How Can Insulation Save Me Money?

AUG 25, 2014

At Pinetop Custom Homes, we know that building a new home is an expensive investment. We have the climate experience in McCall and the surrounding areas and the ability to make your new home durable, comfortable, efficient and prevent many potential problems such as mold, moisture, comfort, and ice dam issues that occur frequently in homes that are unable to perform in an extreme climate like McCall.

To determine how much money insulation can save you, you must first understand what insulation does.  The purpose of insulation is to slow the transfer of heat. Heat flows from warm areas to cooler ones, even through ceilings, walls, and floors. During the winter, heat in our homes travels to the cold exterior, and during the summer, the heat outside of our homes travels to the cooler interior. We, in turn, use the various types of energy to run our furnaces and replace the lost heat during the winter months and run our air conditioners to remove warm air in the summer months, so that we can maintain a desirable level of comfort within our homes. Effective levels of insulation reduce our demand for energy and lower our monthly utility bills. Insulation effectiveness is defined by a material’s R-Value. R-Value is a rating or measurement that defines a material’s resistance to heat flow. It is determined by a material’s type, thickness, and density.
An upgraded insulation package is necessary for McCall because of its unique climate.  This option does cost more initially but in the long run, save you hundreds of thousands of dollars.
For example, let’s say your mortgage payment will be $2000 a month and the cost of heating and cooling will be $300 per month, you can cut that energy bill in half with an upgraded insulation package that yields an initial cost of about $2000. Financing that upgrades into the original mortgage would only add, maybe, $12 to your monthly payment but saves $150 per month in energy costs.
So, Proper insulation will:

  • Reduce your carbon footprint, save you money on your energy bill and reduces your reliance on fossil fuels
  • Make your house more comfortable by helping to maintain a uniform temperature throughout the house, and
  • Make walls, ceilings, and floors warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer.

More than a home builder

JULY 23, 2014

With every quality Pinetop home, we build it is more than just a home that you are getting.  We also open the doors to the McCall lifestyle and genuine people of this awesome area. We do this through client outings, mixers, and events whatever the season may be. Our annual winter snowshoe trip to the Blue Moon Yurt in Ponderosa Park draws rave reviews from the Pinetop family attendees as do impromptu powder days at Brundage or No Business Mountain.

Summertime brings sunset wake surf sessions, North Beach barbecues, and the exciting river runs.  There is not a costly membership, and there are no monthly dues.  It’s just Pinetop striving to take the best care of our clients and understanding that building a home is more than just building a home.  It is about building a life long relationship with our customers and make them part of the Pinetop family and culture of sharing this magnificent region together.

Through our customer relationships that we have built and taken great care to nurture and develop,  we have found that new potential clients witness the energy and fun that we are all having and gravitate towards it.  Our investment in the people’s lives who are trusting us to build their home is well worth it and keeps the Pinetop culture of growing our business and relationships strong for the future.  Come and talk with Dusty, Steve or Carrie and our many valued clients.  We invite you to be part of a terrific group of people and join in on the fun.

Engineered woods for building in the Mountains of McCall

JUNE 23, 2014

Huber, the recognized leader in specialty engineered woods, provides the most innovative products that Pinetop Custom Homes uses to build all their quality homes.


When compared to other subflooring products like Plywood or OSB, AdvanTech® outperforms in all areas.  More wood is packed into each panel with a sophisticated blending process that coats every strand with advanced resins for superior strength and stiffness.  It’s specially engineered to resist moisture from severe weather conditions that could cause warping or swelling during the construction process with a lifetime guarantee.

What do strength and stiffness mean for you…

  • AdvanTech flooring delivers a strong, solid-feeling floor – no more bouncy, soft-feeling floors that you would get with inferior OSB and plywood floors.
  • Fewer issues with rattling dishes in your china cabinets when you walk around.
  • Minimize issues with floor squeaks, pops and cracked tiles.
  • Peace of mind knowing your home was built with the flat out best subflooring panel on the market.

 ZIP System® 

Air leakage is one of the most significant causes of energy loss because it works against your heating and cooling equipment by disrupting inside temperature. By forming a continuous, rigid air barrier, ZIP System® Roof and Wall Sheathing reduces air leakage, while outperforming traditional sealing methods involving house wrap.

For a homeowner, a tighter home means:

  • Energy savings – Homeowners with ZIP System sheathing save an average of 10.5% on their utility bills.
  • Increased comfort inside the home – Protecting against air leakage and drafts leads to a more comfortable living space where it counts the most.
  • Improved air quality – Air barrier systems such as ZIP System wall sheathing keep families safe by protecting against harmful pollutants.

With the use of these superior products, Pinetop Custom Homes offers peace of mind knowing that we provide a superior product with unmatched quality.

Finding the perfect building lot

MAY 29, 2014

Many buyers have a vision of their dream home, not only the design and construction, but also the land their home will be built on. Given that, it’s not surprising people often start their journey to a new home with the piece of land they’re considering purchasing. If you are considering this route before you make the decision to purchase the land, make a careful assessment of the feasibility and cost to build on that specific piece of property.

To the untrained eye, a lot or parcel of land may appear to be easily buildable but may prove not to be. More than one land lover has learned the hard way that ignorance can be expensive, and knowledge is power. Although almost any piece of property can be built on, it may cost more than you had imagined, and in some cases a lot more with the extra difficult lots and parcels. When considering which piece of property is right for you and your dream home many factors come into play. Things to be considered in the McCall area include, but are not limited to 1) a high water table, 2) large granite boulders, 3) clay soils, 4) springs, 5) large basalt outcroppings, 6) organic materials, and 7) unstable soils and slopes.

Pinetop Custom Homes has dealt successfully with all of these situations and is always able to mitigate such problems to turn that sometimes challenging lot into the homeowner’s masterpiece.

Homebuilding efficiency with heat pumps

APRIL 1, 2014

Like your refrigerator, heat pumps use electricity to move heat from a cool space to a warm space, making the cool space cooler and the warm space warmer. During the heating season, heat pumps move heat from the cool outdoors into your warm house and during the cooling season, heat pumps move heat from your cool house into the warm outdoors. Because they move heat rather than generate heat, heat pumps can provide equivalent space conditioning at as little as one-quarter of the cost of operating conventional heating or cooling appliances.

Air Source Heat Pump

The most common type of heat pump is the air-source heat pump, which transfers heat between your house and the outside air. If you heat with electricity, a heat pump can trim the amount of electricity you use for heating by as much as 30% to 40%. High-efficiency heat pumps also dehumidify better than standard central air conditioners, resulting in less energy usage and more cooling comfort in summer months.

Pinetop Custom Homes utilizes air-source heat pumps to build efficiency and comfort into each home we construct. This benefit along with other “green” solutions are just some of the ways Pinetop delivers the best quality construction for our customers while continuing to push the envelope on building technology.

Ground Source Heat Pumps

Another type of heat pump utilized by Pinetop Custom Homes is the ground source heat pump. It is a central heating system that uses the earth as a heat source. This design takes advantage of the moderate temperatures in the ground to boost efficiency and reduce the operational costs of your heating system. Ground source heat pumps are also known as “geothermal heat pumps” although the heat does not come primarily from the center of the Earth but from the Sun. Ground source heat pumps harvest heat absorbed at the Earth’s surface from solar energy. The temperature in the ground below 20 feet is roughly equal to the mean annual air temperature at that latitude at the surface.

Setup costs are higher than for conventional systems, but the difference is usually returned in energy savings in 3 to 10 years, and even shorter lengths of time with federal, state and utility tax credits and incentives. The working life of a geothermal heat pump system is estimated at 25 years for inside components and 50+ years for the ground loop.

Pinetop is McCall’s leader in energy-efficient homes. Pinetop uses these systems along with other to build the best homes possible.  We have used these systems in many of our homes and they are a good fit for both tight spaces and large open areas.  There are also tax credits available for these types of systems to help encourage homeowners to use them.

Water Proofing Outdoor Decks over Living Spaces

MAR 25, 2014

Water Damage is a big deal.  So many waterproofing and drainage systems fail, especially in the McCall area where our weather conditions are so severe.  This week we will be discussing how Pinetop Custom Homes takes every precaution necessary to prevent these failures and highlight the popular trend of outdoor decks over living spaces.

To correctly install a good system for waterproofing and drainage begins with the following:

1.      – Above all else, ensuring that there is an adequate slope to force all standing water off the deck regardless of finished materials.

2.      – Prior to installing siding and doors, wall flashing should be installed to ensure all water is forced away from the exterior walls of the home.

3.      – If there are any penetrations such as railings or posts unsure they are counter-flashed so there is no week point in the waterproof membrane.

4.      – Use time tested, well-known fluid-applied wet flashing that can be applied in a seamless manner.

5.      – Once again ensure that adequate slope has been maintained through all applications to prevent standing water on the deck or any reverse flow allowing water to pond against the exterior walls of the home.

Modern Door Jams

MAR 14, 2014

Wood molding and trim work allow you to express your own personal style and bring out the best in your home’s architectural features, but it is not just for decorating purposes. Wood trim conveniently covers up cracks and resolves differences between materials. The use of a single piece of trim between the door jamb and the wall creates a clean border around the door and hides those not so attractive flaws.

Although wood trim can be rich and beautiful, the philosophy of modern architecture prescribes that design be everything it needs to be and nothing more. In a contemporary home, with modern materials and methods, there isn’t much need for trim everywhere. The use of current construction methods allows the drywall to meet the door jamb via a strip of ‘L’ metal, thereby eliminating the air gap and making trim obsolete. The modern door jamb is clean, unencumbered and is everything it needs to be…simple.

Vapor barrier systems

MAR 8, 2014

A vapor barrier is a critical component of every crawlspace building system. It prevents ground vapor and moisture from entering the house from the foundation. Homes with poorly constructed or absent vapor barriers are far more susceptible to odor and moisture intrusion, especially this time of year when the spring thaw occurs.

An effective vapor barrier system includes consideration to not only foundation construction and what is above but also what is below and around the home. A vapor barrier system is only effective if the ground surrounding the home is graded away from the foundation and the crawlspace itself has proper drainage.  Pinetop Custom Homes offers vapor barrier systems provided by our friends at EnergySeal; including a 6 mil overlapping system and a 10 mil interlocking system. The most effective vapor barrier systems include spray foam insulation from the crawl space floor up the stem wall and connected to the rim joist.

Our combination of effective grading and drainage, the right vapor barrier choice and a complete insulation package is one more reason Pinetop Custom Homes is your builder of choice in McCall, where the environment around us is ever-changing. Rest assured Pinetop Custom Homes will build your home with the direct knowledge as an expert mountain builder.

Pella Windows and Pinetop

MAR 4, 2014

Pella Corporation has always been known as an innovator.  Today,  they build the highest efficiency windows and doors at a competitive price.

New window line, tailored for the McCall environment

We just launched our new glass called advanced comfort. This allows most of our product lines to achieve incredible insulation values without a steep price increase. This allows the builders to use a more competitive double pane glass instead of going to a triple pane glass system.  This saves their customers cost without compromising efficiency. Also, Pella has very high-performance grade and class ratings.  These ratings show the total window performance for structural,  and air and water penetration. Pella always delivers extremely high ratings across all the brands  of products. This will provide decades of draft-free,  easy to operate windows and doors. Pella wanted to create a solution for the builders and that is why we just launched the new 250 series vinyl windows. Pella was able to bring higher levels of performance class and grade ratings along with a more thermally efficient window for a small cost increase from our standard vinyl product line. This gives the builder more confidence when using a more entry-level product.

Insulated Sheathing in Mountain Environments

FEB 20, 2014

Residential housing design continues to move towards the development of high-performance sustainable building systems. To be sustainable, a building must not only be efficient and durable but also economically viable. From this, new methods of enclosure design have been examined that provide high thermal performance and long-term durability but also take opportunities to reduce material use (including waste), simplify or integrate systems and details and potentially reduce overall initial costs of construction.

One concept relating to enclosure design is to incorporate the use of exterior foam insulating sheathing into the construction of the wall assembly.

In cold climates like McCall, the use of exterior rigid insulation sheathing boards has been a method of increasing thermal performance of the enclosure, as well as a means of reducing the condensation potential within exterior wall assemblies.

Double Stud Wall Systems

FEB 14, 2014

Conventional “stick-built” framing generally consists of 2×6 stud construction with a builder’s choice of cavity insulation and external components. What some don’t know is that these studs create a thermal bridge for heat transfer. They have a lower R-Value than insulation so heat will take the path of least resistance. Double stud wall systems help eliminate this because they are composed of essentially two walls. They consist of a wall with a thicker cavity, composed of 2×4 studs that do not create a full thermal connection to the exterior sheathing like conventional framing does.

The advantages to these systems include significantly improved thermal resistance, improved sound-proofing, improved comfort, and decent durability. Disadvantages include high material use, more labor-intensive, thicker cavities which take up room, and higher cost.

Pinetop has and is currently in the process of building homes with this system. We have seen and documented huge energy efficiency gains. As always Pinetop is pushing the energy and thermal envelope.

Pinetop Homes of McCall Receives Best Of Houzz 2014 Award

FEB 5, 2014

Annual Survey and Analysis of 16 Million Monthly Users Reveals Top-Rated Building, Remodeling, and Design Professionals

McCall, Idaho, February 4, 2014 – Pinetop Custom Homes of McCall, ID has been awarded “Best Of Houzz” by Houzz, the leading platform for home remodeling and design. The preferred, local custom home builder was chosen by the more than 16 million monthly users that comprise the Houzz community.

The Best Of Houzz award is given in two categories: Customer Satisfaction and Design. Customer Satisfaction honors are determined by a variety of factors, including the number and quality of client reviews a professional received in 2013. Design award winners’ work was the most popular among the more than 16 million monthly users on Houzz, known as “Houzzers,” who saved more than 230 million professional images of home interiors and exteriors to their personal idea books via the Houzz site, iPad/iPhone app, and Android app. Winners will receive a “Best Of Houzz 2014” badge on their profiles, showing the Houzz community their commitment to excellence. These badges help homeowners identify popular and top-rated home professionals in every metro area on Houzz.

“Nobody works harder or smarter for you than Pinetop Custom Homes.”

“Houzz provides homeowners with the most comprehensive view of home building, remodeling, and design professionals, empowering them to find and hire the right professional to execute their vision,” said Liza Hausman, vice president of community for Houzz. “We’re delighted to recognize Pinetop Custom Homes among our “Best Of” professionals for customer satisfaction as judged by our community of homeowners and design enthusiasts who are actively remodeling and decorating their homes.”

With Houzz, homeowners can identify not only the top-rated professionals like Pinetop Custom Homes but also those whose work matches their own aspirations for their home. Homeowners can also evaluate professionals by contacting them directly on the Houzz platform, asking questions about their work and reviewing their responses to questions from others in the Houzz community.

Follow Pinetop Custom Homes on Houzz http://www.houzz.com/pro/dusty-bitton/pinetop-custom-homes

About Pinetop Custom Homes

Pinetop Custom Homes has been building homes and relationships in the McCall and the surrounding areas since 2004. It all starts with a turnkey design that is customized to you and your family’s lifestyle and the attributes of your lot. Pinetop prides itself on excelling in customer satisfaction, providing superior service and building quality, custom homes.

About Houzz

Houzz is the leading platform for home remodeling and design, providing people with everything they need to improve their homes from start to finish – online or from a mobile device. From decorating a room to building a custom home, Houzz connects millions of homeowners, home design enthusiasts and home improvement professionals across the country and around the world. With the largest residential design database in the world and a vibrant community powered by social tools, Houzz is the easiest way for people to get the design inspiration, project advice, product information and professional reviews they need to help turn ideas into reality. For more information, visit houzz.com

Winter Carnival, Building Dreams

JAN 22, 2014

The Winter Carnival in McCall, originally known as the Payette Sports Carnival, began 90 years ago and only lasted for three days. Today, it has evolved into a 10-day celebration of all things winter featuring the ever-popular Mardi Gras Parade. It is always an event to look forward to as hundreds of thousands of people flock to our great city to partake in the festivities!

Pinetop Custom Homes has spent the last month preparing for Winter Carnival and building our float that will span the length of two 20 foot trailers. Our float features giant tools and a house in the building process with a crane hoisting the trusses. Our float is called “Making BIG Dreams Come True” because that is exactly what we do. We facilitate the dream of building a custom home and living in a beautiful mountain town…whether it’s where you live or your weekend getaway.

Join us for Winter Carnival 2014 and let Pinetop Custom Homes be your McCall Idaho Builder and help you realize your dreams!

McCall named best ski town

JAN 10, 2014

The City of McCall has been named one of the “Best Secret Ski Towns of North America” by National Geographic, however, not much of a secret anymore.  And just wait until you find out about all of the other recreational opportunities in the Spring, Summer, and Fall!

From Brundage to Tamarack, McCall has some of the best people and powder around.

Pinetop Custom Homes has been building homes and relationships in McCall and the surrounding areas since 2004.  We invite you to build with the best in one of the most beautiful places in the world.

Green Building in Valley County and the HERS Index

JAN 3, 2014

Pinetop Custom Homes is proud to be a green builder in Valley County. In order for a home to be an Energy Star qualified home, it is tested for its energy efficiency by a 3rd party company like OnPoint, which specializes in Home Performance Assessments, energy upgrades, solar and U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) LEED for Homes Verification.  OnPoint will test the home with a device that creates a negative air pressure situation that measures the air exchange flow in the home.

If a window is cracked open, a vent hooked up improperly, or something left un-caulked, it is immediately known. As you can imagine, this gives us tremendous peace of mind knowing that we are delivering a home that is properly sealed against wind and water infiltration.

We are then provided with a Rating Certificate. That certificate lists the results of the testing completed and compiles the specifications provided for the house (R-Value of insulation, type of window, etc.). The final number that results, and a number we look at, is the HERS Index. Each 1-point decrease in the HERS Index corresponds to a 1% reduction in energy consumption compared to the HERS Reference Home. Thus, a home with a HERS Index of 85 is 15% more energy efficient than the HERS Reference Home and a home with a HERS Index of 80 is 20% more energy efficient.”

We are incredibly proud of the fact that our project at 186 Morgan Drive tested at 50!! Anything below 70 is rated 5 Star PLUS by Energy Star – so this house is off the charts, basically.

What does this mean for our homeowner? A comfortable home with lower energy costs!