Preliminary Design Concept – Floor Plans

After much round and round we have refined our needs and hopefully be within budget. The original idea *sigh* was way to big and expensive for us to accomplish. So now to our refined plan. The least expensive design is a square house with a hip roof. We worked with the rooms and room sizes we could live with and worked our way outward. We were able, with many design iterations, to come to a design that will give us…

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Preliminary Design Concept – Elevations

Another part of a preliminary design is to see what the elevations would look like based on the preliminary floor plans. Our idea is to have the exterior walls stuccoed in a Mediterranean style with medium texture. Due to budget concerns we want our concrete roof to be as light as possible and still resist hurricanes. The lighter the roof the less wall structure we need to pay for. To do so, we are going to paint the roof with…

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Design Ideas – Doors and Windows

In an area of extreme weather can we afford failure? High impact windows and doors are mandatory per code. Good idea! What quality? Most have a 20 year warranty. What happens if the company declares bankruptcy every five years and the warranty is void? It happened to us! I looked online for high quality impact resistant windows. Some got very poor ratings for door handles and metal fasteners. How do you balance cost vs. quality vs. survivability?  Do you know…

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Design Ideas – Flooring

Flooring I don’t care for wood or bamboo in high humidity, mold and insect environments. There is to much of a chance of warping for my taste. Ceramic tile maybe a slipping hazard for older homeowners. It depends on the tile style. What ever we choose, it will be better than the usual white tiles of South Florida.There are what seems to be an unlimited number of choices. Tile sub-floors needs to be very clean for the installation. Maybe stone,…

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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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