SPHERICAL  DESIGN  ENGINEERS

For 45 years, Spherical Design Engineers has been designing and engineering energy-efficient, low-cost housing and commercial structures.

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This web site has been created to share some of the great architectural design engineers ideas of the past and present in the hope of exciting your imagination with alternative modern ideas that take advantage of the strength and efficiency of the spherical shape.

This firm's specialty is the design and engineering of spherical shaped structures, contemporary prefab housing and modernistic commercial buildings with the ability of being independent, self- sustaining habitats.

 

Bringing the beauty of commercial architecture to the residential designs with new and innovative ideas and technologies to create affordable energy efficient structures.

Spherical Design Engineers seeks to incorporate what being at home has always meant to us. That is: feeling welcome, safe and comfortable while consciously pushing the boundaries to adapt to our contemporary lifestyles

Spherical Design Engineers seeks to incorporate what being at home has always meant to us. That is: feeling welcome, safe and comfortable while consciously pushing the boundaries to adapt to our contemporary lifestyles.

The home is a place in which you feel at ease and comfortable with your surroundings. We have not abandoned material interest, but we have a new set of first priorities focused more on comfort and the desire for simplicity. We want the feeling of simplification but not the lifestyle of simple living. It is how we feel in a space that is so incredibly important to that feeling of home.

 

The Quest for New Architecture

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At the dawn of the 21st century, architectural design engineers are entering a paradigm shift. Humanity, ecology and even biology now play important roles in the conception of living and working spaces. Be they built of bytes or bricks, the projects in this web site represent an engaging view of the future.

 

With the aid of boundless imaginations and sophisticated computer programs, today most innovative design engineers are working on designs so conceptual that they could not be built in the physical world. Nonetheless these forward thinking projects have an enormous influence on contemporary  architecture.

Modernistic Architecture
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This is Spherical Design Engineers comprehensive survey of the modern landscape in the true spirit of modernism . This study focuses on the formal and spacious ideas. The exploration of the art and science of architectural design engineers.

Continuing to explore and push the limits of other innovative uses of geometry, pattern and color to introduce a new brand of humanistic modern design. It is about investigation, inquiry, imagination and newness. It is not intended to diminish the importance of the social, political or economic aspects of architecture.

 

These are selective examples of architectural works and a comprehensive primer on the ways form and space are interrelated and organized in the shaping of our environments. What is regarded as modern for one generation will not be regarded as such by the next.

 

 Are houses to be regarded as an occasion for the creation of art or are they no more than giant pieces of inhabited sculptures? Or should they be constructed as action settings that first and foremost must provide the appropriate environments conducive to their occupation and use?

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As an art, architectural design engineers are more than satisfying the purely functional requirements of the building program. Ideas and expression are the fundamentals that bring the building to life. Engaging in solving the practical problems of the given client and adding something of their own personality. 

Architecture is generally conceived, designed, engineered and built. The techniques and processes used have a determining effect on the creative product in architecture as well as other disciplines.

Historically used to optimize fabrication procedures. The computer aided digital technology first developed in other fields has been adapted by the building industry. Such development has only contributed to further advancements in architecture. Promoting new spatial and formal expression.
 

 

Architectural History

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We all live and work in buildings. From the humblest to the sublime, there is no reason why any of these should be less than inspiring even in small ways. One of the means through which we try to create order and make sense in our endlessly intriguing yet microscopic world is to provide ourselves with shelter.

The turn of a stair. The way sunlight falls through windows in mesmerizing patterns on floors. Material cool to the touch in the heat of summer. The rhythm of an arcade. The pregnant quality of a dome. At its best, architecture, which is different from building, lifts our spirits and sends shivers down our spines. At its worst, it belittles us. Although it really shouldn't, Ever.

Architecture touches all of our senses. Our culture is about making of things. A process which starts with the provision of shelter from the elements. Architecture fulfills this basic need and its expression across time, history and space. And is as varied as the paralleled worlds of plant an animal species.

There is a difference between building and architecture. Animals can build. Their innate sense of geometry and knowledge of light-weight materials is unsurpassed. Humans, though, developed architecture. The science and art of building. The transformation from mere shelter into that of a self-conscious work of art.

Architecture is a continuously evolving art. Advances in technology have enabled design engineers to build intelligence into buildings. To create structures that can respond to changes in environment and then adapt to human needs.

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Back to the Future

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Buildings by design engineers who have a real aesthetic sense are rare. Most continue to be filled with inept imitations, economically handicapped reproductions of our grandiose ideas brought down to their lowest common denominator. The theoretical cutting edge of design and engineering is ever moving at the periphery of public interest.

Most buildings in the real world are still conceived in modes and even in styles that might not have seemed unfamiliar fifty years ago. Architectural designs that will come out of the computer age will bring forth shapes that no architecture has imagined before is advancing. The computer can also greatly facilitate the design engineers of highly complex forms. If such sculptured shapes are in the future of architecture, then they have to be more than an aesthetic whim. Adaptability, capacity to change with use and evolve with time. These are the underlying victims of the new architecture designs, a living breathing art form in this world.

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Spherical Concepts

 
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Many clients are ready to accept innovative concepts from the visionaries such as Fuller, Wright and Gropius.

---Merging materials with nature.

---Doing more with less to create efficient shelters.

---Maximizing design flexibility and dynamic ideas.

---Practical to the environment and the builder.

---Building without compromising modern principles

---The relationship between inside and outside

---Natural expression of materials

--- Innovative modern domestic architecture

---Technically built- affordable housing

--- Flexibility, freedom of choice and better quality

 

Systems of converging components that the builder and owner complete at their discretion. Inexpensive, low maintenance, high degree of environmental control and design choices.

 

Spherical Design Engineers are providing conceptual and innovative custom structures built in the next century. More practical and inexpensive residential designs and engineering that have evolved to address the needs of individuals who will live in them. Compelled to explore possibilities of technology currently available as well as those not yet discovered.

 

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The concepts where designed and engineered to create the most livable environments possible while keeping costs low. Standardization of construction, design and materials make it possible to offer incredibly reasonable prices. Beautiful to look at and inexpensive to produce.

This derives from our passion for efficiency in design and engineering. Efficient designs must be flexible, simple and cheap. We are interested in production and site adaptability. We enjoy taking the opportunity to do the research by doing one off applications to various system approaches. Considering the optimal conditions for creating the end product and designing for the process. Rather than designing and figuring how to build it.

 

Adaptability is taking advantage of a product's effectiveness. Transforming obstacles into advantages. Continuously looking for good, though always not obvious ways to solve problems. We do not hesitate to apply modern technology in user-friendly ways. Designing and engineering with the lightest and strongest materials gives you the ability to build it yourself in a very short time.

 

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This is our ambitious attempt to design and engineer functional, affordable housing for everyone. Our company is committed to high standards of quality, but not a particular architectural style. We are interested in applying the most advanced technologies to the simplest concept - SHELTER

 

Changing Times

 

The forms of architecture as we know are deeply inscribed in human nature and anatomy. From the caves, the desire for protection from the elements. From adversity dictated the door or roof. 

The computer is creating flexibility that escaped design engineers techniques of early times. Ecological concerns are more significant in contemporary architecture, taking a more mature form than they did years ago. Design engineers interested in "green" design felt obligated to make their buildings look strange. Sophisticated designs and materials are frequently employed to create affordable, attractive designs in some of the poorer parts of the world. Innovative design engineers continue to attempt to create new forms of innovative buildings.

 

The biological world is providing more inspiration today than geometric rigidity of the modernistic era. Truly design and engineering forms by no means is restricted to large scale products.

Economic pressures get the better of architects even when the design engineer is intellectually capable of making something more than just a functional structure. Artwork at the frontiers of architecture that approach pure art are sources of potential confusion, but is a stimulating trend in building design.

 

 In the last twenty years private small scale homes for often wealthy clients permitted a degree of inventiveness and creativity. Solving the problems inherent in any structure is a measure of the architect's creativity and potential when endless budgets are not available. Even the most artistic design engineers must build and indeed fit into pragmatic requirements to stay in business.

 

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There are new responsibilities to face up to. Concerns about ecology and use and abuse of fossil fuel and the involvement of those who use the building in the design. An exploding urban population was partially accommodated by the addition of new structures to the fabric of old cities. The computer proved to by a real ally allowing design engineers to take extraordinary leaps of the visual imagination. As these new freedoms opened up, the irony was that architecture was increasingly marginalized in the building process which became increasingly industrialized. More than ever at the beginning of the 21st century design engineers needed to stretch their imaginations.

 

 

Manufactured Housing

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Pre-manufactured housing kits started in 1624. In the early 1900's Sears & Roebuck sold over 100,000 kit homes. Precut materials and precise instructions created their success.

Looking like ants on a hill, massive clusters of standardized houses seems depressing. American residences have become a product except for those of the wealthy. The reputation of industrialized home is cheap and ugly, mimicking the stick-built home. The cheapest available technology avoiding prosecution was destined for early demise.

 

Abbreviated cost and time appeal to design engineers and builders. Often aesthetics, comfort and quality are sacrificed, but not always. There have been exceptions in history.

The last century has revealed a wealth of practical, attractive alternatives to the status quo. The visions and the technologies exist. Industrialized homes have the ability to be well designed, practical, environmentally efficient and affordable. So why isn't it being built?

 

The majority of commercial and residential structures are prefabricated components. The development philosophy is rapidly transforming vivid and varied landscape with quality and distinction. Most industrialized buildings are inexpensive and functional. The projects that prevail are not innovative or attractive, but the developers and manufacturers profit.

Quite simply, pre-manufacturing is cheaper, faster and more reliable in making large-scale projects. The site and people are perceived as abstract variables - not specifically generators of form and space.

The industrialized housing systems have reduced the context and dwellers to the lowest common denominator. Failure to consider the unique factors operating in a human being environment.

 

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Spherical Design Engineers efforts today are for the gratification and enjoyment of clients. The communication is important to all parties. Inventive use of component construction opens many possibilities for adventurous designs, spatially rich and full of light.

Spherical Design Engineers investigate and know all about available systems and techniques associated with the various systems and components. Resulting prototypes incorporate sustainable technologies designed to reduce energy consumption and environmental damage. Aesthetics is independent of the method of construction. Our diverse group of well-designed projects does not show their industrialized frameworks. Within the basic framework of each unit, there is great flexibility for extensions and additions. You can repeat the system without ending up with the same product.

Spherical Design Engineers continue to design affordable housing for as many people as possible. No one needs to settle for what they really didn't want. Present production of materials and accessories calls for more skill and higher development of design elements. With good designs holds great promise for our future.

 

Prefab Solutions

 
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Spherical Design Engineers hopes to inspire a change in the way people think of prefabricated building systems and the way design engineers, builders, developers and financial institutions approach it and ultimately the way people live in it.

This is Spherical Design Engineers unequal influential contributions to the modern landscape. You will find diverse design strategies and solutions applied to a variety of building types. From single family residences to shared homes and live-in work spaces, from urban to suburban to rural locations, from year round dwellings to seasonal or weekend homes. All in a wide range of budgets.

 

The structures are prefabricated with the flexibility to be custom prototypes. Selected for their excellence in design, innovative in the use of materials and methods of construction. Each a case study that includes interior and exterior photos.

There are extraordinary examples of synthesis between the design engineers and manufacturing. Urban development has taken advantage of industrial technologies and efficiencies with a view to make affordable and easy to assemble housing.

Keeping cost down has driven our design engineers interest in pre-manufacturing component systems. Researching ways of using mass produced components and modern technologies. Prefabricating is only one of many potential techniques to be displayed.

 

Materials that are innovative or standard materials used in innovative ways, where creativity is introduced, continue to be used for other reasons. These materials are often cost effective, ecologically sound and energy efficient. There are many demonstrations to the extent prefabrication techniques can apply to architecturally designed houses.

The combination of remote locations and tight time restraints and the desire for quality outcome often lead to pre-manufactured solutions.

The knowledge that precision component parts built in a controlled environment and then transported in a protected state to a remote site for rapid installation allows the design engineers to think more freely.

The successful builder today has discovered the many financial and scheduling advantages of pre-manufactured component construction systems. Their costs, quality and delivery are predictable. The craftsmanship, quality and customization will place the builders in the upper end of all competitors in their respective fields.

Spherical Design Engineers hopes to alter the perception of low quality and poor design of pre-fabricated building systems. We hope this is a source of inspiration for homeowners and design engineers working in the residential industry.

 

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Geodesic Structures

 
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From a design engineers perspective geodesic domes are far superior to traditional right angle post and beam construction techniques, which are far less efficient, far heavier, inherently unstable, and rely on gravity to stand up.

Much of the inspiration for the idea of creating a latticework as internal trusses comes from natural geodesic structures in living organisms. The living cells use a form of geodesic architecture to organize their molecular scaffolds into porous three-dimensional forms that simultaneously provide high mechanical strength and enhanced flexibility.

The word Tensegrity is a contraction of tensional integrity. Tensegrity describes a structural relationship principle, in which a system stabilizes itself mechanically because of the way in which tensional and compressive forces are distributed and balanced within the structure.

The geodesic dome combines the sphere, the most efficient container of volume per square foot, with the tetrahedron, which provides the greatest strength for the least volume of weight. A geodesic dome is an almost spherical structure based on a network of struts arranged on great circles (geodesics) lying on the surface of a sphere. The geodesics intersect to form triangular elements that create local triangular rigidity and distribute the stress. Geodesic domes are far stronger as units than the individual struts would suggest.

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The word Tensegrity is a contraction of tensional integrity. Tensegrity describes a structural relationship principle, in which a system stabilizes itself mechanically because of the way in which tensional and compressive forces are distributed and balanced within the structure.

The geodesic dome combines the sphere, the most efficient container of volume per square foot, with the tetrahedron, which provides the greatest strength for the least volume of weight. A geodesic dome is an almost spherical structure based on a network of struts arranged on great circles (geodesics) lying on the surface of a sphere. The geodesics intersect to form triangular elements that create local triangular rigidity and distribute the stress. Geodesic domes are far stronger as units than the individual struts would suggest.

 
Steel vs. Wood
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Structural steel or wood framing is not your only option,   in many cases it is an inferior option.

At a project's inception, Spherical Design Engineers work with builders and homeowners who seek experienced insights into light gauge steel construction methods. Ways to build, lighter, stronger, safer buildings, fire-rated, termite-resistant and built to last.

Termites do more damage to homes each year than any other natural disasters. There are many benefits a steel frame home offers the homeowner. Lower total costs in higher quality structures when they build with light gauge steel. The material's higher strength contributes to safer structures that require less maintenance and last longer.

 

  • Fire proof

  • Termite free

  • Not susceptible to fungus and mold

  • Lower weight reduces risk of foundation movement

  • Stronger connections resist earthquake movements and high winds

  • Will not rot or rust

  • Less expensive for home owner's insurance

  • Higher re-sale value

  • Lighter weight means easier handling and less stress on foundations, cranes and workers

  • Consistent dimensions means there's no need to shim walls and adjust for bows

  • Straight walls and square corners mean windows and doors open and close as they should

  • Less scrap and waste (2% for steel vs. 20% for lumber)

  • Green positioning and structural advantages strengthen your image in the eyes of the consumer

  • Lower builder's risk insurance costs

  • Slash the size of your punch list with consistent framing and decking

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There's nothing like experience in the field to make someone appreciate the importance of proper design and engineering in the office. Our design engineers have manufactured and built light gauge steel structures, so when they design a structure they're doing it with a full appreciation of how it will go up on site.
 

The design and engineering of Light Gauge Steel structures is a job for trained professionals. Not all engineers know how to design with this material properly. Our design engineers are among the nation's most experienced experts in light gauge steel framing and construction. We keep up with the latest designs, engineering and fabricating procedures to ensure your buildings are safe and efficient. We have our own software that incorporates the latest building and light gauge steel framing codes to fully analyze your project.

Construction labor can make a big difference in your project costs. At Spherical Design Engineers we follow a systems approach. We design integrated systems that support one another.

Instead of putting off work to the site crew, Spherical Design Engineers structures are in sizes, that allow for easy more efficient transportation and installation. It is common for other manufactures to design structures that require cranes and other bracing on the job site. This practice significantly jacks up field labor and reduces safety. Do you really want people doing any more work than they have to, 20 feet off the ground, where work is most risky and inefficient?

Steel vs. Wood Construction Cost

The misconception has been around for many years. It originated for many reasons. First, the quality of lumber was much better than it is today and it was much cheaper. Second,  wood framers who attempted to build steel frame homes with no knowledge as to the structural strength of light gauge steel used an enormous amount of steel in their homes that was unnecessary.

Not understanding how strong steel is, they built their homes the same way they would with wood. The result was an enormous waste of material and a very expensive structure. Given these two reasons, one can see where the misconception arose that steel frame homes are more expensive than wood . But this is no longer the case.

Over the years, the cost of lumber has grown greatly while the quality of lumber has reduced significantly. Due to both the dwindling resource of first growth large trees used for quality wood studs and the environmental movement, which is limiting the availability of forests to timber, wood prices skyrocket while the quality of wood dwindles. Steel prices on the other hand remain mostly consistent.

The result is that construction prices are closer to the price of steel offering consumers a viable choice for the type framing to use in their homes. Furthermore, steel greatly outperforms wood in building construction and its quality. Since wood prices fluctuate often, while steel prices remain consistent, an actual price difference is difficult to determine. But the difference in price should never be great. Given the performance and quality of a steel frame home, it is a better LONG TERM VALUE for the consumers money than purchasing an inferior lower quality wood frame structure. In regards of value a steel frame home is a good deal.

 
Plan Design Services
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Spherical Design Engineers offer design and engineering services for generating spherical steel framing plans. Specifically, we draft and engineer spherical steel framing plans and construction drawings for your structural and light gauge spherical steel structures.

We can convert any wood framed building plans to steel frame plans and erection drawings. The following is a general list of what our steel frame plans contain:

1. Architectural Drawings, including:

a. Floor plan (adjusted for steel frame measurements and framing members)

b. Elevations (front, rear, right, left, roof)

c. Window and Door schedules

2. Structural Drawings, including:

a. Footprint of foundation

b. First floor framing layout drawing and construction details

c. Second floor framing layout drawing and construction details

d. Wall by Wall framing drawings details (these may be drawn in panelized wall sections if you desire - if so, each wall panel will not exceed a certain length - i.e. 10' )

e. Individual Truss Fabrication Drawings and Construction Details

f. Spherical Roof Truss layout drawing and construction details

3. Engineering Stamp:

a. We can provide the necessary engineering stamps on your drawings required by your area.

4. Steel Framing Material & Fasteners Ordering Lists:

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We will provide you with a complete list of the steel framing materials and fasteners you will need to frame the spherical structure to our plans. These will be written in the national building codes, ready to be photocopied by you and sent to your local steel and fastener suppliers for bids on your project.

Our steel material and fastener lists help to save the customer thousands of dollars on their project by allowing them to purchase their steel framing materials locally. By dealing direct with their local steel manufacturers and suppliers. The customer eliminates large shipping costs and the profit margin of middle men selling steel framing 'packages' from far away. Also, by getting their material locally, material errors are corrected quicker resulting in less down time on the project. Most areas have more than one light gauge steel supplier, so numerous bids can be generated by the customer. The customer can then be assured he or she got the best price.

Our plans and drawing were created with the do-it-yourselfer and first-time steel framer in mind. Emphasis was given on their clarity and comprehension. Furthermore, they are COMPLETE! Complete in the sense that every stud, every angle clip, every connection, is drawn and/or detailed for complete understanding and clarity. We believe there exist no clearer, better understood, and more complete steel structure plans on the market today! Nevertheless, if the customer ever has a question regarding anything in our plans, our technical support is always available to them during normal business hours.

Typically, we can offer customers our engineered plan services for $1.50 a square foot. (Based upon the total square footage of the structure under roof.)

 
Advanced  Building Technologies
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Checking your home's insulating system is one of the fastest and most cost efficient ways to use a whole house approach to reduce energy waste and maximize your energy dollars. A good insulating system includes a combination of products and construction techniques that provide a home with protection against air infiltration, and moisture control .

You can increase the comfort of your home while reducing your heating and cooling needs by up to 30% by investing just a few hundred dollars in proper insulation and weatherization products.

Adequately insulated homes save money for homeowner's every month. It helps us conserve vital energy resources for our children and for the future. Energy-efficient homes help the environment through lower rates of air pollution emissions from plant and on-site combustion of fuels for heating, air-conditioning and ventilation

Spray on Insulation

Polyurethane foam has the highest R-value of any code approved, closed cell insulation. This seamless building envelope seals your home to protect from air and moisture infiltration and pest. Foam expands to fill cracks, and expands around windows, sills and door frames. Polyurethane has superior adhesion with high compressive strength helping to add greater shear quality and structural integrity to your building.

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Concrete Filled  foam Block

One of the best house construction methods is foam block concrete walls. These structures are not only super energy efficient, but they are extremely strong. The heavy insulation and concrete mass inside the walls block outdoor noise. With the concrete core and tight sealing foam blocks, the homes are very airtight. These homes look like any other. Your architect will actually have more styling flexibility due to the strength. Interior and exterior walls can be finished with drywall, paneling, and siding, brick or stucco.

These are large, often four-foot-long, hollow foam blocks. They are usually made of polystyrene insulating foam like a cooler. Once the blocks are stacked up to create the wall, concrete is pumped in the top to fill the hollow block cavities. You can expect your utility bills to be about half those of a wood stick-built house. This results from the high insulation level and the efficiency benefits of the high thermal mass of the concrete. The overall building cost is only about three to five percent more than a lumber stick-built house.

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Hardie Paneling and Siding

Your home should be as dependable as it is beautiful. That's why our siding offers the best of what vinyl and wood have to offer. James Hardie gives you lower maintenance over the life of your home, but it doesn't sacrifice the charm, beauty and character of natural wood. James Hardie siding won't rot or crack. It also resists damage from rain, hail and flying debris. It can even be installed to resist hurricane-force winds. And offers pre-finished siding in a variety of attractive colors with up to a 15-year finish warranty. Perhaps the ultimate peace of mind comes from the fact that James Hardie siding products are fire resistant, with a limited transferable product warranty for up to 50 years.

Roofing Shingles                                  Side wall Paneling                           Wood grain Paneling
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Exterior  Insulation and Finish Systems (EIFS)

 

Exterior Insulation and Finish Systems (EIFS) are multi-layered exterior wall systems that are used on both commercial buildings and homes. They provide superior energy efficiency and offer much greater design flexibility than other cladding products.

Developed in Europe in the 1950s, EIFS were introduced in the U.S. almost 30 years ago. They were first used on commercial buildings, and later, on homes. Today, EIFS account for nearly 30% of the U.S. commercial exterior wall market. EIFS typically consist of the following components:

Insulation board, made of polystyrene or polyisocyanurate foam, which is secured to the exterior wall surface with a specially formulated adhesive and/or mechanical attachment.

A durable, water-resistant base coat, which is applied on top of the insulation and reinforced with fiber glass mesh for added strength. 

 An attractive and durable finish coat � typically using acrylic co-polymer technology �, which is both colorfast and crack-resistant.

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EIFS can reduce air infiltration by as much as 55% compared to standard brick or wood construction. What's more, EIFS add to the "R-value" of a home or building. By insulating outside the structure, EIFS reduce air infiltration, stabilize the interior environment and reduce energy consumption.

The rich appearance of EIFS bears a resemblance to stucco or stone, but the systems are far more versatile than these and other materials. Not only do EIFS come in virtually limitless colors and a wide variety of textures, but they also can be fashioned into virtually any shape or design.

Unlike wood, stucco and other siding materials, EIFS rarely need painting. Most EIFS systems are specially formulated with 100% acrylic binder, which gives EIFS superior resistance to fading, chalking and yellowing. As a result, the systems tend to maintain their original appearance over time. And since the color is integral to the finish coat, even if the surface is scratched, the same color appears beneath the abrasion.

The systems are designed to be very flexible, which makes them highly crack resistant. When walls expand or contract due to rising or falling temperatures, EIFS are resilient enough to "absorb" building movement and thus avoid the unsightly cracking problems that are so common with stucco, concrete and brick exteriors. EIFS are among the most water-resistant exterior surfaces you can put on a house.

Modified Bitumen Roll Roofing

Extra roofing protection for vulnerable areas. Use for valleys, eaves, flashings, hips, ridges and rakes and around dormers and skylights.

Self-adhesive backing seals to the deck.

SBS-modified asphalt coating helps seal around nails for a watertight finish.

Can be used in new construction or in re-roofing requiring a complete tear-off.

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Helps extend the life of your roof.

Provides extra protection under any type of roofing: tile, wood shake, asphalt, slate or metal.

Fiberglass mat is stronger and provides better tear resistance than saturated felt.

Easy to install, even for do-it-yourselfers.

Skid resistant surface for better traction and safer application.