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LG-2715 Open Floor Plan

SG-1152 Small Brick House Plan

CR-3191 Hillside House Plan

SG-1688-Small Floor Plan

SG-980 Small Open Floor Plan


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What determines the size requirements for a septic system?

Usually the number of bedrooms in a given residence will be used to determine the size of a septic system. A study or den will count as a bedroom if it has a closet.

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What is the importance of 1x4 wood furring at ceilings specified on the plans?

Wood furring or "strapping" is very useful in eliminating "nail popping" of the drywall spackle caused by normal seasonal up and down bending movement of ceiling joists, roof rafters or truss bottom chords. The sheetrock is screwed to the strapping and the strapping is secured to the framing member. This intermediate material now acts as a cushion, absorbing the movement of the structural member and significantly reducing the number of call backs for repeated sheetrock repairs.

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Can rigid insulation panels be used in place of sheathing or added to it for better R-value?

Yes. Different types of Rigid-foam will affect the performance of the walls in diverse ways (semi-permeable non-vapor barrier, vapor retarder, vapor barrier, etc.) and will depend on your regional location. If rigid-foam panels are used in place of sheathing, corner bracing will be required. However, in both cases you will need to prepare window and door openings before installing the insulation panels. Use wood furring strips that are equal to the thickness of the rigid-foam insulation to create a solid nailing surface around the openings. In order to insure that the furring strips don't split when windows and doors are installed, use a minimum width of 2½" and install the strips around all sides of the openings.

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Is it better to use 2x6 walls or insulated sheathing over 2x4 walls to achieve higher R-value insulation?

Using insulated sheathing over standard 2x4 wall construction is actually more cost-effective than going with 2x6 wall studs and, depending on the type of insulated sheathing used, will achieve higher R-values. Wood is not a great insulator and heat loss occurs at every stud, no matter how deep it is. When the sheathing is insulated, the studs are protected from heat loss. Another option, is to apply insulated sheathing (which is non-structural) over the structural plywood sheathing to avoid having to install corner bracing. In either case, wood furring strips will need to be installed as explained in the Rigid Insulation Panels above.

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When converting from 2x4 to 2x6 exterior wall construction, will that affect other parts of the house plan?

Yes. You will lose 2" of space at each adjacent wall. If cabinets are located in that space, they will have to be resized accordingly. All exterior doors will required larger jamb sizes and windows will need extension jambs.

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How much of an overhang is needed to protect a south facing window from summer sun and still get the benefit of winter sun?

An effective window overhang shades summertime sun while still allowing for the incoming rays of winter sunlight. The ideal size for the overhang will depend on several factors such as your geographic latitude, which side of the house the overhang is located and the sill to soffit height. Below is a handy little chart for calculating the size of an overhang using the following formula:

H (sill to soffit height)/Shade-Factor (from chart) = D (depth of overhang in feet).

SHADE FACTORS
LATITUDE 25 30 35 40 45 50 55
SIDE
East 0.8 0.8 0.8 0.8 0.8 0.8 0.8
Southeast 1.9 1.6 1.4 1.3 1.1 1.0 0.9
South 10.1 5.4 3.6 2.6 2.0 1.7 1.4
Southwest 1.9 1.6 1.4 1.3 1.1 1.0 0.8
West 0.8 0.8 0.8 0.8 0.8 0.8 0.8


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Is it possible to use pocket doors in place of swinging doors throughout a house plan?

In order for pocket doors to be possible, a clear unobstructed space of at least the width of the door needs to be available at one side of the opening for the door to "pocket" or slide into. That means no electrical switches or outlets can be put in that space, no studs can be there to support kitchen cabinets or towel bars/hanging rods and adjacent perpendicular walls will need special treatment (plywood panels) to maintain wall strength. Using pocket doors will, therefore, depend on the layout of the floor plan.

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Is board & batten siding more expensive than horizontal siding?

Board & batten siding can be achieved by two methods. The original method, using, for example, 1x8 boards installed vertically with 1x2 battens over each joint, is a more expensive process. The vertical boards will need to be secured to a structural nailing surface other than the plywood sheathing to adequately prevent cupping. This will require the installation of nail blocking (2x4's or 2x6's depending on the wall thickness) between the studs at various distances in each bay. This labor intensive task, however, can be avoided by simply using the second method of T-1-11 reverse board and batten plywood siding panels (with pre-embossed channels at 8" or 12" centers) over which 1x2 battens are installed. The 4' width of the plywood siding allows for nailing to the standard wall studs behind the sheathing, saving a good bit on labor.

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Why is screening attached to deck joists specified on the plans?

We specify that screening be attached to deck joists before the floor boards are installed for areas designated as "screened porch". This will ensure that a screened porch will be effective in preventing bugs from entering through the joints in the floor boards as they shrink or move with age. It's easier to install the screening during construction on the surface edge of the porch floor joists than to tack it on later underneath.

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Is Optimum Value Engineering (OVE) specified in the plans?

Our plans have been value designed, which means the layouts conform to standard building increment of 2' and 4', thus, saving on waste and disposal fees, as well as simplifying the framing process. OVE (also called Advanced Framing Techniques) is a construction framing method used primarily to save lumber and also energy (by reducing thermal bridging and, thus, allowing for more insulation to be placed in the wall assembly). We do not specify any particular framing method since it is a decision that should be made by you and your builder based on your goals, as well as what your local building department and regional codes will allow.

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Can plans be built using Optimum Value Engineering (Advanced Framing Techniques)?

Yes. Your builder or framer can easily adapt those building methods to the construction plans during the building process without the need for plan modifications.

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What is the advantage in using Optimum Value Engineering (OVE) or Advanced Framing Techniques?

OVE will reduce the number of studs, headers and top plates required to frame the structure and, therefore, save money. However, they do have drawbacks and not all builders/framers like the results.

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What are some of the drawbacks in using Optimum Value Engineering (OVE) or Advanced Framing Techniques?

One method in using OVE is the 3-stud corner which allows for easy insulation. Typically corners are framed with 5 or 6 studs and almost always never get insulated. The problem with this method, however, comes when building in seismic or high wind area where specialty tie-downs and anchors need to be attached to double 2xs.

And, the 2-stud method is even worse, requiring the use of drywall clips which eventually allow the sheetrock to crumble and loosen at the connection point. Tearing up the wall to repair this can be very messy and costly.

Eliminating jack studs and headers at gable walls create problems when attaching finish trim or heavy window drapes due to the lack of a sufficient nailing base.

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Is there any way to save on construction without skimping on the structure?

Yes. Stick with plans that are value designed. A dwelling with a layout that stays within a grid format of 2' and 4' building increments will utilize standard available construction material dimensions. This will translate into less waste, less labor for cutting and less disposal costs.

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