2006-04-28 09:45:10 Arxx-built home garners award in ski country With the acquisition of Southdown Inc., Cemex became one of the leading cement producers in the United States and one of the three largest cement companies in the world, with close to 78 million metric tons of production capacity. So it is no surprise that Clarence Comer, president and CEO of the U.S. operations of Cemex, based in Houston, chose to build his 8,500 square-foot home using insulating concrete forms (ICFs).
Photo courtesy of Cemex
As Comer is an avid skier, it is also no surprise that he chose Breckenridge, Colo., a ski resort, as the spot to build. He also plans to use this home for year-round living when he retires.
"The idea for the design was to create a structure that looks like it had been there for hundreds of years," Comer says. "It is sort of European in character, like a lodge, where I can enjoy the ambiance of the Colorado mountains.
"Interior floors are done in knotty oak and imported Italian tile that looks like stone. There are huge oak moldings and door and window casings. The doors on the interior use solid exterior doors that are 2 inches thick. The hardware is all handcast in antique bronze. The exterior walls throughout the home and some interior walls are ICFs. The interior walls are finished in distressed plaster (masonry stucco), giving it a very old world feel. Soffits and fascias are made from Hardiplank, and the roof is made of concrete tile."
Building in Breckenridge
omer's house, a complicated project with 72 corners, took 18 months to complete. One of the challenges was excavating in Breckenridge's extreme climate (Breckenridge prides itself on "eternal winter.") According to Comer, they couldn't begin excavation until the snow melted off in June, leaving a short envelope in which to get the house under roof. Excavation was also a problem because the builder was cutting a walk-out basement into bedrock.
However, building the house with ICFs cut the weather challenge down to size. John Kurowski of John Kurowski Development, a Denver builder, says: "We basically built in summer and fall, and we were pretty much closed in before winter. Still, cold is not a problem. We pour in the winter with no difficulty. It is one of the big advantages of ICFs. We could pour if it was 10 or 20 degrees out because insulated forms keep the concrete at the right temperature. All we had to do is cover the tops. For winter pouring conditions, it's an excellent product."
Comer chose Kurowski because he had built several ICF houses and liked the technology. Although Kurowski used ICFs for both foundations and above grade, he noted that most of the growth in the market since 1994 was for building foundations. In the Breckenridge area specifically, houses were mostly stick-built.
"I have used different ICF products, but I chose Arxx, a modular block form, for this project because the owner was interested in it and I thought it was a good system," Kurowski says. "Also, the company has good distribution in the area and it provides local training. We sent four people to the two-day training, which involved using onsite examples. I used my own crews, some of which had built with ICFs, to do the Comer home because I couldn't find enough ICF-experienced crew in the area.
"Generally the crew was comfortable with ICFs — they liked that [ICFs were] light and easy to work with. The biggest challenge was that at that time, we didn't have all the preformed 45-degree-angle corner forms, so bracing the corners became tedious even with reusable bracing.
"I think ICFs make a good building system. They cost a little more, but they deliver a very quiet, comfortable product. We just finished another ICF house in Breckenridge that is in the Parade of Homes. It is 3,500 square feet on the first two floors and 1,700 square feet on the lower level."
Kurowski was also happy with the choice of concrete tile roofing. Seven or eight years ago, he led an effort in Denver to get rid of wood shake roofs. "Now they are less than 1 percent of the new home market," Kurowski says. "Concrete tile roofing has grown every year. Insurers really like it."
Photo courtesy of Cemex
Nancy Kuhn of Nancy Kuhn Designs took on the interior design work for the Comer house. "The idea was to have a timeless design that would be rustic enough to go with the surrounding mountains," Kuhn says. "Comer wanted the home to feel like the area color-wise and material-wise. There are certain givens in the landscape that do remain throughout the year; for example, a very beautiful but rugged terrain with the rich greens and browns of the pines.
"In the great room, which is 80 feet long, green is used for the leather couches, contrasted with the dark wood of furniture handmade in England. It has a heavy waxy, distressed finish that adds to the aged feeling. To contrast to the scale of the great room (including a massive walk-in stone fireplace, 25-foot ceilings and two huge arched windows bringing the mountaintop view in), Comer also wanted the interior design to make the house feel warm and comfortable. In the great room, this was done in part by having two seating areas, but mostly by making the interior walls a warm golden textured stucco. The wall treatment was carried throughout the house to provide a consistent, coherent style, which was played off by changing accessories and different accent colors."
Some of the interesting features of the house include the following:
• concrete patios with acid finish; • radiant floor heating throughout; • a theater which takes advantage of the sound reduction capacity of ICFs; • an arcade with typical arcade games and old neon signs; • a piano room with a wildlife theme; • a billiard room, which houses a Western art collection; • a master bedroom and retreat separated by a look-through fireplace; and • a massive dining room table providing plenty of room for family at holiday gatherings.
Kuhn has designed for houses using concrete before. "As far as designers go, we love concrete," she says. "It seems like there is a whole industry developing on ways to finish concrete. It is very useful for commercial or residential. It doesn't limit style choices. It is a matter of bringing your client to an awareness that it can be very elegant or countrified. There are so many different ways we can treat it, and its wearability is excellent. Also, the finishes available with concrete floors are extensive.
"Although concrete is an exciting new choice that has come into design, and I recommend it, it is just going to take more exposure for people to see what is out there. At a startup meeting with clients, I wouldn't immediately ask, 'What about concrete?'. It is better to have some samples to show."
One of the special bonuses that came with this project was the winning of an award for the most energy efficient home of the new millennium for the intermountain region. It was designated a five-star home.
2006-05-01 14:06:06 NAHB Concrete Show Home The hottest ticket in Las Vegas in January is not the show at Circus Circus, the MGM Grand or the Tropicana. It's the International Builders' Show (IBS) house — and your ticket is absolutely free! Read More...
2006-05-01 14:07:30 Concrete Dome is St. Louis' Party Central
Football fans may not have heard of the "Concrete Dome." It is the Hoette family's nickname for their new, 8,000-square-foot ICF home, which hosted a Superbowl party for about 150 people. Ironically, the roof is the only part of the two-story home that is!
George A. Pontikes Jr. and his wife Laura wanted a house that would suit their active family lifestyle, including casual entertaining. At the same time, they wanted the old world solidity and ambiance that comes with thick concrete walls.
2006-05-01 14:40:13 Damproofing Versus Waterproofing
Damproofing versus waterproofing. Which should you use in your next project? Some products are approved as waterproofing, others are approved as damproofing. This does not mean that one product is better than another.
2006-05-02 07:07:47 No 'basement-feel' in this Mediterranean tilt-up The United States is one of the few countries in the world where wood frame construction is still viewed as "the way to build" when it comes to residential construction. Europe and other parts of the world have been using masonry and concrete for centuries. Australia, New Zealand and many other countries regularly build with concrete, including tilt-up construction. Read More...
2006-05-02 08:01:31 What do you do with a biology degree? Build cast-in-place houses, of course! There are tornado warnings, and the power has gone out. A concrete homeowner goes into a closet to find a flashlight. When he comes out, he finds that the tornado has torn its way across the land only about 500 yards away - and he never heard a thing. Read More...
2006-05-02 08:02:57 Tech Talk: Basement of the Year One of the fundamental components of the American Dream is to own a home. Before purchasing or building a home, most buyers have established a wish list of elements that their new home must have. This is especially true for those embarking on a new-build project. These desires can often wreak havoc on a jobsite as members of the construction team investigate the best method for making the homeowner's dreams a reality. Read More...
2006-05-02 08:05:48 The Client Challenge
Focus is key to ICF Growth. Are many ICF builders missing the boat? According to David King, general manager of Brian King Builders Inc., a fast expanding ICF building firm based in Danville, Ky., educating clients should be the foremost focus of marketing.
2006-05-02 08:08:14 PCA Customizes Concrete's Sustainability Message The Portland Cement Association has delivered a briefing kit to its members that is the centerpiece of an educational campaign highlighting concrete's role in support of sustainable development building practices. Read More...
2006-05-02 08:09:59 Coloring Decorative Concrete Expands Home Design Options Decorative concrete plays a starring role in walkways, patios, pool decks, and even driveways. What's more, colored concrete moves inside to deliver unique and durable entryways, play rooms, kitchen floors and other dramatic interiors. Read More...
2006-05-02 08:11:13 Sump Pump May Not Be Pretty, but it's a Basement's Most Important Equipment Ask most homeowners what's the most important equipment to their daily living and proper functioning of the home and answers will vary from heating or air condition systems to appliances or spas. Every homeowner has his preference as to what is the most vital equipment in a home. Read More...
2006-05-02 08:21:02 CFA Tech Talk Issues affected by code development. With new regulations and industry standards changing at a rapid pace, concrete professionals need a reliable source for information, as well as a voice to ensure their interests are represented with the code bodies. Read More...
2006-05-02 08:24:03 It all started with an ad
Cavalli Hills is part of bright ICF future. "Years ago," says Mike Evans, owner of Evans Construction, "I built commercial tilt-up. One day, I saw an ad for an ICF block and called the manufacturer. I checked out a house built with it near by. It was the builder's first, and he said he hadn't had any problems.
2006-05-02 08:33:31 Florida's 'greenest' home is healthier and more efficient from the ICFs to the backyard lorida's "greenest" home, and the first production model "green home" on Florida's west coast, opened to the public on Earth Day, and the general consensus of even the most sophisticated homebuyer is that green homes have come a long way. Read More...
2006-05-02 08:34:57 Texans take to ALC system from 'Down Under' All things Australian, from cuisine to cosmetics to movie stars, are currently enjoying great popularity in this country. And now, in Waco, Texas, since Total Wall Inc. has become a licensee and manufacturer of Australia's LiteBuilt technology, the building industry can benefit from one of Australia's more useful imports: LiteBuilt Aerated Lightweight Concrete (ALC) panels. Read More...
2006-05-02 08:39:45 Delivering forms is a family affair Whether you're building a new NFL stadium or pouring columns for a new convention center or pouring walls for a single-family home, Gates & Sons Inc. has a concrete forming system specifically for any cast-in-place concrete project. Read More...
2006-05-02 08:40:48 A living concrete forms legacy evolved from a graveyard vision Gates & Sons' history goes back to the late 1920s when Lee Gates, Sr. invented his first twisted-wire form tie with a built-in spreader. Until that time, most forms for concrete wall foundations were built with 1-foot-by-8-inch sheathing boards, vertical 2-by-4 studs on 24-inch centers and held together with No. 9 black annealed soft wire to receive the wet concrete. Read More...
2006-05-02 08:41:34 Forming choice based on particular needs When comparing the features of aluminum forms and 1 1/8-inch plywood forms, Theo Bartholomew with Simplex Forms System Co. says both had many advantages, but the choice must be made by each contractor based on his particular projects. Read More...
2006-05-02 08:28:50 One year later Tilt-up treasure is decorated with awards. In July 2003, Jerry Daugherty, owner of J.D. Construction Inc., moved into his new home, which happened to be the first concrete tilt-up home his company built. One year later, he added to his decor some very satisfying awards. Read More...
2006-05-02 08:51:31 The Little Big House
A concrete ICF whose name says it all. What do you call a house that has a 1,500-square-foot footprint, but delivers 3,800 square feet of finished, usable space?
2006-05-02 08:53:17 Decorative Concrete Using texturing and patterning. Homeowners like the durability and affordability of concrete for hard surfaces in their landscapes, but they also want attractive, natural-looking surfaces. Luckily, they can have both with colored, textured concrete. Read More...
2006-05-02 08:55:42 Waterproofing
Don't Skimp on the sump pump. Choosing a sump pump for your home need not be a complicated matter, but there are some considerations that must be made, the first of which is deciding on the type of pump.
2006-05-02 09:19:55 ICF coastal condo's lesson: Why would you ever build with anything else? To most people, the name "Grand Caribbean," would bring to mind the lure of the tropics: gently rolling waves, moonlit nights and the relaxing pace of resort living. To architect David Lindsey, owner of IntegraSpec GulfSouth and builder of the Grand Caribbean, it is so much more. Read More...
2006-05-02 09:30:51 Oklahoma concrete professional creates a tilt-up surprise A visit to Errol and Susan Russell's home in Edmond, Okla., is like a visit to a country estate set on gently rolling, grass-covered grounds. Everywhere there are stands of trees, and on one side, a quiet lake that meanders around a small island. Read More...
2006-05-02 09:33:16 Sweet Home Alabama Concrete masonry provides design excellency, high quality. Read More...
2006-05-02 09:35:37 SeaSide Key West I've traveled many times to the Florida Keys for rest and relaxation, but this time I was flying in to meet with the developer and the design architect of SeaSide Key West, a high-end residential project constructed entirely of concrete. Read More...
2006-05-02 09:37:36 Stepping up to the Habitat challenge The Department of Energy's "Building America" program has set up a systems-engineering approach to home construction. The goals are to: produce homes that use 40 to 70 percent less energy; reduce construction time and waste; improve builder productivity; provide opportunities to test out new building materials; and focus on creating energy-saving technologies. Read More...
2006-05-02 09:39:35 Cement industry adopts environmental management systems Portland Cement Association's (PCA) Executive Committee has approved a goal addressing the implementation of environmental management systems (EMS) for cement plants in the United States. Read More...
2006-05-02 09:40:59 Tech Talk
A new voice to reach builders. Whether you are a removable forming systems (cast-in-place), ICF (insulating concrete forms) or concrete block wall contractor, the task of educating builders about concrete home construction has been a difficult one.
2006-05-02 09:47:04 Florida Green Building Coalition awards WCI community certification The Venetian Golf & River Club, a master-planned community by WCI Communities Inc., has reached another environmental and healthy home milestone, earning Green Development Design Standard certification by the Florida Green Building Coalition. Read More...
2006-05-02 09:49:00 Decorative Concrete Using toppings to restore and resurface. Read More...
2006-05-02 09:52:25 Waterproofing
A livable lower living space needs waterproofing.A home's lower level — the portion of the house below grade level — is no longer an unfinished space exclusive to storage and laundry. Call it a trend, but it's here to stay. Lower-level living is quickly becoming an integral part of today's evolving lifestyles.
2006-05-02 13:02:44 LEEDing Yellowstone to a 'greener' future The natural beauty of Yellowstone National Park makes it the perfect site for building environmentally friendly homes and a perfect fit for the LEED standard of "green" construction. LEED is Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, a point system developed by the United States Green Building Council (USGBC). Read More...
2006-05-02 13:04:18 Homeowner credits ICF wall with saving his life from accident, house from Charley You'll have to forgive Ray Demczyk of Cape Coral, Fla. if he keeps looking around to see if there's something stalking him. First a car plowed into his house at 90 mph, and then Hurricane Charley blew through his neighborhood with winds gusting to 165 mph, sucking the roofs off of several of his neighbor's homes. Read More...
2006-05-02 13:20:36 Largest ICF production-run housing project in the nation is on track for a new record In many parts of the country, residential building with insulating concrete forms (ICFs) focuses on the custom-home market. But in Cathedral City, outside of Palm Springs, Calif., Joseph Morreale, CEO of Rio Del Sol Development Inc., is working on the final phase of construction of what is touted as the largest ICF production-run housing project in the nation. Read More...
2006-05-02 13:22:52 Reno ICF stands up to wildfire Having a "hot time in Reno" took on a new meaning earlier this year for Cindy and Bill Rentsch and several of their neighbors. In a hilly area south of Reno where, for the last year, the Rentsches have been living in their ICF-built home, a brush fire started. Within a couple hours, whipped by high winds with gusts of 30 to 40 miles an hour, the whole area was in flames. Read More...
2006-05-02 13:27:08 Weathering the Storm After nearly a decade of perfect weather, the normally serene state of Florida experienced four significant hurricanes in less than a few weeks this past fall, leaving the Sunshine State strapped for disaster relief and many of its citizens scrambling to find temporary shelter. Read More...
2006-05-02 13:32:22 Tech Talk
CFA influences code development and market improvement. Concrete professionals, today more than ever, want a reliable source for regulations and industry standards and ways to improve their market area for concrete foundation development. The Concrete Foundations Association (CFA) advocates in various ways for the industry, including the development of a professional standard to provide a measurable baseline for quality performance in residential concrete construction.
2006-05-02 13:35:56 Decorative Concrete The pool and spa industry is booming, as people look to their own backyards for escape, recreation and beauty. A pool deck is no longer just a 3-foot-wide ring of plain concrete around a hole full of water. Today the deck and pool are an extension of a home's living space to be used, viewed and enjoyed long after swimming season is over. Read More...
2006-05-02 13:38:34 Waterproofing
Landscaping, proper drainage and grading will support your waterproofing efforts. Proper drainage is an essential component of waterproofing your basement — and the rest of your home. Even before a new home is constructed, effective drainage and grading must be "built" into the landscaping plan in order to prevent and minimize future problems with moisture, mold and leakage in the home.
2006-05-02 14:18:46 Canadian Hybrid basks in Texas sun Many good things come to the United States across the Canadian border. One of them is the Royal Building System, manufactured by Royal Building Technologies, a multibillion-dollar company located in Toronto, Canada. Royal started out in vinyl forming and PVC products, making the creation of its concrete forming system a natural development. Read More...
2006-05-02 14:20:10 A Dream Come True
On the Lake of the Ozarks, one couple builds the house of a lifetime. Nearly 15 years ago, Ron and Janice Ohmes bought a piece of property on the shoreline of the Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri. The Lake of the Ozarks was built in the midst of the Great Depression under the direction of Union Electric Co., constructed primarily to provide power to the St. Louis area.
Marrying new materials to Frank Lloyd Wright style. The many Frank Lloyd Wright tours that draw enthusiastic crowds every year throughout the country are a testament to the enduring quality of Wright's architectural philosophy. The tours include the work of his apprentices and of new architects that carry on his design concepts.
2006-05-02 14:23:32 ICF success in the Twin Cities John Vogstrom is the general manager and builder for his Twin Cities-based company, Vogue Homes Inc. Vogstrom had a long career as a stick-frame builder, but started building concrete homes about seven years ago with his sons Eric, president of Vogue Homes, and Paul, the company's designer. Read More...
2006-05-02 14:25:08 Tech Talk
MTSU Offers Education for Management Professionals in the Concrete Industry. The nuts and bolts of building a footing or wall are best taught on the job, but where does one go to learn the ins and outs of running a concrete construction business? Many have learned from the School of Hard Knocks, but there is an alternative school of learning.
Building a Better Stamp. In the concrete stamping industry, seamless texturing is a given. No matter what pattern is being stamped into freshly poured concrete, the edges must blend perfectly, making each stamp indistinguishable from the next.
2006-05-02 14:27:38 The Solaire sets standard for sustainability Coordination, innovation and concrete make landmark bu Since late summer 2003, hundreds have called The Solaire home. The nation's first green residential high-rise building is just blocks away from ground zero in lower Manhattan's Battery Park City, and is the product of a first-ever coordination of three green-building guidelines. A concrete structural system is at the core of the environmentally engineered and sustainable building. Read More...
2006-05-02 14:29:08 Basement Products
Next to Waterproofing, Window Systems Are the Most Important Contributor to a Basement's Value. Today's homebuyers want better basements. They want basements that are bigger, more functional, beautiful - and brighter! It's no wonder manufacturers strive to offer new ideas and innovation in their basement window products.
2006-05-03 08:23:29 Designed for strong winds As an area threatened with hurricanes each year, one of Florida's newest coastal residences uses concrete masonry to stand up against high winds. Read More...
2006-05-03 08:24:48 Customers drive ICF market Many contractors in the residential building industry are encountering clients who are asking for a concrete home. The power of "word of mouth" is undeniable: Many builders consider former customers, now happily living in concrete homes, their best marketing tool. Read More...
2006-05-03 08:25:58 WANTED: ICF building specialists When homeowners look for a builder for their ICF home, one of the biggest mistakes they can make is selecting someone not specialized in building with ICFs. "It looks so easy, they think everybody can do it," says Ivan Richardson, president of R & T Construction in Urbana, Ill. "However, you have to get it right the first time." Read More...
2006-05-03 08:27:03 Tech Talk
Codes: Designing a Bigger, Better, Faster Wall. Codes are developed to provide assurance that structures are designed and constructed to withstand the test of time, not only for life safety but also for long-term durability. Why is it, then, that codes can also be so complex that the very implementation of them causes such struggles to occur that work often is delayed, or worse yet, halted indefinitely?
Concrete Flooring: Warm Colors Make It Top Choice for Homeowners. Concrete may have been relegated to skateboard parks, roller rinks and parking garages in the past, but it's taking center stage these days in residential home designs across the country - especially flooring.
2006-05-03 08:29:21 Waterproofing: A Strong Foundation
Different types of above- and below-grade foundation systems waterproof new homes. Today's homeowners have different and specific needs in how their homes are designed and constructed: Circumstances such as climate, weather, terrain and landscape can all impact the type of foundation required. The good news? Many different types of foundation systems are now available for new homes.
2006-05-03 08:30:41 Green News EnviroCare Corporation introduces ForSite for mold protection Wilmington, Mass.-based EnviroCare Corporation has expanded its product line with ForSite,™ a mold-protection product. The new coating product is making its national retail distribution at home and garden centers, hardware stores, lumberyards and paint and wallcovering stores. Read More...
2006-05-03 08:41:23 Texas Hill Country ranch taps concrete benefits The vastness of Texas is home to western deserts, eastern pine forests, central plateaus and coastal plains. Where the coastal plains meet the plateau country runs a ridge of rolling hills and limestone outcropping, dressed in bedrock, native grasses, wildflowers and the occasional stand of oak and craggy cedar. Read More...
2006-05-03 08:42:37 Kansas City showcases concrete technology Late in June, the NAHB's Concrete Home Building Council offers its Concrete Technologies Tour for builders in Kansas City, Mo. The three-day event will give builders a close-up look at a variety of cement-based building materials and systems, as well as the manufacturing plants themselves. Read More...
2006-05-03 08:43:56 Tech Talk
Codes: Designing for Unsupported Footings. Codes are developed to provide assurance that structures are designed and constructed to withstand the test of time, not only for life safety but also for long-term durability. Yet codes can also be so complex that implementation causes struggles that delay, or worse yet, halt work. Residential construction is no different than any other construction market today.
Cementitious toppings: The newest residential trend, indoors and out. Since their introduction, cementitious toppings have been chosen by architects and designers alike for their versatility and durability. Initially, they focused on its many practical applications for commercial structures like schools, hospitals and municipal buildings.
Spray-Applied Waterproofing Systems Tips and tricks of using spray-applied products. Every manufacturer has its own method for basement waterproofing in new home construction. With spray-applied systems, many substances require specific preparation and handling. Like many building products, becoming knowledgeable with a company's product before actually using it is vital to a successful project.
2006-05-03 08:52:42 Masonry shows off in Florida If you check out what builders in Florida are doing with masonry, you will likely find that the masonry-stick combination is the most common choice. According to Kim Goehring, president of Goehring and Morgan Construction Inc., in Orlando, Florida, the first floor of a home is usually built with concrete masonry blocks and the second floor is wood frame. Read More...
2006-05-03 08:53:56 The Brooktree project - Los Angeles
NCMA award of excellence: Residential. Situated in Rustic Canyon, one of the most serene areas in Los Angeles, the 4,000-square-foot Ward Luu residence offers a view of the canyon and gently sloping hillsides to the east. The house is effectively divided into two separate but connected areas: a public pavilion with the kitchen, living room and dining areas; and a private pavilion containing the bedrooms.
2006-05-03 08:55:03 Lessons taught in Kansas City ICF builders discover quickly lesson number one of their trade: Successful construction markets are not just about the merits of the product, but also about where they are building and the mindset of the client. Read More...
2006-05-03 08:56:15 Tech Talk
Codes: Designing a bigger, better wall begins with footings. Codes are developed to provide assurance that structures are designed and constructed to withstand the test of time, not only for life safety but also for long-term durability. Yet codes can also be so complex that implementation causes struggles that delay, or worse yet, halt work.
A kayaker's dream house makes quite a splash with its stripped-down design. In its original form, the kayak was a simple, spare vessel used by Inuit hunters. Built of natural materials, its skin was impervious to the elements. Kayaking has since become a sport, and for many, an obsession.
2006-05-03 09:04:32 A Glimpse of Italy in Washington State Until recently, the Pasco, Wash., area has not seen many concrete housing projects. Devoted Builders LLC and Pischel Construction LLC are partly responsible for changing that trend. Read More...
2006-05-03 09:05:31 Concrete Home is Forty Years Young
Exposed concrete walls and roof have kept this Southern California home safe and beautiful. Southern California is said to have four distinct seasons: Summer, Wildfire, Landslide and Earthquake. So when Ed Rice built his Bel Air, Calif. home in 1963, he used all-concrete construction to ensure his family would enjoy year-round safety and comfort.
Curing and Sealing Decorative Concrete. Curing is the treatment of newly placed concrete during the period in which it is hardening so that it retains enough moisture to minimize shrinkage and resist cracking.
Securing the foundation secures the home. Codes are developed to provide assurance that structures are designed and constructed to withstand the test of time, not only for life safety but also for long-term durability. Yet codes can also be so complex that implementation causes struggles that delay or, worse yet, halt work.
Award-winning home showcases extreme creativity with concrete. The "Extreme Homes" program on HGTV tickles, intrigues and sometimes stuns viewers' imaginations. For example, builders and architects have showcased their creativity by designing exteriors that resemble tree huts, fairy-tale abodes and alien spacecraft.
2006-05-03 09:17:38 College Dorms Boast Balanced Design Perhaps more than any other living space, the college dormitory raises the concern for safety as parents entrust the care of their young adults to others for the first time. Balanced design is nowhere as important as when several hundred students occupy the same building. Read More...
2006-05-03 09:19:03 A man, a plan, a home
ICF house raises the bar for do-it-yourself projects. The burgeoning market for home remodeling has blossomed into more ambitious do-it-yourself efforts, such as building your own home. The most likely candidates are those with enough construction-related experience not to be intimidated by the scope of the project.
Self-leveling overlays: Ideal for renovation and new construction. In today's hot residential real estate market, developers are running short of well-located vacant land. That's one of the reasons buildings in declining older areas of American cities are being redeveloped.
Codes: Requirements for slabs-on-ground. Codes are developed to provide assurance that structures are designed and constructed to withstand the test of time not only for life safety but also for long-term durability.
2006-05-03 09:31:42 Building in the face of hurricanes The catastrophic damage caused by Hurricane Katrina has driven home the vulnerability of residential construction in the onslaught of a natural disaster. Read More...
2006-05-03 10:06:21 Big D finds big benefits in ICFs Considering that Dallas is longtime oil and gas country, it doesn't seem to be a likely place for energy efficient building systems to take root and grow in popularity. But according to Alan Hoffmann, president of Alan Hoffmann Co., a Polysteel distributor and builder, several ICF builders operate in Dallas. Read More...
2006-05-03 10:07:47 Tech Talk
RCFs stand for much more than concrete forms. So, you want to build and own a concrete home. A great decision, for sure, as the market has proved over and over the durability, security and efficiency of concrete for homeowners.
Nestled at the foot of the Santa Rosa Mountains, builder Don Brooks's Estada de Rosa blends seamlessly the form and function of concrete home building. The hot new housing market in the Southwest seems to be driven by pricey California locales. Homeowners there are cashing in on elevated real estate values, taking their profits and buying or building in areas of California and nearby states where they can buy a $2 million house for $1 million.
Constructing Dancing Dolphin Villa on St. John tests the extent of one builder's creativity. Anyone acquainted with the expression "island time" knows there are places in the world where life and work have a whole different rhythm--one that most Americans never encounter.
2006-05-03 10:17:29 Responsible Design Today Architect Richard Potestio, AIA, of Potestio Architect, tells an apocryphal story about some structural repairs that were undertaken at Cambridge University. A quantity of oak timber was needed to supply the necessary repairs. Read More...
2006-05-03 10:24:16 Decorative Concrete
Create many looks with one product: Finishing colored concrete differently produces diverse appearances. Finishing the slab of a ground floor or basement is a popular choice. The simple method of broom finishing and saw cutting provides a striking appearance which complements contemporary, modern or traditional décor. Inset: A simple broom-and-band finish.
Welcome to the Concrete Homes Magazine subscription center
Published bimonthly in a four-color glossy format, Concrete Homes Magazine takes the reader inside some of the most impressive custom homes being built today-all from concrete. Focus topics include new technology and designs, the environmental benefits of building with concrete, the cost-savings in energy and materials that come from the use of concrete, and other benefits that make concrete homes the most sensible and attractive home building alternative.
Please contact us at 800-678-9724 x 344 or email our subscriptions department at firstname.lastname@example.org. Listed below are the options available to subscribe to our bi-monthly magazine.
• Solid Investments A concrete home is a solid investment for your family in terms of value and safety
That's the Beauty of Today's Concrete
There's more than one way to build your concrete home; insulating concrete forms, concrete masonry, aerated concrete, tilt-up concrete, and precast concrete. With volatile wood prices, logging's high environmental price tag, and a growing shortage of high quality lumber, concrete offers a variety of products and construction techniques to provide cost effective, quality alternatives to wood-frame home construction.
All of these systems share the same basic virtues of concrete — beauty, strength, durability, low maintenance, energy efficiency, environmental friendliness, and peace and quiet. The concrete building technique that is right for you depends on the labor force and predominant building practices in your area. Whatever your choice, you can rest assured that your beautiful concrete home is built to last.
Drive up to a new home today and you probably cannot tell how that home was constructed. That's because the "skin" covering a home - whether it's stucco, brick, wood or vinyl siding - provides the same finished appearance whether it's placed over wood-frame or concrete construction.
How can you tell what type of construction is behind a home's veneer? The walls in an unfinished garage or basement may give you a clue. But the benefits of solid concrete construction aren't apparent at first glance. They only show up years after the home is purchased - in the form of lower maintenance costs and lower energy bills. So, to be sure you make the right home buying decision, always ask the seller or builder what type of construction is behind that beautiful exterior.
Unlimited Possibilities Concrete can create any shape or size home you can imagine. Because concrete takes any shape or form, it can create an unlimited variety of curves and angles. Concrete's strength can be used to create large open spaces - offering total flexibility in designing your home's floor plan.
Timeless Designs Whether a Victorian gingerbread home or a Colonial mansion, concrete homes are quiet, easy-to-maintain and safe from fire, hurricanes, termites, and wood rot. Concrete also can be used to create classic, low maintenance floors with patterns similar to classic stonework but with a look all their own.
Contemporary Designs Should your tastes lean toward traditional or contemporary, the strength and flexibility of concrete can create a home that looks like the 21st Century and, with minimum maintenance, will hold its beauty and value throughout the next century.
Concrete homes are low maintenance and energy efficient—a solid investment for any family.
Buying a home can be the single largest investment of your life. If that home is constructed with concrete walls, your investment is naturally protected from the structural damage that can be caused by the effects of nature. As the owner of a concrete home, you'll benefit from lower annual maintenance and energy costs while living in a home that provides a secure haven for your family.
The solid investment value of a concrete home is just one of the reasons to ask what type of construction is behind a home's stucco, siding or brick veneer. If the answer isn't "concrete," your investment may be compromised by maintenance and repair costs that could have been avoided or minimized.
Worry-free Living Fire can endanger the lives of everyone in the family and destroy those things that cannot be replaced. Insurance companies recognize concrete as being safer than any other form of construction when fire threatens a home. Living in a concrete home can bring peace of mind to homeowners concerned about fire.
Safe and Sound When disaster threatens in the form of hurricanes, tornadoes or wild fires, your family will be safer in a home constructed with concrete walls. It's no accident that concrete is the material of choice for modern day fortresses and disaster shelters. This strong, durable material stands up to the fury of nature; including the more subtle threats of rot, rust, and termites. Today's strongest residential wall systems are made of concrete.
The Quiet Comfort of Home Besides being stronger and more durable, the mass of a concrete wall provides an added benefit - a reduction in noise entering the home. So be sure to select a sound-proof concrete home when you're looking for a little peace and quiet.
Buying a home is the single largest investment of your life. Invest wisely... in a beautiful concrete home.
Solid Construction + Better Insulation = Lower Utility Bills
It doesn't take an Einstein to understand why concrete homes are more energy efficient than wood-frame homes. The mass of concrete slows down the passage of heat moving through the wall. This means that, with the same insulation, a concrete home stays warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer than a wood-frame home. Also, a concrete wall doesn't have as many air leaks as a wood-frame wall - and air leakage accounts for a large percentage of energy loss in the home.
Besides having the advantage of mass, today's concrete home building systems all utilize cost effective, highly efficient insulation to keep your home dry and comfortable year round while enjoying the benefits of lower utility bills.
Solid Construction Concrete forms an integral wall: solid, continuous and airtight. By comparison, a wood-frame wall is a collection of components: studs, sheet rock, sheathing, and insulation. Each joint and connection is a potential air leak. As the air passes through these leaks, it takes your heating and air conditioning with it.
Space Age Insulation Today's concrete home benefits greatly from progress made in home insulation over the past 20 years. Many insulated concrete wall systems use polystyrene blocks or panels as the concrete formwork into which reinforcing steel and concrete are placed. These polystyrene forms are left in place to give your home an exceptional R-value. For concrete masonry homes, insulation choices range from foiled backed batts to polystyrene panels. Standard hollow masonry units can be filled with insulating materials.
Smart Design = Savings When designing today's concrete home, smart builders are able to realize considerable savings by using concrete's energy efficiency to justify smaller heating and air conditioning systems. This results in a comfortable home with smaller heating and air conditioning bills. The bottom line is savings are up front and continue through the life of a home.
The beauty of a concrete home is that it requires far less work on the part of the homeowner to keep it looking like new. The three most common causes of exterior wall maintenance are termites, rotting, and paint peeling or fading. Concrete homes are rarely, if ever, affected by termites or rot. Contemporary concrete homes have either wood siding, stucco or brick facade, concrete textures, or other concrete products as finishes; all do not require paint.
This translates into a concrete home costing less to own than a wood-frame or wood veneer home.
Standing Up To The Elements Part of maintaining a home over the course of its lifetime involves repair of damage from such elements of nature as rain, wind, and termites. A concrete wall is more resistant to the wind and rain of hurricanes, tornadoes, and other major windstorms. When Hurricane Andrew roared through South Florida, concrete homes protected families far better than their wood-frame counterparts. Homes built with concrete walls can also be designed to withstand the destructive forces of earthquakes.
Termites and dry rot are more subtle than hurricanes, tornadoes, and earthquakes, but they can be just as costly. While an infestation of termites can cause severe structural damage to a wood-frame house, the structural walls of a concrete home are safe from their destructive efforts. Dry rot is actually a disease, common to timber and caused by fungi. Dry rot does not affect concrete and is not a worry for the owners of a concrete home.
Timeless Designs Whether a Victorian gingerbread home or a Colonial mansion, concrete homes are quiet, easy-to-maintain and safe from fire, hurricanes, termites, and wood rot. Concrete also can be used to create classic, low maintenance floors with patterns similar to classic stonework but with a look all their own. Fire Prevention Concrete homes are more resistant to fire than wood-frame homes. This gives your family a better chance of avoiding injury due to fire. Even if a concrete home does catch on fire, the damage does not seriously affect the structure of the walls, making repair a simpler task.
Today's Concrete Home The concrete home building systems available today have evolved to the point where you can design your home to require minimum maintenance while providing maximum protection. In addition, it will still look new for years after it is built.
In this age of vanishing resources, we must choose our building materials more wisely, balancing the expenditure of natural resources with the benefits of a material over its useful life. Concrete draws upon some of the earth's most common and abundant minerals for its raw materials. The amount of land used to extract the materials needed to make concrete is only a fraction of that used to cut down our forests for lumber.
Concrete homes are more energy efficient than wood-frame homes and therefore require less energy to heat and cool. This reduces the amount of so-called green house gases produced by power-generation plants.
Concrete Uses Recycled Materials Portland cement, which makes up about 10 percent of concrete, is manufactured from limestone, clay, and sand. Scrap tires and other combustible waste that would otherwise take valuable land in land fills are often used as a fuel source in the cement manufacturing process. Sources of aggregates are diverse and plentiful: sand, gravel, crushed stone, and an ever-increasing array of consumer and industrial waste products - fly ash from coal burning electric power plants and blast furnace slag from steel mills. Crushed concrete from demolition is often used as aggregate for concrete. Concrete's nearly inert matrix of materials makes it an ideal recycling medium, with absolutely no degradation of strength or performance.
Unlimited Possibilities Concrete can create any shape or size home you can imagine. Because concrete takes any shape or form, it can create an unlimited variety of curves and angles. Concrete's strength can be used to create large open spaces; offering total flexibility in designing your home's floor plan.
Healthy Living Practically inert and not requiring volatile organic-based preservatives like wood, concrete promotes a healthier indoor atmosphere. Concrete promotes a healthier indoor atmosphere, since it is practically inert, and requires no volatile organic-based preservatives like wood does. It's naturally waterproof and fire-resistant, so it doesn't need special coatings or sealers. Concrete can also be easily cleaned with organic, non-toxic substances.
Built To Last Since wood rots and decays, and is extremely susceptible to natural disasters, it is central to a wasteful construction cycle of frequent disposal and replacement. Concrete, on the other hand, requires little or no maintenance, stands up to hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, and fires. It can't be eaten by termites and won't rust or rot. Concrete's sheer durability over decades of use goes a long way towards waste reduction.
Land for homebuilding is becoming more scarce and we're forced to build our homes closer together and near noise sources like highways, railways, and airports. Concrete homes provide the necessary sound reducing qualities to provide the kind of quiet comfort we all look for in a home.
The greater mass of concrete walls can reduce sound penetrating through a wall by over 80 percent when compared to wood-frame construction. Although some sound will penetrate the windows, a concrete home is often two-thirds quieter than a wood-frame home.
Comfortable Living Because concrete homes are built with solid concrete walls they are more air-tight than wood-frame. The continuous layer of rigid insulation used in concrete construction provides a consistent thermal barrier unlike wood-frame and batt insulation which has gaps in the insulation. This reduces drafts and cold spots inside your home resulting in more comfortable living spaces throughout your home.
Thermal Mass = Even Temperature The mass of the concrete also has the heat-absorbing property called thermal mass. This smoothes out swings in temperature over time. It keeps the house from overheating or getting suddenly cold when the furnace or air conditioner cycles on and off throughout the day. It also helps keep the house cool in the summer and warm in the winter resulting in year-round comfort.
Lower Energy Bills The same qualities that bring you the quiet comfort of a concrete home - thermal mass and consistency of insulation - also saves money. Concrete homes can often reduce energy bills by over 50 percent compared to wood-frame homes. It's not often an investment pays that kind of a return.
Make an investment in lifestyle with a quiet concrete home and save money on energy bills at the same time.
Buying a home is probably the single largest investment you'll ever make. Invest wisely. A beautiful concrete home will pay you back in terms of operating cost, resale value, and quality of living. Over the long run, benefits like energy efficiency, disaster and fire resistance, and durability reduce the cost of owning a home. Reduced noise and more even temperatures mean quiet comfort that you can enjoy year round.
Lower Utility Bills Concrete homes save energy in two ways. The mass of the concrete slows down the passage of heat or cold moving through the wall. With the same insulation, a concrete home stays warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer. Also, concrete walls are more air-tight than wood-frame walls. Since leaks account for a large percentage of energy loss in the home, concrete homes enjoy savings in energy consumption. That adds up to lower utility bills. A survey, conducted by Dr. Peter VanderWerf at Boston University, found that using insulating concrete forms (ICFs) reduces energy used for heating by about 44 percent and for cooling by about 32 percent.
Reduced Insurance Premiums Concrete homes resist fire. They're stronger than wood frame homes and safer during tornadoes, hurricanes, and earthquakes. Insurance for concrete homes is often 15 percent to 25 percent lower. One insurance agent in St. Louis, Missouri, offers discounts on homeowners insurance policies of up to 25 percent for ICF homes. No one, however, can put a price on the peace of mind that comes with owning a concrete home.
Quiet Comfort Concrete homes make the world go away; a haven from traffic and the neighbor's leaf blower. The mass of a concrete wall makes it an effective barrier to sound. Although some sound will penetrate the windows, a concrete home is often two-thirds quieter than a wood-frame home.
The Quality Payback Concrete homes cost a little more than wood-frame homes. But lower energy bills and insurance premiums can offset the slightly higher mortgage payment. The real payback is in quality; the intangible benefits of a quieter and more comfortable home.
The new Concrete Homes House Plan Book, Volume 5, is now available! This special edition of Concrete Homes features a collection of more than 100 new house plans designed by renowned architects specifically for concrete homes.
Order your copy of the Concrete Homes House Plan Book today! Each House Plan Book is $9.95 plus $5.00 S/H for U.S. residents ($10.00 S/H Canada).
To order your House Plan Book(s), call 800-678-9724 x 344. You do not need to subscribe to the magazine to order a House Plan Book. Your House Plan Book will ship once payment is received. Don't forget to ask about our price specials when you purchase multiple copies! TRADESHOW SPECIAL: Bulk discounts are available! The more Concrete Homes House Plan Books you order, the more you save. A limited quantity of Concrete House Plan Books (Vol. 1, Vol. 2, Vol. 3 and Vol. 4) are still available! Price specific to the trade.
Published bi-monthly in a four-color glossy format, Concrete Homes Magazine takes the reader inside some of the most impressive and beautiful custom homes being built today; all from concrete.
Focus topics include new technology and designs, the environmental benefits of building with concrete, the cost-savings in energy and materials that come from the use of concrete, and other benefits that make concrete homes the most sensible and attractive home building alternative.
Concrete Homes is published six times a year. Much of the content is written by freelance writers working on assignment for the magazine. Writers are paid between $100 to $300 per article, depending on the assignment. We always welcome inquiries from qualified freelance writers. Interested parties should submit a resume and photocopies of published articles to:
Concrete Homes 13581 Pond Springs Road Suite 450 Austin, TX 78729
We regret we cannot return writing samples or unsolicited photos. We will review story proposals, but such queries should be limited to the benefits of concrete homes, new technology and design, environmental benefits, safety and durability, as well as other benefits that make concrete homes an attractive home-building alternative.
Thank you for your interest in Concrete Homes magazine. We look forward to hearing from you.
2006-05-08 13:32:03 Test Concrete Homes Builder Directory - Find a Builder in Your Area
Photo courtesy of Quad-Lock
Welcome to the Concrete Homes online directory of builders, dealers and distributors. To find a concrete home builder, dealer or distributor in your area, search by state in the box below. Or, to find builders, dealers or distributors who use a particular product or brand, you can search by product name.
Find a Builder, Dealer or Distributor
Before You Choose A Builder … Choosing the right builder is the most important decision a homeowner makes during construction. Read this article to learn 12 steps the National Association of Home Builders and seasoned concrete builders suggest you take before you hire a builder … Read more
How to Be Listed
Are you a concrete home builder, dealer or distributor looking for ways to grow your business? To learn about being listed in the Concrete Homes builder directory, contact Dennis Carter at 800-678-9724 ext. 371 or e-mail him at noSpam("dennisc", "pcinews.com"); .
2006-10-04 07:24:42 Found in Translation ICFs sustain the Concordia College Language Village BioHaus project Read More...
2006-05-17 07:11:56 Events
Concrete Technologies Tour "Building With Concrete: The Basics and Beyond"
June 11-13 in Phoenix, AZ
During the 2006 Concrete Technologies Tour, “Building With Concrete: The Basics and Beyond,” attendees will see first-hand how many of the cement-based building materials are produced. From June 11-13 in Phoenix, AZ, interested builders can learn in two days more than they could in months from consulting manuals, web sites, and colleagues.
To learn more about NAHB’s 2006 Concrete Technologies Tour, contact the Concrete Home Building Council at (800) 368-5242 x8362 or click here .
2006-06-23 09:11:02 Tech Talk - Energy performance of RCF concrete homes Part I Concrete homes have numerous benefits. They are quiet, low-maintenance, durable, and resistant to storms, pests, and abuse. Read More...
2006-06-23 09:33:39 Complexity captures CFA award Balmer Brothers basement wins again In 2005, the sheer size—34,000 square feet—of a basement project by Balmer Brothers Concrete Work Inc. earned the company the Basement of the Year Award, acknowledging their skill in successfully handling a huge project.
2006-07-27 10:17:11 Tech Talk - Subtle advantages found in smaller details Part IV: This article continues the six-part series developing a better understanding of the detailed solutions that are offered in the above-grade concrete home industry delivered by removable forms (RCFs). Since entering the market nearly a decade ago, this method of construction offers an ever-expanding variety of architectural and practical construction solutions for today’s home owner and designer. Read More...
2006-10-04 07:30:12 Hard Evidence The benefits of using concrete masonry
2006-10-04 07:34:44 French Country in Oklahoma City Poured-in-place home Solid from the basement up Read More...
2006-10-04 07:39:17 Tech Talk - Energy performance of RCF concrete homes Part II In this article, we will cover air infiltration, control and introduction of fresh air, and the sizing of mechanical systems for concrete homes. Read More...
2006-11-30 13:21:15 Squaring off against mold Minnesota ICF market moves ahead Read More...
2006-11-30 13:26:27 Concrete Solid in Southampton Builder chooses a different approach
2006-11-30 13:33:18 Masonry strikes gold with Tuscan Sun In an area of North Carolina that features mostly Colonial-, traditional- and French Country-style houses, Prestonwood’s golf community recently added a spectacular 7,300-square-foot Mediterranean estate with an equally spectacular name: Tuscan Sun. Read More...
2006-11-30 13:37:33 Tech Talk The advantages of interior variety for concrete finishes Read More...