Whether you call them “townhomes” or “townhouses”, single-family attached housing is having a great year. NAHB’s Eye on Housing blog reports that townhome starts in the last four quarters rose 23 percent over the previous year. Townhome construction now accounts for about 13 percent of all single-family starts – its highest market share in a decade.
Townhome builders have long complained about partition walls that use shaft wall liner. “Shaft walls use fire tape,” says Wayne Baker, COO of Fleming Homes, which recently completed The Tapestry, a 99-unit townhome project in Garner, North Carolina. “Framers don’t like them, so they charge you more per square foot just to build them.”
Fortunately, there’s a smart alternative to shaft wall: LP® FlameBlock® Fire-Rated Sheathing. For The Tapestry, Baker chose UL 350 Type B wall assemblies that incorporate LP FlameBlock sheathing. The result: a 2-hour partition wall that’s easy to install and is fire-rated on both sides.
“We were looking for an alternative to shaft walls because they’re so difficult and aggravating to build,” says Baker. “In addition, shaft wall is a more expensive system to use than the LP FlameBlock system.”
Texas-based Bransom Homes also used LP FlameBlock sheathing in lieu of shaft walls in a recent townhome project in Burleson, Texas. The Bransom team had similar reservations about using shaft wall liner for area separation walls: its weight, complex installation and how it was easily damaged on the job site. The project went faster and smoother with LP FlameBlock sheathing – and Bransom even used it for roof deck in the townhomes. “The LP FlameBlock sheathing goes in just as fast as sheet rock,” says Jake McWhirter, Branson Homes’ superintendent. “The fact that it can also be used in the roof deck makes the job so much easier.”
Word is spreading fast about how LP FlameBlock sheathing can spare townhome builders the hassles of shaft wall. “The code official in Burleson was so impressed with the LP FlameBlock product that he’s beginning to suggest it where applicable in the city,” says Randy Trussell, LP’s marketing development manager in the region.
The popular Lifetime Channel remodeling show Designing Spaces likes to document the home improvement journey to show that it can indeed be a manageable experience. The program recently shared the story of James and Stella, a professional couple in Wilmington, North Carolina, who did a re-siding project that went smoothly from start to finish.Continue Reading
There are only two ways to boost your bottom line: increase revenue and cut costs. In this blog, we’ll explore innovative ways for builders to cut costs in order to increase homebuilder profit margins – and we’ll examine revenue enhancement in a future post.
If you own a home in a historic district, you can forget about replacing the existing siding with vinyl. Most historic districts require replacement siding to closely match the original, hence wood (or engineered wood) and brick. Understanding home building regulations based on historic overlays can help eliminate the headache during renovations, so it’s important to stay in the know before embarking on the project.
According to the latest American Community Survey from the U.S. Census Bureau, about 4 million people now work in residential construction (both single-family and multifamily) – down from the 5 million who were employed just before the Great Recession. Although the workforce has shrunk by 20 percent nationwide, some parts of the country are experiencing less pain than others. Similarly, light commercial construction has been reportedly back on the rise post-Recession, with IBISWorld reporting that the recovery started just before 2014 and continuing steadily through 2019 (source).