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Old 05-18-2011, 09:50 AM
 
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Hi,

I am in the planning stages for building my residence/business off (web-based retail and IT). My intended location is on the BI dry side near, but probably not in, Waimea. Currently, my plan is to purchase approx 5 acre lot and build a house of approx 3,500 sf.

A couple technical questions about materials used.

1. Is stucco commonly used as the siding? What siding mat'ls are effective in resisting destructive insects (masonite lap, T-111, etc) and other env. factors.

2. Any issues (technical or code) exist against the use of steel framing.

3. How available is fuel gas (natural (from LNG), propane etc.,) for cooking, BBQ, and water heating (domestic and hot-tub). Are most fuel-gases piped-in or tanked.

4. What does a yard of standard-grade concrete run these days?

Any and all on-point responses greatly appreciated.
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Old 05-18-2011, 12:19 PM
 
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Sorry I can't be more helpful on the specifics you asked, but have you considered solar for heating? We have a solar hot water heater, and here on the sunny side of Maui it is a great and fast payoff. We put in a 120 gallon tank, and the system cycles more to keep the water from being too hot than because we need that much. When we have visitors and a couple of cloudy days we switch on the electric, but that's hardly ever.

I don't know if you can put a propane backup on a water heater instead of electric. That would be interesting. We chose not to go with a tank for hot water because we don't have the space or access for the larger tank. We do have a little 5 gallon tank hookup for our stove, and love it. We keep an extra tank or two around for that & the BBQ. Clothes dryer is electric, but if I had to do it again now from scratch I'd consider whole house solar. It seems like that industry is still developing and changing quickly, but we see a lot of systems going in.

You didn't ask about this, but I'll offer anyway. We installed a whole house surge protector, the PanelGuard by Intermatic. We put that in right after the BI quake that knocked out our electric service for a couple of days, and the surge when it came back on fried our stove. With every appliance now having electronics, the whole house surge protector is an easy add-on. About $125 from the company, plus handyman to install between the breaker box & the house wiring.
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Old 05-18-2011, 12:44 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Calico Salsa View Post
Sorry I can't be more helpful on the specifics you asked, but have you considered solar for heating? We have a solar hot water heater, and here on the sunny side of Maui it is a great and fast payoff. We put in a 120 gallon tank, and the system cycles more to keep the water from being too hot than because we need that much. When we have visitors and a couple of cloudy days we switch on the electric, but that's hardly ever.

I don't know if you can put a propane backup on a water heater instead of electric. That would be interesting. We chose not to go with a tank for hot water because we don't have the space or access for the larger tank. We do have a little 5 gallon tank hookup for our stove, and love it. We keep an extra tank or two around for that & the BBQ. Clothes dryer is electric, but if I had to do it again now from scratch I'd consider whole house solar. It seems like that industry is still developing and changing quickly, but we see a lot of systems going in.

You didn't ask about this, but I'll offer anyway. We installed a whole house surge protector, the PanelGuard by Intermatic. We put that in right after the BI quake that knocked out our electric service for a couple of days, and the surge when it came back on fried our stove. With every appliance now having electronics, the whole house surge protector is an easy add-on. About $125 from the company, plus handyman to install between the breaker box & the house wiring.
I am certainly going to max solar because I am a heavy juice user (lots of PCs, Servers and AC. In my current house, which has Central Air, I put in a smaller "central" unit just for the bedroom. It is amazing how much better sleep I get when I am cool and dry. The solar HW heater is a great idea, and hadn't thought of that. Can probably get one for the hot tub as well.

I have paid fairly close to the solar elec. industry as it matures, and as I understand it the efficiency of the newer panels (17%) is such that is it starting to become a much more viable option, and I feel elec. rates will continue to go up. I have already planned a house orientation and roof config to maximize solar panels and their efficiency, as well as other panels on the property.

I take it that piped-in gas (natural or otherwise) is not common in more remote areas such as Waimea.

Thanks again for the info.
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Old 05-18-2011, 01:10 PM
 
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I dont think traditional stucco is doable because of the BI gets a lot of minor tremors and that causes cracking. There are stuccos that are made on solid boards (not the traditional field applied way) that flexes.

If looking for a strong and insect resistant product there are homes on the BI that use concrete formed panels. I have seen RE ads that call them castle blocked homes. These are those panels that look like cement boards with cement board on one side, form in the middle and sheetrock or cement board on the inside.

Steel frame is used but I think you have to have a company that specially coats the steel to deal witht he corrossion.

there is no natural gas on Hawaii. Their is SNG (a synthetic natral gas on Oahu) piped into some areas, but most other islands its propane trucked to you.

Check with the building dept because I heard that solar hot water heating is require on some islands for all new homes.
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Old 05-18-2011, 02:20 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PacificFlights View Post
I dont think traditional stucco is doable because of the BI gets a lot of minor tremors and that causes cracking. There are stuccos that are made on solid boards (not the traditional field applied way) that flexes.



If looking for a strong and insect resistant product there are homes on the BI that use concrete formed panels. I have seen RE ads that call them castle blocked homes. These are those panels that look like cement boards with cement board on one side, form in the middle and sheetrock or cement board on the inside.



Steel frame is used but I think you have to have a company that specially coats the steel to deal witht he corrossion.



there is no natural gas on Hawaii. Their is SNG (a synthetic natral gas on Oahu) piped into some areas, but most other islands its propane trucked to you.



Check with the building dept because I heard that solar hot water heating is require on some islands for all new homes.
Thank you for your reply. I live in SoCal, famous for earthquakes, and stucco is the siding of choice. It is applied over a wire-mesh/tar paper backing. It holds up well to earthquakes. I am not particularly fond of it, though, having built a lot of houses with masonite lap or sheet siding, T111 or a chip-board product that was textured and paper-coated. It was as hard as a rock, and durable, but I think not so termite resistant (as T111 wouldn't seem to be either). It was in the midwest, so termites weren't a big issue. I built fully enclosed overhang with vented soffits with 1-6 facia boards over a 2x4 binding the rafter tails together. Hip roofs were a speciality. Never used trusses, and probably never will.



The wall system you describe sounds interesting. I'll check into it



I figured there would be no piped fuel gas, but I thought I would ask to make sure.



Thanks again for the reply.
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Old 05-18-2011, 02:53 PM
 
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There may be something more to the issue with stucco that makes it less desirable on Hawaii. It just may be a lcak of skilled labors for stucco or could be the materials don;t hold up well. I also think it's out of style on Hawaii and the average person wants something tropical, not southwestern.

there are many composite materials availabe like the Hardie panels made to look like traditional tropic board and batten but made from composite wood not the termite fast food of real wood. Most homes on hawaii are built to take advantage of available material (don;t want something you have to wait 3 weeks to get a piece) and that is known to hold up under the conditions.

I was mistake on the product name its Castleblock homes. Castleblock - Environmental Building Materials and they alos have similar SIP roof panels. I wonder if they have structual floor panels so you can lay joist and flooring all in one from cement based product.
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Old 05-18-2011, 03:35 PM
 
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The house as we bought it has central AC for our 3 bedrooms + separate unit & controls for the ohana 2 bedrooms. We also have a home office with equipment going 24/7.

Running the central AC in the main house just to cool off the office during the day, or the master bedroom at night was such a waste. Not only were we cooling rooms we weren't occupying, the system was not installed well and the vents & system accounted for many visits by our home warranty company.

We had zone AC installed - a double unit to cool the master bedroom & office, and later a triple to cool the 2 other bedrooms & living room. The ohana is still on it's central AC, but it is only occupied when we have visitors.

BEST INVESTMENT EVER (after the solar water heater). The zone AC has nifty remotes so I can hit the switch here in the office and cool it down then turn it off. Even has Sleep mode, so we can cool the bedroom down from the day's heat, then let it run for 15 minutes until we fall asleep. We find we don't need it to run all night, if we wake up we can hit the Sleep button and the room cools down in 3-5 minutes. Also with zone the outside units are so much quieter and lighter in weight, needing only a small concrete pad or even stepping stones underneath. The neighbors celebrated the say we unplugged to central noisy box. Maintenance has been a dream, much less trouble than someone setting up a ladder and crawling into the 140 degree attic space.

I would never, ever install central AC again in any house.

Forgot to mention, you probably have this on your lists, but I'd recommend you super insulate your house. Interior walls as well, to isolate the temperature zones.

Keep out the hot air, or keep in in the office instead of transferring it to the other rooms. Also keeps down the noise from phones or equipment if next to a guest bedroom.

The only consideration is that all that insulation makes us fairly soundproof in the house. Good for crowing chickens, but bad in that we can't always hear the warning sirens that the county uses to warn of hurricane or tsunami. We ask the neighbors to please come get us if they don't see us outside packing up...

Last edited by Marka; 05-23-2011 at 03:44 AM..
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Old 05-18-2011, 03:57 PM
 
1,811 posts, read 1,135,052 times
Reputation: 503
Quote:
Originally Posted by Calico Salsa View Post
The house as we bought it has central AC for our 3 bedrooms + separate unit & controls for the ohana 2 bedrooms. We also have a home office with equipment going 24/7.

Running the central AC in the main house just to cool off the office during the day, or the master bedroom at night was such a waste. Not only were we cooling rooms we weren't occupying, the system was not installed well and the vents & system accounted for many visits by our home warranty company.

We had zone AC installed - a double unit to cool the master bedroom & office, and later a triple to cool the 2 other bedrooms & living room. The ohana is still on it's central AC, but it is only occupied when we have visitors.

BEST INVESTMENT EVER (after the solar water heater). The zone AC has nifty remotes so I can hit the switch here in the office and cool it down then turn it off. Even has Sleep mode, so we can cool the bedroom down from the day's heat, then let it run for 15 minutes until we fall asleep. We find we don't need it to run all night, if we wake up we can hit the Sleep button and the room cools down in 3-5 minutes. Also with zone the outside units are so much quieter and lighter in weight, needing only a small concrete pad or even stepping stones underneath. The neighbors celebrated the say we unplugged to central noisy box. Maintenance has been a dream, much less trouble than someone setting up a ladder and crawling into the 140 degree attic space.

I would never, ever install central AC again in any house.
That sounds like a good investment. Is that the produxct made by Panasonic or Toshiba or some other Japan-based company. I hear it advertised here, I think.

Quote:
Originally Posted by PacificFlights View Post
There may be something more to the issue with stucco that makes it less desirable on Hawaii. It just may be a lcak of skilled labors for stucco or could be the materials don;t hold up well. I also think it's out of style on Hawaii and the average person wants something tropical, not southwestern.

there are many composite materials availabe like the Hardie panels made to look like traditional tropic board and batten but made from composite wood not the termite fast food of real wood. Most homes on hawaii are built to take advantage of available material (don;t want something you have to wait 3 weeks to get a piece) and that is known to hold up under the conditions.

I was mistake on the product name its Castleblock homes. Castleblock - Environmental Building Materials and they alos have similar SIP roof panels. I wonder if they have structual floor panels so you can lay joist and flooring all in one from cement based product.
If there is a better way, I am all for it. As I noted, I don't particularly like stucco, and anything that looks "Islands" would be a big boost to me. Thanks for the info.

Last edited by Marka; 05-23-2011 at 03:44 AM..
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Old 05-18-2011, 04:01 PM
 
1,490 posts, read 3,459,011 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Calico Salsa View Post
Forgot to mention, you probably have this on your lists, but I'd recommend you super insulate your house. Interior walls as well, to isolate the temperature zones.

Keep out the hot air, or keep in in the office instead of transferring it to the other rooms. Also keeps down the noise from phones or equipment if next to a guest bedroom.

The only consideration is that all that insulation makes us fairly soundproof in the house. Good for crowing chickens, but bad in that we can't always hear the warning sirens that the county uses to warn of hurricane or tsunami. We ask the neighbors to please come get us if they don't see us outside packing up...
Actually, I have heard something of the opposite school of thought from our realtor. She mentioned that in the rainy areas, houses with a lot of insulation and one that are well-sealed develop significant moisture/mold/mildew issues because the air needs to keep circulating. The OP mentions Waimea...depending on whether it's the dry or rainy side, a lot of insulation may not be desirable.

Something to consider.
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Old 05-18-2011, 04:01 PM
 
1,811 posts, read 1,135,052 times
Reputation: 503
Quote:
Originally Posted by Calico Salsa View Post
Forgot to mention, you probably have this on your lists, but I'd recommend you super insulate your house. Interior walls as well, to isolate the temperature zones.

Keep out the hot air, or keep in in the office instead of transferring it to the other rooms. Also keeps down the noise from phones or equipment if next to a guest bedroom.

The only consideration is that all that insulation makes us fairly soundproof in the house. Good for crowing chickens, but bad in that we can't always hear the warning sirens that the county uses to warn of hurricane or tsunami. We ask the neighbors to please come get us if they don't see us outside packing up...
Interior insulation sounds like a good idea for zone cooling. Another great big of data.

Thanks again.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AlohaHuey View Post
Actually, I have heard something of the opposite school of thought from our realtor. She mentioned that in the rainy areas, houses with a lot of insulation and one that are well-sealed develop significant moisture/mold/mildew issues because the air needs to keep circulating. The OP mentions Waimea...depending on whether it's the dry or rainy side, a lot of insulation may not be desirable.

Something to consider.
It would be on the dry side.

I have been in SoCal for over 20 years and used to little rain. While a rain-shower is nice once or twice a week, I don't think I could stand a climate where rain is a big player.

Thanks for the info.

Last edited by Marka; 05-23-2011 at 03:43 AM..
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