Foundation:   Clearing, excavation and grading is the first step.  Then the foundation is poured; not a slab foundation, but rather a footing and stem-wall foundation.  Rebar is used to tie the footing and walls together as one unit. [Horizontals are 12” apart and the verticals are 36” apart].  So you have a positive tie, in other words it's not a brick on a brick.  Cable and phone boxes aren’t on the wall outside, they are inside, so the look is cleaner and the wiring is much more secure.  Note: The pipes go up through the footing, the stem wall and then into the stud cavity. The boxes are mounted inside the garage.

Tie-Down System:   The Simpson device is a threaded rod that effectively bolts the top plate to the foundation, thus resisting forces caused by earthquakes and high winds. The coils are pre-tensioners that absorb any slack over the life of the house.  We build to Zone 4 seismic tolerance, as exemplified by the Simpson device. Oregon is Zone 3, so this is above code. We also use sheer panel blocking to make the walls more rigid.  The use of rebar in the foundations and the tie-downs in the walls creates a seamless link of superior strength through the foundation and walls.  In other words, a positive tie. 

Exterior Walls:   The studs are 16” apart.  We use 2x6 kiln-dried studs, because this will produce less shrinkage in the house.  We use only ring-shanked nails, not staples, to apply the plywood sheeting to the framing.   Staples ruin the plywood’s veneer, thereby seriously reducing the plywood’s viability and strength.  Thus, the sheeting onto the studs is the first exterior layer.  Then, the house is wrapped in Tyvek® and the joints are taped.  This revetment is basically Gore-Tex for the house, preventing water from getting in, but allowing it to get out, if necessary.  The caulking is put in for the windows, and then they are installed and nailed. Tape and Tyvek® are put around the windows, creating a gasket.   When we wrap a window, cedar wrap is placed around the windows, and stainless steel flashing keeps water from getting in.    In essence the windows are sealed four times.  The siding is double-sealed everywhere.  The edges are mitered, felt is applied and the siding is caulked so that one has the best protection from the elements (in case the siding shrinks, the felt and caulking repel water). If cedar siding is used, it is sprayed and back rolled with the Sherman-Williams product CUPINOL®, a clear sealant that prevents discoloring and fading for up to 5 years.  The siding is double sealed: front caulked and back caulked.

Windows:   These are vinyl “smart” windows with low-E glazing; energy-efficient, keeping the house cool in summer and warm in winter, as the glazing modulates the sun’s heat.  Vinyl gives excellent protection against salt at the coast and they have a limited lifetime warranty.  The interior window trim is glued in the corners and pin-nailed, before many coats of paint are applied

Roof:   The engineered trusses are sheathed with hefty 5/8th inch sheathing, not the more common ½ inch type. Instead of staples, we use ring-shanked nails and H-clips to create a positive tie, so the plywood is best connected to prevent sagging.  Instead of the cheaper flash-coated nails, we use stainless steel fasteners to fasten roof materials to prevent salt air corrosion.  

Gutters and Drainage:   We use aluminum gutters and downspouts and the more expensive 3-inch Schedule 40 PVC pipe, which is easier to snake pine needles out of.  There is a downspout pipe on the footings for the gutters, and in addition, we lay a 4-inch perforated /corrugated pipe footing drain all around the house to handle ground water and get it away from the house.

Floors:    We use the floor joist system with ¾ inch or 7/8 inch plywood, glued and ring-shank nailed to the joists.  Once the moisture level in the flooring is below 12%, then hardwood floors can be installed. This low moisture prevents cupping and shrinkage. These are not PERGO® floors, but the “real McCoy”; ¾ inch tongue-and-groove hardwood that is sanded, edged and sealed.  Our floor man is an artist!

Interior Walls: The installed insulation is lined with the more expensive “craft-backed” paper, instead of visqueen plastic, which is able to “breathe” and give better moisture control and help prevent mold. We use a PVA primer/sealant to dry the wall and improve adhesion.  The sheetrock is screwed on, which is better than nailed on.  Once the moisture is below 12%, the drywall is applied – this low moisture helps prevent shrinkage and cracking.  Then the paint is sprayed on and back rolled, leaving no lines.

Insulation:    The walls are R21, the floors are R25, and the roof is R30 or R38.   

Millwork:   The finish carpenter puts in all our quality millwork. For example, we don’t use plastic base boards. And our wainscoting is real wood, not plastic or plaster.  We paint the millwork with enamel, which holds up better than latex.  

Wiring:   We use a stainless steel meter base because of the salt air. The basic OnQ system is wired in all our homes for smart technology. 





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