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RE: Two Cost questions: Building Plans, & 1 Level vs. 2 Level Hom (Follow-Up #5)

posted by: egrigby on 08.23.2008 at 10:12 pm in Building a Home Forum

My personal opinion is that going with 1 vs 2 stories is a very personal decision. For us, future disability was the most important issue. My husband has MS and I have 2 auto-immune disorders. His parents are both immobile due to orthopedic issues.

Energy efficiency was our second issue and we used other methods to compensate. Extra insulation, low-E glass, geothermal radiant floor heat, future solar hookups in place for hot water and photo voltaic etc. The house is Energy Star Rated and the envelope well sealed as a result.

I think if your young and healthy, might be moving in the next ten years, or finances are a bigger issue, then a two story with first floor master might be a better choice for you.

I wouldn't think "resale" too much in this day of aging baby boomers when thinking one vs two stories. Real estate agents in two states have told us that any accessability built into a house now increases marketability (one story, first floor master etc). So if you do go one story it won't make the house less marketable in the future.

If you do the first floor master/two story though I have some "accessability" advice for you.

Make sure that you have one entrance/egress that is at least 30-36". ADA will say 30"...but if you have someone in a larger wheelchair, they will need the 36" that is reality vs "code"

Make an open first floor plan for WC accessibility. Be sure to have one bathroom with a 5' turning radius so that someone in a WC can turn around.

Make sure any hallway to the "Master" on the first floor is wide enough to accomodate the WC, including any turns that will have to be made.

Those would be the minimums that I would recommend you do to "grow old" in the house. There are many other things you can do cheaply as you build the house such as blocking chair rail height of the walls for future grab bars in the bathrooms.

Put all outlets at 18" height to prevent bending to plug in.

Lower switches so that you don't have to relocate them later.

If you have sliding doors to a porch or patio, they can counter sink them into the subfloor to prevent that "bump" as you enter and exit, making them level with the floor. This is good if balance issues come up later.

Lower a section of countertop to 32" or 33" finished height. I serves as a breakfast bar now, and a work surface for shorter folks and people in wheelchairs.

I hope these hints help. Most of them should add no cost at all to the house. Those that do should pay for themselves as you can enjoy your home longer and with less trouble through illness and old age.


Here is a link that might be useful: Our Home Build


clipped on: 08.25.2008 at 07:02 pm    last updated on: 08.25.2008 at 07:02 pm

RE: Floor plan update (Follow-Up #10)

posted by: mightyanvil on 08.23.2008 at 07:52 pm in Building a Home Forum

The best way to build the roof is to use band joists as if it were a 2-story house, then put the upper level subfloor on, then a 2x4 perimeter plate, and then install the rafters on the plate. That raises the roof up about 10 " and gives you an extra 10" of floor space on each side of the main gable roof for little extra cost. It also gives you a taller exterior wall in case you want a larger overhang.


clipped on: 08.23.2008 at 08:53 pm    last updated on: 08.23.2008 at 08:54 pm

what style of home is this?

posted by: petchia on 08.21.2008 at 11:44 pm in Building a Home Forum

I'm hoping someone here can help me determine the style of home in the following pictures. Is it English? Costwold? Tudor?




clipped on: 08.22.2008 at 12:15 am    last updated on: 08.22.2008 at 12:15 am

RE: What addition have you made to your home that's unique? (Follow-Up #38)

posted by: micahjo on 01.05.2008 at 09:39 pm in Building a Home Forum

This is a great thread. Tnanks to everyone for sharing.

We're only in the framing stage, so I don't have any photos, but we're all about being unique.

My favorite item will probably be the inglenook around the fireplace though (with twin-bed-sized cushions on either side and built-in drawers underneath, so it converts to a sleeping nook as well).

But other unique items include:

--bookcase doors on the mechanical room and a storage closet

--a Dutch door on the nursery (to keep in (or out) wandering toddlers at naptime but still keep tabs on the baby).

--a secret passageway between the backs of two wardrobes in the adjoining wall of the kid's bedrooms.

--play lofts in the kids' bedrooms above their closets and the outside hall

--a pantry with a concealed outside door so I can bring groceries in directly from the carriage driveway

--an attached stone barn that will basically be a huge playroom for the kids

--and one of the purposes of even building the house - a circular dining room designed to house an heirloom 8' round dining room table and the family china.

(oh, and speaking of doorbells, my husband has already purchased one that plays the James Bond theme that will be in a hidden location and just used by children . . . )


clipped on: 08.19.2008 at 08:21 pm    last updated on: 08.19.2008 at 08:21 pm

RE: DIY copper countertop (Follow-Up #103)

posted by: circuspeanut on 07.19.2008 at 03:57 pm in Metalworking Forum

Well, we did it. It's a lot of work, but I can say that these countertops are gorgeous and well worth the time invested. And they cost me about $21/sf total, which is almost as pleasing as the knowledge that they are fairly green and can be repurposed by whomever comes after me.

1. Create the substrate out of mdf. We used fairly nice stuff made ostensibly from recycled fiber. We glued two 3/4" sheets together with construction cement, then screwed them tightly from the bottom (we wanted the top absolutely smooth so as not to have to use levelling compound. Later this became vital since the adhesive we used was fabulous for gluing copper to mdf, but not to anything else).
Clamped overnight. Then cut with table saw and dry-fit them to the cabs:

2. Then I flipped the pieces over and applied RedGard waterproofing membrane on the bottom and back -- everywhere we weren't gluing copper. Just in case, since it is a kitchen. It's awful gloppy stuff that you roll on like liquid plastic and dries bright red:
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

3. Next we took 1/4" by 1.5" copper barstock and mitered it just like wood to fit the edges. It cut just fine on an old compound miter saw with a high-tech metal-cutting blade by Tenryu. Glued it to the mdf using TC-50 adhesive by Better Bond, clamped it well:
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

4. I was highly impressed by the TC-20 adhesive: no VOC and it set enough to handle lightly in about 15 minutes. We kept the edging clamped for a few hours just in case. All edged, a counter piece looked like this:
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

5. Cut the top copper sheet with a metal blade on the jigsaw. Dry fit it with about 1/4" to 1/2" to spare. We used 20oz Revere copper sheet from a local building materials supplier. It comes in 3foot and 4foot widths up to 120" long.
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

6. Glued that sucker on! Nerve-wracking, but in retrospect the easiest part of the entire job. We fit as many factory-cut edges to the countertop edges as was feasible, then J-rolled the whole schmear and clamped it but good on all sides, using extra mdf scraps as buffers so as not to dent the copper with clamps:
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

7. Used a router to trim all the necessary edges to just barely overlapping the edging, if at all. No pics, sorry. As aliceinwonderland can attest, do this outside in the driveway or garage if at all possible!!

8. Then we sanded it up using 180 grit. The copper is almost shockingly workable -- you can put whatever pattern you'd like into it with the sander, a hammer, whatever. [I'd suggest waiting to do this until after you've glued the smooth sheets first, for optimal adhesion.] I worked my way up to about 600grit mesh on the orbital sander, just to make it nice and smooth.

9. I'm glad we decided to do the edging first, since this put the main seam on the side rather than top, and it's virtually invisible from just a little distance away:
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

10. I was still concerned about durability and the seam opening up, so I went back and stuffed some Just For Copper epoxy onto/into it. Sanded it back down so the seam is very tiny and smooth, and I feel better knowing that it's probably bombproof. It's obvious that the seam will pretty much vanish as the copper oxidizes, too.
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

11. Due to an L-shape, we did have one place where we absolutely had to join two sheets on top. We used the factory-cut edges for these, and then I epoxied atop the line with Just For Copper and sanded it well. Over time, the line will hopefully become less noticeable as well, though it doesn't look bad (honestly, the photos make it look much worse than it is):
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Ta dah!
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

So that's that! Feel free to contact me with any questions, but better yet post them here for everyone to benefit -- this thread was my sole inspiration and guidance during the process.
Cheers and my heartfelt thanks to jenathegreat, aliceinwonderland, and all of you for the inspiration.


clipped on: 07.25.2008 at 01:39 pm    last updated on: 07.25.2008 at 01:40 pm

I did it! DIY copper countertops

posted by: circuspeanut on 07.24.2008 at 02:28 pm in Kitchens Forum

Background: this is my first house, and I am doing an extreme DIY kitchen using recycled cabinetry and refurbishing many already existing aspects of the 1920s bungalow kitchen.

I've never been a granite fan and wanted something warmer that would fit in just right with the well-used, modest coastal bungalow style of my place. So ... I made my own copper countertops! For a price just under $21/sf, this was even more reasonable than plastic or butcher block, and vastly more durable. It's green, it's recyclable, and has the right historical feel to it for the house.

We used mdf as a substrate and basically "laminated" heavy-gauge copper onto it. This took many steps (I detailed the process in the metalworking forum), but I think the results are really stunning and wanted to share some pics for anyone else interested in exploring copper. Well, OK, I did need to brag, just a little. ;-)

Not quite all done yet, but hopefully enough to post a teaser. They look a little rough in the pix; I will be cleaning and buffing the copper smooth again when I've mounted the sinks.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

On the advice of other copper countertop owners (ahem! you know who you are), I plan on simply waxing them and letting them patinate to their little hearts' content.

Then .. on to tiling the backsplash and refinishing the fir floors. *whew!*


clipped on: 07.24.2008 at 08:02 pm    last updated on: 07.24.2008 at 08:02 pm

RE: Let's play a game, name the approximate price! LOL... (Follow-Up #12)

posted by: dannie_gal on 06.16.2008 at 02:49 pm in Building a Home Forum

Don't forget:

Soil testing
Slab engineering
Any structural engineering?
Tyvek & window flashing (generally, framers do not do a good job with installation of these items and it is best to get a company who knows what they are doing.)
Bath and laundry countertops
Mirrors/shower door?
Tile (I know you said concrete floors, but what about: showers/tubs, kitchen backsplash, etc.)
Debris removal
Hardware (door knobs, cabinet knobs, bathroom hardware, etc.)
Independent inspector
Garage doors
Final grading
Final cleaning (as OBs, you'll be too darn tired to do this at the end - it is worth it to have someone come in to clean)

Any extras like central vac (my splurge that I love love love!) or audio system?

Good luck with your build!


clipped on: 06.23.2008 at 05:19 pm    last updated on: 06.23.2008 at 05:19 pm

RE: Let's play a game, name the approximate price! LOL... (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: persnicketydesign on 06.15.2008 at 08:06 pm in Building a Home Forum

Oh this should be fun! LOL What part of the country are you building in? We're OBing (more like GCing) our build in GA. It seems that the prices here are VERY low compared to other parts of the least that's what everyone keeps telling me. :o)

Sounds like you've already got a leg up by having the utilities in place. Lucky you!

The basics on our house....4 bedroom 4 1/2 bath with 3097 HSF downstairs, 1161 HSF of bonus rooms upstairs, attatched 3 car garage, and two huge attics (because I'm a major pack rat). We're on 2 acres about 250 feet off the road.

Building Consultant...not using one.
Surveying...we used the plat on file with the county for the site survey. The required foundation survey was $300.
Site Preparation...$3000. Included taking down the trees, removing them from the lot, removing the topsoil, etc.
Pest Control Consultation...$225.
Tree Removal...Included in site prep.
Percolation Test...Not needed here.
Septic System...N/A
Excavation...We're on a crawlspace, but to get our footings dug & poured was around $6000.
Foundation - Slab...N/A, but our block foundation was $7000.
Plumbing...$11,000 for pex. We had already purchased the fixtures and corner tub.
Electrician...A little over $10,000. We already have those fixtures too.
Gas - Propane...N/A
Telephone Hook-Up...Freebie!
Cable/Internet Hook-Up...Freebie! Thank you Comcast.
Limited Energy Electrician...N/A
Security System...$600
Framing...I adore my framer. He gave us a REALLY low estimate during the slow season. When we were finally ready to start he was slammed and back to charging his normal fees. He stuck to the original estimate that he gave us although it should have been nearly double the price. Are you ready? $25,000. Jump back, pussycat!!! These guys were INCREDIBLE and our house is solid as a rock. I will never build another house unless it's with them again.
Windows/Doors...We went with Simonton windows. $5,800. The French doors, fixed doors, and 1/2 round from Therma Tru added another $2300. Our front door is an eliptical 6X8 mahogany full glass with wrought iron. Another great off season buy....$1999.
Insulation - Fiberglass...$5000. R-19 in the floors, R-30 in the attic walls , blown in the attics. A little upgraded here & there with HD & sound proofing to some rooms, but nothing too fancy. Includes poly seal & caulking.
Roofing - Metal...N/A. We couldn't afford it, although it was my first choice. We went with architectural Elk/GAF in Weatherwood. Total for shingles and install was $7300.
Road Building - Asphalt...OH BOY!!! I got an estimate on Friday from a guy who told me that the cost difference between concrete and asphalt is virtually non-existant. He said it would run around $30,000. YIKES!!! I think he's full of it. DH is actually meeting with a gentleman right now (on a Sunday afternoon) to get another estimate. I'll let you if this guy is totally insane too.
Perimeter Fencing - Wood...No fences for me.
Landscaping & Irrigation...BIL does landscaping for a living, so we're hoping for a nice house warming gift from him. LOL David, if you're reading this...that Japanese Maple would be fabu outside of the MB window. :o)
Drywall...$12,400. Smooth walls & ceilings.
Concrete Countertops...We're going with granite.
Concrete Floors...Hardwoods for me.
Lighting...I purchased our lights & ceiling fans over a 1 1/2 year period.
Cabinetry...Don't want to talk about it. LOL Have a meeting tomorrow with another cabinet maker. :o)
HVAC...3 Carrier Infinity systems. $11,787. One of my dearest friends' DH owns the HVAC company and gave me a killer deal. I love that man.
Wood Stove...We're doing a B-Vent. Just had it installed on Wednesday. It was $1520 including installation.
Masonry...We're using Nichiha prestained shake siding on the entire house. Found it for $265 per square! Siding guys are charging $4500 to install (including trim labor) and another $3 PLF for soffit & facia.
Carpet...Haven't picked it out yet, but we'll be using it upstairs and probably in the kid's rooms. I'd like to use HW in their rooms, but they all said carpet.
Paint...I love to paint. We'll be doing that ourselves.
Appliances...Killer deals over a long period of shopping. 5 burner gas cooktop $350, double convection ovens $375, Inca pro hood vent $225, and my mega deal...48" custom panel GE monogram SXS with dispenser for $1100!!! The folks I bought it from got it in the brand new house they purchased. Wife didn't like the panels & wanted stainless instead. I'm so glad. Also got the new Samsung FL washer & dryer with pedestals for $1300. :o)
Finish Carpentry...$4300 labor only. Materials (including solid interior doors) are $5276.


clipped on: 06.23.2008 at 05:19 pm    last updated on: 06.23.2008 at 05:19 pm

RE: Lazy susan, blind corners, or what? photos (Follow-Up #29)

posted by: arlosmom on 06.05.2008 at 03:31 pm in Kitchens Forum

OK, trying to add the photos again...

Blind corner #1

blind corner #1
blind corner #1 sliders in
blind corner #1 sliders out

Blind corner #2

blind corner #2 from kitchen
PR cabinet uses blind corner #2


clipped on: 06.06.2008 at 01:14 am    last updated on: 06.06.2008 at 01:15 am