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Celebrating 50 Years of Earth Day!

Did you know that April 22nd marks the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day?  As we adapt to the restrictions of social distancing, one thing we can celebrate is our shrinking carbon footprint. During this newfound journey, we are here to serve our clients today and tomorrow building energy-efficient homes designed to soak in natural light and ventilation. Modular construction maximizes the use of building materials and utilizes waste to energy practices which means far less waste in landfills.  A tighter building envelope combined with the insulation package we include in each home means greater energy efficiency and savings for the homeowner. Our homes are better for the families living in them and for our environment. What are some easy ways to reduce that carbon footprint even more?  Continue to reduce and consolidate trips to the store. Pick up needed items for neighbors and alternate trips to the store with friends. Wash and carry your own reusable shopping bags a

Our Modular Advantage...and What the Heck is a Modular Home?

And Why Has It Been A Better Choice For So Many People?

"Whoa!", says Richard Wildermuth of Connecticut Valley Homes in East Lyme, Connecticut. "Let's get started on the right foot. Modular is a method of building...not a type of home. The method offers savings, security and flexibility to everyone planning to build a home."

Connecticut Valley Homes New Home and Modular Home Builder

Move up buyers are delighted with the custom design service and choice of fine finishes. First timers can get more than they imagine or even find they can own a home when they thought it was impossible. Everyone likes the prices and the speed.

All right, so what the heck is the modular method and how is it different?

The biggest difference comes from where the home is built, not how. As much as 90% of the work is completed inside a factory with a controlled environment. The first eye opener comes when one takes a tour of the plant and sees what that means in terms of quality control and construction economies.

The assembly line isn't like the ones you've seen with Coke bottles rattling incessantly along as they get washed, filled and capped in an endless procession. This one moves at a much more stately pace, only advancing every few hours. There are no robots there, but plenty of superior tools and clean workspaces. There is a feeling of productive industry but not one of insistent urgency. What sinks in after a short time is these homes are built by skilled carpenters, plumbers, and electricians, not assembly line workers. The difference is the skills of these men and women are enhanced by the ideal work environment and state-of-the-art equipment.

Connecticut Valley Homes New Home and Modular Home Builder

At the first station, two people build a floor section. "They buy only the best lumber available", says one of the workmen, "then we don't have to spend time culling out poor lumber." One is reminded they exclusively use kiln dried lumber (they even test the moisture content on each delivery) so the frame of the house won't be subjected to shrinking or twisting. Vast quantities of glue are used in addition screws, nails and bolts.

At the next station, carpenters first lay out all the wall studs on a big steel jig. The metal framework holds all the pieces true and square, and the nailing goes very quickly. One wall at a time (some as long as 60 feet) is carefully picked up by an overhead crane and set on the floor section. It's lined up and nailed into place as the crane goes back for the next piece. This becomes a bit of a three- dimensional jigsaw puzzle as all of the interior walls are placed in the right order and location, but no one seems to miss a beat. Their experience shows.

Connecticut Valley Homes New Home and Modular Home Builder

As the walls were being built on the jig, the sheetrock was applied to one surface. This takes a little getting used to at first, seeing a home being built from the inside out. But then the advantages become evident; being able to tape the backsides of sheetrock seams for more strength, and the ability to glue the wall insulation into place so it will never shimmy down. They've really thought this through.

The ceiling construction is some of the most fascinating work because it is so different and better from what can take place in typical site-built homes. There is this huge, smooth surface where the sheetrock pieces are first laid out, edge to edge, face down and then an overhead crane lowers the ceiling joist framework on top. A skilled carpenter then sprays all the joints where wood meets sheetrock and instantly the thick yellow liquid foams up to fill any gaps and makes an ultra-strong continuous bond between the sheetrock and the wood frame.

That's it, the ceiling is done! Then another crane hovers overhead, lowers its cables and picks up the whole sixty-foot-long ceiling and suspends it over the walls while craftsmen line it up and get it nailed into place. This is wonderful! There will never be a nail pop in that ceiling because there aren't any to pop. It's absolutely flat, has fewer seams and is actually stronger than traditional ceiling construction.

Connecticut Valley Homes New Home and Modular Home Builder

It's raining cats and dogs outside now, but inside the work goes merrily along where it's still bright and dry.

Work inside the house at the next couple of stations, is primarily sheetrock taping as they go through the traditional three-step finishing method. While on the outside, the windows and French doors are installed and the roof is built.

If you've ever shingled a roof or even watched it being done, seeing these professionals do it just makes you shake your head in wonder. They begin on a mezzanine level at exactly the level of the overhangs so they don't have to step up too high to get on the roof. The mezzanine is fed with shingles from a forklift below. Also, the roof area is nearly flat now, since it is hinged in its lowered position (it will be tilted up to its designed height once the home reaches the owner's building site) so these carpenters need no ladders or special scaffolding to work on the roof. All they have to do is reach up and grab an air hose and they are ready to start their auto-nailers. Two men blanket a roof with shingles at warp speed. Simply amazing.

At the next couple of stops you see the module pass through the kitchen and interior trim shops. The plumber finishes hooking up sinks, mirrors are hung, and ceramic tile is grouted into place around a whirlpool tub.

Connecticut Valley Homes New Home and Modular Home Builder

Just before the module goes out the door, the interior is swept clean, it's wrapped tightly in sheets of plastic, and then loaded onto its transport carrier for its trip to the building site.

Once the modules are delivered to the site and erected with a crane and bolted together, you've got a new home that's nearly complete, which was built faster, safer and under the best conditions.

Yet, this is no cookie cutter operation.

"In the very beginning, all we built were ranches and raised ranches, most of which were picked from standard brochure plans. Now, almost everything we build is custom and we've got that down to a science too. We found we can produce custom plans for less money than producing new standard plans in colorful brochures," says Richard Wildermuth.

Connecticut Valley Homes New Home and Modular Home Builder

Why modular homes are a better choice for so many people?

Homes should be built to last a lot of lifetimes. That's not possible if the basic skeleton isn't solid. Let's see what you get with a (Connecticut Valley) modular home:

  • Kiln-dried lumber to prevent twisting and warping.
  • Multiple fastenings: nails, screws, glue, and adhesive for superior strength.
  • 2"x6" walls for energy efficiency.
  • Plywood or Zip-System exterior sheathing panels for strength and durability.
  • Engineered microlam beams for strength and design flexibility.

And hidden from view:

  • A flush beam in the basement for unobstructed headroom.
  • The strongest floor available with 16" on center framing, double perimeter joists and a solid plywood subfloor.
  • Wall insulation glued to the back surface of the sheetrock so it will never shimmy down and be less effective (this is only possible with the "inside-out" modular building method).
  • Sheetrock as long as 20' to eliminate excess seams while giving a finer finish.
  • Metal straps that further reinforce the joints between walls and floors and walls and ceilings and roofs.
  • R-38 ceiling insulation which exceeds code requirements and will keep utility bills low.
  • RG675 OHM quad shielded coaxial TV cable.
  • Category 5 phone cable.
Connecticut Valley Homes New Home and Modular Home Builder

Can there possibly be more? You bet!

  • Green building elements are included. Every home is Energy Star ready as standard.
  • Roofing felt and ice dam barrier under all roof shingles to give added protection from the elements and keep your roof warranty valid.
  • Continuous code inspection throughout the building process, by an independent, third-party engineering firm to insure complete building code compliance.
  • Steel plates to protect the wiring, as it passes through the wall studs, from nails and picture hangers.
  • All range hoods, bathroom exhaust fans and dryer exhausts are vented to the outside for improved indoor air quality.
  • Roll-out shelving in cabinetry.

My word, if all of that is standard, what the heck is optional?

Optional Exterior Choices:

Connecticut Valley Homes New Home and Modular Home Builder
  • Cedar shingle, clapboard and board-and-batten siding.
  • Fiber-cement siding.
  • Azek and Komo exterior trim for rot and insect resistance as well as low maintenance.
  • Any roof pitch from shallow to steep.
  • Any roof design from gambrel to hip to gable.
  • Skylights and sun tubes to add natural light in interior spaces.
  • Farmer's and screened porches for those warm summer nights.

And more.

Optional Interior Choices?

  • Hardwood floors of oak, maple or bamboo.
  • Fireplaces, both wood and gas burning.
  • Ceramic tile floors.
  • Whirlpools, luxurious soaking tubs and big showers.
  • Granite, marble and beautiful man-made solid surface countertops.
  • Built in window seats, desks and book shelves.
  • Walk-in kitchen pantries standard in many plans.
  • And more. Let your imagination soar.

How does a new modular home compare to existing homes?

You're almost comparing apples to oranges. The main reason people buy an existing house is that they like the location. Seldom, if ever, do they love everything about the house and are always a tad uneasy about how some of the elements have "aged", like the roof and the heating system.

Connecticut Valley Homes New Home and Modular Home Builder

If you build a new Connecticut Valley home you will get, automatically:

  • Comprehensive design/build services.
  • A tight, energy-conserving shell with built-in green features.
  • ENERGY SAVERS: R-38 ceiling insulation, R-19 wall and floor insulation, thermal-pane windows with Low-E energy saving glass and more.
  • 10 year home buyer's warranty.
  • And Much, Much More!

This is truly becoming a case of a picture being worth a thousand words.

And what's even better than a picture is the real thing. Come see our stunning model homes in Connecticut and Rhode Island for yourself.


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