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Minneapolis and St. Paul Construction: What Are the Differences?

Though folks nationwide call Minneapolis and St. Paul the “Twin Cities,” they really couldn’t be further apart than they are. There are some definite differences between these two places both in attitude and architecture. So when you are a part of the Minneapolis construction industry like we are, it would behoove us to be familiar with these differences. But the common layman, in all likelihood, is not familiar at all. So let’s go over the building character of these two related cities and see what makes each one unique in its own way.

St. Paul

As the state capital of Minnesota, St. Paul has been around for a long time. The city is widely known not so much for modern style or convenience, but on more archaic ways of building which give the city a much older character. As a result, St. Paul construction needs to be focused more on maintaining the same level of sophistication that older styles are known for. In this sense, the grander the exterior, the better off you’ll be.

But at the same time, St. Paul construction needs to be done in such a way to maintain the same aura, as it were, of classicism without looking like a cheap reproduction. This can be accomplished in a number of ways, such as using period-accurate materials like wood shingles and siding, and more open interior floor plans with a focus on larger rooms. Stone can be used to tremendous effect as well for exterior walls as well as fences and property boundaries.

Minneapolis

Minneapolis construction, on the other hand, is an entirely approach. Minneapolis is a city which emphasizes bold architectural choices across a wider space of time. Modern styles can be applied to new buildings in this city, in keeping with the artistic vibe Minneapolis possesses. Whatever your opinion is on modern architecture, it does lend a unique feeling to the city.

But there is one other thing which distinguishes Minneapolis from its twin. Minneapolis possesses a plethora of “prairie homes,” which are known for being single-story homes with wide open living areas and smaller secondary rooms like bathrooms and bedrooms. Prairie homes were invented in Minneapolis by Frank Lloyd Wright, who built two homes in this distinct style. So if modern eccentricity isn’t quite your spiel, quaintness and simplicity can fit in Minneapolis construction as well.

Count on Coty

However you decide to build your custom home in Minneapolis or St. Paul, we will be there to help you out. Coty Construction is familiar with all the different building techniques you expect from a contractor as well as all the different materials which goes into making the home of your dreams. Be sure to contact us to find out how we can help you.

Insulating Your Windows for Next Winter

March is here and the annual thaw has begun. At last, you get to see what the damage is to your house and find out the best ways to combat the problems of last year before the next winter begins. Minneapolis construction companies spend thousands of dollars to build the perfect home but not every contractor is perfect. Some things slip through the cracks and it’s up to you to find them and fix them.

Winter Windows—Big Problem

Now, we are willing to bet that one of the problems you encountered from this past winter was the biting temperatures outside managing to get inside through drafts. Believe it or not, drafts occur dominantly around windows rather than doors. This is mostly because windows are not as big (in most cases) as doors and are typically opened up on occasion rather than on a daily basis. But you also must keep in mind that there are more windows in a house than exterior doors. So drafts can make life miserable when the Minnesota winter rolls around.

Dealing with the Issue

There are several ways you can deal with drafty windows, however, and most of them are quite inexpensive. Whether you bring in a Minneapolis construction company or just do it yourself, these solutions will help you control internal temperatures most effectively.

Set Up Curtains.

One of the trendiest and most effective ways you can deal with a drafty window is by simply putting up a curtain. Curtains do more than just preserve your home’s privacy when drawn. They also insulate the glass and prevent cold air from getting inside. But not just any curtain will do. You need something heavy. Think of the window as a person and the curtain a blanket. A light blanket never keeps you warm. The same concept can be applied here. While heavy curtains will block out any views of the outside, we get enough snow in Minneapolis anyways that it probably doesn’t matter.

Install Rubber Sealing.

The one thing which is more effective at preventing drafts than a heavy curtain is rubber sealing. Rubber sealing is available at virtually any home improvement store for extremely cheap prices. Rubber sealing is also known for being quite simple to apply and lasts a long time. While curtains are more concerned about blocking chill on the glass from getting inside, sealing prevents cold air from getting in through the cracks at the side and bottom. Just be sure that you use rubber sealing with caution as it can damage paint if you don’t get your measurements right.

Count on Coty

Both of these methods will help you insulate your windows and keep the next winter away from your home. It does not require the assistance of a contractor familiar with Minneapolis construction, though there are many things you can do from a building standpoint to prevent drafty windows. Be sure to contact Coty for more information.

Green Minneapolis Construction: Finding the Right Location

When you want to build something which is environmentally friendly according to the U.S. Green Building Council, you have to consider a lot more than just the building itself, such as its layout and some of the technology attached to it. You also have to consider different materials and transport, among other things. But before any of that can get started, you have to think about location. Indeed, the USGBC looks at the location of a building site before work has even begun. In a city like Minneapolis, construction typically occurs on whatever land you might have available to you. In other words: You work with what you have. So on this inaugural post about green building techniques, we are going to go over how to find the ideal location for your eco-friendly home.

Reuse Some Old Land

One of the biggest and easiest things you can do to get some big points on the tough LEED certification criteria is simply using land which was previously developed and then left alone. This satisfies a requirement which gives points for reusing undeveloped land. Things like old railroad yards or even an abandoned warehouse will give you huge points in the Location and Transportation portion of the certification. Here in Minneapolis, where construction is always happening but sometimes never goes anywhere, you could find yourself a gold mine (theoretically, of course) by setting up a home or business where planning was simply dropped.

Protect the Habit

There is a lot more to selecting a prime location than just reusing land, however. The biggest reason why the USGBC looks at this segment carefully is so the surrounding natural habitat of the local flora and fauna can be effectively protected. According to the current version of LEED, there are several things to look out for under the category Sensitive Land Protection. Watery areas—and we know there are plenty of those in Minnesota—are the prime benefactors in this sense.

Build Outside of the Floodplain

This is probably common sense, but you want to build your home outside of the floodplain. Here in Minneapolis, construction can be delayed massively because of spring floods as the winter thaws out. But you want to build in a dry area for more than just insurance reasons. Thousands of species of amphibians, birds, and insects live in the floodplains of America where moisture is rich and there are many nutrients to be had. So by building outside of the floodplain, you get to preserve their livelihood as well as yours.

Count on Coty

There are plenty of other reasons why you should consider looking for a proper location for your home. Feel free to contact Coty Construction or check out our e-book for more information about the importance of picking the right site.

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.

Minneapolis Construction Tips: Wood Siding

When you are in the process of building a new home in Minneapolis, construction can be quite time consuming if you do not know what kind of materials you want to use. This is especially the case with siding, which is possibly the most important decision you need to make. Siding defines your home’s exterior aesthetic as well as the amount of maintenance you need to do on a regular basis. Each of the most popular varieties is different in their own way. But no siding type distinguishes itself more boldly than wood.

Great Variety

Wood siding is unique among the other siding types in the variety of sub-groups within its individual group. None of the others really have that—manufacturing is uniform, maintenance requirements are the same, and the only things that really separate one vinyl house from another vinyl house (just as an example) are those things that the owners have done after installation. Wood siding does not have this particular issue. While there are a couple of uniform characteristics, no type of wood is exactly the same as another.

Some Uniform Advantages

There are several popular types of wood that you can use in Minneapolis construction, such as redwood, cypress, pine, and spruce. Each of them shares several characteristics which prove appealing to many buyers. Wood siding hearkens back to log cabin days depending on what style you choose to get them cut. Wood is also environmentally friendly, coming from trees which were harvested using controlled methods to ensure the sustainability of the forest.

A Little Bit About Cedar.

The most popular type up here, however, is easily red cedar.Cedar is universally known for its durability and has been used on American homes for hundreds of years. Many homes dating back to 19th century still retain their original cedar siding. This lends a sense of practical indestructability to the home. Cedar also possesses a natural beauty to its base form which enhances virtually any color you put on it.

For Some: Costly Disadvantages

However, just like any type of siding, wood is not without its flaws. For starters, wood is very expensive both in installation and in maintenance. Because it has aesthetics which are appealing to buyers, many wood siding manufacturers will charge top dollar for their product, making the initial cost quite substantial. But afterwards, you will also need to weatherproof it with surface protectant at least every three years in order to prevent the elements from taking hold. Here in Minnesota, it might even be more often than that.

You also need to consider insurance. Wood siding, naturally, is a fire hazard. Many insurance companies will hike your premiums because of this, making the home even more expensive to maintain. This is also not including the regular termite checks as well as potential warping and cracking which must be fixed.

Count on Coty

If you are able to afford it, wood siding is a wonderful resource to use in Minneapolis construction and we are here to help you understand it to the fullest. Feel free to contact us with all of your questions. We are more than happy to help you out.