Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Home Sound Proofing Control

In my view home soundproofing and sound control is an essential benefit to living in a well constructed home. Reducing ambient noise adds to client comfort and lifestyle. Let’s review the basic, low cost options and then take a look at some more thorough methodologies for controlling interior noise levels in your home.
At Wardell Builders, the basics include:
·        Insulation in every interior wall and between all floors

·        Sound board (fiberboard) installed on walls between bedrooms and common room or baths

·        Solid core interior doors

·        Use of 5/8” drywall over ½” drywall

·        Careful locating of outlets boxes
The theories of home soundproofing and home sound control involve two primary methodologies, first absorb sound, next block it’s transmission through the structure. The items above do both of these tasks fairly well and inexpensively. Insulation and sound board absorb sound. Solid core doors and 5/8” drywall help prevent the transmission of sound. Locating electrical boxes (as much as possible) to prevent them from being back to back in a common stud bay maintains the wall assembly sound characteristics. All of these methods require thinking and good craftsmanship. The best acoustic assemblies will have poor results if installed incorrectly.
The strategies listed above will do a reasonable job with wall assemblies; insulation is a marginal aid to floor to ceiling assemblies. Fiberboard can be difficult to use in some finished floor applications. Our basic floor assemblies start with a manufactured joist system. This can be I joists (like Truss Joist or TJI) or open web joist (Red Built or Trim Joist). A prime benefit of manufactured floor joist is their low sound transmission. Above, a solid plywood or OSB layer (3/4” minimum) is glued and twist nailed in place. This assembly with insulation and 5/8” drywall below will do a moderate job in controlling sound between floors. With this method the finish layer installed above will heavily influence sound transmission. Carpet will absorb the sound prior to its transmission through the floor. Hardwood floors will be quiet for low sounds but higher pitched sounds will easily transmit. How can this be improved?
Floor assemblies can be greatly improved by adding a few dollars to the design. Below the joist, resilient channel can be installed to breakup transmission to the drywall. The drywall itself can be upgraded to a “QuietRock” or equal product. This is a laminated drywall designed for sound control. Acoustic caulking can be used between the ceiling and wall drywall to inhibit sound transmission. On the top of the floor frame assembly, sound deadening products (cork, vinyl mass, gypcrete, enkasonic, etc.) can be applied that will greatly reduce sound transmission. This finish installed above tends to drive the selection of these products. Their application can enhance or reduce the viability of the finished floor’s lifespan. There are too many factors involved to cover in this short blog.
Sound control is lifestyle enhancement. Make sure it is designed into the construction of your home. When thought of early, planned and installed correctly the benefits will be easily apparent and effective. Other than the more exotic installations, none of these should be seen as cost prohibitive. The basic addition of interior insulation will add much less than two thousand dollars to a five thousand square foot home. Sound control is a high value purchase and should be a part of any quality home.
Home SoundProofing | Home Insulation | Solid Core Interior Doors | Sound Control in your home |

Wardell Builders | info@wardellbuilders.com  | 858-793-4190 | Solana Beach, CA 92075





Saturday, November 3, 2012

Construction Grading Jobs and Soils Work

Construction grading jobs and soils work:  these are arguably the phases of construction work that can cost the most per hour with the greatest risk of surprises.

Large pieces of land grading equipment with their heavy equipment operators cost in the $100’s per hour to run. The basis of the grading work is the evaluation of the soils conditions derived from scattered samples. You really don’t know what you will find when you start uncovering the ground. No other work can proceed until the ground is ready for construction and if surprises are found – you have no choice but to rectify them immediately.

The long term success of your custom home’s foundation and structure begins with proper bearing soil. Your home foundation is engineered to the type and bearing capacity of your soil. There are many types of soils, based on their clay to sand ratio, amount and type of rock and degree of stability. Most top soil is unsuitable for home foundations and can be easily compacted allowing for little bearing foundation bearing capacity. Most home sites, even if the grade elevations are not changing, will have the top few feet removed and replaced. This replacement can be a reinstallation, under controlled conditions, creating an even density and bearing throughout the build area.

If a home site is underlayed with formational soils (very firm, old ground) the weathered soils above will still need to be replaced and keyed into this firm layer. There are times when the depth of home footings can extend into this layer and the need for removal and recompaction is greatly diminished. In the southern California, coastal regions, this usually only occurs when a house basement is constructed with the home. The depth of the home foundation under the basement can easily be set deep into the underlying soil formations.

In locations where stable soil is located very deep on the site, coastal hillside or cliff side lots, we will drill down to reach the formational layer and extend the house foundation down with caissons. Caissons are vertical tubes of reinforced concrete typically extending three times the depth of the loose unstable top soils, into the formations below. This is a more costly foundation system for most homes but the only alternative when stable soils lie too deep to reach with traditional grading. The other use for a house caisson system is to shore up the side of an excavation against a nearby property line. This is to avoid the chance of the grading cut collapsing.

The surprises can come when unexpected soil conditions exist. The Soils Report can only assure us of conditions where the samples were taken. I have been on a project where an old stream bed lay between two sampling sites. The soil in this area had to be removed to a depth of sixteen feet and replaced. An expensive surprise but work that had to be done to ensure a home that could last many years with a solid and well founded home foundation system.
Home Foundations | Grading |Soil Tests Reports | Construction Solutions
 Wardell Builders | info@wardellbuilders.com  | 858-793-4190 | Solana Beach, CA 92075