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Thank you all for your advice, again it's encouraging that someone else has had some experiences and is willing to take the time to help.
Frank and Donna in Orlando, FL

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looking for a designer in E Texas


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Patti and Jay's Forum Posts: 7
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By Patti and Jay in Uncertain, TX on 9/17/2006


We're in East Texas, a rural area about halfway between Texarkana and Marshall. We are looking for a designer in the East Texas area, someone who might be open to some newer ideas and energy efficiency...we know,  that's a stretch for East Texas.   Anyone know of someone in the Tyler/ Longview/ Texarkana/Marshall, area?  Any other  OBs in 'our' area?
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By Leighton in Wylie, TX on 9/17/2006


I'm not quite that far east, I'm looking to build in the Rockwall area (Royse City actually). I'm still in the planning stages. We've have an idea of the land but haven't got it yet, but I've started looking into the design phase. I haven't found a whole lot of options locally. One I did find look promising but I'm not sure they work out that far east. I know they build in Hunt and Kaufman, but I'm not sure about out in Marshall. They might be able to refer you to someone if nothing else. Their web site is: www.rsicustom.com I was interested in them because they could be used as project managers along with their designing services. I haven't met with them yet but they may be a good match for an OB. If any one is interested I'll keep everyone posted after we meet. I'm also still in the pricing phase. What do you all plan on building? How is the cost out in Marshall? Anyone else looking to build in the Rockwall area? Could use some good advice and some good referrals on subcontractors. Don't want to go through this alone if there is a neighbor out there! LF
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By Patti and Jay in Uncertain, TX on 9/27/2006


Leighton, we too are in the pricing stage. Here, you sort of have to go with whichever sub you can find who will actually show up. Costs here are a bit lower than Dallas on the trades, when you get them to commit, but materials are about the same. We have a couple of friends in the area who are contractors who have pledged help. However, we would like to build with a SIP, preferably the ThermaSave SIP, but aren't having much luck with the distributor (in Grand Prairie) so far. We had an appointment with him last Tuesday and haven't heard back since, so we'll call him tomorrow.

We had wanted to go with ICF (too costly, concrete costs more when you live 25 miles from the plant) or metal framing (can't find anybody around here to do the exterior framing) but hope that we will be able to go with SIP. The ThermaSave product is faced with a HardieBoard material, which eliminates the need for sheetrock on that wall and can just be painted over (Sherwin Williams makes a stucco-like paint with texture built in) or faced with rock or whatever on the outside. The panels can be used for floor, roof, and walls, and are fire-retardant and very strong, but most of all, have very high R-values. All we have to do is get the material. Hopefully, the downturn in housing that the news is talking about will benefit you and us, too.   

As for subs in your area, my husband and I moved here from McKinney. We O-B'ed a home in Fairview 20+years ago (when it was a small town) and had a wonderful outcome--every sub showed up on time (except one, a sheetrocker, who we replaced in less than a week); they all did good work and, aside from the trim carpenter--my brother-in-law--were in budget. We had absolutely no idea what we were doing, but were too dumb to know it. We found all the subs by asking everyone we knew: who do you recommend? We went to a couple of small home builders in the area with good reputations and asked their subs if they worked for others. We took those lists and got bids from each one, along with estimates on their time schedules (some were booked out months in advance). Amazingly, it worked.

There are lots of trades working around Wylie, so you should have a large pool from which to choose. And don't just price lumber, etc. from the big box stores--we had our lowest prices from the small lumberyard in Murphy and the now-defunct Foxworth Galbraith in McKinney. We've found the same thing to be true here, with lumber: the local lumberyard is cheaper than Lowe's or HD, and the lumber better. Unfortunately, we aren't going with stick, except with a few interior walls... at least, that's the PLAN.


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By Leighton in Wylie, TX on 9/27/2006


Patti and Jay, Thank you so much for the information. We too have been researching the SIP option, but it sounds like you've got much further in the process than we have. We don't even have our land secured and I really don't have any idea on our subs yet. I do have some friends in the building industry who we plan to get references from in order to begin our sub list, but any leads you could provide would be graciously welcomed! I would especially be interested to find out what you decide upon in regard to the SIPs. That really appeals to me but because it is different and rarely used it is more difficult to research and contract, as you have witnessed. Any assistance you can give me would be greatly appreciated. If I find any information that could assist you I will be glad to fill you in, but like I said, it appears you are much further along and more educated in the process than I am. I'm a minister in the area and I would be obliged to come to your building site once you get to that point to glean any wisdom you may be willing to offer and hopefully by that time, offer any knowledge I have gained. Feel free to PM me anytime. BTW, what is the name of the lumberyard in Murphy you used? Thanks again for your note and God bless you as you take on this endeavor!
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By Mike in Bonham, TX on 2/9/2007


Patti and Jay,

I just came across this site, so sorry if this is too late. 

I was originally an owner-builder and then started my own company in 1999.  I have been working with clients on SIPS, ICF, steel, sticks, domes, timber-frame, logs, about anything except straw bale. Geothermal, PV, wind, water collection systems, etc.  I have helped to build homes in East Texas (and other parts of the state).  I have owners in Avinger, Johntown, about to do two south of DeKalb, as well as other parts. 

I really am a big proponent of alternative materials.  I don't rep or sell anyone's products (keeps me honest in my opinions) so I hopefully can provide some real-world feedback on the types, costs, etc.

Send me a PM with questions if you like.

Mike M.


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