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Thoughts and ideas from Wise Home Building team
You probably don't know how much water you use in your house
December 16, 2018 at 1:00 PM
by Rogerio DaSilva
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Water use in a house can adds up to about 140-150 gallons per household per day (or arounda 50 gallons per person per day). When we have some project to build a house that involves a well we calculate even more water spending: 75 gallons per person per day. Fortunately, saving water around the house is easier than you expect. 

Switching to water-saving fixtures and appliances can reduce water usage by at least 20%. The Environmental Protection Agency’s WaterSense website lists many water-saving products. You can also found a a list of efficient and water saving appliances - like dishwashers and washing machines - in the internet, from a lot of vendors

Newer bathroom fixtures and appliances like faucets, toillets and showerheads are produced to be more water-efficient than older models and can save you a lot if you use the city water. 

Just as an example, an older toilet use around 3-4 gallons per flush, whereas low flow modern toillets use 1.6 gallons or less. For the showerheads, we recommend not to exceed 2.5 gallons per minute - old models use at least 5 gpm. And you have to change your habits if you would like to save money: 50% decrease in your shower flow will not help if you spend a lot of time there.

Water efficient dishwashers can save you more than 5,000 gallons of water per year compared with washing dishes by hand (and use less than half as much energy, too). Just as a curiosity, hand wash your dishes can use up to 25-27 gallons if yo don;t turn your faucet off frequently. For these new machines we nomally count 6 gallons per load (old ones could use up to 16 gpm)

Newer washing machines models also handle much bigger loads of clothing with much less water. A full-sized ENERGY STAR-certified clothes washer uses around 13-15 gallons of water per load, compared to the 25 gallons used by a standard machine (some old machines spent in the past almost 40 gpm)

Deck renovations without site work stress
December 12, 2018 at 7:30 AM
by Rogerio DaSilva, Wise Home Building
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When dealing with deck additions and renovations one point is extremely difficult to address: the excavation needs to support the code rules to have a stable and strong foundation.

Decks causes of failure can vary from a bad connection with the house to a foundation block or post that is not designed to support that amount of weight. And to have a good foundation we have to dig a hole with huge machines sometimes. Not anymore.

Pin Foundations, Inc., manufacturer of the Diamond Pier, has been designing and manufacturing foundations for over 25 years. And their idea to design a better product is that the Earth is the actual foundation, and soils, in their natural undisturbed state, have the strength and structure to do the job.
 

That's why they designed Diamond Pier based on Pin Pile Technology. Pilings keep the Earth’s existing soil strength and structure intact and are easy to install if they do not need to go too deep. Traditional footings spread loads more widely, but the digging breaks apart the soil, weakening it and blocking or exaggerating water flow.
 

By grouping short bearing pins, which can easily be driven into intact penetrable soils, and setting them at angles to work more like a shallow footing, a sound foundation can be constructed that requires no excavation. This high-strength, precast component is a driving guide, a pin piling lock, and a structural connection all in one.
 

As a driving guide, the pier maintains the pin angles so that their capacity is definable and consistent. As a lock, the pier is designed to increase its grip on the pin cluster when loaded up, down, or side- ways—getting stronger and tighter as loads increase. And as a connection, an embedded anchor bolt and precast, post-matching shape make it a simple and proportional complement to its supported structure.
 

The Diamond Pier provides a solid, stable, economical foundation that both captures and preserves the supporting strength and natural functions of the Earth’s soil and, in turn, solidly and simply connects to and protects the permanent structures above.

The only limitation we have to use them appears when we deal with a rocky soil.

If you want more information about that, contact us.

The Wise Home Building Approach: Commitment to Customer Service & Quality
December 6, 2018 at 5:00 AM
by by Wise Home Building Co
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Deciding to build your own home is probably one of those exciting things that some people only dream of doing. This step is big and one you want to do right. Your home will be your most valuable asset, so it’s important to have everything done just the way you want. Securing a homebuilder who will deliver the best results is essential. However, with all the many home building contractors out there, how do you know who will be a good match for your project? 

What are some important qualities to look for in a homebuilder? Here are five characteristics to look for when you hire your contractor to build your dream home.

Confidence in the builder
To build a home from scratch is a complicated process. It's somewhat similar to a marriage. Just like with any marriage, there will be tests. The same can be said in the house building project. From the design process to materials, to subcontractors, this process will test you! That’s why you need a builder you can have confidence in — someone who is completely committed to walking this road with you through good times and bad and seeing it through until the end.

Quality
When you have your home constructed, you don’t want any corners cut. You want the best for your home. That means a contractor who is committed to quality artisanship and one who uses quality materials.

Cost-effective
Of course, everyone is concerned about the cost of their new home. That is to be expected. No one wants to pay a fortune, yet everyone wants a fantastic house. Some contractors may make it seem like you can’t have your dream house at a reasonable cost, but if you work with a conscientious contractor, you can have just that. The right homebuilder will know just how to find you significant savings on your new home without cutting corners. In other words, you can have that gorgeous house you want at a much better cost than you imagined if the contractor knows what he’s doing.

Innovation
When you have an innovative team, you won’t have to worry about wasted resources or a sluggish process. Now that you are ready to jump into the homebuilding project, you don’t want to wait a year or two to get it done. On average, most homebuilders take close to a year to complete building a home. However, with the right contractor, you can have your home built in much less time. In fact, you could see several months knocked off that time and have the job done in six months, without sacrificing quality.

Passionate about the work
When a homebuilder truly loves the work of building homes, then it is going to shine through. Having passion about the work makes such a big difference in the entire experience from beginning to ending. You will feel the real investment and energy that the contractor is putting into your home and this will make the process memorable. Plus, when someone is passionate about their work, they will do a better job.

If you are in the process of choosing your next homebuilder, then these qualities will be of importance in the selection process. At Wise Home Building, our homebuilder has these characteristics and more. Rogerio is passionate about building you a home you’ll love in the most cost-effective way. His research over the years has helped him develop unique strategies for homebuilding that save money without cutting quality.

Rogerio has a strong commitment to building homes you can be proud of. We walk alongside our customers throughout the duration of the project so you never feel alone. Wise Home Building is a compassionate and innovative building company, not just one more in the market. Our commitment is to help you realize your dreams. When you work with Wise Home Building, you will be impressed with the superb customer service and commitment to quality. You also have the option for a wide range of services including pre-design consultation, concept development, complete new home buildings, renovation, deck additions, landscaping, interior design, kitchen and baths remodeling, and more. Get in touch today to find out more.


Fun for your kitties at home (with a little charm)
December 3, 2018 at 8:00 AM
by Wise Home Building Co.
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Great ideals are not necessarily practical. Many people who think outside the box sometimes forget that in addition to having a fantastic idea what really matters is to make things happen, and preferably without much questioning who will see all that crazy stuff in the real world.

Architecture firm Because We Can, led by interior designer Jillian Northrup and her husband architect Jeffrey McGrew, transformed an under utilized room in a private residence into a highly functional and inspirational place to be (and work also). And also an inspirational tube for their cat run and hide. Northrup calls it “the fist step to greater cat mobility throughout the room”. The Cat Tube stretches around the room and gives the cat access to the top of the armoire. There’s also a couple of small windows that let you see where the cat is going. Enjoy the photos (from the website BecauseWeCan.org)

How long does it take a slab to dry out before flooring can be installed?
November 4, 2018 at 12:00 AM
by Wise Home Building Co
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This is a very important question. Moisture is a problem with fresh concrete slabs, and if you install your floor in a wet slab you will have a lot of problems in the future. 

Variables that affects the concrete moisture include:ambient relative humidity, concrete permeability, amount of water in the concrete when it is placed, slab thickness, presence (and thickness) of a vapor barrier in contact with the slab bottom, and method used to finish the surface.

Here you have the needs depending on the type of floor to be installed:

Impermeable flooring (Vynil, for example): Internal relative humidity around 85% or surface moisture–vapor emission rates (MVER) of 3-5 pounds of moisture per square-feet over 24 hours.

Wood floors: 75% internal relative humidity and an MVER of 3 pounds of moisture per square-feet over 24 hours (National Wood Flooring Association recommendation)

In practical terms, just remember that to achieve the recommendations it takes time. In normal average conditions (relative humidity around 50% most of the time and temperature above 65F, concrete water-cement ratio of 50%) a 4-inch slab can take up to 3 months to dry before you can apply a floor there. But remember that this 3 month period starts only when the cement is dry.

You have some specific tests for that, that are too technical to describe here. Just to mention, the calcium-chloride test and the internal relative humidity test are tow that can be applied for this evaluation.

One of the most important features is the vapor barrier/vapor retarder. Without a vapor barrier the slab will never dry out. That’s why the construction codes put the obligation to use a 6 mils vapor barrier there. The 10mils and also the 15 mils poly sheet can better control the moisture. The best location for the vapor barrier is in direct contact with the bottom of the slab.

If insulation is used over the concrete slab a 4-month drying time should be respected before installing the EPS (normally the EPS absorbs 0.5% by volume).

To have more detailed information about that you can click here and check the Concrete Construction magazine

3 Easy Ways to Seal Air Leaks
November 2, 2018 at 5:00 AM
by Wise Home Building Co.
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Good insulation is the secret for a comfy house. Remember that the winter is coming again (every year we have it), and if you suffered last year and forgot to revise your insulation remember to check these topics:

Insulate around recess lights

The majority of the recess lights have vents that open into the attic. This represents a direct route for heated or cooled air to escape. Some houses can have more than 50 fixtures like that, and some researchers already pinpointed them as the leading cause of air leaks. Lights labeled ICAT (Insulation Contact and Air Tight) are already sealed – look for the label next to the bulb. If you don’t see it, assume yours leaks. An airtight baffle is a quick, 10-second fix (normally they cost around 10-25 dollars). Remove the bulb, push the baffle up into the housing, then replace the bulb.

Progress Lighting P88-ICAT

Use the Foam in Medium-Size Gaps

Once the biggest attic gaps are fixed, move on to the medium-size ones. Low-expansion polyurethane foam in a can is great for plugging openings 1/4-inch to 3 inches wide, such as those around plumbing pipes and vents. A standard 12-ounce can ($5-6) is good for 250 feet of bead about 1/2-inch thick. The plastic straw applicator seals shut within two hours of the first use, so to get the most mileage out of a can, squirt a lubricant such as WD-40 onto a pipe cleaner and stuff that into the applicator tube between uses.

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Caulk small gaps

Caulk is the best gap-filler for openings less than 1/4-inch wide. Silicone costs the most ($8-9 a tube depending on the brand) but works better next to nonporous materials, such as metal flashing, or where there are temperature extremes, as in attics. Acrylic latex caulk (around $2 a tube) is less messy to work with and cleans up with water.

If you have some time this weekend and would like to study a little bit more about air sealing we recommend the Department of Energy website (https://www.energy.gov/). They have great information about how to save energy and also you can learn a lot in their SAVE ENERGY, SAVE MONEY section. Enjoy.

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Options for a house siding
October 10, 2018 at 5:00 AM
by Wise Home Building Co.
Siding Fiber Cement Wise Home Building

If you are working on your new house the siding material is a very important decision. Also remember to check your new home location – if you have a HOA (home owner association) you can have some limitations of the siding materials to put in your home. 

These are the most frequent types of siding used for home building:

Wood: is a pretty good option, but remember that the maintenance is high for some products. Prepare yourself to repair it in 5 – 10 years, or even before this period.People love it because of its beautiful and natural look. Commonly options are: pine, cedar, spruce, and redwood. You can either leave the wood in its natural state or paint it. You can also chose the profile for them (we will discuss it in other posts)

Vinyl:  is a synthetic material that has low maintenance, is durable and has a low cost for material and also labor. Extreme weather condition sometimes can damage the material – you will find some videos and pictures in the internet about the damage of vinyl siding with heavy sun exposure.

Fiber cement: usually created to mimic good quality wood sidings. It is a very reliable and durable solution. The labor cost for installation is higher, as the price of the siding itself. But you will save money for the long term because you will not have a high cost of maintenance.

Engineered Wood: Unlike vinyl or fiber cement, engineered wood actual contains real wood. They also offer a great warranty time (sometimes 20 to 30 years). It requires little maintenance, and can be a good choice for your project (more expensive than vinyl though).

Stucco: is a mixture of cement, lime or sand although it can be made using different recipes. The exterior is created by layering the mixture all over the house. It is not a good option for regions that have a high humidity environment. It is also very expensive to install.

Brick: one of the materials that have almost no maintenance. The problem is that the labor costs for installation are extremely high.

Metal: long lasting and durable, it does not rot or mold due to water damage. Some types of metal may rust if not well finished and maintained. Some people don’t like the aesthetic of metal siding, and also you can have limitations to use it because of the local HOA (if you have it already established).

Propane or Natural Gas: what is the best option for my home?
September 18, 2018 at 5:00 AM
by Wise Home Building Co
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Most people don’t understand the differences between natural gas and propane when thinking about energy source for a house. We will explain here the main concepts of both products.

Natural Gas

Natural gas occurs deep beneath the earth’s surface, and consists mainly of methane, a compound with one carbon atom and four hydrogen atoms. Natural gas also contains small amounts of other hydrocarbon and non-hydrocarbon gases, and today is one of the most clean sources of energy. Geologists who study the structure and processes of the earth are the ones that helps companies to locate the place on earth to find the rocks that are likely to contain natural gas deposits (some areas are on land and some are offshore and deep under the ocean floor). If a site seems promising, an exploratory well is drilled and tested. Once a formation is proven to be economic for production, one or more production (or development) wells are drilled down into the formation, and natural gas flows up through the wells to the surface. In the United States and a few other countries, natural gas is produced directly from shale and other types of rock formations that contain natural gas in pores within the rock. The rock formation is fractured by forcing water, chemicals, and sand down a well. This releases the natural gas from the rock, and the natural gas flows up the well to the surface. Wells drilled to produce oil may also produce associated natural gas.

Natural gas reach your house by a complex pipeline system, with different pressurization areas – you can read more about that clicking here. It is a cheap option compared with oil and electrical sources of energy.

Propane

Propane is a three-carbon alkane with the molecular formula C3H8. It is a gas at standard temperature and pressure, but compressible to a transportable liquid. A by-product of natural gas processing and petroleum refining, it is commonly used as a fuel. Propane is one of a group of liquefied petroleum gases (LP gases). The others include butane, propylene, butadiene, butylene, isobutylene, and mixtures thereof.

To use propane as your source of energy for your house you need a tank and an agreement with a company that will provide you the gas whenever is needed (some companies also provide a rental service).

Propane vs. natural gas BTU comparison

Propane contains more than twice the energy of natural gas – one cubic foot of propane = 2,516 BTUs (British Thermal Units), while one cubic foot of natural gas = 1,030 BTUs,.

Propane is much more efficient than natural gas. Just as an example, in one hour a 100,000 BTU natural gas furnace burns around 97 cubic feet, while a propane furnace burns only 40 cubic feet.

Propane vs. natural gas cost comparison

Most of New England’s gas is piped via New York from points south and west through a limited number of pipelines. The transport system is not built up to meet consumption levels in New England. The constraints are now becoming evident, particularly in the high-use winter season. On cold days, the “spot”, or daily market price, can go through the roof: on some days over the past few winters, it was twice as high in Boston as in New York.

You have to do some math if you want to find out what is the best option for your house. If the natural gas cost is $15.00 per 1,000 cubic feet, for example, the same $15.00 will purchase around one million BTUs. This is the equivalent of slightly over 11.20 gallons of propane. If propane costs $2.50 per gallon, in this example, natural gas is the cheaper alternative.

The difference between natural gas and propane

While they are similar in many aspects, natural gas and propane also have differences. Although propane is a fossil fuel, it’s a hydrocarbon and over 95 percent of the propane used in the US is produced in North America. Like oil and coal, natural gas also is a fossil fuel. Natural gas was created millions of years ago from ancient plants and animal matter which decayed under the pressure and heat underground on planet Earth. Natural gas is known as a “clean energy alternative,” since it’s clean-burning, producing less harmful emissions than other fossil fuels (oil and coal).

Although natural gas is a greenhouse gas when released into our environment, propane is not on the same level, as it has no toxicity to harm the environment. That’s why propane may be the better choice if you value “green fuel” more than greenhouse gases. Propane also is called “liquefied petroleum gas,” or LP gas for short, like natural gas, it’s odorless so processing adds an odor so people can detect its presence.

How to calculate the energy you need

You can work together with your engineer, but you can also finds some valuable information at the internet. The residential energy calculator in this website is a very good place to check it. You can use this calculator to compare natural gas versus other fuels and discover the environmental advantages of using natural gas in your home.

Remember to check your appliances

When planing for your final home setting remember the type of energy you will choose.  Appliances can work on either natural gas or propane, but the two are not interchangeable; each fuel source requires special gas utilization fittings. If you want to switch between the two, you’ll need a conversion kit for the appliances’ manufacturer for the installation process. For electric appliances like heaters, ovens or water heaters, there isn’t a conversion process; you’ll need to replace the appliance with one specifically made for natural gas or propane.

Gas explosions: understanding the complex system behind natural gas delivery
October 17, 2018 at 5:00 AM
by Wise Home Building Co
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In New England we were very worry about gas explosions that happened last week, and it is quite natural to become curious about WHY it happened. To better understand some possible source for the problem, we have to understand how the gas system works.

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The gas flowing from higher to lower pressure is the fundamental principle of the natural gas delivery systems. From the well, the natural gas goes into “gathering” lines, which are like branches on a tree, getting larger as they get closer to the central collection point. A gathering system may need one or more field compressors to move the gas to the pipeline or the processing plant.

From the gathering system, the natural gas moves into the transmission system, which is generally composed of about 272,000 miles of high-strength steel piper. These large transmission lines for natural gas can be compared to the interstate highway system for cars. They move large amounts of natural gas thousands of miles from the producing regions to local distribution companies (LDCs). The pressure of gas in each section of line typically ranges from 200 pounds to 1,500 pounds per square inch (psi), depending on the type of area in which the pipeline is operating. As a safety measure, pipelines are designed and constructed to handle much more pressure than is ever actually reached in the system. For example, pipelines in more populated areas operate at less than one-half of their design pressure level. Many major interstate pipelines are “looped” — there are two or more lines running parallel to each other in the same right of way. This is important to provides maximum capacity during periods of peak demand.

Another important part of the system are the compressor stations located approximately every 50 to 60 miles along each pipeline to boost the pressure that is lost through the friction of the natural gas moving through the steel pipe. The majority of the compressor stations are completely automated, so the equipment can be started or stopped from a pipeline’s central control room. The control room can also remotely operate shut-off valves along the transmission system. The operators of the system keep detailed operating data on each compressor station, and continuously adjust the mix of engines that are running to maximize efficiency and safety. Natural gas moves through the transmission system at up to 30 miles per hour, so it takes several days for gas from Texas to arrive at a utility receipt point in the Northeast. Along the way, there are many interconnections with other pipelines and other utility systems.

When the natural gas in a transmission pipeline reaches a local gas utility, it normally passes through a gate station. Utilities frequently have gate stations receiving gas at many different locations and from several different pipelines. Gate stations serve three purposes. First, they reduce the pressure in the line from transmission levels (200 to 1,500 pounds) to distribution levels, which range from ¼ pound to 200 pounds. Then an odorant, the distinctive sour scent associated with natural gas, is added, so that consumers can smell even small quantities of gas. Finally, the gate station measures the flow rate of the gas to determine the amount being received by the utility.

From the gate station, natural gas moves into distribution lines or “mains” that range from 2 inches to more than 24 inches in diameter. Within each distribution system, there are sections that operate at different pressures, with regulators controlling the pressure. Some regulators are remotely controlled by the utility to change pressures in parts of the system to optimize efficiency. Generally speaking, the closer natural gas gets to a customer, the smaller the pipe diameter is and the lower the pressure is. Distribution lines typically operate at less than one-fifth of their design pressure. Sophisticated computer programs are used to evaluate the delivery capacity of the network and to ensure that all customers receive adequate supplies of gas at or above the minimum pressure level required by their gas appliances. Distribution mains are interconnected in multiple grid patterns with strategically located shut-off valves. These valves minimize the need for customer disruption to service during maintenance operations and emergencies.

Natural gas runs from the main into a home or business in what’s called a service line. Typically, the natural gas utility is responsible for maintaining and operating gas pipeline and facilities up to the residential gas meter. All equipment and gas supply lines downstream of the residential meter are the responsibility of the customer. When the gas reaches a customer’s meter, it passes through another pressure regulator to reduce its pressure to under ¼ pound, if necessary. Some services lines carry gas that is already at very low pressure. This is the normal pressure for natural gas within a household piping system, and is less than the pressure created by a child blowing bubbles through a straw in a glass of milk. When a gas furnace or stove is turned on, the gas pressure is slightly higher than the air pressure, so the gas flows out of the burner and ignites in its familiar clean blue flame.

As you can see, the system is complex, and depends a lot of computers and physical connections, working at different pressure. We don’t know what causes the problem here in Massachusetts, but probably it was related with a high pressure entering a connection system within some pipe that was not prepare to absorb the pressure safely.

(Source: American Gas Association website)

Air-sealing starts at the basement
September 9, 2018 at 5:00 AM
by Wise Home Building Co.
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Air tightness is one of the most important area of focus in residential construction. Many builders think that achieving an air tightness number that is low enough to surpass the codes needs requires a significant increase in budget due to costly materials
and increased labor. But you can follow some simple steps that can work nicely.

Air-sealing starts at the basement
The air barrier starts below ground level under the building – remember this very important concept. The code requires builders to use a 6-mil poly barrier, but you can move to a 10-mil poly, which will be applied directly over the under-slab insulation. The 10-mil thickness withstands traffic better than the code-required 6-mil and prevents
damage. During the installation all the seams are lapped and can be taped to ensure an airtight installation. When it’s available it is better to use a continuous piece of poly. If a passive radon vent needs to be installed be aware that this pipe has to go up to the roof, and this part of the job can be a leak area in the future.

Another option – but with additional costs for you – is to include some insulation in the basement floor. It can be a recycle option or common brand products that can be installed in 4″ x 8′ panels, mainly if you are planning a finish basement for some play room or office there.

Air-sealing the connection between the concrete and framing

An important area to be sealed is the connection between the concrete wall and the framing base. When it comes to sealing the sill plate to the slab you normally use the standard foam sill sealer required by code as a capillary break below the pressure-treated sill. You can also add two beads of sealant, but in our opinion is it important to add other sealants. The products are supposed to have a long service life and you have a lot of brands in the market.

Other concepts are very important also to complete your air sealing, and we will be discussing the concepts in other posts in the future

Basement Egress…With Charm
September 6, 2018 at 5:00 AM
by Wise Home Building Co.
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Due to local laws, having a basement egress is an obligation all builders must abide by. Not a lot of these systems are nice–let’s be frank, here. But all of them don’t have to follow this same pattern of complacency. Some systems can be clean, elegant, practical, unique, they can fit your style and all while complying with the codes and regulations at the same time.

Photo credit: http://www.casailb.com/unique-basement-egress-window/basement-egress-window-ideas/

Boman Kemp egress systems are a great way to turn your basement into an additional living space that’s both attractive and safe. They increase the natural light that spills in through windows and aids in ventilation. Not to mention they provide safe escape routes that are up to code. These egress systems can come in a variety of styles, colors, materials, and shapes. What will yours look like?

For more information about Boman Kemp window/egress systems, click here.

Interactive Intelligent House
September 5, 2018 at 5:00 AM
by Wise Home Building Co.
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Imagine this: your home warms before you rise, the song you’ve been obsessing over builds into existence early in the morning, the shades slide up and fresh sunlight spills into your room. No, this isn’t a movie scene, it isn’t Tony Stark’s new tower, nor is it the new TV series persuading us that only billionaires can live comfortable lives. This is a dream brought to life. What does your dream home look like? Let us help you make it a reality.

Illustration from Arya Systems webpage (https://www.ariasystems.com)

Of course, technology is expensive, but it’s doable, reliable and depending on your dream lifestyle, worth it. Intelligent homes are, in short, houses with “appliances, lighting, heating, air conditioning, TVs, computers, entertainment audio and video systems, security, and camera systems that are capable of communicating with one another and can be controlled remotely by a time schedule, from any room in the home, as well as remotely from any location in the world by phone or internet” (Smart Home https://www.smarthomeusa.com/smarthome/.

These intelligent homes can do a multitude of things, including but not limited to:

Giving you the ability to control lights using your Apple Watch, cell phone, or other electronic device.

Giving you the ability to control your bath and water system before arriving at home.

Playing your favorite songs when you wake up.

Opening your shades.

Exterior lights automatically fading on and off at customizable times of day.

Playing music when prompted, like while cooking.

Quick-Commands (a short phrase or word you select to be the trigger for a series of specific tasks) can prepare your home for dinner with friends. For example: saying or selecting (depending on your system) “prepare for dinner” could turn on a specific song or playlist, the lighting would change, your driveway lights would turn on, and other little surprises as well.

Good morning and good night functions can do whatever you want to save money for example (decreasing and increasing the air conditioning use has been done).

Savant is a company that specializes in lighting home experiences (for more info, click here). Products like Wink Hub 2 are designed to provide a hub for the integration of all your home features such as lighting, sound systems and security cameras all while maintaining affordable prices.

It’s a whole new world, but in our opinion, it’s one to look forward to and one that’s here to stay.

Air leaking can cost you a lot of money
August 30, 2018 at 5:00 AM
by Wise Home Building Co.
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“The devil is in the details”. Probably you listen this phrase before, don’t you? In in home construction it is not different: some details during the building can cost homeowners a lot of money in the future.

SprayFoam photo2 Wise Home Building

Insulation is one of the most important topics when you are planing your house building. We have clear rules dictated by the codes in place, but you also have to decide among a lot of options that contractors present you: fiberglass batts and blankets, cotton batts, rockwool batts and blankets, blown-in cellulose, open and closed cell spray foam, among others (you can find a list of different types of insulation clicking here).

Despite the importance of the R-values to pass the inspection, also you have to remember that air leaks are very important for your to have an energy efficient house. Air leaking into your attic, for example, could be costing you money—from 15 – 20% of a home’s heating and cooling energy is lost due to air leaks normally. A single 2″ hole can draft expensive heated air into your attic and suck cold air in around your windows and doors. And you don’t want to waste lots of money just because of that, do you?

Thinking of your ceiling as a solid surfaces is a big mistake: the truth is that ceiling leaks air into unfinished attic spaces through a lot of gaps and openings:

  • ceiling panels
  • pipes
  • chimneys
  • electrical wiring
  • heating and air conditioning ducts
  • access hatch

Air leaks have a chimney-like effect on the insulation of houses. When leaks exist in the attic, warm air from the living areas is funneled upward and out through the roof. As this upward suction occurs, cold air that enters the house – through leaks in the basement, for example – is funneled through the ground floor into the living quarters.

To avoid this air leak you need a caulk, tape or a spray foam (a lot of brands are there in the market). You have to seal all possible spaces that can leak air from your main living area to your attic. It is a time consuming process but not an impossible work for you. If you prefer, hire a specialized contractor to help you on that (at least to test if your house is leaking air to your attic).

The EnergyStar.gov website has a lot of good information that can help you decide if you need to improve your insulation to save money in electrical bills. It will also help our environment.

Save money with roof trusses
August 28, 2018 at 5:00 AM
by Wise Home Building Co.
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With the decreasing availability of large structural lumber work with trusses for your roof construction can save you money and also comply with all structural needs for your project. The length of lumber subject to bending stress are broken into smaller sections, and that’s the main reason you can work with cheaper lumber products. But take care of some extra costs when doing trusses for your roof.

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You have a lot of types of truss designs, and during the design of your project you have to adapt all your load needs. The maximum allowable span depends on the type of wood you are using in your construction (Southern Pine, Douglas-Fir and Spruce Pine-Fir – also known as SPF – are the most common) and also on the pitch of the top cord.

You have some places in the internet to help you on calculating the allowable span for trusses in your project. Click HERE to redirect you to one of these websites.

A final message: remember that in the majority of the houses you will be building with roof trusses you’ll need a crane to help one the truss installation. The costs will vary from region to region, and for a house around 2,500 sf, ranch style, you will need at least 8 hours of crane work if you have a trained team to installed them. Don’t forget to include this cost in your project.

Keep in mind these numbers in your design
August 25, 2018 at 5:00 AM
by Wise Home Building Co.
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Sometimes we see dwellings with old designs that looks really strange. Kitchens that are very difficult to use, boots that do not fit in the closet, and windows that are to high or too low. Here are some important numbers to remember:

  • Windows – 38 / 42

Window heights are important on both inside in outside. From an outside view the ideal is to align the top heights of the windows and exterior door, mainly in the main entrance (ideally for the entire building). Sill heights of windows adjacent to furniture or counters should be at least 42″. View windows sill should not exceed 38″

  • Closets – 24 / 36

Plan to allow at least 36″ of closet pole per occupant, with a hanger depth of at least 24″. Remember that an ambient is only consider a bedroom if you have a closet there – so, provide at least one closet for each room. You can add closets near front and rear entrances (for coats and shoes also, in case you have ancillary entrances for a mud room), a linen closet an at least one generous walk-in closet in the main bedroom.

  • Passageways: 36 / 40

Width are dictate by the needs to move large furniture. For stairs, landings, main and minor hall, interior and exterior doors the minimum is 36″ but we recommend at least 40″ to have good room for movement. Basement doors need a minimum of 36″ but ideally use 48″

  • Kitchen work aisle: 42 / 48

The width of a work aisle should be at least 42″ for one cook and at least 48″ for multiple cooks. You need to measure it between the counter frontage, tall cabinet and the appliances. Also have in mind that the passageway close to the working aisle should be at least 36″

  • Shower size: 30 / 36

The recommended size is 36″ x 36″ with a minimum of 30″ x 30″. If a person with disabilities will live in the house you need to revise the ADA of 1990 (Americans with Disabilities Act) – Appendix A of page 36 – that specifies all the needs for this population. We will do a post on this specific topic soon.

5 Creative Ideas to Increase your Home Value
August 23, 2018 at 5:00 AM
by Wise Home Building Co.
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  1. Automated blinds: this is not only luxury – installing smart blinds represents one of the most economical options to save energy. You can also set a timer remotely, and also synchronize them with your HVAC system to have the best energy efficient system (and decrease your monthly bill).
    MySmartBlind® mobile access
    1. Front door smart locks: many people are impressed by advertisements of having your child opening the front door using his mobile phone, miles away from your house, when you forget them in any other place and can’t find it. You have some cheap options to choose, and of course other complex and more expensive systems that are also integrated with life cameras.
    2. Sprinkler system for lawn irrigation: it is a difficult decision to make when you are working with your landscape, I have to admit. Normally the landscape is the last phase of a building process (in new homes), and during that time you already spend more than you expected. So…you will think that a sprinkler will be a waste of money. Until you have the first or second dry summer, and your grass was gone. Plan to have a good system installed in your house – it will also help you a lot to increase your home price when you sell it.
    3. Home security system: one of the fastest-growing section in this area. The majority of the systems we have in the market now are connected with mobile phones, and you can find affordable prices even for more sophisticated and advanced systems. In big cities – specifically in some neighborhoods – they are considered a must-have (even if it’s only to see if your Amazon delivery arrived safely)
    4. Smart home hub: this is a must-have if you are planing to increase the value of your house to attract millennial and gen-Z buyers. A hub works like the brain of your house: it connects all different devices (thermostats, alarms, appliances, sound systems, windows, among others). A tech-savvy buyer will be specially impressed if you have your house in the market and can provide this system as a plus in your listing.
DIY: How to build a Flagstone Wall in your yard
August 22, 2018 at 5:00 AM
by Wise Home Building Co.
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Flagstone is a type of is a generic flat stone, usually used for paving slabs or walkways, patios, fences and roofing. Flagstone is usually a form of a sandstone composed of feldspar and quartz and is arenaceous in grain size (0.16 mm – 2 mm in diameter). The material that binds flagstone is usually composed of silica, calcite, or iron oxide. The rock color usually comes from these cementing materials. Typical flagstone colors are red, blue, and buff, though exotic colors exist.

These type of slim stones stacked into a low wall make an attractive way to delineate space and add a sense of structure to a landscape. you can use it in the front or backyard (most frequently they are designed for the backyard areas).

Remember the differences in stone thicknesses make it almost impossible to build a flagstone wall with an exact horizontal top and a perfect edge. It’s much easier to fit the flagstones without regard to thickness, and then choose flat pieces to create a level top. Low walls also can provide additional seating or a platform on which to display potted plants.

How to build a simple flagstone wall:

  • Dig a trench a couple of inches deep and wide enough to accommodate the flagstones.
  • Fill with pea gravel and/or sand and tamp to make level. A depth of 2″- 4″ is more than enough to have a good drainage
  • Lay out the flagstones to see their shapes and sizes, and try to imagine how they will be pile up in the final wall.
  • Stack the smaller stones first.
  • Save the largest, prettiest flagstones for the top layer.
  • Backfill with gravel (3/4 to 5/8 inch size)

If you are planning to have a great finish choose a stone of consistent thickness. Flagstone might be limestone, sandstone, shale — any rock that splits into slabs.

The cost? Be ready to spend between $300 – $500 for stones and sand for a wall 10-12 feet long and 1 foot tall. Of course the price here depends on the region you are buying the materials. Big stores like Home Depot or Lowe’s have plenty of options with good prices.

Wood vs. Water
August 20, 2018 at 5:00 AM
by Wise Home Building Co.
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We’ve all heard about the problems that can arise when wood and water make contact. If you’ve ever had to fix your wood flooring or work in a renovation site, you know what we mean. Here’s the good news: Innovation is finally here to prove that not all interactions between water and wood are harmful.

Accoya project in a bathroom in Sao Paulo, Brazil – Source of the picture – click here

Leading institutes around the world (including in New Zealand, Sweden Malaysia, Indonesia, the USA, the UK, the Netherlands, and Japan) have conducted extensive laboratory and fields tests which have resulted in showing that acetylated Accoya® wood performance is strong and reliable, especially when it comes to water resistance.

What is the meaning of acetylated wood? Acetylation chemically modifies wood, making it stronger, more durable,  and far less susceptible to shrinking and swelling in various atmospheric conditions. All the chemicals used in acetylation are  found naturally in wood, making the process ‘green’ and eco-friendly.

Unmodified wood contains ‘free hydroxyl groups’ which absorb and release water as weather conditions change. It’s this quality that makes standard wood susceptible to shrinking and swelling, especially when used for outdoor purposes, such as cladding, window frames, and door frames. It’s this movement of wood leads to splitting and rotting.

Treated Accoya® wood has been thoroughly tested for dimensional stability, durability, paint retention, and in-ground conditions to ensure optimal performance. It’s so reliable that for years scientists have been using it as the benchmark with which other wood treatments and modifiers are measured and compared.  Accoya® producers ensure that every batch of wood is consistent in quality and reaches the highest of performance standards. With such strong scientific credentials, Accoya® is guaranteed for 50 years when used above ground and 25 years for below ground applications.

Explore more of the beauty behind Accoya® wood applications around the world, here.

Keep the quality on your roof edges
August 20, 2018 at 5:00 AM
by Wise Home Building Co.
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APA – The Engineered Wood Association has a lot of useful information for builders in their website, and here we will share a very important tip: how to choose your panels for soffit applications.

Quality APA panels are a great alternative to other materials used in soffit applications. There is a variety of APA face grades from which to choose. Selecting the appropriate panel depends primarily on whether the soffit is open or closed.

For appearance purposes in open soffit construction, you have to provide adequate blocking, tongue-and-groove edges, or other edge support such as panel clips. Minimum capacities are at least 30 psf live load, plus 10 psf dead load.

For open soffit construction (figure 1), panels designated Exposure 1 may be used.

Exterior panels should be used for closed soffits (Figure 2).

In open and closed soffit construction where Exposure 1 sheathing is used for roof decking, you have to protect panel edges against direct exposure to the weather with fascia trim.

Finishing. Although unsanded and touch-sanded grades of plywood are often used for soffits, optimum appearance and finish performance is achieved by using panels with Medium Density Overlay (MDO), or textured (such as APA 303 Siding) or sanded A-grade faces. Top-quality acrylic latex house paint systems perform best and are the only systems recommended for A-grade faces.

You can find more information in the APA website: www.apawood.org/

Home innovations improving life quality
by Wise Home Building Co.
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This is really amazing. Many people with disabilities have a lot of difficulties to independently move from one place to another. Mainly inside their houses. Now this company is advertising some products that can be a game changing in the mobility for these people.

In USA the company has the name of Sure Hands and you can find more info in their website. It can be used for bath, bed and toilet use, to access the tub, to get in and out of a swimming pool and also be used in some treatments like horseback riding.

All installations of the track for ceiling lifts, wall lifts, and pool lifts, are done by a Sure Hands authorized and experienced installer. They ensure the proper and safe placement of the lift system. Through rigorous planning and preparation the installation is done with minimal disruption. The contact for more information is +1 (800) 724-5305

You can check more info about this product also in the Handi-Move (the original company that developed this system) clicking HERE