Updated: Jan 3
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Winter Construction vs. Summer Construction
Most people have a preference for summer construction over winter construction. Here are some thoughts on this.
Winter construction does have its difficulties, but these difficulties don’t affect the new owner or the new home. One concern is the cost of winter construction versus summer construction. Yes, it does cost more to build a home in winter, but Amron doesn’t charge extra. It is our slowest time and we are just glad to be working year round.
The second concern we often hear is that the construction itself is not as good in the winter as it is in the summer.
Some people think that pouring concrete in the winter is not good. We don’t agree. To achieve maximum strength, the concrete must dry slowly. This happens in the winter but not in the summer when that 30 degree Celsius sun “sucks” every bit of moisture out of the concrete.
Drywall nail and screw pops are often blamed on winter construction due to “damp” wood. Again, we don’t agree. Humidity is non-existent in winter and snow, unlike rain, doesn’t affect wood.
So if you are in the market to build a new home, the time of the year really has no effect on the end product.
The Christmas season is upon us and 2020 will soon be coming to an end. It’s been a year that I don’t think any of us will forget. With so much hardship throughout the year, it’s easy to lose sight of the good.
It is amazing to see people unite in the face of adversity. Families spending more time focused on one another, instead of dealing with the busy schedules of each family member. Neighbors helping neighbors with something as simple as checking to see if anything is needed while out at the grocery store anyway. Checking up on a friend you haven’t heard from in a while just to make sure they are okay. It almost feels as though this pandemic, with all its social distancing, has brought us closer together. We are in this together.
I would like to express how grateful Amron Construction and Heartstone Cabinets are for the wonderful people in our lives. We are so thankful for our staff. These are the people who make our company. They are the face of Amron and Heartstone Cabinets. And we are so thankful for our customers. We appreciate each and every one of you. Without you, we wouldn’t be here.
From everyone at Amron Construction and Heartstone Cabinets, we wish you a happy, safe, and healthy Christmas and New Year!
Let’s discuss basement development. It seems that most people who do this themselves pick winter as the time to tackle this job. Makes sense as it gives those people with too much energy something to do on those long dark evenings. But be careful. If this sort of thing appeals to you, don’t let the excitement of doing something new and different replace the orderly and correct way of doing things.
Start with a plan. Know what you want to do in the space and balance that with the space available. Ask friends and family for opinions (you’ll probably get lots) and once you know it will fit, go for the permit. Do not miss this step. Some people have the attitude that “it’s my home and I’ll do what I want.” Sorry but it doesn’t always work that way. You may get away with it today but it will catch up with you. Even as late as when you sell your home years later, and then you may have to tear it all out.
Now that the paperwork is done, let’s start building. Here is a step where it doesn’t hurt to have some skilled help on site. Do not frame too close to concrete walls, do not frame tight to the floor system above, do not forget to keep your heat ducts on the “warm” side of your “building envelope”, fire codes. There is a lot to this and if it isn’t done correctly, there can be some very serious consequences. Of concern is the type of mistake where air and moisture in the home can’t move as they must and you end up with black mould and moisture problems – serious stuff!
If you are looking to develop your basement yourself, we have no problem with giving advice and guidance or answering questions. If it all seems a bit daunting, we would be more than pleased to provide a quote. Give us a call. We’re here to help.
Summer is over! It seems to go by way too quickly, for me anyway. Complaining won’t change that, so all we can do now is get ready for winter.
Our homes need to get ready for winter too. Today’s homes don’t really require a lot of attention anymore because of all the “maintenance free” products used in their construction. However, that being said, it’s that false sense of security that gets us into trouble - the kind of trouble that can cost us, both financially and emotionally.
Today I want to make you aware of ongoing issues with “frost-free” exterior hose bibs. The problem isn’t the product because the product is great. The problem is faulty installation. Not all, but way too many taps freeze up because the plumber didn’t give the proper slope for it to self drain.
In case you are unaware, a frost-free tap has a long water pipe which has the shut-off on one end and to the tap handle on the other. When mounted to the house exterior it appears and works like any other tap. The beauty of it though is that the actual shut-off is inside the heated house. The problem that occurs when there is no slope is that the water remains in the pipe, freezes, expands, and breaks the pipe.
Of course you can’t see the break so, come spring, you turn on your outside water and water runs into your basement as well as coming out of the spout. We express to our construction supervisors that they are the last link between a good job and a bad job.
Also remember to disconnect all garden hoses as they can hold water in the tap as well.
Amron has always been actively involved in home renovations. Whether you are considering a new look in your washroom, changing some windows, building a deck, building a garage, putting in a skylight, or a major addition to your home. Amron can help you, no matter how big or small. You will receive:
• Professional advice incorporating the
latest in building technology
• A free estimate
• The value of an experienced contractor
• Access to a wide labour and sub-trade
base to help get your project completed in
a timely manner
• Our material discounts and buying power
are passed onto the homeowner. So let
an experienced almost half a century old
company handle the work and complete
your renovation quickly, efficiently, and
Questions To Ask Your Renovation
• Is there a charge for an initial consultation
• Do I need a permit for this project?
• What will the payment schedule be?
• Who are your major suppliers?
• Who will have keys to my home?
• What type of insurance do you have?
• What kind of guarantee to you have for
• How many projects like mine did you do
in the last year or two?
• Do you have pictures that I can see?
• Can you give me names of some former
customers to call for references?
• Who will clean the work site, when, and
Building a new home is a process that not everyone will experience, or even want to experience.
It is a commitment of money, emotion, and time. Now, I’m not talking about purchasing a new home already built. I’m talking about the experience of approaching a builder, planning the new home, transferring the dream from your mind onto paper. Revising, rethinking, redrawing until...it’s perfect.
This is where emotion plays such a large factor in the process. Because it’s been a dream in your mind for so long, it’s become an emotional issue rather than a logical issue. After all, this is your home, built your way, to your ideas and your designs; right to the very last detail.
Building that dream home is different for the builder than it is for the dreamer. That difference is the emotional part of the experience. The customer is all emotional and the builder is all business. It doesn’t mix unless the builder is sensitive to the customer’s feelings and all too often, that doesn’t happen.
Here at Amron, we try to never forget what the customer goes through. We put ourselves in our customer’s shoes. Our customers are very important to us. In the end, it boils down to “Buyer Beware”.
Know your builder!
An area of warranty that is very important and often times overlooked is the Manufacturer’s Warranty. The manufacturer of a product is responsible for it’s performance, quality, and reliability. Their warranties usually run independently of the warranty provided by the builder. All have different warranties and vary in how long and what is covered.
Many times, the individual components of a product each have their own warranty conditions. Windows and glass are a good example of that, or plumbing fixtures. Some plumbing fixtures even have a lifetime warranty on specific components.
So when you have a product failure, it may be worth your while to do a little leg work and research the specific warranties that might apply to your problem. I’m not sure what other builders do but Amron provides all our customers with a list of all the trades and suppliers that participated in the construction of their home. By doing that, even years later, you can contact the supplier about warranty details. The effort might just pay off.
New Home Warranty
For homebuyers, a new home represents a significant investment. A new home is built from thousands of components, involving hundreds of design details, any number of trades people, and takes months to build. With all these variables, it’s not surprising that occasionally a defect exists and you need the help of your builders’ warranty department.
Amron Homes is backed by the Alberta New Home Warranty Program. Key word here is “backed”. Yes, every builder has a warranty. They have told you so. The problems arise when a builder cannot or does not honor their warranty and there is no one behind them to follow through to do that.
The Alberta New Home Warranty Program defines “Warranty” as follows: “A commitment that workmanship and material comprising the construction of the home will meet a specified condition or level of performance over a specific period of time”.
I’m pretty sure every builder has good intentions and follows through and repairs warranty items but we all know “Murphy’s Law” and the worst does happen on occasion. Give yourself peace of mind and ensure your builder is backed by a reputable warranty program.
April 2020 The weather is getting warmer, and with it, the winds are getting stronger. A major issue we see between wind and housing is typically with shingles and siding. No product is 100% resistant to wind but steps in the construction process can be taken to minimize product failure. Many years ago, Amron upgraded to using a heavier shingle. Heavier meaning thicker, which of course makes it harder for the wind to lift up and bend back. Then, to ensure an even better job, we manually glue every shingle to the previous one with tar, even though the shingles do come as “self-sealing”. Siding is simply an issue of more fasteners and double nailing at each end. If five fasteners are good, then ten fasteners are twice as good. Simple. What Amron has no control over though is wind noise and wind swirling debris and garbage into a certain area around your home. We have never been able choose a house design or location where we know in advance if this is going to happen or not. By wind noise, I mean the sound emitted when wind flows over the architectural design/feature of your home and creates a resonance. That’s different from that rattling soffit, which can be easily fixed. The debris from swirling winds around your home could possibly be corrected with a strategically placed wind screen or barrier but, again, no one can really control that. Wind has a mind of its own and it does what it wants. That is just something we have to live with.
Today’s modern home is an accumulation of hundreds of steps and procedures. One procedure is “pizzazz”, otherwise known as interior decorating. We all know the upside of a professionally designed and decorated interior.
Unfortunately, that beauty comes with a price tag. Not only a monetary one but a maintenance price tag as well.
One of the most popular design items is high vaulted ceilings. Vaults create a feeling of spaciousness, when in fact the rooms beneath may be quite small. The maintenance downside is that vaulted ceilings are exactly that – vaulted. They are hard to reach for cleaning. Plant ledges and partial walls seem to accompany vaulted ceilings and tend to be dust and grease collectors.
Another negative is inadequate lighting. Lights mounted way up on a vaulted ceiling need much more candle power than those that hang from a standard 8 foot ceiling, and those light fixtures need cleaning as well.
Windows are another design feature that could have drawbacks. That full wall of glass looks impressive but renders the wall virtually without insulation. Special shapes always catch our eye but hold onto your wallet when it’s time for window coverings. And don’t forget about furniture placement, as fabrics and wood tend to dislike the sun.
There are a lot of decorating ideas that have hidden problems, but these are just a couple to think about when designing your new home. Give Amron a call. We are here to help.