Crawlspace Ventilation Requirements

In a home where the entire structure or part of the structure is elevated slightly above the ground but not over a basement, the gap between the bottom of the structure and the ground is known as a crawlspace. This type of foundation is common in warm, moist climates where it is advantageous to raise the structure slightly off the ground to raise it above moisture. Continue reading

Preventing Cracks in Plaster Walls

Cement plaster cracking is preventable.

A Variety of Factors Can Cause Plaster Cracks
How can a property owner be sure that the plaster provided by the building contractor is acceptable, and if not, what can be done about it? It’s not a simple question to answer. Here we discuss perhaps the most obvious defects in portland cement plastering: cracks – those that are non-structural and the more challenging and nasty type: structural cracks. Continue reading

What Is T1-11 Siding?

T1-11, often referred to as “T111”, are wood or wood-based siding products. Probably the most ubiquitous siding material used in residential construction, T1-11 siding reached its height of popularity in the 1960’s, 70’s and early 80’s. This was time when the trend for a more natural, wood-grained look was all the rage. The siding material of choice for many contractors, especially those building vast swaths of suburban housing tracts, was T1-11. However, in the last few decades, its use has dropped off as other siding materials have taken over the market. Continue reading

2019 Energy Code – A Brief Summary of Changes

On May 9, 2018, the California Energy Commission adopted the 2019 Title 24, Part 6 Energy Code updates that will take effect January 1, 2020. Key changes for new residential and non-residential projects include mandatory residential PV, new requirements for HERS testing, and updates to non-residential standards. Continue reading

The World’s Tallest Wooden Skyscraper

Rendering of the proposed wood skyscraper. Image credits: Sumitomo Forestry

A Japanese company is set to build a skyscraper made of 90% wood in Tokyo, which will make it the world’s tallest wooden skyscraper upon completion. Sumitomo Forestry, a Japanese wood products company, is planning to build the massive structure which they have named “W350”. The wooden high-rise will be built to commemorate the company’s 350th anniversary in 2041. Continue reading

California’s Solar Mandate for New Homes: What You Need to Know

As you may have heard, California recently became the first state to mandate solar PV systems on all new homes. This is a momentous decision for the industry; it brings the benefits of solar, a historically niche product, directly to a significant portion of homeowners. The policy will dramatically expand the size of California’s solar market–already the most mature in the nation–and perhaps it will eventually inspire similar action in other states. Continue reading

Tips for Designing Your Shipping Container Home

Robyn Volker and Anke Irmscher decided to paint their shipping-container home bright orange because, as Ms. Volker said, “you might as well announce it’s a container.” credits: N.Y.Times

Shipping container homes have grown immensely in popularity in recent years for several good reasons: they are durable, eco-friendly, and modular. More importantly, approached correctly, they can be built both faster and more affordably than conventional homes. The first two-story shipping container home in the U.S. is said to have been designed by a California architect in 2006. Since then, the rate of shipping container housing has steadily accelerated in response to the increased cost of home construction. Here are some tips for those considering a shipping container home. Continue reading