Todd Hallett, AIA, President of TK Design & Associates, Inc. ( has been designing award winning homes for over 20 years. He spent 15 of those years working for a $50 million production building company. Todd designed all of their homes but also worked in every other aspect of the company including purchasing, development, land acquisition, product development, and operations, and was President of the company for three years. Equipped with his vast building experience and fueled by his love for architecture he left to form an architecture firm that is second to none in working cohesively with Builders. Todd specializes in Lean Design and works, alongside Scott Sedam of TrueNorth Development, in the trenches with builders, suppliers, and trade contractors. His Lean Design blog appears weekly at Todd welcomes your feedback at or 248.446.1960.

Avoid this costly mistake!

February 05, 2013

After my January 2013 article in Professional Builder, “3 Ways to Huge Profits Through Lean Design,” was published, I was thrilled to get a shout-out from a faithful reader regarding a costly insulation mistake. It was too good not to share. Here is what he wrote:

Mr. Hallett,
I wanted to give you a heads-up on a picture shown in your article in Professional Builder.
The picture…showing the extra cripples shows me something much worse. The tabs on the blanket insulation are tucked back in-between the studs. I've even seen advertising from insulation companies showing the same thing! This is totally wrong.
My pedigree is I spent over 50 years in the construction industry. I started out as a fifth-generation wood banger and, among other things, became an architectural sales manager for a small aluminum company as well as being a sales engineer for Honeywell in the commercial group. The importance of a vapor barrier was driven home (I feel it's as important as inches of insulation).
Those little strips of paper on the sides of batt insulation are NOT designed to be tucked back in the cavity; they ripple. They're designed to be placed on the surface of the studs, and the drywall will encapsulate both sides so there is a continuous vapor barrier. As they say, the devil is in the details. The house I built in Chicago had 2,400 SF, but with an ultimate vapor barrier, I modified the furnace to be 80 percent of its capacity and was perfectly happy with a 2 1/2 ton AC. And no thermopane windows in those days!
Please help spread the word.
Craig Brown  (The Domicile Doctor)
Thanks for your letter, Craig. I am always happy to spread the word as it relates to helping out the building community. If you have a best practice that you would like to share, hit me up at
Overlay Init