Category Archives: Building a House

How “Green” are Your Bamboo Floors?

0
Filed under Bamboo, Building a House, Flooring, Home Construction, Home Maintenance, Laminate flooring, Remodeling, Uncategorized, Wood Flooring
Tagged as , , , , , , , , ,

If you perform a quick internet research of the greenest flooring materials on the market, bamboo is likely to pop up at the top of the list.  There are several reasons for this.  First of all, bamboo is a grass that grows much faster than trees do.  This makes it a renewable resource.  Another plus is that unlike trees, bamboo does not need to be replanted because the harvesting procedure leaves the plant’s roots intact.  A benefit to the plant’s root system is that it holds the soil in place, preventing erosion.  If grown in its natural habitat, the need for watering, fertilizer and pesticides is minimal, if not nonexistent.  In addition, bamboo absorbs carbon at a higher rate than most trees tend to.

As you likely realize, Bamboo is a plant that is not native to the United States.  In fact, the vast majority of Bamboo that is used in flooring is grown in China.  A disturbing trend has been deforestation to accommodate the growth of more bamboo.  This means that animals that rely on the forest for food and habitat are displaced.  While bamboo does not require fertilizer, some growers are turning to it as a way to increase their crop size.  Another hush-hush topic surrounding the growth and manufacturing of bamboo is worker treatment.  Because the bulk of bamboo is shipped in from overseas, there is no fair trade certification to guarantee that workers are paid equitably and that conditions are safe.  In most cases, bamboo flooring is priced similarly to hardwoods even though bamboo grows much faster in rural China, which indicates that a profit is being made, though it’s unclear if the workers are getting a share of it.

Once the raw material arrives at the factory, the bamboo undergoes a manufacturing process to transform it into flooring.  As part of the production process, the bamboo is laminated and sometimes the adhesive used in the process contains formaldehyde.  This creates a problem for the environment because some of the formaldehyde is emitted into the air causing pollution.  It’s vital that the final product is tested to ensure that it meets the Greenguard and LEED standard of no more than .05 parts per million of formaldehyde or your home’s indoor air quality is at risk.  Some companies use volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in place of formaldehyde which can also have detrimental effects to your health, as VOCs have been proven to cause cancer in animals and the same is believed to be true in humans, though further research is required.

Once the product is finished, it is transported to the US (usually via boat) and then trucked to a supplier or big box store.  Stop and think for a moment about the amount of fuel and carbon emissions it takes just to get this far in the process.  The material itself is recognized by the Forest Stewardship Council as meeting the criteria for social responsibility and sustainability, but one must question themselves, is the transportation required truly classified as “sustainable”?

To conclude, if you’re choosing to go with bamboo floors in your home exclusively because of their green benefits, it’s vital that you research where and how it is being grown and manufactured both for the vitality of the environment and of your family.

Lindus Construction offers free no-obligation estimates on home remodeling projects. Call us now at 1-800-873-1451 or check us out on the web at www.lindusconstruction.com to schedule a free in-home estimate. Tune into AM 830 WCCO on Saturdays from 9:00-10:00am hosted by Denny Long and Andy Lindus to ask questions regarding your home improvement projects.

houzz

 

Sneaky Ways Builders are Cutting Corners

0
Filed under Builder Grade Materials, Building a House, Construction, GAF Roofing, Home Maintenance, Lindus Construction, Uncategorized, www.lindusconstruction.com
Tagged as , , , , , , , , ,

Sadly, there are a lot of shady businesses out there and, as a result, watchdog websites like Google Reviews, GuildQuality, the Better Business Bureau and Angie’s List are thriving.  Dishonest businesspeople can be found in every industry so it’s important to protect yourself to make sure you’re working with someone trustworthy by doing your homework prior to hiring them.  Even if someone checks out on paper, it’s important to educate yourself on ways that you can be taken advantage of in order to protect yourself to avoid costly lessons.  An important fact to note is that a bulk of the components of reliable construction are things the general consumer is not privy to and may not even be able to see.

Be aware of the following ways that a builder can take advantage of an over trusting homeowner.

Bait & Switch

A roof, is a roof, is a roof, right?  WRONG!  During an initial sit-down, a contractor can promise you quality materials but when it comes time for the actual install, cheaper materials may be substituted.  Something like this can be hard to detect until a few years down the road when materials start aging prematurely and you’re stuck with the cost of installing a new roof.  Make sure that if you’re promised high quality materials that you’re being delivered the goods you agreed to.  As a homeowner, you have the right to carefully look over any materials before and after installation to make sure the work appears to have been done correctly and according to the terms you agreed to.  Don’t be afraid to question anything that seems off.  A reputable company has nothing to hide and will be happy to answer any questions you have.

Bogus Work

Sometimes, it’s not always possible to verify whether additional work will be needed until a project commences.  For example, a contractor who is in process of installing new flooring could find that some of the subflooring is rotten.  Upon discovering this, the homeowner should be alerted and should be responsible for paying for the additional work.  However, red flags should go up anytime a contractor continuously nitpicks and constantly presents issues that require additional funds.  They could, in fact, be trying to pad their bill by fixing things that aren’t broken.  Don’t be afraid to get a second opinion for excessive requests to perform additional work that were not part of your original agreement.

Incorrect Installations

Shady home builders under a time crunch may be using the cheapest, and therefore, most inexperienced subcontractors to get their work done.  Manufacturers dictate the parameter their roofing needs to be installed (nail/staple size, crown width, nails per shingle, etc.)  This ensures that the roofing lasts as long as it is supposed to.  An incorrectly installed roof may not be immediately evident, but sooner than later, it may start showing premature signs of wear.  If this happens, a manufacturer is unlikely to warranty the roof because they will fault the installer.  The installer, if you can track them down, they will not have ill consequences because you do not have a warranty in writing from them.  North America’s largest roofing manufacturer, GAF, will come out inspect GAF roofs after installation to make sure the roof was installed correctly.  This protects the homeowner and the contractor if the roof ages prematurely.

Subpar Materials

To many, the term “builder grade” implies something with enough quality that a builder would use it.  The name is a bit misleading since builders are technically using them but by no means are builder grade materials the crème de la crème.  In most cases, builder grade materials are just of average quality and are pre-built and mass-produced.  Research and understand the materials that are used in your home.  While some extra money upfront to pay for quality materials may seem like an inconvenience, it is money well spent when you don’t have to replace your current windows, roofing, siding, etc. sooner than you should have to.

 

Lindus Construction offers free no-obligation estimates on new home & home remodeling projects. Call us now at 1-800-873-1451 or check us out on the web at www.lindusconstruction.com to schedule a free in-home estimate. Tune into AM 830 WCCO on Saturdays from 9:00-10:00am hosted by Denny Long and Andy Lindus to ask questions regarding your home improvement projects.

houzz

The Down Low on Hot Roofs

1
Filed under Building a House, ceilings, Construction, Home Maintenance, Hot Roof, Insulation, Lindus Construction, Roofing, Roofing Installation, Spray Foam
Tagged as , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Traditionally in the Midwest, homes are insulated with fiberglass or cellulose insulation.  However, a newer trend being seen in homes is the use of spray foam insulation.  Just as the name implies, this type of insulation comes in spray cans. It’s a combination of resin and chemicals such as polyurethane & isocyanides.   As the insulation is sprayed, it expands and fills up the entire area it is being applied to.  The term “hot roof” comes in because the spray foam insulation is being affixed directly to the roof sheathing which removes the need for ventilation.

How Do Hot Roofs Differ From Traditional Roofs

Attics typically have an insulated floor and have ventilation.  Air from outside is permitted to come in through the soffits and exit through the top of the roof which creates a cold attic during the winter months.  This method is intended to deter ice dams by keeping the roof cooler. When your attic is filled with spray foam insulation to create a hot roof, your attic’s temperature rises because the thermal envelope is shifted to the underside of your roof because ventilation is not present.

Hot Roofs & Roofing Warranties

Industry studies show that shingle temperature is only raised by a few degrees with a hot roof.  However, these few degrees can lower shingle lifespan by up to 10% and cause shingles to fade.  GAF, North America’s largest manufacturer of residential and commercial roofing, offers a “Golden Pledge” warranty which covers roofing material and labor for 50 years.  This warranty is not pro-rated.  However, those with a hot roof are not eligible for GAF’s highest level of warranty because a hot roof does not have the insulation standards that their asphalt shingles were designed for.  Before moving forward with a hot roof, check with your roofing manufacturer to make sure that doing so will not void your roofing warranty.  Be sure to check with your city to see if they have restrictions on hot roofing before proceeding with your project.

Perks of a Hot Roof

The unit of measurement for insulation is called the “R-Value”. The R-value measures how well insulation is able to resist heat going through it. The bigger the R-value, the better it will insulate your home.  A hot roof contains the highest R-Value because there are no chances for air to leak.  If the attic contains ductwork, it won’t need to be insulated because there is no energy loss.  A hot roof prevents energy loss and can lower your utility bills.

Am I Allowed to Have a Hot Roof? 

In the state of MN, the following cities PROHIBIT Hot Roofs:

  • Apple Valley
  • Delano
  • Eagan
  • Eden Prairie
  • Hopkins
  • Lakeville
  • Maple Grove
  • Plymouth
  • Shakopee
  • Saint Louis Park
  • Woodbury

In the state of MN, the following cities MAY Allow Hot Roofs if Certain Criteria is Met:

  • Bloomington
  • Brooklyn Park
  • Chanhassen
  • Coon Rapids
  • Elk River
  • Minneapolis
  • Richfield
  • Roseville
  • Saint Paul

Tune into AM 830 WCCO on Saturdays from 9:00-10:00am hosted by Denny Long and Andy Lindus to ask questions regarding your home improvement projects. Call us now at 1-800-873-1451 or check us out on the web at www.lindusconstruction.com to schedule a free in-home estimate for your home improvement needs today!

houzz

Building a Home? A Word about Builder Grade Materials.

0
Filed under Builder Grade Materials, Building a House, Doors, Entry Doors, GAF Roofing, Gutters, Home Construction, Lindus Construction, Uncategorized
Tagged as , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Anyone who’s built a home or considered building a home has likely heard the term “builder grade” materials.  But when there are so many details to consider, a potential home builder may not look as deeply into understanding what these materials are and how they can affect your home down the road.

What’s In a Name?

To many, the term “builder grade” implies something with enough quality that a builder would use it.  The name is a bit misleading since builders are technically using them but by no means arebuilder grade materials the crème de la crème.  In most cases, builder grade materials are just of average quality and are pre-built and mass-produced.

Grading

In the construction industry, the quality hierarchy for materials is as follows:

Ultimate Custom Grade

                   I

      Custom Grade

                   I

      Quality Grade

I

       Builder Grade

 

Buyer Beware

While builder grade products vary from contractor to contractor, it’s important to understand the consequences of opting for builder grade products, which are often only short-term solutions.

 

Builder Grade Windows

Windows can dramatically affect the look and beauty of your home by adding light and providing a feeling of spaciousness.  Choosing quality windows in your home can reduce heating and cooling costs because your furnace and air conditioner have to work less to heat or cool outside air that’s getting into your house.  Builder grade windows meet the bare minimum requirements and may not be multi-chambered for insulation purposes, allowing for drafts.  Mass production also means that builder windows are less likely to come in odd sizes.  In the event that you fill an odd sized window hole with a builder grade window, you may end up with gaps that will allow outside air to escape into your home.

Builder Grade Entry Doors

Like quality windows, a well-made entry door will protect your home from nature’s elements.  Opt for a high quality door that is insulated rather than a hollow one that provides less protection and can be easily damaged.

Builder Grade Gutters

All gutters are created equal right?  WRONG!  Cheaply made gutters are susceptible to clogs which can cause water to spill over your gutter and pool on the ground below. This can result in damage to your shrubs; lead to surface erosion; and seep into your foundation causing cracks and basement flooding.

Water can also spill behind the gutter causing damage to the wood of your soffit and fascia.

If you have add-on toppers, helmets or hoods that are attached to your roof and hang over your gutters, they are usually held in place by screws and nails hammered into your roof. Putting holes in your roof can cause leaks and may void your roof warrantees.

Don’t underestimate the danger of clogs attracting pests. Some critters are attracted to the acorns and seeds that can collect in your gutters. Insects, mold and bacteria can grow in standing water.

Shameless plug: Opt for LeafGuard Gutters, the only system to earn the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval. They keep leaves and debris out of your gutters preventing water damage from clogs and you will never have to get on a ladder again. They come with a LIFETIME guarantee, unlike any other gutter system on the market.

Builder Grade Vinyl Siding

Oftentimes, builder grade vinyl siding is less thick and dependable than higher grades.  Lower quality siding can fall victim to nature’s elements, cracking & fading with sun exposure and denting easier during storms.  A major expense of any siding job is the actual installation, so do yourself a favor and opt for a higher grade product which will last longer.

Builder Grade Roofing

It’s important to not lower your standards with a builder grade material because while it make seem sensible at the time, you’ll likely end up with the cost of replacing a malfunctioning roof sooner than you would like.   Companies such as GAF (North America’s largest manufacturer of residential and commercial roofing materials) offer warranties that last up to 50 years.  It’s worth noting that these warranties cover both labor and materials and are non-prorated.  This makes it one of the best warranties in the industry.

Our Two Cents

We feel it’s important to be respectful of your budget when building a home; however that does not mean you should have to settle for subpar materials.  Talk to your contractor about the materials they’re using and the warranties that come with them to avoid any ugly “surprises” a few years down the road because the last thing you want to be doing in five years is replacing all of the windows in your home.

Call us now at 1-800-873-1451 or check us out on the web at www.lindusconstruction.com to schedule a free in-home estimate today. Tune into AM 830 WCCO on Saturdays from 9:00-10:00am hosted by Denny Long and Andy Lindus to ask questions regarding your home improvement projects.

The Biggest Mistakes People Make When Building a Home

1
Filed under Building a House, Home Construction, Home Maintenance, Lindus Construction, Uncategorized, WCCO, WCCO Home Improvement Show, Windows, www.lindusconstruction.com
Tagged as , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

As the adage goes, “Hindsight is always 20/20”. In the construction industry, no more is this true than when it comes to building a home.  Some of the biggest reasons are because it’s something that someone may only do once (if at all) and because of all of the little decisions that go into making the home YOURS.  As a construction company in business since 1979, we’ve learned a thing or two about how to make the experience as positive and stress-free as possible.  Allow us to list off our biggest list of no-no’s when it comes to building a home.

Acting as Your Own General Contractor:

Think of a general contractor as the coach of a team.  Their job is to gather bids, work with any subcontractors and make sure that the work is done correctly, within your budget and on schedule.  A general contractor has connections within the industry and has solid relationships with subcontractors (plumbers, electricians, etc.).  These subcontractors want to perform exceptional work for general contractors because they know that this is how they will stay in business.  Subcontractors are less likely to stay on time and within budget for someone they know they have little chance of ever working with again, such as the homeowner.  While on the front end, hiring a general contractor can seem like an added expense, working with a skilled professional will often keep you on schedule and within budget.

Taking a Laid Back of an Approach:

Your home is one of the biggest investments of your life.  Don’t be passive.  Be present when it comes to making decisions.  Read and understand the contract and have a lawyer review it if necessary.  Ask for copies of the company’s insurance policy because if someone gets hurt on the jobsite and the contractor is not insured, the homeowner can be responsible for the medical bills of the injured.  Once construction has commenced it can be very costly and difficult to make changes to your plans so take time to consider what you want before getting started.

Shoddy House Plans:

 It’s vital that you have a set of plans that clearly detail the layout of your home.  Without this, you cannot get accurate estimates on labor or materials.  Additionally, unclear plans can cost you down the road when a plumber thinks a sink is going in one place and the electrician places lighting in a spot that makes no sense.  This can lead to scheduling conflicts, work that must be redone, etc.  Who pays for this?  YOU.

Cutting Corners on Budget:

 A builder who can build your dream home $30,000 cheaper and 2 months faster than the others you bid out likely has something to hide.  A builder may lowball an offer to get your business and then may tack on expenses as the project goes on.  Even if extra fees aren’t accessed later, it’s likely that a significant difference in pricing also means a significant difference in the quality of materials.  Do you really want to replace your home’s windows in the next 5 years because you took the cheap way out?

Poor Location:

Is it convenient to live near a grocery store, strip mall or 24 hourgas station?  Absolutely!  Have you ever heard of a realtor specifically seeking these locations out for a home buyer?  No!  Why?  While we’re not suggesting your closest neighbor be a half hour away, the most appealing homes to future buyers are not those directly adjacent to areas like this.  Busy streets and stores are not quiet or family friendly.  Consider resale value before settling on a lot because it’s the cheapest around.  Things like slope, water table and terrain also affect how easy it is to construct a home on a piece of land, so be sure to do your homework before buying a lot.    

Building a Home That Doesn’t Make Sense For Your Neighborhood:

Beforeground breaks, take a hard look at homes in the neighborhood and make sure the size of your home is similar to those in the surrounding area.  The smallest and largest home in a neighborhood is often the hardest to sell.  The styling of your home should also be in line with the rest of the neighborhood.  A stucco home is going to stick out like a sore thumb in a neighborhood full of Victorian styled homes.

Having a Budget without a Buffer:

It’s important to establish a budget when buildinga home.  The budget should include a slush fund that takes into consideration unforeseen circumstances and overages because even with the best intentioned bid, incidentals will likely still come up.

Not Planning Ahead:

Think down the road, ten or twenty years.  Is there a need to addadditional rooms to accommodate for an expanded family or aging parents?  It’s best to accommodate for incidentals when building.  If you plan to retire in your home, you may want to consider the number of stairs, width of doorways, etc.  Your toddlers are going to turn into teenagers, are you okay with their bedroom being in a basement with its own entrance?

Working with the Wrong Builder:

Take some time to evaluate several builders sothat you find someone who is right for you.  Be sure to talk to previous clients.  Find someone you connect with and who can transform your ideas into a reality.  It’s also a good idea to check with websites such as the Better Business Bureau, Angie’s List and GuildQuality to see what others have to say about these businesses.  Ask potential builders to see examples of previous work both in photos and in person.  Don’t forget that you’ll be dealing with the builder for a span of several months.

Some of the best-built homes in western Wisconsin and the Twin Cities Metro area were designed and built by Lindus Construction. The homeowners love their new custom designed homes; everything is completely functional with no wasted space. The construction quality is impeccable and best of all the homes are low maintenance.  Interested in learning more?  Visit us at www.lindusconstruction .com or call 800-873-1451.