Monday, October 19, 2009

10 things homebuilders won’t tell you

Here's my good deed for the day - posting this link.

I see new homes all the time that clearly are nothing more than a shack with nice-looking siding on it. For example, using OSB (oriented-strand board) to build the house, which is common in Maryland, is a joke. The stuff will turn to pulp if it gets wet:

OSB has a coating to keep the water out of it however when water does penetrate it will swell up and fall apart.  Water will also try and infiltrate through all cut edges.


Using OSB-engineered floor joists is also a mess, and actually dangerous. If there's fire in the home, untreated OSB I-joists will burn though in just about 7 minutes, meaning the home will be a total loss in a very short period of time. That's compared to the old - and code in many states - use of full timber for the joists.

What this means that it's unsafe for firefighters, and when they feel the floor get "soft" - meaning the joist OSB webbing has burned through - they will exit the structure and let it burn. Result? Total loss, rather than a partial loss because the fire could be fought properly from the inside.

Fire Incidents with I-Joists - Specific fire incident reports indicate that when directly exposed to fire (unprotected), the loss of strength of I-joists often occurs in conjunction with burn-through of floor sheathing. Within the I-joist itself, the web is consumed first (because of reduced mass). Once the web is consumed, the bottom flange is no longer attached to the joist and falls from the system. Numerous fire incidents have been reported where the only remaining structural components in the floor system were the top flange and floor sheathing. The resulting floor systems, while remaining intact, had over 12" of deflection. Similarly, many reports indicate that firefighters either felt a floor become “soft” or “spongy” or visually observed deflection and exited the structure.


Cost of home isn't a guide, either. An expensive house will still be built like crap. It just inflates the profit of the builder. My rule of thumb: if the builder drives a really killer-nice new car and dresses like a movie star, watch out!

So have a look, and be careful when buying a new home!

10 things homebuilders won’t tell you - MSN Real Estate: "10 things homebuilders won’t tell you
Building homes is complicated, so make sure you understand enough to get the job done right – and for the right price."

Zebron and James