Tag Archives: remodeling

Is Marble Right for you…or your kitchen and bath?

Many of us love the look of marble for our kitchen and bathroom counter tops, but is it right for you in the long run?

Marble, although a beautiful and clean surface that can enhance just about any kitchen or bathroom (and sometimes can be a less expensive alternative), is very porous and is subject to staining as well as scratching, unlike its rival, granite.  A honed finish is found to be more durable than glossy, however maintenance and cleaning on a regular basis is a must if you want marble to work for you.

What’s good about marble, you ask?  The beautiful bright color and surface and elegance in the veining that cannot be achieved with most granite or other counter top selections.  Marble is naturally cool to the touch.  It is easily available at most local stone yards, and the more typical choices (Carrera) are typically less expensive than other natural stone counter tops (although choosing a more exotic color may cost you dearly).

Counter tops can be an expensive portion of the cost for your new home or renovation.  Make sure you do your research and choose what is best for you and your family, because you will be the one living with this decision, perhaps for quite a few years!

Let us know if you have any materials in question we can help with!

Advanced House Framing – The Pros and Cons

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What is Advanced House Framing, or what some term it: Optimum Value Engineering (OVE)?  OVE is a method of framing in order to reduce the amount of waste during residential home framing.  Structural values are not affected with the use of less lumber, while energy efficiency is boosted by the use of insulation, resulting in a higher R-Value overall.

Techniques of Advanced House Framing include:

  • Design floor and wall framing at 24” on center, rather than the standard 16” on center
  • In lieu of using studs for backing, install two-stud corner framing with drywall clips or scrap lumber (another example of eliminating waste)
  • Eliminate headers in non-load bearing walls
  • Utilize in-line framing in floor, wall and roofing areas (vertical to each other) to transfer the load downward

Cost savings in material and labor can be achieved by using this technique however, structural engineering must be utilized to ensure the installation will meet local and international residential and building codes.

The good, the bad, and the ugly…

Some advantages to OVE:

  • Lower material and labor costs (framing material)
  • Less environmental impact due to reduction of waste, and less disposal costs
  • Lower energy costs thanks to thermal bridging (additional insulation allows for fewer studs and rafters with increased R-value)
  • Less incidence of drywall issues, such as nail pops and cracking

The disadvantages of OVE:

  • Expect higher design and engineering costs
  • Expect potential issues with local building officials and inspectors due to the unorthodox design
  • If you hire a framer without experience in OVE, there is a potential for higher labor costs due to a learning curve
  • Although there are framing material savings, other material costs can increase including but not limited to: steel plates, drywall clips and subflooring
  • Some siding specifies nailers at 16” on center, making them incompatible with the 24” on center OVE framing
  • Energy savings are not significantly substantial, in some cases only resulting in an additional R-value of 1

When you are ready to start a new home build, or a remodel of your existing home, please take these tips and suggestions into consideration with your architect, engineer, building officials, and especially yourself.  An insignificant amount of lumber savings may result in higher costs in the long run, however it is up to your discretion whether the lessened environmental impact, a slightly more insulated house, and a home that is just as structurally sound as a standard framed home is more important to you, and worth the value.

References:

Musings of an Energy Nerd (2010).  www.greenbuildingadvisor.com/blogs/dept/musings/pros-and-cons-advanced-framing

Advanced House Framing (2012).  www.energy.gov.energysaver/articles/advanced-house-framing

Amanda Regelin, Sr. Project Manager (Residential and Commercial Divisions)

Please feel free to contact us at info@crownbuilds.com or 219-488-2400 for more useful tips, and don’t forget to view our latest projects at http://crownconstructionin.houzz.com/ and

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