The Elements of Quality Construction: What to Look for in Your New Home
September 5, 2018
It’s easy to be dazzled by the beauty of a new construction home. Like the joy of “new car smell”, you revel in the newness and the potential here. But beneath the polish and paint, under the perfect shingles of the roof, and behind the freshly painted walls, you should understand how the home was built. Take the time to learn the key elements of quality construction so you know what to look for in your new home. Cothran Homes offers these fundamental steps to know before buying a new construction home. Quality of insulation A home’s comfort and energy efficiency is a direct reflection of the insulation installed. Depending on the stage of the construction, you might not be able to see things like housewrap and thermal insulation. So, here’s a quick primer. Housewrap is applied to achieve an airtight barrier. However, it also needs to “breathe” to avoid trapping moisture in the walls. Housewrap is perm-rated according to how it allows vapor to escape and prevents water from seeping into the wall cavity. A recommended rating is 10 to 20 perms. The other characteristic of housewrap is the durability. Tear resistance and the ability to withstand heavy winds during construction are critical to ensuring lasting value. Cothran Homes uses TYPAR high-performance air infiltration housewrap, which has an impressive 11.7 perm rating and superior resistance to UV rays, oils, tannins, and soaps that the wrap is exposed to during construction. TYPAR is also five times stronger than competitor’s housewrap. Hot air naturally moves to cold air, which contributes to high energy costs. Sheathing prevents the sun’s heat from penetrating the roof and also keeps the warm air that you want inside your home from escaping. It is applied as a layer between the rafters and the shingles. The radiant barrier reflects heat instead of absorbing it (which causes unwelcome heat gain). Solarbord Radiant Barrier Sheathing is Cothran Homes’ choice. This product has been proven to reduce the heat in an attic up to 30°, and reflects up to 97% of the sun’s radiant heat. Solarbord also extends to the life of the HVAC by reducing its run time by 20%. While you might think of pink blankets for insulation, those batts can leave gaps that lead to air leaks. Blown insulation resolves that problem by spraying insulation into the joist and stud cavities in the walls. The insulation is measured by an assigned R value, which refers to the heat resistance. We require R-38 blown insulation, which far exceeds the minimum requirement for homes in South Carolina. We install Knauf EcoBatt thermos and s and acoustical insulation, which features a plant-based binder and is formaldehyde-free. Cothran Homes also includes insulated garage doors to provide additional protection from the outside temperatures. Some builders choose the less expensive alternative, but we look at the long-term value of investing in a home’s energy efficiency. That’s what has helped us achieve average HERS ratings that demonstrate that our new construction homes and townhomes are 30% more energy-efficient than typical new homes of similar size and style. Structural integrity You buy a new home and expect it to be sturdy. Quality construction methods contribute to the structural integrity. We’ve extended the structural warranty to 10 years of coverage because we’re confident that our construction methods and product choices deliver on the promise of lasting quality. The framing of your home uses 16 on center framing. This means the center of the wall studs are spaced 16 inches apart. This is preferred over 24 on-center because placing the beams closer means more beams, which equates to greater stability, something that is of particular importance for load-bearing walls. Cothran Homes also adds strength to each new home by using engineered open-web floor trusses on the second floor, rather than the more common 2X10 joist. These trusses are stronger and last longer. While the idea of replacing a roof might concern you when considering the purchase of a resale home, it shouldn’t be an issue with a new one. We use roof shingles that are guaranteed for 25 or 30 years. Designed for durability New homes have the opportunity to utilize the latest products. For low maintenance and lasting beauty, look at the durability of the finishes in your new home. Cothran Homes offers hardwood flooring in our new construction townhomes and single-family homes. With Shaw Flooring’s ScufResist Platinum, the flooring has a proprietary aluminum oxide finish to protect against scuffs. We also use Shaw Flooring’s carpet in the bedrooms and living rooms, depending on the preference of our homebuyers. Shaw’s R2X Stain and Soil Repellent provides lasting protection so the carpet maintains its beauty. The exterior of your home is subject to daily doses of natural elements, from harsh sun to bitter cold and driving rain. You want a siding that resists this onslaught and maintains its appeal, and with minimal maintenance. James Hardie siding looks like wood and features ColorPlus Technology that resists fading. Finishes will clue you in In addition to the construction methods you can’t see, there are finishing touches that reflect the quality standards of the builder. Here are a few that Cothran Homes includes. All of our bathrooms are outfitted with adult-height vanities. While we bend over backwards to deliver on our high standards, we don’t expect you to bend to something lower. We use the Lennox 14 SEER, dual-zone HVAC with touchscreen programmable thermostat. Lennox is legendary for quality. You’ll never find an off-brand or foreign-made HVAC system in one of our new construction homes! The cabinetry in our kitchens and bathrooms include drawers—and lots of them! Drawers make it easier to get to the far reaches of the contents. Some builders stick with basic cabinets (without drawers) because it’s less expensive. Once you start unpacking, you’ll realize the difference! “Quality” is a term that’s used too often to describe things that truly don’t measure up to a high standard. Cothran Homes will always look for smarter choices, not shortcuts. Take a look at our communities of new townhomes for sale in the Greenville area, as well as our new, single family homes at The Retreat in Simpsonville. We’re proud of our homes and welcome the chance to show you the difference in our details.