High Performance Windows and Doors

Alpen windows are made in Louisville, Colorado with local support and services. They operate as European tilt-turn style and single hung windows with German hardware. These residential windows are the highest quality with super-insulating and thermally efficient construction. Utilizing three decades of experience to incorporate lightweight, suspended-film technology that eliminate air drafts and contribute to the home’s favorable R-value and low HERS score. We have used them for 4-years now in the back Tandem House and could not be more happy with them. They are easy to operate, they are strong (not chintzy) and are always a topic of conversation when people come over.

Exterior doors are Pella fiberglass. Pella is known to be stylish but also for their easy maintenance, energy efficiency and ability to stand up to extreme weather. We are happy with the decorative glass features on the front door side-lites and balcony door that give the home a custom and classic feel.


Pink House – Weatherproofing Membrane

Our daughter’s pink doll house is more cute than the likes of Tandem House these days but the vibrant color does mark another milestone as the house is nearly dried in.

This method of weatherproofing the house is very different than the typical polyolefin wrap that goes us in a day and leaves a lot of room for error during install. Scott is very particular not to hire out this weatherproofing stage since it is so important to achieving the home’s tight envelope making it truly an energy saving green home.

By using a liquid applied ‘wrap’ it fills all joints and seams creating a waterproof and air tight wall assembly sealing all penetrations and gaps. The liquid membrane improves the building durability by protecting the home against damaging wind and rain. Its also another component in improving the home’s R-value. With better insulating properties it helps to reduce home energy usage and allowing the HVAC system to work more efficiently.

Filling Facade Joints and Seams: All the transitions between the SIPs are filled with a pink R-guard adhesive.

Liquid Flashing:  At every window and door rough opening a red ‘fast flash’ R-guard liquid is applied.

Liquid Weatherproof Membrane: A pink liquid weatherproof membrane is roller applied to the entire exterior façade.

We used all the same waterproofing practices with Tandem House 1 which is documented here.

Front Porch and Balcony

There are so many different ways to build a porch. Since the house is modeled after the traditional Denver Square home we knew it needed to have the classic brick porch with columns. With that, we had the concrete contractor frame and pour walls and once the forms were stripped Scott was able to backfill and compact the void. Then the concrete contractor was back to pour the top concrete slab. Note that the concrete formwork left voids in the concrete that created the space for the eventual brick façade to rest.

The process would actually be a lot quicker if we hired someone to do everything (including the backfill and compaction). But we have found in the past that if you leave everything to the contractor they don’t seem to have the conviction that we have. For instance they might have backfilled but would have been lazy on the dirt compaction end. If the dirt isn’t compacted with the right backfill (dirt with less air gaps) the top slab will be compromised and prone to cracking. We learned this the hard way with Tandem House 1 (the back house) and are committed to ensuring that everything is done correctly the first time on this house.

Scott using the mini excavator to backfill the porch
Compacting between backfilling

I was surprised when Scott said that he was going to tackle framing the balcony project alone. In all honesty he had no choice because the guys that helped with interior framing picked up and moved to Steamboat, CO. We were bummed at first but having Scott do it not only saves us money but ensures that it is done right. Sometimes I forget what he is capable of because he makes it look easy; from surveying, ordering lumber and getting fabricated metal columns, he does it all (with very little help from me)!