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House construction question

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rfalbury
msg: 1

Wed, Oct 13, 2004, 1:30pm

Greetings, all.

My wife and I are contemplating moving our family to Arizona
Arizona(air-i'-ZON-u')

The State of Arizona comprises the extreme south-western portion of the United States. It is bounded on the north by Utah, on the east by New Mexico, on the south by Mexico, and on the west by California and Nevada.

next year, either somewhere in the Phoenix area or (more likely) somewhere in the Tucson area (Oro Valley, perhaps).

I've been looking at some of the home listings, and I was curious if someone can answer some questions about house construction.

[1] Are most homes in Arizona
Arizona(air-i'-ZON-u')

The State of Arizona comprises the extreme south-western portion of the United States. It is bounded on the north by Utah, on the east by New Mexico, on the south by Mexico, and on the west by California and Nevada.

stick-built (wood frame) or block construction? My instinct would be to prefer block, but in a dry climate, it may not make that much of a difference and may actually have some advantages.

[2] I imagine the homes there are usually on a slab foundation. Is this correct?

[3] I don't recall seeing any homes with basements, so basements are probably very rare unless the home is built into a hill. Is this correct?

[4] I've seen some houses with grass in the backyard. I know the southwest generally has water shortages, mostly because of California but also because of agriculture and unchecked growth and overestimating the size of the aquifer. I would eventually eliminate a lawn in favor of xeriscaping, but roughly how much does it cost per month to maintain a backyard lawn?

[5] How often do homes have double-glazed windows? Since everyone probably runs air conditioning all the time like they do here in Tampa, I imagine it would help a bit with
insulation and energy efficiency.

Thanks,
Richard
NickCoons
msg: 2

Wed, Oct 13, 2004, 11:57pm

<[1] Are most homes in Arizona
Arizona(air-i'-ZON-u')

The State of Arizona comprises the extreme south-western portion of the United States. It is bounded on the north by Utah, on the east by New Mexico, on the south by Mexico, and on the west by California and Nevada.

stick-built (wood frame) or block construction?>

It depends on the age of the home. Most that are built pre-1975 are going to be block, and others would likely be stick. The newer homes in general are built with less quality than the older, not just in the framing. Demand is so high for houses in Arizona
Arizona(air-i'-ZON-u')

The State of Arizona comprises the extreme south-western portion of the United States. It is bounded on the north by Utah, on the east by New Mexico, on the south by Mexico, and on the west by California and Nevada.

that the builders are doing everything they can do to put out houses as quickly as possible. Such increases in production often result in decreases in quality.

I'm looking to move to a larger house now, and am looking for something that is made in the 60s or 70s, because I like the quality (and charm) of the older homes.

<[2] I imagine the homes there are usually on a slab foundation. Is this correct?>

Yes, that's usually the case. However, if you find something that is pre-1950 it may have a wooden floor.

<[3] I don't recall seeing any homes with basements, so basements are probably very rare unless the home is built into a hill. Is this correct?>

Very few houses have basements here.


<but roughly how much does it cost per month to maintain a backyard lawn?>

Water conservation is usually more of a feel-good help the environment issue, and not really a cost issue. Watering costs can vary depending on your method (sprinklers, drip system, etc), and the time of year (summer, winter). But really, keeping grass watered probably doesn't cost more than about $10/month in water.

The issue that most people have with grass in their yards is the maintenance.. having to mow and trim every week to keep it looking nice, whereas desert-like landscaping is virtually zero maintenance.

<[5] How often do homes have double-glazed windows? Since everyone probably runs air conditioning all the time like they do here in Tampa, I imagine it would help a bit with
insulation and energy efficiency.>

It does help a lot.. most of the newer homes have them, and the older ones have them if the owner has decided to invest the money in them. There are also a lot of great local companies that will replace your windows for you with far more energy efficient ones.
PaRo
msg: 3

Tue, Dec 7, 2004, 10:19pm

If you look into new home builders, there are a few offering basements now. They dig a big hole in the ground and litterally add a floor of the house down there. They then add tubing that gives light to the "windows" down there. So basically when you are down there you get natural light but look out the window to a metal tube. If you look up they add a grate to the top of the tube to catch debris. However you still get some debris in the tube. I personally feel like it's a dungeon down there in these types of basements but I guess it's a lot cooler down there naturally in the summer!
PaRo
msg: 4

Sun, Dec 12, 2004, 11:05pm

Well we just viewed some more model homes in Chandler that also had basements. (As you can see we do this for fun lol!) Instead of ugly tubing for the "windows" these had a nicer stuccoed square "tube" It might even be nice to paint a mural on these to look out to for your windows down there. They also have a little ladder and I guess the grate easily comes loose on top to escape in a fire since some of those rooms are suggested bedrooms. These basements only seem to be under single story homes I guess a two story home would be to much of a load.

 


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