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Alternatives to Wood in Home Building

Yes! There Are Alternatives to Wood in Home Building!

Do You Need a Backup Plan for Rising Wood Prices?

Lumber prices soared to $1,500 per thousand board feet (MBF) in May 2021. According to an article in Fortune’s online magazine, prices are currently $545 MBF. That’s an increase of 40% since the low of $389 MBF that occurred in August. The pre-pandemic lumber market ran between $300 to $500 MBF, so the October prices are still running high. What’s worse, some forecasters are predicting near-term increases. The good news is, there are alternatives to wood in home building.  

Work with the versatile home builders at Flegel’s Construction to explore the options below for your new build or remodeling projects.

Alternative Materials for Home Framing

Framing refers to the skeletal structure that supports the rest of your new home construction. It creates the outline of the house and supports the roof. Some materials can double as the walls and the framing. Steel, concrete, bamboo, and even straw bales are potential alternatives to wood. Let’s take a closer look.

  • Concrete. There are several forms of concrete that make for an affordable alternative to the soaring cost of wood:
    • Concrete block framing. You can see this construction in industrial buildings, but it can also be used for residential homes. Concrete has several positive features, including its resistance to floods and fires. It withstands strong winds and earthquakes. Since it insulates your home well, it can help you save on energy costs. It also absorbs sound well.
    • Insulated concrete forms (ICFs): Concrete framing, ICFs involve two hollow panels with concrete poured in between, creating a strong, durable framing material that withstands harsh weather, fires, and floods.
  • Bamboo. Bamboo is a sustainable framing material that is three times stronger than standard timber. Extremely lightweight and resistant to harsh weather, it also grows quickly, producing 100 feet of usable material every five years.
  • Natural materials. Although it may seem odd, various natural materials are also an alternative, although unusual, framing option.
    • Straw bales. Some homeowners have used straw bales for a unique look and renewable source of framing materials. Home builders apply plaster over the bales to strengthen and preserve the structure.
    • Earth and rock. Compacted earth and rock forms a strong framing material that’s typically mixed with cement for durability.

Team up with the industry’s leading construction professionals to find suitable alternatives to wood in home building or remodeling projects for your industrial, ranch, Mediterranean style, or Eichler home.

Contact Flegel’s today to discuss alternatives to wood in home building in the Bay Area. We can help you meet your aspirations for a more sustainable, durable home personalized to your specifications.

Lumber Price Trends Are Difficult to Predict!

Is Another Lumber Price Hike in the Offing?

After reaching an all-time high of $1,500 per thousand board feet (MBF) in May this year, lumber prices fell precipitously to an August low of $483 MBF. Then, prices began to creep up, causing some economists to cry inflation. In September, lumber prices hit $628 MBF, leaving homebuilders, consumers, and others wondering how far prices will continue to climb. Clearly, lumber price trends are difficult to predict.

While some analysts predict rising prices as supply catches up to demand, others are saying this won’t happen, citing a few reasons, such as:

  • As supply and demand level off, prices will go down
  • Homeowners are beginning DIY projects they put off over the summer
  • The rush back into hardware stores will probably drive prices higher in the short term, then level off, according to a article
  • With families returning from vacation and the start of the school year behind them, homeowners are likely to begin more home remodeling projects

The fact remains that in the short term, lumber price trends are difficult to predict for the remainder of 2021 and beginning of 2022. If lumber mills continue to shut down every time prices fall, it could be a very bumpy ride for construction companies and home builders trying to time their purchase to save money.

Flegel’s Construction Co. Helps You Find Cost-Effective Alternatives to Lumber

If you’re looking for a homebuilder or remodeling company in the Bay Area, Flegel’s Construction Co. has you covered. When lumber prices are on the rise, we look closely at concrete, composite, steel, and other alternatives that can cut down the amount of lumber needed to frame and build your home.

The same holds true for remodeling projects. From out-of-the-box thinking such as straw bale or shipping container framing to reducing lumber waste, our construction team will do everything possible to keep your project within budget.

There’s enough evidence showing lumber price trends are difficult to predict. Short of investing in a crystal ball and watching the lumber market closely, there’s little homeowners can do about the cost of lumber. Instead, you can partner with industry professionals that can help you find suitable alternatives that can save you money on remodeling projects for your classic, modern, or Eichler home.

Contact Flegel’s today to discuss your remodeling project or new build in the Bay Area. We shop around to find the best materials at the best prices for your home construction project.

Build Your New Home in Santa Clara

Build Your New Home in Santa Clara—Experience Matters!

Hire Flegel’s Construction Co. for Bare Lot or Tear-Down Construction

While some homeowners are happy to purchase the beautiful, historic homes already built in Santa Clara, you’ve decided to go another way. With its proximity to Universal Studios Hollywood, Disneyland, and cosmopolitan San Francisco, you and your family have decided that the Santa Clara Valley is the perfect place to build your forever home. The first official task is finding an available lot, rare in the sought-after Santa Clara real estate market. Next, you must find a contractor to turn your bare lot into your dream home, tear down (or partially tear down) the existing structure to build your new home in Santa Clara.

You Supply the Vision, We’ll Handle the Compliance Details

Flegel’s Construction Co. has expertise in new home construction throughout the Bay Area. Our construction consultants can help you determine the best way to transform your land purchase into a blank slate for your custom home build. We want you to enjoy the exciting and limitless possibilities for your future house, and so, our pros take care of all the important details. You can trust us to check off all the boxes and investigate matters related to city ordinances, height limits, neighborhood designations, lot line limits, fire protection requirements, and drought-friendly landscaping, in the building plans.

When we build your new home in Santa Clara, we hope to start a lifelong relationship for all your construction needs.

Flegel’s Construction and Consultation Services in Santa Clara

From slope and drainage to where to place your pool, we can help you solidify every major decision by considering the full scope of the surrounding terrain and, of course, the needs of your family.

Here are some of the services we offer on your journey to creating a home that serves as the center of your family’s universe:

  • Project viability services: Our construction consultants help you determine the scope of your new build. They also act as the voice of reason or encourage you to dream bigger when you feel that constraints are weighing down your plans. You can also count on us for timely, accurate feedback regarding the feasibility and expense of proposed changes.
  • Pre-build consultation: Prior to putting any shovels in the dirt, we’ll have a detailed consultation to help you avoid costly mistakes. We can also help you wade through estimates from other contractors to shortlist the most promising, realistic proposals.
  • Hassle-free compliance: Our experts have a deep understanding of local building codes which helps us cut through the red tape on many requirements by remaining organized and proactive. This also smooths out the permit process to minimize or eliminate costly reworks.
  • Project management: When it comes to managing subcontractors and suppliers, you can count on our construction management team. We keep a close eye on the project’s progress to make sure that quality remains high and true to your instructions. You will receive regular progress updates, so you stay excited rather than anxious!

We want to be your construction contractors for life and can also offer advice on whether to remodel your current house or build your new home in Santa Clara.

Contact us today to schedule a pre-build consultation and ask any questions you have. We look forward to helping you build your new home in Santa Clara. We also handle remodeling jobs for your traditional or Eichler home in San Jose, Cupertino, Mountain View, Campbell, and Palo Alto.

Exciting Ideas for Home Remodeling in 2019

Enhance Energy Efficiency and Save More!

home remodeling

Is reducing energy usage an important goal in your upcoming home renovation or new home construction project? There are plenty of functional upgrades to help you save on utilities that are also aesthetically pleasing. With sustainable home designs gaining popularity among homeowners, smart improvements can significantly increase the value of your property. Before you begin, read the top home remodeling energy efficiency ideas for 2019.  

5 Energy-Saving Home Renovations

Enjoy a more comfortable and healthier indoor environment by implementing these remodeling ideas.

  1. Switch to solar energy: We have abundant sunshine throughout the year, so why not harness the sun’s energy to power your home? Solar panels are increasingly in demand among Bay Area homeowners. Research shows that depending on the size of the system, you can save close to $200 every month on electricity, starting from the first year. With newer technology, solar panels are now more affordable and design-friendly. Local rebates can further increase your savings. Many homeowners opt for double-sided panels which harness more sunlight and deliver more power.
  2. Replace your windows: Windows can account for heat loss and gain of around 50%. Older homes are more susceptible to temperature fluctuations because of less efficient windows. Energy Star qualified windows with lower U-values offer sustained energy savings and pay for themselves in a short time. If your energy bills are high or windows are drafty, it may be time for new, energy-efficient windows.
  3. Upgrade your insulation: Increasing or replacing it can bring your older home up to modern standards and reward you with significantly lower energy bills. There are a few different types available, such as spray foam, blown-in, fiberglass batts, reflective (radiant) barriers, etc. Consider the R-value (ability to resist heat transfer) of each type before making your choice. According to the EPA, you can save an average of 15 percent on heating and cooling costs with better insulation and air sealing for home improvement.
  4. Install a cool roof: The biggest benefit of this feature is that it will reduce your cooling bills. Just like wearing light colors on a sunny day keeps you cool; these roofing systems absorb less heat than traditional ones and reflect heat away from your home. Consider retrofitting the roof with specialized heat-reflective material, recovering tiles with a new waterproofing surface, painting a metal roof or replacing it with a cool one. Green roofs (flat roofs with a garden or plant cover) are also a good option. 
  5. Adopt smart technology: Certain technologically-advanced products can deliver great savings in terms of energy efficient home design. These include motion sensor lighting controls, smart meters for water heaters and programmable thermostats that let you lower and raise temperatures to prevent energy wastage when no one is home.

Hire an Experienced Builder for Energy-Efficient Renovations to Your Home

At Flegel’s Construction Co., we offer modern upgrades to improve your home comfort and add value to your property. We’ll work with you to transform your home into a true reflection of your lifestyle. Count on our experienced team of designers, construction experts and home building consultants to help you decide on the most cost-effective renovations for your home.

With our trademark quality and emphasis on customer satisfaction, we continue to serve a growing roster of happy customers across the Bay Area. You can see many of our successful projects in Palo Alto, San Jose, Santa Clara, Sunnyvale, Mountain View and Cupertino, CA.

To discuss more home remodeling energy efficiency ideas for 2019, Contact us online.


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Join us on June 9th for the 2018 Silicon Valley Modern Home Tour. Be sure to see our project “Sunnymount Avenue” along the route!

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    I would hire Scott again in a heartbeat. He did our Eichler total remodel from roof to radiant. The workmanship is 5-star. Scott understands the uniqueness of Eichlers and modern design.

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    “Our home in Palo Alto was in need of help. Built in the early 1950s and barely updated since, there was a lot to do. Over 12 months and two phases, our home was transformed into the perfect mid-century modern oasis for our

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  • As easy for as us as possible…

    “We interviewed at least 7 contractors for our Eichler remodel and decided on Flegel’s construction and I am so glad we did! Working with Scott and his crew was such an pleasant experience. We had heard so many horror stories

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    “I cannot say enough about Scott Flegel. He is on the ball. He works on the project with his employees. He has very high standards and his employees follow his example. Our architect has come back to look at the project

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