What DIY home builders say about Faswall


Faswall green building block home exterior by DIY builderIf you’re a DIY builder thinking about building your own home, you don’t have to take our word that Faswall green building blocks are perfect for do it yourself homebuilders. Many of our customers have provided excellent feedback over the years.

Dick and Kathy Hartman used Faswall green building blocks to build their own home in rural New Mexico. The gorgeous stucco structure has stone details, a metal roof and wide window wells on the inside. (All the photos in the post come from Dick and Kathy.)

Here’s what Kathy has to say about Faswall:

“We LOVE our home. We were able to do the floor plan and build the way we wanted. We worked together to build our outside walls. This saved us a bundle in labor and it was fun watching the walls go up.

“Now that we are living in our new home, the heating and cooling is very efficient! I’ve had my air on 74 degrees all DIY home builder home in progresssummer (and we have been in the low 100’s). Our house has been very comfortable! Now that it is getting cooler I have not changed the air temperature, but we are heating very little with a pellet stove or our wood stove.

“The house is absolutely beautiful. Everyone who comes is in awe! Thanks for such a great product!”

See the features that make Faswall such a green building material here.

Rob Story of Washington also had a great DIY homebuilding experience with Faswall green building blocks. His 1,200 square foot house with a 1,000 square foot office also has a metal roof, stucco exterior and many features he and his wife love.

Rob built his own home when he lived in Hawaii, but he definitely didn’t consider himself an expert builder. Still, he says, he found his experience with Faswall “excellent, exciting, fulfilling and rewarding.

DIY home during construction“As my wife and I considered what type of home to build, we also had to decide what to build with,” he says. “Our number one requirement was warmth. We also had deep interests in low environmental impact, longevity of structural integrity, energy efficiency, ease of building and aesthetics. I had firm wants with the materials I was going to use: no drywall, no foam, no plastic vapor barrier, no crawl space and no glass insulation with formaldehyde.”

A friend told him about Faswall and he was intrigued. “I called ShelterWorks and started asking questions,” Rob says. “They took ample time with me and answered my questions. As it became clear to me that Faswall was the way I wanted to go, my wife and I scrapped our design and did our last re-design using Shelter Works suggestions. That helped lessen the materials we needed and saved some money. We placed our order and away we went.

“Everything went great. Our blocks came right on schedule, block counts were accurate, telephone support was DIY homebuilder Faswall home interioravailable and the material quality was very consistent. I was very surprised how fast the structures went up.  Once the slabs were poured, we began stacking blocks.  It took four of us two weeks to stack, brace, plumb and pour both structures.

“Heat retention in the winter has been great. We sit inside as the Northwest winds howl and feel cozy and safe in our strong and sturdy home. People come by and marvel at our place. I’m happy to tell them about it because I really feel that we made the right decision to build with Faswall. There is not another material that would serve us better in the long run.”

Can we help you write your own DIY homebuilding success story? Even if you’re just considering what it would be like to build your own home, please contact us today. We enjoy talking with DIY home builders about how they can feel the pride and get the cost savings of building their own home.

Tibetan Buddhist Monastery Chooses Faswall


We’re honored that the nuns at Sravasti Abbey, a Tibetan Buddhist monastery in Newport, Washington, chose to construct their newest building with Faswall green building blocks. Chenrezig Hall provides a dining hall, commercial kitchen, administrative offices, and temporary residences for visiting nuns and monks. (Watch the video below to learn more about the project.)

Project contractors Alpha & Omega Construction from Oldtown, Idaho recommended Faswall green building blocks because they offers several beneficial characteristics that were important to Sravasti Abbey’s residents. Faswall blocks create incredibly strong, durable structures that will last for generations. They are made with a blend of wood and concrete, which means they resist damage from pests – a plus since the abbey is surrounded by forestland.

Abbey entry Chenrezig HallFaswall is a made from 60 percent recycled materials, which is only one of the things that makes it an outstanding green building material. The blocks have unrivaled thermal mass, which means they create warm, comfortable buildings. No cold air seeping through cracks in this building! Structures built with Faswall green building blocks are also extremely energy efficient, which helps keep utility bills low.

The word “Chenrezig” means “The Buddha of Compassion,” and we have no doubt that all who enter this sacred center will feel compassion and love from its residents.

Chenrezig Hall is a great example of how Faswall green building blocks can be used for commercial buildings. Can we help you build an office, medical or dental center, shopping plaza, industrial building, or your own place of compassion? Please contact us today for more information.


A Quick Way to Apply Stucco to a Faswall Home


One of the benefits of Faswall green building blocks is that they are easy to use and quick to install, even for home builders will little experience in construction or do-it-yourself home builders. Our customers often find that one of the most time-consuming tasks is applying waterproofing to the blocks during construction or stucco to the structure after it has been built. Until recently there was no way to get around doing all that work by hand.

That’s why we’re happy to share information about ToolCrete, a new product that greatly reduces the time it takes to apply stucco, plaster, mortar and other materials to buildings. The easy-to-use sprayers are faster than using a hawk and trowel, penetrates porous surfaces better than applying material by hand, and is less expensive than renting a stucco pump. ToolCrete was invented by an entrepreneur in Eugene, Oregon, which is only 40 miles from our home base in Philomath.

Check out these videos below for more information about how ToolCrete works, or visit their website.

A Professional Contractor Shares Four Tips for Using Faswall Blocks


Professional contractor Mark Maricle with E3 Building Solutions in Boulder County, Colorado has worked with Faswall green building blocks many times. He recently finished helping a father/son team build their own home in Boulder’s Four Mile Canyon. The property’s previous home burned down during a wildfire, and the new owners chose Faswall’s ICF wood form product because it is fire resistant and can withstand the high winds that frequently blow through the Rocky Mountains.

We stopped by and asked Mark to share some of his favorite things about using Faswall’s green building material, as well as some tips for people interested in using Faswall blocks to build their own homes. Check out the video below, or read Mark’s four main takeaways.

1. Faswall blocks offer multiple ways to protect your home from moisture

One of the great things about Faswall’s wood/concrete composition is that the blocks will not grow mold. However, there is still a danger that water can leak into parts of the structure that are below grade, leaving you with standing water in the basement.

Mark has an easy way of preventing this. Wherever the blocks are below grade, he applies a scratch coat of three parts sand, one part Portland cement to the Faswall blocks. A vapor-permeable waterproofing material is brushed on top of that, followed by a dimpled membrane and a layer of landscape cloth. All these products should be available at lumber or building supply stores, and they’re all simple to attach to Faswall green building blocks. “Any moisture that hits the side of the wall will . . . shed down to our perimeter drain and go out to daylight,” Mark says – keeping it away from your foundation and your home.

2. Faswall blocks create perfect window openings

Faswall’s two-foot by one-foot blocks can help take the guesswork out of creating window opening that are the right size. In this home, the owner planned on windows that were an even number of feet, just like the Faswall blocks. “The block layout worked perfectly with the window sizing,” Mark says. “The designer set up everything to where the window openings [corresponded with the block size].”

Here’s another way Faswall saves you time when building your own home: the window frames can be fastened directly to the blocks, eliminating the need for permanent bucks. Mark roughed out the window openings so the installer could slide the windows right into the opening and attach them directly.

3. Faswall blocks are uniform yet flexible

Lots of people who use Faswall green building blocks aren’t contractors but still want the joy of a “do it yourself” home. One of the advantages of using Faswall is that the blocks are all the same size and shape, making installation straight-forward and intuitive. In the video, Mark demonstrates how the two-foot by one-foot blocks marry up to each other to make perfectly aligned walls.

However, there is some flexibility with the blocks, so they don’t all have to line up two-by-two. If there’s a place where you need a one-foot by one-foot Faswall block, they are easy to cut in half with a normal wood saw. Faswall also makes a flat panel block that’s easy to attach to the standard block with spray foam and screws. It can be used to create decorative accents or add architectural interest. “We put sort of a belly band around the building, which helps architecturally reduce the height of the structure,” Mark says of his most recent project.

4. Faswell blocks make it easy to add interior wiring

When you’re ready to add your home’s internal wiring, Faswall has a built-in spot for it: the cores down the center of each block. Rather than filling those cores with cement, simply feed your wires through them and wherever they need to go. Mark likes to add double junction boxes because, among other things, it gives the electrician some flexibility; he or she can add an outlet as well as a data line or phone jack. But whatever you decide to do, it will seem familiar to your contractor: “The electrical goes through the framing just like it would in a conventionally built home,” Mark says.

Want to learn more about the benefits of using Faswall green building blocks? Give us a call or contact us.

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