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House of Straw and Construction in Minneapolis

When it comes to building construction in Minneapolis, there are many different materials that come to mind. Concrete, wood, brick—you name it, we probably have it. But one material that has largely escaped notice would be one of the oldest: straw. Now, we are all familiar with the story of the three pigs. As such, we all probably believe: Hold on there. Straw is neither durable nor strong enough to support a building. Won’t it just blow right over?

We want to tell you, indeed even propose, that straw might not be as bad of a building material as you might think. Sure, by itself, it seems a little ridiculous. But the truth of the matter is that it is a remarkable material that is well-suited to home construction. Let us make our case.

Where It Comes From, Where Does It Go

Straw is largely a byproduct of the wheat industry, the wasted leftovers from harvest time. Dry and fairly unattractive, it gets gathered into giant bales during the winter and most of what is gathered is burned, with only a small percentage kept for things like cow and horse feed.

With the resurgence of environmentally friendly construction, however, architects and contractors are starting to find uses for a greater number of things. Straw is one of them. A home builder in the American Southwest called Mark Jensen is revolutionizing the “straw bale” house in his work with Native American communities and his research has revealed several remarkable properties of the material.

How This Material is Viable

Straw is useful both on its own and as a part of something else. Construction in Minneapolis can take great advantage of this material in that it is one of the best natural insulators in the world. That means that you won’t get as cold as you might with some artificial insulation. It has also been noted that straw mixes fantastically with modern materials such as plaster—a popular material for interior walls—as well as stucco.

What’s more, you can eliminate a tremendous amount of waste if you design a home around straw. Mark Jensen reports that to build a decent-sized 2000 square foot house, you need about 300 straw bales, and that’s only if you use straw by itself!

What About the Humidity?

But now you might be asking: Now hold on! How exactly is straw going to protect me against the elements? Sure, it’s a good insulator, but wouldn’t things like rain and snow, which wreak havoc on normal construction in Minneapolis, ruin the material?

While it has not been tested in northern climates yet, we don’t believe that it would affect anything. This is primarily because straw has demonstrated some great cohesive properties that allow grains to interlock with each other—rather like LEGO blocks but natural. It also helps that straw is already a dry material and has been trusted to keep roofs dry since before the Middle Ages!

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So this is definitely a unique way to make your home environmentally conscious during and after construction. Be sure to contact Coty to find out how we can help you build your dream home.

Preparing for Sinkholes and Other Natural Disasters

It’s true! Minnesotans everywhere are in danger of those terrifying holes that open up in the earth every so often. With all the soft ground present here in addition to old mining operations happening in this part of the country, thousands of quality pieces of construction in Minneapolis and elsewhere have crumbled into nothing as a result of these sinkholes. A couple of people have even died!

How are we supposed to protect our properties from these horrible things?!

Well, our first piece of advice is to chill out. We don’t get sinkholes in Minnesota.

Yeah, it’s a prank. Happy April Fool’s Day!

Ha ha! But, In All Seriousness…

But natural disasters are no picnic no matter where you might live, and the Twin Cities are subject to them just like any other large metropolitan area. Any kind of malady can wreak havoc on your home or business, but there are a couple of weather anomalies you should prepare yourselves for. So let’s go over how to cope with the most common source of construction destruction as winter finally releases its grip.

The spring and summer months are prime times of the year to start (and oftentimes finish) construction in Minneapolis. The weather is quite moderate, the temperatures are nice, and you’re not dealing with ten feet of snow. However, this time of year also brings forth a destructive force that is responsible for thousands of dollars in damage every year.

The Power of Nature

Of course, we are referring to the derecho. A derecho, if you don’t know, is a powerful storm system that follows along the dry line. They typically originate in the plains of Canada but gain strength as they meet the warmer air in the United States. These long and linear storms are short, but extremely powerful, characterized by hurricane force winds, downbursts aplenty, and even the occasional tornado.

How Do You Fight Back?

The best way to prepare your home against these forces of nature is to invest in some sturdy glass. The glass you normally find on windows of Minnesota houses provide very little wind protection unless it’s a gentle breeze. That means your regular windows will most certainly shatter as a result of derecho winds. So if you live in an area where you’re vulnerable to a derecho, we would recommend investing in some hurricane windows such as you find in Florida. Skyscraper construction in Minneapolis automatically uses this type of window on their buildings and you rarely, if ever, hear about one of those breaking following a storm.

Count on Coty

We want to help you make your home as comfortable and safe as possible. Whether you are more concerned about a derecho or next winter’s blizzard, we will help you give the home you are looking for. So be sure to contact Coty to find out how we can do just that.

Construction in Minneapolis Post-Job Paint Advice

The period following a big project involving construction in Minneapolis is always an interesting time. But at the same time, it is extremely stressful. So many different decisions need to be made such as interior design. But more so than anything else, picking a decent exterior color can make or break the value of your home. Exterior paint jobs do not come cheap, so the colors must be carefully chosen if you expect to do well. So here are some things you should consider when you are picking out your exterior paint.

Look at Your Neighbors

One of the first things you should look at, especially if you are not in a homeowner’s association, is the traditional style of houses around you. You don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars on a paint job that detracts from the overall aesthetic of the neighborhood. While we would not recommend painting the siding the same color as your neighbors, it does need to be in keeping. So don’t paint your house red if the others around you use yellow or some other lighter color. It will only draw bad attention for being such a sore thumb.

Make Sure It Matches

Following an analysis of the neighborhood, you next want to pick a color that suits your home as well. Many things which affect the quality of construction in Minneapolis, such as windows, shingles, and any landscaping are already done before you begin painting. So you want to pick a color which is complementary to the rest of the house. If you have a lighter rooftop made of, for example, aspen wood, then it would behoove you to pick a lighter color. It’s much like matching a shirt to pants. You don’t want to clash.

Get the Proper Paint

Once you decide on a color, it’s time to figure out the kind of paint you should use. Now, some siding materials do not allow for paint to be used on them because it degrades the quality of the finish. However, the two most popular types of siding—vinyl and brick—can both be painted over. So when you are shopping for the colors you want, make sure that the paint you are looking at can be used on whatever type of siding you have.

Know How to Apply

Of course, the very last rule you need to follow is know how to apply the paint. Exterior paint jobs are entirely different from interior paint jobs in that you have to seal the finish in addition to a number of other things. So make sure you know what you’re doing—or better yet, hire a painter—before you take a paint brush to the wall.

If you have any questions about construction in Minneapolis, or the process of getting your house finished following its conclusion, be sure to contact Coty for more details.

How to Make Your Custom Home Efficient

Energy efficient construction in Minneapolis might mean a whole lot more than just knowing the right materials or taking some creative liberties with transportation. Design and style have a lot to go into it also. Many different types of houses out there take advantage of some very unique styles that are both interesting to look at and easy to set up. So we are going to talk about some of the things you can do to make an energy efficient home without it seeming too cliché or over the top.

It’s All About Temperature Regulation

Big Rooms, Big Savings. A big part of keeping a home efficient is being able to hold in a great amount of heat during the winter or block it out during the summer. Most of the energy going into a home is largely attributed to the quality of the air conditioning. So one of the biggest things you can do to help make a custom home energy efficient is by simply making the rooms big and open. This allows air to circulate more freely and so not put as much strain on the air conditioning to heat or cool separate areas of the house.

Use the Right Windows.

Another big factor when it comes to temperature management is the location of the windows. Now, we went over how skylights should be avoided for construction in Minneapolis because of the weight of the snow we accumulate up here, which can lead to some serious accidents during the winter. However, if you find a way to displace the snow, things will be a lot easier and you can put in a lot more windows to let in some natural sunlight as well as warmth.

The best way you can do this is by keeping windows located at almost extreme angles. Skylights break because snow accumulates on them over time. But the sharper the angle, the easier the snow will slide off. If you can figure out this balance between 90 degrees and 45 degrees, you should be able to find the best way to let in the most light.

Don’t be Afraid of the Wind Turbine

Generating your own power is another great way you can help your home be self-sustaining. The time of windmills being found in the backyards of exclusively survivalists and hippies is over. Nowadays, many folks are setting up their personal wind generators to help them power their home without having to leech on the grid. So do consider putting in a wind turbine, which is as classy and appealing as it is good for your home.

Count on Coty

These are just a few of the ways we could think of to help make your next project a success. When it comes to construction in Minneapolis, you don’t want to take any chances. So do be sure to contact Coty Construction the next time you want some help with your dream home.

Construction in Minneapolis and Temperature Regulation

When you’re in the process of constructing an energy-efficient house in Minneapolis, there are many things you need to consider. Where is it located? What kinds of materials are being used? Are they being harvested locally or trucked across the country? But one of the most important questions you need to ask is: How do they perform with regulating temperature?

Temperature regulation is one of the biggest factors in determining how big your carbon footprint is and construction in Minneapolis, especially, needs to consider this. With the harsh winters we get up here and the wealth of natural life, we have to consider how much heat escapes the house and in what ways you can combat the problem. So here are some suggestions you should take up with your contractor about how you can more easily regulate the temperature of your home.

Make Changes to Your Roof

The biggest place where heat escapes the house is through the roof. Because heat rises rather than drops, a tremendous amount escapes from the attic. In addition, because cold air drops, you will find yourself a lot chillier in the cold months than you would be without a couple of key enhancements.

Use Wood Shingles.

Construction in Minneapolis has lately been using wood shingles in tremendous numbers again. This is because wood shingles are excellent at regulating heat and making sure it stays inside the house. This is due primarily to the shingle’s effects as a natural temperature regulator.

Install a Radiant Barrier.

Another enhancement you can make on the roof either during or after construction is installing a radiant barrier. On the surface, they just look like large sheets of tin foil. But radiant barriers are more than just this as they actually serve as permeable membranes for heat. They are literally able to trap heat on the inside during winter months and repelling heat during the summer.

Both of these roof enhancements will help you reduce your carbon footprint substantially and also drive down your energy expenses because your air conditioning system will not be working as hard.

Look at a Good HVAC Unit

That actually segues nicely into the other thing you can do to reduce your energy expenses: invest in a great HVAC unit.

Now, we are not exactly air conditioning specialists. We know how to build great houses. But according to this pamphlet from the Energy Star program, you will want to find a system that has a strong Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER). The SEER basically tells you how much energy the unit uses to operate at normal levels during seasonal extremes. What’s more, they also recommend you change the unit every fifteen years.

Count on Coty

So those are all the best ways you can more effectively regulate your home’s internal temperature and keep it from impacting the environment too much. If you want to know more about energy-efficient construction in Minneapolis, be sure to contact us and ask for more information.

How to Make Your Custom Home Efficient

When we started to make energy-efficient construction in Minneapolis our focus every Monday, we went into it believing that there is not a single home out there which embodies “energy-efficient” so well that it literally has no emissions. During the course of our research, however, we did find one which has not only reduced its carbon footprint to nothing, but is quite fashionable as well! Called the Zero Home, we found this amazing marvel of energy-efficient construction here.

What is the Zero Home?

This single-family, 4300-square-foot home outside of Salt Lake City, Utah, though not certified Platinum by LEED, would certainly qualify for this highest honor with all the things which went into the construction and day-to-day running of this outstanding home. Constructed by a pair of home contractors in Salt Lake City, they report that the cost of construction was no greater than that of conventional homes—about $150 per square foot.

What Makes It Special

Wide Lumber.Several things have been noted in how construction of this home worked out. Building code requirements for construction in Minneapolis dictate that 2×4 lumbers are to be used. However, this particular home uses 2×6, which is much larger and provides greater stability. Minneapolis residents will also benefit greatly from the extra space given for insulation. Wider lumber, the article reports, also helps to draw warmer air inside, thereby reducing energy costs during both winter and summer.

Different Windows.

The windows also help a tremendous deal in reducing energy expenses. Now, large windows are typically a double-edged sword. While they do bring a tremendous amount of natural light into the house, allowing the home owner to not be as reliant on artificial light from fixtures, they also release a lot of heat, making homes colder. The windows of the Zero House, however, are double-paned, using a layer of argon gas between two glass panes which absorbs chill.

And So Much More!

Many other things are present in the Zero Home which we do not have time to go over right now. Some of them involve the water heater. Some come from the use of a fantastic HVAC system. This house even uses solar panels connected to the grid to provide all of its electricity! The fact that it was made with the same budget as normal homes is truly astounding and construction in Minneapolis can learn a great deal from this home.

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So we would highly recommend you look at this article and see what all you can do to implement these different changes in your dream home. We could all take away a tremendous amount from the Zero Home if you are looking for inspiration. Be sure to contact us to see what more you could do to enhance your current home to reflect the changing times.

Four Most Unique Homes in the World

The death of Leonard Nimoy today is a major loss to the nerd community. His portrayal of Spock, the scientific officer aboard the U.S.S. Enterprise in the original Star Trek series, was truly a defining role both for him and the science fiction genre as a whole. Now, one wouldn’t think that this Nerddom tragedy would have much to do with construction in Minneapolis, but the science fiction genre has, as a whole, inspired a tremendous amount of truly unique designs which show off the architecture of the future. While we couldn’t find any homes inspired by the Enterprise, we did find these efficient retro homes to help get you inspired.

4)The Flintstone’s House

Though there are no homes inspired by Star Trek, we did find this TV-inspired home which follows a Flintstone’s motif. This home was actually owned by the creator of The Flintstones and currently goes for 3.5 million dollars on the current market! Now that’s what we call the most expensive cave on the planet. It even comes with built-in period furniture.

3) The Slide House

Construction in Minneapolis is typically focused on making things not quite as slippery or slide-y as normal homes (need to protect against winter ice, after all). But this home in Japan takes sliding to the next level! Called the Slide House, this small, three-story family home in Tokyo forsakes stairs in favor of slides, which connect all three stories from the top down, making it a blast for the kids and truly futuristic design.

2) The Water Tower House

In the Star Trek future, folks are far more environmentally conscious than they are now. True, things have gotten better in recent years. But homes which reuse old structures still come one in a thousand. This is why this home in Belgium truly caught our eye. The family who lives here converted an old, derelict water tower into one of the best homes you have ever seen. With the large number of old buildings around here, some of them unused for years, this could prove a great model for further construction in Minneapolis.

1)The Transparent House

Everybody always says to avoid having a glass house for nobody wants the world to see in on their lives. But in the case of this house, that is exactly what the family apparently wants. Citing a desire to live their life without privacy like in the old days, this Japanese family built a house which is completely transparent. Floors, exterior and interior walls, and even the stairs are built of clear plastic. While certainly lacking in privacy, we can certainly see how a house like this would be easy to clean and even easier to maintain! But it definitely tops our list of the most unique houses.

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You may or may not want to build a house like these for your next construction project in Minneapolis. But we certainly can believe it if you want to make it as you as possible. So contact Coty and find out how we can help give you home of your dreams.

Bricks and Construction in Minneapolis

With over a month spent on how different types of siding affect construction in Minneapolis, as well as the value of your home, you would think that we were just about finished. The fact of the matter: We are. From the wonders of composite siding to the issues regarding vinyl, we have talked about every type of exterior wall there is… except one. We have saved the most distinctive siding material to the very end, the one which people instantly look at for some great aesthetic appeal. Of course, we refer to brick and masonry.

Some Wonderful Benefits

The very first thing people notice about brick is its look. Brick has a most distinct aesthetic which is appealing to a wide number of people. There’s just something about red brick which makes a house instantly appealing. But brick has more advantages than just visual appeal. Brick is also quite strong. It is actually the strongest of the siding materials, to be exact. It is fireproof, moisture-proof, and requires no painting. In short, you put it down, you mortar properly, and you never have to touch it again. Brick is also quite effective at holding back temperatures of all kinds, meaning that your home will be toasty warm in the frigid Minnesota winters. From a construction in Minneapolis aspect, brick is a quality material in that it supports the weight of a house most easily, making it easy to work with.

A Few Troubling Deficiencies

Brick is not perfect, however. For starters, you cannot replace siding with it unless you want to get rid of the whole wall. Couple that with the fact that you need an expert mason rather than a standard contractor and you are looking at some hefty installation prices. In addition, it might support the ceiling well enough, but it also puts a lot of strain on your foundation.

But the real problems when it comes to building with brick are in the substance itself. Brick is a porous material unlike wood, composite, or even vinyl. This means that not only does it allow radon inside the house in greater quantities, but it is also susceptible to damage from vines and moisture. Mold can start growing which you need to periodically check for. Replacing damaged bricks also entail the replacement of that entire section of wall, once again making it costly.

Count on Coty

But the appeal of brick is understandable and everybody loves it. It is timeless, easy to work with, and a great option for construction in Minneapolis. If you want to find out more information on bricklaying and how to take care of it, feel free to contact Coty Construction or check out our eBook, which should have all the information you are looking for.

A++

Our post about wood shingles and wood siding last week got us thinking: There is a lot more to be said about energy efficient construction in Minneapolis than just what materials you use. There is a massive demand for extra care to be taken when it comes to energy efficiency and people love hearing about how homes and buildings are set up in ways that are friendly to the environment. So, because we are always looking for ways to help people save money on their home while also being friendly to our Minnesota environment, we are starting this series on green building techniques.

Green Building is King Here

Energy efficiency is one of the key issues with many Americans these days. Where it was once something of an ambiguous topic, now people are looking for better ways to build homes without it impacting their environment badly. This focus is especially evident in in Minneapolis construction projects. According to the Minnesota Center for Energy and Environment, “more than 10,000 businesses and 50,000 Minnesota families” have adopted energy efficient techniques on a personal level to help lower their energy bills.

Why We Should be Green (From a Building Point of View)

But there is still so much more to be done! Yes, recycling helps tremendously. But we can’t just be content with setting out bins full of plastic and cardboard every few weeks. We also need to adopt new techniques with how we approach construction in Minneapolis. Many programs are out there right now which provide the tools and drive we, as contractors, need to clean up our buildings and make them limit their carbon footprint even more.

The LEED Program

For starters, there is the LEED program. The LEED program is run by the U.S. Green Building Council, an agency under the jurisdiction of the Department of Energy. When a contractor or architect applies for the program, the DoE sends an agent down to the site to closely observe everything going on at the site. Nothing is left unobserved—even the trucks are looked at to determine how much gas they used to transport materials, what kind of gas they use, and their impact on the environment.

When the building is complete, the agent presents a scorecard to the building owner’s telling them how impactful their project has been on the environment. There are three different levels: Bronze, Silver, and Gold. It is a tremendous achievement to be given even the Bronze certification for Minneapolis construction. These are techniques which could prove hugely beneficial to the Minneapolis homeowner.

Count on Coty

This is why we are starting this series here on our blog. We want to know more about how to be cleaner and we want to help you feel cleaner as well. Contact Coty to find out more information about our techniques and the materials we use. We are more than happy to answer your questions.

Fiber-Cement: Best Material for Construction in Minneapolis

Over the past few weeks, we have been talking about different materials and how they can help you put up your dream home. But construction in Minneapolis, for the most part, is hampered by the difficult winters we endure up here and the effect the elements have against certain types of roofs and siding. Asphalt shingles, we all know, do not last very long up here. Neither does vinyl siding. In fact, there are only a few materials which actually work for years upon years despite the heavy snow. The siding we are talking about today is one of those and it truly stands as possibly the best siding material you can use in Minnesota.

Many Benefits for You and the Building

Fiber-cement siding is a relatively new material, in use only for the past twenty years or so. However, it is possibly one of the greatest things to be invented in the construction industry since the bulldozer. Fiber-cement siding, to put it simply, takes the best of all your classic siding materials, such as wood which we have discussed already, and puts them together into a seamless unit which is appealing to the eye. It possesses the durability of masonry with the classic look of wood, making it an outstanding material to be used during construction in Minneapolis. It is fireproof, termite-proof, and rot-proof. It doesn’t weigh a great deal and can be painted over easily like vinyl. It maintains a nice aesthetic to your custom home. Even better, especially for Minnesotans, it is quite effective at thermoregulation so you never feel any temperature extremes.

The benefits don’t end there, however. Oh no—just because it carries a tremendous number of benefits doesn’t mean that it has a tremendous price tag. Fiber-cement is almost as cheap as vinyl, making it one of the best deals on siding you could possibly ask for. This is possibly primarily for two reasons: First, it is as easy to install as wood or vinyl; and second, it requires only four ingredients to make: water, wood fiber, Portland cement, and fly ash.

Is There Anything Bad to Say?

So what are the disadvantages? Of course, there are a few. Labor is going to be your biggest cost because fiber-cement is brittle and can break fairly easily. Because it requires specialized knowledge for proper installation and sealing, you do need to hire a professional who knows what they are doing regarding construction in Minneapolis. Fiber-cement can also dry out if it is left unsealed, so you need to keep an eye out for bubbling or decay as the years go by.

Count on Coty

But if you are building a custom home, you couldn’t ask for a better material. Coty Construction is quite knowledgeable with many of these materials, including fiber-cement, and are more than happy to answer any of your questions. Contact us to find out more.