Does Your Builder Control Your Safety and Security?
Typical Physical Security for Your Home
There are many things that go into home safety from a physical security perspective (by that I mean keeping the bad guys out). Lots of time goes into adding/using deadbolts, choosing specific exterior door hardware, enhancing window locks, using electronic garage door access, etc. Other items include adding exterior lighting, security system signs, and even fences. However, what homeowners never seem to think about is the exterior wall of their home.
So How Does My Builder Determine My Families Safety and Security?
Before any one builds or purchases a home, the builder has already decided on how the structure will be built and what materials will be used. Since most people that are buying a home aren’t home builders, they don’t think twice about the process. In fact, I bet most people skip right over the structural specifications part of their contract. In their minds there is a building code, local building inspectors, and a warranty. If anything goes wrong, that’s what the warranty is for. It all sounds good except that all of those things are geared toward building a home that meets the minimum standard and costs the least amount to provide. After all, no one sees OSB or plywood. Most home buyers care about upgraded flooring, high-end kitchen cabinets, or tiled showers.
The building products industry is always changing and new products are coming out all the time. Years ago a new product entered the structural sheathing market. Structural sheathing is the material that goes around the exterior of your home. In the past it was either plywood or OSB. It was about ½” thick and was nailed to the 2×4’s or 2×6’s that made up your exterior walls. It was rigid and solid. It was typically covered with siding, stucco, or brick. In any case it was a solid barrier between you, your family, and the outside world.
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Several years ago a new product became available. It was essentially 1/8” thick cardboard. It was manufactured using technology and strands that allowed it to meet building code for structural strength, it resisted moisture, and had an R-Value rating. In addition it was light, easy to manage, and could be cut with a box cutter instead of a saw. A modern product that saved in labor costs for installation.
I Can Break Into Your New Home with a Box Cutter
When a product comes out that is marketed to builders with advantages such as costs less, saves labor, and has X benefits; many builders will jump on board and start using it in the construction of their homes. In the case of this new product, many production builders (builders that build tract homes or build in subdivisions) made it the standard sheathing product for the exterior wall of every home they built.
Labor savings are great! However, if the builder can cut the sheathing material with a knife, so can I… and so can anyone else. Just imagine, I don’t have to break a window or kick in a door. Quietly I can cut through the siding of your home, cut through the 1/8” cardboard sheathing, push aside the insulation, cut the drywall and… ta-da… I am standing in the living room of your new home! Now imagine if this was the bad guy and you, your spouse, and your kids are sound asleep. It really is kind of scary. Yet this is how a large percentage of homes are built today and the majority of home buyers never even think about the potential impact on their family’s safety and security.
As a custom modular home builder, we choose to use OSB on the exterior of all of our homes. Not just the corners but the entire exterior of our homes. It provides the structural strength we need to transport our home modules to our home sites. It also gives us the peace of mind that we are doing the right thing for the families that allow us to provide them with their new home.
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