Re: Grody

1

Low VOC paint exists. It doesn't spread as well as the more toxic kind.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03-24-15 5:20 PM
horizontal rule
2

And by "exists", I mean you can find it in Lowe's.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03-24-15 5:22 PM
horizontal rule
3

Muralo makes a zero-VOC paint that our painter says is actually very good to work with. Paint turns out to be the easiest thing to get in non-toxic form.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 03-24-15 5:22 PM
horizontal rule
4

Not that the Muralo stuff is necessarily non-toxic--it's just zero VOC; I'm not sure what else is in it. But it's also pretty easy to get hippy-dippy paint that really is non-toxic, but I'm pretty sure that stuff is not nearly as easy to work with.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 03-24-15 5:24 PM
horizontal rule
5

When you make hippy-dippy paint from berries you need to make sure to filter out the skins, unless you're going for a rough unfinished look.
(This weekend I had to do some writing on a cake and had no gel icing or similar, so I blended blueberries, strawberries, and powdered sugar to the right consistency. Good color but lumpy with blueberry skins.)


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 03-24-15 5:26 PM
horizontal rule
6

The insulation shouldn't be exposed so you would only need worry about out-gassing. I don't see how fiber glass could sublimate but I am not an expert.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03-24-15 5:28 PM
horizontal rule
7

"Sick Building Syndrome" is a thing and renovation is one of the biggest causes: not just from the new materials, but from stirring up mold etc, and screwing up the ventilation design with walls disappearing or appearing where they weren't. Not sure how big a deal it is for small, home projects, but it's huge enough for large buildings that companies like Honeywell had a team of experts flying around the globe to diagnose and treat sick buildings.


Posted by: Calypso | Link to this comment | 03-24-15 5:33 PM
horizontal rule
8

Milk paint is reasonably workable and surprisingly durable. Agree with you generally about VOCs; the Dwarf Lord & I live in old houses partly to avoid them. Pity about the lead.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 03-24-15 5:34 PM
horizontal rule
9

If you make your house out of cob and use organic straw, you won't have any problems.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03-24-15 5:54 PM
horizontal rule
10

You should ALWAYS use LOW VOC paint with NO BAD CHEMICALS especially if there are LITTLE KIDS!!! Protect their little lungs!!!


Posted by: ThoughtfulMama | Link to this comment | 03-24-15 5:56 PM
horizontal rule
11

I think of Moby as one of the less responsible little pigs, but cob sounds solid.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 03-24-15 5:57 PM
horizontal rule
12

If you can't pronounce it ... does it belong in your house or your children's mouths? hahaha more expensive but what would you pay for your little ones health!!!


Posted by: ThoughtfulMama | Link to this comment | 03-24-15 5:59 PM
horizontal rule
13

9 gets it exactly right, but I'm pretty sure ogged isn't building a house from scratch, he's just renovating a basement. I'm not sure cob would work well for that application.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 03-24-15 5:59 PM
horizontal rule
14

I should probably spend less time in a bar that is so smokey that I keep a separate coat to wear there so my regular coat smells better.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03-24-15 6:00 PM
horizontal rule
15

If you can't pronounce it ... does it belong in your house or your children's mouths?
Ban dihydrogen monoxide!


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 03-24-15 6:01 PM
horizontal rule
16

*Different* problems. Depending on where you are & how you heat, you can have a sad first winter of damp mud walls. (Obviously not a problem anywhere in the PNW because Seattle is not as wet as the Brecon Beacons.)


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 03-24-15 6:04 PM
horizontal rule
17

You're supposed to let the cob dry for a year before you live there.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03-24-15 6:06 PM
horizontal rule
18

13: Skim coat with any kind of plaster, lime or earth, might do. Also fun if you aren't determined to have it flat. And you could add pargetting.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 03-24-15 6:08 PM
horizontal rule
19

Doing a house from scratch would be easier because you might need quantities that would interest a sales rep, and they'd have a finished product they could show off. I tracked down something I wanted, told him I needed 15 pieces (about $20/each) and he said he could sell me 192.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 03-24-15 6:11 PM
horizontal rule
20

So this is going to be, like, all the time?


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 03-24-15 6:11 PM
horizontal rule
21

What's the deal with milk paint, anyhow? Does anyone but ridiculous hippies paint with it?

FURTHUR


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 03-24-15 6:23 PM
horizontal rule
22

18: is that a skim milk coat?


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 03-24-15 6:23 PM
horizontal rule
23

A friend of mine renovated his kitchen. His partner is a green buildings consultant, and helped him. It looks like a regular kitchen, it just cost several times as much.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 03-24-15 6:25 PM
horizontal rule
24

I would have loved to get low-VOC cabinets, but even two weeks ago, I didn't realize that most plywood has formaldehyde in it, and it might have been cost prohibitive anyway. We are using quite a bit of "windfall lumber" though, which I also didn't know about until we started this project.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 03-24-15 6:33 PM
horizontal rule
25

23: That's a nice kitchen. Regular kitchens don't have freezers on the bottom.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03-24-15 6:43 PM
horizontal rule
26

I'm sure our architect got us all the safest stuff at rock bottom prices, sustainably sourced.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-24-15 6:46 PM
horizontal rule
27

Ogged couldn't you just tell the kids not to try and eat the house?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-24-15 6:48 PM
horizontal rule
28

I can tell them that, and one of them might listen.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 03-24-15 6:54 PM
horizontal rule
29

Well, Darwin said something about that.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03-24-15 6:55 PM
horizontal rule
30

Really? I've seen the draw slide-out freezer in several apartments lately. That seems to be the new thing if you've bought a fridge/freezer in the last 5 years.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 03-24-15 6:55 PM
horizontal rule
31

Those pictures reminded me of a real estate listing we were reading when we were last moving- it had been faxed then scanned and emailed so the type was pretty blurred, and "large eat in kitchen" got rendered as "large cat in kitchen." It's nice that they allow pets but if they don't want to take theirs with them I doubt it's friendly enough for me to keep it.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 03-24-15 6:57 PM
horizontal rule
32

Darwin was all about the side-by-side.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03-24-15 6:57 PM
horizontal rule
33

No one actually cuts directly on the fancy butcher blocks, right? And I've never heard of paperstone. Does that beat or lose to scissors?


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 03-24-15 6:58 PM
horizontal rule
34

It's fine if they eat the house so long as they do so politely, with good manners and while making pleasant conversation. In at least two languages.


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 03-24-15 7:18 PM
horizontal rule
35

Although you should probably start letting them know that once they reach adolescence they'll be expected to achieve amusing conversation on occasion, not just pleasant.


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 03-24-15 7:24 PM
horizontal rule
36

Now, it might be that the baseline risk of this stuff is so low that it's not worth worrying about,

Particularly given that the rest of the house you're living in was probably built with the bad stuff. As well as every other location where your kids are likely to spend time.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-24-15 7:28 PM
horizontal rule
37

I kind of hope no-one cuts on modern "butcher block" counters as it's a long time since I've seen one end-grain up.

Years ago I almost bought a butcher's block that was a cedar stump three feet high and nearly four across, lightly dished with use. Couldn't haul it, didn't have a big enough kitchen, don't want to joint anything that big indoors, but it was so lovely.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 03-24-15 7:32 PM
horizontal rule
38

The evils of formaldehyde are overstated. It's not great to breathe a lot of it, but normal biology produces a fair bit in your body already.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 03-24-15 8:01 PM
horizontal rule
39

Low-VOC seems good if you have to live in the space right after it's painted, but I've never seen a time-based analysis - how much of the VOC evaporates in the first day or first week after application?


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 03-24-15 8:02 PM
horizontal rule
40

I don't get 37.1.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-24-15 8:08 PM
horizontal rule
41

heebie: they're supposed to be end-grain up because nicks along the grain tear out into splinters and wedges.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 03-24-15 8:11 PM
horizontal rule
42

I've never seen a time-based analysis

Here's something. Shorter: it takes a couple of months post-renovation for VOC levels to return to baseline. Whether baseline is dangerous, it doesn't say and I don't know.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 03-24-15 8:15 PM
horizontal rule
43

||

Given the thread title, this seems to be the appropriate place to ask if anyone has a particularly strong toilet bowl cleaner to recommend. I've cleaned it before, I swear! I should have taken pictures of the existing stains when I moved in.

|>


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 03-24-15 8:56 PM
horizontal rule
44

You out pooped scribing bibles.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 03-24-15 9:04 PM
horizontal rule
45

That was me. New phone.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03-24-15 9:05 PM
horizontal rule
46

To the best of my knowledge, I haven't actually hooked it up to the cellular network yet. But it works great as a tiny computer.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03-24-15 9:13 PM
horizontal rule
47

Only fancy apartments have toilets that connect to the cellular network. The rest just get wifi.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 03-24-15 9:17 PM
horizontal rule
48

So, uh, am I the only one reading VOC as "Dutch East India Company"?


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 03-24-15 9:29 PM
horizontal rule
49

Yes.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03-24-15 9:50 PM
horizontal rule
50

Indoor air pollution from things like VOCs does seem like something that could be bad and has been largely ignored BUT just going with "formaldehyde seems bad, I will go for highly expensive green-branded materials from a fancy eco-store because uhhh more natural" feels like what morons would do.

Seems like until we either get some serious regulatory studies/hard science in place or you're rich/crazy enough to hire your own personal epidemiologist for each remodel, just going with the normal stuff they sell in the store is fine, so my bottom line is "say fuck it unless you're hyper sensitive to paint smells or something."


Posted by: Tim "Ripper" Owens | Link to this comment | 03-24-15 10:41 PM
horizontal rule
51

With that said I'm pretty sure that the Guatemalan guy who re-stained most of my wood is gonna die before he's 50, because that shit just did not feel safe.


Posted by: Tim "Ripper" Owens | Link to this comment | 03-24-15 10:44 PM
horizontal rule
52

So this is going to be, like, all the time?

Well, it saves one of us from having to type out "Won't someone think of the children?"


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 03-25-15 3:25 AM
horizontal rule
53

"formaldehyde seems bad, I will go for highly expensive green-branded materials from a fancy eco-store because uhhh more natural" feels like what morons would do.

I'm pretty convinced that formaldehyde is bad, but it's true that at either end of the trusting/not trusting scale, you fall into moronic behavior. Oooh, that's POISON, I would never let it near my kid, is something ThoughtfulMama would say. The problem is that my older kid does have asthma and reacts to many things, some of which you wouldn't think twice about (some carpets, new blankets, etc.), and that corporations care if they poison you a lot, but they're fine with poisoning you a little.

I will say, however, two out of three cheers for the nanny state, because a lot of technical data about products' ingredients is available, although it's not so easy to find and often not easy to parse.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 03-25-15 4:05 AM
horizontal rule
54

48. No I was too. What else does VOC mean?


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 03-25-15 4:33 AM
horizontal rule
55

Vlue Oyster Cult


Posted by: cleek | Link to this comment | 03-25-15 4:44 AM
horizontal rule
56

Thoughtful Mama is slipping. A truly Thoughtful mama would know that all chemicals are dangerous, and not just those that the MSM labels 'bad'


Posted by: Nworb Werdna | Link to this comment | 03-25-15 4:47 AM
horizontal rule
57

Vampiric Onomatopoetic Cantos.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 03-25-15 4:47 AM
horizontal rule
58

Variously Odorous Chemicals


Posted by: Nworb Werdna | Link to this comment | 03-25-15 4:48 AM
horizontal rule
59

54: Volatile Organic Compounds.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 03-25-15 4:56 AM
horizontal rule
60

Some people are no fun.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 03-25-15 4:58 AM
horizontal rule
61

Anyway, the real answer is Very Oleaginous Courtesans.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 03-25-15 5:04 AM
horizontal rule
62

I think part of the problem is that there are so many roughly equivalent compounds that can be substituted to avoid a particular harm which aren't any better. The products I'm more familiar with are beauty products, where it's possible to use substitutes which off-gas similar quantities of formaldehyde but since the ingredient isn't formaldehyde itself, it can be marketed as "formaldehyde-free."

I did just fall into the rabbit hole of formaldehyde free plywood, which actually does seem better. Whether it makes a difference to most people's longterm health is debatable, but it's almost certainly worse for kids and definitely an irritant.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 03-25-15 5:16 AM
horizontal rule
63

My beauty regimen requires only a bar of soap and a bucket of melted glacier water.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03-25-15 5:20 AM
horizontal rule
64

I learned that term in HS mock trial when I played the role of an expert witness on sick buildings. In one round the opposing team thought they'd make me look like a bad expert and opened the questioning with, "What is a GC/MS?" and I dropped the hammer on them with a 3 minute explanation (taking up most of the 5 minutes they were allowed to question me.) Yeah, didn't think a mock trial nerd was also a science olympiad nerd, did ya?


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 03-25-15 5:24 AM
horizontal rule
65

How big of a deal is it that Lumber Liquidators was selling flooring that exceeds California standards for formaldehyde exposure [warning: auto-play video at that link]? My customary heuristics are at odds here: "California standards for toxic exposure are probably ridiculously low, so exceeding them isn't a big deal" versus "Unscrupulous Chinese manufacturers will cheerfully put dioxin in baby formula if they can make a yuan from it".


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 03-25-15 5:28 AM
horizontal rule
66

63: Soap?! A harmful chemical? What are you thinking? Please switch immediately to an all-natural exfolianting loofah and a sugar scrub made with organic, fair trade cane sugar.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 03-25-15 5:33 AM
horizontal rule
67

Dr. Bonner's soap is pure.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03-25-15 5:40 AM
horizontal rule
68

65: From my trip down the plywood rabbit hole, FAQs about the CA standards, which are basically in line with international standards. Baseline levels are about 0.03 ppm, CARB standard is 0.05 ppm for plywood, 0.09 for particleboard.

Cancer risk in humans was determined by correlating high occupational (textiles, funeral homes) exposure (OSHA limit 0.75 ppm for eight hours) with certain types of cancer. 0.1 ppm is the level that generally causes irritation (coughing, wheezing).

So, the plywood at 6-20X CARB standard would exceed OSHA limits for occupational exposure and at the very least, probably be irritating.

67: Oh, OK. Can't be too careful.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 03-25-15 5:49 AM
horizontal rule
69

If you don't like plywood and have fucktons of money, you can just use regular boards.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03-25-15 5:54 AM
horizontal rule
70

One of the things I noticed in California was how ubiquitous were the warning signs in front of stores saying something like "This retail establishments houses chemicals known by the State of California to be carcinogenic. Enter at your own risk".


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 03-25-15 6:22 AM
horizontal rule
71

26 is delusionalgets it exactly right.

For flooring, just use linoleum (every component is edible, if not exactly toothsome) or ceramic (or recycled glass!) tile (or maybe wool carpeting? Not sure about the backing on that. Sisal, hippie.). For insulation, blown-in cellulose (basically chewed up newspaper) or, more awesomely, the batts made from shredded denim. For cabinets, find some old metal ones from the 50s if you care so much. US-sourced gypsum board is basically inert.

The biggest issue with most of these materials is the immediate off-gassing, and the solution is to constantly cycle fresh air through the space form the completion of work to occupancy, at least 1 week. That gets you most of the VOCs. The peak of Sick Building Syndrome was circa 1980, when A. we started building tight buildings in general for the first time, and B. morons thought sealed buildings (that is, no operable windows) were an awesome idea. Modern construction is quite tight, but most people have learned their lessons, and give the building a chance to breathe before move-in. Which is why, as mentioned above, renovations are now the main problem, because people don't wait to move in and/or live in adjacent spaces the whole time.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 03-25-15 6:29 AM
horizontal rule
72

the batts made from shredded denim

I really want to hear Flip's take on this!!! (But thanks, JRoth, for a really interesting comment.)


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 03-25-15 6:34 AM
horizontal rule
73

morons thought sealed buildings (that is, no operable windows) were an awesome idea.

So that annoying neurotic Julie Hecht was right all along? http://www.amazon.com/Do-Windows-Open-Julie-Hecht/dp/0140271457


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 03-25-15 6:40 AM
horizontal rule
74

Oh, one other thing on SBS: its mild effects (headaches, general unwellness) tend to be widespread, but acute effects (people who go from normal tolerance of e.g. formaldehyde to requiring clean room levels of purity) really do happen. So arguably it's a bit like food safety: 99.9% of people will fight off a given strain of e. coli with nothing worse than a night of running to the toilet (if that), but the remainder will be on death's door. And for a population of any size, that remainder is a lot of people. So you end up needing to be vigilant over tiny effects, because they're catastrophic.

I suppose this isn't talking down ogged at all, except to say that, if you follow the recommendations in 71, you're down to several decimal points before you get to any bad effects. Because standard construction gets you past the 99% no lasting effects line*, so each additional precaution is lowering the odds. Going to completely "chemical"-free construction is a case of seriously diminishing returns, unless you do have a known case of chemical sensitivity (not just tendency towards allergies, but acute reactions to practically anything).

*that is, even if you're stupid and use regular VOC paint** and cheap carpet and move in the hour it's done, you're probably not going to get worse than a day or three of headaches

**I believe nobody sells indoor paint that has VOC levels as high as they were 20 years ago; getting sick from freshly painted rooms used to be a lot more likely/common


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 03-25-15 6:41 AM
horizontal rule
75

Something else to worry about.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 03-25-15 6:45 AM
horizontal rule
76

So that annoying neurotic Julie Hecht was right all along?

On the windows, absolutely. Non operable windows are a significant health/wellness issue (as is daylight, another inexplicable trend from a few decades before. Raise your hand if you went to a school with few, if any, windows). Aside from making people happier and more productive, they also provide a foolproof backup to building failures: wet carpet? Open a window, prevent mold. Thermostat gone haywire? Crack a window. Undesirable odor, from any number of sources? You know what to do.

It's worth noting that even the most overkill of passive and net zero construction standards still recommend operable windows, even though they're inherently leaky.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 03-25-15 6:46 AM
horizontal rule
77

**I believe nobody sells indoor paint that has VOC levels as high as they were 20 years ago

Huh. Know what I was 20 years ago? A house painter. I wonder if I'm seeing any long term effects, or if I am just naturally a space cadet.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 03-25-15 6:46 AM
horizontal rule
78

75: So what's the idea? That mice were crawling amongst the recycling stuff, and then the power washing aerated their waste, ending up in his lungs?

Groovy.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 03-25-15 6:49 AM
horizontal rule
79

Non operable windows are a significant health/wellness issue

Person I know had a gig as a yoga instructor in Vegas. She asked the facilitator if they could relocate to a room in the casino where the windows can be opened. The answer was "some people lose a lot of money here.... to prevent people from jumping out, none of the windows in the building can be opened."


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 03-25-15 6:51 AM
horizontal rule
80

Raise your hand if you went to a school with few, if any, windows

My school had huge single-paned windows that sat there as a visible "Fuck you" to the concept of energy efficiency as well as an invisible trap to passing birds. They've since been replaced with much smaller windows.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03-25-15 6:52 AM
horizontal rule
81

79: They said that about the windows in dorms. I think it was mainly to keep people from pissing out of them. They did open, but only a small bit.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03-25-15 6:53 AM
horizontal rule
82

The nuns rescued a cat that had been abandoned long enough to have lost its ears to frostbite. For that cat, the "thump" of a bird on the window like music of an ice cream truck.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03-25-15 6:56 AM
horizontal rule
83

They've since been replaced with much smaller windows.

The thing is, the heat loss comes at the edges, not the center of the glass. So when you shrink a window, the gain in efficiency is linear, while the loss in light (and, south-facing, heat gain*) is squared. It's a bad tradeoff.

*even a single paned window facing south is a net heat gainer in most northern climes


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 03-25-15 7:11 AM
horizontal rule
84

Ha, the denim batts are what I'm using (in conjunction with EPS boards in the basement). If I had more money, I'd think about replacing the attic fiberglass with aircrete, but that probably verges into moron territory; or insulation as a toy, which might be the same thing.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 03-25-15 7:14 AM
horizontal rule
85

These were north facing (or the ones replaced were mostly that) windows that covered the whole wall from about 3' above the floor to the ceiling (about 10'). It was very cold if you had a desk on that side during the winter.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03-25-15 7:14 AM
horizontal rule
86

Ha, the denim batts are what I'm using (in conjunction with EPS boards in the basement).

Just make sure the denim in the batts you are using wasn't originally from acid-wash jeans, or you will get toxin contamination in your chi.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 03-25-15 7:21 AM
horizontal rule
87

84: Awesome. I don't think I've ever known anyone (other than maybe a prof) who used these. Good for you.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 03-25-15 7:25 AM
horizontal rule
88

Would denim bats not be at risk for retaining a bunch of moisture? It seems like fiberglass wouldn't really have that problem. I'd hate to have denim in proximity to any sort of leak.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 03-25-15 7:31 AM
horizontal rule
89

denim bats

They also tend to attract cowboy vampires.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-25-15 7:34 AM
horizontal rule
90

Half of my highschool (built in the '70s)* only had windows at all in about 2/3rds of the rooms, and in those most of them were about eight inches wide and inset into the walls by nearly two feet. It was bad enough that the rumor was that the plans had been originally made for a prison and then quickly shifted around for a school after the fact (which would have been appropriate but also almost certainly false). In retrospect that really can't have been good for anyone's health, especially with cheap fluorescent lighting.

*The other half had been built in the '40s-50's and was radically different because, supposedly, the person in charge of setting construction standards for the area had had a brother who owned a glass manufacturing company and the result was that the 'average-feet-of-window-per-room' ratio had been set comically high. This was more believable because most of the interior rooms had medium sized windows set flush against the ceiling facing out onto adjoining hallways, a lot of the rooms with outside facing walls had those walls replaced entirely with gigantic windows, and, in one memorable case, a hallway with entirely glass walls and ceiling. For all that it still didn't manage to feel that bright, but it was almost certainly a lot healthier for everyone involved.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 03-25-15 7:34 AM
horizontal rule
91

This was precisely my high school (which was actually designed to harmonize with a brick armory facade that looked like a castle with arrow slits. Tall narrow windows set back deeply in the walls -- no light.) The story we heard was that it was designed in the 60s or 70s believing that serious civil unrest was coming, and was literally meant to be kind of defensible -- no breakable windows and so on.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-25-15 7:39 AM
horizontal rule
92

We spent $10.5k on icynene for the entire roof envelope, it says it's "green" but I don't know if that's because it's insulation so saves energy or because the actual application process & material are better than alternatives.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 03-25-15 7:40 AM
horizontal rule
93

91- That's the justification for the design of some dorms at Brown, I don't know if that's true or just a post-hoc justification for what architects realized was an ugly design.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 03-25-15 7:41 AM
horizontal rule
94

I was told it about some of the buildings at UMichigan.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-25-15 7:43 AM
horizontal rule
95

88: You treat the denim with a whole bunch of formaldehyde and there are no worries about moisture.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03-25-15 7:49 AM
horizontal rule
96

I have heard that about UMass Boston. (Or, rather, that UMass Boston was designed without any kind of large scale, publicly accessible gathering place that could be used for demonstrations.)


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-25-15 7:49 AM
horizontal rule
97

77: Likewise, though I was painting dorm rooms. We used a latex paint that had very little smell and cleaned up with water so I assume that it probably wasn't deadly.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 03-25-15 7:58 AM
horizontal rule
98

Lots of toxins are water soluble and don't smell much.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03-25-15 8:01 AM
horizontal rule
99

Speaking of architectural urban legends, have we ever confirmed the existence of the library that sank under the weight of the books?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 03-25-15 8:06 AM
horizontal rule
100

We spent $10.5k on icynene for the entire roof envelope

I don't like messing with that stuff. One typo, and you're screwed.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 03-25-15 8:08 AM
horizontal rule
101

At the University of Illinois, the library is underground. I assume it sank under the weight of the books because they tell such obvious bullshit about the place (i.e. that it was deliberately built under ground to avoid shading a cornfield).


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03-25-15 8:08 AM
horizontal rule
102

Latex paints are better than oil for VOCs, but that doesn't mean they're inherently human-friendly. Hence modern, VOC-free variations.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 03-25-15 8:09 AM
horizontal rule
103

||
Should I get my nipple pierced? I need something to do this Saturday.
|>


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 03-25-15 8:11 AM
horizontal rule
104

Yes.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-25-15 8:12 AM
horizontal rule
105

Would denim bats not be at risk for retaining a bunch of moisture? It seems like fiberglass wouldn't really have that problem. I'd hate to have denim in proximity to any sort of leak.

Fiberglass doesn't actually do any better; if your batts get (significantly) wet, they're trash.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 03-25-15 8:16 AM
horizontal rule
106

Fiberglass gets damp, but it's sort of hard to believe something made of glass isn't more resistant to water than something made of cotton.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03-25-15 8:19 AM
horizontal rule
107

As long as we're asking for help with weekend plans, any dos/don'ts for Niagara Falls ONT this weekend? I've been there before, but it's been over a dozen years. We're taking the kids, so touristy stuff is on the menu (Maid of the Mist isn't yet open, alas), but we're going to hit our limit of that soon enough, so....

I guess what I want most is restaurant recommendations, but also any obvious tourist stuff that sucks, or hidden tourist stuff that's awesome.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 03-25-15 8:22 AM
horizontal rule
108

Avoid any BYOB there. The second 'B' is for barrel.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03-25-15 8:23 AM
horizontal rule
109

The issue is that it never dries out, and wet fiberglass A. doesn't insulate well and B. can harbor bad things as well. Among other things, don't forget that most batts are faced with kraft paper, an obvious substrate for mold.

The bottom line is that if you're getting significant moisture in your wall cavities, you're screwed no matter what the insulation is.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 03-25-15 8:26 AM
horizontal rule
110

I really need to redo the whole French drain system then.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03-25-15 8:27 AM
horizontal rule
111

104: OK, Heebie. If my not-really-girlfriend doesn't like it I'll tell her it's all your fault.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 03-25-15 8:30 AM
horizontal rule
112

104: Your nose is already pierced? You've had your 3rd eye opened? "ogged" is already tattood on your chest?

If those are all already done, then I guess you might as well get your nipples pierced.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 03-25-15 8:37 AM
horizontal rule
113

What's not to love? It's like a door-knocker for your nipple.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-25-15 8:39 AM
horizontal rule
114

This was precisely my high school (which was actually designed to harmonize with a brick armory facade that looked like a castle with arrow slits

My school had actual arrow slits. The story goes that when the Roundheads sacked the town, they decided the school was too much bother and so went to the cathedral instead.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 03-25-15 8:54 AM
horizontal rule
115

107: We went a few years ago. Our hotel stiffed us out of a falls-view room so they gave us a free restaurant voucher which we used at The Keg Steakhosue. I recall a nice meal, although probably because I don't usually go to steakhouses and it was free. The view was excellent. (Afterwards, I won enough at the casino to pay for the trip off of a 30 cent bet within minutes of getting there, which is undoubtedly coloring my recollection of the experience.)


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 03-25-15 9:09 AM
horizontal rule
116

103. Thought about going big?


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 03-25-15 9:17 AM
horizontal rule
117

68 & JRoth: That'd have been my suggestion; basically, use CA's already performed research to simplify. http://www.documents.dgs.ca.gov/bsc/CALGreen/2013-California-Green-Building-Standards-Code.pdf

Section 4.504 (and, if you're feeling spendy, A4.504) has good standards and refers to specific standards that you can define. So, for carpet, you can specify Carpet and Rug Institute's Green Label Plus Program, or NSF/ANSI 140 at the Gold level, to get low or no VOCs.

A4.504 has this standard: Use composite wood products made with either California Air Resources Board approved no-added formaldehyde (NAF) resins or ultra-low emitting formaldehyde (ULEF) resins. Which would at least be an existing widespread standard that Ogged could request.


Posted by: Mooseking | Link to this comment | 03-25-15 9:24 AM
horizontal rule
118

OT: Is Slate trying to re-start homophobia or is Simon Doonan for real?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03-25-15 9:35 AM
horizontal rule
119

Thanks, Mooseking. I've been looking at the Greenguard database, but that's good info.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 03-25-15 9:44 AM
horizontal rule
120

(i.e. that it was deliberately built under ground to avoid shading a cornfield

Dude! That's a very important cornfield! Even I have heard about it.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 03-25-15 10:02 AM
horizontal rule
121

107: If you're up for driving 20 minutes or so and are on the Canada side, seeing ice drifts on the Lake Erie beaches can be pretty awesome, though I don't actually know what they're like right now. Any beach in Fort Erie will have a public portion. And eating in one of the restaurants in the actual official Niagara Falls building is not bad and you get a great view.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 03-25-15 10:08 AM
horizontal rule
122

121: Ooh, that's a good tip. The weather's going to be pretty resolutely shitty, but at least we'll get to see cool ice stuff.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 03-25-15 10:13 AM
horizontal rule
123

The fort itself is pretty cool (if I recall correctly from 20-plus years ago) and would let you lord it over Moby that you've been to the site of an invasion of Canada and he (presumably) hasn't.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 03-25-15 11:06 AM
horizontal rule
124

I've only been to the western parts of Canada.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03-25-15 11:07 AM
horizontal rule
125

As long as we're asking for help with weekend evening plans ...

Anyone have any suggestions for a single night in London, for someone who's 1- fairly boring, 2- staying near King's Cross, 3- already kind of tired even though it's only 6 (probably because I had to head to the airport at 6am)?


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 03-25-15 11:18 AM
horizontal rule
126

125: Have you considered getting your nipples pierced?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 03-25-15 11:22 AM
horizontal rule
127

48. Late, but you are not the only one.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 03-25-15 1:58 PM
horizontal rule
128

XT -- there's a very good, cheap fish restaurant really near Kings Cross and if you just want to eat a surprisingly good meal and pass out back at your hotel that's what I'd recommend.


Posted by: NW | Link to this comment | 03-25-15 2:26 PM
horizontal rule
129

While we're on the topic, does anyone have ideas for fun in Bradford? I have never seen so many pawn shops in a shopping district before.


Posted by: NW | Link to this comment | 03-25-15 2:27 PM
horizontal rule
130

Can you tour the Bradford Exchange?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03-25-15 2:33 PM
horizontal rule
131

I actually did go with a fish & chips place, but it was this one instead. Tasty! But then, confused, I tipped 20% on top of the 12.5% "discretionary service charge", which was like finding -$5.

I've never been in such a minimalist hotel room. No drawers, no wardrobe, no windows, basically just a bed (with two glass side tables). Towels apparently cost extra.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 03-25-15 2:45 PM
horizontal rule
132

Take your revenge on trip adviser!
I'm sorry not to have been more helpful quicker, but was working until fairyl late today.


Posted by: NW | Link to this comment | 03-25-15 3:00 PM
horizontal rule
133

You can bathe on the continent, where that sort of thing is allowed.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03-25-15 3:01 PM
horizontal rule
134

Well, we quite likely have radon in our house, which should make you feel much better, ogged! (I don't know for sure. We're testing.)


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 03-25-15 3:37 PM
horizontal rule
135

You can let it out.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03-25-15 3:57 PM
horizontal rule
136

Yeah, we can get some sort of thingy installed. But still, kinda freaky. (It makes me feel like this town is on the Hellmouth - apparently we have really high levels of it, naturally occurring.)


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 03-25-15 4:25 PM
horizontal rule
137

Lots of it around here. I tested home and found no problems, possibly because the basement is poorly sealed anyway.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03-25-15 4:32 PM
horizontal rule
138

I actually did go with a fish & chips place, but it was this one instead. Tasty!

Ha, that's like the poshest chip shop in town. 20% on top of the actual tip would probably be quite a lot.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 03-26-15 3:40 AM
horizontal rule
139

I thought the whole idea of fish and chips was to get dinner for less than 2 pounds (1992 prices).


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03-26-15 5:20 AM
horizontal rule
140

More like 5 or 6 pounds in London (and plenty of places are much more expensive). It's not the whole point, though. It tastes great too, done right. It's our fried chicken, basically.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 03-26-15 5:23 AM
horizontal rule
141

For that money, the malt vinegar better be organic.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03-26-15 5:29 AM
horizontal rule
142

At that Islington place, it probably is.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 03-26-15 5:44 AM
horizontal rule
143

re: 140

The chippy nearest me:

http://www.allinlondon.co.uk/directory/1152/73688.php

is generally very good. You are talking about £8 - 9 quid for fish and chips, though.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 03-26-15 5:57 AM
horizontal rule
144

That's $12. You could get 6 Fillet o' Fish for that.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03-26-15 6:04 AM
horizontal rule
145

Looks like a one and one in Burdock's is €9 - €10.


Posted by: emir | Link to this comment | 03-26-15 6:23 AM
horizontal rule
146

That's $12. You could get 6 Fillet o' Fish for that.

Not in London you can't. Maybe 3. Also Fillets o' Fish are rank.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 03-26-15 6:48 AM
horizontal rule
147

146.last: Right, but if you order a Fillet o' Fish, you obviously don't care about taste.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03-26-15 6:53 AM
horizontal rule
148

Also, they're usually more expensive here. They just run a special during Lent.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03-26-15 6:54 AM
horizontal rule