14 Year Old Boy Builds His Own Balloon Home

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All kids love to play with balloons. Some like them at birthday parties some like them in bounce houses.

Nolie Scheid, 14 years old, from Eugene dreams of having his own balloon home. On a sunny day in Oregon he gathered the few materials needed; Vinyl, wood, tape, and set out to make his dream come true. With the help of his family Nolie cut out eighteen vinyl gores, that when placed intricately together, formed a dome shape. He then made a curved brace out of two by fours. Then taped each of the pieces together. Here is a photo of the last two pieces being taped together.

Air Form

Here is a photo of the final product, blown up %90 of the way.

DIY Air Balloon

Nolie will combining this with another smaller balloon form to make his own thin shell dome home!

Stay tuned for more updates as he progresses.

Stuccoing IFC

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Stuccoing ICF

By: Herb Nordmeyer, author of The Stucco Book—The Basics

Stuccoing IFC

There are two general types of Insulated Concrete Forms (ICF), the forms that will burn readily and those that will not burn as readily. The latter are usually EPS beads encased in a cementitious paste. The former are EPS, XPS, or urethane that either consists of sheets that are connected to make block or have been formed by molding. Building codes require that the interior of a structure be protected from flammable walls. This can be done with 5/8″ of sheet rock, or it can be done with three-coat stucco or plaster. Most contractors use sheet rock.

The exterior of the ICF needs to be protected as well. While the ICF formed from a cement paste and EPS beads are more resistant to degradation from the elements than the EPS, XPS, or urethane ICF, they do degrade and need to be protected.

An EIFS-type coating adheres well on all ICF and is permanent, but it does not provide any fireproofing, so it should never be used inside a structure. Remember: Fire plus EPS equals very toxic fumes. It can, if the local code approves it, be used as an exterior coating if fire protection is not required or desired.

There are many one-coat stuccos that offer a one-hour fire rating, and some mistakenly use them to provide fireproofing to the ICF. The one-coat stuccos are systems, and they obtain the one-hour fire rating with an interior skin of 5/8″ sheet rock and nonflammable insulation between the studs. While one-coat stuccos are great products for other applications, this is not one of them.

Most building codes do not allow the direct application of stucco or plaster to EPS, XPS, or urethane. The reason for this is that if the surface of the insulating material has been exposed to the sun for 24 to 48 hours, the stucco or plaster does not bond as well, and a bond failure can occur at a later date. The low bond can be overcome by rasping the surface and applying stucco within a matter of hours. This method is not approved by any of the building codes so should not be used unless you want to get a professional engineer to sign off on the technique and then convince building officials that this is an acceptable method. Good luck if you want to try.

If you have an EPS, XPS, or urethane ICF, and you need a one-hour fire wall, you need to attach lath to the ICF and then apply stucco or plaster to the lath. Doing this, any good plaster or stucco formula will work.

If you insist on going against the building code and direct-applying stucco or plaster to EPS, XPS, or urethane, rasp the surface within a few hours of applying the stucco or plaster and add 1/2 gallon of exterior acrylic paint to each cubic foot of stucco concentrate you use. I prefer a stucco mix that consists of:

1 bag Portland,

1/3 bag of hydrated lime, and

4 cubic feet of stucco sand.

To get your paint, go to one of the big box stores and ask for paint that was tinted wrong or was returned. Ask for a deep discount. Remember, if you do this, your heirs may have a problem selling your house after you are gone.

If you are direct-applying stucco to the EPS bead/cement paste type of ICF, then the above formula, with or without the paint addition, will work.

 

Resource Box

Herb Nordmeyer, author of The Stucco BookThe Basics

//nordybooks.com/stucco/

Which Lime Is Best?

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Which Lime Is Best?

 

By: Herb Nordmeyer, author of The Stucco Book—The Basics

 

We have all heard that mixing lime with Portland cement makes an excellent mortar or stucco, but which lime is best? In answering that question, we have identified the different products that are sold as lime and explained why they are appropriate or not appropriate.

Agricultural Lime is darker and courser.

Agricultural Lime is darker and courser.

 

 

Agricultural lime is calcium carbonate. That is ground limestone and for our purposes is of no value.

 

 

 

Which Lime Is Best?

Quick lime is limestone that has been heated to about 1,6500 F to drive off the carbon dioxide. It is calcium oxide. When it comes into contact with water, it reacts to form calcium hydroxide. In the process, heat is given off, often enough to boil the water; and if the chucks of quick lime are fist-sized, they may explode. Quick lime can be used to make lime putty, but should never be considered as a component to be added to a mortar mixer.

 

 

Which Lime Is Best?Lime putty is quick lime that has been hydrated and has a toothpaste consistency. It can be made directly from quick lime, or it can be made by adding water to hydrated lime. It has a place in historic restoration and a few other places, but it is not worth the effort for most mortar and stucco work.

 

 

Which Lime Is Best?High-cal lime is a hydrated lime that is produced for water purification, wastewater treatment, and many other industrial processes. There are people, including some who should know better, who use it for making mortars and stuccos, but the quality testing is such that sometimes it has oversized (problems can be caused by particles that are less than 1/8″ in diameter) particles that can lead to lime-pops months after a job is complete. The oversized particles are calcium oxide particles, and it takes them a while to hydrate. When they do, the resulting calcium hydroxide takes up more space, so a bit of the mortar is broken off. Usually this results in a conical hole in the plaster or mortar with a white dot in the center. An additional problem with high-cal lime is that it is more prone to causing lime burns than Type S dolomitic hydrated lime.

Which Lime Is Best?Type N hydrated lime is very similar to the high-cal lime, but there are more quality checks, and the oversized particles that cause lime-pops are not present. With Type N hydrated lime, over 8% of the lime can be unhydrated. The unhydrated portion may be fine particles that fairly easily hydrate, or it can be hard-burned particles that are very difficult to hydrate. Hard-burned particles usually have a glassy layer around them that takes a long time for the water to penetrate and bring about the hydration process. Since there is unhydrated calcium oxide in the Type N hydrated lime, it can cause lime burns on skin.

 

Which Lime Is Best?Type S hydrated lime has less than 8% unhydrated particles. Much of the Type S is produced from dolomitic limestone (calcium-magnesium carbonate). Since magnesium oxide is harder to hydrate than calcium oxide, the hydration usually is done in a pressure hydrator. As a result, virtually all of the calcium oxide is hydrated, and the magnesium oxide which is not hydrated is less likely to cause skin burns than calcium oxide. Type S hydrated lime particles are usually larger than the Type N hydrated lime particles and give the resulting mortar or stucco more body and more workability. Where it is available, the Type S dolomitic hydrated lime is well worth the extra money it costs.

 

Resource Box

Herb Nordmeyer, author of The Stucco BookThe Basics

//nordybooks.com/stucco/

Build It With Bales July 9-10, 2011

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Come help Jaime and John Paul Ogden raise the walls of their straw bale dream home. This is a great opportunity to learn about energy efficient building technology. You will also learn techniques and design principles of building with straw bales. read more →