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EngRMP
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July 20, 2008 4:17 pm  

Hi folks,

I'm designing my house for STX (many years away). I hoping that you can help me figure out the best way to handle internal walls that join rooms:
- my design is a one story house, so there are lots of walls that join rooms
- if I bring the walls all the way up to the roof then I will get sound insulation between rooms
- but, if I keep the walls down to 8 ft height then I can get air flow through the house

So, I'd love to hear from:
- people with walls that go all the way to the roof: how is the air flow?
- people with open-topped walls: does noise carry easily from room to room? Does it seem that the open airway above the rooms makes the house cooler? If someone is talking on the phone in one room, do you easily hear the conversation in the adjoining room? What about two rooms away?

Thanks, in advance,
rmp


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terry
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July 20, 2008 4:33 pm  

Are you planning on using A/C most of the time?
Walls create barriers for breezes to flow through and cool the house.


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dntw8up
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July 20, 2008 4:50 pm  

My house is a traditional West Indian style house, a one room deep masonry house with a pitched roof. I have high ceilings, and walls go all the way to the ceiling. There's plenty of air circulation because there are only walls on two sides of a room, and the end rooms only have walls on one side. One length of my house is all sliding doors. Also, my living, dining and kitchen do not have walls between them, though the kitchen does have some cabinets suspended from a ceiling beam to define the space and separate it visually from the main living space. I have tile floors throughout and a large wool rug in each room. The house was built to take maximum advantage of cross-winds, and I have never needed the AC that was installed in the master bedroom. There is a slight bend at each end of the central great room, allowing the house to curve around the outdoor space in the back. Acoustically, this curve also allows voices to travel from one end to the other pretty easily. It's convenient when a parent on one end of the house wants to hassle a kid on the other end of the house, but less convenient when someone on one end of the house wants to sleep in and someone on the other end of the house is involved in a lively telephone discussion with peers at work.


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EngRMP
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July 20, 2008 4:55 pm  

Good question Terry:
- I'm really hoping to avoid A/C most of the time (the lot is just over a ridge, and I'm trying to keep my house high - not cut in)
- I'm guessing that I could add a window A/C unit in the bedroom(s) later, if needed.
- but, I'm guessing that your question is whether A/C will be effective if the walls are short, for breezes.

So, if anyone has short walls, and uses or tried a window A/C unit, was it effective? And a related question is: if you do get good breezes, do you still find that you'd like A/C while sleeping?


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EngRMP
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July 20, 2008 5:10 pm  

Thanks dntw8up,

So, I'm picturing a central great room, with at least bedrooms on either end (along a slight curve). But, I'm guessing that there are also some bathrooms and/or maybe a study, mudroom or something else in between a bedroom and the central great room???? If so, it sounds like those rooms are open at the top (walls don't go to the ceiling). If so, does it seem like sound carries over the walls, or do the rafters effectively bounce the sound mostly back into the room?


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Trade
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July 20, 2008 9:43 pm  

How you situate your house on your lot is key. I've never lived with A/C down here & never needed it.


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Jim72
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July 20, 2008 11:33 pm  

If you tie your interior walls to the roof. It would improve the chances of keeping your roof in a big storm. You could frame some openings for air flow. could even get a little creative. maybe some circles, or trapezoids to match the roof angle. But I would try to tie down the roof somehow


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terry
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July 21, 2008 1:03 am  

We met some people that have a open air large main room with an upstairs loft. They had a office up there. They were having a very hard time trying to keep it cool. They were trying a room A/C with plastic to contain the cool air.
I would think you would have the same type of problem if you had short walls and A/C.
If you were to have small rooms with no cross ventilation, then you would have a problem unless you had A/C in each room.


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Bombi
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July 21, 2008 12:06 pm  

I went with walls to the ceiling with exterior walls about 9 feet high. The walls help to tie down the roof. My roof is a sandwich of mold tough drywall, 2 inch urethene foam and 3/4 inch T&G plywood srewed with 5 inch screws to the 3x8 rafters 2 foot on center. My house faces East so I get all the breezes and hardly any sun on my gallery. Get good ceiling fans. I havent wished for AC yet.


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EngRMP
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July 21, 2008 12:43 pm  

Trade, in my case the house will have the long dimension aligned roughly east/west. This is not ideal, but in order to get the house oriented otherwise I have to sink it at least 25 ft into the valley, which I think will block breezes much worse. So, I think I'll get maximum breezes with what I have to work with. The question in my mind is how to handle the inside of the house in order to maximize the benefit of the breezes (along with other considerations of strength, noise insulation, access, privacy, possible A/C later, etc).

Jim72, good point. Eventually I'll have an architect and structural engineer look at my design, and they'll tell me if I have to add posts off of short walls, or extend the walls to the ceiling, or not. And, I think you're right, that if I need to extend the walls to the ceiling, I might be able to create openings.

Terry, thanks for that insight. I'm guessing that they might have been fighting two problems: escaping cool air, and the bulk of the hot air being up high in the house.

So, maybe the solution is to have the walls extend to the ceiling; add hinged panels that can be opened to let air flow or closed if A/C is required.


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EngRMP
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July 21, 2008 12:51 pm  

Bombi, yes, I remember your clever roof design (I took notes)... very nice. I plan on something similar for my roof, and insulated concrete exterior walls. Yes, and definitely ceiling fans. Thanks.


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divinggirl
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July 21, 2008 9:53 pm  

I rented a house with interior walls that did not go all the way to the ceiling and had some lattice work as a divider (at about 9 feet high up to the 12 foot ceiling). I would never do it in my own house! The noise carried everywhere in the house and it was impossible to sleep in the bedroom if someone was watching TV in the living room.


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EngRMP
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July 22, 2008 12:24 am  

Thanks divinggirl, that's very helpful. Do you recall if the rented house had exposed rafters?


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divinggirl
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July 22, 2008 9:16 pm  

Yes it did have the exposed rafters. The design looked good and probably helped with some circulation but for my $$ it wasn't worth the trade off of the noise issues.


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EngRMP
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July 22, 2008 9:19 pm  

Thanks divinggirl.

So, I have to get a balance between air flow, noise insulation, and possible A/C. Maybe if I can get enough of a breeze, it will be so loud that I won't hear any other noises, and won't need A/C!


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heepajeep
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July 22, 2008 9:27 pm  

I might look into having only a cople walls go all the way up. To improve the roof tie-in as Jim72 suggests.
I would maybe then look into utiliizing walls that are somehow relocateable or movable so that you can rearrange the floor plan to some extent. Add a bedroom or remove, eitherway. Kinda like cubicles in an office.

Anyways, another wild housing idea like using shipping containers. Or using a fullsize bulk shipping river barge filled with dirt, planted with grass and plopping a modular home on top.


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EngRMP
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July 22, 2008 10:05 pm  

Hi heepajeep, funny you should mention movable walls... I already have one application for a movable wall section. And yes, I was thinking the same thing about running the walls all the up - I don't have to have all walls go up.

I still like the shipping container buildings that I've seen, but I haven't gotten my wife drunk enough to sign on the dotted line yet!

And, why fill the barge with dirt. You could put enough dirt to grow plants, plop the house on it, and moor it anywhere around the islands you wanted! The floating city concept... except you're more like a floating farm. I wonder how you'd do in hurricanes...


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heepajeep
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July 23, 2008 5:07 pm  

And, why fill the barge with dirt. You could put enough dirt to grow plants, plop the house on it, and moor it anywhere around the islands you wanted! The floating city concept... except you're more like a floating farm. I wonder how you'd do in hurricanes...

Oh this would be for the upper Gulf Intracoastal Waterway in the winter and the eastern river system in the summer.
I would hire a passing tow to add me into there string when I got bored of an area.
And in the summer hurricane season do the same to go up into the rivers.
Look at this map of where I could get pushed to.
http://www.tulsaport.com/east_us_waterway.html
And I don't have to have self propulsion or worry about navigation, etc.
Just sit back on the veranda and watch the scenery passby.


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EngRMP
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July 23, 2008 6:48 pm  

Heepajeep... very cool... I always enjoy alternative, out of the box ideas. And wow, take your house with you, on vacation... what a concept!


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