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January 8, 2014

At “Keepsake Homes, Inc.”  We are constantly striving to be the very best Custom , Scattered site Home Builder In southeastern PA.  which  includes: Berks, Bucks, Chester, Montgomery, Lehigh, Lebanon, Lancaster & Schuylkill counties…  , and beyond!

From our Captain & General Manager,  Bill Hines and our VP in charge of “outside operations”, Steve Hafer, to our

Hi there ! I'm: Bob "The Builder" Leiby - Project manager for Keepsake Homes
Hi there ! I’m: Bob “The Builder” Leiby – Project manager for Keepsake Homes

customer rep.     Joe Lorah, our project supervisors: Eric Miller & Robert Leiby and our crack Draftsman, Shawn Smith, and probably most importantly – to our indispensable  office “Goddess” Cindy Arters, We will spare no effort to deliver the finest custom homes around & work tirelessly to meet …No -  Exceed ! your expectations.

We can meet you at any of our 3 display locations: In Sinking Springs or Royersford, or Cressona…  Or, we can come to your home to discuss your home building dreams & desires.  Bring us your ideas & we will turn them into realities.  If you don’t already have a building lot,

A fine example of super efficient construction.
A fine example of super efficient construction.

we can “fix you up” with one of ours – We have lots of ‘em about,  and if you don’t find anywhere you like there, we have access to hundreds more building lots throughout the region with a price tag to suit just about any budget .

Please feel free to look around our website, friend & like us on “twitter & face book” -share us with all your friends (you just never know who is looking to build a new home), ask us building questions on our “Ask The Builder” tab & follow along with the various construction projects on Bob “The Builder’s” Blog. We want you to feel at home here at “Keepsake Homes”.

We have just introduced our newest line of homes for the economically minded : the “Essentials Collection”.   Check the floor plans & drawings out on our models pull down tab.

Before you “sign on the line” with anyone else, come and talk with us… I think you will see there is a real difference between ”Keepsake Homes”  and all the others.

 

 

New Adventures in Energy Efficiency…

There are lots of things as home builders we can do to help make our homes more efficient both in future energy usage and the costs to gain that energy savings. Through-out my home building carrier, ( & that’s been quite a while), I have

 'Zip walls" system waiting for siding
‘Zip walls” system waiting for siding

seen a vast improvement in the energy efficiency of new homes.

Way back in the “dark ages” of the 1970′s no one cared much about building a home tight and energy efficient. Then it was all… Wham – Bam – Thank-you Mam !  Build them as fast as you can…. That hole in the sheathing (“celotex” back then) don’t worry we’ll just side right over it…., The bottom plate on those outside walls don’t seal to the floor “I can see light through there”!…” Don’t worry about that either, the carpet will seal that off!” … Argh… *. No wonder they invented those earliest UC codes. They were  sooo needed !

Fast forward to today… We now have the ICC codes – in lots of volumes to follow & with each iteration of these codes (every 3 years they get updated), they get more and more concise. & the construction techniques & materials gets more and more efficient. We, at Keepsake Homes have ALWAYS built with an eye t’words the best homes we could build -(regardless of what the local home building competition was producing). You see, some builders are still all about fast -Fast -FAST, &  not so much… Good -Good -GOOD !

What a Family room !
What a Family room !

[* A little side note here; I have been in the residential building trades for most of my life. I have run my own home building business, both building new homes & additions and doing sub-contracting (trades) work for the local builders, for well over 25 years. Keepsake Homes has ALWAYS had the reputation,  in the trades, as the builder  to work with & the home builder to measure yourself against…. That’s the main reason why I agreed to come aboard here at Keepsake Homes. So I could continue to build the “Best Homes I could Build” !  ]

Anyway, back to the action…

We have a great group of sub-contractors & tradesmen who share our quest for superior quality.  The ICC codes have codify lots of aspects of proper & efficient construction and we builders get inspections to keep us honest, but lots of things can and do get by the inspectors (they can’t see everything), & even worse, lots of builders try to slip stuff by the inspectors. WE DON’T THINK LIKE THAT ! Our building philosophy dictates; we will build the best, most efficient home we can,… period!  We seldom get called out on much at those inspections ! & that’s how it should be.

Here are some aspects of our Energy Efficient construction that make us just plain better!

  • Our foundations are built to with-in 1/4″  tolerances, so less gaps for the framing to bridge.
    A Beautiful "Contemporary Ranch Home"
    A Beautiful “Contemporary Ranch Home”
  • We use foam sill sealer and make sure it’s continuous.
  • Our framers glue the floor sheathing to the joists. & break the band joist on field joist. (no open but joints in the floor system)
  • Our framers glue ALL the walls down to the floor system, going a long way to seal that pesky joint.
  • We like to use both the “draft stop” and “super seal” systems to seal up the frame and ALL penetrations from the inside to the outside. This includes: caulking / foaming all frame joints, all the penetrations for plumbing & wiring, installing 6″ (r21) insulation over the walls as a seal at these hard to fill areas not just to hold back the blown-in ceiling insulation. ( getting this blocking right is important), insulating the daylighted basements (r-21) & using insulation blankets (r-10) over the foundation masonry. R 21 batts in all exterior walls ( including the house/garage wall), & we blow 14″ /R 38 into the ceiling system. (this means no cold spots in the ceilings)
  • We use the ZIP wall system to sheath both the roof & walls. This system uses a special sheathing that has a rubberized kind of skin on the exterior and wide rubber tape to seal each & EVERY joint. ( this system is even better than  house wrap)
  • We both caulk & Tape the windows & doors in place, then we foam the window & door jams from the inside.
  • We use, when ever possible, High efficient heat pumps and we have Super efficient “Geo-thermal heat pumps” as an
    Another recently finished Home project in Schuylkill County
    Another recently finished Home project in Schuylkill County

    option. You will be amazed just how little it’ll cost to heat one of our homes !

  • Our electric water heaters are “Energy Star” rated, as are the appliances that may be included in your new home contract.
  • We are using “CF” (compact florescent) bulbs along with Halogen & now, more and more, LCD bulbs.
  • & finally, we and all our sub-contractors strive to keep our construction waste component as small as possible. (less junk going into the land fills).

It’s our ATTITUDE about what we do that makes all the difference!

Ok, That’s all for now folks!

Let’s keep on building !

Remember to share us on the facebook & innertubes ! (you just never know who is thinking about building a new home or addition. You’ll be doing them ( & us) a big favor…. Also,we will give you a referral bonus just by turning one of your friends on to us (& we get to  build their home). So lets get crackin’!

Bob “The Builder” Leiby

 

A New “Home” For: Bob “The Builder” Leiby

December 6, 2013

The Best Custom Home Builder & Renovation Contractor in Schuylkill County, PA! We also build: Additions &

Bob Leiby, Master Builder and all around Great Guy !

Bob Leiby, Master Builder and all around Great Guy !

Garages and do Restorations, Renovations, Consultations & General Contracting!

It’s all about delivering the finest in custom construction and the best in customer satisfaction. I have one “Rule”: “We will do whatever it takes to have NO unhappy clients”.  If you are thinking about building a home or an addition or just about any construction project, do your self a favor and Call Me to talk about your project. I’d love the opportunity to give you an estimate and discuss your plans.  I own and operate Summer Hill Building & Contracting, Inc. the Premier Home Builder of Schuylkill County, PA.

The end of an era ...in business since 1987

The end of an era …in business since 1987

It is still financially better to own your own home than it is to rent, So Call Me ! I & my team can help find you another lot and build your dream home!

We have building lots in “Forest hills” development in Pottsville, PA.  Probably the last AFFORDABLE building lots in Pottsville.   Pottsville has a sewer permit moratorium in place as of right now but the sewer authority is working on it’s remediation & will be lifted at some point in the (hopefully) near future. BUT, I have a sewer permit available so we can get on to the adventure of building your new home right away !

A New Home for Bob “The Builder” Leiby

Well folks, It’s finally official ! I’ve been talking about doing this for a long time. ( at least with my family and friends).

You know, I have spent my ENTIRE life in the residential building trades. I am a: Journeyman mason ( brick, block,

Dewald Kitchen re-mod

Dewald Kitchen re-mod

stone & concrete), a Framing Carpenter, a Trim carpenter. I have been a roofing & siding sub-contractor,  & I’ve even dabbled in plumbing & electrical work. Hell, I even install tile, laminate and hardwood flooring.  Basically, I have Extensive Experience in most of the trades involved in the construction of homes & additions. I am good at this, & best of all… I Love This Stuff (this is my art you see) !  So when Bill Hines, CEO of Keepsake Homes, inc asked me if I would consider coming to work for him there… I took the offer seriously. I am getting a bit long-in-the-tooth for climbing around on a frame in the middle of winter (I’m 58 as of this blog). Bill offered to, sort-of, fold Summer Hill Building & Contracting inc.

A view of this finished home from the lake shore

A view of this finished home from the lake shore

into his , much larger Keepsake organization. I wouldn’t get to do ALL the trades I’d been doing in the past, but I could do all the  trim on their houses (if I had time) and run most of their new home construction projects.

Well, sometimes I’m not so dumb & common sense finally won out… I’m now “Project Supervisor” in charge of new home construction. & I just Love my new job ! I get to do the things I love ( they actually pay me to do this, how awesome is that! ) & I don’t have to do hardly any of the “business” baloney part of the job ( I hated doing this part & I wasn’t all that good at it anyway).

I even get to continue the Bob “The Builders” Blog over at Keepsake’s web site. So come on over & visit. I have lots going on and a few homes under way & in various stages of construction.  I will be reposting my Bob the builder blog here as well.

The Lazy Dog Cafe'  How I miss that place !

The Lazy Dog Cafe’ How I miss that place ! I renovated this place into Apartments.

I never knew how good it is to have a whole team surrounding you…helping to build the very best homes we can build. I did all this stuff by my self-  running Summer Hill Building & Contracting. I never liked the “business” end of the business, it just lots of unpleasantness I had to go through so I could do what I’ve always loved …building homes. But, I just never knew….that working with a great team was so much better. The office guys could do the boring business stuff & I could do the fun stuff ! Well I do now !

So, if you are looking to build in Schuylkill county, you should still contact me at: summerhill_co@comcast.net & I’ll hook you up with the best scattered site home builder in our area ( all of south eastern PA).

And don’t forget,  Summer Hill still owns a bunch of building lots in Pottsville, PA. so if you are interested in building  in Forest Hills. contact me, & we’ll get started delivering the best homes around…period!

Thanks for following along and liking me on the facebook.

Still, Your Builder…Bob “the builder” Leiby

Finishing up the Chalet @ Lake Wynonah

December 3, 2013
Ambrosia Beetle damaged maple railings

The Best Custom Home Builder & Renovation Contractor in Schuylkill County, PA! We also build: Additions &

Bob the Builder

Bob the Builder

Garages and do Restorations, Renovations, Consultations & General Contracting!

It’s all about delivering the finest in custom construction and the best in customer satisfaction. I have one “Rule”: “We will do whatever it takes to have NO unhappy clients”.  If you are thinking about building a home or an addition or just about any construction project, do your self a favor and Call Me to talk about your project. I’d love the opportunity to give you an estimate and discuss your plans.  I own and operate Summer Hill Building & Contracting, Inc. the Premier Home Builder of Schuylkill County, PA.

It is still financially better to own your own home than it is to rent, So Call Me ! I & my team can help find you another lot and build your dream home!

We have building lots in “Forest hills” development in Pottsville, PA.  Probably the last AFFORDABLE building lots in Pottsville.   Pottsville has a sewer permit moratorium in place as of right now but the sewer authority is working on it’s remediation & will be lifted at some point in the (hopefully) near future. BUT, I have a sewer permit available so we can get on to the adventure of building your new home right away !

Getting to the end of this beautiful Lake front Chalet Project.

Well, I think this will be just about the last entry for this beautiful Chalet.  I’ve come down to the last interior details. I know I haven’t covered everything I did on this home- but I covered the bulk of the big stuff. Now it’s down to some of the finer details.

1. The T&G knotty pine ceiling:

My clients wanted to have a knotty pine look to their ceiling in the very high vaulted area of the great room. (Sort of a

The Knotty Pine ceiling, under way !

The Knotty Pine ceiling, under way !

hunting  lodge look, I think). To seal the home up tight & right, I decided to drywall this ceiling anyway. (even though it wasn’t needed for code). So I now had a uniform surface on which to attach my pine boards. I pre-varnished the “V” matched side, as that was what was going to be exposed. and stood them to dry. Then I built scaffolding with 24′ long aluminum planks to go from a

Man, That ceiling is way up there !

Man, That ceiling is way up there !

section of scaffold in the loft to the tower in the living room by the flying gable windows. ( I used this same scaffold tower to work from to trim out those high windows).

I started from the bottom & with the tongues up I shot the boards on to the ceiling rafters @24″ o/c with staggered joints. I used the same guns & fasteners to shoot my hardwood floors on ( basically, an old duo-fast sheathing stapler shooting 2″ x 1/2″ staples). The business end was ground down to a point and the safety wired open so I could shoot into the groove in the tongues. I gotta tell ya it takes a long time to shoot all that wood onto the ceiling …6″ at a time! I had somewhere around 890 sq ft.

Then I installed a trim piece of 1″-1/4 round around all the edges & rolled another 2 coats of poly varnish. The result

Bedroom floor.

Bedroom floor.

was breath taking !

2: The Engineered / hardwood Laminate floors.

Other than the bathrooms & foyer every floor in this home was going to be a hardwood engineered floating floor. I’ve installed many a yard of this stuff so I didn’t take a brain surgeon to figure it out. But there was some details to work around. The manufacturer calls for runs no longer than 25′. This just made it for the living room/hall way . The living room was 25′ at it’s longest ( remember the 15* ships’ bow) So I put the transition piece right in the hall way entrance. ( lucky that !). I was also putting in thresholds at each door way,( even on the same types of floors Like bedrooms and loft). So each piece of floor area could expand and contract at it’s own pace and after it’s own fashion. again,  THE RESULTS WERE STUNNING.

The Guest bathroom tub

The Guest bathroom tub

3: Tile work on the floors & whirlpool surround.

I do all of my own tile work but I’ve never done a shower and felt somewhat out of my element so we got my client’s old tile gut to do the shower. I just gave him what he wanted with both the framing and the plumbing. The results were beautiful to behold.

I did the easy tile work. The floors in the master bath, the powder room, the

Whirlpool tub W O W !

Whirlpool tub W O W !

foyer and the Whirlpool tub surround. My clients got me the tile and their layouts & I just went to town.

4.  The Hardwood hand rail systems.

I am an artist…My art is building homes.  (among other things), I know this sounds dumb

hand rails

hand rails

you say, how can this kind of thing be art. well it is ! & I got to play with my art on these railings & balusters. First I wanted to find a cool but not to expensive wood to build the railing system with. Something with a unique aspect & character to it. I found, at my local saw mill, a big pile of Maple that had Ambrosia beetle damage. This gave the wood lots of purple veins running along the grain thru-out this very light colored wood. This stuff was just gorgeous!  So I showed some to my clients and with their OK’s I got started in fabricating the parts for the post surround, the handrails, the pickets, and the trim boards.  I decided on a Japanese style of simple profiles. simple and elegant. I didn’t want a lot of shaped profiles to interfere with the beautiful grain patterns.  The Pic.s don’t do this wood justice !

Ok, Thanks for following along and sharing on the facebook

Talk soon !

“Bob the Builder” Leiby

A cool Deck @ the Chalet an the Lake !

November 30, 2013
A view of this finished home from the lake shore

The Best Custom Home Builder & Renovation Contractor in Schuylkill County, PA! We also build: Additions &

Bob Leiby

Bob “the builder” Leiby

Garages and do Restorations, Renovations, Consultations & General Contracting!

It’s all about delivering the finest in custom construction and the best in customer satisfaction. I have one “Rule”: “We will do whatever it takes to have NO unhappy clients”.  If you are thinking about building a home or an addition or just about any construction project, do your self a favor and Call Me to talk about your project. I’d love the opportunity to give you an estimate and discuss your plans.  I own and operate Summer Hill Building & Contracting, Inc. the Premier Home Builder of Schuylkill County, PA.

It is still financially better to own your own home than it is to rent, So Call Me ! I & my team can help find you another lot and build your dream home!

We have building lots in “Forest hills” development in Pottsville, PA.  Probably the last AFFORDABLE building lots in Pottsville.   Pottsville has a sewer permit moratorium in place as of right now but the sewer authority is working on it’s remediation & will be lifted at some point in the (hopefully) near future. BUT, I have a sewer permit available so we can get on to the adventure of building your new home right away !

Now, Hit the Deck!

     Ok, as you may remember, I had to build the frame of the deck way back before any siding or stonework was done.

Starting the "picture framed" AZAK Deck

Starting the “picture framed” AZAK Deck

I wouldn’t be ably to work on that very high, Flying gable with out it. So with deck frame already built I needed to lay-out the AZAK deck boards. I needed to make it fit the 15* angle on the lake side along with the width of the building @ 32′. That meant 16 foot boards wouldn’t  be long enough , (they needed to be over 17′ with the angle & I was to cheap to spend for 20 footers). The solution was a picture frame trim treatment for each side. This solved the length problem & gave me a way to hide all the ends with in the deck itself. SWEET !

Framing the stairs... still no screw or nail holes

Framing the stairs… still no screw or nail holes

I started using a hidden clip attachment system on my previous deck job and liked the results very much, so I am using this same system again. With it you see NO screws or nails. Great look!

     Once the deck itself was finished I needed to work on the stair system. I had the landing and both stair runs to build. I couldn’t use the blind clip method for the decking so I tried another system. This one uses special screws that drill their own counter sink hole. the kit comes with little plugs for the holes. Still not seeing any fasteners ! ( I used this system to attach all the hand rails also…& yet still no fasteners to see. 
    Now for the best part. The railing system.  As some of you know I am a sailor.

Decks getting there (psst. no screw holes)

Decks getting there (psst. no screw holes)

& I have worked around stainless steel wire rigging. We decided to use this kind of  “life line” system around this whole deck instead of the more common picket / baluster type of surround. We didn’t want anything to get in the way of the view down to the lake. (What is the use of having a great view if you can’t see it)! I found the cable and the parts on line and since I already had the cable cutters & the

A finished deck

A finished deck

swage fitting crimpers, it was just a bit of work to run the cables through the holes I drilled through the posts and put it all together with the turnbuckles (to adjust the tightness). I used the regular picket type system on the stairs & landing since no one will be to worried about this view.

Thanks for reading & following along on the face book .
“Bob the Builder” Leiby

Working on the Stone vaneer

November 26, 2013
A view of this finished home from the lake shore

The Best Custom Home Builder & Renovation Contractor in Schuylkill County, PA! We also build: Additions & Garages and do Restorations, Renovations, Consultations & General Contracting! It’s all about delivering the finest in custom construction and the best in customer satisfaction. I have one “Rule”: “We will do whatever it takes to have NO unhappy clients”.  If you are thinking about building a home or an addition or just about any construction project, do your self a favor and Call Me to talk about your project. I’d love the opportunity to give you an estimate and discuss your plans.  I own and operate Summer Hill Building & Contracting, Inc. the Premier Home Builder of Schuylkill County, PA. It is still financially better to own your own home than it is to rent, So Call Me ! I & my team can help find you another lot and build your dream home! We have building lots in “Forest hills” development in Pottsville, PA.  Probably the last AFFORDABLE building lots in Pottsville.  . Pottsville has a sewer permit moratorium in place as of right now but the sewer authority is working on it’s remediation & will be lifted at some point in the (hopefully) near future. BUT, I have a sewer permit available so we can get on to the adventure of building your new home right away !

Economy 2 story for Forest Hills Dev.
Economy 2 story for Forest Hills Dev.

I have designed a small and very economical 2 story home for lot 220 Forest road. It will sell for under $149,990.00. it is now on the multi-list for Pottsville, PA.

  • ·        3 bedrooms
  • ·        1 & ½ bath ( with a private master bedroom entrance) & double vanity.
  • ·        Attached garage
  • ·        Full & daylighted basement
  • ·        Large kitchen with 7’ island
  • ·        Big Living room

Now Back To The Chalet !  Stone work, that is.

Well in this post I am telling the tale of the stonework. Now I haven’t laid real stone in any real way in many a year.

Laying the stone

Laying the stone

(thank God!) Thats very hard work. I like this “Environmental Stone” but the company is a real pain in the A** !  They only sell through a dealer (unless you buy a lot of stone). That’s just nuts, Their yard is just down the street from me a few miles, What stooges. The shame of it is Their stone look the most real when laid

Preparing the wall for the stonework

Preparing the wall for the stonework

up properly, like real stonework. Not everyone can do this right, it takes some skill and an eye for the work. I was trained from the earliest age to the masonry trades including stonework. I love the way it all looks when we’re finished but it is back breaking ( and hand breaking) work. This “Lick & Stick stuff” is just so much easier to lay. I do it myself & the works not so bad. This product has so many different looks, you just have to  us it. First you need a strong and tight frame ( that’s the only way I Frame) Ha, Ha. Then you need to staple a moisture

A finished stone wall section

A finished stone wall section

barrier over the wall sheathing you are covering . Tar paper will do. It’s a good idea to use Ice and water shield or “Zip” tape for any place where rain may find a way in to the structure.( If you can think like water and find a way in so can the rain so fix the issue now before you go any further. This includes around doors & windows, and especially above attached deck bands. These areas are notorious for leaking. Second you nail / staple with framing / sheathing staples the expanded galvanized wire mesh. Don’t be cheap with the nails , use lots of them they will be the only thing holding the stone and mortar on the wall. Third you parge on a scratch coat of Mortar , about 1/4 to 3/8″ thick and scratch it with a long pronged scratcher.  This looks like a big springy steel comb. Scratch the stucco just before it drys and make sure you use “high strength” mortar, NOT portland and lime mixed with sand. The mortar has

More finished wall sections

More finished wall sections

water proofing agents mixed in with it …the portland (tho stronger) doesn’t have any waterproofing so water will just seep right through. Eventually the water gets behind the stones and they will freeze & pop right off the wall. ( I’ve seen this happen, also when masons try to work in the winter with the night temps getting below freezing for any length of time…not a good idea, that. Just wait for a string of warmer weather, don’t take the risk, it’s not worth it. Now, with the entire wall scratched and dry you can start to lay the stones. [This process is for most stone veneers out there but the description below is for Random or field stone, not ashlar or stacked stone]. I like laying them from the bottom because I can get abetter  feel for the flow of the bonds and anyway, that’s how real stone would be laid. I try to save as many squared ones as I can for along the sides and especially the tops of doors & windows. Just butter the back of each stone with your mud( this is called a skim coat) and push & hold the stone into it’s place in the wall. My old mason-guru told me ” There is a stone for every hole, you just have to find it”  Well, these lick & stick” stones cut very easy with a diamond bladed saw, but try to keep the cutting to a barest minimum, There are lots of different shapes in the boxes so work out of 3 or 4 boxes at a time. And then just fill in the middle with the random stones. Try to keep the joints as thin as you can , around 1/2″ would be great. I know you cannot always keep them just right but you need to try as best as you can. ( You will thank me later when you are pointing the stonework in).  In the end you want your work to look just like real stonework. Now with the stones all laid, and dry you can start pointing the wall in. The easiest way I know of is to get some clear

A scratch coated wall section, ready for stone

A scratch coated wall section, ready for stone

plastic grout bags made for the purpose and fill them with your mortar mix , make this mix very wet, almost runny so you can squeeze it out of the bag, easily!. be careful not to get ANY lumps or little stones in this grout mix , It will keep clogging up the bag and kill your for arms for trying to squeeze the little obstruction out.  Now fill all the joints out to the depth you want. just fill all the spaces, don’t worry to much about the look right now  just go as fast as you can and fill as much as you can. Now, when the first area is almost / kinda firm, flatten the joints with a steel slicker. You should have various sizes for the different sized joints  . Push the mud in all around the stones and smooth the joints out as best as you can. Then take a 2″ or 3″ paint brush and brush each joint smoothy. this will finish the section. Then just repeat for the next section. Before long the whole wall is done. I have worked of of both steel tube scaffolding & Pump jacks. Take my word for it steel is stronger and in the end faster, & safer. I have lot’s of building lots available in Forest Hills development in Pottsville, PA. I’m Bob “the builder ” & I’m making deals! You want building lots…I got ‘em…in Pottsville some as low as $5,000.00. OK that’s it for me right now. Thanks for following along on the facebook. Bob the Builder, Leiby

Meanwhile, back at the Chalet at Lake Wynonah, Schuylkill County PA.

April 26, 2013

The Best Custom Home Builder & Renovation Contractor in Schuylkill County, PA! We also build: Additions & Garages and do Restorations, Renovations, Consultations & General Contracting!

It’s all about delivering the finest in custom construction and the best in customer satisfaction. I have one “Rule”: “We will do whatever it takes to have NO unhappy clients”.  If you are thinking about building a home or an addition or just about any construction project, do your self a favor and Call Me to talk about your project. I’d love the opportunity to give you an estimate and discuss your plans.  I own and operate Summer Hill Building & Contracting, Inc. the Premier Home Builder of Schuylkill County, PA.

It is still financially better to own your own home than it is to rent, So Call Me ! I & my team can help find you another lot and build your dream home!

We have building lots in “Forest hills” development in Pottsville, PA.  Probably the last AFFORDABLE building lots in Pottsville.  Erica Ramos and her team at “Ramus Group” can help you find the right building lot for you . Pottsville has a sewer permit moratorium in place as of right now but the sewer authority is working on it’s remediation & will be lifted at some point in the (hopefully) near future. BUT, I have a sewer permit available so we can get on to the adventure of building your new home right away !

Economy 2 story for Forest Hills Dev.

Economy 2 story for Forest Hills Dev.

I have designed a small and very economical 2 story home for lot 220 Forest road. It will sell for under $149,990.00. it is now on the multi-list for Pottsville, PA.

  • ·        3 bedrooms
  • ·        1 & ½ bath ( with a private master bedroom entrance) & double vanity.
  • ·        Attached garage
  • ·        Full & daylighted basement
  • ·        Large kitchen with 7’ island
  • ·        Big Living room

Now Back To The Chalet !

IMG_20130402_161354

Work is progressing apace. The mechanicals ie: the HVAC, plumbing, electrical, are all roughed in. ( that means ready for the drywall). The Insulation went in last week and I went around the entire house and caulked/sealed with fire foam ALL the plate penetrations between the floors and into the un heated spaces.

IMG_20130328_135952Since last we spoke, The concreters have poured both the patio and the basement floor . this was done through the house and down the basement stair hole. A “Rube Goldburgian” set-up if ever there was one…(I wish I had got a pic of the whole shoot system. A great job with a very nice finish on both pours. Strouse construction in Berks county if you need good concreters.

The HVAC was quick as the heating sub only needed to get the duct chases up through the interior walls to their outlet locations, & install a central return.

IMG_20130405_110617The Plumbers had a lot more work to do they needed to get waste lines to all the fixtures and vent it all through the roof, (I installed the vent boots). He also ran a 3” radon vent pipe up through the house from the radon piping coming from under the concrete floor (just in case)! We also installed the water feed lines in the new “PEX” system controlled by a central manifold system. Each line is a home run from the manifold valve to the individual fixture, NO JOINTS to leak. The only way we get a leak with this system is if someone puts a nail through the pipe, and that’s not very likely.

The Electricians had even more work to do. They installed the service (meter base & breaker box,) & located all the extra lights & switches I wanted for my clients. Along with all the normal electrical wiring. I  ran a few sections of conduit for electricity down to the beach, and put in a pull line to pull the new wire through. I find it amazing how much wire & boxes go into a normal “modern” home.

IMG_20130410_143812Then the code enforcement officer had his mechanical inspection along with the framing & deck frame inspection. Everything passed with flying colors. The inspector did want lateral blocking between those very long, 2×12 rafters to keep them from twisting…a good idea – that. He  Especially liked how I built the deck frame. I went a little overboard with this system because it is so far up in the air. I didn’t want anything to happen with a load of people on it.

He came back for a quick inspection of the insulation ( just to make sure I was doing what I was supposed to do.) & came back one more time during the drywall hanging to see if we were using glue and enough screws. No problems. We wont see him again until the final / occupancy inspection.

IMG_20130419_090355The siding is finished and I am prepped for the stone veneer ( a whole-nother story, I’ll tell you all about it in the next blog.)

The excavators are starting the long process of final grading, dry wells, spreading top soil, installing the septic system and utilities trenches. Everything has to be done in an order as we work our way around the house, up from the lake.

On a more personal note: I find it a shame we even need “code enforcement officers”. I have been building new homes all my life, & I’ve been doing it more or less the same way most of that time. (Though I do use new systems and technics when I learn about them & they make sense.) I mean; I’ve always sealed my IMG_20130426_092252windows to the frame, I’ve always caulked the joints in the frame, I’ve always used house wrap. You see what I mean. Why would any builder not try to build their homes the best that they can. They would have less problems to fix during construction & They would have happier clients at the end of the job…Maybe even new friends!

Thanks for reading & following along, If you have any questions you can contact me from here at my blog site or come on over to my web site at Summerhill Building & Contracting, inc. Or at the “Build Strong” tab on this blog site!

Oh! and stop by  our “Face Book” page and  click the “Like” button to share us with all yourIMG_20130426_092425 friends. You never know which of your friends are thinking of building! You’ll be doing them and me a BIG favor !

Thanks for joining and “Keep on Building”

Bob ” The Builder” Leiby

The Lake Wynonah Chalet Framing is complete ! (roof too) !

March 21, 2013
That "Flying ship's bow Gable"

The Best Custom Home Builder & Renovation Contractor in Schuylkill County, PA! We also build: Additions & Garages and do Restorations, Renovations, Consultations & General Contracting!

It’s all about delivering the finest in custom construction and the best in customer satisfaction. I have one “Rule”: “We will do whatever it takes to have NO unhappy clients”.  If you are thinking about building a home or an addition or just about any construction project, do your self a favor and Call Me to talk about your project. I’d love the opportunity to give you an estimate and discuss your plans.  I own and operate Summer Hill Building & Contracting, Inc. the Premier Home Builder of Schuylkill County, PA.

It is still financially better to own your own home than it is to rent, So Call Me ! I & my team can help find you another lot and build your dream home!

We have building lots in “Forest hills” development in Pottsville, PA.  Probably the last AFFORDABLE building lots in Pottsville.  Erica Ramos and her team at “Ramus Group” can help you find the right building lot for you . Pottsville has a sewer permit moratorium in place as of right now but the sewer authority is working on it’s remediation & will be lifted at some point in the (hopefully) near future. BUT, I have a sewer permit available so we can get on to the adventure of building your new home right away !

Economy 2 story for Forest Hills Dev.

Economy 2 story for Forest Hills Dev.

I have designed a small and very economical 2 story home for lot 220 Forest road. It will sell for under $149,990.00. it is now on the multi-list for Pottsville, PA.

  • ·         3 bedrooms
  • ·         1 & ½ bath ( with a private master bedroom entrance) & double vanity.
  • ·         Attached garage
  • ·         Full & daylighted basement
  • ·         Large kitchen with 7’ island
  • ·         Big Living room

Call me if you are interested in this home or having a new home designed just for you !

Meanwhile, back at the Chalet !

Well folks I’ve been neglecting my blog duties. No denying it. I’ve been busy framing & then roofing this chalet here at Lake

Starting to set rafters

Starting to set rafters

Wynonah in Schuylkill County PA. But all the back framing is complete as is the roof shingles. You know, it’s a funny thing. I love building…the actual work of building. The cutting the window and door parts, the laying -out, the shooting the parts together…hell, even the standing up of those heavy wall sections. And at the end of a hard day of work I can look back on the work I’ve done and say with satisfaction…”I did this”, I built this. Before

That "Flying ship's bow Gable"

That “Flying ship’s bow Gable”

there was only a big pile of lumber…now there is a house.  WOW !  With all it’s complicated  layouts and consideration for the following trades. You all probably don’t understand this ( at least like I do, unless you too create things in your profession), But it is one of the best feelings around. Instant gratification. I tell people this all the time when they ask me why I don’t sub more of my houses out to other tradesmen, but I just LOVE IT ! But… After all I am getting a bit L O N G  in the tooth to be climbing around a 12/12 pitch roof system setting rafters & shooting down  OSB – 25 feet in the air. And I

Some pretty framing, I think !

Some pretty framing, I think !

do get tired by the end of a hard day’s work, but I don’t know if I can give this up. I mean could Beethoven give up composing on the piano even after he no longer could hear…? However, time marches on & I may start sub-contracting more of the especially hard stuff out to younger players…we’ll see.

Anyway, We finished framing the chalet last week and installed the shingles on top just in time for yet another snow…well almost. I had 1

Now that's a steep roof...ready for shingles

Now that’s a steep roof…ready for shingles

square of shingles to go when we got another 3″ of snow, I had to shovel off the roof so I could snap the lines and shingle the last of the 12/12 roof. All the while the snow was melting and running down over my newly snapped lines , and washing them off the ice and water shield. (

Shoveling snow off the roof for shingles

Shoveling snow off the roof for shingles

When I got home that night my wife asked if I was OK because my face was so red…well, the red chalk was splashing up as I snapped the lines and got all over me.) Thank goodness it was not a permanent red chalk.

Thanks for reading & following along, If you have any questions you can contact me from here at my blog site or come on over to my web site at Summerhill Building & Contracting, inc. Or at the “Build Strong” tab on this blog site!

Proper "double flashed" wall bulkhead: 16" ice shield then aluminum step flashing, means  NO LEAKS !...EVER !

Proper “double flashed” wall bulkhead: 16″ ice shield then aluminum step flashing, means NO LEAKS !…EVER !

Oh! and stop by  our “Face Book” page and  click the “Like” button to share us with all your friends. You never know which of your friends are thinking of building! You’ll be doing them and me a BIG favor !

Thanks for joining and “Keep on Building”

Bob ” The Builder” Leiby

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