Blog #3 Did you know...Low Voltage

What is low voltage? 

 Low voltage is basically your security system, surround sound system, TV and phone connections. We call each access point a drop and you can choose where you want them. You can also choose the amount. For example, if you want a TV in your bathroom, you’d need another drop for it. 


What can you do? 


Smart home

This includes all the home automation. Depending on what you want you spend, you can setup Alexa to do almost anything. For example, you could say “Alexa, movie time” and your home might lower the motorized shades, turn on your Tv and Av system, turn your lights down, and set the temperature in your media room to 68 degrees. The options are pretty much endless. 



Security can be simple or complex. Generally we standardize with a central panel, sensors on doors and windows, and a glass break sensor in the main room. If you wanted, you could build a full home surveillance system with overlapping sector camera systems, laser barriers that when cross project a pre recorded message or security lighting that triggers via motion sensors. The possibilities are only limited by your imagination and wallet. 


Lighting and Audio

Like I mentioned in the smart home section, you can setup different lighting “scenes” throughout your home that with a voice command or touch of a button changes the entire look of your home. Lighting is also used to highlight specific portions and key aspects of your home. For example, if you have an archway you might position up lights on either side to accentuate that key feature. In the audio department there are a TON of options. You can choose from different calibers of surround sound systems like 5.1 and Dolby Atmos. You can also choose whether or not you want to see your speakers. Some speakers can be implanted into your drywall in such a way that audio quality is not impacted but they are invisible to you and your guest. You can choose to hardwire speakers or you can utilize wireless options like those from Sonos.


We highly recommend our clients consult with interior designers before building their home. Interior designers do way more than decorate your home. They can take a wholistic approach to crafting how your home interacts with you. They will look at your plans day one and begin to help you craft your vision for not only how the home looks but feels when you’re in it. They will expertly accentuate the most appealing portions of your home and create living spaces you never want to leave. We cannot stress enough how much these professionals can change your home for the better. 

Blog #2: Did you know...Floor Joist

What are they?   

            Floor trusses are the structural foundation for the second floor of your home. There are generally two types of floor joist systems: 1) I-beam floor system 2) open web floor system. Both systems are structurally sound. That is to say, you aren’t lacking if you use the I-Beam system. I-Beam systems have been successfully used for decades. However, the engineered open web floor system is superior in our opinion and preferred in certain use cases. 



            As with all things, the I-Beam system has its pros and cons. 



·     Strong 

·     Simple

·     Generally cheaper


·     Harder work in and around 

·     Must cut holes in the I-Beam to run wires and HVAC components 

·     Old Technology 



Open Web Floor Systems: 

            Some of the pros and cons for this system: 


·     The strongest solution available 

·     Easy to work in and around 

·     No removal of material required 

·     Most advanced building method 

·     Other trades (electrician, HVAC and plumbers) prefer these (reduces labor cost).


·     More Expensive 

·     More complex 


What do we use? 

We use both! Generally speaking we prefer to use the open web floor system because we believe it is superior in pretty much every way. That being said, when possible we will also use the I-Beam system to save a little money. Generally, that happens in the home’s garage. Garages usually carry less load than the rest of the home. 

Blog #1: Did you know...Spray Foam

Hey everyone! Welcome to our blog! 

Thank you for taking the time to read what we have to say. We hope that this information is helpful, educational, and interesting for you. If it is, we hope you consider sharing this on any of your social media accounts and with your friends and family. We would also love to hear your feedback. If you have questions or comments, please feel free to reach out via Facebook or Instagram. Let us know what topics you’d like covered! 

For this blog we’re going to discuss insulation, specifically the spray foam insulation we use in the vast majority of our homes. 

What is it and how does it work? 

Well…its foam! More specifically, the foam is a mixture of chemicals that react with oxygen. When this reaction occurs, the foam expands 4-5 inches filling wall and ceiling cavities. This layer of foam takes the place of traditional blown or batt insulations.


Why foam?

That is huge question. There are a ton of reasons why and I’ll try to cover a few. 

First and foremost it provides a better R value (how effective the insulation is; thermal resistance) per inch (thickness) as compared to traditional blown or batt insulation. This allows your home to stay warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer. As I’m sure you can imagine, that reduces heating and cooling cost which saves you money! Most estimates center around 50% savings over time vs traditional insulation types. 

Foam also last longer when compared to the traditional blown and batt insulation styles. Foam tends to be more resistant to moisture, chemicals, rodents and dirt which are the main killers of insulation. Additionally, foam is MUCH better at sealing off spaces from air intrusion. This leads to better performance of your insulation. 

Lastly, foam can lead to a healthier home. Being resistant to moisture and mold growth combined with a solid seal from the outside dust and pollen leads directly to better air quality inside your home. This allows you to save money and breathe easier



So foam sounds great…what’s the catch?

 Cost. There is no hiding it. Foam is the highest performing insulation option on the market today. With that performance comes additional cost. We generally see foam accounting for an increase of approximately 50%. For reference, in a 2,000 square foot home, you’re looking at $2,500 for blown/batt vs about $5,000 for foam. We think it’s worth it. 


If you’d like to learn more:

Please feel free to visit our preferred vendor’s website: and as always come back for our next blog! We will continue to cover any and all aspects of home building! 

Build On Your Lot/Land

Already have a piece of property? MCH specializes in building homes on our clients lots and acreage. With over 40 years of experience, we understand the intricacies of this process and are equipped to build your dream home wherever you choose.


Better late than never! Make sure your home is ready to handle this cold weather!

Better late than never, right? This cold weather is brutal and can be damaging to your home if you don't take the proper steps to prepare. Check out this article from our friends at that shows you good tips on how to be proactive in your winter home maintenance. 

#1 Clean and Stow Your Mower

If you’re not familiar with fuel stabilizer, get to know it. If your mower sits for months with gas in its tank, the gas will slowly deteriorate, which can damage internal engine parts. Fuel stabilizer ($10 for a 10-ounce bottle) prevents gas from degrading.Add stabilizer to your gasoline can to keep spare gas in good condition over the winter, and top off your mower tank with stabilized gas before you put it away for the winter. Run the mower for five minutes to make sure the stabilizer reaches the carburetor.

Another lawn mower care method is to run your mower dry before stowing it.

1. When the mower is cool, remove the spark plug and pour a capful of engine oil into the spark plug hole.

2. Pull the starter cord a couple of times to distribute the oil, which keeps pistons lubricated and ensures an easy start come spring.

3. Turn the mower on its side and clean out accumulated grass and gunk from the mower deck.

Spend Oh-So-Wisely on a Kitchen Remodel

  1. 6 Materials Savvy Remodelers Never Use in Their Kitchens
  2. How to Shop for a Retro Kitchen — and Not Get Stuck with Junk
  3. Replace or Reface Your Kitchen Cabinets: The Options and Costs

#2 Remove Garden Hoses From Faucets

Remove garden hoses from outdoor faucets. Leaving hoses attached can cause water to back up in the faucets and in the plumbing pipes just inside your exterior walls. If freezing temps hit, that water could freeze, expand, and crack the faucet or pipes. Make this an early fall priority so a sudden cold snap doesn’t sneak up and cause damage.

Turn off any shutoff valves on water supply lines that lead to exterior faucets. That way, you’ll guard against minor leaks that may let water enter the faucet. 

While you’re at it, drain garden hoses and store them in a shed or garage.

#3 Drain Your Sprinkler System

Time to drain your irrigation system. Even buried irrigation lines can freeze, leading to busted pipes and broken sprinkler heads.

  1. Turn off the water to the system at the main valve. 
  2. Shut off the automatic controller.
  3. Open drain valves to remove water from the system.
  4. Remove any above-ground sprinkler heads and shake the water out of them, then replace.

If you don’t have drain valves, then hire an irrigation pro to blow out the systems pipes with compressed air. A pro is worth the $75 to $150 charge to make sure the job is done right, and to ensure you don’t have busted pipes and sprinkler head repairs to make in the spring.

#4 Seal Air Leaks

Grab a couple of tubes of color-matched exterior caulk ($5 for a 12-ounce tube) and make a journey around  your home’s exterior, sealing up cracks between trim and siding, around window and door frames, and where pipes and wires enter your house. Preventing moisture from getting inside your walls is one of the least expensive — and most important — of your fall maintenance jobs. You’ll also seal air leaks that waste energy.

Pick a nice day when temps are above 50 degrees so caulk flows easily.

#5 De-Gunk Your Gutters

Clogged rain gutters can cause ice dams, which can lead to expensive repairs. After the leaves have fallen, clean your gutters to remove leaves, twigs, and gunk. Make sure gutters aren’t sagging and trapping water; tighten gutter hangers and downspout brackets. Replace any worn or damaged gutters and downspouts.

If you find colored grit from asphalt roof shingles in your gutters, beware. That sand-like grit helps protect shingles from the damaging ultraviolet rays of the sun. Look closely for other signs of roof damage (#5, below); it may be time for a roofing replacement.

Your downspouts should extend at least 5 feet away from your house to prevent foundation problems. If they don’t, add downspout extensions; $10 to $20 each.

#6 Eyeball Your Roof

If you have a steep roof or a multistory house, stay safe and use binoculars to inspect your roof from the ground.

Look for warning signs: Shingles that are buckled, cracked, or missing; rust spots on flashing. Any loose, damaged, or missing shingles should be replaced immediately.

Black algae stains are just cosmetic, but masses of moss and lichen could signal roofing that’s decayed underneath. Call in a pro roofer for a $50 to $100 eval.

A plumbing vent stack usually is flashed with a rubber collar — called a boot — that may crack or loosen over time. They’ll wear out before your roof does, so make sure they’re in good shape. A pro roofer will charge $75 to $150 to replace a boot, depending on how steep your roof is.

#7 Direct Your Drainage

Take a close look at the soil around your foundation and make sure it slopes away from your house at least 6 vertical inches over 10 feet. That way, you’ll keep water from soaking the soils around your foundation, which could lead to cracks and leaks.

Be sure soil doesn’t touch your siding.

#8 Check Your Furnace

Schedule an appointment with a heating and cooling pro to get your heating system checked and tuned up for the coming heating season. You’ll pay $50 to $100 for a checkup.

An annual maintenance contract ensures you’re at the top of the list for checks and shaves 20% off the cost of a single visit.

Change your furnace filters, too. This is a job you should do every two months anyway, but if you haven’t, now’s the time. If your HVAC includes a built-in humidifier, make sure the contractor replaces that filter.

#9 Prune Plants

Late fall is the best time to prune plants and trees — when the summer growth cycle is over. Your goal is to keep limbs and branches at least 3 feet from your house so moisture won’t drip onto roofing and siding, and to prevent damage to your house exterior during high winds.

For advice on pruning specific plants in your region, check with your state extension service.

#10 Give Your Fireplace a Once-Over

To make sure your fireplace is safe, grab a flashlight and look up inside your fireplace flue to make sure the damper opens and closes properly. Open the damper and look up into the flue to make sure it’s free of birds’ nests, branches and leaves, or other obstructions. You should see daylight at the top of the chimney.

Check the firebox for cracked or missing bricks and mortar. If you spot any damage, order a professional fireplace and chimney inspection. An inspection costs $79 to $500.

You fireplace flue should be cleaned of creosote buildup every other year. A professional chimney sweep will charge $150 to $250 for the service.


If you're ready to get started on the home of your dreams, contact us today! 

Lots available for Custom Craftsman Homes!

MCH is excited to announce that we have 2 more lots available in historic downtown Mansfield for your Beautiful Craftsman home! These lots are in walking distance to  THE LOT, a live music venue, restaurants, shops, walking trails and so much more! Downtown Mansfield is welcoming new restaurants and businesses to create a destination that's fun for families and individuals alike.  Come and build your MCH craftsman home and be a part of this fun community! Contact us today for more details about lot availability and getting started on your home!