Fixing a big mistake

Our builder egos took a square kick to the nuts today when during the planning for trim I realized that the now enclosed pocket door channel was still wide open to the interior insulation where the shower surround curves back into the wall.

It’s a mistake of such breathtaking stupidity that we both just stared at it incredulously. It’s not clear to me exactly how two air-seal obsessed builders fail to register a massive gaping hole in the interior envelope staring us straight in the face every day for three months, but that is exactly what happened.

Luckily the panel covering that area is 1/2 plywood attached with screws, so with a bit of cursing and the third uninstall of the cabinet we were able to surgically access the offending area and effect a solution.

To fill the spaces between the split studs and close the air channel we used 1 1/2 inch XPS foam, (a building product I generally avoid) which we cut carefully on the tablesaw and trimmed for a perfect press fit. Liz then foam sealed and caulked all the edges and we reset the panel and put the cabinet back in place, hopefully for the last time.

Considering the magnitude of the mistake we got off pretty easy. Not to shift the blame but this is just one more reason that I really don’t like these split stud systems. The old-school way to do this is mounting the pocket door track in a channel between two sheets of plywood, which in this case would have provided the air seal. If you use a good quality plywood that can also become your finished surface. Everything about these split studs has been a real hassle.

Tomorrow we put up trim and install the door.

– Brian

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