Premium Floor System
Satisfying the higher expectations of today’s homebuyer can present challenges to the design-build professional. Meeting these challenges begins with a premium floor system.
Designers and builders who offer the raised floor option, framed with strong, durable, renewable wood, create value for themselves and their clients. In regions where raised floors are not common, builders can establish a market niche by offering a distinctive and affordable alternative. Clients who invest in this type of home accrue lifelong benefits such as curb appeal, comfort, practicality, and lasting value.
The raised floor is also the right choice for the environment — it is a sustainable construction system. First, wood is a renewable resource that takes far less energy to produce than concrete or steel. Furthermore, future structural modifications, additions, or repairs can be performed more easily, extending the useful life of the structure. Builders can complete these tasks with less environmental impact, consuming less energy and avoiding expensive technologies. Finally, construction of a pier-and-beam foundation in association with the raised floor system is far less disruptive to the natural surroundings than a slab-on-grade (slab-on-ground) foundation. With a pier-and-beam foundation, less damage occurs to the root systems of neighboring vegetation.
The raised floor system gives the builder and client an opportunity to explore ideas that can expand the livability and appeal of the home.
- The raised floor takes full advantage of amenities such as a front porch, a screened back porch, or a deck because they are natural extensions of the structure’s elevated platform.
- Inside the home, attractive wood flooring is a great upgrade to offer the client, adding a dash of sophistication. A wood floor installed over wood joists also makes for a very comfortable, allergy-free walking surface.
- Another value-added option becoming quite popular in coastal areas of the United States, where decay and termite infestation is a problem, is “whole-house” pressure-treated framing. Pressure-treated lumber can readily be used throughout the whole house or in the floor system alone. Today, a variety of wood preservatives offer the homeowner and builder even more choices.
Building to Higher Expectations
Homebuyers expect more from their home than ever before, and more is not always measured in total square feet of living area. After all, a home is often a person’s largest investment, so value is placed on both the tangible and intangible elements that make a home livable, not merely functional.
A recent national survey asking consumers to define their American Dream House revealed more interest in comfort and style than size. And almost half the respondents — 49% — characterized their dream house as a safe, comfortable haven instead of a designer show house.
So, homebuyers of today desire a living environment that nurtures and protects. The home should nurture the spirit with amenities that provide comfortable, special places for family gatherings, personal retreat and self-expression. The home should offer occupants protection from moisture and pests, providing a healthy indoor environment and a structurally sound, long-lasting living space.
Peace of Mind for Builder and Client
Although no system is perfect for all conditions, the raised floor offers some real advantages when it comes to design reliability, especially where moisture is an issue.
- By design, the raised floor removes a structure from contact with the ground, isolating the living space from ground moisture. Therefore, a raised floor system is less susceptible to foundation-related moisture problems.
- Callbacks for foundation-related problems are much easier to fix. For example, a plumbing leak below a slab is difficult and costly to locate, access and repair. The leak may also drive moisture into the living area. This is not a problem with the raised floor.
- The raised floor helps keep moisture and termites at bay. Properly installed termite shields help repel these unwelcome visitors and the crawlspace makes termite inspection simple and infestation easier to spot. In slab construction, termite infestation or moisture intrusion may not be apparent until it is too late, and cracks in the slab can be expensive to repair.