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Meeting with clients through the past year, I can attest to the fact that remodeling decisions do not come easily in these economic times. Any dollar value decision needs to be weighed against issues of longevity and priority. Homeowners are not seeing immediate returns on home improvements, so a different scale must enter the equation to judge the best choice. Frequently, the work being done is to remodel within the existing footprint of the home, with clever design to get more usefulness from the existing spaces. When the exterior receives attention, the incentive is to achieve energy savings and promote durability of the building envelope. The longer that a material or finish will endure without requirement of maintenance, the more welcome it is for the homeowner providing the care.

I was pleased to read this quote from a wise New Englander this week:

"The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it."
– Henry David Thoreau

BDBR offers professional management for homeowners who desire a consistent experience from the planning, budgeting and design phases through to the construction work the home will receive. Certainly, we enjoy creating beautiful spaces for living. In our planning, we seek efficiency in the design so that we leave room within the budget for the lovely finishes that complete a project. However, some of the care that goes into a project will only ever be captured by documenting the work in progress with a photo study. We have been doing more of this in the past year. We are preparing presentations for future clients to show the value of the building technology we are putting in place behind the exterior finishes to safeguard the beautiful interiors. We seek a balance of these notions with each client to ensure a harmony of beauty with a lasting value of endurance. We want our clients' improvements to hold value for the long run.

Many projects in the past year have been directed toward building performance. With rising energy costs and shrinking dollars, homeowners seek assurance that the money that they decide to invest in their home will continue to work for them for years to come. We have learned a great deal in the past few years about building technology in regard to air and water management. Maintaining still air around the insulating system prevents heat loss from this circulation. Air-sealing is paramount to the performance of an insulation system, and we focus attention to this aspect while we remodel. Separating the siding material from the wall sheathing provides an air space to allow that siding to breathe, thus keeping water from pushing the paint off the siding. Then, implementing all of the best flashing techniques at roofs and window and door openings directs the water away from the vulnerable areas of the building's envelope.

We welcome the opportunity to share the perspective and methodology we bring to home maintenance and investment for master-planning performance. The fully integrated approach we bring to building technology applies the same level of investigation, consideration and application to all of the surfaces that will maintain the performance of the home's air & water management systems. Our crews will provide the same level of care and attention to detail to the entire exterior, as we replace roofing, windows, siding and trim. We offer you the benefit of our experience in caring for New England homes.


Basnett Fixer UpperDeferred Maintenance is NOT a savings plan.

Eventually, ya gotta pay for it!

Out of sight, out of mind can only last so long. Although home maintenance may lack some of the charm and appeal attributed to renovations and additions, it is still integral to maintaining property value. Remaining ahead of the chores associated with caring for your home will keep vulnerable areas in check and will keep damage from occurring. We recommend inspecting your home's surfaces at regular intervals.

There is a food chain to the conspirators seeking to make a meal of our homes. More than once this year we have had homeowners complain of woodpeckers attacking their homes. The woodpeckers were boring into the wood to get at the bugs. The bugs had found their way in from paths made attractive by water seeping into the wood. As I am told, the ants come first, and then their tunnels make for easy travel for termites. It all begins when water follows the path of least resistance to the inside of the home rather than rolling down over the exterior finishing materials to the ground.

BDBR specifies a fully-adhered membrane over roof and wall sheathing prior to our finished surface applications. Roofs are covered from drip edge to ridge prior to the application of shingles. We also promote and pursue rigorous flashing at surface intersections. Our new walls are also fully covered, and then we create an air space between the sheathing and the siding material. Advanced flashing techniques divert all water away from window, door and other penetrations through the wall.

Even though appraisals and comparative market analysis may not add value for extraordinary care, it is not difficult to imagine a buying agent devaluing a property by demonstrating needed repair. We can work together to analyze the need for repair with respect to the associated cost. Then we can develop a plan to place proper emphasis where attention must be focused. Economy of scale brings the greatest return on investment from fewer mobilizations of construction crews. However, with a mind set toward master planning, we can also work together to develop a budget that will see work addressed in stages and contained by a yearly home maintenance budget.

When time and conditions allow, we are happy to add new space or detail to our clients' homes. We are also happy to have the chance to help our clients stay ahead of the less glamorous, but nevertheless necessary, priority list of home care items. There is great satisfaction in having repeat clients that have come to trust our company for the care that we demonstrate. We can ask for no greater endorsement of our craft than to have our clients love their homes and want to stay in them. We want our good work to last through the years that our clients live in their homes. We welcome the invitation to meet with you to create a master plan to tend to your home's needs and your heart's desires.


Deep Energy Retrofit Open House - 12/3/11

Saturday, December 3, 2011 - 10 AM - 1 PM

3 Primrose Lane, Westford, MA

national_gridSteve and Jill Atkins will be sponsoring an Open House, in conjunction with National Grid, showcasing the Deep Energy Retrofit of their home in Westford, MA. Together with Basnett Design/Build/Remodel of Littleton, MA, they are expanding and updating their subdivision colonial built in 1993 to create a super energy efficient, highly durable home designed for their family's comfort and good health.

Steve and Jill purchased the house in 2003, drawn by its location in a neighborhood community, on a good lot, and in a town with a top-rated school system. After a few years in the house and the discovery of some deficiencies in the construction and floor plan, they decided to renovate to make the house work better for their needs. The original project plans included significant energy improvements, with rigid foam insulation under new siding and a new highly insulated, unvented roof. Basnett DBR introduced the Atkins to the DER incentive program, which led to additional energy efficiency measures in order to qualify. The project also includes some added space, a new re-pitched roof, and renovations throughout the house.

The project is aiming for completion by December 2011.

Here are some of the highlights of this Jamaica Plain 3-family DER retrofit project:

  • Roof: R-65, with 9 ¼” closed-cell spray foam and 1” interior Polyisocyanurate foam for a thermal break
  • Walls: up to R-41, with 5 ½” of open cell spray foam and 3” rigid Polyisocyanurate foam on exterior
  • Unfinished Basement Walls: R-21 below grade; R-42 above grade. 3” to 6” rigid Polyisocyanurate foam
  • Finished Basement Walls: R-26 below grade; R-39 above grade. 3 ½” closed cell spray foam within 2x4 stud wall cavities plus ½” continuous closed cell spray foam between stud walls and foundation walls with 2 layers of 1” rigid Polyisocyanurate foam panels added to the above-grade wall areas.
  • Doors: R-5.3 fiberglass exterior doors
  • Heating: Zoning added to existing high-efficiency furnace with 7-day programmable thermostats.
  • Cooling: 2-stage high efficiency air conditioner with all-aluminum high efficiency comfort coil.
  • Water heating: A.O. Smith Vertex condensing hot water heater.
  • Ventilation: Balanced ventilation system with Energy Recovery Ventilator and house air handler fan integration to circulate fresh air evenly throughout the house at regular intervals.
  • Appliances: Energy Star minimum rating on all appliances.

Directions by car to the Open House:

From Rt. 495

  1. Take Exit 32 Boston Rd.
  2. Left onto Boston Rd. coming from North; Right if coming from South.
  3. Right onto Rt. 110 Littleton Rd.
  4. Go 1.5 miles and take a Right onto Rt. 225 Concord Rd.
  5. Go .8 miles and take Left onto Hoard Rd.
  6. Go .3 miles and bear Left onto Magnolia Drive.
  7. Take 1st Right onto Heather Lane, then 1st Left onto Primrose Lane.

Download the PDF for the event.


Westford DER construction begins June 2011


Westford DER: Thermal package complete; exterior trim & siding being installed


Westford DER: Attic insulated


Westford DER: Basement insulation being installed


Call us at  978-952-2552

14 Gilson Rd.
Littleton, MA 01460

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J.F. Basnett Company, Inc. is doing business as Basnett Design - Build - Remodel.  Proudly serving the following MA communities: Acton, Ayer, Bedford, Berlin, Bolton, Boxborough, Chelmsford, Concord, Dunstable, Groton, Harvard, Lancaster, Lexington, Lincoln, Littleton, Lowell, Lunenburg, Marlborough, Maynard, Pepperell, Shirley, Sterling, Stow, Sudbury, Townsend, Tyngsborough, Wayland, Westford, and Westminster.