Set in Stone

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When coming up with ideas for the Build The USA home, our designer (Chris Gooden) insisted on decorative stone on the front of the house. Ok, he didn’t really insist. He drew it because he thought we’d like it. We did like it. And now, it has become reality. The stone work was completed today and it looks great.

When creating a stone entrance, there are several options: natural stone and manufactured stone. After seeing the manufactured stone (we were amazed at how real it looked) and reading about the benefits, we chose Veneerstone, who has more than 30 years of producing concrete building materials. Some of the benefits of manufactured stone are:

• Less expensive to purchase
* More cost effective to install
• Wide selection of colors
• Up to 75% lighter than natural stone

The stone work was done by Darren McCaffery Stucco and I’d like to thank Conley Minott for the exceptional work he did on the project. Conley’s attention to detail helped create an entrance we will enjoy walking through for years.

Special thanks also to RS Elliott Speciality Supply for their help. They arranged for the manufacture of numerous samples. And thanks to Veneerstone for making those samples and for creating a beautiful product… and for American manufacturing; the stone is manufactured in North Carolina!

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Press – Round 2

The Build the USA story was again picked up by papers around the country. Thanks to these papers (and more) for covering the importance of American manufacturing. Stay tuned for an upcoming story by Chase Cain, Fox 35 News.

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Hang in There

Ok, technically, a hammock is not part of the construction. But, to us, the home wouldn’t be complete without it. My parents gave this as an early housewarming gift and it has already been home to many weekend naps. Thank you Mom & Dad!

This hammock is made in South Carolina by Pawleys Island Hammocks, who have been making hammocks for over 120 years. Originally made to be a cool, comfortable, cotton-rope bed for steamy Lowcountry nights out on the water, the hammock design has basically remained unchanged since 1893.

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Built Like a Tank


The septic system was installed last week. This includes both the drain field piping and septic tank. The tank is manufactured by Infiltrator Systems, Inc., the world’s leading manufacturer of plastic drainage containers.

The drain field piping is manufactured by PTI (Plastic Tubing Industries), who have been offering innovative drainage solutions for more than 40 years. P.T.I. is the industry leader in developing new technologies in the fields of mining, forestry, retention and detention systems, as well as rainwater harvesting and collection.

The installation of the system was done by Total Septic, a third generation Central Florida company offering modern technologies, up-to-date designs, and experienced technicians.

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Orlando Sentinel follows up

The Orlando Sentinel today featured a follow up story on the Build The USA house. The article, written by the Sentinel’s Mary Shanklin, covers the details of the project and unveils some of the challenges faced over the past 6 months.

The story can be read here.

The original story, written in May, can be viewed here.

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Tile One On

The decision for flooring was a mix. For bedrooms, it was an easy choice… wood (we’ll discuss that later). But for the great room, kitchen and bathrooms, tile was chosen for its durability. You see, with a lake in the back yard and half a dozen nieces and nephews only minutes away, porcelain tile was selected as the worry-free choice. The tile chosen was the ‘Layers’ style from Florim, an Italian tile made right here in the USA. Other products used are:

Floor & shower tile – Florim USA
Mortal Mix & grout – Amerimix
Tile Underlayment – USG

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Put a Lid on it

As we look back on the timing of our construction, I think we timed it perfectly… to build almost exactly during the rainy season. So, it only made sense that the roof was put on once the rainy season had come to an end. Ha.

For the shingles on our home, we chose Certainteed Carriage House shingles. Manufactured in multiple locations throughout the US, this super-heavyweight shingle offers premium performance, a unique scalloped edge, and shadow lines providing depth and richness. This shingle also comes with an excellent warranty:

• Lifetime, limited transferable warranty
• 10-year SureStart™ warranty (100% replacement and labor costs due to manufacturing defects)
• 15-year StreakFighter™ warranty against streaking and discoloration caused by airborne algae
• 15-year, 130-mph wind-resistance warranty (CertainTeed starter and CertainTeed hip and ridge are required)

As mentioned in an earlier posting, we chose Gold Key Roofing as our roofing contractor. Gold Key has 24+ years of business in the Orlando area and is a member of the Better Business Bureau & National Association Against Consumer Fraud.

The roof looks outstanding. Thanks to all the folks at Gold Key for a job well done. They went the extra mile to find valley material made in the USA and to confirm that all other materials were made in the USA.

Other products used during roofing are:

Plastic Cement – Mule-Hide Products
Roofing Nails – Maze Nails
30 lb Felt – Tamko

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Smooth Over

The drywall was finished last week, and only two products were used for all the taping, bedding, and skimming.

Joint Compound – Proform Brand (National Gypsum)
Joint Tape – Proform Brand (National Gypsum)

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Cover Up

Drywall started this week and in 2 short days, the hanging of the drywall (mudding and taping are next) was complete. It’s amazing to watch these guys work.

All products used during this step of construction were American made.

Drywall – Lefarge Drywall
Drywall Screws – Brynolf Construction Products
Corner Bead – Phillips Manufaturing Co.
Staples – Arrow
Cement Board – National Gypsum

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Soffits Installed

The soffits on the Build the USA home were just completed, and what a difference soffits make. We picked our trim color prior to picking the color for the soffits (the soffits come pre-finished) and fortunately Mike Harman, from Aluminum by Mike, found American made soffit materials that matched the trim color perfectly. He also shared an interesting story regarding the staples used for the soffit track. Senco makes a variety of staple products, but their manufacturing locations vary for different sized staples. The 5/8″ staples were made in China, but the 3/4″ staples were made in the USA. Perfect. And thanks for the double checking, Mike.

The actual soffits themselves are made right here in Florida. Aluminum Coils, Inc., in business since 1989, manufactures both the soffit and channel in Tampa, FL.

Thanks to Aluminum by Mike for their great work! The exterior of the home looks nearly complete.

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