How We Build Our Custom Homes
Proven Home Building Formula Refined Over 40 Years.
As a leading high performance energy efficient builder in Maine, our home building formula was derived from years of research and designed to meet the demanding needs for high performance, high quality, energy efficient, and comfortable homes without breaking the bank. The difference between a great home and an average home is in the hundreds of little details that you many never see or notice, but you will certainly feel.
Building a better home that performs at is should starts with our core belief in investing in better insulation, ventilation, and indoor air quality. Adding high performance heating/cooling with electric heat pumps, solar panels, and other items are important but secondary to thermal performance. We use time tested products and sub-contractors who understand how to build a better home that will last for decades.
Our homes are independently tested and verified (optional program) to meet the strict standards of the Energy Star Home Program and average at least 40% more efficient than local building codes require.
See our Pricing and Fees page for more information on costs.
Our Building Formula
- Proper drainage is key to a great home and whenever and wherever possible we install a positive drainage system around the perimeter of the home along with a sump pump hole as a backup. Along with proper grading of the home drawing water away from the home, our excavators have many years of experience making sure each home is graded properly.
- We don't "damp proof" foundation walls like most builders in Maine who use an inexpensive tar coating on foundation walls, we only use products that waterproof the foundation walls ensuring that water cannot seep through the walls from the outside and typically use a sprayed on application for uniform coverage. Waterproofing a foundation wall will reduce the risk of water damage and costly repairs, reduces humidity in the home, keeps your home dry, and can preserve a home's condition and value.
- Zip Wall and Zip Roof Sheathing in combination with Zip Tape to provide a weather-tight shell ready for interior rough ins. Not only does Zip Sheathing look "nice and clean" while building, it speeds up the construction schedule, and is far superior to OSB and house wrap for air sealing when combined with Zip Tape. We seal all joints and around windows/doors with Zip Tape creating a tight barrier preventing air leakage and moisture.
- Engineered roof trusses are our preferred method to build/install roof systems but we can and do frame with rafters in certain situations. We always use a Cantilevered Truss to ensure that we get a minimum of R-49 at the eaves and guarantee that our homes will never have ice dams. Roof trusses are engineered, built in a climate controlled facility, and help speed up construction schedule.
- Proper attic ventilation is important to the overall health and longevity of a home. In some cases we will use properly size gable end vents with solid soffits to ensure that wind does not move the cellulose attic insulation. In large attics, using a combination of propa vents with ventilated soffits will provide adequate ventilation and ensure that the attic stays cold in the winter and warm in the summer with NO MOISTURE.
- Advanced Framing Techniques are important to use to help achieve optimal home performance and reduce the number of studs
without sacrificing any structural integrity. In most cases, we prefer building 24" on center (recommended by the US Department of Energy and Energy Star Homes) in our exterior walls which allows us to get more insulation in the wall. For every wood stud that is placed in an exterior wall, you are weakening the overall thermal performance of the home. We do build a lot of our custom homes 16" O.C. as some clients prefer this method, but we do not feel this is a better way to build.
- California Corners are essential to allowing each corner of the home to get a full amount of insulation. Most builders do not build this way and block in the corners which prevents the insulation crews from insulating those areas further weakening the home performance.
- Wall Panels (optional) are our preferred method for building homes as we can pre-build all of our walls in a climate controlled facility. The quality is superior and greatly speeds up the construction process.
- Advantech Subfloors with the Advantech Adhesive. Say goodbye to floor squeaks when using properly installed Advantech with Advantech Adhesive. When the two are combined this gives you the tightest subfloor bond in the industry and can be installed in cold and wet conditions.
- Getting homes to perform at their optimal level while reducing energy usage is a core component of what we do at Built By Adams.
We will NOT use fiberglass insulation in an exterior wall or attic at Built By Adams as there are much better options for insulation in Maine. We recommend cellulose insulation or open cell foam insulation for wall systems and box sills as both insulation's provide superior air sealing and sound deadening qualities as well as the ability to manage moisture properly throughout the various seasons in Maine.
- For flat and slightly sloped attic insulation we exclusively use cellulose insulation at a minimum R-Value of R-49. Cellulose provides superior insulation performance, reduces fire spread, and will not mold if it ever gets wet.
- Air sealing is key for a Built By Adams home to perform as it should and we spend a lot of time making sure all exterior wall studs and plates are properly air sealed with GE Silicone II caulking. We essentially create a weather tight seal inside the home preventing air infiltration and our homes typically test at 3 AirChangesPerHour or less. Air infiltration is a big cause of home discomfort, energy loss, and even insect infiltration. We also air seal around all windows/doors and all exterior penetrations with foam.
- A well built, tight home will act like a chimney, also know
as the Stack Effect, pulling cold air from the lowest level (basement) up through the 1st and 2nd floor. Today's building code requires that a basement be insulated, but most builders take the cheap way out and insulate the basement ceiling with fiberglass and do not insulate the cold concrete walls. Not at Built By Adams....we insulate the inside of the basement wall with Dow Thermax Rigid Foam Board Insulation that is fire rated and can be left exposed/uncovered. This is especially important if you have heating equipment in the basement as your furnace will not have to work as hard operating in a fully conditioned space. Adding insulation to the basement floor and ceiling is optional.
- To help combat the Stack Effect in our homes, we install an air prevention threshold on the bottom of the basement door going to the basement. This will prevent cold air from being pulled up through the home.
- Panasonic Whisper Green Fans are installed in all bathrooms with showers/tubs with a choice of continuous operation (at least one fan has to run continuously to exhaust stale air/moisture from the home) or motion/time delay sensors. Ventilation is very important when building a tight house to prevent moisture build up and homes from decaying.
- Panasonic Whisper Comfort Spot ERV fans are an affordable solution to bring in fresh air and reduce back-drafting in our homes without breaking the bank. At a bare minimum this is needed in our homes but we recommend, if budget allows, upgrading to the Intelli-Balance Solution.
- Panasonic Intelli-Balance 100 Balanced Air Solution ERV systems are optional but highly recommended and cost effective.
- The Dryer Box is installed to prevent clothes dryer hoses from getting crushed and allows for the hose to sit up and inside the wall or down to the basement.
- Heartland Dryer Vent Enclosure is installed to vent the dryer to the outside increasing energy efficiency and preventing critters from getting in. We also use insulated venting pipe for all our fans and vents.
- Also included in our ventilation strategy is dehumidifying during and after construction. During construction, a lot of moisture is introduced into the home with lumber, overall weather conditions, and of course concrete which is loaded with water. We have invested in several high powered commercial dehumidifiers and commercial grade fans to remove hundreds of gallons of moisture from the home BEFORE interior trim and flooring is installed. AFTER a client moves into a home, we highly recommend that all clients invest in a good quality dehumidifier with built in condensate pump/line to run in the basement, especially during the first couple of years as the concrete continues to dry out. Without properly dehumidifying a home during construction it can lead to warped interior doors, drywall cracks and pops, hardwood flooring that buckles, interior trim that separates, mold, and poor indoor air quality.
We guarantee our custom homes, additions, and basement finishing will be the best investment you can make and will stand the test of time. The benefits of building better and incorporating high performance building practices into the home include - increased comfort, improved indoor air quality, cost savings from reduced energy consumption, water and waste reduction, lower operation and maintenance costs, and enhanced occupant productivity and health.
Our research as a leading builder in Southern Maine indicates that total financial benefits of building an energy efficient home or addition are over ten times the average initial investment required to design and construct a typical home or addition. So the question becomes, why build a home any other way?
Built By Adams Custom Home Building Services
- The BBA Difference
- Custom Stick Built Homes
- Pricing and Fees
- Custom Home Design
- ENERGY STAR Custom Homes