Tags: ‘Developed Lots’

Flooring…Now or Later?

Upon the completion of the sheetrock phase, installation of some of your flooring may begin.

floor-333165_1280If you select natural hardwood flooring, the wood must acclimate to the environmental conditions of your new home. Delivery of the product you selected ten days to two weeks ahead of installation is absolutely necessary. Natural wood will expand and contract with current weather conditions, more or less moisture in the home causes the wood to expand (more moisture) or contract (less moisture). Imagine the result of installing moist wood when you turn the heat on in your new home…the drying out will cause gaps between the planks. The opposite occurs if you install dry wood in your new home…the moisturizing of the planks will cause them to expand, forcing the gaps to buckle up and cause “cupping”. A number of alternatives now available in pre-finished wood flooring allow for installation at a later date, but acclimation must still be included in the process.

That brings us back to decisions, decisions, decisions! If you elect to use natural hardwood, installation takes place prior to the trim phase. Following acclimation, a subcontractor will cover the subfloor with black felt paper that acts as a moisture barrier and then staples the hardwood planks in place. Once again, the flooring needs to rest before sanding and the application of the first coat of stain and polyurethane. During the initial sanding and application of stain phase, other activities in the home are curtailed. The resumption of other activities may resume when the floors have completely dried, after a protective cover of paper is placed over them. The last coats of polyurethane are applied near the end of completion of your new home.

Ceramic TileIf you have decided to use any tile flooring in your new home, installation begins while newly delivered hardwood acclimates. The first step includes installation of cementitious board in the tile areas, including walls for showers and tub surrounds. This board creates a hard, solid surface under the tile, and insures that grout joints will not crack. The tile you selected will then be set in place with mortar, allowed to dry, and grouted. Covering finished tile floors prevents grout from becoming dirty before the application of sealer.

Carpet

The installation of carpeting and sheet linoleum occurs during the end phase of completion, but before the final coat of polyurethane on natural hardwood floors.

 

The order of the building process prevents accidental damage to floor surfaces and costly repairs. Have questions? Drop me a note, and I will be more than happy to try to help you.

Exterior Finishes – Brick, Siding, Stone, Fascia

The building process does not always occur one phase at a time. For instance, while the mechanical rough-ins proceed on the interior of your new home, exterior finishes progress concurrently. Foundations receive a water repellent coating, the installation of a curtain drain occurs, and exterior fascia begins.

Homes may receive a brick foundation with siding, or they may feature a mix of brick, siding and stone. If the exterior finishes on your home are predominantly masonry (brick and/or stone), watch for a few key items during application – weep holes to allow for airflow between brick or stone and wood on exterior walls, proper slant on door and window sills to allow for water shed, adequate usage of brick ties to hold the exterior finish to the walls, and appropriate sizing of lentils to support the weight of the masonry product you chose for your home.

Wall ties, weep holes, flashing

A one inch to two inch cavity exists between the brick veneer wall and the framed wall. A brick tie holds the brick veneer to the wall. This is a thin piece of metal, approximately eight inches long and one inch wide nailed to the framed wall every 16” horizontally and vertically. If you use a queen-sized brick, insert brick ties at least every five courses. Note that brick comes in many different sizes, and the amount of brick, brick ties, mortar, and sand required will vary depending on the size of the brick you select for your new home.

Ventilation between the brick veneer and the framed wall allows moisture to escape and keep your home dry and sound. Weep holes placed around your foundation and over windows and doors allow air to circulate and keep the interior framed wall dry. While a mason builds the brick veneer, he can easily apply cotton cording from the wall through the mortar joints which will create a cavity for moisture to wick away from the brick.  The application of stone veneer also requires the same ventilation and flashing that brick veneer employs.

A wide variety of siding products might be used on the exterior of your home, and those products may be aluminum, vinyl, or masonry in nature.  A popular product that became available a few years ago, manufactured by James Hardie, is a fiber cement siding called Hardie Plank.  These products do not require special consideration to allow for air circulation between the veneer and the framed wall, and come in a wide variety of styles and colors.

Let us know if we can be of assistance in building your next home.

Mechanical Rough Ins – Plumbing, Sprinklers, Electrical and HVAC

After framing passes inspection, you can begin mechanical systems rough-ins. Rough in refers to the parts of a system that reside in the attic, crawlspace of wall cavities of the home. Four systems require a rough in phase before insulation or sheetrock are added to your new home – plumbing, sprinklers, heating and air conditioning (HVAC), and electrical.

Plumbing Rough InWe recommend that your first mechanical system rough in be plumbing. Plumbing materials are rigid and require proper placement and fall, and these materials do not easily flow around other systems.  When you made your pre-construction decisions, the placement for cabinets, vanities, tubs, showers, and toilets, designed a plumbing system for a licensed plumber to connect a water supply and sewer discharge to for maximum efficiency. The plumbing rough in receives an inspection and must adhere to codes requirements before passing inspection.

More and more jurisdictions are requiring the use of sprinkler systems in residential homes. Check the jurisdiction you are building in to ascertain whether or not you will be required to include a sprinkler system in your home. If you are required to include this system, the rough in should be completed before electrical or HVAC systems are started.

 

The electrical system rough in follows the plumbing rough in. Your builder should have a final electrical walk through with you before the electrician starts wiring your home. People often find their lighting requirements change when they actually walk through their framed home. Standing in a room allows you to visualize the placement of furnishings, so you can actually tell where you need a receptacle or additional lighting. Task lights, spot lights, recessed lights, and track lights added at this stage of construction cost less now that at the end stage of construction because the additional labor required is minimal. If your home will require any special wiring, such as security systems, intercoms, surround sound music, or central vacuum systems, now is the time to plan for those additional features. A licensed inspector, employed by the state you live in, will perform the electrical rough in inspection.

HVACThe HVAC system rough in follows plumbing, sprinklers, and electrical, and the inspection for this system often occurs at the time of the plumbing inspection. Flexible duct lines that direct the conditioned air in your home are routed over, under, and around other systems. The placement of equipment housed inside the attic of the home occurs at this point. Codes requirements dictate that plywood flooring be placed around units in attics so the equipment is accessible for service. A tip for you about HVAC systems…screw down plywood covers over any vent openings in the floors. This will keep debris from accidentally falling into your air supply lines.

Please do pay special attention to the order that systems are added into your home. A good cook knows not to rush the process, and a good builder knows this, too!

So You Think You Want to Custom Build…

Let’s be honest. We are coming out of a recession that put a huge strain on the housing industry, and several consequences of that downturn are still affecting the housing market today. In very simple economic terms, following an interruption in the cycle of money, it takes time to prime the line…beginning with the availability of developed lots to build homes on.

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Development of raw land by a qualified developer takes time and effort.  A parcel of land must be identified for its suitability for development, go through the purchase process which includes a period of due diligence to ascertain whether or not local authorities and government agencies will allow the type of development being pursued, as well as investigation and planning with surveyors, engineers, and local utility companies.  In most cases, all of this occurs before the actual purchase of the property.  Since many developers partner with a bank to finance a development project, exploration and securing of financing for the development occur during the due diligence period as well. The entire process may take months or years, depending on the municipality involved.

Many people are finding that they are willing to consider selling their current home to purchase a new home more suitable to their lifestyle only to find that the availability of lots to build their new home on is exceedingly limited.  Now what do you do?  At this point in time, selling your current home won’t be the problem.  Other people are looking for homes that are not available as well, so chances are that your home will be embraced by the market and sell pretty quickly, potentially leaving you homeless!

The most readily available solution in today’s market is for you to purchase a small piece of property yourself, and hire a qualified Custom Home Builder to help you build your new home.  More on the steps involved in this option to follow at a later date.