How to Protect Your Cat from a Hot Tin Roof

One of the most prolific and well adopted sustainable technologies are cool roof options, at least in commercial buildings. There was a time when almost all flat roofs were black asphalt, but most buildings built in the last 10 years are white membranes to reflect the sun’s heat year-round. These commercial buildings have been built with the realization that having a 110 degree surface year-round leads to a lot of heat infiltration, even in the winter when you might think it would be a good idea, it’s far too much and in the summer, it kills the conditioning bills. These technologies are now starting to find their way more and more into residential products and are often available from roofing companies such as markham roofing services, and I would recommend them more and more for most buildings, especially the more your cooling load dominates your heating bills.

The Vestigial Organs of Modern Houses

Looking to save some money on your house but still want it to be a well crafted and detailed home? Try eliminating square footage from the least useful rooms. Don’t spend money building rooms that get used twice a year or combine functions of multiple single-use rooms into a single space. It’s always amazing to me how houses can grow during design from simple 3 bedroom places into giant palaces as owners add more space for occasional guests or formal dining rooms. It’s important to remember that when you’re designing your home, make sure you have enough supporting walls. If you’re designing your home by yourself and are unsure, you could always consult with Brisbane Scaffold Companies or whatever companies are nearest to you. A scaffolder would be an expert on how different elements support one another, and you’re very likely going to use scaffolding when you’re building your dream home anyway, so asking them for guidance is an appropriate measure.

Facing the World, Part Two

If you missed the last post about windows, I spoke about the value and disadvantages of of pure vinyl windows. Today, I want to talk about wooden frames. Wood windows are still one of the most popular options out there. They range from plane primed pine interiors to exotic wood species with custom stains and finishes. The bare bones wood windows can be cheap while the super high end options can cost as much as the rest of the structure put together. The major difference in functionality comes from what the wood is clad in. Outside of historical districts, hardly anyone uses a pure wood window anymore. They are a lot of maintenance painting the sashes to prevent decay, so it becomes about what is on the outside of the window to keep the elements at bay. There are all sorts of style, operational, sealing, and finish options as well to compare, but that’s like 10 more posts by itself.

Facing The World

When you’re designing a house (or a small commercial building), one of the biggest choices you can make is selecting what faces the elements. These are the features that protect the interior from rain and wind and sun. I’ve covered types of siding before, and some day I’ll cover roofing materials, but today I want to talk about windows. Although I will say quickly, that if you find that your roof is leaking or just not holding out against the elements then you need to sort out a roof replacement immediately. If you came to this article in the hopes that I would cover roofing at the same time, then I can only apologize. What I can offer you in the meantime though are these tips for hiring a commercial roofing company if you need to consider one as soon as possible, instead of waiting for me to write the article. You have a better chance of them potentially telling you about whether roofing foam is the best option for your roof repair too, as although I have a lot of knowledge in the area, I’m not sure if this is my forte. So it’s probably best to make alternative arrangements now before its too late. Anyway, back to windows. Windows are probably some of the most important (and potentially expensive) choices you’ll make when designing your house. It’s also one of the first places people can look to cut when the costs exceed budget because it is so easy to downgrade and instantly save thousands of dollars. I’m going to tell you the same thing I tell all my clients, make a decision during the design process and stick with it. Downgrading during construction will not make you happier and might not even save you as much money as you’d think (especially if this was a bid project, after all, he’s no longer got any competition so why wouldn’t the contractor eat a little of your savings for himself. Not all contractor’s would do that, but most change orders during construction cost more than if you got a price upfront.)


I’ve seen it time and again, an elderly couple building a giant mansion on 4 acres of land because they have the money to do it. There’s nothing wrong with spending your money how you want, but you’re getting quantity over quality. The most common reason for this is they want space for all the kids and their grandkids over holiday visits, but what they often don’t consider is that they will be paying for all this space both upfront and year-round. There may be better ways to accomplish their goals and limit the associated costs and maintenance headaches that follow. Whatever happened to searching around for realtors such as these William Pitt homes for sale and others while trying to bridge quantity and quality together, therefore getting the most for your money. Ensuring that you get the most out of your money is essential, which is why a lot of people do decide to build their own property. However, when there are luxurious builds available in capital cities like London, from space station for example, it might be worth considering looking at them beforehand. However, if people want to build their own homes, then they should do that!

Trading Places

So, you’re an empty nester now. The kids are all off to college and you’re planning out the rest of your life. Think about that giant 4-5 bedroom house you live in now. Does it make sense anymore for you and your spouse and your pets? Probably not. There are two ways to approach aging in a large building, the first is to go multigenerational (becoming very popular with the college kids who can’t find a job) or trade-in for something smaller and longer-term if you were to look about at different real estate agencies such as Reali or others to try and sell your current home in place for the other. If you have a close-knit family or you expect to live with your kids as you age, then staying put can make sense, you just have to do some remodeling to make it a little more multi-family friendly and accessible. Call an architect about adding to an apartment or redesigning the bathrooms. If you want to live your life without your children, however, think about trading down to a smaller place.

Spacial Awareness No Longer Required

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A sunroom addition with multiple angles in both the ceiling and one of the walls. The rendering allowed the client to see the room and make changes long before a contrator was even brought in.

It used to be, when working with an architect, that being able to visualize your plans was an important part of the clients job.  Architects typically draw in two dimensions, plans, elevations, sometimes sections during the schematic phase, and this can lead an owner to select design decisions that won’t look good in three dimensions.  Elevations are lies (in fact, if I had my way, I would stop drawing them all together, but the building inspectors do require them) and many people lack the ability to envision their future space.  There are several methods to deal with this, previously you were stuck with selecting an architect you trusted to see it for you and give you sage advice, but if you wanted to really own your building design, you were stuck without a skill that many people simply haven’t developed (most people don’t really need a good spacial awareness or ability to envision the 3d from a 2d, it takes practice and if you don’t do it, you don’t learn it.)

With a Little Help From My Friends….

Architect’s have a lot of training in a lot of areas, but there are certain times we need to hire specialists.  For most residential projects, we can handle the entire thing, but when you start doing commercial, mixed use, or institutional buildings, we need to call on our engineers.  The most commonly used consultants are civil, structural, and mechanical engineers.

Build an Energy Efficient Bunker

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This is the basic sandwich that
builds your walls

There are lots of systems out there to build a structure to resist and hurricane and lots of options to maximize the energy efficiency of your walls. An insulated concrete formwork structure does both at the same time, which makes it very popular in hurricane prone regions for ecologically or operating cost conscious clients. The basic idea is to construct a building by laying up foam blocks and formwork that will stay in place, placing rebar into the empty void, and then pouring concrete to fill the void. If you’ve ever seen a wood structure in a high wind zone while it’s under construction, you’ve seen the severe amount of strapping and connectors and steel required to make the structure rigid enough to keep from being torn apart under high winds. The concrete structure, while not quite the bunker I describe above, is inherently rigid and impact resistant while also being mold and termite resistant due to the lack of food for either one. An added positive, with the thickness of the walls and the continuous insulation both inside and out provide a great amount of insulation and thermal mass to maintain comfort year round.