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3 Pillar Blog

Blog Category - Building Success 101

Building Success

Categories: Build Process, Building Success 101, Newsletter | Posted: September 12, 2017

Q: What if you have a deadline?

A: Some homeowners come to the initial meeting wanting the job done by a certain date. They may want it finished in time to host a big event like a wedding or family reunion, or they may not want to pay construction loan interest any longer than necessary. These are important concerns, but making them the defining factor can cloud your choice of a contractor. It’s better to choose someone you have confidence in and trust, and then work together to establish a realistic schedule.

Building Success 101

Categories: Building Success 101, Design, Newsletter | Posted: August 23, 2017

Q: What’s the difference between a wood window and a clad window?

A: Window frames can be made from a variety of materials, including solid wood, composite or engineered wood, vinyl, aluminum or steel. Wood windows are very popular because, from the inside, they show an attractive, natural grain pattern that can be preserved and enhanced using a stain and varnish. On the outside, however, wood must be diligently maintained to protect it from the elements. So, most wood windows are clad, or covered and protected, by an aluminum or vinyl material molded to the shape of the outside section of the window frame, thus reducing maintenance chores and costs.

Building Success 101

Categories: Building Success 101, Design, Newsletter | Posted: August 8, 2017

Q: What is a cool roof?

A: A cool roof is just what it sounds like: a roof that stays cooler than a typical roof on a sunny summer day. This, in turn, keeps the attic from overheating and eases the burden on the air conditioner. Although many people think that a cool roof has to be white, new coating technologies let manufacturers build reflectance into a variety of colors.

Building Success 101

Categories: Build Process, Building Success 101, Newsletter | Posted: July 28, 2017

Q: What should I consider when evaluating homebuilding companies?

A: First, narrow your list of potential builders based on their direct experience with the type of house you want. Next, meet with each potential builder and be ready with questions that are important to you about their building process, communication skills, change order procedures, and past work. Make sure to get satisfactory answers. Also be prepared with a budget and a solid idea of what you want and share that information with each builder. Finally, look for a builder you like on a personal level; do your styles mesh? Do your personalities gel? It’s okay to go with your gut, as long as the company has the right skill set and track record to do the work.

Building Success 101

Categories: Building Success 101, Newsletter | Posted: July 14, 2017

Q: What is SEER?

A: SEER stands for seasonal energy efficiency ratio, or the cooling energy output of an air conditioner divided by the electrical energy it burns. The higher the number, the more efficient the equipment. For example, a new 15 SEER unit uses 33 percent less energy than an older 10 SEER model. All systems sold in the United States must have a minimum SEER of 13 or 14 depending on the region. The most efficient units have SEERs of 20 or more.

Building Success 101

Categories: Building Success 101, Design, Newsletter | Posted: June 30, 2017

Q: Should I demand a low-VOC exterior paint?

A: There are an increasing array of high-quality exterior paints formulated with low or no volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that can contribute to ozone depletion; in fact, VOC emission standards for paint started with exterior formulations. Still, VOC emissions indoors from paint and other finishes appear to be a bigger occupant health hazard than a quickly dissipated exterior paint is to depleting the ozone layer. Consult your builder and his painting contractor for recommendations.

Building Success 101

Categories: Building Success 101, Newsletter | Posted: May 23, 2017

Q: What’s the difference between green building and high-performance housing?

A: In practical terms, not a lot. High-performance housing is perhaps a broader term than green building, but the goals of greater natural resource and energy efficiency, durability, healthy indoor air, and comfort are similar. Green building may also incorporate elements such as resource management, recycling, and improved land use, but a “high-performance” house (or builder) likely considers those factors, as well.

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.

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.

Building Success 101

Categories: Building Success 101, Newsletter | Posted: March 15, 2017

Q: Can I buy my own fixtures?

A: In most cases, no. The brands and models that professional builders offer are those that have proven reliable and come with solid warranties. Items like toilets sold at home centers may be different than those sold to pros through plumbing distributors, even if they’re from the same manufacturer. The pro model will generally use higher quality parts and allow the builder to stand behind a product during the full warranty period.