The Manuel Builders Blog

Category: FAQs

What Flooring Should I Use in My Kitchen?

Categories: FAQs, Home Design | Posted: September 21, 2018

We get this question often from our homeowners, specifically regarding the use of laminate wood flooring in this part of the home.  The answer is yes, it can be used, but NO we do not recommend that you use laminate in the wet areas such as: the kitchen, bathrooms, and the utility room. Both laminate and luxury vinyl flooring provide the look of wood, but at a more affordable price.

Laminate vs. Luxury Vinyl Flooring:

Laminate is water resistant, but not water proof; therefore, it would not be recommended to lay down in areas that have a chance of getting wet. Excessive amounts of water have the potential to warp or permanently damage this type of flooring.

Laminate flooring is made from pressed wood core with a decorative and protective layer on top to give it the finished look. The protective top coat is durable and helps resist scratches and wear and tear, which is a benefit when using it in high traffic areas such as the entryway, the living room and bedrooms. Laminate flooring is also easy to clean.

Layers of laminate flooring:

 

 

Tips on cleaning laminate flooring:

  • Vacuum to pick up dirt, rocks, and grime
  • Dust the floor
  • A recommended cleaner for laminate flooring is Bona
  • Use a microfiber cloth when cleaning laminate floors

 

When our homeowners want to have the same floor throughout, luxury vinyl flooring is a great option to achieve this look. Vinyl flooring can be used in places that you would not normally put laminate flooring, such as a kitchen, laundry room or bathroom. Depending on the type, vinyl floor is durable, water resistant and many styles are completely waterproof, therefore if you have a leak in the kitchen, your floor will not get damaged.

Layers of luxury vinyl flooring:

 

 

Tips on cleaning luxury vinyl flooring:

  • Use a soft bristle broom to remove loose dirt
  • Damp mop as needed with clean water and a non-abrasive floor cleaner, like Bona

 

 

 


 

-Written by our Design Coordinator, Lisa Keeter

“Spending time and advising homeowners while they select all their colors and finishes to truly personalize their home is absolutely my favorite step in the in-house process.  I love helping them create their home from the ground up . . . we actually place a homeowner’s chosen flooring down and make the rest of their selections on top of that base.  It really helps coordinate the other elements in a home – from countertops and cabinets to backsplashes and faucet fixtures – with the colors flowing throughout the home.”

Helpful Home Hints

Categories: Building Process, FAQs, Other | Posted: July 15, 2018

Building a home is a huge endeavor and because of that, we make sure that every little detail will never go unnoticed. Once you begin the construction of your home, you may come across a few moments when something doesn’t look right or the same as you remember from your selections meeting. When working with Manuel Builders, we do our best to make these moments disappear. That includes preparing you beforehand so you know exactly what’s going on every step of the way!

Since the beginning of the year, we have been sharing some helpful home hints to explain certain parts of our process that could cause homeowners anxiety or confusion. Did you miss a few of them? No worries at all! We’ve compiled all of our helpful hints from this year into this one location, so that you can stay updated on what to expect when you choose to build a Manuel Builders home. Happy building!

 

1. Get With Your Lender Before You Begin Construction

If you’re planning to build a home on your own property, did you know that you need a construction loan? Many homeowners worry about paying the monthly interest rate on the construction loan during the actual building stages. It’s a common misunderstanding that the construction loan holds a full monthly note, similar to a monthly mortgage payment. In actuality, a construction loan is an “interest-only” loan, meaning you are only paying interest on the amount being used each month (similar to how credit card interest works). As the builder takes a draw from the construction line of credit, the balance increases and the payment adjusts, according to what funds are actually being used in that month of construction.

2. Snazzy Gold Door Knobs

Don’t panic if you arrive at your construction site and notice that the exterior door knobs are not what you remember picking out at selections. During the construction process, Manuel Builders will install temporary door knobs on all exterior doors as a means of protecting the knobs from scratches or other damage. Once construction is complete and you move in, you will notice the proper door knobs have been installed!

 

3. Windows Looking a Little Bare?

In South Louisiana, opening the windows and enjoying the breeze is one of the greatest perks of living here! But, of course, you won’t want the army of mosquitos and other critters getting in. Our team makes sure to take care of your window screens during the construction process so as to not allow any tears or holes to form before you even move in. That’s why your Project Manager moves all window screens into the attic during the construction process and installs them once construction is complete!

 

 

 

4. The Color Won’t Stay That Way, We Promise!

It’s probably in every new homeowner’s deepest nightmare…showing up to your almost completed home and seeing a color you did NOT pick out. Well, for our clients that choose the James Hardie Plank Veneer exterior (which is becoming increasingly popular, particularly with our Farmhouse style homes), this fear may manifest for a brief second when they show up after the initial installation of these walls. But don’t worry! This is not permanent. The yellow color of the plank is the signature primer that all the Hardie planks are treated with, prior to delivery. This primer ensures that the paint color you actually choose maintains the look you want for years to come. By the time you move in, your selected color will replace the yellow primer and will keep its quality!

 

5. No Need to Pay Attention to the Brick Bundles!

Brick veneer is very popular because it is a very low-maintenance element. Something that may concern our new homeowners is that the brick on the pallets doesn’t really look like the brick they selected with our Design Consultant. A couple of things to keep in mind is that brick will appear darker when wet. Since the brick wall is made up of 30% mortar, the brick will not show its true appearance until it is fully
installed with the mortar. Also, only the face of the brick – the side that is shown on the brick wall – receives the texture and coating you will recognize from your selection. However, manufacturers will often place the bricks on the pallet with the “butt” of the brick facing outwards. This is what causes some confusion as to whether or not the correct bricks were ordered. Rest assured that the bricks you selected are the ones being installed by our team!

 

 

We hope you found these explanations helpful and they give you some peace of mind during the construction process. As always, our team is here to answer any questions and explain our methods as we build you the home of your dreams. Just talk to your Project Manager if something doesn’t feel right and we will do our best to help put you at ease. Manuel Builders is here to make home building easy!

Check back to our Facebook page once a month to see more #HelpfulHomeHints during the construction of your home!

 

 

 

Our Most Commonly Asked Question

Categories: Building Process, FAQs | Posted: May 31, 2018

Every day, in each city that we serve, our building consultants field dozens of phone calls from potential homebuyers. What is the number one custom plan question we get?…

“How much do you charge per square foot?”

The answer … It’s a really big range! Our average square footage range is anywhere from $75-$140 per square foot depending on what size home you are looking to build and what features you are looking to put into it. Because of this, there are many factors that go into determining the overall price of your home. Below is a list of just a few:

  • Ceiling Heights (Range 8’ – 12’)
  • Exterior Veneer (Vinyl, Hardi, Stucco, Brick, Painted Brick)
  • Exterior style of the home (French, Heritage, Cottage, Farmhouse, etc.)
  • Square footage of home (Living, Covered, Garage and Storage)
  • Size of AC unit(s) and water heater(s) (Tonnage is calculated by your square footage)
  • Number of bathrooms in your home
  • Lot necessities (Sewer systems, Culverts, Driveways, Underground utilities, etc.)
  • Linear footage of cabinetry and countertops
  • Flooring type and locations
  • Appliances (Gas, Electric)

 

We are happy to share this range with you. However, to truly get an accurate cost of construction, you need to schedule your first consultation to discuss what specifics you are wanting in your new home.

We typically advise that you begin with our stock plans found online to determine square footage approximations before you come in. You can also send us a copy of your plans so that we can suggest a few of our similar layouts and assist you in ball parking your home price. The price of your home, just like the layout and style, will be customized to fit you and your family’s lifestyle!

Interested in getting those numbers? Call up one of our Building Consultants today @ 337-981-5315


 

-Written by our Building Consultant, Wendi Ritz

“When she’s not figuring out how to make the master closet bigger or if she can get that oversized tub to work in your layout, she’s chasing her trio of Ritz athletes from baseball to football to volleyball practice or hot gluing together whatever school project is due next week . . . occasionally burning a few fingers in the process!”

 

 

 

 

 

Path to Building on Your Land

Categories: Building Process, FAQs | Posted: February 9, 2018

When you think of building a home, you may have the thoughts like “that feels overwhelming” or “there’s no way I can get that done right.” And if you’re doing everything yourself; you’re running from one place to another and choosing everything on your own, it really can be!

What we do at Manuel Builders is we take all that complication & difficult decision making and simplify them by giving you your very own guide for every step of the process! In the flow chart above, we break down the steps of our building process from start to finish. We categorize these steps into 3 main phases: Customize Your Home, Finalize The Details and Construction.

Before beginning construction on your new home, we’ll work together to design a home that suits your needs and wants, build an itemized guaranteed bid for you, then draw up home plans for you to approve and finalize. When building on your own property, the world is your oyster! You have dozens of plan options & elevations to choose from for your future home. But before you get overwhelmed, our team is here to guide you every step of the way! In phase 2, we get very detailed as we finalize all the interior and exterior finishes like lighting, faucets, hardware and more. We’ll also map out exactly where your home will sit on your lot to then begin the dirt and foundation work. The last phase is the easiest phase for you! At this point, we’ve worked with you to check all the boxes off on the list and now you can sit back, relax and watch your vision come to life!

Are you interested in building your home on your land with Manuel Builders? We invite you to take a look through our plans to find the perfect one that will suit your family’s lifestyle! Begin your journey here.

Want to get an even better grasp of our build process straight from our team? Take a listen to our Regional Consultant Manager, Marie as she breaks it down for you in this video.

Lamplighter Realty

Categories: Community, FAQs | Posted: January 31, 2018

One of the perks when purchasing a home in our developments is the opportunity to work with our in house realtor, Tassie Fonseca of Lamplighter Realty.

Manuel Builders offers two ways to build your home, on your land and in a development. For the development side, it’s important to have someone that knows our product helping to sell it. With Tassie of Lamplighter, she has years of experience on our MB team, giving her all the knowledge she needs to carry our homes to the customer, then to the point of closing. We simply save you a step when shopping for a Manuel Builders’ home by providing you with the best realtor around!

The name Lamplighter stems from the scripture verse “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” (Psalm 119:105); therefore the tagline or motto “Lighting the way home” is often used to represent its mission. A home is much more than a purchase, it’s a place where people do life together. In many times, the way people get to that place is with the help of a realty company that leads them on the path of homeownership. Tassie says, “My personal goal is to respect people in all walks of life, guiding and helping them as much as I can. Buying a home is a huge deal and people should feel like we understand that and are here to help them along that journey.”

Lamplighter Realty proudly serves all Manuel Builders’ development homes in the Lafayette & Lake Charles regions.


Tassie Fonseca, Lamplighter Realty

337-501-5011

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Paint Color Tour

Categories: FAQs, Home Design | Posted: January 9, 2018

 

When styling your home, selecting the right paint colors is exceptionally important. These colors will literally cover the majority of surface area in every room and set the overall tone of your home, including walls, ceiling, cabinets, and trim. I’m here to show you some examples of color combinations our homeowners have done in the past that came out beautifully which will, hopefully, help you choose colors for your own home. We are a proud partner of Sherwin Williams, so you’ll be able to find any of these colors featured in this video and below on their website or at any local store.

Some of our most popular color combinations:

  • SW 7015 Repose Gray: Most Popular Interior Wall Grey Color
  • SW 0055 Light French Grey: Grey Color That Pairs Nicely with Creams
  • SW 7568 Neutral Ground: Great Wall Color Choice for Grey Cabinets
  • SW 7548 Portico: True Tan Color
  • SW 7036 Accessible Beige: Most Popular Interior Wall Beige Color
  • SW 6206 Oyster Bay: Modern Wall Color

We hope we’ve helped you decide on which style and colors fit you best for your future home! 

A Guide for Dirt Pads and Compaction Tests

Categories: Building Process, FAQs | Posted: December 8, 2017

In this video with Haleigh, our Permit Specialist, we talk about the importance of dirt pads for your home, how tall it needs to be and the explanation of compaction tests.

Why might I need a dirt pad?

There are four basic reasons why you may consider building a dirt pad for your new home.

  • The first and most common reason is that your property is in a flood zone.  If so, building your home up above the Base Flood Elevation, or BFE, is REQUIRED in all parishes in order to begin construction.
  • The second motivation would be if your property is not in a flood zone, but you’re still concerned about flooding.  At this point, no dirt pad is required, but it is MOST OFTEN the least expensive and most effective way to ensure your home will remain above any rising water in the case of flooding.
  • Another possibility would be if the ground where you want to build your home is not level.  A dirt pad can be used to level the property to ensure positive drainage away from the house.
  • Finally, a dirt pad can be built to achieve a certain home appearance.  If you want a “raised” look or brick steps leading up to your front porch, a dirt pad can be a great way to accomplish that.

How tall does my pad need to be?

The height of your pad will depend heavily on your property location and conditions.  Due to various parish and slab requirements, the minimum height for any dirt pad is 18” above undisturbed ground.  If you’re in a flood zone, most parishes require you to be at least 1’ above Base Flood Elevation.  Once you reach that minimum height, if you want your pad to be taller for either peace-of-mind or visual appeal, that’s entirely up to you!

What is a compaction test and why is it recommended?

A compaction test is used to verify that the pad upon which your home will be built is stable enough to bear the weight of your foundation.

It is mainly made up of three soil samples, one from the center and two from opposite corners of your pad. The soil samples are tested to determine the density, moisture and compaction levels.

A passing compaction test is 95% or greater on all three samples.  You will also want to have a compaction test completed for every 12” of dirt you build up.  This guarantees that each level of your dirt pad has been properly compacted to give your home the stability it needs.

Remember, the foundation may not be the prettiest part of your home, but it is the most important.

Bi-Annual Maintenance

Categories: FAQs | Posted: November 10, 2017

Part of being a new homeowner means having to learn the basics of maintaining your home to prevent larger problems in the future. Below are some of the basic homeowner maintenance items that we encourage all of our new homeowners to perform on a bi annual basis.

  • Clean out your gutters and downspouts from all debris build up. Water will always find a path to trickle down.. If your gutters and downspouts remain clogged with leaves or twigs, the water will eventually back up and could potentially begin seeping into your home.
  • Maintain exposed wood with a clear sealant i.e. exterior beams, posts and doors. The harsh weather here in Louisiana can quickly break down any exposed wood if not properly sealed.
  • Inspect outside of home for the condition of siding, paint, masonry, stucco and wood trim. Take a step back and look at your home from afar. We can sometimes miss the bigger picture by trying to dig in too deep. Look for chips, cracks, and fading of paint. Touching these up continuously can be much easier and cost effective than trying to do many touch ups or repairs all at one time when they pile up.
  • Check A/C pan and hot water pan for signs of water then flush the drain lines. Simply pouring a bit of bleach through these lines to break down any debris that could potentially cause a clog. This can be a huge factor in preventing more costly damages.
  • Make sure to check your smoke detectors and replace the battery, if necessary. Your detectors will notify you when it is time to change the battery. Just listen for the beep!

To check out the items needed to maintain on a monthly and annual basis, check out our full maintenance video here.

Path to Your Manuel Builders Presold Home

Categories: Building Process, FAQs, Other | Posted: October 7, 2017

One of the options we offer when building your home in one of our developments is a Presold Home, also known as “Pick Your Lot, Pick Your Plan.” You’re able to find a community in the area you’re looking to live in, select an available lot, then choose your favorite plan from our options on our website. Since you’re starting from scratch, you have the opportunity to make your future space unique to you by selecting paint colors, floors, lighting, granite, and many more finishes. It has many of the perks of a customized home without the hassle of finding and purchasing your own property!

In the flow chart above, we break down the steps of the building process from start to finish. We categorize these steps into 3 main phases: Pre-Construction, Construction and Almost Home.

In Pre-Construction, there are many tasks to complete before construction on your new home can begin. We work together during this stage to ensure that the building process goes smoothly once it starts. Now that selections have been made and paperwork has been finalized, you move into the construction phase, where your home begins to take shape. At this point, no additional changes can be made to your home. Once the plumbing fixtures and appliances are installed, you are moving into the final stretch! After your final orientation, where your project manager walks you through your home to familiarize yourself with the operations of the space, you’ll close on your loan and get the keys to your new home!

Are you interested in the Presold Home Process with Manuel Builders? We invite you to take a look at the communities we build in to find the perfect lot and plan that will suit your family’s lifestyle! Shop our communities here.

How much does a set of blueprints cost?

Categories: FAQs, Home Design, Other | Posted: September 15, 2017

That’s a great question!  Blueprints, house plans, floor plans, home designs, and construction documents are all terms that can all be used interchangeably when referring to the set of drawings used to construct your home. Are you willing to begin with an existing plan and make modifications, or are you hoping to design a custom home to meet very specific design requirements?
 
If you answered ‘yes’ to starting from a predesigned set of floor plans, your costs could come from online/ magazine-order plan houses, local design firms, and design/build contractors.  With information at your fingertips, you can easily begin your search on the web or pick up the latest home design magazine at the checkout aisle.  Southern Living, ePlans.com, and many others offer various prices for their designs.  Prices can start as low as a few hundred dollars for a single non-reproducible ‘study’ set, which would give you enough detail to get a construction estimate, and up to $1500-$3000 for a set that can be reproduced and customized multiple times to meet your needs for construction.  Customization is usually offered as an additional service.  If you prefer, you can start with local designers.  Madden Home Design offers home designs for $600-$1000 for a set that cannot be modified.  Or you can go to a homebuilder that offers in-house design services, some with varying degrees of customization.  Manuel Builders charges nothing for a full set of construction drawings and allows you to make as many custom changes as you want.
 
If you answered ‘yes’ to the custom home, you are going to look for an architect or designer who can best listen to your needs and bring your ideas to life.  There are many quality local design firms, and each can charge differently for their services. The most popular method is based from construction square footage.  You can expect to pay as little as $0.50/sf to an architecture student doing business on the side to well over $2/sf to an established design firm.  Michael Campbell Design offers custom plan services starting at $1.95/ square foot on the total area under roof (not just living area).  A 4 bedroom, 2 ½ bath house could easily cost more than $5,000.  Again, some homebuilders charge nothing for floor plans, even custom ones.  Before investing in design services, it is a good idea to consult your builder first to see what options they offer.
 
Regardless of whom you get the drawings from, remember that the design is the copyright of the creator of the floor plan.  Intellectual property laws protect house plans, so work with your builder to make sure you are following copyright guidelines.
 
And remember, what appears on paper today will become your lived-in reality in a few months.  I hope you consider all the options and choose the best blueprint to achieve the home of your dreams!