06. ADVANTAGES OF GOOD DESIGN & CAREFUL ATTENTION DURING CONSTRUCTION
You will find many different levels of design and construction quality in this market just as you would in other markets. While important everywhere, our several months of extreme cold and large snowfall make this critical here to achieve a comfortable and low maintenance home. Poor design and/or construction can lead to:
1. The need for potentially damaging and expensive roof shoveling with mounds of snow blocking windows
2. Roof leaks from ice dams that can cause mold, mildew and rot along with all sorts of other damage and inconvenience
3. Poor air sealing and insufficient or incomplete insulation creates drafty, cold and uncomfortable places in the home, can also lead to mold, mildew and rot and higher heating bills
4. Poorly designed heating system that is drafty, noisy and not properly balanced leading to underheated and overheated rooms. Some homes may not even have a forced air system which precludes the use air filtration, humidification and air conditioning
5. Insufficient or non-functioning radiant floor heating. All rooms that are on a cement slab or have tile, stone or a cement floor require radiant heating in our climate in order to be comfortable. Seating/dining areas close to large expanses of glass also require additional radiant heating
6. Insufficient or non-functioning snowmelt. Exterior hard surfaces that are regularly accessed during snow season need to be heated with snowmelt. Our frequent and heavy snows combined with large temperature swings create conditions that are impossible to keep surfaces ice free without snowmelt
7. Mice problems. Mice can enter a home through the smallest of gaps but can be fully prevented if this detail is attended to in design and construction
There have been numerous cases out here of new homes designed and built by leading architects and builders that have experienced some combination of these problems. Older homes are likely to have more of them. It is often not possible to know if a home has any of these problems until actually living in the home for a while.
Having completed our third winter in this home we can safely say that we have experienced none of these problems and the house is cozy and warm even on the coldest days.