pier and beam foundation

Pier & Beam Foundation vs. Slab Foundation: Which Should You Use?

Prior to the popular use of slab foundations underneath structures, most homes were elevated in the air by pier and beam foundations (sometimes also called post and beam). These days, however, pier and beam structures aren’t used as much, but are still the standard in some parts of the country that get a lot of rain or are in flood zones.

Should you opt for a pier and beam foundation or a slab foundation for your new home? Read on to weigh the pros and cons of pier and beam foundations in relation to slab:

Pier and Beam Foundation Benefits:
  • With a pier and beam foundation your home can have a crawl space high enough to actually crawl through. Utilities, plumbing, wiring, and ventilation will be easier to access if/when issues arise with the various systems of your home.
  • You won’t have to worry about concrete floors having to be broken open in the event that there are major plumbing issues with a pier and beam structure; a plumber might need to break a slab floor in order to reach damaged pipes.
  • In general, slab structures are usually more expensive to repair than pier and beam foundations; in addition, they also generally have fewer foundational problems than slab structures.
  • As was previously stated, pier and beam structures are elevated to help protect them from moisture and flooding.
  • Thanks to the air under homes with pier and beam foundations, there’s an extra little bit of insulation under there. In addition, if you’re a person that likes the feel of a wooden platform under your feet instead of a concrete floor, you’ll enjoy a pier and beam foundation.
The Benefits of a Slab Foundation:
This is all not to say that there are no benefits to having a slab foundation – there are:
  • Slab foundations are almost always less expensive than pier and beam foundations to build. Elevating a home is just about a sure thing that it’ll be more expensive than just building on a slab.
  • With a pier and beam structure, you might notice more bouncy, creaking floors – even some sagging floors over an extended period of time – but not with slab foundations.
  • With a slab foundation, you’ll probably have fewer problems with ventilation and moisture issues in your home because there is nowhere for moisture to build up under the home.
  • On a related note, you might have fewer issues with mildew, mold, and rotting wood if you have a slab foundation.
  • You also might have more bugs and rodents in the crawl space of a pier and beam home than with a slab foundation.
If you choose a pier and beam foundation for your home, be sure that you have considered a builder carefully – poor design and faulty builds can add to any list of problems, especially if incorrect pier and beam spacing or shim failures occur.

Do keep in mind that repairing issues like these is usually cheaper and easier than with slab homes – for example, if the slab foundation of a home starts to shift and crack, it might actually be impossible to fix. However, it’s also important to remember that regardless of the foundation you choose, no structure is perfect, but most issues can be repaired if they are found early.
termite damage

How to Naturally Protect Your Home from Termites When Remodeling

Keep Termites Away from the Wood in Your Home with These Tips

As any contractor will tell you, termites can be a major headache when you’re building a house from scratch or renovating an existing home. Wood is like catnip to termites, and you can bet that all those wood chips and dust are going to attract lots of wood-hungry critters and insects. At this point, many homeowners might reach for something toxic under their kitchen sink or at the local hardware store, but you don’t have to resort to toxic chemicals when you’re trying to keep termites at bay. There are many all-natural solutions to your termite problem.

Borate – A Natural Mineral

If you’re struggling to contain your termite problem during a home improvement project and you’re not exactly enthusiastic about spraying your home with a bunch of toxic chemicals, you can try using borate, a type of mineral that’s found naturally in the earth and in many plants and animals. But borate is also a natural termite and roach killer. You might be familiar with borate if one of your parents or grandparents used to sprinkle some of it in the washing machine. Typically, borate is used in a wide variety of products, including textile fiberglass, detergents and soaps, agricultural compounds, and, unsurprisingly, pest control products.

Using Boric Acid-Based Products

The pest control industry has been getting an earful from concerned homeowners like you that are worried about filling their homes with toxic chemicals. That’s why many pest control companies are switching to boric acid-based products that are free of toxic chemicals. These products usually come in a powder form.

Putting the Powder in the Right Spots

To get started, sprinkle some of the powder around the area where you’re working and other high-traffic areas for termites. This might include underneath major appliances, around crevices and narrow openings, and anywhere else you might have spotted a termite.

How Much Should You Use?

Most people make the mistake of pouring huge globs of powder on the floor, but the termites aren’t going to crawl on top of a large mound of mysterious white powder. Instead lightly coat the floor or the wall with a thin layer of powder. In order for the treatment to work, the termites will need to walk through the powder. Any wood they try to eat will be contaminated and they will die shortly afterward. So, it’s best to make the powder look invisible. Cut a small opening in the top of the container and pour the powder out slowly without letting too much collect on the floor.

Boric acid-based products are by far your best bet when it comes to killing termites naturally. You shouldn’t have to deal with a pest infestation when you’re trying to get some things done around the house.

If you’re looking for a reliable remodeling company that knows how to keep termites at bay, contact the professionals at CRC Builders!
home sound proofing

The Benefits of Having a Soundproof Room

Ensure Your Privacy with Practical Sound Control

If you live in a quiet neighborhood or you’re looking to put some distance between you and your housemates, you might be interested in building a soundproof room. This reduces the amount of sound that passes from one room to another. Maybe you love to blast your favorite music, watch a blockbuster movie with the volume all the way up, or throw a party with your friends. Whatever the case may be, creating a soundproof room can help you make the most of your property.

More Privacy

If you live in a house with other people or you’re just a few feet away from your neighbor, everyone around you will be able to hear everything you’re doing in your room unless you invest in some practical sound control. Owning a home should give you plenty of privacy, unless you’re doing something that makes a lot of noise. Suddenly, your privacy goes out the window. Even if you think that no one can hear what you’re doing in your bedroom or studio, there’s a good chance that all that sound is traveling to someone else’s ears. If you want to keep your private life private, making the walls soundproof is usually your best option.

Staying on Good Terms with Your Neighbor

Creating a soundproof space isn’t just about maintaining privacy, it’s about respecting the other people around you. Whether it’s your roommate, a family member, or your next-door neighbor, everyone deserves some peace and quiet. If you plan on making a lot of noise, creating a soundproof room will help you avoid an unruly encounter with the people around. If you own your own home, you might have to live next to your neighbors for the next several decades. Unless you like being at odds with the people next door, you might want to build a soundproof room for all your noisy activities.

How to Achieve Practical Sound Control

If you’re looking to soundproof a room in your home, you’ll likely need the help of a professional. Practical sound control means limiting the amount of air flow coming in and out of the room and limiting the vibrations moving through the space. Sound travels through the air, so you’ll need to seal off access to the room as much as possible.

In order to achieve this, the contractor may pad the wall with extra studs if the room is being constructed from scratch. They may also seal any openings including electrical boxes and outlets with some kind of sealant or putty. Another option is to add an extra layer of drywall to help insulate the space. If it’s an existing room, the contractor might prefer to install a series of padded mats against the wall. This material absorbs most of the sound vibrations.

If you’re looking to soundproof a room in your new home, contact the professionals at CRC Builders. They’ll help you find the privacy and peace of mind you’ve been looking for. Make some noise and contact CRC Builders today!
custom lighting

Tips for Choosing the Lighting in Your Home

Building a Custom Lighting Setup that Enhances Your Lifestyle

If you’re going to build a custom lighting setup in your home, you need to make sure that you know exactly what you want to get out of the project. After all, built-in custom lighting fixtures are permanent and can’t be rearranged, unlike a lamp that you can unplug and move to the next room. Before you contact a custom lighting solutions company, spend some time in your home and think about what you envision yourself doing in the space. Lighting is all about purpose. What is each lighting fixture supposed to achieve? Use these tips when choosing a custom lighting setup for your home.

Creating the Right Ambience

If you want a lighting setup that focuses on ambience, you’ll want to consider balancing the space by adding some small wall scones around the inside or outside of your property. Directional wall scones can add a wash of light to an otherwise dim corner or surface area. This creates a layered affect that pleases the eye.

Built-in Lighting as Décor

Lighting doesn’t always have to help you complete a certain task. Lighting can also be a part of your home’s overall décor. Adding lights around the space will help you achieve a certain look and feel. If you’re looking to lounge around with a glass of wine, you can add some dimmed accents that make the space feel more relaxing. For your at-home office, try infusing the space with some bright overheads that encourage productivity.

Adding Multiple Light Sources

It’s always a good idea to add multiple light sources if you spend a lot of time in a room. This creates a sense of balance, helping you see a space or an object in its entirety. With so much activity going on in your office, the kitchen or bedroom, having more light is usually a safer bet. You’ll be able to move from one task to the next without running out of light.

Night Lighting for Safety and Utility

Lighting can also be a reliable safety feature. Incorporating a built-in lighting setup into the area around your home can make the space feel more inviting and ward off unwanted intruders. If you have trouble getting around your home in the middle of the night, some minimal track lighting will help you navigate the space with ease. You can also add a built-in night light to your child’s bedroom or the nursery.

Contact the professionals at CRC Builders for all your custom lighting needs.
cost of building a custom home

A Guide to Custom Home Financing

How Much Does It Cost to Build a Custom Home and How to Finance It

The process of building a custom home tends to be more involved than that of buying a resale home. If you’re ready to go the extra mile, find out more about how much it can cost to build a custom home and how to finance the project.

Get Your Financial Records in Order Beforehand

Before you begin the process of looking for financing, you need to make sure that you have all your documentation in order. You’ll need the latest copy of your credit score, hopefully from all three credit report firms, including Equifax, Experian, and Trans Union. If you see any errors, you’ll need to fix them before you get started. Just like you would apply for a mortgage, you’ll also need documentation to verify your income, employment history, bank accounts, and tax filing history.

Finding Out How Much You Can Afford

As glamorous as you might want your dream home to be, you need to be able to afford whatever blueprint you come up with. Talk to some builders to get an estimate of how much it will cost to build the custom home, including extra room for accidents and unexpected setbacks. Compare the total with your income, regular living expenses and other financial obligations. As a general rule of thumb, you can afford to build a new home that’s up to two to two and a half times your average yearly income.
Whatever lending institution you choose will use your average income along with your credit score and debt obligations to make sure that you can get approved for the loan. So, you can save yourself some time by getting a sense of how much you can afford beforehand.

What Kinds of Financing Options Are Available?

When building a custom home, you have a lot of financing options at your disposal. You can shop around for the lowest interest rate from some lending institutions in your area as if you were financing a normal resale home.

Builder Financing

You can also take advantage of what’s known as builder financing. Some large or medium-size construction companies will have mortgage subsidies incorporated into their business. You can use these services to get a financing plan that’s designed around the home building process. Some options will include incentives for upgrading certain features of your new home.

Bridge Financing

You can also apply for bridge financing, which is a form of financing that’s designed to help you get through the transition period. This usually takes place before you’ve sold your current house and before your new house has been finished. Bridge loans usually only last for six to nine months, so construction can get underway on your new home before you’re ready to move.

Coming up with a plan and the total cost of your custom home will help you get a better idea of what kinds of financing options you’ll need. Individuals looking to build a custom home can contact the professionals at CRC Builders for more information.
custom backyards

Custom Backyards for Creating the Perfect Outdoor Space

Use These Backyard Ideas as Inspiration for Your Next Outdoor Project

The backyard can be one of the most underutilized areas of a person’s home. If you have some space to work with, why not customize your backyard by adding some personal touches? You can create a relaxing space with plenty of seating, a cozy fireplace, or some extra room for all your possessions. Use these backyard ideas to get your creative juices pumping.

Adding a Custom Fire Pit

A fire pit will actually make you want to use your backyard. They’re relatively inexpensive and create the perfect atmosphere for almost any occasion. Add some custom seating around the fire pit to help people feel welcome in the space. You’ll also want to make sure that you’re not too close to trees and other pieces of debris that could catch on fire.

Staying Organized with Outdoor Storage

If your garage is filling up with all kinds of random stuff, why not make use of all that space you have in your backyard? Adding a custom outdoor storage shed or shelf can make all the difference when it comes to staying organized. There are plenty of moisture-resistant wood options out there to help you design a hardwood unit that blends in with the rest of your property.

Building a Sitting Wall to Divide the Space

Never underestimate the power of a sitting wall. In addition to giving your guests another place to sit down, a sitting wall helps break up the space in your backyard. You can separate certain areas to differentiate the space based on how it’s going to be used. One area could be used to show off your green thumb, while another space is for lounging with your guests.

Get more custom backyard ideas from CRC Builders. They’re here to help you design the ultimate California backyard.
building a custom home

The Benefits of Building a Custom Home

Create the Ultimate Retreat with Custom Home Building

If you’re on the fence between buying a resale home and building a custom home, think about how much effort you want to put into the buying process. Are you simply looking to sign on the dotted line, or are you willing to take an assertive role and design a space from scratch? Both methods have their pros and cons, but building a custom home is your chance to make your dreams a reality. Learn about all the benefits of custom home building.

Designing a Space That’s Truly Yours

This goes without saying, but it’s worth repeating. Designing a custom home is your chance to leave your mark on the world. Whether the house stays in your family for generations or a new owner learns to love it just as much you do, your new home will stand the test of time. You’ll feel a real sense of ownership over the space, and you’ll be making a lasting contribution to the neighborhood.

Unlimited Possibilities

Buyers tend to spend months or even years searching through existing homes only to find out that none of them satisfy their expectations. You might realize that the backyard isn’t big enough, you don’t like the neighborhood, or the upstairs bedroom is just too small. You don’t have to worry about that with a custom home. The possibilities are endless. You can rest assured that whatever you and your designer come up with will be exactly to your liking.

Hand-Selected Materials

When you buy a resale home, you might never know exactly what you’re getting into, especially if the home was built decades ago. From lead paint to shoddy wood, finding out what type of materials were used to build the resale home can be next to impossible. But when you build a custom home, you can hand-select every item or material that’s going into the space. Learn more about the benefits of building a custom home and contact the professionals at CRC Builders today!

Featured img via Vermont Timber Works Inc.


Remodeling Projects that Add Value to Your Home

If you’ve got the time, resources, and ambition to take on a Bay Area home remodel project, you may want to consider one that adds value to your home and gives you the most bang for your buck, so to speak. There are tons of options out there, so how can you be sure which ones would help you recoup as much of your costs as possible, should you decide in the future to sell? Following are a few things to keep in mind:
  1. Exterior work on a property most often has the biggest jump in value for a home, mainly because of the improvement in curb appeal that projects can offer. It’s all about first impression, and curbside appeal can be enough to make or break a home sale.
  2. One of the best remodeling projects to add value to your home is a two-story addition. You don’t have to add an extra family room, bedrooms, and a bathroom, either; any addition of square footage will add value.
  3. Bathrooms are hot commodities these days, and you may want to think about either sprucing yours up or giving it a complete overhaul to add some value to your home. Any Bay Area home remodel that includes a refinished bathroom is going to be attractive to potential buyers, the in-laws, friends that stop by, and everyone else, too. While not everyone is impressed by billiard rooms or basement bars, for example, everyone can appreciate a nice bathroom!
  4. Installing new windows is an excellent way to boost your home’s value. New windows are appealing because they look great, insulate better than old ones, save on energy, and more. The most common and most preferred finish is wood, but there is also vinyl and other finishes, too.
  5. An excellent room to remodel in your home if you’re looking to increase its value is the kitchen. Everyone uses the kitchen, and everyone notices it. You can replace cabinet fronts with raised panel drawers and doors, replace the hardware, replace your appliances with new energy efficient models, and if you can, replace the flooring and paint, too.
There are plenty of other projects you can take on in order to get the value of your home up there; replace your garage doors, transform the attic into a bedroom, get some new siding on your home, or add/replace your deck. Whatever it is you choose to do for your home, be sure to consult our experts for your next Bay Area home remodel for the best results that are within your budget and within your time frame.

How to Organize Home Renovation

How to Organize Your Home Renovation Bay Area home renovation is complex, it takes time, and it’s difficult, requiring the skill of a variety of contractors and professionals. It’s important that everything be completed just as you want it – but that’s not enough. It must also be finished thoroughly, on budget, safely, and within the reasonable amount of time that was agreed upon at the beginning of the project. Organizing your Bay Area home renovation project ahead of time will ensure that everything goes as smoothly as possible. Here’s how to do it:
  1. Design

    The design phase is the most important, even if it begins with nothing more than a sketch on a napkin from your favorite coffee shop. Make sure that you have enough of a financial allowance for the project; obtain at least a few quotes for the job from local professionals. If you’re comfortable and experienced, you can perform some of the DIY projects yourself and have contractors do the rest. This design phase should also include you obtaining the necessary permits for construction on your property. Check local, county, and state requirements.
  2. Foundation & Large Projects

    The lead contractor should ensure that large projects are done first, because the smaller ones will be impacted by them. Any foundation repairs to weakened walls, carrying beams, and joists should be the primary focus, followed by the roof and seriously damaged windows, if any. Another large project would be any that would inhibit water filtration – if you have any water that seeps into your home via a crawl space, basement, walls, or the roof, repair these areas first.
  3. Demolition

    If there will be a need for any demolition of parts of the house that will be replaced/not needed, be sure that you rent a large enough container for waste. Whether you are doing the demolition or contractors are, caution should be used any time surfaces coated with lead-based paint or those with asbestos are being worked with.
  4. Structural Carpentry

    As for carpentry, structural carpentry should be done in the beginning stages of any Bay Area home renovation project. This would include moving walls, constructing new walls, enlarging window openings significantly, adding weight-bearing beams, removing existing doors or punching in new ones, and the like.
  5. HVAC, Plumbing, & Electrical

    While the ceiling and walls are open, electrical, HVAC, and plumbing should be worked on. This is when inspectors in these professions will visit, as well.
  6. Insulation, Drywall, and Fine Carpentry

    Installation of fiberglass insulation in the ceiling and walls will take place now, and it goes quickly; your drywall company should be ready to go shortly thereafter. The drywallers may have a second inspection for electrical and possibly plumbing at this time, before they close up the walls with drywall. Other carpentry that is not structurally supportive will take place now, including doors and windows, bookcases, and more.
  7. Interior Wallpapering, Painting, and Flooring

    These items need to be the last items that are completed indoors. There is debate, however, on whether you should paint or install/sand a floor first. Laying flooring first runs the risk of having paint dripped on it; painting first means that floor sanders might scuff the walls. Talk to your contractor, if you have one, and decide together the best course of action. Usually, installing floor covering as late as possible in the renovation process will save it from damage.
  8. The Great Outdoors: Siding, Gutters and Auxiliary Buildings

    Don’t install siding until the renovation is mostly finished; otherwise, if doors and windows are punched out, it will damage the siding. Once everything on the main house is finished, renovation on any additions, swimming pools, hot tubs, sunrooms, and the like can be done.
Although there is much to consider any time a renovation project is undertaken, once you break it down and organize the tasks in a logical, efficient, and safe plan, you’ll find that everything will go much more smoothly. Starting with an overall plan and discussing progress often with any contractors that are working with you on the project is essential. For the very best results, regardless of the size of your next Bay Area home renovation project, count on CRC Builders to lead the way. Contact us today.
contractors in the bay area

Questions to Ask Your General Contractor

Before you meet with a general contractor, you’re going to want to do your due diligence and ensure you end up working with a professional who is the best fit for your project. Contractors in the Bay Area all offer unique ideas, perspectives, strategies, and budgets, so you need to make sure you ultimately enjoy the best Bay Area contracting experience available. Following are some questions you need to ask your contractor so that you can be confident in your choice for who will take charge of such an important task:

  1. “Are you licensed and insured?”

    You never want to entertain the idea of having someone work on your project if he or she is not licensed and insured. There are different requirements for different cities, counties, and states when it comes to licenses and other credentials. As a homeowner, you want to make sure that if you need carpentry done, you don’t hire someone who is licensed in roofing, for example. Having just a business license isn’t enough – you also want your contractor insured (ask to see a certificate of insurance) with workers’ compensation and liability insurance that is specific to the job they’ll perform.

  2. “How long have you been in the business?”

    Bay Area contracting businesses that have been around for a long time have created controls over the years to ensure that their work is done on budget, on time, and with high quality. This is not to say that new companies don’t do a good job, it’s just that well-established ones have had years to iron out wrinkles in procedure and practice. It’s always a good idea to talk with a contractor about anything that concerns you – most would rather you ask about something than take them out of the running for a job.

  3. “Will I have a dedicated team for my project?”

    You may or may not know that most contracting companies work on several projects at a time, so you’ll want to confirm that you can depend on consistency and punctuality every day of the project. Find out if you’ll have the same team every day, who the project manager will be, if the company works with subcontractors, and how often the business owner will check in on progress.

  4. “What will the work days be like?”

    You’ll want to find out what time the workers will arrive and what time they will finish each day, if you need to remove items that are near or in the work area, what the noise level will be like, and if the company will need you to be home during the day. Advise your contractor about parking in your neighborhood, which restrooms are available for use (if any), where power outlets are located, and any pets that may be home.

  5. “How will you ensure my property is protected?”

    This may be a difficult question to ask, but it’s important. Ask the Bay Area contracting professional if tarps will be used over furniture, if workers will wear shoe covers when they enter the home, and if the contractor would/can be responsible for locking doors as necessary when leaving the home (or unlocking when entering, if applicable).

Depend on CRC Builders

You will find that when everything is discussed openly ahead of time, your project will not only go much more smoothly, but will also cause less of a disruption to your everyday life while it is going on. You want to be able to trust anyone who works on your project with your home – it’s too important to risk having just anyone in charge of something so important.

Contact our contractors in the Bay Area at CRC Builders today and let us discuss your next project with you! We have years of experience and not only invite you to ask us questions, but we encourage it! Contact us today.