So what are the key things our clients have liked in their homes?
Here are our responses to the most common question we hear when working with new clients.
-You must get a soil sample on your lot
-2 cores minimum – front and back of lot
-Every foundation 2g builds is designed by an engineer
-Concrete piered post tension slab (2g standard)
-Better – helical piers and void boxes
—If you have any soil movement in your location, pier the post tension slab at a minimum. If you have a lot of soil movement, go with pier and beam or a slab on void boxes suspended by helical piers. We have done all types and we rely on the engineers recommendation.
-2×6 exterior walls (2g standard)
-Better – double offset 2×4 walls
—For adequate insulation and noise abatement 2g will not do exterior walls any less than 2×6. We generally space studs at 16” OC. We have done advanced frame builds at 24” with single top plates, but we prefer the tried and tested 16” OC with double top plates.
-2g Habitats uses Huber Systems
—-Advantech 1 1/8” subfloor for pier and beam and 2nd Floors (2g standard)
—-Zip System exterior sheathing (2g standard – You will never see T-ply or an equivalent on a home we build)
***We have still wrapped Huber systems with Tyvek for extra insurance once or twice.
-10’ or 12 foot ceilings down stairs
-barrels, groin vaults arches or other key details prefabbed by archways and ceilings
-pop up ceilings in master and other feature rooms
-Foam insulation – open cell (2g standard)
—We have mixed feelings on conditioned attic space. We have done both conditioned and unconditioned attics and feel there are pluses and minuses to both
—We have also built several homes that do not use foam. You can still have an energy efficient home without foam, but you must decide what insulation you are using and whether attic will be conditioned or not (where HVAC is located) as it determines what type of HVAC unit you will get.
-Sound deadening – foam or blown cellulose is used as sound deadening on bedroom walls that share a wall with bathrooms or main living.
-Sound deadening is also used on all media/theater rooms.
-Composite, wood or clad windows
–Do not be tempted to go cheap and get vinyl windows. Avoid vinyl at all costs. At 2g we love Andersen Windows particularly casement windows. Windows are a key part of your homes passive systems don’t skimp.
-When budget is a concern, 2g recommends wood or clad (400 series or E-series) on the front elevation and composite (100 series) on the rear and sides.
-16 Seer HVAC – 2g Standard
-Returns or jump ducts in every room except baths and laundry (2g standard – critical to well balanced system)
-ERV’s – energy recovery ventilator (2g Standard) or upgrade to whole house dehumidifier – Fresh air management is critical with the tight envelopes 2g builds
-Upgrading to 21 Seer and geo thermal are good options, but it might be a while before you see your return on investment. Depending on your budget, we prefer to focus on the passive systems in your home first and ensure they are covered in the budget before allocating monies for active systems like HVAC and solar.
-We do not feel you should upgrade your active systems before you have adequate passive systems.
PEX plumbing (2g standard)
-Except for one municipality in Dallas where copper is required, 2g uses PEX in every build – the advantages are too numerous to list here
-Main water shut off in garage (2g standard)
-Manifold system – we have used these before and they are nice
Tankless Water heater (2g standard)
-only if natural gas is available as tankless electric heaters cannot keep up
-2g likes Rinnai and Rheem tankless water heaters
Recirculators – ok if you have a huge home, but you must have a reservoir for recirculator. We prefer to use multiple tankless heaters to feed key areas like baths and kitchens in larger homes.
Hose Spigots – one on all 4 corners of home (2g standard)
Pot filler above stove – (2g Standard)
Whole House filtration or water softening
*If any plumbing passes through main entertaining walls or along master suite we do quote cast iron drops in those areas to provide extra sound deadening – we will also foam or use blown cellulose in those walls.
Central vac – we have gotten mixed reviews. Most customers who got them say they use the sweep vents all the time, but rarely the central vac’s vacuum attachment as the dyson handhelds have been the go to.
-Main panel is in garage (2g standard)
-Decora rocker switches (2g standard)
—Legrand Adorne is a preferred upgrade
-LED (6″ main areas, 4″ feature areas) Can lights throughout (2g Standard)
-Walk in closets on jamb switches (2g Standard)
-Ceiling fans in all bedrooms and living spaces (2g Standard
-Switched outlets in eves for Christmas lights (2g Standard)
-Under cabinet lighting (2g Standard)
-Over cabinet lighting
-Recessed nightlights on stairs and hallways (2g Standard)
-Switched Christmas tree outlet (2gstandard)
-Outlet in pantry and closet at shelves for chargers (2g Standard)
-2 Dedicated switched cans above master bed for reading lights (2g Standard)
-Recessed lighting in eves or uplights for exterior elevation
-Exterior outlets – dedicated reset in garage (black outlet) (2g Standard)
-20 amp circuit in garage and/or laundry for secondary fridge/freezer (2g Standard)
-Extra 20 amp circuits in garage for tooling/machinery
-20 amp circuits for media and theater rooms
-Switched lighting in attic (2g Standard)
-Exterior fans on patio
-Dedicated outlet in bathroom drawer for curling iron and hair dryer
-Dedicated power feed to panic room
-Prewired electric boxes at exterior for future buildout/exterior lighting (Switched or always hot)
-We rarely do switched outlets as most homes get Control 4 and our clients hate having the extra switches that don’t do anything when nothing is plugged in
-Tesla charger in the garage
-Disconnect for solar
-Disconnect for backup generator
-6” or 8” base downstairs (2g standard)
-4” or 6” base upstairs (2g standard)
*****height depends on scale
-8’ solid core doors (2g Standard)
These vary all over the boards, but here is what we have heard over the years as the most desired features:
-48” uppers minimum in kitchen
-36” tall bases in all baths
-Pullout trash drawer
-Drawers in all lower kitchen cabs
-Glass doors in feature kitchen cabinets with lighting
-Pullout trays in bathroom cabinets under sinks
-Popup stand mixer cabinet
-Granite in main kitchen
-Quartz in secondary kitchen and bathrooms
–2g uses a lot of Cambria quartz
-Waterfall ends on islands
-Seating at islands
-Solid surface is popular in secondary bath shower and tub surrounds
-Kohler has been popular
-Spend money on your commodes – you spend more time there than you think
–Elongated commodes only – no round
–Comfort height commodes – 18”
-Pot filler above stove is a must
-Extra deep sinks – 10” minimum
-Reverse osmosis to fridge water supply
-50/50 on happiness with free standing bathtubs – they look stunning, but not the most user friendly
-Tile at exterior entries, bathrooms and kitchen – less maintenance
-Wood throughout living spaces
-carpet in bedrooms or wood with rug
-sound deadening a must if wood upstairs
-Epoxy garage floor or even better get Racedeck flooring
-Sprinklers are a must. They are key to the health of your foundation.
-Gutters are a must – channel the water away from your home
-Drainage is key – you do not want stagnant water ponding – budget accordingly
-Landscaping makes a huge difference – budget accordingly
-Driveway a minimum of 20′ wide or you will be stepping into landscaping when getting out on sides
-Garage minimum or 3′ on sides of garage door opening to open doors. Example – if garage door is 16′ wide, minimum garage width should be 22′ wide
-Highly encourage budgeting for Control 4 at a minimum
-On the higher end our homes get Crestron systems, but Control 4 is great
-Cameras and security interior and exterior
-Structured panel in media room or master closet to feed house
-Dedicated CAT-5 or 6 to all workstations and media