The Home Building Industry's Technical Information Resource

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You can increase the value of your next remodeling project by including energy efficiency improvements. Learn how with Energy Efficiency Improvements for Remodeling Projects.

Information on exterior wall construction, including materials, framing techniques, insulated concrete forms, sheathing, panelized walls

Innovative Products & Processes - Technology Inventory [Back to Top]

Consider using the products below to take advantage of their potential to provide one or more of the following in the homes you build: Affordability, Energy Efficiency, Quality & Durability, Environmental Performance, and Safety.

Alternative Stucco Lath
Bamboo - Structural
Engineered Wood Wall Framing
Exterior Insulation and Finish Systems (EIFS) - Drainable Systems
Fiber-Cement Siding
Grid-marked Sheathing
Hurricane Resistant Façade Panels
ICF Walls - Wood Fiber Composite Forms
Insulated Vinyl Siding
Insulating Concrete Forms (ICF)
Insulation Alternatives: Blown or Foamed Through a Membrane
Insulation Alternatives: Non-Fiberglass Batts
Insulation Alternatives: Sprayed Fiber Insulation
Insulation Alternatives: Sprayed Foam Insulation
Latex Foam Sealant
Masonry and Concrete Adhesives
Mortarless Brick Veneer
Plastic Exterior Trim
Precast Concrete Foundation and Wall Panels
Precast Concrete Passive Solar Home
Rain Screen Exterior Walls
Smart Vapor Retarders
Split-Face Concrete Block
Steel Framing Connections - Clinches, Rivets & Pin Nails
Steel L-Headers
Structural Insulating Sheathing
Translucent Wall and Ceiling Panels
Two-Part Universal Sealant Cartridge

Design & Construction Guides [Back to Top]

Guides for designing and building various types of construction

Building a Better House with Concrete - A Concrete Homes Technology Brief
Comfort and Quiet with Concrete Homes - Concrete Homes Technology Brief
Concrete Homes Save Energy - A Concrete Homes Technology Brief
Finishing of Wood
How to Choose Weather-Resistive Barriers
Improving Drainage and Drying Features in Certain Conditions: Rain Screen Designs for Absorptive Claddings
Installing Vinyl Siding Over Existing Wood Cladding
Insulating Concrete Forms (ICFs) - ToolBase TechSpecs
Model Guidelines for Design, Fabrication, and Installation of Engineered Panelized Walls
Moisture Protection of Exterior Walls - An Installer's Guide
Moisture Protection of Wood Sheathing
Moisture Testing Guide for Wood Frame Construction Clad with Exterior Insulation and Finish Systems (EIFS)
Plastic Foams for Concrete Homes - A Concrete Homes Technology Brief
Prescriptive Method for Connecting Cold-Formed Steel Framing to Insulating Concrete Form Walls in Residential Construction
Selection and Application of Exterior Stains for Wood
Staining Western Redcedar and Redwood Siding
Tech Set 2: Durable Building Envelope
The Ins and Outs of Caulking
The Quality of Concrete Costs a Little More - A Concrete Homes Technology Brief
The Rehab Guide, Volume 2: Exterior Walls
Thermal Design Guide for Exterior Walls
Water Intrusion and Remediation for Wood Frame Homes with Exterior Insulation and Finish Systems (EIFS)
Best Practices [Back to Top]

General recommendations and accepted practices

Before You Install Exterior Wood-Based Siding
Brick Veneer Flashing Requirements
Rainwater Intrusion in Light-Frame Building Walls
Wood Shakes and Shingles: Tips for Longer Life

Performance Reports & Case Studies [Back to Top]

Evaluation of how products and systems perform in real life applications

Advanced Framing: An Examination of its Practical Use in Residential Construction The case study highlights the advantages of and barriers to widespread adoption of OVE practices.
Building Concrete Masonry Homes: Design and Construction Issues This document identifies the major issues related to the design and construction of a home with above-grade concrete masonry walls, and presents different approaches to construction details including the installation of insulation, floor framing, and doors and windows.
Combined Axial and Bending Load Tests of Fully-Sheathed Cold-Formed Steel Wall Assemblies The purpose of this test program was to investigate the structural capacity and performance of fully-sheathed load bearing walls of cold-formed steel framing.
Design, Fabrication, and Installation of Engineered Panelized Walls: Two Case Studies Two panelized wall systems are evaluated in terms of process of design, fabrication, and installation at two case study sites in high wind and earthquake-prone regions of the United States.
Economical ICF to Cold-Formed Steel Floor Connections This project identified and tested two fastening methods in the interest of optimizing economical connections of cold-formed steel floor systems to Insulated Concrete Form (ICF) walls.
Effect of Cladding Systems on Moisture Performance of Wood-Framed Walls in a Mixed-Humid Climate A 22-month field investigation of nine different north- and south-oriented wood-framed wall assemblies was conducted to determine the moisture performance of various wall construction types, most of which incorporated absorptive cladding.
Heat and Moisture Transfer in Wood-Based Wall Construction: Measured Versus Predicted This report describes a comprehensive laboratory study that evaluated the measured level of heat and moisture transfer in wood-based wall construction with the level predicted by MOIST, a personal computer program developed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).
Light-Frame Wall and Floor Systems Analysis and Performance This report provides analysis of light-frame wood structures, with emphasis on floor and wall systems.
Lintel Testing for Reduced Shear Reinforcement in Insulating Concrete Form Systems The purpose of this test program is to investigate the structural capacity and performance of the concrete lintels typically used in ICF construction.
Measurements of Apparent Sound Insulation of Exterior and Interior Walls Stewart Acoustical Consultants of Raleigh NC conducted tests according to ASTM standards E413 and E1322 to develop apparent Field Sound Transmission Class (FSTC) and Field Outdoor-Indoor Class (FOITC) ratings for the exterior walls of the buildings at the Hughes evaluation site.
PATH Technology Inventory Review This report describes the process and results of a short-term activity initiated by the Partnership for Advancing Technology in Housing (PATH) to review and identify technologies in the 162-item PATH Technology Inventory that should be high-priority candidates for a concerted PATH technology transfer or diffusion effort.
TechPractices: 21st Century Townhomes, Bowie, MD In 1996 the NAHB Research Center, Inc. built four 21st Century Townhouses to test, demonstrate, gain experience, and disseminate information about innovative home building products, systems, and technologies.
TechPractices: AFM Study House, Minneapolis, MN Using readily available building technologies, such as insulating concrete forms (ICFs) and structural insulated panels (SIPs), this 4,964 sf home has an average winter heating bill of approximately $48 per month. Many of the technologies have the added benefit of reducing on-site labor.
TechPractices: Baycliffs, Johnson's Island, Lake Erie, OH How can you keep homes comfortable and economical when the thermometer can plunge to -10º F in the winter and soar to100º F in the summer? The developer of the planned 375-unit development solves the problem using a steel/rigid insulation panelized system with airtight, superinsulated walls, conditioned by a highly efficient geothermal heat pump drilled into rock.
TechPractices: Carl Franklin Homes, Kensington Park, Dallas, TX Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs), Geothermal Heating and Cooling units, and other PATH program technologies were used to produce houses that cost significantly less for low-income homeowners to operate and maintain than conventionally constructed units.
TechPractices: Controlled Environment Structures Controlled Environment Structures (CES) is a mid-sized builder operating out of Greenville, Michigan that has used R-Control Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs) produced by AFM Corporation to build approximately 500 homes and additions over the past 11 years.
TechPractices: FBC Infill Housing, Louisville, KY Durable yet inexpensive, these houses are planned with energy- and cost-saving features that make them affordable to would-be home buyers with marginal resources.
TechPractices: Grove at Patuxent Woods, Patuxent City, MD In this project for seven affordable houses, it was possible to concentrate shared wastewater treatment systems in areas of the site with adequate soil conditions, allowing four houses to route their septic to a fifth lot, while two other houses shared a septic field.
TechPractices: Healing House, BBH Enterprises, Dallas, TX Located in a moderate income Dallas neighborhood, this house achieves its health and energy goals on a moderate ($65/SF) budget by pairing an innovative mechanical and ventilation system with a novel floor plenum design.
TechPractices: Hillside Oaks, Carl Franklin Homes, Dallas, TX What happens when you combine the technology of structural insulated panels with a geothermal heat pump system that costs less to operate and maintain than conventional HVAC systems?
TechPractices: Home Front, Inc., Brian Bishop, Venice, FL The panelized housing system developed by Brian Bishop of Home Front, Inc. gives homeowners the durability of a non-wood exterior system, the energy efficiency of full thickness foam insulation, and the lower cost of a panelized system that erects quickly without the need for heavy-lifting equipment.
TechPractices: Lido Homes, Silvercast Western Homes, Newport Beach, CA The new two-story homes at the Lido Peninsula Resort are designed by architects and built by factory workers on an assembly line.
TechPractices: Long and Gordon, Dove Street, Boston, MA In an area noted for its crime, a builder teamed up with the City of Boston to tear down a crack house and replace it with durable, energy efficient, two-story homes, strategically placed to tie together and revitalize the neighborhood.
TechPractices: Medallion Homes, San Antonio, TX Medallion Homes, a San Antonio home building company, is committed to constructing energy-efficient and environmentally friendly homes at an affordable price.
TechPractices: Medallion Homes, The Craftsman, San Antonio, TX Medallion Homes builds a low-energy, low-maintenance home through an environmentally-conscious design with a simple charm.
TechPractices: NEDCO, Field of Dreams, Eugene, OR The Field of Dreams residential community, completed in Eugene, Oregon, combines ingenuity at several levels of project delivery.
TechPractices: Nicholas Lane Contractors, Anaheim, CA Nicholas Lane Contractors (NLC) is a production residential and commercial framing company in southern California that specializes in both wood and steel framing.
TechPractices: Ocean Colony Landing, Component Structures, Marshfield, MA Component Structures, Inc. (CSI) uses innovative technology to address regulatory concerns and cost issues, creating an instant hit near the Boston waterfront.
TechPractices: Stone Ledge, Leakwood, KS With "totally maintenance-free living," this small developer went after a small but discriminating market to show there's always a demand for well-built homes.
TechPractices: Watt Homes of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT Watt Homes, headquartered in Irvine, California, has been building homes for more than 50 years and is currently one of America's fastest growing home builders.
The Performance of Perforated Shear Walls with Narrow Wall Segments, Reduced Base Restraint, and Alternative Framing Methods This report is part of an effort to develop, confirm, and enhance exterior shear wall design. The ultimate goal is to provide both safety and economy to housing construction in all wind and seismic areas in the United States.
Water Intrusion Evaluation for Caulkless Siding, Window, and Door Systems The purpose of this research is to design, evaluate, install, and monitor wall siding systems that do not require caulk, either initially or during routine maintenance.

Field Evaluations [Back to Top]

Evaluation of how products and systems perform in real life applications

Attextor Corporation
Bob Ward Companies
Brighton Construction - Liberty Village
Davis Construction
Habitat for Humanity - Arundel
Hopke Buildings & Grounds
Howard Building Company
MADE Project
Model reMODEL
Oakwood Homes
Quadrant Homes and Woodinville Lumber
Summerset Development Company
Weingarten House

Questions & Answers [Back to Top]

Frequently asked questions, answered by home building professionals

A house that was built a number of years ago has a problem with the engineered wood siding. Is there any warranty from the siding manufacturer?
Do I need to remove old siding before installing new siding?
Do I need to use housewrap and a vapor barrier?
How does the cost of fiber-cement siding compare to other siding products?
How much can a wall support if it’s framed with 2x4 wood studs spaced at 16 inches on center?
I think the home we are bidding on has EIFS stucco siding. How can I tell if there is damage?
I’ve been told my siding is asbestos. Will I have to replace it and, if so, what will I need to do?
If water gets behind all types of siding, what can I do to prevent damage?
Is it best to seal a building envelope tightly to prevent air leakage or allow the home to breathe and prevent moisture problems?
We are thinking about using Insulating Concrete Forms for our new project. What is the best brand to use?
What appears to be particle board or something similar is warping and deteriorating my siding. How can I determine who the manufacturer is and what can I do to get the siding fixed?
What are the advantages of plastic composite nails?
What are the Sound Transmission Class (STC) ratings for concrete and masonry walls?
What can I do to mitigate the premature paint failure and warping of the wood on the siding of my home?
What do I need to consider before using brick veneer on my wood-framed homes?
What is the best way to insulate steel-framed homes? How much insulation do I need and what kind?
What is the maximum hole that can be drilled in 2x4 studs in load bearing walls for wiring or plumbing?
Would you suggest fiber-cement siding in the MidWest? What are the pros and cons of this?

Web Links [Back to Top]

Recommended Web resources for additional information