2017 Awards: The Best Night Ever

On Friday, November 3rd, Austin NARI celebrated the best night ever, revealing the winners of the 2017 Contractor of the Year and BUZZ Awards at The Mansion, featuring live music from “Austin Favorite Cover Band” Suede and Austin Chronicle award winner Jane Ellen Bryant. A grand time was had and we offer our sincerest congratulations to the winners!

2017 Austin NARI CotY Award Winners

2017 Austin NARI BUZZ Award Winners

Austin NARI & Rebuilding Together: The Mobility Project

Can you imagine not being able to leave your home for over a year? That was the case for Andrew Wheeler, who suffered a health crisis that left him confined to a wheelchair. While in the hospital, Wheeler asked a handyman to build him a wheelchair ramp for his home. Unfortunately, the ramp was not built to code and Mr. Wheeler was barely able to get inside his front door. He was told by paramedics to never attempt to go down that ramp, and for the next year he tried to find an organization that could help him rebuild his ramp so he could regain his freedom again.

After 6 months of searching, Mr. Wheeler found Cindy Lee of Rebuilding Together Austin. She recruited the help of Austin NARI members to donate labor and materials to build an ADA compliant wheelchair ramp. After months of planning and a few days of hard work, Mr. Wheeler was able to feel the warmth of the sun on his skin and experience freedom once again!

A special thank you to the Austin NARI members who made this happen:

Family built niche remodeling Austin as CG&S Design-Build

The Austin American-Statesman has a nice article about Austin NARI member CG&S Design-Build:

CG&S Design-Build will celebrate its 60th anniversary Sept. 23 with a party for employees and friends of the firm. It’s a business that grew from a mom-and-pop operation to a company with 31 employees working on about 60 to 65 projects a year out of the South Austin house that once held the family of 10, plus the foster children the Guerreros took in.

CG&S Design-Build has seen Austin’s home design style grow from simple and practical to more sophisticated and architectural. The company has won awards for its projects and had homes on numerous home tours. It’s weathered the lean years of 1986, 2001 and 2009 when the housing, building and remodeling markets were flat and years even before that that they can’t name. And it’s helped bring the concept of design-build to Austin.

Three generations of family have helped take Clarence Guerrero Construction into CG&S Design-Build.

Read More →

What You Need to Know About Insulation When Remodeling Around Austin TX

Did you know that 40-60% of your home’s energy bill is wasted? That’s right! The US Department of Energy reports that about half of a home’s energy is wasted when it is under-insulated and improperly air sealed. You can save $500 to $1,000 per year on energy bills by having your home properly insulated and air sealed.

How do you know if your home has enough insulation? Most homes 10-years or older do not have enough insulation according to the International Energy Conservation Codes (IECC). Your NARI Remodeler can help you understand what needs to be done to meet the building codes. Plus, your NARI contractor can advise you on what options to consider for properly insulating your home for energy savings, comfort, and health.

The bigger question, is your home effectively air sealed? There are several components to proper air sealing. The biggest and most important aspect is insulation. While there are many different types of insulation, only one product is an excellent air sealing solution: spray foam. It is the only type of insulation that stops all 3 types of heat transfer. Here you can take a deep dive into learning about spray foam insulation.

Can your house be air sealed even if your home has fiberglass, cellulose, or rock wool insulation? Yes. People are using cans of spray foam to seal the around common air leak areas like: electric outlets, windows, doors, HVAC ducts, framing connections, and plumbing entries. Then they fill the rest of the area with another insulation material like fiberglass. It works.

Which area of your house is most important to upgrade? The attic is where the majority of your energy is lost. In the Austin Texas area, your attic is where most of the heat comes into your home during the long hot summer months.

There are two different building science methods used in attic insulation: vented versus sealed building envelope. If you have a vented envelope with insulation laying on the attic floor, your attic will be 130-150-degrees in the summer. However, with a sealed envelope, your attic should be 3-5 degrees warmer than the conditioned living space in your home.

What is the cost difference between the methods? A vented attic seems cheaper when only considering the cost of blowing in fiberglass. However, when you add in the cost of attic fans and radiant barrier to get a lower attic temperature, then you will be much closer to the cost of a sealed attic.

How do you know if it worth creating a sealed attic? If you are simply fixing up the house to sell it in the next 2-years, go cheap. If you are going to be paying the utility bills, and will own the home for 3-years or more, invest in a sealed envelope. Your return on investment (ROI) over a 3 year period should be positive, and a 30 year ROI is tremendous.

When is the best time to have your home properly insulated? During remodeling the sheetrock is removed from your walls. That is the only time you can remove rodent infested, damaged, improperly installed insulation. Then your NARI remodeler can have an insulation professional install the proper insulation correctly.

What is biggest problem with remodeling when it comes to insulation? Many times the homeowner is focused on the remodel finishes. It is easy to overlook the core factors that will make your home:

  • more comfortable to live in
  • healthier for your family
  • quieter from undesired noise
  • and put more money in your bank account over time

Your remodeler’s job is to give you what you want, while complying with the building codes. Your remodeler is only required to address the insulation on walls, ceilings, and floors that are opened up. That means that if only half of your home’s walls have the sheetrock removed, then only half of your home’s insulation is fixed.

Plus, in most cases, the contractor is not required by the municipality to bring the attic insulation up to code. Remember, your attic is the most important place to upgrade. If you are building an addition, the new space will have the proper insulation. The existing structure will not be upgraded unless you require the upgrade and put it in the budget.

Here is what to do next: If you want to have a healthy indoor environment that is comfortable, and saves you money on utilities, then talk to your NARI remodeler about proper insulation.

Ask you contractor to:

  • measure the R-value of your current insulation
  • determine what you need to meet current IECC
  • have your house properly air sealed
  • explore the option of creating a sealed envelope
  • have your entire house brought up to code on insulation
  • at a minimum have the attic brought up to code

About the Author

Shawn Mansur is the founder of Stellrr Insulation in Austin TX. Shawn is famous for his 200% Money-Back Guarantee. He is laser-focused on delighting every client while helping them achieve stellar performance in their homes. Plus, with every purchase, Shawn gives 10% of the profits to the cause of the client’s choice. Learn more at https://www.stellrr.com or call 512-520-0044 today.

NARI Member RisherMartin Wins Premier National Entrepreneurship Award for Innovation in their Industry

rishermartinlogoRisherMartin Fine Homes was presented the 2016 Fred Case Entrepreneur of the Year Award at the Hanley Woods Remodeling Gala in Kansas City, Missouri. The most prestigious honor in the remodeling industry, the annual Fred Case Award is presented to the industry’s brightest and most innovative firm. Bruce Case, the President and CEO of Case Design stated, “RisherMartin Fine Homes was a clear choice because of their best in class operations that are driven by a suite of hardware, software, and cloud based applications that allow them to collaborate quickly and accurately, all within the complex operation of a renovation firm.”

With business and engineering backgrounds, Chris Risher and Jeremy Martin, of RisherMartin Fine Homes, have continuously harnessed the power of available technologies to run and operate a highly efficient organization. These systems have allowed RisherMartin to effectively communicate with hundreds of partners that help plan and build their homes. These same tools have allowed them to eliminate the age-old problem in the construction industry – projects taking longer and costing more than anticipated.

RisherMartin Fine Homes is an Austin based renovation and custom home building firm that focuses on architecturally significant projects in Central and West Austin. RisherMartin works collaboratively with some of Austin’s most prestigious architects to help plan and build residential projects with a fixed price guarantee. Their work was recently featured in the 2016 American Institute of Architects Austin Homes Tour, designed by Furman + Keil Architects.

Builder Confidence Jumps In September

HMI lands at highest level in almost a year.

By Hanley Wood Data Studio

The home builder association’s index of builder confidence moved up by six percentage points in September to a reading of 65, the highest it has been since last October, according to the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI) released Monday. The August reading was downwardly revised to a reading of 59.

Read More At Metrostudy →

Constructive Demand, Shaky Supply

Call it “good news Friday,” for a mid-September splash of brighter hues on the demand side of housing’s still-healing supply-and-demand equation. What’s good about it?

For starters, what’s negative is less so. Here’s CoreLogic’s latest look at the portion of the nation’s 50 million homes with mortgage loans that are “under water,” or in negative equity. Homes with negative equity stood at 3.6 million, or 7.1% of all homes with a mortgage; that’s a better-than 13% improvement from the prior quarter, and almost 20% better than a year ago. The headline here is that there are 900,000 fewer of those mortgage holders now than a year earlier who owe a bank more money than their home would fetch if it were sold today.

Read More At Metrostudy →

New Home Sales Cooled In August

August posts biggest drop since Sept. ’15; still, year-over-year gains are impressive; weather in east could be a factor.

By Hanley Wood Data Studio

The numbers are in: Sales of new single-family houses in August 2016 came in at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 609,000, according to estimates released jointly today by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The rate was 7.6% below the revised July rate of 659,000 but 20.6% above the August 2015 estimate of 505,000. It also was above the consensus Wall Street estimate, per Bloomberg, of 598,000, and, per The Wall Street Journal, of 602,000.

Read more at Metrostudy →

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