What to Consider Before Building a Shipping Container Home

The newest craze in eco-friendly building is shipping container homes. These unique homes use new or used cargo containers as their primary construction material. And since these shipping containers are cheap and plentiful, you can build your own own shipping container house for a surprisingly low cost. But before you make the choice to construct…

The newest craze in eco-friendly building is shipping container homes. These unique homes use new or used cargo containers as their primary construction material. And since these shipping containers are cheap and plentiful, you can build your own own shipping container house for a surprisingly low cost.

But before you make the choice to construct your very own container home, there are a few things you should consider. Just because container homes are becoming very popular with the green building set does not necessarily mean that you should make the plunge yourself. You need to think about your personal needs, your financial situation, and local building codes before you make the investment of building your own container home.

First, you need to realize that a shipping container home is definitely not a traditional house. This may seem obvious, but it's an important factor to consider. Even though homes built out of cargo containers seem really cool now, you may find that the novel lies after a few years. Any home is a long-term investment, so you need to be absolutely sure that you are happy with your potential living situation before you invest thousands of dollars into it. Even though container homes are a smart, eco-friendly choice, you may find yourself yearning for the comforts of a traditional home after a while. Also, consider your space needs before you start construction. If you have a big family, or just want a lot of bedrooms, you may need multiple shipping containers to have the house of your dreams. This requires a lot more work and customization than homes that only use one cargo container.

Next, think about the total costs associated with building a cargo container home. Shipping containers by themselves are relatively cheap, but it takes a lot of time and labor to transform it into a cozy home. You will also need to ship the container to your building site, which might be more expensive than you think. Foundation work also needs to be done, which tacks on extra cost. Before you purchase a shipping container for your new home, consult with a knowledgeable building contractor who can accurately calculate your total cost. An even better option is to work with a company that specializes in cargo container architecture. They will have an expert opinion on everything you will need to do, and they might even be able to sell you a container for your home and make all of the modifications you need ahead of time. By dealing with one company, you can be sure of what all of your costs will be, since you will not need to reconcile quotes from different vendors and contractors.

And most importantly, you will need to consult with local authorities to make sure your new container home meets all local building codes. Some communities simply will not allow homes constructed out of shipping containers. If this is the case, you may be out of luck, but it's much better to find out before you invest money or begin construction. Check all applicable state and local building codes before you buy materials or hire contractors. Pay special attention to building codes related to building homes using steel, since this is the most likely restriction you will find on shipping container homes. Also, when you consult your local building office, make sure that you have a specific house plan in mind before you ask for approval. If you just say that you want to build a cargo container home, you might get a quick rejection. However, if you prove that you have a specific, well thought out plan for a home, you are more likely to convince local authorities that your proposed project is up to code.

These considerations should not dissuade you from building a shipping container home. They are cheap, efficient, and environmentally friendly structures that can make a unique home. But, as in all major projects, it's very important to take into account all of the snags that could come your way. By planning ahead, you can make sure that your cargo container home project gets done right.

Help For House Hazards – Part 1

Each year, American homes are the scene of about 3.4 million reported disabling injuries from accidents, resulting in $ 8.9 billion in lost work time, medical bills, insurance administrative costs and fire loss. Many injuries that require emergency room treatment involve structural component of houses: glass doors and windows inflate about 200,000 injuries; tubs and…

Each year, American homes are the scene of about 3.4 million reported disabling injuries from accidents, resulting in $ 8.9 billion in lost work time, medical bills, insurance administrative costs and fire loss. Many injuries that require emergency room treatment involve structural component of houses: glass doors and windows inflate about 200,000 injuries; tubs and showers, 77,000; stairs, 750,000.

Most home accidents result from a mix human error and hazardous surroundings. While humans will always make mistakes, there are things you can do to make areas in your home safer. For example:

Plumbing and fixtures

Water heated to 115 degree centigrade can injure human skin; yet most water heaters are set at 140 degree centigrade to 160 degree centigrade. Lowering the heater thermostat to 115 degree centigrade reduces hazard, but it also produces water insufficiently hot for some dish washers and washing machines. The remedy is a thermostatic valve or blender, which may cost $ 100 or more and can be stuffed onto the water heater, for a plumber fee. As hot water leave the heater, the valve mixes cold water into it so it will not scald. Lines bypassing the valve supply appliances that need really hot water.

Even a slippery bathtub can be rendered safer. Paste no-skid stickers on the bottom- a set of ten costs about $ 10 rubbers mat. When buying a new tub, consider one made of fiberglass. Its resilience provides more secure feet and softens a fall. Tubs with embossed bottoms have come on the market as a safety innovation; but, according to some safety specialists, soap scum may accumulate in the indentations. Therefore, these, as well as tub stickers, should be kept clean of soap scum.

Other tips for safer bathroom:

Install grab bars inside the confines of tubs and showers.

Cover glazed-tile floors, preferably with wall-to-wall carpeting.

Stairs

Going up or down steps is one of the most dangerous things a person does in a house. The most effective countermeasure: install handrails. Almost anyone can make one-it takes few dollars worth of brackets and a length of railing.

Some stairways are risky because their treads are narrow, their risers steps. Either condition calls for a new staircase. Check market to know the price.

Basement stairs often combine two dangers: no landing platform at the top, and a door that opens out over the stairway. The climber must step down backward to open it, and a person coming the other way may not be prepared for the sudden change in floor level. The stairs bought to be rebuilt to provide a landing wide enough to accommodate the full swing of the door. At a minimum, the door should be rehung to open away from the climber, or to fold or slide.

Other precaution for stairs:

Some basement stairways have handrails with a single center support pole midway down the open side; anyone can fall through to the hard floor below. The stairs can be enclosed with decorative wrought iron, additional supports, peg board or paneling.

Poor lighting and shadows contribute to many accidents on stairs. Install switches at both top and bottom, and reduce the glare by using frosted bulbs.

Slippery wooden treads are another cause of stairway accidents. They should be covered. Carpeting for the average stairway will cost you few dollars with installation; a runner allows some wood to show. For basement or attic stairs, consider a coat of paint or varnish to add friction.

Please, make your home a safe place. Prevention is better than cure.

Unique House Designs to Suit Your Budget

For anyone contemplating building a new home in or around the Brisbane area, one of the first places most people start is at a display village, looking at homes already constructed, furnished and presented in the best possible light to attract buyer interest. Usually, it's possible to take away some standard designs which can be…

For anyone contemplating building a new home in or around the Brisbane area, one of the first places most people start is at a display village, looking at homes already constructed, furnished and presented in the best possible light to attract buyer interest.

Usually, it's possible to take away some standard designs which can be adapted to suit individual tastes, but mostly at additional cost in both the production of the final drawings and the building construction. While the end result can still be a satisfactory exit for the buyer, it is hardly unique, as a drive through any new estate can attest.

There is a better alternative for people wanting house designs Brisbane style. It is possible to have a unique design created to individual specifications at no cost to clients, and styled to suit every budget.

If you are considering designing and building a new home, here are some hints to help you make the whole process much easier:

Source a company with local experience that provides home designs Brisbane style free to clients.
When you discuss designs with them, ask if their design people interact with their construction team.

If they do not, your completed home may not look like you envisaged.

Ask to see a range of completed projects. To build house designs Brisbane style, the company will need to have experience in a wide variety of styles and concepts, from sleek ultra-modern to classical and old-world.

When you discuss your concept with them, describe the lifestyle you want to have in your new home. For example, if you are a large, busy family with lots of entertaining needs, you will need a different style of home than a small two or three person family that keeps to themselves.

The company you choose should offer the standard Queensland Master Builders' Contract which, when properly completed and signed by all parties, is water-tight, with a fixed price so there are no unpleasant surprises.

Discuss the time-frame for the project. This will allow you to plan your finance requirements and any alternative living arrangements you may need while you are waiting to occupy your new home.

Some companies offer a 25 year structural guarantee. Do not settle for a lesser time frame if you can get this level of service and assurance.

Do not spend extra money on an interior designer. Choose a company that provides this service free when you use their home designs Brisbane style. A good interior designer will listen to your ideas, make suggestions and help you choose décor that compliments, so colors and concepts do not clash through your home.

Take the time to find a professional company that offers all these services in a coordinated, seamless manner. If you do, your home design Brisbane style will transform from a series of ideas and concepts, to a unique and stunning property that reflects your budget and lifestyle.

French Country Architecture

Stone floors and walls, ceiling beams of disturbed raw wood and timbers, irregular walls of plaster, make up the frame work of a French Country home. The ambiance of reproductions or new rustic furniture is made up of hand carved adornments, raw wood and curved panels. A room with out an armoire to store clothing,…

Stone floors and walls, ceiling beams of disturbed raw wood and timbers, irregular walls of plaster, make up the frame work of a French Country home.

The ambiance of reproductions or new rustic furniture is made up of hand carved adornments, raw wood and curved panels. A room with out an armoire to store clothing, pots and pans, tableware, bedding or bath linens could not be considered a room done in the French Country style. A low sheen or dull waxed finish would be found on a large dinning table whether it is round or rectangle. Occasional or dining chairs would have graced with carved and curved fine points. Chairs would most likely have rush seats and have vertical slats or be ladder-back. Flooring would be rustic and be made up of clay stone or brick and occasionally old wooden planks. This is what gives it the old world charm.

Contrasting color and texture make up the pieces of a typical French Country home interior. Provencal colored printed fabrics are contrasted natural seating in light tones. Narrow tall windows are held in place by deeply cut sills. The hot summer sun is kept out by the closing of tastefully painted shutters. Vines growing wild encircle the doorways and windows. The French countryside, with its beautiful colors inspires the fabrics used in the French country style. Basic stripes, plaids and checks combine well to make up the traditional fabrics found in the modern French home. Vivid orange, greens and lavender combine in the Provencal prints.

The motifs of the traditional French home are comprised of products that would include olives, roosters, grapes, sunflowers, beetles, and lavender. Often the designs are positioned at regular intervals, the design of the borders are wide and in different scale. This is very typical in the textile products, such as curtains and table linens. French Country fabrics are traditionally toile. Single colors such as red, green, black or blue contrast against larger motifs, such as yellow, cream or white which complete the traditional toile fabric. Farm animals, Chinese patterns, and monkeys are some of the themes you'll find in toile. Toile patterns are typically printed on cotton or linen.

Substantial wire or woven baskets, vibrant tiles and ceramics carved pieces of wood, Chinese pottery, and natural plant like grasses are used to accessorize rooms done in the style of French Country. The walls are adorned in old paintings that are colorful or dark.

Verdant flowers can be found every. Flowers are held in old pitchers, copper pots, baskets, or vases made of clear glass, these are used inside and out. The intent is to bring in the striking textures and colors of the French countryside into the home. The vibrant colors of what ever will grow fill the outside width boxes. The most popular are lavender and geraniums.

Both muted and colorful pottery decorates the French country table. The tableware is adorned with the usual themes of olives, roosters, and vibrant flowers. Wire baskets, iron candle holders, heavy water pitchers made of pottery and vivid table linens are wonderful touches that one should not overlook. Your home is bound to have a magnificent French Country interior and ambiance if you incorporate all, or just a few of the elements revealed in this article.

Home Extensions – How Designs Have Changed Over the Years

Trends in home extensions in the UK If you were to visit a typical moderately prosperous suburban estate, built in the 1930's 50 years ago the chances are it would have changed little from when it was first constructed. Perhaps there would be a few garages, where they were not part of the original, often…

Trends in home extensions in the UK

If you were to visit a typical moderately prosperous suburban estate, built in the 1930's 50 years ago the chances are it would have changed little from when it was first constructed. Perhaps there would be a few garages, where they were not part of the original, often a ramshackle collection of buildings often made from concrete panels or corrugated sheet materials. There would however be relatively few extensions as we think of them today. Move forward fifty years and most will have been altered significantly. Doors and windows will often have been changed (in many cases several times as different materials and styles come and go). In addition the majority will have some sort of extension and many of the earlier more basic garages will have been replaced by more elaborate matching structures. Admittedly fifty years having passed one would expect a certain amount of change but even looking at estates of twenty or thirty years old today there would still be a lot of alterations. Why are we increasingly keener to change our homes?

The generation who initially bought those new properties in the 1930's had often come from crowded inner city accommodation so having your own bathroom, kitchen and possibly even a bedroom each seemed a world away form what they had previously known. By about the 1960's quite a few would have changed hands and even for those that had not, people were gradually acquiring more goods. In the kitchen a fridge and washing machine were becoming common so it was beginning to feel a little cramped. The box room no longer seemed quite so roomy with childrens' seemingly endless supply of toys. It was also the time when increasing numbers purchased their first car, although they had not reached the build quality when given the choice you might actually leave it outside, unless you wanted to watch it rust before your eyes and not be able to start on a winter morning.

The 1960's therefore marked the beginning to any significant expansion of extending homes. Extensions from this era were often more overtly additions to the building with flat roofs being extremely common and windows would often follow the popular style at the time rather than necessarily match the original building. Prefabricated extensions also became quite popular with walls often of concrete panels or timber and roofs of either corrugated plastic or a felt flat roof and often built as a 'sun lounge'.

As the 1970's and 80's moved on there became an increasing trend towards home extensions matching the existing building. There are several possible reasons for this: –

· Town Planning departments increasing impact on even fairly minor schemes.

· The prefabricated type of extension, particularly when used as a habitable room (as opposed to a conservatory or similar) became more complex to justify under building regulations with increasing requirements of insulation etc. and possibly a more robust interpretation of them by some councils. Any savings in cost began to diminish.

· Finally and despite most importantly there was a realization by households that it was generally better to make the extension look a more integral part of the original building. This was partially driven by the increasing value of homes which at times has become a national obsession. The large scale sale of council houses also increased the number of owner occupiers who were often keen to individualize them, no doubt in part to show that they now owned the property.

Changes in building regulations in a couple of areas have also helped certain types of extension. The exemption of conservatories has made it potentially a quicker and easier form of extension (although it may still require planning approval, a point that is often forgotten http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Permitted_development ). This together with being another product for the expanding UPVC window industry and the introduction of polycarbonate roofing systems has made it one of the most common home improvements of the last few decades. Another important change in regulations was the removal of room height restrictions (other than above stairs). This has made a lot of loft conversions, particularly those with just roof lights viable which may not have been in the past and has become a very popular form of home extension, it is often more economic to build than an extension at ground level while often having less impact on the existing house and garden.

I suppose it was predictable that the next trend would be away from rigidly following the design of the existing building to an identity of its own. Often it incorporates elements that have been popular on some individual new homes such as large areas of glazing, white rendered walls and the use of timber externally. On the whole this is a more localized trend, it will often be more expensive to build, it sometimes requires more design skill for it to work successfully so is mainly seen in the more affluent parts of our major conurbations.

What of the future direction of home extensions?

The current economic climate has generally reduced the amount of activity and in particular the more grandiose schemes. However, in the longer term extending property will return to former levels. We are not building sufficient new houses to satisfy potential demand which after a temporary 'blip' will mean house prices will continue ever upwards and so it is generally more economic to spend money on your existing property than move 'up market'. Of the trends we have seen in recent years I would expect the conservatory market to have large peaked, there will always be a certain demand for them but it will be less mass market. Although sun lounges (large areas of windows but a solid roof) will still be popular. The more contemporary type of extension will continue to be a fairly specialist area but schemes may generally rely more on skillful use of space rather than just a large floor area. There are some new products on the market that may make loft conversions easier, particularly in relation to modern roof trusses, currently they often require strict steel beams to support the new roof. Basements have become popular in some of the more expensive urban areas, but it is usually a more expensive way of extending and so it is not likely to become widespread. It can be worthwhile though where there is some form of existing cellar to the building to convert it to useable accommodation.

As the use of alternative energy systems (solar, heat pumps etc.) becomes more common extending the home may be increasingly seen as a good time to incorporate such products. Likewise cladding an existing building with a different material (render, tiles, weatherboarding etc.) can be a way of increasing the insulation and improving the appearance of a bland house. It also means that an extension built at the same time can blend seamlessly with the rejuvenated existing parts. There are a lot of properties from the 60's and 70's which are not particularly attractive but often good value in comparison with some other eras whilst being soundly built and often with larger floor space and gardens than later properties. These would often benefit from a facelift plus an extension to improve the appearance and facilities.

There may also be an increasing trend of using alternative materials such as green roofs (grass or other plants) and some of the highly insulated forms of construction including SIPS (structural insulated panels – insulation sandwiched between two sheet materials) or the even more eco- friendly methods such as straw bale walls.

Open plan layouts will probably remain popular but in more restrained form, possibly keeping a separate living area that can be shut off rather than trying to create a single open space. Trying to read 'War and Peace' while someone else is playing the drums is not always a good mix! In addition, although an open plan kitchen has some advantages, watching you pick up the dinner from the floor or having to see heaps of washing up probably calls for a more skilful 'open but not open' approach. In other words sometimes partially open plan but offering some degree of enclosure.

Detached garden rooms have become increasingly popular in recent years often being used as 'home offices', gyms or music rooms – uses where some degree of separation can be a positive advantage, the recent permitted development ( http://en.wikipedia.org) / wiki / Permitted_development ) changes mean they are no longer included with other extensions for town planning purposes when close to the house. It will be interesting to see whether this will be used as a way of circumventing the rules on home extensions in some cases.

Once economic activity improves we can be sure of the arrival of more skips in our residential areas as home improvements and extensions regain their previous momentum.

Why You Deserve Spiral Stairs

You deserve wooden spiral stairs because you work hard to keep your home looking beautiful. You take care of the indoors as well as the outdoors. You may choose to update your home from time to time. A wooden spiral staircase is the perfect update to your home that can be added at any time.…

You deserve wooden spiral stairs because you work hard to keep your home looking beautiful. You take care of the indoors as well as the outdoors. You may choose to update your home from time to time. A wooden spiral staircase is the perfect update to your home that can be added at any time.

Picture the all wooden staircase in your home. You may think that this is a very difficult task to achieve. Hiring a contractor will add a higher cost to installing this amenity to your home. But on the contrary, you can order an all wooden spiral stair kit and do it yourself. The spiral stairway is literally built in a custom wood shop, assembled to make sure all the pieces fit together easily, then disassembled and shipped to you. You can put the kit together yourself with ease.

If you need help selecting your wooden spiral stairs, customer service is always available for additional information. You can choose one of the wooden spiral staircases or customize your own wooden spiral stairs. Your friends and family will wonder who designed such a beautiful piece and show a little envy that you were able to install them yourself. You will be able to accent your sense of style and taste when you add a wooden spiral staircase to your home.

As mentioned the wooden spiral stairs can be added to the outside of your home. The wood is treated to withstand the elements so it stays beautiful looking at all times. You can choose to add a beautiful stairway to your deck. Enjoy walking down the steps of this gorgeous addition to your home. Sit on your lawn or in a relaxing hammock enjoying the serenity and beauty that surrounds you.

Enjoy the high quality that will consistently keep your stairs looking fantastic. You will not need to worry that veneer is going to peel off or dent. Not one spiral stair has veneer on it. The creators of the staircases have been in business for over forty years. This is a true test to the quality of workmanship involved for a company to survive this long. You want to make sure that you choose a company that is very dedicated and uses high quality materials when searching for a kit.

Your children will enjoy walking up and down your new stairway. You will not have to worry that the children may wreck your staircase. The all wooden staircase is made of only high quality wood to withstand the wear and tear children can create due to simply being children.

You work hard in all aspects of your life. Treat yourself to a little luxury with wooden spiral stairs to increase the value of your home.

Playhouse Plans – Building Guidelines to Consider When Making Your Playhouse Plans

Playhouse Plans – Building Right Your kids are demanding a playhouse, 'because every one has one daddy', so what do you do? Wondering where to start and how to please all the kids? Tough one all right! Use the tips in this article to put up a playhouse your children will love and become a…

Playhouse Plans – Building Right

Your kids are demanding a playhouse, 'because every one has one daddy', so what do you do? Wondering where to start and how to please all the kids? Tough one all right! Use the tips in this article to put up a playhouse your children will love and become a hero in their eyes while you are at it.

You can find lots of sites online that offer playhouse plans, some for free and some for a price. If you do not find what you are looking for, there's always the option of building a playhouse with a plan that comes right out of your head, if you are good at carpentry that is.

Before you start building it is recommended that you consult your kids to find out what their ideas are regarding the playhouse. Sure pandemonium will reign but you can get them organized and let them tell you what they want. This really should be the basis of your construction because at the end of the day the play house if for them. Moreover their involvement will make them feel important.

Here are some guidelines to consider when making your playhouse plans.

· The most important aspect of the playhouse is safety. Your children who no doubt are extremely precious to you will be playing inside a great deal of the time and you do not want their safety compromised in any way. If you choose solid materials to build the playhouse the weight alone will hold it down steady. Of course you can always give it additional support you should so desire.

· Always choose a spot in the garden that is far away from the house for starters because of the noise levels that are sure to emanate from inside. Also make sure that when you construct the playhouse it is turned away from the direction of the wind.

· Level the spot you have chosen by raking it over and clearing away all the debris and small stones; it is advisable to choose the most level spot you can find to start off with. You do not want to end up with a lopsided playhouse now do you? Once this is done, you can start on your playhouse plans. Most plans recommend 2×6 joists made of treated lumber, you will have to take careful measurements and lay them out correctly before nailing them together. You could put plywood sheeting over the joists to give the kids a smooth surface to walk on.

· The next step in the playhouse plans will be the walls, which you will need to build similar to the walls of any house. It is best to create them as individual walls and then put them up by nailing them in place. Once the walls are up move on to the roof, most playhouse plans suggest a gabbled roof, make sure you take into consideration the climatic conditions of the place where you live and the fact that your kids will be climbing onto the roof at some point. Then move on to decking or adding plywood panels to the roof and sheathing adding plywood panels to the walls. A tin roof, vinyl roof, roof felt and asphalt are the options for completing the roof.

Tips on How to Build a Playhouse For Kids

A large unused yard space, would sure sound like a prudent choice to construct a playhouse for kids. But for some reason the playhouses that are readily available in the market do not quite cut it. At times these ready made play homes look garish and spoil the beautiful look of your garden. Now if…

A large unused yard space, would sure sound like a prudent choice to construct a playhouse for kids. But for some reason the playhouses that are readily available in the market do not quite cut it. At times these ready made play homes look garish and spoil the beautiful look of your garden. Now if you are a person who does not wish to spoil your yard's look with such garish looking plastic playhouses then you would have to have a fail proof playhouse plan that you can use to build your play house.

Even after getting the best and free playhouse plans there are certain things that you would have to keep in mind. Here, you will find out about what it takes to execute the best playhouse plans and build a playhouse that considers the safety of your kids and the beautiful look of your yard.

First, you would have to consider the area on which you are going to build your kids' playhouse. If your land is uneven then that would not be the best area to build a playhouse upon. If your yard is unheone, then you would have to ensure that you level the area well before you build the playhouse. The more even the piece of land is, the easier it would be to build the playhouse and you would also be able to make it more stable with proper support.

Next you would have to ensure that the materials being used are sturdy enough to ensure that the structure of the playhouse is safe for your kids. It would be wise if you could choose proper wooden beams to construct the playhouse with. Make sure that there are enough beams and pillows to support the walls and the ceiling. The last thing you need after executing a good playhouse plan is for the actual playhouse to cave-in.

You would also have to consider your children's preferences. There is no point building a playhouse that you like and not one that your kids like. Kids at times seem to have majestic ideas about their playhouses, have a fun brain storming session with your kids and look at how best you could execute their majestic ideas in a cost effective fashion.

All said and done, you would always need to remember that a playhouse that is well planned and built by you would have to last longer. When it comes to choice of materials, you would have to be willing to invest a bit in top quality stuff so that your playhouse lasts longer. Come rain or shine, the playhouse that you have built should last. Before learning how to build a playhouse , it would be best if you could ask for some advice from professionals who have enough experience in this particular area.

Now ensure that you follow these tips and build a playhouse easily. Research well, about various playhouse plans that are available. And check with your friends and over the internet on how best you can build your own playhouse.

Optimum Solution For Basement Leaks

One of the greatest concerns for most home owners is a territory leak. It is important to recognize the formation of leaks in the basement and identify its cause immediately. If the problem is recognized sooner, you will be able to prevent the formation of molds in the basement. The mold is a serious health…

One of the greatest concerns for most home owners is a territory leak. It is important to recognize the formation of leaks in the basement and identify its cause immediately. If the problem is recognized sooner, you will be able to prevent the formation of molds in the basement. The mold is a serious health hazard which can risk your family's well-being. It is easy to develop flu, rashes, asthma, and other complications from the molds. However, the insurance company can cover the leakage, but that depends on the cause. Here, it's important to take steps to see whether your insurance company covers basement leakage.

After you've identified the source of foundation leak, you need to verify either the form of leak is internal, external or structural. Internal leaks are thought about by pipes which are leaky. This can be from the ceiling or walls over your basement. But they are cheaper to repair than other type of leaks. External leaks are welcomed by improper landscape around the area of ​​your house. If the land slope will prevent water from draining off your house, the water will go somewhere, such as your basement. Another common cause of basement leaks is the snow. The snow's formation outside your house melts, since your house is warmer than snow, it melts then escapes into the crevices and cracks around your house. This will then drain into the basement. However, external leaks are repaired by layering the soil to change the land elevation close to your property. You can also set drain pipes in areas where land elevation is not possible. And in order for gravity to push the water into the drain, the pipe exit must be lower than the source of drain. And lastly, structural leaks are commonly caused by error in foundation. This is however, the most expensive kind of repair. A shifting foundation and cracks in foundation are main causes of structural leaks. One common cause of cracks in foundation are earthquakes, which apparently allows water to escape in the basement.

A basement leak should not remain in its place, no matter what's the cause. Repairing it immediately anticipates the growth of molds that have once grown, or it can be very hard to eliminate.

Plan Review Assistance

The planning of a new custom home or remodel of your existing home requires careful thinking and exploration regarding your lifestyle needs and requirements. It is important to obtain the services of a competent design professional to prepare the building plans and possible design overlays to fit within the building footprint. Many times it is…

The planning of a new custom home or remodel of your existing home requires careful thinking and exploration regarding your lifestyle needs and requirements. It is important to obtain the services of a competent design professional to prepare the building plans and possible design overlays to fit within the building footprint. Many times it is advantageous to have a team of professionals assist the homeowner with the building processes, plan review, and construction cost analysis. Most homeowners are not prepared in many aspects to overcome the multitude of obstacles of construction and remodeling. The experience of all the factors involved during the various processes can be emotionally, financially, and mentally draining. Acquiring the services of a renovation or remodeling coach can ease the “pain and drain”, and will provide added value to the project that will translate into cost and time savings.

The following are important factors that should be incorporated into design and construction:

o Climatic and environmental conditions should be considered the most elementary aspects of home design, but is often overlooked. It is important during the site planning phase to correctly position the home or addition on the lot to fully capture the best view, the sun's angles, and anticipating wind directions. These factors will greatly influence where the outdoor spaces are located and where windows and walls will need to be shaded or capture cross breezes. It is important to consider factors outside of the lot lines – externalises and privacy factors that may affect the room layout.

o Accessibility is especially important when adapting your home for aging conveniences and should be a high priority design. Hallways and doorways that are wide and transitions between floor levels are important considerations. Bathrooms will require more maneuvering space, grab bars, and other special design considerations. Universal design standards are an important for the aging or handicapped.

o Storage requirements should have considered a room by room basis. Efficient kitchen layout that will accommodated your cookware and appliances. Closet criteria should include how much length of hanging wardrobe space. Garages need extra space for lawn equipment, bicycles, recycle bins, workspaces, brooms, cleaning supplies, and etc.

o Acoustics is important in determining how much noise travels through the walls, windows, or from one room to the next. Sound mitigation techniques can be obtained by detailing sound transmission class rated walls, floor or ceiling assemblies and doors that can provide sound isolation.

o Lighting techniques and placement of the right fixtures or windows to obtain the appropriate lighting levels for each rooms specific needs.

Consider what else is vitally important to you and your family for your living needs and wants. Draft a list for each living area, tear out pictures from books and magazines, surf the internet for ideas. It is important to plan your vision and lifestyle needs and desires that will be translated into years of enjoyment.

The Evolution of Cupolas – How the Addition of Cupolas Has Changed

In present times, cupolas are seen as a decorative fixture on many houses. Many wanting to go for a period or colonial look will add a vinyl or wood cupola to their roof, but the fixture will not be connected to the rest of the house. This was not always the case with cupolas, in…

In present times, cupolas are seen as a decorative fixture on many houses. Many wanting to go for a period or colonial look will add a vinyl or wood cupola to their roof, but the fixture will not be connected to the rest of the house. This was not always the case with cupolas, in fact. While the use of cupolas in architecture extends back several hundred years, they were added to many North American colonial coastal homes in the US and Canada. As older, historical buildings are preserved for their significance and architecture, cupolas are often part of the building's design. Over two hundred years, the function of the cupola changed from a practical component of a home to a piece of outdoor décor.

Homes built during the colonial period in fishing cities and towns like New Bedford, MA and New London, CT were often served with cupolas. Dubbed the “widow's walk,” these fixtures allowed family members to look out from the roofs of their home to see if their husbands or fathers were returning from a trip at sea. Built as part of the house, these cupolas were large enough – at least six feet tall – for a person to stand in. Although neither New Bedford nor New London is a significant fishing port in the present, older buildings in both towns still display these cupolas.

The cupola traveled inland, and homes in non-coastal towns started displaying them. These were still built into the structure of the home, but, instead of being used as a lookout point, they allowed air to circulate through the house. Most of these cupolas were slightly smaller than their coastal counterparts, but they were still attached to the home. With vents on the sides, the cupola acted like an early air conditioner to many homes.

In the 20th century, however, cupolas began to be ornamental only. While buildings still used them, they were generally added to make a building appear taller and stately. The size, additionally, shrunk over the century and the fixture seldom opened to the rest of the house when added.

Design Your Dream House With a Purpose

There are well over a million new housing “starts” in the United States each year, but only a small fraction of those houses are custom designed. It's a sad thing. Your house is the largest single investment most people make in their lifetime. Your house has a major impact on you and your family. It's…

There are well over a million new housing “starts” in the United States each year, but only a small fraction of those houses are custom designed. It's a sad thing. Your house is the largest single investment most people make in their lifetime. Your house has a major impact on you and your family. It's not just an object, it's your home. It's the environment you occupy and interact with during a larger portion of your life than anywhere else. And we are all shaped and influenced by our environment.

“But I can not afford a custom house design,” you say. Well that may be so, but even if you are selecting from standard plans or picking out a plan from a book of house designs, you can make better choices and understand what your perfect house can be by learning a little about what constituents good design. You need to raise your level of awareness.

As an architect I am often asked, what is the most important consideration when you design a house? In my opinion, the single most important quality is that there needs to be purposefulness to the plan. In order to achieve this, your home plan should have a main theme or concept as the core of the design plan. This should lend organization, as well as flow, to your house plan.

The most direct and simple methods of organizing a plan is often the best. One that I have used as a basis of many plans is the classic “four square plan.” The main shape of the house is a square, with an axis that acts as a connector. This is the idea used in the classic “Georgian Style” house. The main rooms of the home are in each of the corner squares, with a hallway and stairwell as the center acting as a connection between rooms on the same floor. The upper floor would also have a similar pattern with bedrooms in the corners, bathroom at the end of the hall. As you walk through a home like this, the spaces feel right since they are organized in a way that makes sense.

Take a look at a typical house plan. It will probably have some of this purposeful organization as the underlying concept. Perhaps the center hall is wider in one area, such as in the foyer. The stairwell may curve, or go off to the side of the center axis. You may find larger room in the rear that still fits in with the organized plan. Try to think about how you want your rooms to fit together and make the spaces flow in an orderly way.

Other organizing concepts are more complex, and may be the right one for you. Thoughtful planning will help you arrive at a meaningful, and purposeful floor plan. No matter what, your house design requires a plan that fulfills your needs. A house may be elaborate and expensive, but without a plan with integrity and unity, it will not feel right. You want to feel settled, content and happy in your home. Design your home with a purposeful plan so that your home becomes a perfect fit for your family.

Effective Home Addition Plans

When one is considering doing additions to your home, it is always advisable that you have accurate and well thought out home addition plans. By making sure that your planning is correct and having done the necessary preparation you will almost be ensured that your additions will be a success and cost effective at the…

When one is considering doing additions to your home, it is always advisable that you have accurate and well thought out home addition plans. By making sure that your planning is correct and having done the necessary preparation you will almost be ensured that your additions will be a success and cost effective at the same time.

The big question then is how does one go about making sure that the planning you do is effective and how can you make it more cost effective? There are many ways in which this may be achieved and to be sure that you have done it correctly, it would not hurt to do a bit of looking around on the internet.

One of the first things which you need to consider when trying to put together effective home addition plans is exactly what it is that you wish to achieve by making these additions? Are you looking to create space, improve living conditions for the family or add value to your home investment?

Ideally the answer to all three of these should be yes if you want the additions you plan to be successful and at the same time be profitable to you. The next thing you will need to do is to do an approximate costing for the addition and then have a look if it is viable and within your budget.

One should always rather over estimate as it is never good if the funds run out before the project is complete. Be thorough in your costing and be sure to actually shop around and compare prices, the internet is also always a good way to be able to get price guidelines.

These first few steps are a great start as to how you should go about creating effective home addition plans, by simply applying them to you are sure to be off to a good start.

Remember any additions you do to your home should always be beneficial to the value of your property investment.

The Place of a Home Extension Architect in a Home Extension Project

If you are considering extending your home soon, then chances are that you will need the services of a home extension architect. The home extension architect is one of the emerging specialists in architecture, along the likes of the environmental architect, the residential architect and so on. These are typically professionals with strong backgrounds in…

If you are considering extending your home soon, then chances are that you will need the services of a home extension architect. The home extension architect is one of the emerging specialists in architecture, along the likes of the environmental architect, the residential architect and so on. These are typically professionals with strong backgrounds in general architecture, who then go on to specialize, through further training and intensive project involvement, in the relevant areas.

The need to involve an architect comes as 'news' to many people going on such projects. But the truth of the matter is that the home extension – if it is to be properly hacked – may actually call for more skill than what was involved in the first building of the property; hence the need for a specialized architect.

What is worth noting about the involvement of a home-extension architect in the project is that this is not just about the aesthetics of the project, but also about the safety of the extension. Indeed, in many legal jurisdictions, it becomes a mandatory requirement – because there have been cases of what were actually very sound structures ending up being compromised during extensions, so that they become unsafe. And an unsafe structure as we all know, is not only dangerous to the owner, but to the general public as well; for there is no knowing when it could come tumbling, and who it could end up falling on.

So like the architect who is involved in the initial design of the building, the roles of the home extension architect can be seen as two-fold. On the one hand, this is the professional who (sometimes in concert with the structural engineer) will ensure that the structures that make the extension possible are safe – that they will not come tumbling the very next day. And on the other hand, this is also the professional who will ensure that the structures are aesthetically appealing, for there have also been cases of otherwise beautiful buildings ending up completely messed up during extension, when the extension projects are not properly thought out.

In the face of the unique challenges involved in home-extension projects, it is not unheard of architects who are otherwise very highly experienced in general architecture (in the designing of absolutely new buildings, that is) expressing reservations about going on home extension projects. Their advise to you, when you approach them with such a project will be that you should go to a home extension architect.

An encounter with a home extension architect will usually start with a visit to his or her office, where you get to brief them on what you generally want. The second step would be for them to visit the site, and make a professional assessment of the project. And the third step would be for them to work out the specifics of the project in their studio, with the end result of this step being the drawings that they develop and hand to the builders who are to be involved in the actual project. After this, the role of the home extension architect is reduced to a supervisor role – to ensure that the blueprints that they developed for the project are followed, so as to come up with both a structural sound, and aesthetically appealing building.

The Design of Modern House Plans

It is easy to confuse the terms modern architecture and contemporary architecture since the two words mean the same thing in casual usage. However modern architecture refers to the design which was inspired by the historical modernist art movement, so that in actual fact most examples of modern house plans are at least fifty years…

It is easy to confuse the terms modern architecture and contemporary architecture since the two words mean the same thing in casual usage. However modern architecture refers to the design which was inspired by the historical modernist art movement, so that in actual fact most examples of modern house plans are at least fifty years old. The modernist movement represented a rebellion against the traditions of classical architecture. Because this movement spanned almost sixty years, it embraces different architectural styles including Arts & Crafts, ranch, and Art Deco. The movement also produced giants in the pantheon of architecture, including Frank Lloyd Wright in America, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe in Germany, and Le Corbusier in Switzerland.

The key elements which distinguish modern architecture are open living spaces, which is largely Frank Lloyd Wright's contribution. Wright thought that separate rooms tended to impede the flow of living. Thus, modernist home plans are characterized by open floor plans which combine spaces for entertaining, relaxing, and dining. Modern country houseplans feature large plate-glass windows and outdoor patio areas to increase the living space and to bring the sense of the outdoors inside. Another key element of the modernistic style is its clean geometric lines and lack of adornment, rather than the embellished columns and arches characteristic of the classical style. Modernism also adopted technologically-advanced materials such as steel, glass, and concrete instead of the traditional stone, wood, and plaster. Another key element of modernism is the “form follows function” ideal, which is largely the contribution of Mies van der Rohe and his Bauhaus followers, which you can thank for the office cubicle. Mies' view was that homes and other buildings should be large and wide-open in order to accommodate various functions, and then be subdivided as needed with movable screens and walls. Mies believed that the open space would create a feeling of community.

Although the concept of open space in modern architecture has visual appeal, probably Wright never thought for a moment about the difficulty of keeping all that open space clean. With an open floor plan, it is not possible to shove clutter into a corner and close a door on it. Indeed, in modern luxury home plans it is possible to see dirty dishes from the living room, so there is nowhere to hide from having to keep the kitchen spotless at all times. Also, although modernist architecture's focus on using new technologies and materials was quite exciting in its time, by now the metal-and-glass boxes seem cold and sterile – not to mention that they show dust. While modern architecture honors the idea of ​​freely flowing space, its slavish devotion to pure function tended to ignore human needs. As an example, towering modern condos and apartment complexes are an economic use of limited land space, but their lack of contact with nature and greenery and of common areas discourages human interaction and promoters isolation. Open space in the home can intervene with people's need for privacy. Also few people really want to live with no sentimental objects in view.