I usually get a couple comments back each month on my newsletter, but last month, whew boy, I got a BUNCH. Most basically said “right on Bob, give those builders Hell!”.
Well, I certainly didn’t mean to stir up a hornet’s nest but my letter definitely got some folks riled up…
It’s been a month since that letter and I thought of EVEN MORE things a builder could do to improve his homes for VERY little additional money, if any.
1. put an exhaust vent in ALL baths. If a bath has an openable window or a/c vent, an exhaust is not required, but it sure is needed !
2. use vinyl frame windows, not aluminum. This metal is a GREAT source of heat transfer which means YOUR heat is transferring OUTSIDE or vice versa. There is supposed to be a “thermal break” between the window panes but it’s not always there. It’s no surprise alum. windows have been losing market share since the early ‘90s and now less than 15% of windows sold have alum. frames.
3. STOP using St. Augustine sod ! Please ! Yup, it’s cheap but it’s also disease prone and LOVES water. I like Bermuda though it has its own problems but it does use less H2O. Consider more ground cover type plants, rocks, Xeriscape and plant beds.
4. Most builders put ONE, count ‘em, ONE 60w light bulb in the garage. Folks, that is NOT enough light for a 400sf room! A 2-bulb fluorescent fixture costs $20 and puts out gobs more light
5. While we’re talking about the garage, how about a workbench? I bet the framer wouldn’t charge more than $50 extra to build one of those while he has all those 2X4s out and laying around. The extra material cost would be ZERO. Ever seen how much wood is thrown away on a typical jobsite?
6. Put the main water shutoff in the GARAGE, not by the water meter. 90% of all the shutoffs we see end up getting BURIED within about 6 months. And the ones that aren’t buried are impossible to turn on and off because the plumber puts them 12” in the ground surrounded by a 6” pipe! And if you CAN turn it off, half the time the handles break off because they’re so thin!
7. Consider using vinyl or fiberglass bathtubs, not steel. Steel rusts and chips over time and is basically a huge heat sink which sucks a LOT of “hot” out of the hot water
8. Why aren’t builders installing master bath doors these days? And if they are, it’s 2 little mini [hollow] French doors which don’t seal out any noise or have a lock. Soooo, if your spouse gets up and takes a shower at 0600hrs., YOU’RE going to be getting up too !
9. give your buyers a choice between blown OR spray foam insulation. Show them a study illustrating the huge reduction in their elec. bill and they’ll pay the difference, trust me…
10. Tell your plumber to use “freeze proof” faucets on the outside (the faucet valve is INSIDE the home, on the HEATED side of the wall). You’ll eliminate the most common cause of frozen pipes and flooding AND your buyer won’t have to install those silly insulating covers on the outside ever again !