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Is building an Eichler on the east coast a viable dream...

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Joined: Sep 19 2016

Hello.

Looking for a home in PA just outside the city. I'm currently in Lower Bucks county. Most of the homes on the market do not excite me the way an Eichler home does. I'm aware that the only original Eichler homes on the east coast are located in New York.

I'm contemplating building one of my own. The plans would probably have to be modified to some extent given the region's difference in climate compared to its west coast counterparts.

I'm a little surprised that there hasn't been more attempts to build one in the east. I'm aware of one project that appears to have stalled.

Maybe I'm foolish, but the thought of living in an Eichler is a truly desirable prospect.

Any thoughts, comments, or insights are very much appreciated.

Thank you.

P.S. - I tried the forum search function to no avail.

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Joined: Sep 22 2014

Hi there. I'm an Architect and I'm currently working on 4 Eichler home additions in Silicon Valley. Short answer is yes, it's absolutely possible to build an Eichler home in PA, and there would be a few key differences.

- foundation would be deeper, because you have to build it below the frost line. Most Eichlers were slab-on-grade, yours would likely be stemwall construction (depending on soil conditions).

- glass would be higher performing to keep out the cold in the winter, but they would essentially look the same as long as the architect detailed it correctly. They'll be IGU with wood trim, not a standard window system.

- Eichler homes roof insulation is above the roof deck, rather than below. Most homes in colder climates insulate below the deck, and add a ceiling. Eichlers don't have ceilings. So your roof would be a little thicker, but would allow the beautiful beams, posts, and wood roof deck to be exposed.

- the orientation of your home on your site will be important in a colder climate. You'd want your main floor to ceiling window wall oriented south, with a nice roof overhang above. That'll allow thee warmth in the winter and shade in the summer.

Those are the four main things to consider, of course there are other minor considerations. Good luck with your Like-Ler! What a fantastic project, a dream project! I can't wait to see how it turns out. If you have any more questions, I'm happy to help.

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Joined: Sep 22 2014

Thought of something that'd be pretty great about building on the east coast - you wouldn't have seismic loads. All of the additions in California that I'm doing involve steel because you can't build the way Eichler used to with timber post and beam because the connections aren't strong enough. Steel provides stronger connections. I don't think you'd have that same struggle.

Depending on the wind loads in your area, there would probably be some roof tie downs that we don't have to have here in CA, but your architect could detail it so the tie downs are concealed.

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