The new American Dream: 100K(+ 20) | Starter Home

Final Push by thomas kearns
November 24, 2008, 7:59 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Here we are in the final stretch.  I think with a strong effort in these final weeks you have a great opportunity for good strong projects.  I am posting to reitterate the final objectives.

complete your revised budget.  This is key to giving you direction for the last round of revisions you can still make during your preperation for final review.

At the final presentation I wish to see updated plans, including a site plan, floor plans should be completed at a level of detail similar to the sections and rendered accordingly

express your key selling points (shoot for 3-4) with appropriate project documentation; renderings, drawings, diagrams, precedent, etc.

Lastly you should complete drawings or renderings of the exterior conditions of your building.  Either a matching exterior perspective or a series of rendered elevations.

With only 2 weeks remaining this equates to finishing one of these tasks every other day!!!!

Small Bathrooms by joelzook
October 26, 2008, 3:45 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

For those of you who are trying to squeeze half baths into small spaces: I was at a friends of my parents this weekend, they have an old renovated house that had no bathroom on the first floor.  So they squeezed one into an existing closet. It is about three wide by four feet deep. You kind of have to walk around the sink to get to the stool but still it’s possible without a “prison toilet”

CRSpecht Cost Sheet for 100K House in Las Cruces, NM by cassie1033
October 3, 2008, 6:25 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized
  Description Unit Material Labor+Equip Time D Output Unit Cost Required Total Cost
1 Straw bale insulation (5 rows with 13 bales each on south wall) Ea. $3.25 $50.00     $53.25 65 $3,461.25
  exterior stucco walls with metal lathe S.F. $1.17 $2.89     $4.06 285 $1,157.10
Division vapor barrier S.F. $0.24 $0.06 0.002 3800 $0.30 285 $85.50
  Anderson 200 series Awning Windows  (1′-5″ x 2′-4 3/8″) Ea. $350.00 $150.58     $500.58 12 $6,006.96
2 Straw bale insulation ( 6 rows with 8 bales each on north wall) Ea. $3.25 $50.00     $53.25 48 $2,556.00
  exterior stucco walls with metal lathe S.F. $1.17 $2.89     $4.06 384 $1,559.04
  vapor barrier S.F. $0.24 $0.06 0.002 3800 $0.30 384 $115.20
  Anderson 200 series Awning Windows  (1′-5″ x 2′-4 3/8″) Ea. $350.00 $150.58     $500.58 8 $4,004.64
3 Bulkhead form for slab, 7-1/2″ high, exp metal, incl keyway & stakes L.F. $1.02 $0.77 0.033 960 $1.79 1466.5833 $2,625.18
  Welded wire fabric, 6×6 -W1.4 x W1.4 (10×10) S.F. $0.13 $0.13 0.005 2900 $0.26 40.738425 $10.59
  Slab on grade, incl. troweled finish, not incl. forms 6″ thick S.F. $1.95 $0.52 0.021 3350 $2.47 1466.5833 $3,622.46
  Exposed local aggregate finish, maximum S.F. $0.31 $0.45 0.017 465 $0.76 1466.5833 $1,114.60
4 Exterior wall framing system, 2″ x 6″, 16″ OC SF $1.44 $1.78     $3.22 1107 $3,564.54
  5/8″ insulating glass Including frame, trim and hardware 6′ wide economy grade Ea. $1,120.00 $120.40     $1,240.40 6 $7,442.40
  200 series Anderson Awning window 2′-0 x 2′-0 Ea. $350.00 $150.58     $500.58 24 $12,013.92
  corrugated metal sheet S.F. $3.82 $2.40     $6.22 1100 $6,842.00
5 Sky window, operating, 24″ x 48″ Ea. $653.44 $241.26     $894.70 8 $7,157.60
  Built-up roof, coal tar, organic, 4-ply, insulated deck S.F. $3.78 $2.31     $6.09 800 $4,872.00
  corrugated metal sheet S.F. $3.82 $2.40     $6.22 800 $4,976.00
6 North structure Wall system, thincoat, skim-coat, on 1/2″ backer drywall S.F. $0.92 $1.59     $2.51 1000 $2,510.00
  South sturcture wall system, thincoat, skim-coat, on 1/2″ backer drywall S.F. $0.92 $1.59     $2.51 1357 $3,406.07
  Breezeway wall system, thincoat, skim-coat, on 1/2″ backer drywall S.F. $0.92 $1.59     $2.51 492 $1,234.92

Skim Coating by samujan
October 1, 2008, 9:49 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

WHAT IS IT? A technique to turn imperfect walls or ceilings into flat, uniform surfaces by applying drywall mud.

WHY SKIM COAT? To turn warped, dented or poorly framed walls into even, crisp-cornered planes. Healthy walls can benefit from a skim coat, too. It creates an ideal base for decorative finishes like high-gloss paint.

WHAT OBJECTS ARE ELIGIBLE? Plaster, drywall or Sheetrock.

HOW IS IT DONE? First, any cracks in the wall must be cleaned out with a Sheetrock knife and then covered with fiberglass joint tape (holes must be filled with patching plaster). Then spread thin layers of drywall mud along the wall until the surface is smooth. The entire skim coat will add only 1/8″ thickness to the wall.

Concrete general costs by samujan
October 1, 2008, 9:17 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , ,

Basic costs:

Grading: Before any work begins, you’ll need to make sure the area where you plan to pour your concrete is level and ready for work. That means grading the area. The necessity of this step varies depending on your worksite and the size of your project, but if it is necessary to level things out you can expect to be charged about $45/hour to get it done.

Laying A Foundation: Any large concrete project is going to require you to put down a base to pour the concrete onto. Usually this means laying a gravel base before the pour. Expect gravel to run about $12 per cubic yard delivered to the work site.

Labor: Unless you’re a sucker for back pain and sore muscles, and have a handful of very dedicated friends, you’re going to have to pay someone to build the forms, work the pour, and perform the finishing work. Typical labor costs will run in the neighborhood of $1 per square foot

Reinforcement: In order to ensure the longevity of your new concrete project, you’ll need to install some reinforcement after the forms are built to prevent cracking and other damage later on when your concrete expands and contracts with the weather. Wire mesh, plastic mesh, and steel re-bar are all commonly used materials that cost about 10 cents per square foot. Your contractor will be able to advise you as to what is the best material for your particular project

Concrete: Concrete prices will make up the bulk of your cost for any large concrete project. A good ballpark figure is $70 per cubic yard of concrete (But as stated in a previous blog, concrete can vary from state to state, even within a state. Here $70 seems really low for a cost, probably because the site was updated sometime ago. but the prices ranged from $86 dollars a cubic yard up to $150 a cubic yard) Check with manufactures in the area of your site location to acurately estimate costs.

 Spray coating:

The benefits of concrete construction are shared by spray-applied concrete, including strength, impact and fire resistance, insect and rot protection, longevity, and durability. A characteristic of sprayed concrete is low permeability. Also, spray-applied concrete allows the application of concrete in difficult locations that may be impossible using conventional formed poured-in-place methods.

Spray-applied concrete requires less formwork than poured-in-place (or no formwork if applied against a suitable excavated surface), thereby lowering material costs and form set-up time. Forms do not need to withstand the great pressures that develop with poured concrete. Savings in forms may be offset by higher labor and equipment costs

Pre Cast Concrete:

Priced in the $55 – $65 range per linear foot of wall, precast systems are competitive with other foundation walls, particularly when costs are examined as an assembly that includes footings and sub-slab drainage. Precast walls can be installed quickly in any weather. Because the concrete is cured in the factory, precast foundations can be backfilled as soon as the slab is placed and first floor bracing is in place, enhancing jobsite safety and site accessibility. Door and window openings, steel beam pockets, and brick ledges must be cast into the panels, so orders must be customized. The wall sub-base must be compacted and leveled, similar to precision required of footings. Use of precast panels should be submitted for approval by the building official at time of building permit application.

Foundation walls are relatively maintenance free. Regular maintenance of eave gutters and grade and plantings around foundation to assure that water is not ponding adjacent to the wall is required of any foundation system.
Installers should be experienced with assembling prefabricated foundation panels. In fact, some companies only allow certified installers to deliver and erect their systems. Once panels are erected, sealed, and bolted together, the basement slab can be poured. Floor joists above the foundation are conventionally installed and provide some of the bracing for the foundation walls. Once braced by the slab and floor system, backfilling against the walls can take place.

Decorative Concrete Costs by samujan
October 1, 2008, 4:10 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

What is the price and how much does decorative concrete cost?

Concrete costs are based on:

  • Size – larger jobs will lower the price per square foot. Usually 1000ft +
  • Scope of work – Basic application or detailed work, patterns, inlays etc.
  • Preparation required. To de discussed later.
  • Time frame– overnight or overtime work is more money
  • Products used – Inexpensive hardware store brand vs Professional grade.
  • Experience level of the installer- The more experienced and qualified will tend to charge more for their knowledge, (well worth it!)
  • Union vs Non Union labor

Because I think it would be a waste of time to copy and paste information from this site posted by a guy who has been dealing with concrete for ten years and worked in the US as well as Canada. I will just post the link:

Here you can find ranges of prices for:

Acid stain:, Polished concrete: , Stamped Concrete: , Thin Resurfacing systems:
Stamped Concrete Toppings, Concrete Countertops:, Garage Coatings and Epoxies:,

To find the local contractors for your site for concrete:

For a breakdown of Garage Floor Coating Prices click here

Concrete Costs by samujan
October 1, 2008, 3:41 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

I found a few sites that allow you to do cost estimating. This site allows you to input the width, length and depth of the concrete, and it will tell you the amount of mix you need to cover the slab and the amount of man hours it costs to do the job.

While reading a blog

I noticed a comment that stated: If you’re not building with OSB SIPS(or ICF’s), why are you building?

Another site that allows you to calculate the cost of foundation is:

But you need to find the cost of Concrete per cubic square ft. Costs vary depending on the psi of the concrete. A common psi is 3000 or 3500 sq ft which ranges in price from $80 (midwest) per cubic yard all the way up to $150 (colorado/florida). The costs on the gold coast are also extremely high. Because our project is relatively small it is unlikely you will be cutting a deal with a concrete company but if you did buy it in bulk or often through out a year companies can cut the cost to as low as $72 a yard

Urban Farming by joelzook
October 1, 2008, 3:28 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , ,

This guy from Milwaukee just got a MacArthur grant for his work in urban farming. His company has branches in Chicago as well. Check out this New York Times article.

IKEA Hack! by cslota
October 1, 2008, 3:06 am
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags:

I came across this blog this summer and was truly impressed with some of the projects posed on IKEA Hacker. It features projects by people who came up with creative ways to transform IKEA furniture or cabinetry into something more specific to their needs. Some of them are simply re-upholstered chairs, but the most interesting are the case goods. I thought this might spark some ideas for exploring an inexpensive alternative to custom millwork.

This one was the most memorable: kitchen cabinetry turned dining area banquette. Click on image to read about how this was installed.

SuperTherm insulation take 2 by kongchan4
September 30, 2008, 2:20 am
Filed under: Uncategorized