“We build durable homes that will last for several generations.”
RAISED WOOD FLOOR CASE STUDY:
In Houston, architect LaVerne Williams of Environment Associates, builder Les Albin of LACON Homes and engineer Gary Beck of Eco-Holdings Engineering have more than 60 years of combined experience designing and building houses. They share a reputation for supporting green building and sustainable design. “We build durable homes that will last for several generations without major repair,” says Williams.
All three have contributed their expertise to a high-end custom home in Houston. It’s a region where more and more buyers are looking for raised wood floor homes, says Albin. “Ever since tropical storm Allison, it has been a lot more attractive for people to elevate the first floor of their homes – even if it’s not required – to make sure they are above where flood waters will be.”
William's raised wood floor design features a closed crawlspace – the first in a Houston floodplain area. Eco-Holdings engineered a single pour foundation design that combines the stem wall with the foundation beam, saving time and money. Cast-in-place voids for all drain vents are structurally located.
LACON Homes constructed the house. “Floodplain consideration was probably the main reason (to build the house raised),” says President Les Albin. “But, in general, a raised foundation is probably a better system than a slab-on-grade (for long-term durability) because of the humid climate and the clay-type soils around Houston.”
“By bringing the whole crawlspace into an air-conditioned space, we eliminate (moisture) problems,” says Williams. Protecting building products from moisture is an important factor in preventing fungal decay. Wood framing maintained at a moisture content of less than 20 percent will not decay. A raised wood floor foundation separates a structure from one of the biggest sources of moisture – the ground itself. With proper design, construction and maintenance practices, a raised floor system – constructed of durable, renewable wood – can remain dry and free of moisture-related problems.
“Anything we can do to control moisture is going to help the longevity of the structure,” says Albin.
Longevity of the structure, according to Williams, is something all builders should be concerned with. “We need to be concerned about the environmental cost of the way we build,” says Williams. “We have to strive for a higher sustainability in what we are doing.”
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