Building codes don’t get much more stringent than on Kiawah Island, which sits in a flood plain, hurricane alley and earthquake zone. “Our seismic rating is the same as California,” says HGTV Dream Home 2013 Lead Architect Chris Rose, AIA. “And the entire building was required to sit at least 8 feet above ground level because of potential flooding.”
Add in the team’s goal of attaining LEED platinum certification, the top green building standard administered by the United States Green Building Council, and HGTV Dream Home 2013 offers a lesson in state-of-the-art construction technology.
It is common building practice to nail or screw one structural element to another, but at HGTV Dream Home 2013, elements are tied to neighboring elements with thick steel brackets — some as long as 18 inches — gang-bolted into place. The foundation is strapped to the first-floor framing, which is strapped to the first-story wall framing, and so forth, all the way to the roof. Strapping protects the building from the intense lateral and uplift forces of a major storm, says HGTV Dream Home 2013 General Contractor Craig Gentilin.
The hurricane windows, made by Gayko, a German manufacturer sold by Henselstone, were lab-tested to ensure optimum strength. Glass, without puncturing or leaking, withstood the impact of a 2x4 shot from a cannon while being sprayed with water. “In a storm, I’d stand in front of the windows,” jokes Chris. “They’re the strongest part of the wall system.”
The house is also remarkably air- and water-tight, thanks to its unusual sheathing (the structural surfaces under the visible siding and roofing). Craig’s team used the Zip System, which consists of wood panels that are factory-coated with a plastic outer veneer. Panels are installed like regular plywood, and then the joints are sealed with the manufacturer’s special tape to lock out any drafts or potential moisture intrusion. The house’s ventilation system will constantly exchange stale indoor air for fresh outdoor air, thereby eliminating any chance of indoor air pollution.
Polyvinyl chloride is the plastic used to make the white drain pipes used in household plumbing. But when the molten plastic is whipped with air and then extruded into building materials, it makes a terrific substitute for exterior wood. HGTV Dream Home 2013 is clad in PVC trim and wall shingles. Each shingle boasts a distinct faux grain pattern and can be cut and nailed in place using the same techniques and tools as wood. But the plastic won’t absorb moisture, rot or host termites. So like every part of this house, siding will withstand the harsh island elements for an extended period of time.
The home is sited to take advantage of its waterfront location and minimally disturb the property's existing vegetation.
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