My Tiny House Air Barrier

Tom Demoing R Guard

Tom Demoing R Guard

On Friday we had My SIPs Wall Raising under the expert leadership of Patrick Sughrue of Structures NW. Yesterday we applied the R-Guard air barrier system by Prosoco with the help of Tom Schneider. What a fun day and what a neat transformation for my little house!

I first learned about the R-Guard air barrier system through my work as the Living Building Challenge Coordinator for the Breathe Building. Cody Hakala at Atlas Supply told me I had to learn about Prosoco’s liquid-applied air barrier, which had been used on another Living Building Challenge project, the Bullitt Center in Seattle. I invited Tom Schneider, the chemist who invented R-Guard, to come talk to Mike Vogt and me at the Breathe Building. He told us about the benefits of liquid-applied systems, the ease of using the product, and the story of how the Bullitt Center inspired him to reformulate the entire product line so that it would be Red List Free. Needless to say, we hadn’t talked very long before Mike and I were convinced. Not only was this an amazing product, but it was invented by an amazing person! We’re thrilled to be working with companies like this for the Breathe Building.

At the Breathe Building’s Groundbreaking Celebration I mentioned my gypsy wagon to Tom and he said he wanted to hear more about it. It seemed to both of us that a liquid-applied, color-coded waterproofing system was the best bet for do-it-yourself tiny home builders like me. I asked Tom dozens of questions about the product line so I could learn how to apply it properly and Tom offered to provide the waterproofing for my wee house AND show me how to use it!

Tom Applying Fast Flash to RO

Tom Applying Fast Flash to RO

So yesterday my Tiny House Helpers and I prepped the surfaces by furring out the corners where the SIPs come together with strips of 3/4″ subflooring left over from my floors. Then Tom introduced us to the R-Guard line and taught us how to apply it. We spackled all the joints with pink Joint & Seam and Tom coached me through applying the Fast Flash to my kitchen window rough opening. He was able to do the other two windows in the time it took me to do one, but I managed to get the same effect, just not with the same finesse. As Tom told us, “the slower you go, the quicker you’ll finish.” He says once someone has flashed 10 openings they’ve usually got the hang of it. I picked up on a couple tricks that helped so I believe him. Still, it reminded me of the summer I finished out Tandem and I was A Jill of All Trades – just as I was getting good at something it was time to move on to the next thing!

Air Barrier Work CrewOnce we had our seams and openings complete we rolled on the orange Cat 5 with 3/8″ nap roller brushes. We had to make sure we were applying the right amount to provide a complete air seal. Fortunately, Tom made it easy. When you can’t see through the R-Guard you have applied enough of it! We worked in a team with me, Audrey and Tomas working low, Chris on the ladder getting the high parts, and Randy doing detail and quality control. Meanwhile, Angela spot sanded My Curved Rafters so that they can be installed tomorrow.

By late afternoon my house was wrapped in an orange rain coat with pink and red accents and it was time for a beer at Occidental Brewing Company. I’m grateful to all my Tiny House Helpers for helping me make these transformations for my little house so quickly. A special thanks go to Tom for sharing his product, his time, and his expertise. You can Support The Lucky Penny, too, by offering physical, emotional, or financial support.

Tomorrow we will attempt to install my curved rafters and the skylight box. Wish us luck!

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