Looking for a Close by Adventure…The Lake Lure Flowering Bridge

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Jun 062018



Officially dedicated Oct. 19, 2013, the Lake Lure Flowering Bridge blooms on the historic 1925 Rocky Broad River bridge in Lake Lure, NC. When the bridge was closed to traffic in 2011, the Friends of the Lake Lure Flowering Bridge came together to create gardens on the 155 feet of the bridge and along a pathway at both ends of the three-arch span itself. With an emphasis on native plants, the Friends mission is to create a “Gateway to Somewhere Beautiful” for the enjoyment of the public.

The Bridge and Gardens are always open, and there’s no admission charge to visit.
The vast majority of our gardens are wheelchair accessible.

Click here to enjoy a high-definition video of the Flowering Bridge from HD Carolina.

Click here to read the latest Lake Lure Flowering Bridge Newsletter.

Looking for your Pathfinder Brick on the Lake Lure Flowering Bridge? Click here to access the latest directory of brick locations.

Big News! The Lake Lure Flowering Bridge has now joined the Appalachian Mural Trail. We’re designated a “living 3D mural.” Click here for more info.

Here’s something new. Click on “Map” at the top of this page to access lists of the plants and flowers in all the gardens at the Lake Lure Flowering Bridge.

Here’s a reminder of a story “Our State” magazine did about the Lake Lure Flowering Bridge in 2015.

Click here to read about our beautiful bridge in the March/April edition of WNC magazine.

Ever wonder where the idea for the Lake Lure Flowering Bridge originated? Click here to see a TEDx talk that explains it all.

The Tar Heel Traveler has discovered the Lake Lure Flowering Bridge. Click here to see WRAL-TV’s story about our gardens.

Click here to check out our “Bridge to Everywhere” in the July 2016 edition of Bold Life magazine.

Wow! Lake Lure and the Flowering Bridge are featured in a beautiful photo essay in the August 2015 Our State magazine. Click here to enjoy it.

From the bridge, visitors can look upstream to view the famous Chimney Rock, now part of Chimney Rock State Park. Downstream the river flows into Lake Lure, surrounded by the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains

We need your help. You can become a member of the Friends of the Lake Lure Flowering Bridge with your donation. We are also looking for volunteers.

Friends of the Lake Lure Flowering Bridge is a volunteer 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization. Donations to help preserve and maintain the bridge and gardens are appreciated – and tax-deductible.

Friends of the Bridge, P. O. Box 125, Lake Lure, NC 28746

Click here to see a list of nurseries. local artisans, local construction firms and others who have provided invaluable services and assistance to the Friends of the Lake Lure Flowering Bridge.

Build or Buy…Which is the Better Cost Effective Option!!!

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May 112018

Is Building a New Home a Better Deal Than Buying an Existing One?

Just the other day, a friend of mine argued that building a new home is more cost efficient than buying an existing property.

Her new home is almost finished, and will be move-in ready in about three weeks — so she’s understandably excited. Plus, she said, she’ll be saving all kinds of money because she built.

While I understood her excitement, I found that part puzzling. Was building a new home really cheaper? Please say it isn’t so.

She went on to explain that her new home came with a warranty on its construction and individual components, which would save her money if her home had any structural defects.

“Plus, I won’t have to replace a roof or an air conditioner for a decade,” she said. Since everything in her new house would be straight from the box, she felt sheltered from many of the surprise costs of home ownership we all complain about.

Why Building Usually Costs More

I wanted to dig deeper, so I reached out to an array of experts on the topic. As I suspected, there is no hard and fast rule. Just like the “rent versus buy” conundrum, the cost of building versus buying depends on a number of factors – some of which aren’t even in our control.

Still, the numbers don’t really lie. According to the National Association of Home Builders, the median price of a new home in the United States was $301,400 in February of 2016, while the median price of an existing home was $212,300.

That disparity can be explained at least partially by the idea that those who build new are often investing in larger and more luxurious homes. The median age of an existing, owner-occupied home in the U.S. is 37 years old, according to the NAHB. Back when such a house was built, around 1979, the median size of a newly constructed home was 1,645 square feet. In 2014, the median-sized new home was up to 2,453 square feet. A home that’s nearly 50% bigger is certainly going to cost more.

However, most experts concur that building new simply costs more on the front end. Here are a few reasons why:

Builder profits: Any new build is going to include some expectation for profit, which is part of the reason building a home costs more than buying an existing one, says founder of Beacon Real Estate, Stephen Maury.

“One contributing factor is the profit margin that a homebuilder will necessarily tack on to their cost of construction,” says Maury. “Sellers of older homes are less concerned with replacement costs than they are with capturing a profit on their investment,” he says. “Also, those homeowners will have benefited from value appreciation in the years since they built or purchased their home.”

More stringent energy policies or building codes: One instance where building new can cost more is when codes and rules have changed over the years, says Maury. “Depending on the age of the existing home, new homes may be required to be built to a more stringent energy code, to withstand higher winds, or at a higher elevation based on new FEMA projections for flood risks.”

Then, there are upgrades that are voluntary. One current trend is building “green,” or environmentally friendly homes, says Andrew Leff, national builder executive for Bank of America. Many newly-built homes come with energy certifications covering everything from roofs to appliance packages, while many existing homes were originally built to lower standards.

Then again, investing in an energy-friendly home could be a better long-term investment, says Leff. “While environmentally-friendly homes may cost more upfront to build, it could save you more money in the long run in terms of energy bills.”

The cost of land: When you buy an existing home, the cost of land comes with it. Buying a new home, on the other hand, generally means hunting down the perfect plot first. And that can be expensive, says Yariv Bensira of real estate firm Hyde Capital and investment management firm Lennox Companies.

“From my experience, if you’re looking to buy or build in a high demand area, the cost of purchasing land and then having to build a new home is more expensive than buying an existing home,” says Bensira. “The cost of the land [by itself] might be comparable to or near the cost of an existing home, so if you add in the building costs, permits, and time involved, you’re looking at a much more expensive proposition.”

The rising costs of materials: Where an existing home – and especially an older home – was built with materials that were purchased long ago, new homes require new materials that can be a lot more expensive.

“Building materials and building costs keep increasing,” says real estate investor Mark Ferguson of Invest Four More. “Building permits get more expensive.” While these costs can vary from home to home, increasing supply costs have a tendency to drive up prices for new homes across the board.

The Hidden Costs of Building a New Home

In addition to the many known and common costs that make building a new home an expensive proposition, a slew of hidden costs can also drive up the price of building. While some of these expenses are obvious if you really think about them, they still catch people off guard from time to time – and can send your building budget straight out the window.

What are some of these hidden costs? The experts weigh in:

  • Window coverings: “These usually come with an existing home, but can add up quickly if you have a lot of windows or if any are custom,” says real estate investor and consultant Eilene Wollslager.
  • Landscaping: “Most new builds either do not include landscaping, or only include front landscaping,” says Wollslager. “Depending on the size of your lawn and the detail of landscaping, this can add thousands of dollars.”
  • Random incidentals: There are always the unexpected costs, says Wollslager. These “extras” can include things like picture hanging supplies, decorating items (your old ones never seem to fit the style of the brand-new home), additional cable and electric outlets (they never seem to be where you thought they should go), extra keys and garage door openers. “There are always myriad small expenses that if you add them together can mount to a sizable expenditure,” she says. “Since these don’t always happen all at once, they often get overlooked as part of the expense.”
  • Furniture: If you’re building a bigger house, you might be surprised at how much more furniture you need. And whether you really need more furniture or not, you might find that your old pieces don’t work that well in your new place.
  • Upgraded finishes: “The biggest surprise cost in building a new home in a city usually appears with custom upgrades,” says Oregon realtor Kim Crieger. Add in the fact that most builders put in the least expensive paint, plumbing, and flooring at first. Whether you want to upgrade those finishes now or down the line, you’ll need to pay for them.
  • Driveways: With a country property especially, the most common unexpected expense is road and/or driveway building, says Crieger. “This usually costs far more than buyers anticipate, and is often taken for granted.”
  • Fences: If you want any expectation of privacy and have close neighbors, building a fence might be a necessity. Depending on the type and size of the fence, this can add several thousand dollars or more to the cost of building a new home.

And the list goes on and on. Depending on the size, location, and geography of your home, you could be on the hook for anything from custom sprinkler systems to alarm systems. At the end of the day, there is no limit to the “extras” you might find you need when you build a new home from scratch.

The Bottom Line

As with anything else, the difference in cost between building a new home and buying an existing one depends on a whole host of factors. The size and type of home you’re interested in will surely play a part, along with the location you hope to end up in.

To weigh the pros and cons of each option, Maury suggests sifting through some of your options and potential costs with a real estate broker. Start by searching available homes for sale. Then, once you find one you like, look for available lots where you might be able to build a similar home.

If you’re intrigued by the idea of building a home, talk to a contractor and ask about having a new home built in a similar style to the one you like. Find out the price per square foot of the construction, add in the cost of the land, and then compare the total to the cost of similar existing homes. Just make sure you’re taking into account everything that might be involved, including some of the hidden and unexpected expenses people don’t always plan for.

Either way, don’t listen to realtors, builders, or even friends who say one way is definitely cheaper than the other. With so many factors at play, it’s impossible for anyone to know with certainty. Building a cheaper starter home might be less expensive for one person, while buying an existing home and then adding custom upgrades could cause another person’s housing budget to explode.

At the end of the day, it pays to err on the side of caution and run all the numbers on your own. Whether building or buying, the best decision you can make is an informed one.


May 082018

I look at selling your home as an huge money-making opportunity. Here’s why – what is your current hourly wage at your job? If you’re like most Americans, it’s somewhere between $20 and $40 an hour. What if I told you that selling your home will give you the opportunity to make HUNDREDS per hour?

It’s true. Thank about it… imagine you want to get your house on the market in exactly one month. And during that month, you invested 50 hours and about $500 getting your house in tip-top shape (that’s 8 hours per weekend, plus one hour per evening during the week). If you follow the steps below, those 50 hours could easily get you an extra $10,000 or more for your house. That’s $200 an hour people! And it could easily be more.

House Ready Sell

Home buying and selling season is upon us, and while we are NOT moving, I know many of you might be. But we have sold a couple houses, and also helped many friends get theirs sold as well. And the houses we sold were for cash, and sold very quickly.

Here are the 10 things best things to do that will get your house ready to sell FAST and for the right price:

1. Pick a day to list in the future and work backward from it.

Don’t just list it right away. Don’t feel like you have to get it on the market ASAP. Make a list of what needs to be done (many of the those items are below), and then set a reasonable time that it will take to get them done.

Make that the day you will list. Also – keep in mind that if you think you’re only a week or so away from listing, you can go ahead and get it on the MLS listing and have showings scheduled. Just let the realtor know that there will be no showings before a certain date.

2. Ask for outside opinions of things that need to be done in your house.

You know that trim in your kitchen that you planned on painting, but only got the primer on?  Yes I’ll get to it someday, but we have a tendency to overlook imperfections in our own home because we are so used to seeing them.

But prospective buyers will see EVERYTHING. Invite some friends over and have them be brutally honest with how your house looks – inside and out. They will mention things you’ve never even thought of.

This will help you compile your to-do list.

3. Treat it like a business. Your house is no longer just your home, it’s an asset you are trying to get top dollar for.

I know that your house has so much meaning to you… the way it’s painted, the stuff you have on your walls… none of it matters anymore. Your house is now an asset for sale. It’s an asset that you want to get top dollar for.

This also means that you have to be very accommodating to showings. Yes, it’s always inconvenient to show your house, but you need to work on the schedule of prospective buyers, not the other way around.

Remember, the goal is to have as few showings as possible. You want one of those first ones to make an offer and sell it!

4. De-clutter.

Have you seen those pictures of living rooms in the furniture advertisements? They look fantastic, don’t they? There’s a couch, a chair, a couple of end tables, window treatments, and just a couple decorations on the wall. And that’s it.

Now look around the room that you’re in right now. It might be your living room or your bedroom… but how much more stuff does your room have in it compared to the picture in the ad? Probably a TON. I’m not saying you have to make it look just like those pictures, but try to get it close.

You are trying to sell your house, not your stuff. So showcase your house. For every piece of furniture, ask yourself if it adds to the overall feeling over your home or not. If it doesn’t, get rid of it.

Think of it as pre-moving. EVERYTHING in your home is coming out anyway, you’re just getting a head start.

5. Do some research on staging.

There’s a good chance that your furniture has been arranged the same way for a decade. And that’s fine – it could be the best way to showcase your home. But there might be a different way to stage your house that you’ve never thought of.

Do a quick google search on home staging and you will find lots of free advice and info our there to give you some different ideas.  I also wrote a post about how to get your house ready to sell without spending too much.

Think of fresh white towels and throw rugs in your bathrooms. Keep them in the closet, and when you have a showing throw your old ones in the hamper and put the new ones out.

Consider putting fresh flowers out as well.

6. Paint!

Freshly painted rooms look so clean. Every single little mark or scratch that have added up over the years will disappear, and your walls will once again look vibrant and new. Stick to neutral colors.

Oh, and that reminds me… do you have any kids who had their bedrooms painted with bold crazy colors? Yeah, time for those colors to go. Remember point number 3 – this is not just your home anymore, it’s an asset. And your prospective buyers are mentally keeping a tally of jobs that they will need to do when they move in.

Also – while you’re painting, consider different window treatments in some of the main rooms. They don’t need to be expensive, but a few hundred dollars spend on curtain rods, curtains, and nice 2″ white blinds will go a long way.

Sell your house FB

7. Focus on curb appeal.

Quick story – when we were considering moving, we looked at a large beautiful house a month ago. When we pulled up, I noticed one thing right away, there was green stuff and dirt on much of the siding. It didn’t look nice at all. Then when we got to the front porch, one of the posts has trim pieces at the bottom that had rotted and fallen off. And the posts themselves needed some paint.

I just didn’t understand it. At the price point that this house was at, how could you not fix these things? The inside of the house was gorgeous, but those first impressions were hard to overcome. It would have literally cost about $150 and part of one Saturday afternoon to repair all of those issues.

This is why your home’s exterior and curb appeal is so important (we painted our house last summer just in case we ever decide to sell). For better or worse, people do judge a book by it’s cover when it comes to houses. So do your best to make it look nice. Obviously, this isn’t the time to do any huge projects to significantly change the look of your house. But there’s still plenty you can do to improve the look of your house without spending much money.

  1. Give it a good powerwash, especially if you have vinyl siding. Either rent a machine and find a buddy who has one.
  2. Fix all the little stuff. Are there any trim pieces on your porch that have rotted and need to be replaced? Are there any broken pieces of siding? Could paint be touched up in a few spots? Now is the time to do it.
  3. Get fresh mulch. It looks so nice and won’t cost you much at all.
  4. Keep your lawn mowed, keep the toys out of the front yard all the time. You never know when someone is driving by.

8. Have a plan for when the call for showing comes.

When that call comes for a showing, it can be both exciting, and dreadful. It seems like the timing is usually terrible, your house is a mess, and you only have an hour and a half to make the house presentable and get the family out.

This is why you need to have a plan.

At this point, you’ve already de-cluttered, so you should have nearly as much stuff lying around as you did before. The way things are now, everything should have a place to get it out of site. In addition, furniture and decor should be staged at all times now. So what is left to do?

  1. Clean all dishes and put them away.
  2. Make all beds.
  3. Put all clothes in dressers, on hangers or in covered hampers. Try not to have clothes in the washer or dryer, those strangers in your house are likely to open the washer and dryer.
  4. Vacuum and sweep everything.
  5. Wipe down all counters, sinks and appliances.
  6. Have clean unused linens on hand. Keep them folded up in a chest or dresser, and pull them out to place in the kitchen and bathrooms when you have a showing.
  7. Light candles.
  8. Get the heck out of there!

9. Take GREAT photos.

There is no excuse to not have great photos these days. Everyone has a smart phone that has pretty amazing auto-light balancing features. But when I peruse listings, I see so many bad photos! And photos are important – it’s how you get people in your house.

Here are my tips:

  1. Don’t let your realtor take your photos. They might know what they’re doing, but you can do better.
  2. Get your house in showroom condition – as PERFECT as possible.
  3. Take the photos during the daytime with blinds and curtains letting in as much daylight as possible.
  4. Make sure to keep your camera or phone as perfectly level as you can.
  5. Do NOT take your pictures using portrait mode. Turn your camera sideways for landscape more. You want to see the room, not lots of floor and ceiling.
  6. For each room, get as close to a corner of the room as you can. This will make your rooms appear very large.
  7. Use wide angle or panoramic for some shots.
  8. Edit your photos. There are many free photo editing apps out there today. If you’ve never edited photos before, I suggest you just to the following to make your home photos look top-notch:
    • Brightness and contrast – hit an auto-adjust button.
    • Saturation/vibrance – bump up the saturation just a touch. It will make your colors pop, but not so much that it looks unrealistic.
  9. The exterior shop is the most important one. Get your cars out of the shot and back up as much as you can to take this shot and make sure to get the entire house in the picture.

10. Price it right out of the gate and get your realtor excited.

When a house is first listed, it will have it’s highest level of interest during those first few weeks. It’s new on the market, and generating as much buzz and excitement as possible is important. If you follow the steps above and have rockin’ pictures, you will definitely get that buzz. But make sure to pick a realtor who is both very enthusiastic to show your house and one who also has lots of connections. Realtors talk, and you want someone who will make those calls to colleagues saying things like “you’ve GOT to get your clients over to see this house!”

Pricing is really tricky, and this is one area that you will need to rely on your realtor for advice. You want to sell it fast… but if it sells too fast, maybe you priced it too low. On the other hand, if you price it too high, then it might sit for longer than you want and that buzz and excitement will wane. Prospective buyers will see that it’s been sitting for a while and will be more likely to come in with lower offers.

Getting Rid of the Overwhelm – Tips & Trick to Cope w/ your busy Life!!!

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May 012018

10 Tips and Tricks to Help You Cope with Your Busy Life


We all want to be happy and make a success of our lives.  Of course we do.  But sometimes, ‘stuff’ gets in the way.  We get bogged down in the little things and distracted by all the overlapping strands in our lives that need attending.  When this happens, we can easily lose sight of the big picture, of what we really want.


Not Enough Time

To get back on track, careful planning and a willingness to work hard becomes important.  Success in life is often measured by the work we put into it. If you want your life to be a success, then it helps to be to be organized and focused.


The following tips and tricks are designed to help you with your all aspects of your life. It’s time to get rid of the ‘overwhelm’ and begin living the life you want!


1. Create a To Do List: A To Do list is your number one tool for managing all the many strands of your life. You can set up a ‘To Do’ list on a piece of paper or in your diary, but the best idea is to create one in Microsoft Word or Microsoft Outlook.


The ‘Efficiency Guru’, Michael Linenburger, suggests that we can better manage our lives simply by creating a simple, 2 page ‘Workday Mastery To Do List’ and segmenting it into three ‘urgency zones’ – ‘Critical Now’, ‘Opportunity Now’, and ‘Over the Horizon’ tasks.

Now Not Later

The first page of the list is called the ‘Now Tasks List’, which has two sections matching the first two urgency zones (‘Critical Now’ and ‘Opportunity Now’). In the ‘Critical Now’ section only place those tasks which are absolutely due today (and remember, never let this section get bigger than 5 tasks). This section, which you should review several times a day, will help to give you clarity and an understanding of what you need to accomplish to lower your stress levels and achieve peace of mind. If you are not certain whether a task should be placed in this list, ask yourself this question – Will I be able to relax and enjoy myself tonight knowing this task hasn’t been done? If the answer is ‘No’, then the task should be in your ‘Critical Now’ list.


‘Opportunity Now’ tasks are those that are not necessarily due immediately, but which you would like to get to today if you can find the space and time. You need to review this list at least once a day in case the opportunity arises to get something done or in case an item on this list has suddenly become urgent. It’s important to note that this list will likely grow large quickly. To avoid the list getting too large (and thus unusable) never let the list of tasks in this section get above 20 in number. To keep it small move lower priority items to your ‘Over the Horizon’ list and tasks that have become more urgent into your ‘Critical Now’ section.


‘Over the Horizon’ tasks are tasks or lower priority items that can be postponed until next week or potentially much longer. You need to review this list periodically to see if you can fit one of the tasks into your schedule or whether you should move one or more of them into your ‘Opportunity Now’ list.


Remember that your list will soon get out of control and the sense of overwhelm will return if you don’t review it regularly and follow the protocols attached to maintaining the list.


These protocols are:

  • ‘Critical Now’ List: Review several times a day. Never allow more than 5 tasks to be present in this list.
  • ‘Opportunity Now’ List: Review at least once a day. Never allow more than 20 tasks to be present in this list. Shift tasks to the ‘Critical Now’ or ‘Over the Horizon’ lists as your priorities change.
  • ‘Over the Horizon’ List: Review a couple of times a week. Shift tasks to the ‘Opportunity Now’ list if you have left them too long or they start to become more pressing.


 2. Embrace the Hard Stuff:Embrace the Hard StuffAlways tackle the largest or most daunting item on your To Do List first. Simply by getting your teeth into it (it may be a task you can’t complete in one sitting), you will not only conquer your fears, but the other tasks on your list will suddenly seem a whole lot more manageable!


3. Set Aside time for Work: This might sound obvious, but it’s amazing how the day can get away on you and the commitments you have made to your work or another task are put to one side. To overcome this, set aside a specific period of time (maybe 10 minutes, maybe 30 minutes, maybe a whole hour) where you do nothing but work. During this time you must remove all distractions and focus on the task at hand, committed entirely to becoming a ‘work demon’!


4. Don’t Overlook the Small and Easily Forgotten: Putting out the rubbish, clearing the dishwasher, cutting your toenails… There are lots of little tasks that we are forever putting off until suddenly, they’ve all piled up! Don’t let them. Take a deep breath, look around, and use the next 120 seconds to be productive!


5. Find the Space to Breathe: This is really important! No matter how important the task, you can’t work on it forever. From time to time, you must treat yourself to a break, even if it’s only for 10 minutes. Relax. Meditate. Read a book. Grab a cup of coffee and watch the world wander past your window. Do whatever it is that makes you feel good. And then go back to your task. You’ll feel much better and you’ll be more focused.


6. Remove Distractions: Distractions are everywhere, and while you may believe you are the world’s best multi-tasker, work quality always suffers when you get interrupted. And don’t we all love to be distracted! In our modern age, the internet and emails are our biggest sources of distraction, whilst calling a friend or Don't Get Distractedfinishing the next chapter in the book we are reading remain age-old standards of distraction. Put them aside. Put on some noise-cancelling headphones and get on with what you need to do.


7. You Don’t Need to Be a Perfectionist:This stops a lot of us. We become so worried about doing something absolutely right that we end up doing nothing at all. Be prepared to forgive yourself if something doesn’t go exactly as you want it to. Better still, be proud of yourself for having given it a go.


8. Keep Yourself Motivated: Set goals and make a timeframe in which to achieve them. And be prepared to reward yourself when you get something done. Alternatively (and this works well for serial procrastinators) punish yourself for not getting something done. A reward might be as simple as curling up on your couch with a book or going to a movie. A punishment might be NOT doing those things – even if you planned to – until your task is complete.


9. Make Yourself Accountable to Others: At the dinner table or during meetings, announce out loud what you’re going to accomplish or let people know the tasks for which you are responsible. This not only puts your reputation on the line, but it shares the accountability and motivates everyone.

Speak the Truth

10. Focus On the End Goal: It’s vital you have a big picture goal – something you want for yourself or your family. Keep it in mind at all times and keep going for it, even when the small stuff gets in the way.




How Extreme Weather Conditions Effect Home Building

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Apr 272018

A vital consideration in the home building industry is building with durable, weather resistant lap siding. Many builders build with fiber cement siding because wind, rain, snow, cold, drought, heat and sun all effect the condition of your home and extreme weather can have a severe impact on its structure. Home builders are knowledgeable about the weather conditions in their area and build homes with materials that are best suited to the environment.

Here is how weather conditions take their toll on a home.


Wind can cause two conditions: up-lift and racking. Up-lift develops when rapidly moving wind creates an area of lower pressure on the leeward roof slope, walls, and inside the house. The home’s inside pressure can push the structural components outward. Homebuilders use special connections to attach the roof to the house in areas that experience extreme conditions such as hurricanes and tornadoes. Racking can occur when the high wind forces do not hit the house squarely. The home’s framing will usually withstand the racking force, but extremely high winds can tear singles off the roof. The wind can also create major damage by driving rain up under roof shingles, vertical siding, window frames, doors and roofs. It is important all these construction materials are properly installed and maintained to avoid damage to your home.


Sometimes the more creative architects are, the more vulnerable a home is to rain damage because there are more design breaks in the walls and roof. These breaks can be susceptible to water penetration if not properly sealed and maintained. Rain can damage your home in two main areas. First, installation of chimneys, skylights and plumbing vents all create “penetrations” in the roof which are sealed with flashing, caulk and roof cement. All sealing methods eventually expand, dry out and erode so sealing material must be inspected annually and replaced or repaired to prevent water damage. The second concern is the home’s foundation. The stability of the house depends on the ability of the soil to absorb rain. When soil becomes saturated and can no longer absorb and drain the water, leaks can occur in basements and crawl spaces; and in extreme cases, cause the foundation to shift. Home builders construct homes so they stand up to soil conditions in their particular area of the country.


The amount of snowfall is also considered in a home’s design. Snow is very heavy. Light snow weighs about 10-15 pounds per cubic foot. Heavy, wet snow can weigh up to 40-50 pounds per cubic foot. Building codes in some mountainous areas of the country require roofs to be designed for as much as 400 pounds per square foot which is the equivalent of 6 feet of water on the roof. Homes are designed to withstand the weight of the snow to eliminate sagging, cracking and collapsing roofs. There is a benefit to snow, however, it is a good insulator. Snow piled around foundations and the roof will help hold heat in homes and reduce heating costs. Winters with little snowfall actually result in higher heating costs.

Heat and Sun

The heat from the sun is another natural force that builders consider when choosing building materials that are best suited to the climate. The sun can cause a home to dry out and prematurely age. Roofing materials can wear significantly faster in warmer climates than in moderate ones. It is a good idea to install an attic fan or ridge vents to help release the hot air because the heat in attics can also cause the wood to dry out. These devices can reduce the cost of cooling your home. Homeowners should always consider fans and vents when re-roofing an older home. Another consideration is the color of a home. Air conditioners will work harder in darker colored homes than in lighter ones because dark colors absorb more heat than lighter colors. Unfortunately, areas like the desert usually experience both the extreme heat and the extreme cold causing cracks and voids to develop because of unequal rates of expansion. Builders in desert regions choose materials that react favorably to the extremes and deteriorate less quickly.


Drought can cause soil, such as clay, to shrink and crack and puts stress on a home’s foundation that can be costly to fix. Conversely, water can cause certain soils to expand and damage a home’s foundation. Builders in areas with these types of soils build houses on foundations designed to allow for the stress so the foundation remains stable.Drought also has an affect on wells because it lowers the water table. Water can become polluted with sediments and unfit for drinking. Homeowners who use well water need to have the water tested for purity regularly.


Temperature and Precipitation Graph