Window Selection (3rd in series
- Contingency Plans - Builder/
contractor delays (2nd in series of articles)>
An alternative residential building material
for the Day
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1. Windows - Low E
Coatings and Other Films on the glass
In the last 2 newsletters we learned
that ... 1) the Energy Rating for a window is based
on the entire
window package including the glass, sash, seals
and frame, 2) the higher the positive ER number, the
better, 3)frame and sash designs effect the "condensation
resistance" of windows and 4)window frame
material impacts the appearance and ongoing
your new home. This month we are exploring
coatings on glass.
First some window glass science: In winter, the sun is lower on the horizon
and the sun's short wave rays pass through standard window glass. Unfortunately
at night, long wave radiant heat in your home also passes through standard
glass to leave your home. In the summer time, the sun is higher and some
sunlight should be shaded by the roof overhang of your home, and by awnings
or similar shades. Also the sharper angle is such that some of the sunlight
hitting a window will be reflected. However radiant energy from heated
objects, will tend to enter your home day or night in the summer time.
A low-E coating on a typical double glazed window is made of a fine metallic
layer applied to the outside face of the inner pane of glass. This coating
is mostly transparent to short wave, visible light but reflects back
low-angled, radiant energy from warmed objects. This means that in the
winter, heat tends to stay within your home (reflected back inward by
the metallic coating) and during summer, heat tends to be prevented from
entering your home (reflected back outward by the metallic coating).
Low-E coatings may reduce the amount of direct heat from winter sun by
up to 10%, but the reduced heat loss at night more than offsets this
reduction. A low-E coating provides the equivalent insulating benefit
of triple glazing without the added weight.
There are various low-E coatings available depending on whether you are
trying to optimize winter or summer heat. There are also double low-E
coatings available for triple glazing. Coatings can add substantially
to the cost of your new windows, but given the cost of heating and air
conditioning, low-E coatings on double-glazing should warrant your careful
Research is being done on other residential films including electrochromic,
thermochromic and photochromic but these are all still experimental,
low production and very pricey.
Keep your windows clean and in good repair if you want
them to do a good job for you.
Be cautious of after-market films that can be applied directly to existing windows.
These tend to significantly reduce the energy from direct winter sunlight, and
may be easily damaged.
If you are inclined to explore the experimental new films, the payoff may be
big for your specific application but research carefully.
As with all our other tips, always deal with reputable, established firms. A
window guarantee from a bankrupt manufacturer is probably not worth much.
Some Useful Links
Atria Windows Low E Glass
Glass on Web – Low E Glass
2. Contingency Plans
- Builder/ contractor delays
Last month we talked about some of the things that can go wrong, legal precautions,
and various steps to take and be aware of when contracting for your new home.
This month we will discuss some options if things DO get delayed.
After the initial shock of discovering that you will not have access to your
new home at the expected time, your very next steps should be to initiate damage
control. The amount of damage control that you can do will depend on your specific
situation: contract terms, how long the delay, cause of the delay, whether
it is summer or winter, whether you are buying a new (turnkey) home in a new
subdivision or you already own the land, whether your home is on a large country
lot or a city lot and maybe even how well you know your neighbours.
The biggest incremental expense that you will encounter due to delivery delays
of your new home will probably be accommodation expense. If this is a custom
home, and it is delayed a month or less, you may be able to make an arrangement
with the builder to finish a bedroom, and bathroom and maybe a kitchen that
you and your family can live in, while the rest of your home is under construction.
If no such arrangement is possible, safe, or otherwise realistic, you will
need a place to house your family for some period of time and you will need
a place to safely store your belongings.
Here are some options for accommodations:
Live in a family cottage or rent a nearby cottage. Negotiate a monthly rate.
Live in friends' basement or move in with friends. Some rent might be appropriate.
Live in a nearby motel. Negotiate a long term rate rather than a daily rate.
Use a travel trailer or tent trailer or large tent and camp on your own land.
Use a travel trailer or tent trailer or large tent and park in a nearby RV
park and negotiate a monthly rate rather than a daily rate.
Arrange to remain in your old home and pay rent to the buyer of your old home,
if they are willing to make such an arrangement.
Storage of Furnishings and Possessions
You can store your furniture in a warehouse via a moving company. Be sure that
your property is insured. This will probably be the most costly solution, as
it will include extra handling of your property. You will have to ensure that
you keep appropriate clothing or that you have access to your belongings if
You may store your furniture in a rented large tractor trailer (more correctly
called a dry van) on your property. An older, used 40' or 48' trailer, suitable
for storage of furniture will cost as little as $2500 to buy outright. You
can rent one for $200/month or less. Be sure to talk to your insurance company.
Store your furniture in a large rented tractor trailer
on the trailer company's property or someone else’s
property. Have an agreement drawn up and be sure that your
property is fully insured against all perils and theft.
will have to ensure that you keep appropriate clothing or that you have access
to your belongings if necessary.
You may want to talk to your bank manager/mortgage manager
about changes in financing resulting from the delays. Funding
to pay for your home may not be
required on the planned date and consequently the mortgage start-up will
be pushed back. If "bridge financing" is involved (while you own one
home and are building another home), you will have to advise the bank if the
closing date of your old home changes or if your planned Date of Occupancy
changes. Be careful how you tell the bank the story or they may want to call
in their "bridge financing" loan forcing you to proceed with the
closing of your old home.
As mentioned in last months newsletter, seek legal advice as appropriate, to
recover your losses. Covering all possibilities in this brief article is difficult
but perhaps after reviewing this material you will have some ideas. Fortunately
the majority of new home purchases go very smoothly and we sincerely hope that
your project is on time and within budget.
Some useful links to check out
Construction Delay, Acceleration, and Inefficiency Claims
Holland and Trailer
Semi Tralers Sales and Leasing
3. Limestone: An alternative residential
There is an amazing assortment of limestone products available from a variety
of products to fit many residential building applications. A variety of companies
have perfected various solutions and applications of limestone with interesting
designs that are both attractive and affordable. We will cover some of these
in this article and have provided a number of references in the useful links
section for your convenience.
Limestone consists mainly of calcite, has a smooth granular surface, varies
in degrees of hardness and does not usually show much graining and crystalline
structures. Some of the more dense limestone pieces can be also be polished
into a mirror finish.
Limestone comes in a variety of colours. The more common
colours are green, black, brown, grey and blue. The
reader should also be aware that there is
a natural colour variation in most limestone blocks. Suppliers will provide
a variety of colours depending on the product available to them from local
It also can be shaped into interesting designs and
appearances such as a random blocks of stone or slabs
of stone, veneer with a broken edge, pavers and patios
stones with natural and irregular edges, sawed and shaped veneer with split
faced on several sides, one or more sides finished or polished.
Some suppliers will also grade their products and
will use a variety of words to describe their grading
parameters. Limestone may be graded as follows: A)
Course stone without a a uniform colour or texture B) moderate sized stone
with a more uniform colour and texture and C) A fine grained stone with
texture through the stone. You should always ask the supplier for examples
of each of their stones and grading, then decide for yourself which grade
of stone you prefer for your project.
Today limestone can be used in applications such
as load bearing masonry walls, gated community walls,
limestone fireplace surrounds, limestone veneer,
existing buildings, , addition of limestone architectural enhancements,
limestone chips in various sizes that can be mixed
with concrete to produce white concrete
for decorative walks and gardens, white limestone sand used to make white
mortar. You can even use it to be mixed with hot
rolled asphalt to create a variety
in the texture and colour of asphalt.
Suppliers are available that will provide fabrication,
design, cutting and finishing. They can be purchased
in custom designs as well as standard designs.
You will need to discuss your requirements in detail with your supplier
if you want a custom designed one of a kind limestone
addition to your home or
Examples of custom designs are columns and arches,
gated walls, fireplace surrounds, various mouldings,
veneers, and other applications. Discuss your needs
your builder and limestone supplier to see if they can meet your needs
while still ensuring a safe sturdy design.
Some useful links to check out
American Limestone Company
Grant Wood Limestone
Asian Stores ltd
White Limestone Building products
4. Thought For The Day
is no “right” to do
a wrong. – Abraham Lincoln
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