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Old 07-16-2018, 12:20 PM
2 posts, read 1,873 times
Reputation: 10


Originally Posted by ShakenStirred View Post
Mattamy uses Tyvek HomeWrap, the very 1st housewrap invented. It is a nonwoven, nonperforated product, which is what I recommend for Florida. However, Tyvek was invented in Chicago, IL, and as a high perm product, it is not ideal for a hot, humid climate like Florida.

Perm ratings (Permeability) specifies the amount of moisture that can pass "through" the microscopic holes in the fibers of the housewrap.

I'm going to give you a simple example....when you take a hot shower, the moisture condenses on your mirror or glass, and as it continues to accumulate and cool off, it then turns back in to bulk water that runs down your glass and leaves those streaks.

Ok, so inside your walls, the same process is occurring. The inside of your home is cool from the AC, and outside if full of hot, moisture laden air. Simple physics dictate that hot always travels to cold, so the hot, humid moist air outside is constantly trying to get through your wall into your home most of the year in Florida.

The perm rating of a housewrap determines how much of that "moisture vapor" (or the condensation on your mirror) can get through the housewrap and inside your home. See what happens is, once it get through the housewrap, it then turns back into bulk water and is now trapped on the wrong side of the housewrap, against your OSB, where it can lead to deterioration over time.

Up north where it's colder, most houses breathe to the outside, so a higher perm rating is good, it let's the moisture out. Down here in Florida, High perm is bad, as it lets too much moisture into the home, then traps it inside the wall.

In Florida, the ideal perm rating for a housewrap is between 5 - 15. (5 happens to be the minimum code requirement for Florida). They Tyvek has a perm rating of 58 or 59.

So while the Tyvek is my last choice for a nonwoven, nonperforated product, it is still superior to the cheaper cross woven, perforated products like Green Guard, Surround, Lowe's wrap, etc. As long as you get a qualified installation company installing the Tyvek, you should be alright, but I would not recommend it under stucco as the surfactants in stucco have been known to deteriorate the Tyvek.

This all get kind of complicated because even though, say Surround, a cross woven perforated product has a great perm rating of 10, it's perforated characteristic rate it as a cheap ineffective product, and just like the condensation on your mirror runs down the glass, the moisture inside your walls is running down in the same manner, and will penetrate the perforations in these types of products.

Builders know this system gets covered up. Some care about it, and some don't. I think the best thing for me to do would be to a ranking on all of the Weather Resistive Barrier Systems available, and maybe rank the installation companies that do them, from best to last, and you can use that as a gauge to not only rate a builder on quality, but also you can insist from your builder what system you want them to use. It is the most important component of your wall system, and too many builders treat it as an afterthought, and then wonder why their walls leak and they end up in massive construction defect lawsuits later. It would be quite comical if it weren't so serious an issue.

Thanks for that info, it's very interesting albeit a little unsettling.

Old 07-16-2018, 07:06 PM
2,062 posts, read 3,123,958 times
Reputation: 2905
Originally Posted by gatorlyn View Post
Surprised to see Pulte there.

Pulte started our townhome development, but they pulled out during the middle of construction and then Seda took over.

I'm not sure where you are referring too?

That being said, Pulte has been through a LOT of changes over the past 10 years, and their quality has been on a virtual roller coaster throughout it all.

As of today however, they are probably THE highest quality production builder in the State of Florida. Their PCS (Pulte Construction Standards) are the highest of any builder I know of, and while that tends to make things a bit complicated for their subcontractors, it's working.

Pulte uses a third party company called E3 that conducts Building Envelope inspections on every single home and townhome it builds. These inspections are nearly impossible to pass on the first go around, and they are detailed to the point of overkill. The North Florida (Jacksonville) division is the only division in the State that regularly passes inspections usually on the 1st inspection. It has been documented by E3 that the Weatherization Contractors that Pulte uses in NE Florida are hands down the best in the entire State. Other markets are not doing nearly as well, including Orlando and Tampa, which rarely ever pass inspection even after the 2nd and 3rd attempts. It's my understanding through mutual business partners that the labor markets in Orlando and Tampa are even worse than average, and therefore getting qualified people in those areas is a major challenge.

Nevertheless, even against those odds, the buildings simply don't progress until the E3 inspections have finally passed, and the fines for failing these inspections is passed on to the subcontractors.

What's even more encouraging, is that that Pulte has reinstated its own separate division here in North Florida, whereas for years, this market was serviced by the Orlando/Tampa division who were not keen on the local market conditions and nuances.

They hold regular, very transparent meetings with their "Trade Partners" (subcontractors) and the new Division President for North Florida is actually the "old" division President from years ago, who is extremely focused on having good relationships with their subcontractors and the homebuyers as well.

So while I can understand your "surprise" to see Pulte on the list, I can assure you it is deservedly so, and you have to remember that the builders can change dramatically year to year, whether for the good or the bad. In the case of Pulte, it's been improving for several years now while other builders have declined.

Old 07-16-2018, 07:26 PM
2,062 posts, read 3,123,958 times
Reputation: 2905
Originally Posted by MovingOnAgain View Post
I'm afraid to ask but how about some of the lower cost builders, like D.R. Horton?

Well...DR Horton.

First off, you can watch this:


And 2nd, let me explain this:

Besides the defects that are alleged in the above video, I can tell you this. DR Horton uses the Green Guard products, and I'm not 100% certain, but I believe it's the "Value Wrap" or VR product that they use. Green Guard Value Wrap and the Green Guard regular are both woven, perforated housewraps. In laymen terms, they are entry level products designed to meet minimum building code requirements and not much else.

Now, even though I don't endorse Tyvek here in our hot humid climate, and would prefer the lower perm product of Dow Weathermate Plus (both are made by the same company, now called "DowDupont"), this video from Tyvek shows exactly what happens with a woven, perforated wrap such as Green Guard:

Tyvek ® versus Perforated Wrap | DuPont

If you're builder uses Green Guard, you should steer clear. These are ineffective products in this market. If you lived in Arizona or somewhere very dry, woven products would be fine. But not Florida, not ever.

Old 07-20-2018, 03:56 PM
22 posts, read 49,519 times
Reputation: 24
Thank you, Shaken.
Old 08-01-2018, 03:21 PM
2,062 posts, read 3,123,958 times
Reputation: 2905
Originally Posted by MovingOnAgain View Post
Thank you, Shaken.

You're quite welcome. And as an interesting side note...the rankings presented in this original post have already done a lot of shifting.

This business changes quickly indeed.

Old 08-01-2018, 03:25 PM
2,062 posts, read 3,123,958 times
Reputation: 2905
Originally Posted by ShakenStirred View Post
Hello everyone....ShakenStirred, your local construction "expert" here, and I have been away awhile, mostly because my business has tripled over the past several months, partly due to just "life," and I simply haven't had time to post and respond to the private messages, so I apologize about that and will get to each of you as quickly as possible.

FYI...Builders right now are facing HUGE challenges with finding quality subs, and the subs are having HUGE challenges finding quality help. The labor shortage is very real right now, so new homebuyers need to be extra careful in selecting a builder at the moment. Build times are longer as well, so bear that in mind. Quality, unfortunately, is getting worse at this time period. Construction defect lawsuits are still churning away, and you want to avoid getting involved in one of these if at all possible.

So to help you the best I can, here's the list and these builders appear in order or quality from best to "least best." There aren't any "bad" builders on this list per se, but some are dropping in the ranks and bear watching.

1. Dostie Homes - Complete turnaround in the past year or so by hiring much higher quality subcontractors, and an intense focus on quality that pushed them to the top of the list this year. While they have never ranked low, quality in the past was sporadic, but their maximum effort to correct that has worked.

2. UniFlorida IV - This contractor is building the Villages of Seloy, a community for older folks in St. Augustine, FL. They pay absolute 100% attention to quality, and we wished they would expand their operations in NE Florida to build for all ages and include single family homes. That being said, retirees moving to the area will definitely want to consider this community for it's quality construction.

3. Pulte Homes - Pulte has gone to extreme measures to improve their quality over the past couple years. Their construction standards are so strict, I would call them overkill, but that's good for the homebuyer. They employ a 3rd party inspection company that does not accept anything less than perfect, and if you're looking for a condo or townhome, Pulte is the ONLY multi-family builder in this area I would recommend at this time. The high quality also carries over to their single family units as well. They have moved way up in the rankings now, and deservedly so. They also build age-restricted communities under the DelWebb name, but the quality is equal.

4. John Merrill Homes - Another rock solid builder of high quality homes of various sizes and styles, this one should be on your short list of potential builders for a custom or semi-custom home.

5. America's Home Place - Although they build a good, solid home, AHP has unfortunately pulled out of their Jacksonville office and moved to Gainesville. But as I understand it, they will still build a home in Clay or St. Johns counties, so if you have your own lot, you should look at their floor plans to see if they have anything you like.

6. Young American Homes - Again, a great builder who focuses on the Fernandina area, but has built homes in Duval county. They probably should be ranked higher, but the first 5 builders on this list are probably actually tied for 1st place, so keep that in mind.

7. Dream Finders Homes - Yes, you read that right, Dream Finders. It's not a mistake. They grew rapidly over the past several years, and they have experienced some major growing pains along the way, but they are finally overcoming those challenges, and have been making drastic improvements to their construction quality, so they make the list for the 1st time ever. Builders can change drastically in a years time frame, and fortunately for Dream Finders, their changes have been all positive.

8. MB Builders - A very small, low volume custom builder who pays a lot of attention to quality. The only reason for the #8 ranking is because of the low volume, the quality ranking is a 1, but if you can get them, it's worth the effort.

9. Bosco Contracting - If you're building at the beaches, Bosco is a must call on your list to get a price from. They also build commercial projects, and they have been a stalwart builder at the beaches area for years. They know their stuff and you are sure to get a quality home from them.

10. David Weekley Homes - Ok, those of you that have followed me know that David Weekley Homes has ranked #1 most years for the past 15 years or so, so this one pains me. Quality has slipped substantially and they are now more focused on getting lower priced subcontractors than they are high quality ones as in years past. It's been sad to watch. You can still get a good home from them in certain communities, but it is highly dependent on the Superintendent doing the job, and the subcontractors that are doing those homes, so they have become a hit or miss builder over the past year or two. We hope for a turnaround here, but until then, they just barely make the top 10.

Honorable Mentions - These are the builders that didn't quite make the top 10, but could still be viable candidates if you cannot find what you want or need from the above list. Again, if you don't see a builder on this list at all, it probably means that I cannot recommend them, or I am not familiar with their quality, so feel free to message me with any questions you might have or ask about any builders you don't see on the list.

HM List: Avreal Development, Bradley's Construction, Cottage Home Company, Dean Russell Construction, Heritage Homes of Jax, Infinity Builders, JC Harward & Associates, Marcus Allen Homes, Riverside Homes, Ultimate Construction.

Hope this helps anyone considering building a new house in NE Florida, and hope all my fellow colleagues on this forum are doing well!


Please replace America's Home Place at #5, with The Cottage Home Company. AHP no longer builds here, and after complete and full investigation, The Cottage Home Company should be solidly in the Top 5.


Old 08-02-2018, 08:08 AM
7 posts, read 5,658 times
Reputation: 12
Shaken, any thoughts on Drees in the northeast FL area? They are building at Creekside, Shearwater, Markland, King and Bear, etc.
Old 09-06-2018, 10:43 PM
13 posts, read 7,275 times
Reputation: 15
Default Mastercraft builder Group

Anyone had any experience with this builder , St. Johns / St. Augustine area. Didn't see them on shakenStirred list for builders 2018.

Higher price range but wondering if the quality is there. Also seems they are a small builder in the area.

Anyone know if they are stable and have a good reputation. I cannot find anything on them. I've been looking the area for some time and noticed the workmanship has gotten really sloppy.
Old 09-08-2018, 09:22 AM
Location: EastCoast
66 posts, read 27,667 times
Reputation: 83
when you say 'this builder' - what exactly builder do you have in mind? I f you cannot find anything about that builder try BBB.

Also if in doubts why not pick other areas and a different builder? There are plenty of good ones around.
Old 09-12-2018, 12:52 PM
13 posts, read 7,275 times
Reputation: 15
Default Mastercraft builder Group

Back Again - Anyone have any information on this builder. Not on a recommended list posted here.

What gives.....building in St Johns / St Augustine.. not a National Builder
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