Is it better to have a crawlspace or slab-on-grade foundation system? This is a common question among those planning to build or add onto their house. A crawlspace continues to be the more common type of foundation, but slab foundations are becoming increasingly popular. While there are advantages and disadvantages to each type of foundation, the choice ultimately comes down to a combination of personal preference, costs/benefits analysis, short-term vs. long-term advantages, and site-specific conditions accruing to where the new addition or custom home is being built. Continue reading this crawlspace vs. slab comparison to learn which one will best suit your needs. Continue reading
Construction Options for an ADU
Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) continue to be a topic of heightened interest for homeowners and real estate investors. As the need to have more usable space during a real estate market with scarce affordable housing increases, legislators are easing zoning laws and local building codes.
With relaxed restrictions, more homeowners are taking the next step of exploring which type of construction would be best for their particular ADU needs and usage plans. Should you construct your dwelling using the Traditional Stick-Built method to get exactly what you want? Or would a Prefab Modular Unit make more sense based on time and budget constraints? Continue reading
You know you want to build your dream house, but don’t know how to begin? It can seem like a daunting task to build a custom home. And admittedly, it is complicated. This 3-part checklist is aimed at getting you on the right track and providing an overview of the process. Continue reading
When it comes to home remodels, the money you put in cannot always be recouped when it comes time to sell: some remodel projects add to resale value while others don’t. For those prioritizing how to get best value for their dollar there are some important things to keep in mind. Before you decide on a remodel, consider the cost vs. value, and then decide if the remodel is a worthy investment. Ultimately, you want to improve your lifestyle and, when it comes time to sell, command the highest price. Continue reading
A room addition just might be the solution to your space needs. Less than moving away, more than refurbishing existing space, room additions suit the needs of many homeowners, both in terms of space and costs. Here is some sound advice on building a room addition. Continue reading
Homeowners spend more money on kitchen remodeling than on any other home improvement project. And with good reason: Kitchens are the hub of home life and a source of pride. A significant portion of kitchen remodeling costs may be recovered by the value the project brings to your home. A complete kitchen renovation with a national median cost of $65,000 recovers about 62% of the initial project cost at the home’s resale, according to the National Association of Realtors. Continue reading
What’s the Difference: Primers
Learn what the difference is between latex, oil-based and shellac-based primers and how to choose the right one for the job.
For most paint jobs, both inside and outside the house, latex paint is preferred. Latex emits fewer odors and VOCs than oil-based paint, and it cleans up much more easily. In one area, however, oil-based products still hold their own over latex: primers. With interior applications and exterior spot-priming, there’s another option: shellac-based primers. All three primers can be used under latex topcoats. Choose a primer based on the condition of the substrate to be primed and its location. Before you open the can, though, be sure to prep the surface you’ll be priming. No primer will perform its best if the surface hasn’t been thoroughly scraped, sanded, or otherwise readied for painting. Continue reading
Windows come in a number of different frame and glazing types. By combining an energy-efficient frame choice with a glazing type tailored to your climate and application, you can customize each of your home’s windows.
Types of Window Frames
Improving the thermal resistance of the frame can contribute to a window’s overall energy efficiency, particularly its U-factor. Continue reading
When planning a home remodeling or new construction project, one of the first things homeowners usually want to know is how much the work will cost. While costing is squarely in the domain of the contractor and decidedly not within the realm of the architect, explaning how contractors structure the means of costing is part of the job of the architect in educating the client as to the available approaches, and quite often advising which might be the most appropriate for their particular project. Continue reading
Picking the right siding for your house is a delicate balancing act between good looks, durability, maintenance, and affordability. With wood, vinyl, stone, brick, or stucco, you might get only two or three of these. But with fiber cement, a resilient mix of wood pulp and portland cement, you get all four. It’s the only siding that combines the performance of masonry—minimal upkeep; rot-, fire-, and termite-proof; unaffected by wind or cold—with the look of painted wood clapboards, shingles, even stone or brick. Yet fiber cement goes for just a fraction of the cost of these other materials. No wonder nearly 15 percent of new homes—and many TOH TV projects—are clad with the stuff.
All this has happened in just 25 years, since fiber cement was first introduced. Now architects regularly specify the siding because it holds down costs without compromising aesthetics. It’s even accepted for use in many historic districts. Continue reading