home insulation types
Written by Deborah Hawkins

Understanding Home Insulation Types: Pro and Cons

Home insulation is crucial for making sure that your home stays warm in the winter and that enough heat stays within the structure. However, not all home insulation methods are equal. Some insulation methods are better than others.


Many homes in America do not have enough insulation. In fact, there is the equivalent of a window’s worth of openings an average home through cracks and holes, where air can get in and out. All of this air flow during the colder months can result in significantly higher energy costs. Here is a look at the pros and cons of some of the top home insulation types. Knowing these pros and cons can help you select the insulation type that is best for your home.


Spray Foam

 spray foam insulation in ceiling

Spray foam is a type of insulation in which liquid polyurethane is sprayed against a wall. After a small period of time, the spray will harden and become a foam that is solid. Spray foam costs $.44 to $1.50 per board foot.




  • It takes up less room than other types of insulation.
  • It can save you up to $500 in energy costs per year.
  • It has the highest r value.




  • It may require professional help to install.
  • It is not the cheapest option on the market




Blown-in Insulation

 blown attic insulation






Blown-in insulation involves a material called “loose fill,” which is usually just recycled and ground up newspapers and cardboard being attached to a special blower, and blown into the parts of the house where insulation is desired. If you do it entirely yourself, the cost of blown-in insulation is about $500 for a 1500 square foot home.




  • It is moisture resistant
  • Can be done yourself
  • If the loose-fill has borate in it, it is vermin resistant.




  • Can lose effectiveness over time
  • Heavier than other materials which makes it unsuitable for certain spaces




Mineral Wool

 mineral wool insulation

Mineral wool is a material that is made from minerals from rocks or molten glass. This material is turned into a thick insulating substance that has a lot of fibers. 1000 square feet of insulation for mineral wool costs about $1,500.




  • It has incredible thermal properties
  • It is largely made from recyclable materials
  • It is more fire resistant than other materials




  • It can be dangerous and hazardous for your health to inhale mineral wool fibers
  • It can grow mold if it is exposed to water




How to select the right choice?


If you are thinking about putting insulation in your home, then you may be considering all three of these options plus even more. So, before you make your decision, you should consider what is the most important variable for your situation. If you simply want a cheap option that you can do yourself, then loose fill may be the best option.


However, if you want insulation that saves you a ton on energy costs, and is made almost entirely from recycled materials, then mineral wool may be the best option. But, if you do not like the chances of mineral wool growing mold, then spray foam could be best for you. It all comes down to what your top priorities are for your home.


But, no matter which options that you choose, you will most likely have to spend at least a thousand dollars to install insulation in your entire home. The cost will be significantly higher if you decide to have an expert put in the insulation. However, even though experts cost more, they are more likely to do the job better than you, if you have never put in insulation before. So, that is also definitely something to consider

log cabin located in virginia
Written by Deborah Hawkins

Log Home Building in Virginia Is Thriving

Log homes are very popular right now in Virginia. Throughout the earlier periods of American history, log homes were one of the only home building options for people who wanted to build good strong houses. However, even though many other methods of home building have come along since then, log home building is still extremely popular in Virginia.


There are many reasons why this is the case. Here are some of the top reasons why log home building is still a very popular home construction method.

  1. Beauty


The natural beauty of log homes is something that is very difficult to replicate with other materials and building methods. Log homes have a very pleasing aesthetic appeal that many people are quite fond of. They are both rustic, and strong looking. Many people value this look for their homes.


  1. Energy efficiency


In addition to their great beauty, log homes are very energy efficient. In fact, they are often constructed to have 30 percent more energy efficiency than is actually required by government regulations for home building. Part of the reason why this is the case is because log homes have something called “thermal mass.” Thermal mass is a property that allows logs to gather heat and radiate it back into the house. This means that log homes can be extremely cozy in the winter!

  1. Longevity


If a log home is constructed properly, it can comfortably last for hundreds of years. So, if you decide to go with a log home for your new property, you can rest assured, knowing that it will most likely last for a very, very long time. For many people, longevity is a very important aspect to consider when building a home.


  1. Peacefulness


Log homes often provide a sense of peacefulness and comfort that is difficult to replicate with other construction methods. There are several reasons why this is the case. First, log homes tend to be very good at muffling sound, which means that they can be very quiet and tranquil on the inside. Also, because log homes are made from logs that are often sourced in nearby forests, they can provide a sense of organic connection to the surrounding environment. This too, can help to increase the peaceful feeling associated with these homes.

  1. Strength


Strength is one of the single most important features of log homes. Log homes can be significantly stronger than homes made with other construction methods. This is because logs are very dense and thick. This makes them very durable and strong. Because of this, they can be very resistant to storms such as hurricanes and tornadoes. Log homes do not have hollow walls like many other types of homes do. There are even reports of the epicenter of an earthquake occurring just one thousand yards away from a log home, and the log home suffered no damage.



A trend that is likely to continue


Despite the fact that log homes are one of the oldest types of homes, they are likely to continue to be favored well into the future. All of the reasons listed in this article contribute to the strong log home trend in Virginia. Log homes have sheltered many American families since the country was founded in 1776.


It is very likely that they will continue to do so for centuries to come. If you are interested in building a log home on your property, please feel free to get in touch with us here at Spear Builders today. We can build an amazing log home for you to live in and that you will cherish into the future.


Other popular log home articles:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/where-we-live/wp/2016/06/07/todays-log-homes-arent-just-rustic-theyre-upscale/?utm_term=.834d807996d7 (Log cabins are now more modern and upscale than ever before)

http://mentalfloss.com/article/502292/one-americas-oldest-log-cabins-market (Americas oldest log cabin is up for sale!)

http://www.fredericksburg.com/news/local/rustic-university-of-mary-washington-campground-provides-different-kind-of/article_31646aa7-566c-5ab6-8cac-6af6dfb16930.html (Students built four log cabins as part of a summer project)

Written by Deborah Hawkins

Three Types of Flooring : The Pros and Cons of Wood, Carpet, and Tile

If you are about to put a new floor in to your home or other property, then you may be wondering which type of floor would be best for you. Wood, carpet, and tile are all great options when it comes to flooring. However, there are also a few cons to each of these flooring types. Here is a closer look at the pros and cons of wood, carpet, and tile flooring.


Wood Flooring



  • Beauty – Wood floors have an impressive natural beauty that can help to make a building look very aesthetically pleasing.


  • Easy Maintenance – Wood floors are very easy to care for and maintain. They can be easily swept or vacuumed. Also, spills are very easily cleaned on hardwood floors. They are very simple to care for in most cases.


  • Longevity – These types of floors can last a very long time. In fact, original wood flooring can still be found in many houses that are over 100 years old. Wood is a strong, durable material, and it can stand the test of time.




  • Price – Wood for floors can often cost between $3-$12 per square foot. This can be quite expensive if you have hundreds of square feet to cover with wood flooring.


  • Scratching – Wood can be more susceptible to scratching than other types of floors. The softer the wood, the more that this is the case.



Carpet Flooring




  • Softness – Carpet floors tend to be softer than other options. This can make your home more comfortable. It can also be good if there are young children in the house who run around a lot and are susceptible to falling. Softness is a big part of the reason why carpet is 51 percent of the total U.S. market for flooring.


  • Sound barrier – Carpet floors muffle more sound than other types of floors such as wood. This can be very helpful if you live in a building where people live above or beneath you, such as a high rise apartment complex.


  • Heat retention – In the colder months, carpet floors can help to prevent heat from escaping. This can help to save you on energy costs.




  • Stains – Unlike other surfaces such as wood or tile, spills are not easy to clean on carpets. In fact, when a liquid such as red wine is spilled on a carpet, it can be very difficult to clean.


  • Shorter lifespans – The average lifespan of a carpet can be significantly less than other options such as wood. This is because carpet simply is not as durable as wood.



Tile Flooring




  • Beauty – Like wood, tiles floors can help to create a very beautiful and natural feeling. Tile floors can be very beautiful and installing one can actually boost the resale value of the house.


  • Great for allergy sufferers – Tile is completely non-toxic, and it does not trap dust and danger like a carpet floor can. So, tile floors can be an excellent option for those who have severe allergies.


  • Longevity. – Like wood, tile is very strong, and can last for many decades without needing to be replaced.




  • Hardness – Tile floors are not soft like carpet floors. They can be very hard and unforgiving. So, if you slip and fall on them, it can cause significantly more pain than if you were to slip and fall on a carpet floor. Tile floors can be even harder than wood floors.


  • Sound – Tile floors do not offer sound barriers like carpeted floors do. This means that sound can travel through them much easier. If you live in a building where there is a lot of noise, then this can be an issue. However, tile is still a great option, and that is why it is used in millions of homes in America.




Red Hardi Plank Siding on Side of Barn Shed
Written by Deborah Hawkins

Hardi Plank Siding: Understanding the Price

Hardi plank siding is a very well made siding material that is frequently used on houses. Hardi plank siding is made of finely ground sand, premium cement, water, and natural wood cellulose fibers.

This material is very high quality, and is often preferred by people who are looking for a higher end siding option for their buildings and structures. However, hardi plank can also be more expensive than other materials.


Benefits Of Hardi Plank Siding


  • Durability
    • Hardi plank siding is made to last. In fact, in most cases, hardi plank siding comes with a 50-year warranty. That is a lot of peace of mind for property owners who invest in this material. Hardi plank siding is very strong due to its composition.


  • Resistance to Fires
    • Unlike other materials such as wood, hardi plank siding is resistant to fire. This is because it is primarily composed of sand and cement. Having fire resistant siding on your home can be important not only for preventing fires that may occur within your own home, but it can also help to prevent fires spreading to your home from adjacent buildings. This is very significant.


  • Aesthetic Appeal
    • Not only is hardi plank siding very appealing in its own right, but it can also be adjusted and altered to resemble a wide variety of other materials. For example, hardi plank siding can be made to look like cedar shingles, wood shake siding, wood lap boards, and other options. There are also many different options for color. Due to the versatility and wide range of color options, hardi plank siding is often viewed as a great option for people who want to make their buildings attractive.


  • Resistance To Weather Events
    • Hurricanes, hailstorms, tornadoes, and other weather events can all cause severe damage to properties. Because hardi plank siding is made up largely of concrete and sand (very small rocks), it is very strong, and very resistant to bad weather. It can take many beatings from hailstorms and be completely fine. It also has great resistance to stronger storms.


Rear of Home with Hardie Plank Siding

Rear of Home with Hardie Plank Siding


Hardi Plank Pricing Information

 The average cost to install hardi plank siding on a building is roughly $4-6 per square foot. This is comparable to other good siding options such as brick, granite, and cement board. All of these materials are very strong and can last for many years. However, if you are going to invest in hardi plank siding for your property, then it can be a significant investment.

To apply hardi plank siding to average sized properties, it can cost roughly $13,000-$17,000. However, this investment can be well worth it. The reason is because hardi plank siding can last for decades. It also protects your home from damage in ways that other materials can’t.

For example, hardi plank is much stronger than vinyl, and it is much more fire resistant than wood. So, even though vinyl or wood siding may be cheaper to install initially, hardi plank can save you money in the long run because it can prevent you from having to re-side your house if there is a fire or a bad storm.


Hardi Plank Siding on Charlottesville Log Cabin

Hardi Plank Siding on a log cabin in Charlottesville, Virginia

Our Final Thoughts On Hardie Plank Siding

Hardi plank may not be the cheapest siding option on the market. However, it is a great option for anyone who wants a strong, beautiful, and long-lasting siding on their property. Installing hardi plank siding may be an expensive upfront cost, but this investment can provide you with a beautiful siding that can last for well over fifty years. After you install hardi plank, you may never have to install another siding on your property for your entire life. In fact, the next residents of the building may not have to either!

Pole Barn Metal Roof
Written by Deborah Hawkins

How Much Does a Metal Roof Cost?


How Much Does a Metal Roof Cost? That is the question I get asked all the time by clients when looking to install a new roof on their home. When it comes to roof materials, there are many different types. For example, roofs are commonly made with composite or asphalt shingles, rolled roofing material, and slate shingles. There are even green roofs, which have moss or plants growing on top of them. However, one of the most interesting and trendy roof materials in the modern market is metal.


metal roofing on the post office cabin


Benefits of Metal Roofs

Metal roofs provide a classy, strong look that makes a building look durable, yet upscale. Metal roofs are also fire resistant. This gives them a distinct advantage over other types of roofing materials. Considering that there are roughly 358,300 home structure fires in the United States, this is quite significant.


Another great benefit of metal roofs is that they are not appealing to termites, carpenter ants, or other insects that use wood and certain similar materials for food. This means that metal roofs will never receive termite or carpenter ant damage. This is a major advantage.


Metal roofs also have a high degree of longevity. Typically, they can last 40-70 years. Asphalt roofs often only last for 12-20 years. This means that if you decide to go with metal roofing that it can last up to 4 to 5 times longer than an asphalt-based alternative. Finally, metal roofs are also environmentally friendly. This is because they are often made with 25-95 % recycled material. Further, they are typically completely recyclable after they are taken off the structure.


Costs of Metal Roofs


The cost of metal roofs is usually about 2-3 times as expensive as other options such as asphalt shingle roofs. For example, asphalt shingles typically cost $3 - $4 per square foot. However, metal roofs often cost $5.50 to $12.00 per square foot. So, if you are going to purchase a metal roof vs. an asphalt shingle one, it can be a significantly larger investment.


The exact cost per square foot to have a metal roof installed depends on which type of metal roof you would like to have installed. For example, a metal shingle roof is typically cheaper than a standing seam metal roof.


However, even though metal roofs are usually more expensive, there are some metal options that are comparable to asphalt shingles in terms of price. For example, corrugated metal, and ribbed steel roofs cost less than other types of metal roofs. Corrugated and ribbed steel roofs usually cost between $3 - $6 per square foot.


So, if you opt for a corrugated metal or a ribbed steel roof, then you can face installation costs that are comparable to asphalt shingles. In some cases, the costs may be slightly higher, but these are still good options for metal roofs. They will be very durable and last for many years.




Metal roofing may be a bit more expensive in many cases than alternatives. However, if you plan to stay in your home for a long time, then the metal roof cost can be well worth it. This is because a metal roof will have to be replaced significantly fewer times than roofs made with other materials such as asphalt shingles.

metal roofing on the bedford cabin

So, if you are going for cheap and non-long lasting, then asphalt shingles may be your best option. However, if you are going for longevity, durability, protection for insects, and fire resistance, then metal roofs are the better option. Metal roofs also provide a very nice modern feel to your home or office building. This can be important when it comes time to sell your building in the future. Unless you are planning to keep your structure in your family indefinitely, resale value is a variable that should definitely be considered.