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Old 10-17-2007, 02:11 PM
 
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Hi,
im considering moving to upstate NY, i read some great stuff about Saratoga Springs and surrounding towns in particular.
im looking into getting a brand new home built with ICF (concrete) and i was wondering if someone would know; is it possible to build a 3-4 bdrm /2bath house, using concrete, and having it done w good quality, for 200k +/-?
With all these natural disasters on a rise, it makes sense to live in a well-built home.
thanks
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Old 10-17-2007, 04:19 PM
 
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We own a home which was built by a family owned construction company in Saratoga. I would suggest you contact a builder in the area and they can provide you with a definitive answer. If you are interested in the builder we used, you can PM me.
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Old 10-17-2007, 05:17 PM
 
Location: NY
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I'm interested in building techniques and hadn't heard of ICF before, but just did a little surfing on it. An interesting system, but initially I'd think it isn't ideal for the climate of upstate NY. Seems like most of the contractors/companies working in it are in places like FL or TX or other warmer places. There are two properties that are key to the energy efficiency of a building- insulation and thermal mass. I'm hugely oversimplifying here, but for the most part insulation is more important in a place like upstate NY (though if you're designing with passive solar thermal mass is quite important too), and concrete offers good thermal mass, but little in the way of insulation. I also suspect that the cycles of hot and cold along with high humidity might present problems for building with ICF in upstate NY. There aren't a lot of cement houses in upstate NY for a reason. Additionally, the natural disaster that one most often (and most lately) has to think about in upstate NY has been flooding. I don't know that ICF would fare much better in a flood than other building systems more common to upstate NY. But all this is just a somewhat-informed impression and I sure don't want to discourage investigation into new building techniques, and on the other hand ICF looks a little bit like an industrial/commercial version of strawbale construction, and I know there are strawbale houses doing quite well in climates like upstate NY. You also might want to look into SIPs (structural insulated panels), which is a fairly economical building method as an option.
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Old 10-17-2007, 05:59 PM
 
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i actually read up on a bunch of tornados that hit near albany.. i know they dont come too often, but im scared of investing into a house and having it all fall down right in front of me.
i actually found a company that does construction w ICF about 30 mi from albany, but i have not contacted them yet.
i dont think ICF would make much difference w floodings.. does albany get a big share of them?
what would you say about the natural disasters near saratoga? how greatly are ppl affected?
Im from brooklyn, ny.. we actually had a tornado here this summer, but our houses are mostly brick and nothing got affected, except the train system.

what kind of extreme weather do u get? (besides the snow).
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Old 10-18-2007, 07:49 AM
 
Location: NY
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The weather in the Saratoga area really isn't that radically different than the NYC area- sure, more snow in the winter, probably a little more rain, on average 8 or so degrees colder on a given day. Maybe an occasional ice storm in the winter or violent thunderstorm in the summer. Historically it isn't an area prone to natural disasters, though a tornado in Brooklyn gives one pause in extrapolating from history! Carefully choosing where you build can eliminate your flood risk, but I don't think there is really any such thing as a 'tornado-proof' house- if a tornado is big enough, has picked up enough debris and hits your house the wrong way it will destroy it regardless of what the house is made of. Keep your insurance up to date on the house and don't worry about it too much. There are a lot of other issues that deserve higher priority in deciding where to build and what to build with. I could be wrong, but I suspect that the company near Albany building with ICF is doing mostly commercial projects.
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Old 10-18-2007, 08:29 AM
 
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you might be right about that, ICF company..
i really didnt give it much research. honestly, i dont know much about bldg a house, or what goes with it. i just got a crazy idea- build a weather proof home, lol. now a monolithic home is nice, if u can put in A LOT of money into it.
What areas in Saratoga are more prone to flooding?
What do u think about surrounding towns near saratoga springs? are they safe and family friendly?
i appreciate your help.
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Old 10-18-2007, 09:56 AM
 
Location: NY
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I have family in the area but don't live there myself so can't really give specifics, except that it is quite a nice area. Actually I don't think Saratoga is prone to any flooding, but I could be wrong. Saratoga is on the pricey side, but offers a lot of 'quality of life' extras that the surrounding smaller towns can't. Hoosick Falls and Cambridge are two towns in the area that I've always thought were really attractive.

As far as the building- check out a book called "The Owner-Builder Book" by Mark Smith. Even if you don't plan to be your own general contractor you'll learn what is basically involved in having a house built, the terms, the processes, etc. Its pretty basic, but a good starting point.
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Old 10-18-2007, 09:18 PM
 
Location: Northern NJ
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I can't tell you anything about the building aspect, but I can tell you Saratoga Springs is a great town! I spend 6 weeks a year there (racing season) and of course while it's not like that year round, I've been there other times of the year and very much enjoy it.

The downtown area is super -- restaurants, cafes, clubs, bars, shops, etc. There is plenty of shopping, both north and south of the "main drag" of downtown. Supermarkets, shopping malls, you name it. There is also a "art district" which is still developing but already nice and blossoming. Interestingly enough prior to the redevelopment this one particular street was not such a great street. Good luck!
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Old 12-24-2007, 05:32 PM
 
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Default Building with ICF in NY State

This (insulated concrete forms) is probably one of the better forms of building in NY State!!! The insulation for ICF is R-50. I'll be damned if traditional construction is anywhere near half that. A 6in Stick built exterior wall has an R value of 19. Do the comparison there... Also, concrete has a high thermal mass (thermal mass being the ability of a material to resist the transfer of energy specifically heat). Concrete therefore resists the transfer of heat, making it an ideal building material for colder climates, do more research you'll see there are plenty of these building in NY, Michigan, Canada and many other much colder places. They are also prevelant in warm climates because again it resists the heat exchange... good at keeping heat out in summer and heat in during cold winter months. Furthermore, ICF structures reduce the size of heating and cooling systems needed to keep a house perfectly comfortable by as much as 50%. ICF construction is endorced by the US Green Building Council as an efficient means of construction. To address the issue of flooding, should you build a house in a flood plane in NY, and your house flood, or sustain some water damage, you need not worry too much about concrete rotting away like wood does, or harboring molds like wood does. We experienced the flooding first hand in the Amsterdam NY area in 2006, and I can tell you that the affected wood houses were destroyed completely. Saying you shouldn't build an ICF house in Upstate NY is like telling an Eskimo he shouldn't build an Igloo for protection and warmth. We are in the process of finding an ICF builder for ourselves right now. Good luck in your research p00kster17. Also, that company near Albany, I'll bet is Arxx dealer, they do residential as well as comercial, give them a call, you would be surprised at how helpful they can be. Please don't sell yourself and your ideas short on what one or two people tell you about what they think they know, do your own research , talk to people that really know...Aside from Arxx, there is also PolySteel, Fox Blocks, Quad Lock...to name a few, contact them, they will send you DVD's, contractor information, anything you need to make a decision. Saratoga Springs is beautiful, expensive. Check into Broadalbin and Galway on the west side, beautiful small quant towns, 25 min from Saratoga and 35 from Albany. There are so many nice communites that are less expensive but are close enough to make an easy commute. You get snow there but nothing compared to what Syracuse or Rochester get. Enjoy the skiing, the lakes, the parks...so much to do. Very rarely is there any other kind of natural disaster, no Saratoga is not a flood area. Good Luck
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Old 07-22-2009, 01:36 PM
 
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HI i am looking for a contratctor to build ICF home for me in the hancock area of upstate ny. If anyone has any ideas that would be greatly appreciated
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