custom home

Wood Flooring Options for Custom Homes

Wednesday, March 31st, 2010 | Custom Home Construction, Green Building | No Comments

Wood Flooring OptionsWood flooring is a long running favorite among home owners.  But with choices ranging in price, look and eco-friendliness, it helps to understand the basics.  The first step you should take is consulting your custom home builder who will already have a strong understanding of what fits your home and budget.

Cost

While lower priced wood flooring materials have gained popularity in these economic times, it’s important to understand not only what you’re paying up front, but how a material will handle the test of time.

Some homeowners may want a flooring choice that has a low up-front cost and are not concerned with how it will wear in 10 years, like a low grade number one or two oak.  However, most homeowners prefer to invest a little more up front for a product that’s going last, such as a Brazilian cherry.

Green Factor

Green wood flooring like bamboo is appealing, but for it to truly be eco-friendly, this renewable wood source must be local, not shipped across an ocean from Thailand.  If you want a green wood flooring option, talk to your certified green builder who can help you find out what’s available locally.

Use

In newer homes, the floor plans are typically more open, making wood throughout a great choice.  But wood flooring in kitchens and bathrooms will likely be damaged by water and wear over time, making cork and engineered wood products may be a better choice.

Again, this is where your home builder may be able to help, as he will have a greater understanding of a room’s use matched with an aesthetically appealing floor.

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Wood Frame Homes Win

Wednesday, March 17th, 2010 | Custom Home Construction | No Comments
A Brock Builders Wood Frame

Brock Wood Frame Home

The surge of innovative new materials to the home building market may have you wondering whether a wood frame is the best choice for your new custom built home.  The experts agree, wood frames win.

Natural and engineered wood products provide unmatched structural strength and safety.  Even after its long reign at the top, wood is still considered the primary choice for residential and even commercial building structures.

Here are some of the top benefits to using a wood frame for your new home build:

Wood is Affordable

Wood is one of the most affordable and available choices for your home’s frame.  While lower-priced prefabricated wood products are growing in popularity, framing wood is available in a wide range of types and price points.

Wood is Available

Wood and wood based products are in great supply and easy to find.

Wood is Adjustable

Wood products can also be easily cut down to meet a job’s specifications, while other materials may be more difficult to alter.

Wood is Strong

Innovations in wood products and in the way that wood is used in framing a structure mean greater strength than ever.  Wood framed houses have even been shown to survive hurricane winds and earthquakes.

The facts are in; wood materials make great home frames, but be sure to consult an experienced home builder to help select the best products for your new home.

We at Brock Builders have the experience and expertise to help you select the best products for your home build.

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Custom Home in Asheville Video Slideshow

Monday, July 13th, 2009 | Custom Home Construction, Videos | No Comments

This is a custom home we built in the mountains of Asheville. Keep an eye out for the barrel vault ceiling in the large bar room that the homeowners use for entertaining. It’s one of my favorite details in this home. The building site was particularly challenging; you can see some photos of the foundation work in the portfolio area of our site. The outcome was fantastic, the homeowners are very happy, and we’re glad they chose Brock Builders to be their general contractor.

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The Do’s and Don’ts of Designing a Custom Wine Cellar

Tuesday, June 30th, 2009 | Custom Home Construction | No Comments
Custom home wine cellar

Custom home wine cellar

Whether you’re a serious collector of fine wines – or simply an enthusiast –  there are several do’s and don’ts to keep in mind when designing a custom wine cellar:

Location. Wine caves, or cellars, are no longer strictly confined to the underground.  Most cellars today are converted from existing spaces as varied as sun rooms, closets and garages.  However, when building a custom wine cellar, it is important to consider location early on.  The ideal time to call in the experts is when the space has been framed, but nothing has been roughed in.

Environment. Wine is a living organism and like all living things it needs the proper environment in order to thrive, and to age well.  As a result, the storage conditions of the wine are crucial.   There are four main environmental factors to consider when planning your cellar:  temperature, humidity, darkness, and stability.

Temperature: The temperature should remain constant and experts recommend staying within the 55-60°F range.  The cooler the temperature, the slower the aging process.

Humidity: Refrigeration is necessary to maintain both temperature, and proper humidity level (50-70%).   The corks rely on the dampness in order to stay wet, and to keep the wine properly sealed.  Normal air conditioning causes the corks to dry, liquid to escape from the bottle, and air to enter.  Conversely, too much moisture will cause the labels to rot, and to peel off the bottles.

Darkness: Wine should always be kept from direct sunlight because ultraviolet rays will destroy its color, and taste.  Instead, the cellar should be softly lit, and only when occupied.

Stability: Stability is key when planning your cellar.  Not only is it imperative that the temperature, and humidity, of the cellar remain stable but also that there is as little vibration as possible.  Even the subtlest movement  caused by traffic or the running of the refrigeration, can have an impact.  Vibrations can rob many wines of flavor, and bouquet.

Experts. Finally, remember that both the wine – and the cellar itself – are investments. Not only do some bottles come with formidable price tags, but the wine cellar is a premium amenity too; often adding resale value to a home.   As a result, it’s important to solicit a wine cellar designer early in the process.  Beyond the environmental logistics, they will also help you incorporate the necessary variables like buying style, racking, and appearances.   Buying style encapsulates everything from what kind of wines you buy, to how your collection has grown in the last decade, to where you see it headed.  Racking is important in relation to aging;  bottles should be stored horizontally so the cork is in constant contact with the wine.  Usually racking is made of wood, but can also be made of metal and can go around corners, and even curved walls.  And when it comes to cellar appearances, they can be as varied as the homeowners themselves.    Some people opt for a simple wall to maximize storage space, and others want presentation walls and different depth racks to showcase the labels.  Others can be even more extravagant; opting for woodcarvings, stonework, murals, etc.

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How to Choose a Lot for a Custom Home

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009 | Custom Home Construction | 1 Comment
Foundation work for custom home on mountain building lot

Foundation work for custom home on mountain building lot

There are many variables to consider when choosing a lot for your custom home.   Whether you’re basing it on neighborhood, commute to work, or the fact that the particular lot just feels “right”, where to buy is just one piece of the puzzle.  The cost of land (from an investment perspective) and the type of lot (from a building perspective) will also play key roles in the process.

A qualified real estate broker should be able to help you with all these considerations.   Not only will they be familiar with what lots are on the market – both listed, and unlisted –  but they will also have a good working knowledge of things like public utilities and what it might cost, for example, to install a septic system.  They should also be able to refer you to experts in these areas.  Finally – from an investment standpoint – they will be able to supply you with the data you need to make an informed decision.

Where to buy. Consider how important it is for you to be close to school, work, shopping, etc.  You might even want to spend some time testing the drives to, and from, the prospective lot (on different days, and at different times) to get an idea of what the commute would be like.  In terms of cost, land further out of metropolitan areas generally cost less.  However, not everything about a home is the country is less expensive.  During the construction process, there may be extra delivery, material, or labor fees incurred depending on how far out your lot is.

Cost of Land. Generally, the cost of land represents 17-25% of the total value of your home.  If your budget is $350,000 a typical breakdown will look something like this:

Land – $70,000

Real Estate Commissions – $20,000

Carrying Costs on Construction Loan – $15,000

Total Construction Costs – $245,000

Total Cost of Home – $350,000

In this example, the land cost is 20% of the full cost of the house.  Most experts recommend that the land cost be between 17-20% of the total value of the home.  However, if land costs in the area are high, that figure can be stretched to 25%.

Tip:  Be aware that construction costs are far reaching.  They include everything from preparing the land, to laying the carpet, to covering the necessary permits and fees.

Type of Lot. There are many variables to consider when thinking about lot type.  First, what makes a lot more valuable?  Location, views, streams, trees;  all will contribute to a more expensive price tag.  Neighborhood also plays an important role – and on this front, one thing to keep in mind is not to “overbuild” or “underbuild”.  If the neighborhood you choose is made of up homes in the 3-4,000 square foot range, you should probably avoid building a 6,000, or 1,500 square foot home in the same neighborhood.  The reason being that if your home is – by far – the largest or smallest in the neighborhood, you could pay the price later in terms of resell.

The physical characteristics of the lot are also key when it comes to either avoiding, or anticipating, expensive site work.  One thing to keep in mind is slope. A house on a hill may have impressive views, but will also require more site preparation and more work on the foundation – both of which can add to construction costs.  Drainage can be a factor too.  Other things to consider when viewing lots are their size and shape, and their “setback”.  The setback is the amount of space you are required to leave between the edge of your home, and the edge of your property.  This is often required in subdivisions or fully developed neighborhoods where space is at a premium.  Both the size and shape of the lot, and the setback can have an impact on the kind of house you want to build.   Finally, keep in mind the number of trees, or boulders, on the lot.  They too will require extra site preparation. 

Tip:  Be wary of a lot listed at a price that’s considerable less than the other lots in that area, and particularly of the term “no perk”.  When used in conjunction with land, “perk” means the ability for the ground to support a septic system.  If your land is not connected to a city sewer system, a septic system will be necessary.  However, if the ground does not “perk” you’ll be required to use some very costly alternatives.  Make sure to get an expert opinion before purchasing a lot with this label.

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