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Renovate or Build New

The Washington Metropolitan area is a mixing bowl of old & new homes dating back before the 1700’s to present. Whether Neo Classical, traditional Colonial, Contemporary, or Modern in style, homes have taken on a distinctive style defined by the time period in which they were built. For example, in the suburbs of Maryland, Split Levels and Ranch style houses were typically built and synonymous with the 1960’s. The Colonial, an original and more traditional Washington architectural style, has changed its appearance as it too continues to transform every decade. Every decade has not only been unique in architecture but also in the materials used to construct the home, with brick and siding being the most prevalent materials used to construct the older homes in the Washington area.

Recently there has been a big movement towards replacing some of the older more dilapidated homes with new construction. There is a popular trend towards the Colonial “Arts and Crafts” architectural appearance. Obvious exterior changes are the Front porches, 2 car Garages, and the frequent use of Hardiplank or Cedar siding exteriors with occasional stone accents. Yet, the most apparent difference between the old and new homes today is size, where the demand for new construction has typically commanded homes that are much larger in square footage to its older counterparts. Three Brother’s Land Co often offers new homes to be purchased, some available for immediate delivery and some far enough along for the homeowner to be able to visualize the house and yet still be able to select their own finishes. Of course, if you own an old home that does not warrant renovating, Three Brother’s Land Co can build your custom dream home on your property or on another lot already acquired by Three Brother’s Land. When building a new home, it is recommended to contact your builder to discuss the “lay of the land”. Important factors are the lot size and dimensions, hills and contour, as well as local County building laws/ordinances. Before purchasing any lot feel free to consult with a land expert, like Three Brother’s Land Co, to get a feel for what type of home can be built and what restrictions might come into play.

The flow of rooms in new homes is ideal for today’s informal life style. Aside from the prevalent open floor plan where the Family Room is open to the Kitchen, there are higher ceiling heights, larger baths and closets, and typically more windows allowing for more natural light. Secondly, the materials used to build new homes today are far more energy efficient and third, they have built in security measures for the homeowner’s safety. There are varying degrees of energy savings in new home construction whether or not the home is green certified. LEED certification is costly and because few homeowners can afford to be LEED certified, Three Brother’s Land Co offers ways to incorporate energy saving into the home, from Solar Panels to Geothermal Systems. Three Brother’s Land Co inherently builds with energy saving materials and products. Insulation between walls in an older home has often dissipated and not to be compared with the quality of today’s insulation which is also used from recycled material. Windows used are “low e” with double panes and glazed. “Energy Star” rated appliances and HVAC systems that are high efficiency offer savings on utilities. Hardiplank is made from a composite of reclaimed concrete, saving trees and, as an added bonus, is also fire and termite resistant. Among the many safety measures, Montgomery County ‘s new building codes require every home to have an interior sprinkler system inherently built into the walls/ceilings in case of accidental fire. Hardwired smoke & carbon monoxide detectors are also required by code throughout the home, including in every bedroom. Among other perks, homes today have fewer environmental & health hazards. Radon pipes are required and built-in to easily facilitate remediation where needed. Plumbing pipes and paint in new homes are now lead free.

Inspite of the positive attributes and modern conveniences that come with new construction, many would argue that the charm and character of older homes is irreplaceable, and therefore prefer to renovate. Often a renovation is done to help update or expand an older home. Upon deciding the scope & scale of the addition, an architect can easily design a beautiful addition to the home while maintaining the architectural integrity and character of the home. Ideally, the addition blends in both in style and scale to the original house. When a relatively large addition is added however, it is important to evaluate the age and condition of the electrical, plumbing, and mechanical systems in the original part of the home. It is always more difficult to integrate the systems of an old home with the new addition as there is limited space to move duct work and pipes throughout the existing part of the home. Balancing the heating and cooling from the old to the new is rarely perfect and a difficult science, as the materials in the old part of the home react differently than the new addition even when exposed to the same temperatures. This may be due to the old vs new windows, insulation, and overall materials used. The results can be successful but the design should not be taken for granted. It is recommended to plan ahead during the design phase to incorporate the most effective means of balancing heating and cooling temperatures allowing your builder to collaborate with an experienced HVAC contractor.

Of course, these are just a few tips and examples needed whether renovating or building new. Both can be a positive experience if done properly, consulting with experienced experts in the field. Feel free to contact Three Brother’s Land Co for design ideas, architectural references, available new homes for sale, and any information pertaining to land and lot purchases. Ask for Andrew Carbone at 301-252-8715.