After graduating from the University of Santiago Cali Colombia with a degree in Business and Accounting Tony was invited to the United States and it has been his home for the last thirty years. In 1992, he established Wipe Out Pest Control in Houston that he owned and operated for 18 years. During that time he often found himself in the position that he was assisting home owners and fellow home inspectors for much more than just pest control and decided that he needed to expand his knowledge in the home construction field. he then began to study home inspection and home building construction.
There are three levels of home inspection certifications, apprentice, inspector and professional. Tony studied and became certified to the professional level. Final Home Inspections was established in 2000.
For many years Tony was disappointed in the quality of homes he inspected, knowing that just a little more care, more supervision or a smarter choice of materials would have saved large maintenance costs. BuilTex Homes began in 2003 with this commitment as our key business value.
Education and following the latest building codes and trends is important to Builtex Homes and our clients. We attend classes and seminars on a yearly basis to ensure our team is up to date on the newest codes and building technologies.
What sets Builtex Homes apart from other builders?
There is no regulatory and enforcing body over home builders in Texas, thus leaving home owners at risk. Our homes are built to the codes set out by the National Electrical Cade and IRC (International Residential Code) and exceed the standards set out by the Texas Real Estate commission. This approach meant that the home owners in San Leon of our homes did not have extensive damage and no one had to leave their home, while our dear friends and neighbors suffered devastation and some were out of their homes for months.
Does quality always mean high costs?
Let Tony tell you a story;” I was showing a client two different decks. The deck we built and one that we didn’t, both decks were about 5 years old. Our deck was in the same condition that it was when we built it with natural weathering- the other deck was lifting and warping. I was asked why- and my reply was $15.00 in materials and a different construction method. We use stainless steel screws, hot dipped galvanized bolts and nails; the other deck had regular deck screws that are galvanized plated nails. The difference in the selection of the material meant that our home owner did not have a safety issue or repair costs.”
Our construction methods also deliver a quality project. For example, it is easier and a little cheaper to toe nail a board than it is to notch it and bolt it, and there is no noticeable difference at the end of construction- the difference comes later in the life cycle when one home owner is replacing and the other is barbequing. A BuilTex Home client is barbequing. We want our clients enjoying their home not repairing their homes for items that should have been done properly the first time.
Q. How many homes do you build a year?
We can build up to 25 homes in one year. More homes than that we lose our ability for direct supervision and the first thing that suffers is quality. Our mission is to ensure a quality product from the design to construction completion and we will never put our client’s home or our company reputation at risk.
Q. Do you build for first time home owners?
A home for most of us is the largest investment we will make. My clients tell me a large part of the decision to having A BuilTex Home is that the cost of their mortgage is known and they do not take the risk of future additional expenses. It gives me great satisfaction to build a home for a first time buyer. They are able to have a quality custom home, built to the latest codes under a home warranty.
Q. Tony. d o you have general tips for home buyers and owners?
Foundations: All foundations are designed and should be under the scrutiny of the engineer accountable for the foundation design. The engineer signs off on the design and follows the scope of work. Re-bar and postation cable supported slab foundations are the common practice in this area. They both offer risk for failure if not carefully planned and executed. Beam depth and steel diameter, vapor barrier installation and plumbing rough ins are the critical.
Framing: This is integral to the longevity of your home. Home owners and builders alike need to carefully monitor this phase of the project.
During the framing of your home or remodel ensure your framer always places the crown of the boards up. (Wood grain curve up). This simple but often overlooked construction technique ensures that the roof will not sag and the asphalt shingles will not bend/crack and avoids subsequent roof leaks and poor aesthetic value.
The framer needs to follow the proper span tables as found in the IRC codes (http://www.iccsafe.org). Inadequate lumber size for the span cause uneven floors, sticking doors and windows, ceiling cracks, wall cracks- these are difficult and expensive to repair.
Quality of lumber: Number 1 or Number 2 lumber has its place and application within your home. The Framer needs to follow the Span Codes as referenced above.
Attics and Ceilings:
The home owner should monitor their ceiling for cracks or small water stains on a monthly basis and especially during rainy periods. They should check the water tank drain system to make sure is clear of debris or anything that would plug the drain systems in case of a water tank leak.
Insulation: R-30 is required to meet the national energy code. In order to achieve this value 12-13 inches of insulation should be present. I recommend that home buyer/owners upgrade by using Techshield which is a radiant barrier that reduces the heat load in the attic.
FIX that attic access door! A leaking seal around the attic access hatch can reduce your R value by 5-10%.
Ridge vents are one of the best upgrades you can do in terms of return benefits for the money spent.
Roofing: Materials selection is important. We live in an area that is known for severe weather and small things can make a big difference to the repair costs of a home. The difference of using a galvanized piece of metal on the valleys of the roof will minimize and ensure almost no water penetration versus using a felt 15-30lb paper that will eventually degrade and allow water penetration long after the warranty has expired.
Electrical: I can’t stress this enough, make sure you hire only a licensed electrician to complete your home repairs. Electrical systems can be forgiving to a point but when they fail the result is often fire. Insurance companies will want to understand who completed the electrical work.
Plumbing: I recommend that you only use stainless steel braided hose for faucet and commodes. White PVC hose has a one year warranty and is often prone to leaks.
Again, hire professionals. Plumbing problems are frustrating, inconvenient and expensive to fix. Wet traps need to be properly installed, the right glue needs to be used and crimping devices must be use to the manufacture guidelines.
Energy Efficiency: Ensure your contactor is building to the codes set out by the IRC. This provides you the best assurance that you are building your home with the latest energy efficient materials and to the latest building methods.
Repainting after water leaks: Be sure your painter seals and paints at the same time. We have repaired ceilings that were only sealed and later when we repainted all water marks came through.
I encourage all home owners to spend a little time each month walking through and around their home looking for and repairing the small things before they become big issues.
Attic access ladders have been the cause of serious accidents. Make sure metal brackets are present in all corners, shimming is incorporated in the installation 16D nails and or lug bolts at least ¼” are used in construction. No finishing nails are to be used and be sure all fasteners are tight every time you use the ladder. This was a common reason for law suits years ago.
Landscaping: The grade of the landscaping deteriorates over time. Accumulation of mulch around the house and the subsidence of the land make it difficult to obtain 6 inch clearance from the top of the slap to the top of the soil. The homeowner needs to maintain this clearance to avoid issue with foundation performance water ingress and wood destroying insects.
Sprinkler systems: Make sure that the heads of the sprinkler systems point away from the house and as the plants mature leaves do not redirect the spray.
If you have a general question on home inspection or construction methods feel free to post your question to us by emailing info@ builtexhomeshouston.com