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Thread: Finally Bought Some Land

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    Default Re: Finally Bought Some Land

    IMG_1286.jpgIMG_1286.jpg

    This barn was built by my neighbor Dave Bowman and his partner Neil Goddens. The frame is Dutch-style. They built the roof on the ground and raised it onto the bents with a crane. Done in a few hours. Think it cost about 75K when all was said and done, roof, siding, the whole enchilada, but don't quote me. All native, local lumber. They build cruck-framed structures as well, which adapt well to Larsen truss wall systems, making an efficient hybrid timber framed structure.
     

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    Default Re: Finally Bought Some Land

    Quote Originally Posted by j44ke View Post
    Holy smokes. That's like the promised land. Instant favorite. The density of cool sh^t in Japan is very high.
    Wow - I want this.
     

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    Default Re: Finally Bought Some Land

    Benson built a new satellite "Mountain Campus" building at my daughter's school. Very cool building; fits the space well, extremely efficient, and very high quality finish work.

    Definitely one of the most reputable builders for this type of structure in the Northeast.

    Burr and Burton Academy | Bensonwood
    John Cully
    I ride bikes...not enough.
    I drink wine...not enough.
    I play guitar & bass...not well enough.
    I travel...not NEARLY enough.
    www.luccavacationhome.com

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    Default Re: Finally Bought Some Land

    This thread is a great example of why v salon is amazing
     

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    Default Re: Finally Bought Some Land

    Catching up on this thread a bit, I don't think I saw much content on snow....and I am not sure how much snow is normal for that area but it is more than what you get in NYC.

    Dealing with snow on your property can be a significant challenge if it isn't taken into account.

    **I am not a contractor or builder. But I was a transplant to the NE 35 years ago into some very heavy snow areas and learned some things the hard way.

    Da' Roof
    All those photos of modern houses with flat roofs are pretty to look at but are completely unrealistic in a place that gets real amount of snow. No matter what a builder tells you, a flat roof in an area that gets a decent amount of snow will leak. At the vary least, it will require maintenance. Just don't do it.

    Roofs with really 'cool looking' varying roof lines (http://www.greenbuildingadvisor.com/...ice%20dams.jpg) may work fine in areas with less snow or areas that don't stay below freezing for weeks at a time, but steer clear in areas that get real amounts of snow and stay below freezing for weeks at a time.

    Simple is good. Steep is good.

    Google "ice dams" and do everything you need to to ensure you don't end up down that road.

    Some people don't like the look of a metal roof but I can tell you that the sound of snow sliding off one is pure music.

    Foundations
    The more snow an area gets, the higher (more?) the foundation should be above ground level. This is part of the theme of - when snow falls, it does not go away for months and therefor continues to accumulate. If your foundation does not extend out of the ground far enough, you will have snow sitting against your siding for weeks at a time. Going around shoveling out your house foundation is a PITA.

    Access
    Think about access to the house (driveways, sidewalks) as well as things like access to water/gas/oil mains. When snow is pushed/thrown from one place to another it has to go somewhere. Leave lots of space for it to go. Picturesque tree-lined/rock-lined driveways are great until you need to move the snow. Again...the piles of snow stick around and basically turn into large rock piles which accumulate. There is a reason that the roads in areas that get a lot of snow don't have trees near the edges of them...
    Anyone that lives in Boston/NYC or other cities that get snow understand the challenge of not having anywhere to put snow when it accumulates. If you live outside of the city and end up with these challenges it is generally due to poor planning.

    And those really nice little lights that you can put along a walkway ... if you do that, buy enough to replace them every year after they get taken out by a snowblower/plow. I watched a neighbor do this for a couple of years.

    Mail boxes
    Most mailboxes are designed/installed in nice weather not when a 20 ton plow truck is hurtling 2,000 lbs of snow at 40mph at it. Instal a cheap one until you can witness how the road is plowed. Or checkout what your neighbors have.

    It has been interesting to me to learn about this over the years. I have lived in very northern Maine, western Maine and now the Seacoast of NH. Each of these areas have been very different from each other regarding how cold it gets, how long it stays that cold, and how much snow each place got. My point being, the mixture of how much snow a place gets mixed with how cold it gets and for how long, can make a big difference on the building practices.

    Of course there is always climate change...
    Brian McLaughlin

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    Default Re: Finally Bought Some Land

    Great info. Thanks. It reminds me I should look up annual snowfall for our area.
    Jorn Ake
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  7. #127
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    Default Re: Finally Bought Some Land

    I am going to chime in on what Brian said.

    Flat roofs are a disaster in our region. Check out how many buildings collapsed during the two really harsh winters a few past. It's not just the snow depth, but the sponge effect when rain falls into it and then freezes. 60 lb/sq ft is the requirement for out area.

    The amount of snow that falls where you are is highly altitude dependent. We are getting more ice storms, and they are the most devastating. We were without power for nine days a few years ago, and basically on our own. So consider a generator, but I'd keep this simple: a 5K Honda wheelbarrow unit hooked to a simple gen-tran will power your pump, the refrigerator, furnace and a few lights.

    We have a 50 horse tractor and a Pronovost snowblower. Our 1000' driveway takes 20 minutes to clear. The place was built this way when we bought it. Must have been a bitch in 1830.

    Glass houses in cold climates are as bad an idea as flat roofs. If I want to see the outdoors, I go outdoors. You will have curtains over all of them, because they would radiate cold. Even big windows are kind of a bad idea.

    Same goes for skylights, in spades. Build a dormer if you must, but design a house with only two pitches to the roof, no valleys.

    Metal roof: I lost that argument with my wife on the house I built- as I said, building will stress your marriage. Blue label virgin-growth red cedar shingles lasted 25 years before disintegrating. My wife said she could not live under a metal roof. She does now. And putting a new roof on when you are sixty really sucks. She apologized.

    Do not do a block foundation, and definitely don't do that styrofoam block thing. Pour concrete with lots of rebar. The building inspector came to look at the footings and asked me why I made them 2x2', 1x1 being code. If it's worth building it's worth overbuilding, I told him. The cost of materials increased marginally, and it did not make sense to me to do the minimum. Do not let anyone to persuade you to pour concrete when it's cold, adding calcium or the like. Dumb. Also, if you deck over a foundation before winter it may collapse. I have a neighbor who made that mistake. There should be 18" from finished grade to your sills.

    With apologies if I am overbearing in my recommendations.
     

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    Default Re: Finally Bought Some Land

    how do J44ke and i figure out which tractor to buy for:
    - snow moving
    - trail making
    - pond zamboni dragging
    - etc?
     

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    Default Re: Finally Bought Some Land

    My first recommendation is to hire someone to do much of this, unless you prove to be a good operator. We have two Kubota's, an L48, and an L3901, both with Pronovost snowblowers- we own two places six miles apart is why. The latter would be a good choice. Ran about 23K with remote valves and bucket. Not every snowblower is created equal. Pronovost is Canadian, and they have snow figured out. Having a hydrostatic drive system enables you to moderate speed to maintain constant rpm under load. Gears don't.

    Every implement you buy for a tractor makes it exponentially more useful. I bought a root-grabber last year, which is a tined fork with two arms that close over and hold whatever. This tool is amazing for cleaning up slash after felling trees. Also have a winch for the same.

    Not sure what you want to do re ponds. If it's making a pond, you need a crawler, and I'd hire that out. Make sure you've talked to the ConCom beforehand about permitting.

    Our Kawasaki Mule has a plow attachment that is remarkably useful. Kubota makes a similar unit, gas or diesel. They are used for grooming ski trails locally, when mounted with tracks. Don't drive out onto ice, though. Bad idea, though people do it. Every year a snowmobile or two go through.

    The killer setup for snow removal is rear mounted snowblower with hydraulic chute adjustment, and a plow on the front. The tractors we have feature quick-connects on the bucket, which makes changing implements a snap. Hydraulic snowblowers, front mounted, are hellaciously expensive, and require huge hydro capacity to run. I've never seen one that made real sense. You blow snow then scrape the remainder. And man, do these tractors dig in. Takes a little practice, but...

    A block heater is a good idea to install from the get-go, as it helps with starting, and reduces wear on the motor.

    Always belt yourself in. I have had the tractor tip on me, and it's a pucker factor of ten. I know people who've survived a roll, but...
     

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    Default Re: Finally Bought Some Land

    Living out in the woods is great, but all this talk should remind everyone that it's also a lot of hard work, some of which must be done under bad weather conditions.

    Edit: I looked at those pictures of tents on a platform, and the first thing that came to my mind was "I wonder what that's like a few days after 2' of snow, with a forecast that calls for more of the same and 15*F highs for the next two weeks?"

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    Default Re: Finally Bought Some Land

    Quote Originally Posted by Badonkadonk View Post
    how do J44ke and i figure out which tractor to buy for:

    - pond zamboni dragging
    What I learned from my neighbors in Quebec to do is drill a hole in the ice (they have augurs at Canadian Tire so they probably do also at Tractor Supply or somewhere in the US). Clear off the snow with a shovel. Attach one of those little koi pond, or home fountain, little pumps to a battery and some hose and flood the hockey area with water before you go to bed. In the morning, you have nice smooth ice for skating.
    Jon Mandel

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    Default Re: Finally Bought Some Land

    This is all good advice. I have no idea what the design will look like yet, but when we start getting texts with scribbles on napkins, I will definitely come back and read through this section. In fact, I've already bookmarked p. 7 (this page) of the thread. Our architects are apparently incredibly honest and very strict about obeying code (knowledge gathered through espionage and visiting previous buildings + owners,) but a lot of this is engineering, so it will be good to bring it up at the proper time. I have learned that it is always good to ask whatever question comes to mind during the process, and to express fears and reservations unabashedly.
    Jorn Ake
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    Default Re: Finally Bought Some Land

    Quote Originally Posted by Mabouya View Post
    Living out in the woods is great, but all this talk should remind everyone that it's also a lot of hard work, some of which must be done under bad weather conditions.

    Edit: I looked at those pictures of tents on a platform, and the first thing that came to my mind was "I wonder what that's like a few days after 2' of snow, with a forecast that calls for more of the same and 15*F highs for the next two weeks?"
    Those tents are the famous Everest expedition tents from North Face. They are $5500 each. No fooling. They'll take a pretty incredible snow load with the fly on. But I've also seen other photos of the site where the tent on top of the kitchen/dining/living "box" has been switched for a wooden framed geodesic dome with glass panels and a cedar hot tub. And there is another room underneath the other "box" that appears to function as a bedroom. So that might be the winter (snow) variation.

    But I expect when it is snowing, they probably go south and lock the house up for winter. The owners run a very posh retail venture, among other things.

    Jorn Ake
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    Default Re: Finally Bought Some Land

    I also realize that I am like the rain cloud to the desert - the city guy who comes to the country. And with that comes responsibilities to participate in the economy and employ the people I can. I've already accumulated a couple carpenters, an excellent excavator guy, and I expect before the house is finished, I will know who is the best snow plow guy in the area. I don't mind. I'd rather the snow plow guy keep his tractor running than I have to keep my tractor running. Plus hiring people is a great way to meet people. And if you are smart and fair about it, you usually meet good ones.
    Jorn Ake
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    Default Re: Finally Bought Some Land

    One more thing about snow that I forgot...Snow and decks.

    Deck are awesome. If you put one in, shovel the snow off!!!
    Regardless of what type of wood it is, you will end up replacing. If you clear it after snow storm you will 2x the life of it. There are faux wood materials that hold up well. But what people don't take into account on those are the railings. We have had to replace those over time.

    As Ides1056 is pointing out, really nice building materials such as those cedar shingles are awesome. But it is common to go a different direction after you have to replace them.

    This is why it becomes a full time job. But once it is done and you get past the fatigue of the project, you guys will love it.
    Brian McLaughlin

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    Default Re: Finally Bought Some Land

    Friend said, "Its about like putting a wooden sailboat in the woods."
    Jorn Ake
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    Default Re: Finally Bought Some Land

    To counter the flat roof fears, it just isn't true that low slope roofs (they aren't really flat, they're just sloped 1/2" or 1/4" per foot) are worse in snow country. Take a look at Switzerland or Austria, they build flat roofs all over and they do just fine, they even prefer to hold snow on the roof instead of shedding it off onto the ground.

    Properly engineered roofs don't collapse either.

    We have a low slope EPDM membrane roof on our house and its doing just fine (Kaplan Thompson Architects: Ranch Revival). I worry less about that roof than the metal pitched roof next to it. The pitched roof unloads snow in a frightening way, dumping huge piles of ice / snow when you least expect it, crushing any plants under it, or building a big drift load on the low slope roof under it.

    The low slope roof just sits there happily, holding snow, waiting for it to melt in the spring. At which point is slowly trickles down through a downspout, no mess, no fuss. The first year I was freaked out and nervous, but quickly realized I would do far more damage walking around on it or even worse, shoveling it off.

    Key to a good low slope roof:

    Properly engineered for snow load, with deflection taken care of so it doesn't flex and put stress on the seams.
    EPDM or TPO membrane, as few seams as possible, fully adhered to a cover board below so it doesn't flutter and stress itself.
    Careful air sealing of the roof sheathing as an Air Barrier (tape all seams of the roof sheathing under the rigid foam), so air leakage doesn't move moisture & heat up into the roof cavity.
    1/2" / foot slope is better than 1/4" per foot, but both are fine.
    Most importantly: A continuous layer of rigid foam over the sheathing & framing to ensure thermal bridging doesn't leak heat and melt the snow to create ice dams, and to keep the wood framing warm and dry underneath so no condensation can form inside the roof cavity. IRC (international building code) has specific guidelines on how much rigid foam is needed in balance with the insulation between the framing members, but 1/3 rigid foam R-value minimum, 2/3 rafter insulation is a good rule to follow in snow country. The more rafter R-value, the more continuous rigid foam R-value you need to keep the framing warm.

    With adequate insulation in the roof, heat doesn't escape, the snow doesn't melt, and you don't get problems. With adequate engineering you can hold 10' of snow up there if you want to. It's even pretty.
     

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    Default Re: Finally Bought Some Land

    Jorn...if there is a distributor in your area, this foundation system is worth exploring. Especially because of the fact that it requires your design and construction team to really churn over the details in the planning phase. No field modifications. I installed my first one about twenty years ago on a rather large and complex home...curves, stepped walls, etc...and it took a day and half to install...in February. We were setting the timber frame two days later. No need for a concrete footing, concrete mixer access, no forming, pouring, curing or weather protection. It's also insulated and predrilled for wiring and plumbing.

    Superior Walls: America's Leader in Precast Concrete Foundation Systems
    rw saunders
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    Default Re: Finally Bought Some Land

    ^ For the snow melt on a standing seam metal roof, try these as there is no way to keep the snow from sheeting when the sun comes out. For your low slope TPO or EPDM roof, a shorter life cycle is why most people don't use them in the residential market. 10-15 years average membrane replacement period...depends on the quality of the installation, maintenance, UV exposure, etc.

    Standing Seam - Alpine Snowguards
    rw saunders
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    Default Re: Finally Bought Some Land

    Another thought would be to skip the cellar entirely and put the house on piers or a slab. Saves a ton of money. Building structures above ground are a fraction of the cost of putting them underground. Just build an extra closet for the mechanical systems. Done. Less impact on the site, fewer stairs, much lower costs.
    Guy Washburn

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    Welch followed by turning to the panel, "I'd be glad to have the person who started it all to come in and testify. President Trump is welcome to take a seat right there."

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