Custom Homes for Unique Lifestyles

We are all different. We are unique. We say it so often that it has lost much of its meaning, it has become a cliché. But then, most clichés are built upon some basic truth, and when it comes to your home – the way you live it, the way your family inhabits it – recognizing that truth is a fundamental part of getting it done right.

One-size-fits all construction fits no-one. No family of four is just any family of four, no newlywed couple is a prototypal couple, nor is a retired couple, a bachelor or a single mother merely a generic set of data parameters.

We all have different outlooks, taste, habits and needs. They impact on the way we live, the things we seek for in a home, the needs we look to fulfill.

A Custom Home in Greater Vancouver, Just for You

At Clay Construction we have worked for many years from Vancouver, British Columbia, and the Lower Mainland creating homes that are custom build and designed specifically for their owners.

We know the first and most important part of our work is to listen to you. But our extensive experience have taught us that sometime listening is not enough: we learned to ask the right questions, to help you tell us things which you couldn’t have imagined you needed to tell us.

Our emphasis on consultation is an integral part of the entire process from design to finish. We begin by helping you fill an extensive questionnaire to outline your needs and desires. We will take you to see the homes we have built and show you our projects online to stimulate the flow of ideas.

At every step we will discuss with you the alternatives with an understanding but informed approach, so that you can take part in the decisions but never feel the burden of them. As the design ideas encounter the realities of the terrain, the materials, the regulations and the costs, you will have all the information and support you need to come up with the right choices.

At the end of the journey, you will have a house that you can call your home, in every sense of the way.

Dealing with VOCs

Volatile organic compounds (abbreviated as VOCs) are gases that emanate from some solids or liquids and  include a range of chemicals which may have short or long-term negative health effects.

A big problem is that the concentrations of VOCs are  consistently higher in the interior spaces. Up to ten times higher than outdoors. They are readily found in most homes, which most people think of as their safe place in the world, the sanctum-sanctorum of private life.

The number of products emitting VOCs run  in the thousands, and all them release VOCs not only when in use but also when stored.

Most people is aware that organic chemicals are widely used in household products, fuels of all types, varnishes and wax, cleaning and disinfecting products, cosmetics, degreasers and more.

However, many homeowners don’t realize how often VOCs are introduced to the home when it’s being built or renovated. Construction materials,  paints, and adhesives, among others, are high on the list of VOCs emitting products, and poor designs in terms of air flow often compound the issue.

According to the EPA some of the health effects of exposure to VOCs may include eye, nose and throat irritation, headaches, loss of coordination and nausea, damage to liver, kidney and central nervous system. Some organics can cause cancer in animals, some are suspected or known to cause cancer in humans.

The same source cites a variety of symptoms associated with exposure to VOCs, which range from conjunctival irritation, to nose and throat discomfort, headache, allergic skin reactions and more.

For these reasons, it is of paramount importance to make sure the reduction of VOCs in the household starts right at the beginning, with the planning and construction process.

Clay Construction in Vancouver, British Columbia, works with their clients to ensure this issue is taken very seriously at every step of the way. For this purpose they closely monitor the construction materials, and implement designs that permits for better ventilation in order to reduce harmful toxins and minimize their effects.

Constructing Solid Stairs – how to avoid bouncy stairs

Have you ever walked up a staircase and it felt bouncy? Also known as bouncy stairs. There is an easy way to avoid this – for less $$ than you might think.

“Don’t you hate bouncy stairs? Well, I’m the same way. In fact, it’s one of my pet peeves. Let me give you one strategy that will give you strong, solid stairs.”

I’m going to give you one little suggestion that will only cost you about three hundred dollars a house. A quality house deserves quality stairs.

stair design

how to avoid bouncy stairs

Traditionally, framers will use dimensional lumber for their stringer. From this material, the framer will cut out the triangles to form the same shape of treads and risers. By going with the traditional use of dimensional lumber, the stairs will be bouncy, just not strong enough.

 

 

There is a better way.

LVL timber

The best material to avoid bouncy stairs

If you use laminated veneer lumber (LVL), you will have strong, non-bouncy stairs.  Ask your builder to use LVL for the stringers when you are framing the stairs.

For around three hundred dollars you will get for the life of your home – strong, solid stairs.  It’s one of the best places to spend a few hundred dollars. Every time you walk up and down those solid stairs you’ll be glad you took the time to invest.

We build this way in every home we build. We’re known throughout the Vancouver and Fraser Valley for building some of the best homes on the market.

 

We build by our own set of standards, above code – we call it #TheClayWay. If you’re thinking of building or considering a major renovation we’d love to talk with you and help you make the right decisions.

dry foundation

8 Steps To Achieve a Dry Basement

by Larry Clay

Case Study
I met with homeowners this week whose home had water coming into their basement. They were stressed from the potential costs and inconvenience to their life. Remediation after the fact would be exorbitant.

This home was typical of many homes where the builder’s only goal was to pass inspection, build to code and make money. Building to code is the lowest level of construction you can legally build in Canada. This is a minimum standard.

8 Steps to Success
Below are eight procedures completed on the exterior of a home to prevent water from entering the basement. Ideally, this is done during construction.

  1. The footings must be placed on a healthy bed of free draining crushed rock. This allows for ground water to make its way to the drainage piping around the perimeter of the foundation. Secondly, it keeps water from wicking up to the concrete foundation.
  2. Use superior PVC perforated drainage pipes. They cost a little more but in the event of a blockage, they can be snaked and cleaned. Big O drainage piping should never be used. In fact, some municipalities have banned the use of Big O drainage piping.
  3. The foundation is sprayed with a dampproofing asphalt. A thicker water proofing spray is better. A superseal drainage mat is placed over the asphalt spray. Backfill material will butt up to the drainage mat. In the event water gets past the dimpled membrane mat it will flow freely down to the drainage pipes.
  4. For builders, it is cheapest to backfill with the native material from the site. This is often unsuitable material. Material that is not free draining will not allow water to flow down to the drainpipes sitting at the bottom of the foundation. Often we need to import free draining material like crushed rock or gravel.
  5. Lot grading must take water away from the house.
  6. Gutter downpipes should never deposit water at the foundation. You may run the downpipes into solid PVC pipes and take the rainwater into the city storm if allowed by your city. Alternatively, you may run the downpipes into a large rock pit located away from the foundation. If site conditions allow, you may be able to run down pipes into a ditch or gulley if slope allows.
  7. Driveways and sidewalks must not guide water towards the house. In the event the house is lower than the road, trench drains must be installed to transfer water away from the house.
  8. Landscaping must not impede the flow of water away from the house.

Doing It Right From The Start
While a house is under construction, there are a number of upgrades that will potentially save thousands of dollars in the event of a wet basement. Penny wise, pound-foolish. Most of us cannot afford the maintenance and remediation costs of a poorly built house. Smart and strategic spending on the construction of your house will ensure a healthy, efficient and solid home built for the generations.

architecture plans for custom home

1. Starting Smart

Introducing The Clay Way

Clay Construction takes pride in building right, right from the start. We call it The Clay Way. In our blog posts we’ll share in-depth knowledge of our building style. Issues facing home owners as they navigate new home builds and renovations will be discussed. We’ll explain what to look for and what to watch out for and how Clay Construction gets it right. We start with the aptly name Starting Smart, the first in our series.

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Larry Clay at the Georgie Awards

Georgie Awards Winner

Georgie Awards come in all sizes with 45 categories ranging from best renovation under $100,000 to the best overall builder in the province. These awards, bestowed by the Canadian Home Builders’ Association of British Columbia (CHBA), reflect the dedication of the winner to have done their best whether the job was big or small.

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