Have you ever had a home that was always dusty? No matter how frequently you cleaned or what products you used there was dust every time you turned the corner? Your problem might be something other than your cleaning routine. In fact, you might have been doomed since the day your house was finished! Dusty homes are often caused by two main issues with the builder: (1) the builder did not clean out the wall cavities before applying the sheetrock and therefore literally building dust into your home, and (2) leaky wall assemblies that allow air to travel through your wall and bring the dust with it.
Quality can’t only be seen in the finished product, in fact, it is better shown before the walls go up. An eternally dusty home can be avoided with two simple measures. First, the builder needs to take the time and care to sweep and vacuum out the wall cavity before putting up the sheetrock. This will prevent layers of dirt and dust from living between your walls only waiting to make it’s way out into your home.
Second, properly sealing the walls can help keep your house airtight and clean. When your walls are not properly sealed air flows through the wall, picking up the dirt and dust trapped between your walls, and brings it into your home through outlets, light switches, joints between the wall and floors and many other tiny cracks. Not only does air flow through your walls create a dirt and dust problem inside your house but it is a major hit to your air quality and will affect your energy efficiency. Below you can see the dirt and dust that could be lurking in between your walls.
By using a program such as Nautilus’ Seal Package on new homes you can easily and permanently deal with these problems from the start. The care your builder takes from day one matters.
Take a second and picture your dream home, do you see flawlessly painted walls, a gorgeous claw foot tub and a large pool in your backyard? At Nautilus we see things a little differently. We understand that the key to your dream home is the care your builder took from step one.
While most people want to see a finished home to judge the quality of the builder we want you to take a closer look at, perhaps, the more important side of construction: what is under the paint. The ‘bones’ of a house will show the care and quality your builder stuck to throughout the job. A better builder will be concerned with the little details early on that can have huge impacts on your home later.
For instance, an often overlooked issue is material protection. When walking through a newly built home the hardwood floors are always a main concern for damage. They are carefully cared for and covered when in danger of damage but are your builders taking the same care for the rest of the wood in your house? Not only is the visible wood important to protect but also the framing materials. When driving past job sites take a minute and look to see if the framing material has been left on the ground, uncovered, to gather water, dust and mold spores that will be planted into your house permanently. At Nautilus we see the value in these little steps and are sure to keep framing materials carefully stacked and covered to protect the wood.
Below you see two pictures, first picture is foundation done the Nautilus way and the following image is foundation done the ‘other way.’ Here you can see the difference when you work with a builder who cares.
We believe that the early stages of a home tell as much as the finished product. Is the site clean? Are your materials being protected? Are the little steps just as important as the large ones? Is your builder taking the care he needs in order to make your dream home perfect? These are all things you should think of when picking a builder for your future home.
U.S. builders started work on homes in December at the fastest pace in 4 ½ years and finished 2012 as their best year for residential construction since the early stages of the housing crisis.
The Commerce Department said Thursday that builders broke ground on houses and apartments last month at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 954,000. That’s 12.1 percent higher than November’s annual rate. And it is nearly double the recession low reached in April 2009.
This just in from the L.A. Times Business Section: Builder confidence in the housing market rose for the eighth straight month in December to its highest point in more than six years. An index compiled by the National Assn. of Home Builders and Wells Fargo & Co. put the sentiment reading at 47 – the highest since April 2006.
According to economist Steve Slifer in Charleston, South Carolina, the rebound in housing is finally underway. This corresponds directly to what we at Nautilus Company are seeing first-hand. Our Custom Homes division is staying busy as well as our Home Management division and we’re excited to see how this trend continues into 2013.
Economist Steve Slifer shares that the increase in building permits continues to be a trend which is great news and a key indicator in the housing sector. According to Slifer, “the long-awaited turnaround is underway”. Click here for the full article.
Here are some progress photos of the new home Nautilus Company is building on Daniel Island, South Carolina.
According to economist Steve Slifer, Homebuilder Confidence climbed another 5 points in October to 46. That is the seventh consecutive increase and puts it at its highest level since May 2006! Click here for the rest of the article
US News reports that Homebuilder Confidence among U.S. homebuilders rose this month to its highest level in six and a half years, driven by strong demand for newly built homes and growing optimism that the housing recovery will strengthen next year. See the full article
Greetings everyone! Well it’s that time of year again – a nice break from the heat and humidity and Fall in the Lowcountry is an amazing time of year. We’re staying quite busy building and managing homes and as such, we’ve realized that few homeowners are aware that getting a jump on mold and mildew in the Fall can make all the difference when it comes to keeping your home healthy and sound.
In our climate, particularly on the coast line, we have the double duty of dealing with moist hot weather as well as cooler moist weather. This means that mold and mildew that attaches itself to wood, siding, stucco and other cementitious materials can start a process of degradation and that if left unmanaged, will cost you time and money and it won’t be inexpensive.
Over the years, we’ve seen the most innocuous-seeming mold and mildew missed by Spring pressure washes turn into serious rot and over time, compromise the “exterior skin” of the structure. This means that that water starts to enter the home and cause even further damage to walls, doors, floors and finishes. No one appreciates these types of problems so be prompt and practice the exterior high pressure power wash in the Fall in addition to Spring. Here are more items to address during your Fall maintenance weekend.
Pressure wash all exterior surfaces of the home including siding, brick, stucco and foundation concrete.
Visually inspect the roof for damage or missing components such as shingles, roof tiles or self sealing fasteners on metal roofs.
Inspect all flashing and sealant at all roof penetrations such as chimneys and plumbing vents. Don’t forget the sealant at all wall penetrations too such as cables and plumbing lines.
Ensure all attic vents are in tact an unobstructed.
Clean gutters and verify downspouts are clear while maintaining proper protective screens to minimize natural debris such as leaves, pine straw and dirt from clogging these areas.
Verify all gutters are properly fastened to the fascia and all downspouts properly draining away from from the home – look for excessive water erosion.
Pay particular attention to decks, deck and stair railing and exterior stairs when pressure washing. These areas are often missed and mold commonly gets a stronghold. Replace warped or split stair treads.
Don’t forget to inspect the perimeter of door and window frames to ensure all sealant is in tact and that rotting or damage is not present. If so, remove damaged wood or replace frames as necessary as soon as possible.
Verify that the weather seal on the bottom of garage doors is keeping water out.
Examine all exterior door thresholds and weather stripping to ensure that water is kept out of the structure where it belongs. If you can see any daylight around the door perimeter from the interior of the home, new weather stripping will be needed and the door may need to be adjusted.
These are just some of the items we’ll address in a Nautilus Company Home Evaluation and Management program. If you’re a homeowner too busy to deal with these types of tasks or only available part time in your Charleston area home, don’t hesitate to contact Nautilus Company Home Management and we’ll be happy to come out and perform a Home Evaluation and identify areas that need attention and outline a plan of action to protect your investment.
Our Home Management specialists are seasoned professionals in all aspects of home building and management and we’ll identify together if there might be a fit or not. Our goal is to provide you with reliable information so you can make an informed decision to protect your home and keep it safe and comfortable for you and your family for years to come.
Stairs are the number one thing that people fall down on and cause serious injury to themselves. This is why it is vital that you safe-proof your stairs as much as possible. If not, you face the possibility of breaking a bone, or even dying. Not to mention that if a guest falls on these stairs and gets hurt you could be facing a personal injury lawsuit due to your negligence of not having any safety standards in place for your stairs. Most people who have children automatically think of ways in which to hazard prove their stairs, however, what they do not consider if they themselves having problems with the stairs. Statistically speaking, more adults fall down stairs and are hurt when compared to children. So thinking that you have the greatest balance in the world and will never fall, is only kidding yourself. So what should you do in order to ensure that your stairs are safer for everyone?
The first step is to make sure that you have handrails on both sides of the stairs. Even if your stairs are against a wall, it is still a good idea to have a rail attached to the wall. For those going up and down the stairs, they can hold onto both rails and ensure that they have a stable hold. In addition, if someone does find themselves slipping, having handrails to grasp onto can keep them from falling down the entire length of stairs.
Secondly, attach stair treads to the stairs or use a runner up the entire stairs. Many times, stairs that are wooden are very slippery especially when someone is just wearing socks. Those going up and down the stairs will be able to grip the stairs if they are wearing shoes, socks or are in bare feet. It makes the stairs significantly more safe.
Another thing to make sure that your steps are safer is to make sure that your stairway is lighted well and enables people to see. Many times stairs are often very dark, which makes it harder to see where you are stepping and usually people just use their foot to feel their way up the steps which greatly increases the chances of stubbing a toe and ultimately falling down the stairs. If you have a wall on your stairs, installing a light fixture in the middle of the stairs is the best option as it will light both the bottom and the top of the stairs. If your stairs are open to the area, then you have the option of placing a few touch lights on the stairs themselves, which most people do, however it could also make the chances of tripping more. Instead, a common thing that most people do in order to make sure that their steps are well lighted is to wind decorative lights along the hand rails, which not only is a decorative touch, but is usable as well.
For those steps in the basement the main problem with this is that they are dark which makes them harder to see. To combat this, a person should consider painting these concrete steps a bright white color in order to make sure that people can see them even when the light may be less than superior. Installing rails on the sides of the basement steps is also a great way to make sure that no one falls on the hard concrete steps.
For those with children, placing gates at both the top and the bottom stairs can prevent those little ones from falling since they cannot be accessed. However, you need to make sure that the gates are sturdy. Those that are plastic have been known to give under the weight of a child if they decide to lean on them. This is why you should look for those gates that will require attaching the gate itself to the wall or another sturdy surface. These types are the safest types to get, so be sure to do your research before running out and buying the first gate that you find.
In order to make sure that your stairs are as safe as possible so make sure you do not have any loose rugs at the top or bottom of the stairs. Many people place these throw rugs in the area before their stairs for decoration. The problem with this is that these rugs are not anchored to the carpet or the hardwood meaning that you can easily flip the corner of the rug and thus follow with a trip down the stairs. If you believe that you must have these rugs in their locations then you need to go to the extra effort to secure these rugs down. You can use two sided tape to adhere the rug to the floor or another similar substance.
Also make sure that your stairs are free of debris. This means that those books or magazines that you place on the stairs need to be moved, as well as those toys that your children may seem to sit on them. Walking up and down stairs is a difficult path for many. An obstacle course on the stairs only ensures that you are more likely to fall down them.
Remember when you walk up and down the stairs that you hold onto the hand rails. If you have to carry things up to the second floor then take only small loads that you can see over. Too many times, people carry a huge load of laundry up the stairs that inhibits their line of sight, meaning that they lose their footing more easily and fall.
Ultimately you will need to make sure that you are keeping the stairs in good working order to ensure that the stairs do not have any nails or the treading that you have attached is not being unattached causing a huge possibility of tripping and falling up or down the stairs.
The number of accidents each year related to falling down the stairs is around 4000 per year. To make sure that you do not become one of these statistics, you need to ensure that your stairs are completely safe for everyone.
With newer and smarter technological marvels hitting the marketplace daily, it seems reasonable to expect that something as basic as a house should do what it is intended to do. At a minimum, your house should be safe, durable, comfortable, healthy to breathe in, and energy-efficient. But the fact is that you are quite likely to experience problems in your house such as mold, cold drafts, rotting roofs, polluted air, and high energy costs. Any one of these performance problems is an indication that your house is not performing as it should — it is sick, and it needs a diagnosis and cure.
While these performance failures are all distinct types of problems, they have a common cause. They stem from a failure to understand the complex, interactive system that is a home. Surprisingly, until the last 15 years, very little scientific research had been conducted into how homes and buildings actually function. Instead, builders and contractors relied almost totally on knowledge handed down through word-of-mouth in the trades. Then when things went wrong, they had little to tell them why. Their fixes were usually based not on an understanding of how homes really function, but on what was traditionally done. Sometimes these fixes worked, often they didn’t.
Compounding the problem, the traditional view of homes is that they are simply a set of components that are, for the most part, independent of each other. Too often, the separate components of a home are designed by people who don’t communicate with each other. The architect designs for aesthetic appeal, but not for energy efficiency or even for long-lasting performance. The framer builds the frame of the home for structural stability, but not for air tightness. The mechanical contractor designs and installs the heating, air conditioning and ducts, but rarely thinks of the occupants’ needs for fresh air. The common insistence on seeing these construction specialties as separate can cause a host of home performance problems.
In the last 15 years, there has been a revolution in the science of diagnosing and curing sick buildings. Through the process of applying scientific methods and instruments to the study of buildings, scientists have come to realize that buildings are like people. They must keep moisture out via a continuous watertight skin. They must provide clean, fresh air for the occupants while at the same time maintaining comfortable temperatures. They must not take in too many toxins, and when toxins do get in, they must be expelled quickly. Houses must also be affordable to live in.
Perhaps the most important realization has been that buildings – like people – function as a system. Building scientists and home performance specialists – a small, but growing group of well-trained professionals – have measured and documented how all the different components in a home interact with and affect one another. When one part goes wrong, it will inevitably effect other parts that may seem on the surface to have no direct connection. We have come to know that the different parts of a house are as interdependent as the organs of a living being. Houses should therefore be designed and treated, so that all the different parts of the system interact in a way that is beneficial, and they should be treated this way when they are sick.