Building Innovations for Quality and Comfort

When you buy from a professional new home builder, you can expect a well built, solid and comfortable home. The wide range of construction technologies, products and materials used in today's new homes means unparalleled quality and performance.

Canada has an international reputation for leading-edge research and building excellence. The continuous evolution of home building technology reflects the industry's commitment to quality. As a result, today's new homes are better than ever.

When you look at new homes, talk with builders about the construction, systems and products they use. Ask them to explain—advantages and benefits; cost implications; environmental considerations; energy efficiency and durability.

Here is a brief look at some of the construction methods and products you can find in the marketplace today.

Wood framing. For centuries, wood has been the primary building material for Canadian homes. Today's professional builders have perfected the art of wood-frame construction. New wood-frame homes incorporate high levels of insulation, air barriers to stop leaks and drafts, and vapour retarders to control moisture. You enjoy increased comfort, energy efficiency and a home that is environmentally sound.

Engineered wood frame. Rather than cut from timber, the studs and joists that form the structure of the home are manufactured from wood fibres that are fused together under high pressure.

Stressed skin panels. These factory-built wall sections consist of insulation pressed between wood panels. The panels are manufactured to the builder's specifications and erected on the building site.

Panelized wall assemblies. Panelized construction takes factory building a step further. Whole walls are built in their entirety, complete with insulation and window openings, and shipped to the site, ready for installation and finishing.

Steel framing. Long used in commercial construction, steel framing is also used in residential construction. The technique of building with steel is not fundamentally different from wood framing.

ICF construction. Some new home builders have recently started to use insulating concrete forms (ICF) for full, seamless walls from foundation footings to the roof. Resembling giant children's interlocking blocks, the forms are stacked and tied together, reinforced with steel rods and filled with concrete. The forms stay in place, effectively providing structural strength and insulation in a single step.

Heating systems. As new homes have become more energy efficient, it takes less to heat them. Today's furnaces are compact and energy efficient. New integrated systems combine space heating and hot water heating in one piece of equipment—highly energy and space efficient. Infloor radiant heating is often used with concrete floors in ICF construction.

Windows. Major advances in framing materials and in the insulating spacers between glass layers mean improved energy performance, fewer drafts and far less condensation in cold weather.

Ventilation. Good ventilation is key to a healthy, comfortable home. Heat recovery ventilators are a common feature in many homes, continuously providing fresh air to the home while recovering heat from the exhaust air. A more recent development, the energy recovery ventilator, also helps maintain a proper humidity level in the air.

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