Top trends in mountain home building (sponsored)
August 11, 2016
by Leo Wolfson, brought to you by Breckenridge Building Center
Style or functionality? It's a question that many home builders must face in their road to building the perfect mountain home. Sure, that stone facade looks elegantly quaint, but is it worth the cost? That siding might not be gorgeous, but some say it provides the best savings. These are some of the many thoughts and questions that future homeowners face in their search for the perfectly constructed home. Here are some of the best construction practices and materials that are trending right now in the mountains.
Sheathing — an extra layer of boards or other wood used as reinforcement to outer studs, joists and rafters — provides additional strength for the structure and an additional level of protection from outside elements. Half-inch thick structural sheathing usually gets the jobs done, but thicker models are also available.
"It makes your house tighter and more secured and better insulated, and stops the bridging from the cold or the heat transferring from the start into the home. That's something you'll never see when your house is completed; you'll just appreciate it," said Arnie Surdyk of Double Diamond Property.
Sheathing can also be used for insulation in the form of rigid foam and cellulose-fiber panels. These can be attached to the framework of the house or structural sheathing. Consult your homebuilder for the best type and location for your home.
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Cedar: Contains protective tannins that help the wood excel in the extreme High Country climate. It looks great and is reliable, but also is more expensive.
Spruce & Fir: These types of woods won't do in humid parts of the country, but they perform well in Summit County thanks to the incredibly dry climate. Although it's not exactly attention grabbing, fir is a common choice for siding because it costs less.
Pine: Most popular for log cabin-style homes as it provides a rich, "mountain modern" look.
Beetlekill Pine: Although it's less dependable structurally, beetlekill wood is some of the most economical wood on the market.
Building With Stone
In the early days of construction in Summit County, river rock was most commonly used. Now, "mountain-modern" — a trending theme of sleek lines, flashy exteriors and environmentally friendly products — has become more prevalent for High Country home development. Along with that movement, Chris Renner of Pinnacle Mountain Homes has seen a much wider array of stones and boulders being used.
"We've used everything from limestone to granite — that's a pretty wide breadth of stone. Limestone being a soft, chalky material. Granite, being obviously one of the most dense stone materials. They're going to perform the same on the exterior; it really comes down to style," explained Renner.
Chopped or rectangular-cut stones are also popular, providing a buttress-like feel to your mountain castle.
"The purpose of using stone is to keep the elements on the outside of the home and it lasts longer; it's more durable, it doesn't need to be stained or maintained, but it's more expensive," said Renner.
Stone is typically twice the cost of your typical wood siding, so if you want your house to have the rocks, you'll have to pay the cost.
Eco-friendly construction practices have been gaining great traction in home development over the past decade, especially in the High Country. Most construction in Summit County utilizes natural materials per requirement by the majority of homeowners associations. Using recycled barn wood is a growing practice, as is mining stones from the building site to be used in the design of the house. This eliminates the environmental cost of having to truck rocks in. Consult your builder for other environmentally friendly construction procedures that often add little additional cost.