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3 Pillar Blog

Blog Category - Design

Waste Not …

Categories: Build Process, Design, Newsletter | Posted: May 16, 2017

When we hear the term “green building,” most of us think of energy efficiency and, increasingly, healthy indoor air quality. While those are certainly central components of high-performance housing—especially given our nation’s current energy prices—they are not the only factors that ensure a truly sustainable approach to home building.

One of the lesser-known aspects of green building is resource management. We are convinced that meticulous resource management has a tremendous impact on a sustainable environmental future. Therefore, we have adopted a two-pronged approach in our construction practices: First, we work to reduce the amount of natural resources required to build our homes and second, we strive to recycle the amount of waste ordinarily produced during construction to cut down on what is hauled away to the landfill.

Our concern is based on some startling data. Approximately 40% of the raw materials consumed in the U.S. are used in construction. Residential building, renovation, and demolition account for about 58 million tons of trash per year, representing 11% of the country’s overall waste stream.

What can one builder do? We know that—by weight and volume—wood, drywall, and cardboard (from packaging) make up 60-80% of job site waste. Other common building materials, such as concrete and metals, are also found in significant amounts.  Using our two-pronged approach, we focus our efforts on first reducing and then recycling those materials, when possible, in order to reduce landfill waste.

Reduce. The most obvious way to manage construction waste is not to create it in the first place. To that end, we practice a variety of methods that limit the amount of wood, drywall, and other products that go into a new home without sacrificing its performance, durability, or comfort.

For the structural frame, we implement “advanced” framing techniques using engineered wood products or factory-built (and quality-controlled) roof, floor, and wall components to lessen the amount of wood needed for the project. To reduce the amount of drywall, we are very precise about how much material we need and we train our crews and subcontractors to install it properly. We also work to design our houses on room-size measurements that match the dimensions of 4×8-foot drywall panels. In that manner, when a panel is cut, the remaining piece can likely be used elsewhere instead of thrown away. Cardboard is a tougher problem, because it is a common packaging material for a wide variety of products, large and small. (Think of major appliances and cabinets!). This use of cardboard is not under our direct control, but we work with our suppliers to reduce or eliminate the cardboard they use for packaging and encourage them to pick it up for recycling.

Reuse/Recycle. The market for materials that can be reused and/or recycled is growing rapidly. We are always on the lookout for ways to efficiently recycle the construction waste we do create. For example, we can chip lumber and lot-clearing debris into mulch, drywall into soil amendment, concrete into road bed material, and metals and cardboard into various products. An increasing number of businesses with specialized equipment are available to perform these functions, on site.

In addition, we also look for high quality products with recycled content. By using these products, we make use of the latest science for the benefit of our homeowners while encouraging the growth of industries practicing sustainability. Our goal: homes of the highest quality for our owners and a brighter, safer, and more sustainable future for all of us and generations to follow.

Building Success 101

Categories: Building Success 101, Design, Newsletter | Posted: April 25, 2017

Q: What is a cool roof?

A: A cool roof is a combination of a reflective roof surface (usually a lighter-colored shingle) that is held slightly above the roof deck (or sheathing) to allow passive air ventilation underneath the shingles; a cool roof system also may include the application of insulation in the roof rafter cavities. The goal is to keep the roof surface from becoming excessively hot and transferring that heat to the attic or conditioned living spaces, thus reducing the burden on the home’s cooling system and energy use.

Insulation: Stay Cool without Sweating Energy Bills

Categories: Design, Newsletter | Posted: April 18, 2017

New homes are built to save energy, and a primary component of that goal is insulation. The definition of insulation, however, is rapidly expanding as homebuyers and energy codes demand even better energy-use performance from new homes.

Today, there are far more options than those rolls of fiberglass you see on the shelves of big-box home improvement stores. While batt insulation remains an inexpensive yet effective option, other materials have emerged that help optimize thermal value in new structures or when replacing conventional insulation.

For instance, in addition to insulating between the wall studs, we may add a 1/2-inch thick rigid foam insulation panel behind the finish siding of a new home. That technique is commonly called a thermal break, and many of the latest energy codes and standards, such as the federal Energy Star program, require it.

In addition to taping the joints between the insulation panels, a thin, woven air-water barrier (also called a weather-resistant barrier or housewrap) can be applied over the panels to shed incidental water that gets behind the siding or stucco and blocks air infiltration through the structure.

Another increasingly popular insulating technique is called “flash-and-batt,” a practice that combines conventional fiberglass batts with a “flash” or thin layer of expanding foam insulation.

Specifically, an insulation contractor will first spray-apply a 1-inch deep layer of foam layer into a wall cavity. As the foam expands, it seals any gaps in the cavity to block air and moisture vapor from flowing through the wall. The contractor then fills the rest of the cavity with uncompressed fiberglass to resist thermal (or heat) transfer. The result is an air-tight and well-insulated wall.

Most of a home’s energy is lost through the attic or roof structure. The difference in air temperature and pressure between the attic and the living space below can be dramatic. This causes air to escape into the attic and puts an extra burden to maintain a desired temperature on the home’s heating and cooling system.

A flash-and-batt application can almost entirely eliminate thermal loss into the attic. Often, after the flash layer is applied within the floor cavities, a loose-fill fiberglass or cellulose (made from recycled newspaper and similar fibers) effectively covers the floor.

Another option is to apply an air-tight version of spray-foam insulation to the roof rafter cavities to block air and heat from entering the attic space. The result is what is often called a “semi-conditioned” attic because the air temperature of the attic and living spaces below is almost the same, but without actually having to heat or cool the attic space.

The push to make new homes more energy efficient is driving new and better insulation products and applications, and professional builders are at the forefront of keeping up with that evolution to provide better indoor comfort and help reduce monthly energy bills.

Building Success 101

Categories: Building Success 101, Design, Newsletter | Posted: April 11, 2017

Q: What is contemporary design?

A: A contemporary kitchen is characterized by cabinets with simple lines (that is, without ornate moldings) and by metallic hardware finishes. This design style also puts high value on natural light and views to the outside, which means lots of window area. Explanations for this style’s growth include a more well-traveled populace (contemporary styling is popular worldwide) and the desire for homes with the sleek lines of high-tech products like the iPhone.

The Super Kitchen

Categories: Design, Newsletter | Posted: April 4, 2017

Recent research shows what homeowners want in this crucial room

Although the design of a custom home is a personal statement, most people give at least some thought to market appeal. For this, the most important aspect is the kitchen.

A great kitchen adds real value. A November 2016 article on Realtor.com reported that 69 percent of its home listings make the kitchen a central selling point and that homes with luxury kitchens sell eight percent faster than comparable ones in the same ZIP code.

Those luxury kitchens are hot. For its 2016 Kitchen Trends Survey, Houzz.com asked 2,700 homeowners about their product and design preferences and found strong demand for “super kitchens” that serve as the center of family life. The reason? Nearly two-thirds of homeowners spend three or more hours per day in the kitchen on activities that include cooking, dining, and entertaining.

With the range of activities going on in kitchens, people are adding more features than ever. These include dining tables, homework spaces, TVs, wine refrigerators, and built-in coffee makers.

And with the growing popularity of decks and other outdoor spaces, nearly two-thirds of homeowners want kitchens that open to those spaces, whether that opening is a sliding glass wall system or just a single entry door.

Who Wants What

Of course, these preferences aren’t monolithic. For instance, the Realtor.com article noted that they vary at least somewhat by region, with people in New England more likely to spend money on large kitchens than Midwesterners, who put greater emphasis on affordability and efficient layout. And homeowners in the Southeast are more apt to settle for a smaller kitchen if that means they can keep a formal dining room.

What homeowners want also varies by age group, especially when it comes to design styles. Millennial homeowners (ages 25 to 34) tend to be fans of contemporary and farmhouse styling while baby boomers (ages 55 and older) are drawn more to traditional designs. Millennials also spend more on pantry cabinets or islands, which are part of that farmhouse aesthetic.

Color choices vary by age group as well. “Younger buyers are more likely to keep resale value in mind and tend to choose neutral wall colors and white cabinets,” says Nino Sitchinava, principal economist at Houzz. “White also lightens up the kitchen and makes it feel bigger.”

When it comes to surface materials, homeowners value durability and ease of use. They want countertops that can take the heat of a hot pan, and flooring they can stand on for long periods without fatigue. Virtually all are interested in built-in storage, with homeowners prioritizing this “over all other functions of their kitchens,” according to the study.

Finally, while some appliance manufacturers are touting high-tech features, homeowners seem underwhelmed–a mere five percent opt for an oven they can control remotely from their smartphone. Durability and looks are more important, with 72 percent of homeowners opting for stainless steel. It seems like some things never go out of style.

Styling with Hardscapes

Categories: Design, Newsletter | Posted: April 20, 2016

It wasn’t long ago that the most you could expect from a new house was a white slab of concrete approaching your garage and your front door. With any luck, you might see another slab in the backyard that would function as a small patio. That was the only option offered by most new home builders.

Thankfully, those days are past. Now the best builders recognize that such “hardscape” areas are essential to the curb appeal of their new homes. What was formerly, at best a neutral feature, now delivers distinctive style and a boost to the overall value and beauty of a home.

Builders and homebuyers have several options available to bring a little zing to this element of a home’s style. Here are a few to consider:

Stamped concrete. Just as it sounds, the masonry or concrete contractor places textured panels of various sizes over an area of newly poured concrete and applies a slight bit of pressure to make an impression. Once the concrete sets, the panels are removed to reveal a permanent pattern.

Stamped concrete is an excellent and cost-effective way to add the three-dimensional look of a custom-etched or troweled concrete surface, hand-laid bricks or stone pavers. Several patterns, from uniform bricks to more abstract textures, enable builders and homebuyers to satisfy their personal tastes and to compliment the style of the new home. Stamped concrete can be used to highlight the walkway to the front door or create a consistent, dimensional look for all of the home’s hardscape areas.

Colored concrete. When colored concrete is desired, a pigment is added as the concrete is being mixed (called an “integral” coloring process). This means that the color is mixed through the depth of the hardscape area, not just painted on the surface. Colored concrete is often used to highlight a hardscape feature, such as a walkway. Used in conjunction with stamped concrete technique, the integral coloring process can enhance the authenticity of a pattern, such as red bricks or dark stone pavers.

Aggregate. Another option that adds dimension to a standard concrete surface is exposed aggregate. Small rounded stones are added to the concrete mix. Then the concrete surface is brushed before the concrete sets, exposing the texture and slight color variations of the authentic pebbles. Exposed aggregate can add interest to an otherwise featureless expanse for a relatively low cost.

Bricks and pavers. There’s no substitute for the “real thing” if it fits the budget. Laying individual bricks or stones—available in various sizes, shapes, and colors—is a labor-intensive (and thus more costly) endeavor. The preparation for a brick or stone path, patio, or driveway is much the same as that for a poured concrete hardscape. However, laying each brick (and sometimes cutting it to fit), maintaining a pattern and straight lines, and securing the pieces in place with either mortar or sand takes much more time and skill. Of course, the greatest advantage to hand-laid bricks and pavers is aesthetic. The natural materials show slight undulations and variations in color and texture that are unmistakable.

Thin (or veneer) bricks and stones can help lower the cost of the hand-laid approach, but these are most suitable as accents, such as lining a concrete driveway or walk. They are less suited to high-traffic areas that must carry greater weight.

Used in creative combinations, the options available for hardscapes offer builders and homeowners unlimited ways to achieve unique surfaces. Effective hardscapes will enhance a new home’s architectural style, increase its value and bring long-term satisfaction to the owner.

3 Pillar Homes is a custom home builder in Columbus, Ohio. For more information about our new homes, please visit one of our model home locations in Jerome Village, located at 10602 Arrowwood Drive, Plain City, Oh 43064 or in Lewis Center, located at 2360 Koester Trace Drive, Lewis Center, Ohio 43035. You can always contact us by phone at 614-286-0659.

Who Are We?

Categories: About Us, Awards and Recognition, Build Process, Design | Posted: March 9, 2016

Who is 3 Pillar Homes? We have created this blog to explain to you a little bit more about who we are from what you have already read about us on the website!

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3 Pillar Homes is an award winning custom home builder and a family owned company lead by a second generation builder with 17 years of experience building custom homes in Central Ohio. We are one of the largest custom homebuilders in Central Ohio and we are proud to offer a client-centered design-build experience. We take pride in the trust our homeowners and community members place in us and you can see this in our most recent achievements which include seven years of being on The 50 Fastest Growing privately held companies in Central Ohio (ranked by Business First), Several years of being the 2nd largest Custom Homebuilder in Central Ohio and By Our participation in things like the BIA Parade of Homes where we were the Foundation Builder last year providing proceeds to Habitat for Humanity in Central Ohio.

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Design Process:

As a builder, 3 Pillar Homes really focuses on a careful design process that promotes both function and flair. We especially focus on the dynamic interaction of the kitchen, morning room and great room, the heart of the home and where the family lives and gathers together. We also focus on windows and natural light to maximize our open designs. In addition to great design, 3 Pillar Homes also offers a stunning trim package that builds on our Signature Arched Openings which are included in every 3 Pillar Home. As a design-build builder, Customization is a cornerstone of our philosophy. We also focus on flexibility to help our homeowners maximize options and resources available to them.

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Energy Efficiency:

We don’t just focus on great layouts and beautiful trim; we also care deeply about how your home is constructed and how well it will live for you and your family in the years to come. For example—Our Energy Star Rating includes a 95% efficient furnace, a meticulous air infiltration package, and a professional third-party test to measure to duct leakage and an air-door blower test ensure your home will be comfortable, while operating at the highest efficiencies with lower costs to run and maintain your home over time.

Our Process:

One of the most important things our homeowners share with us is how valuable they find our process and our communication. We are nimble in developing personalized designs that are focused on both your goals for the home and your goals for the budget. We have systematic way of guiding you through the process to cover everything from understanding what’s included, to how your home will be situated on your lot, to the specifics of detailed pricing and to understanding your options for financing your new home. 3 Pillar Homes utilizes a impressive software program that includes every aspect of your home—the construction documents, the plot plan, the details of your colors and selections, any change orders. We also utilize quality control forms with real time documentation on ipads during on-site walk-throughs in your home throughout construction. A hallmark feature of our 3 Pillar process is the unparalleled system of communication and support which includes a pre-color selection meeting, weekly updates and progress reports, formal walk-throughs during construction, as well as a 3 part warranty system that includes a 30 day and one-year workmanship warranty and an insurance backed structural warranty.

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Our Team:

To help you bring all your goals together, we include concierge designer service before and throughout your new home build experience. Our dedicated staff includes—the sales team, the office support including in-house estimating, a dedicated project manager, architect, designer and warranty manager. In true partnership with our homeowners, 3 Pillar Homes brings a process and systems along with award-winning designs and experience to each home we build.

3 Pillar Homes is a custom home builder in Columbus, Ohio. For more information about our new homes, please visit one of our model home locations in Jerome Village, located at 10602 Arrowwood Drive, Plain City, Oh 43064 or in Lewis Center, located at 2360 Koester Trace Drive, Lewis Center, Ohio 43035. You can always contact us by phone at 614-286-0659.

Friday FAQ – Cool roof

Categories: Design, Friday FAQ | Posted: February 5, 2016

Q: What is a cool roof?

A: A cool roof is defined as a roof that either reflects the sun’s heat away from the roof or is designed to ventilate a narrow airspace under the roof finish to keep it cool. Either way, the result lowers the temperature of the home’s attic space, which helps reduce the amount of energy needed to cool the house.

3 Pillar Homes is a custom home builder in Columbus, Ohio. For more information about our new homes, please visit one of our model home locations in Jerome Village, located at 10602 Arrowwood Drive, Plain City, Oh 43064 or in Lewis Center, located at 2360 Koester Trace Drive, Lewis Center, Ohio 43035. You can always contact us by phone at 614-286-0659.

Friday’s FAQ – “Zoned” Heating and Cooling

Categories: Build Process, Design, Friday FAQ | Posted: December 4, 2015

Question: What is “zoned” heating and cooling?

Answer: As a way to lower energy costs and enable a more comfortable and healthier indoor living spaces, builders separate areas of a home into smaller zones rather than one big space to heat and cool. In this scheme, smaller, more efficient heating and cooling equipment (furnaces, air conditioners, etc.) are responsible for smaller zones within the house; the warm or cool air generated by the equipment is distributed through metal ducts (or chases) only to its designated zone, thus reducing energy use and enabling more control over temperature and comfort in different areas of the house.

Stay tuned for a future blog on the Nest thermostat that 3 Pillar Homes uses in its model homes!


3 Pillar Homes is a custom home builder in Columbus, Ohio. For more information about our new homes, please visit one of our model home locations in Jerome Village, located at 10602 Arrowwood Drive, Plain City, Oh 43064 or in Lewis Center, located at 2360 Koester Trace Drive, Lewis Center, Ohio 43035. You can always contact us by phone at 614-286-0659.

Bonus Rooms: The Ultimate Flex Space?

Categories: Design | Posted: September 21, 2015

 

Who can’t use a little extra space in their home? The bonus room has become a desirable feature for new homebuyers. With one room that’s not designated for a particular purpose, you can create the functional space that best suits your lifestyle.

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How many ways can you use a bonus room?


Family/game room. If you’re tired of having toys, books, DVDs, and video game system controllers kicking around your living room, you might be ready for a family room or game room, where you can centralize the more active entertainment. Accent the space with storage spaces, like cabinetry and cubbies, to store the games and toys.


Home theater. A home theater allows you, your family, and your guests to kick back and enjoy a movie in the comfort of your home—without the high cost of tickets and concessions. Convert the bonus room by adding a large tv screen, a home theater system to deliver the audio quality, comfortable seating, and the right lighting (with dimmers, of course).


Craft space. Any crafter knows that the supplies somehow pile up and clutter makes it hard to be creative and productive. A craft room, art studio, or other creative space will have all the equipment, tools, and supplies where you can readily access and use them. Hang racks and build storage for paper, ribbons, fabrics, and yarn, or whatever your passion requires.


Man cave. The two words that can send a man into a euphoric daydreaming state. The man cave provides a private haven, where the man of the house can hide from the “Honey Do” list, enjoy a book or magazine without interruption, play poker, have the remote control all to himself, and just revel in his thoughts. A great use for a bonus room, the man cave might feature comfortable furniture (e.g., reclining sofa with cup holders), a poker or pool table, gaming system, music system, small fridge, and bar.


Home office. More people are working from home, either occasionally or full-time. A bonus room enables you to designate a home office space where you can either close yourself away to get work done, or close that work off from your personal life. The dividing line between work and living is essential to thriving in both. Make sure you can readily access the Internet from this room. And don’t forget the home office deduction on your income tax return!


Exercise room. When you have an exercise room or fitness center—as opposed to a treadmill tucked in a corner where it doubles as a clothes dryer—you’re more likely to utilize the value of the equipment. Install a television screen so you can entertain yourself or watch workout videos. Include a small fridge or a water dispenser to keep hydrated. Choose flooring that is both durable and easy to clean. Foam and rubber tiles provide the cushioning you need and are easily replaced when damaged.


Homework station. Avoid “The dog ate my homework” excuse when your students can organize their books and assignments in a homework station. In addition to a desk, computer, Internet access (with parental controls) and bookshelves, include bulletin boards for posting calendars, notes, and reminders. You can also use dry erase, chalkboard, or magnetic primer right on the walls to turn them into functional space. With dry erase and magnetic primer, you apply one coat and then cover with your choice of wall paint.


Guest room. A bonus room generally doesn’t include a closet, but for a guest room, you don’t need one. Just furnish the space with an armoire to allow them to hang up and store clothing. You can also use a day bed with underbed storage or a trundle bed to accommodate an extra guest.

3 Pillar Homes is a custom home-builder in Columbus, Ohio. For more information about our new homes, please visit one of our model home locations in Jerome Village, located at 10602 Arrowwood Drive, Plain City, Oh 43064 or in Lewis Center, located at 2360 Koester Trace Drive, Lewis Center, Ohio 43035. You can always contact us by phone at 614-286-0659