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    Category: Spec Homes


    Spec Homes | Sound Home Resource Center - March 11, 2019 by admin

    The popularity of cedar roofs continues, despite the lesser quality in the product. The need for periodic roof treatments and costly replacements occur in as little as eight to fifteen years. This, in combination with the fact that the cedar used for these roofs is 200 to 600 years old and not being replanted, suggests to me that the time of cedar roofs may have passed, especially in light of the many alternative superior products. See The Ongoing Cedar Shake Roofing Dispute.

    The cedar siding used in today's spec. homes is often only half an inch thick and produced of flat grained and tight knot material. Such siding, in order to last, will have to be re-nailed, caulked, and re-stained or painted within two to five years after the construction of the house. My current favorite siding products are the concrete composite systems such as Hardi Board.

    The soil around the perimeter of the house and the subsequent landscaping with the associated bark soil covering, often results in soil-wood contact. When siding or framing of the house is in constant contact with the soil, it will likely result in wood damage from mold, bacteria, or insects. Use pressure treated lumber on all decks, and other locations where lumber will continually be wet, and unable to regularly dry out.

    While most of the fixtures and surfaces in the bathrooms of today's spec. homes are of good quality, some attention to construction practices and subsequent maintenance is important in this area of the house. In bathrooms where tile is used for the tub or shower walls, most spec. builders use a "waterproof drywall" as a substrate for the tile. While this product is an improvement over regular plaster or drywall, it is not an ideal substrate for tile in a wet situation. Regular inspection of the grout lines for cracks and deterioration should be performed, and careful use of silicone caulk is recommended for repair of cracked grout lines. In those bathrooms where fiberglass tubs, fiberglass tub walls, and plastic laminate is used, it is important to avoid the use of any types of abrasive cleaners.

    Interior wall surfaces may require some early cosmetic upgrading. It is not unusual to find a few hairline cracks, especially at doorways and above window corners, and some plasterboard nail pops or corner bead cracking. While such defects are usually not a sign of structural problems, they are deceptively hard to correct. Once the damaged area has been re-nailed, taped and re-spackelled, very skillful re-texturing will have to be performed in order to avoid "bald" or "over textured" spots. It is also not unusual for hairline cracks to reappear over time, since the basic cause of these cracks is due to some continuous movement in the framing of the house. An alternative method of repairing such cracks is the careful use of latex caulk prior to the painting. The elasticity of this material may provide a longer lasting solution.

    Many spec. homes are heated with medium efficiency gas furnaces. Given today's fuel costs, this is a very reasonable way to heat Pacific Northwest homes. While most of these furnaces are reliable and give the appearance of operating well without any service for a long period of time, they are complex mechanical devices and should be serviced every one to three years. The high efficiency gas furnaces, those with a rating above 90% in efficiency, are even more complex systems and require service every year. See the topic page on Heating Your Home.

    While most of the kitchen appliances are of good quality, there is a tendency by some spec. builders to save a few dollars and install a recirculating, ventless hood over the stove. Such hoods are of no value in exhausting any excess moisture from the kitchen. They also provide very low quality air filtration from the kitchen. Their only benefit seems to be that they can usually contain a light bulb, which helps to illuminate the stove top.

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    Spec Homes | Sound Home Resource Center

    Custom vs. Semi-Custom vs. Spec Homes - February 16, 2019 by admin

    When it comes to building new homes, we generally split our services into three categories:

    Each has their advantages and disadvantages, and deciding the best route to take depends entirely on your needs, budget, time, and desire to control the details. To get started, lets take a look at what makes a new home truly custom.

    A custom home project is one where you work directly with a homebuilder (and possibly your own architect) to design, plan, and select every single detail about the homes construction, layout, and finish. And when we say everything, we mean EVERY-THING. Youre responsible for selecting everything from the number of bedrooms to the color of the doorknobs.

    As such, custom homes are perfect for people who enjoy a detail-oriented process and generally are not willing compromise on their vision.

    At a high level, heres an example of the types of decisions you can expect to be responsible for if you choose to build a custom home:

    Generally, we try to make the home selection process simple by creating what we call allowances, which means we set aside a specific amount of money for a certain item such as flooring. For instance, you might have a flooring allowance of $2,000 for high-end LVT flooring. As long as you dont exceed that allowance when picking your floors, you stay on budget and the overall cost of your home doesnt fluctuate.

    Sometimes, a homebuilder might lower their estimates by basing allowances on the price of less expensive, builder-grade selections. Later, if you decide you dont like your choice of flooring, lighting, and plumbing selections, youll be upcharged to get what youactually want. This could inflate your initial estimate by $10,000 or more!

    We dont do that.

    When we figure allowances, we have our customers actually look at samples in order to make an informed decision before we price the home. This way there are no surprises, and you leave knowing exactly how much your dream home is really going to cost.

    Like all things middle-of-the-road, semi-custom homes often offer homebuyers the best of both worlds, perfectly situating them between the ease of purchasing a move-in-ready home and the complexity of designing one from scratch.

    Usually, semi-custom home construction happens like this: A homebuilder has a library of designs theyre familiar with and can economically source materials for. From this list, you select a plan that meets your expectations and fits your familys needs. Then, you work with your homebuilder to customize the homes selections, materials, and finishes.

    If you have a clear vision for your new home but arent interested in spending the time and money needed to fully customize it, a semi-custom home might be perfect for you.

    We eliminate a lot of tedious choices in order to make the customers decision-making easier. For example, on a semi-custom home, we might show a homebuyer six preselected door styles that are most popular with other homebuyers. This cuts down on a lot of the noise that can come about during the custom home process. Whereas, on a custom build, we might go through a 300-page catalog with the homebuyer to select a door.

    Phil Reinbrecht on Semi-Custom Homes

    If you want a tailored home, fast we can price an entire semi-custom home in as little as an hour. On the other hand, a custom home usually requires several meetings, a trip to a designer or architect, and a few weeks to get the plans finished (plus an additional two weeks to calculate final sale price).

    When resources are available, its common practice for homebuilders to build move-in-ready homes on new lots. These homes, which are known in the homebuilding industry as speculative (or spec for short) are built with the average homebuyer in mind.

    Spec home designs are accommodating and outfitted with selections that appeal to just about everyone, which is the whole point. If you know you want a new home, but arent interested in the process of customizing one from scratch, then you should look into buying a spec home.

    Plus, since spec homes are designed to sell, they make excellent investments in case you need to move in the future.

    When deciding the new home route thats best for you, its important to keep an open mind. Explore all your options and choose a project-style that checks all your boxes without breaking your budget.

    Lets recap your options:

    Building a Custom Home: The homebuyer has near total control of the homes layout, look, and feel. Custom homes tend to take longer to build and are generally more expensive than pre-built homes, but the end result is a true expression of the homeowners style and priorities.Building a Semi-Custom Home: The homebuyer selects an existing plan in their homebuilders wheelhouse and customizes the look and feel of the interior and exterior.Buying a Spec Home: A move-in ready home built by the homebuilder to meet the needs of the average person. Spec homes are cost-effective ways to get a new home at a good price.

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    Custom vs. Semi-Custom vs. Spec Homes