5/13: Townbridge Homes

Ask The Experts
Saturday, May 12th

President of Townbridge Homes, Aaron Levy, joins the show to talk about features and finishes on a home and what to look for with quality products. Aaron also talks about kitchens, cabinets, counter tops, and why green features matter.  Visit https://www.townbridgehomes.com  to learn more about Aaron, Townbridge Homes, and other insightful tips to know when you're looking to buy a home. 


Transcript - Not for consumer use. Robot overlords only. Will not be accurate.

Thank you for joining us on another episode of ask the experts right here on talk thirteen seventy. This is a show about your health your life and much more with our rotating cast of experts. To catch a bomb past episodes you can visit talked thirteen seventy dot com slash experts and of course if you like questions answered on our show feel free to email us. Ask the experts have tossed thirteen seventy dot com for joining me in the studio today is president of town bridge homes Erin Levy. Aaron is a conscious land developer Andy Green home builder here in sunny Austin, Texas. Aaron welcome back to program thanks for having me back if for our listeners that may miss you the last time would you mind reintroducing yourself and letting them know we want. Sure. My name is Erin and I am part of a a family owned home building business for over forty plus years. And we've been in Austin for about ten years building and semi custom and custom homes as well as hootie communities. And this is all over the Austin area correct yes per mostly itself Austin. What are we here speak about today. So today he the thought was to talk about fed up finishes and features and home things that you would wanna be looking at or thinking about whether you're doing a remodel building a new house buying a house of those kinds of things. Well that's great so what are the finishes and features of a home and what does that mean to me or listeners. ESO finish is basically anything that. Makes the home look complete so we're talking about flooring your walls here cabinetry year countertop street light fixtures plumbing fixtures and anything that finishes out the house. On the interior or the exterior so it doesn't look like an incomplete job. Features. The go along with that or just you know the functionality of those things as well as you know if you get into automation now where everything is going. To me to sign a lease and all the fun stuff and I think you see now I am privileged Sean yeah. The town so I am and everything that people Salem NC cramp stories it's definitely facing howls and upped interest in this program you have to. So why is important to understand what makes. Good finishes and a home. So it you know they can be important for a number reasons. Like I said if you're building buying remodeling. In a market like this which I would call a hot market. You do have to be careful of what we would call quote unquote a lipstick job which is basically somebody maybe they came in they bought a property. They've made it look nice and by putting in nice finish but in the in the end you might discover that you've got some in relying on issues that are getting covered up. So that that's one thing just to consider when you're looking at finishes another thing is just the quality of the finishes. Because. A poor quality product may look good at first year at first glance but then after time. Weathered these three use and just any kind of lack of maintenance or if it requires special kind of maintenance it's never gonna look the same in time. So those are things you wanna be considering. As you're making some decisions. And your experience have you run across any of these situations I'll absolutely everywhere you go. A sore what are one of the things of what are some of the first things to consider when thinking about quality finishes. So. We can then maybe I'll break it down for you in two different types of finishes that might kind of give a better overview and understanding of ways to think about it now what I build a house and and it's not to discredit. At the box stores but you know when I build a house I wanna make sure personally. That I'm not putting something in that people could say oh I saw that at Home Depot Laura saw that at Lowe's. Not not that you can't get those things there that you just have to be considered the fact that there's a reason why their pricing is a certain way they're getting involved quantity in the probably getting it from sources that are not ideally the best quality source. They're there is more about quantity. But when your thing in that house you know just for example the cabinetry. There's a lot of different ways they tend to treat can be built. And that can kinda dictate to you. How the rest of the house may be built as you start to look into these things more deeply. You know cabinetry there at third it's a box it's a box construction and it can be made out of a couple of from products you know most commonly furniture board. Or plywood. And if it was a furniture board product not there's anything wrong with furniture or we actually use that all the time. Is have to be considered the fact that lake if something were spill inside of the cabinet and just sat there it's actually nicked up cause swelling it's the I think you can't really. Replace you can only covered up with something like that happens it lets you rip it out fully replace it. And so plywood in that scenario is a better product it's also more durable plywood is going to be all around stronger but it is more costly. So somebody considered their. And another thing about cabinets and you know generally you can get them you can build them on site you can get a manufactures. If you build them on site typically that's a little bit more of what we would call custom job and also would be most likely more expensive. Manufactured products. You know whether it's comes with a factory finish stain or paint you can't ever really replicate that factory finish in the field the painter. Even the best you know they'd be basically it's like smoking how they get the paint on their so smoothly and find. And it's really hard to accomplish that the field so there are some benefits to those manufactured. Cabinets as far as the finished look of it is concerned another thing. Aren't the door and storefronts of cabinetry. So they could be made of solid woods. They could be made of a lemon at which basically is a furniture border some some of the material it could be a dense fiber Lego. Medium density fiber heart heavy density fiber but. The win when you get into the land minutes on doors you know those me may. Some things to think about because they could be a depending on the size of Adori can war and timed so you could be looking at. A lot of long term issue that maybe you're not expecting at first glance something else would drawers to look at it became really popular in the last number of years but. Don't tell drawers and it became like this kind of point word everyone loves the use it. But it actually. Does tell construction. It goes back even slick Egyptian time says basically the corners of construction and they would do it on like buildings even. The corners how they just kind of inner locked with each other they're cut no way that they become one solid piece in the inner luck in his or is virtually impossible to destroy it. Annan and if you get a don't tell drawer that's made of solid wood. It's gonna stand the test of time and where for sure other ways that can insurers could be buried they could just be glued stapled. To be plywood could be solid wood. Could be Lamine immaterial but all of those have the potential to separate the laminate. So ultimately it on a cabinet with the drawers you do wanna look for something that's solid wood if possible. And then and lastly with cabinetry you lower on it. You know differentiators could be their hinges at the slide so you know if you. Soft close hinging and if you have a door and you swing the door shut it'll quietly closed itself vs you know sometimes. If you ever roommate or array of fears kids like I do and if you don't have soft closing doors they. Close and in the slamming all the time out loud noise exactly it sounds like he probably Wear out a lot quicker as well they do and they Wear the door out. Eventually and and then other things on the drawers of the drawer guides can also. Soft closes well or they could just not in same situation with how this land. But then you could look at does the drawers have you know what they call three quarter extension vs full extension and where when you open the drawer do you see the back of the box. Entirely is a fully out of the cabinet or is their part of the tour that still kind of in the cabin they have to reach into. A nicer cabinet would have a full extension to roar. Other things along these lines while we're on cabinets the start of a counter tops was they go hand in hand. You know countertop serious sensitive and difficult subject because. It's it's a visual thing people really love the look of the great countertop now. And it hype what's the what's in fashion right now yes they're only doing marble granite or wide right and you know a lot of people like the marble or Carreira look I think. Or but you know even people are into the soaps don't look. And unfortunately they're not practical uses I mean we're talking especially in the kitchen if you if you're cooking and you use your kitchen you've got heat you figure you've got cutlery. You've got steaming you've got all these factors that you need to think about what a ripening into my kitchen. End. You know a soap stone and marble is it is a soft considered a soft stone so typically you're gonna wind up with chipping. You're gonna gets teens can't handle the heat it can handle cutting anything like that. You know more common that we've seen. The kind of a step off to decide those would be late grandkids and credits and other natural stone it's a great option for your kitchen you just have to be considered of a couple things. Just like the marvelous host on its a natural occurring stone. You got to seal it. Other people don't seal their product. In in time that is gonna show where as a result. It also cannot handle the heat it also you know would not be suggested to be cut on. I personally would recommend quartz now courts is is a natural. Product but it's engineered so it's it's created into these slabs and using courts it's much more durable stronger. And indeed the previously mentioned. It doesn't stain it won't scratch its heat resistant although I would say take your pot out and leave it on the cat owner immediately after cooking on it. It's anti microbial you know now there were stern to focus much more on and indoor. Quality of of living in in the home. That's something you wanna be thinking about. There are other cheaper options laminated. Counter tops like for Micah type things or tiled. Concrete is another one. Yet again I wouldn't. If it's an economic decision obviously you have to make a decision by economics but. You do have to consider the same factors there you can't use it no heat it doesn't in May clean easily use sometimes that's eliminated product but you can't cut on it you don't wanna. Put any heat on it. And then when you get into bathrooms you know these cuts and flexibility they do make cultured marble products which you've probably seen a lot of times in multifamily that's what they're using. Where they're using a limited at top of that. Cultured marble even the engineer marbles which look a little bit more like of a courts are. Granite type look again there's still soft and you have to consider. Wear and care what your lifestyle is like that do you have kids you know it's always and to think about you're gonna spend money on the stuff you wanna spend it wisely. And then lastly you know if you were doing counter tops on their outdoor kitchen or somewhere outside. Just things to think about you can't use quartz outside is not designed for that. Granite that's great options concrete is a good option although concrete. Does need to properly cured if you're gonna do it but country could be great option for outdoors. And were speaking about those like outdoor. Kitchens for that didn't include your grill softly as fast lane or theater you know if you're Gardner and you've got a little set up where he won a little slobs think to a clean and have the countertop out there maybe that's something I think about as well. And if you're just joining us you're listening to ask the experts are here on talk thirteen seventy. But sitting down with Erin Levy the president Tom bridge comes if any of this interest you you can visit their website. Tom bridge comes dot com and it's umbrage Tom's dot com against upside for a quick break. And will be right back with more asked the experts right here on talk thirteen seventy. We. Welcome back you're tuned in to ask the experts right here on talk thirteen Sam needs the show about your health your life and much more with our rotating cast of experts. Today's expert is Erin Levy the president at town bridge homes. Aaron and are speaking about the finishes and features of a home. And what it all means in the end so Aaron the first segment we were speaking about. Different cabinets that she can get free home to counter tops and stuff. That you can get for those kitchen it. Kitchen counter tops and and one not but let's switch gears a little bit and let's talk about BOC's. What are veal c.s and why should I care about those. So BOC's. Are volatile organic compounds to confine them in almost anything in the house whether it's flooring cabinets paint. The trend material whatever it is and basically they can be human made a products or naturally occurring but. All of these things that beat these elements have a high vapor pressure and ordinary room temperature so basically. The molecules are evaporating or civil mating over the course of time into the air of your home. So these are these are really important as we're bruised mid and large move into indoor air quality in the construction world. Because we actually spend most of our time you know in it at home or in indoors and buildings. You know some of those chemicals just for example formaldehyde. Chlorofluorocarbons. All those things can be found in these products. And you do wanna be sure that your. Purchasing and quality product to avoid. Indoor air quality issues. You know just for example that the we found that in indoor air quality could have two to five times as much VOC indoor than it would outdoor. If that gives you an idea in all these things can lead to respiratory. Allergic immune issues of those kinds of things that we wanna be considering especially if you're raising a family or health. Like asthma and so yeah absolutely. So you know first and foremost paint and mean to you everyone goes and buys pain at some point to do some something in their house to clean up for whatever the case may be. And you do what I kind of look if you could for a low or no DOC pain. Because paints can contain hydrocarbons. Ethyl acetate. Acetone all the fans that things like if he thought about any of those chemicals he when won just put your face over bowled a brief. So why would you want pain on your walls cabinets we are talking about cabinets are muzzled touch on those again. They can have batted formaldehyde urea formaldehyde so all the kinds of things that are used and adhesives. California always the front runner. When it comes of the US that he has set some really strong regulations about these adhesives. And we all as the results are able to. Use those guidelines as they system defined better product so. You know just for an example they haven't system called the card system is the California air resource forward. And they look forward looking to products and promised to be rated by the system. Which were a low to no off gassing you know safer VOC products. You mentioned California leading. The way for a lot of new regulations that would consider building homes or are keeping good air quality within your home and in the United States but California. I just recently also put a requirement for solar panels and on new construction is that correct. Yes they did it. We actually. Of its numbers Toms have made an effort that we are putting solar standard on homes that we built as well. Same thing you know we just want to kind of be ready for when the regulations do it anyway because it's the right thing to do ultimately if if it if you have by having solar or one my on homes in general if reduces brownouts blackouts because your your lowering the could the load. Of what's need for capacity on the entire creative fruit greed type which we are here in city of Boston you have to be retired. You know and actually now you're talking about solar. We I'd do intent I would like to dip in the solar a little bit more on the next time we get together. There's really talk about you know conscious construction. And solar obviously is a really big part of that I'm Soledad you bring somebody in who couldn't share some. And I managed solar panels feed off of heat but there we sell more energy and summer when he comes through for draining our homes and businesses and do any time of the year and that's when we do have a lot of those black outs exactly. So but what are some of the green features. For homes and and one of the matter. Yeah well they matters and it in my mind they matter quite a bit especially his as builder I think it's a social responsibility but. As a homeowner you wanna think about these things not the term you know quote unquote green you that's gained a lot of traction over the years and a lot of times people are using it as just a marketing tool cedar wanna be careful about. What that means but you know some things that could be truly green features. And make a big difference both to. The quality your home your daily life and even like your monthly costs for utility bills. Some of those things could be like your HVC system. Not air conditioning systems are greeted by what they call this year it's a seasonal energy efficient Riche efficiency ratio. And what they're doing is they use a calculation they take the typical cooling season. The output that you need and they divided by the total electric energy input during that same period of time and it comes up with this number. So you'll find if you're shopping for AC systems. Or your buying a home that has an AC system maybe you're a considerate. Now I would suggest an Austin energy green building program that requires it as well as a minimum of a fourteen seer. And basically you know the higher this year than more efficient meaning the less your utility costs less energy it's actually use. To produce comfort in the home. On something else really important I feel. Would be ETA has a system called their water sense it's a way of determining if he it's voluntary if you prefer manufactures participate first is for plumbing faucets pictures and basically what they do is they. Anything that demonstrates they. Minimum of 20% or more efficiency than any regular counterpart for whatever Fossett or fixture it is people earns the water cents. CO NN that's saying for example. You know if you have a sink. That is putting out you know one and a half. Or or one gallon a minute. Verses two and half gallons a minute. And in this stuff adds up I mean waters actually gonna become one of her most expensive commodities whether we want to admit it or not I mean as. The hotter it gets on earth than the more people there aren't less clean water we have. It's it can be a pretty concerning issue once 1% of the water on earth is drinkable is actually drinkable yeah exactly. You know other way other things in in green quote unquote green features a lighting. You know CF cells are less expensive option and they last about three to five years so we've actually been seen a phasing out of that did you did just that the increase in technology and availability of LED. Making it more affordable and accessible and obviously LED I mean you off to change the label for ten plus years yeah. So. You know other things here in Austin it's really important your landscaping. You know people to put in a landscape that could be. Look visually beautiful but you have to know what's in your landscaper they native plants you know we live in in a pretty dry. Climate now although Austin is its interest thing it if you're aware that Austin actually receives almost as much rain. As Seattle does but we just get it in these larger. Storm's first is kind of like a constant missed none but due to our soil we can absorb that stuff and every that it drops so everything's still needs to be able to. Sued to survive through drought you know dropped tight conditions so. You know are you make sure you've got native plants make sure if you do have an irrigation system. You know drip irrigation. Created by the Israelis. In the desert climate. Is the most effective way to water your plants with the least amount of water possible so if you if you have the ability to do so obviously that's a large cost saving and water saver and if we're talking about saving water. Definitely something wanna think about. The types of grass. You know there's there are drought tolerant grasses that don't require. Has he watering. A lot of people are familiar with dresses like Saint Augustine. I mean that grass needs water like nobody's business if it's gonna stay hearty and healthy and look fresh and green but there's plenty of options out here. You know Bermudez Buffalo's. Does Alicia different different varieties a lot Texas CNN does a lot of work on developing some of those terps. That are drought tolerant. And then you know another important feature I would say you win your thinking about is is insulation. Is you know we cooked out here in Texas and as far as like us baking physically in the sun thought at. And does so your home is doing that and you wanna thank you make sure that the envelope of your home is really gonna provide the best insulation possible. Now isolation bats are the most common net. Installation but there are more efficient. Options out there a bit of a blown in blanket system also called bids and basically they. But at the netting system on the studs. Cut holes and then injected with a loose fill fiberglass social fiberglass but it's a total with a call total Phil fiberglass so it creates a much tighter. Pillow effect of an envelope and then there's despray phones as well. And spray phones you know we are talking about DOC's. Spray foam does have a high age DOC contents at application but as soon as its security it goes away and it's. It becomes neutralized. Are there and we have just about a minute left I like it's one more thing quickly so just because a home has. Nice looking finishes. Does that mean that it's a well built home. You would like to think so but unfortunately not and Kelly we're saying before this concept of lake lipstick construction. You know it it really always comes down to the guts the guts is what's gonna determine. Quality construction so don't be fooled by it Chinese fancied. Trendy looking finishes and a home because all they are or the quote on quote lipstick. And and if you have a home inspector. Or you're working with the contractor and a build you just wanna be sure that you're getting a better look at the that the bones themselves and and and the trade works the plumbing lines BC wood ducks. The type of electrical wiring all that stuff that's stuff determines really what do well built homes made of. All iron is a pleasure having you on the show again today and again providing our listeners who width. Eight great information on what they should be looking for. When it comes to. Finishes in features inside their homes are put a potential new home as well yes thanks for having me appreciate it. Again that's and Levy the president of town bridge homes. To get more information are getting contact with Tom bridge Toms he can visit Tom bridge homes dot com. That wraps it up for this segment of ask the experts but don't go anywhere we have much more coming up. Right after these messages stay tuned.