stay tuned!

New Homes Maintenance Checklist

By Lance Manlove, in health

So you’ve just moved into your brand new home… You did a great deal of research to determine just the right builder and what design worked best for your needs.  You went to the ground breaking, the house was built, you attended the settlement and signed a pile of documents, you moved in, the boxes are unpacked, and everything is in its proper place.  Now what?

One of the most important things to remember with owning a home is that you are responsible for certain routine maintenance items to keep your house functioning properly. These tasks tend to be relatively simple. For instance, many types of heating and air conditioning systems contain filters to remove dirt and dust from the air. A home owner should change these filters when necessary.  It is also a good idea to sign a maintenance contract with your HVAC contractor to perform the annual tune up on the equipment.  This will add to the longevity and efficiency of the system.

Cleanliness is a factor that will make your home last longer and work better. Dust and dirt, if allowed to accumulate, can harm the finishes on blinds, cabinets, countertops, floors, sinks, tubs, toilets, walls, tiles and other items. If dirt does accumulate, make sure to clean it with a substance that does not scratch or damage the finishes.

On the outside of your home, make sure that gutters and downspouts do not get clogged with leaves or other objects. The exterior of your house is built to withstand exposure to the elements, but a periodic cleaning will improve the appearance and, in many instances, prolong the life of siding and other exterior products.

When you settled on your new home, you received a warranty from the builder on workmanship and materials. This warranty applies to problems related to the construction of the home, but it does not apply to problems that arise because of failure to perform routine maintenance. For example, if your roof begins to leak after six months because of faulty workmanship, your warranty would cover that. If you develop a problem because water backed up in clogged gutters that you should have cleaned, the builder is not responsible for repairs. Also, some items, such as appliances, may be covered by manufacturers’ warranties and are not the responsibility of the builder.

As Summer progresses into Fall, mark your calendar to make sure your plumber is scheduled to blow out your irrigation and also winterize an outdoor shower if you have one.  Attached is a simple checklist from the National Center for Healthy Housing to help remind you of maintenance items on your home.  Follow these guidelines and you will have a lasting healthy home.


Smart Eco Friendly Alternatives to Standard Paint

By Lance Manlove, in Zero Energy

It seems commonplace to just naturally paint the drywall in your new home.  Some people might ask, “what else would you do with your walls if you didn’t paint them?”  There are several eco friendly alternative to just normal painting.  Standard paints and other adhesives in your home contain VOC’s or volatile organic compounds.  These VOC’s will off gas over time and compromise the indoor air quality of your home and can lead to health issues if the house is not properly ventilated.  Some paint manufactures such as Sherwin Williams ( , Benjamin Moore ( , and Mythic Paints (  have developed Low VOC or No VOC paints to meet the demands of today’s green conscience consumer.  This is a good step toward better indoor air quality and healthier homes, but can we do better?  I think we can…

We have a home currently under construction in which we are using a combination of clay paints and American Clay to cover the drywall.  You have to re-think your standard methodologies in terms of building sequencing, but it is well worth the effort when you witness the results.  The first coat of the American Clay wall material was applied today and already the interior of this home seems to be transformed.  What is American Clay and what are the advantages to using American Clay?  American Clay Earth Plasters are a natural, environmentally friendly way to finish any interior. Non-toxic and made in the USA, these plasters are an alternative to cement, acrylic and lime plasters, offering superior color, richness, texture and depth not found with other finishes.  All American Clay finishes contain no VOC’s and are have a wide range of finish treatments and color options.  See the attached pictures of our craftsman applying the base coat for the Loma finish – in another week the final coats will be applied and the house will be ready for doors and trim.  If the clay finish does not fit into your budget you can opt for clay paints instead – BioShield ( offers a line of clay paints that get applied just like paint but contain no VOC’s and look great.  We are using both products in this home currently under construction and can’t wait to see the end results.

Green Roof

By Lance Manlove, in new homes

Green Roof

February 21, 2010 – 4:24 pm

We are really excited to install one of the first residential green roofs in Sussex County and maybe Delaware.  Three separate green roofs on this one house will create a great natural space as well as save energy and conserve water.  The integrated rain water collection system will recycle rain water and use it to irrigate the landscape and possibly be used to flush toilets in the residence.

Green roofs have been proven to bring about significant energy savings, particularly during the summer cooling season in which single story buildings can experience a reduction of greater than 25% energy use.  Plants transform heat and soil moisture into humidity, to create natural evaporative cooling. Each gallon of water that is transpired by the plants or evaporated from the roof surface liberates 8000 BTU of thermal energy.

A Green Roof extends the lifetime of the roof; typical estimates are that a green roof extends the lifetime of a roof between 100 and 200 percent, by protecting the rooftop from ultraviolet radiation, large temperature fluctuations, drying winds, and  punctures.  Not only does the roof last longer, but there is reduced membrane maintenance.  All this brings about significant cost savings over time.

One might ask can you walk on this Green Roof and the answer is yes.  You can create pathways or a garden type layout or you can plant it in a way that there is no public access – the possibilites are endless.

Foam Foam Foam

By Lance Manlove, in Zero Energy

What’s all the talk about foam insulation?  Does it work and what types are there?

Yes, foam is good for residential and commercial construction practices.  The two main types of spray foam are closed cell and open cell foam.  The closed cell foam is a vapor barrier whereas the open cell foam will allow air to pass through.  Closed cell has a better R-Value per inch of application but is more expensive to install.  So where is the common ground?  We have found that a hybrid approach works best for us and keeps the costs down.  In the 2×6 cavity, we spray a 1/2″ of closed cell foam on the back side of the sheathing and then blow in fiberglass batt insulation for the rest of the 5″.  The spray foam creates a great seal to repel any air infiltration and the blown in batts fills the gaps and delivers a great composite R-Value for a 2×6 stick framed wall.  It’s a great idea to also spray foam your band board in a crawl or basement.  The investment will pay dividends year after year and is well worth it.

To learn more about green products go to

Join us for Green Drinks July 7th @ Dogfish Head

By Lance Manlove, in Uncategorized


Come join us at Dogfish July 7th from 5-8pm for Green Drinks at the Beach!  Green drinks is a social network of green minded individuals.  We meet once a month to discuss various topics from green building to organic gardening – so there is something for everyone.   See you there!