Martin

Martin

I am a licensed landscape architect and an urban planner who practiced in California over the last 35 years. My wife who went to the Keys for over 20 years with her family has always been in love with the Keys. We have decided to move there to enjoy the Keys lifestyle.

Design Ideas – Structural Walls – Revised

3.2 Structural Walls This was written before the hurricane came through the Keys. We still intend to build and we think the only way to build is with the ICF blocks, described below. Where do you start! If you are scared of hurricanes as we are, we decided on a concrete structure. What type of concrete structure? Poured in place, tilt up panels, concrete block? I was first concerned by the cost. After speaking to contractors and architects I am…

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Design Ideas – Balconies

We would like to maximize the view from our lot to the water. To do so we will need to build high and have balconies. Outdoor deck flooring will be an interesting effort. If there are livable areas below the concrete decks, what will guarantee it will be waterproof? Right now I think any deck above a livable area needs a waterproof plastic/rubber mat will have to be used, then covered with slip resistant flooring.The sub-floor had better be smooth…

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Design Ideas – Exterior Wall Finishes

Exterior Wall Finishes Wall finishes in a hurricane zone is an interesting series of decisions. It certainly depends on what materials the walls are made of. If we do go with ICF blocks for the walls, we need to think about the rigid foam block and the outside wall exposed to the environment. Due to weathering I would not choose wood. There is a Hardieplank siding, which has concrete in it, but our ideal style is more Mediterranean. So stucco…

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Design Ideas – Roofing

What kind of roof do we have built? Wood, Metal or Concrete? The building code calls for a roof to be able to withstand winds of 180 mph. The new roof code was instituted due to hurricane losses. For wood roofs, greater use of tie downs and better inspections have helped to prevent roof damage dramatically.   Since hurricane Irma, Monroe County is considering making changes to it’s building code. One change may be the elimination of shingle roof tiles and requiring…

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Design Ideas – Exterior Walls Insulation

Concrete is not a good insulator. I would like to use foam insulation for the ceiling spaces (especially under the roof). Most of the contractors I speak to use fiberglass batting. It’s cheaper than foam insulation but not as effective. Does anyone in the Keys install foam insulation at an affordable price? Foam insulation has an R value of 1″ = R-6.8, NCFI – rigid insulation spray, 3-1/2” = R21. Between the outside walls and the wall of a room…

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Design Ideas – Fasteners

Stainless steel fasteners should be used for doors windows and exposed stuff. Stainless steel is not just one quality. Do you buy the “big box store” quality or professional quality considering we are in a highly corrosive environment. I learned that Tapcon screws are stainless steel, 410 stainless steel quality which gives these concrete screws superior rust resistance. Also I learned Fastenal fasteners are superior quality. Rebar can have coating to prevent rust and spalling. What is the difference in…

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Electrical Work within ICF Walls

As we decide to build our house with ICF walls, floors and roof we need to think ahead as how to run electrical wiring. There is the typical electrical wiring and structured wiring. Structured wiring is a general term that refers to a whole-house network of audio, video, data, telephone, intercom, television, home automation, security alarms, cable and satellite hookups, ethernet and networking, security cameras, lighting, etc. With a house built of concrete, how electrical wiring is run is a…

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SEER Ratings and Savings

Design Ideas – Electrical and HVAC

Electrical Work Electrical work: Installing a high quality, house wide, surge protector by the power company, or whole house surge protective devices will be important to protect electronic devices and computers. Central air/heating. AC units are measured in SEER ratings. A SEER rating is the ratio of the cooling output of an air conditioner over a typical cooling season, divided by the energy it consumed in watt-hours. Central air is mandatory. What size? If you have a two level house do…

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Plumbing

Design Ideas – Plumbing

PLUMBING As for water piping, we can use rigid plastic or CPVC.  CPVC  can handle temperatures up to 200 degrees F. CPVC pipe has comparable corrosion resistance to PVC pipe yet it is suitable for handling material at temperatures 40 to 60 degrees F higher than regular PVC. It is lightweight, easy to assemble and install. Job-site erection of a leakproof joint can be made in only a minute with solvent cement, or by threading. PEX piping is commonly used. It…

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Design Ideas – Sub-floors

3.4 Sub-floors We  decided to use something instead of wood for the exterior walls. We also wanted to eliminate wood use on the interior as well. Because we decided to build with a concrete system for our walls, and for sub-floors within the building envelope, we wanted to avoid wood products, even those rated as insect or fire resistant. It seems logical to look for a concrete solution for our porches or decks as well. To fully enjoy coastal living and…

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