Licensed residential and commercial construction company for Lake, Sumter and Marion counties

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We are not just custom home builders.

We are dream builders.


OSB vs Plywood... How Do They Stack Up To Each Other

plywood vs osbA common question in our industry is “What are the differences between plywood and oriented strand board (OSB) and how do the two stack up to one another?”

Here, we will outline a few of the differences and give you a general comparison of the two: 

  1. Plywood
    Plywood is made by cutting ultra thin layers of a tree all the way around the tree’s circumference. The boards are then laminated together with a hot press. The first piece is placed to roll “up," then each subsequent layer is laid 90 degrees to the one beneath it, and upside-down. The result is a natural tendency for the boards to warp as each board is pressed against the other layers. Thicker plywood (⅝” and above - made from five or more plies) is much less likely to warp than thinner plywood (¼” or ⅜”).
    Layers of plywood derived from an area closer to the center of the tree will always have a tendency to warp which can easily be overcome by using the correct fasteners when securing the plywood to joists or studs.
    The laminate that forms the plywood will diminish over time if exposed to water. It is crucial to avoid over-exposure to water during construction as to avoid damaging or ruining the plywood. Water and plywood do not mix well - if left in a damp or wet environment, plywood will rot and have to be replaced.
  2. Oriented Strand Board (OSB)
    Oriented Strand Board is made by using glue and wax in a hot press to press smaller strands of wood together. It looks much like a collage of various wood chips. Unlike it’s counterpart, OSB lacks the effect of the forces that tend to warp the wood, so it is easier to achieve perfect dimensions.
    The one major disadvantage of Oriented Strand Board is the propensity it has to expand with moisture.  The edges of OSB dramatically expand when wet.  If the moisture remains in the OSB for some time, it may never return to its original dimensions.  The effects of water on Oriented Strand Board are far worse than those on plywood, although in both cases the avoidance of water and moisture exposure should be avoided.

Wire your new construction for the future

wiring new constructionNot too very long ago, the majority of newly constructed homes and buildings were wired with little more than alternating current (AC) electrical power lines, a few phone lines, and a few TV cables. Times have changed, and we’ve come a long way, baby.

In the past, low voltage communication cabling was installed for a wide range of smart home systems.  Of course, new technology still, for the most part, requires connection to the same AC power lines; but several unique and highly specific requirements must also be met to meet the demand for smart homes and new, innovative technology.

Although most home automation enthusiasts install home automation in existing homes, many new construction homes are wired for home automation. A little pre-planning during a new home construction can save you a lot of extra work down the road.

One of the first things to have your electrical contractor do is run neutral wires to all junction boxes. Although most electricians do this as a matter of professional practice, making your preference known ensures you will always have a neutral wire available. Neutral wires are required for most powerline home automation devices.

Next, request deep junction boxes. Deeper junction boxes will give you more room to work, accommodate deeper in-wall devices, and in general make your life a lot easier.

Also, have your electrical contractor install (and wire) extra junctions boxes. If you don’t have a use for them at first, simply cover them with a faceplate. It is a lot easier to install extra junction boxes during the construction phase than it is coming back later and doing it.

Install cable conduits everywhere you even could remotely anticipate a need for wires (of any kind). Cable conduits are separate from electrical conduit and are used to run speaker wire, video cable, network cable, etc. Install conduits in walls even if you don’t anticipate using them right away.

Again, it’s a lot easier to install a piece of the conduit during construction than it is to fish speaker wire through a wall after the house is built.

Wiring Closets

Build a small, centrally located closet for storing patch panels, distribution panels, media servers, etc. Be sure your wiring closet is big enough to accommodate a rack with extra room for moving around.  Make sure you install ample cable conduits in this room because much of your wiring will terminate here.


Even if you aren’t installing a whole house audio system initially, you should plan for it in the future and wire every room for in-ceiling or in-wall speakers. Trust us, at some point in the future; you’re going to want to add whole house audio to your home. 

Terminate your conduits into junction boxes, cover with faceplates and forget about them until you need them. Install at least one conduit and junction box at eye level in each room to accommodate a touch panel.



I just bought a lot of land, what’s next?

florida vacant land buildingMost likely, if this is the first vacant lot you’ve purchased, this is the first house you will build. While this can be both an exciting and promising experience, it can also get quite confusing and overwhelming quickly without a proper plan. So, here are just a few of the first steps you’ll take after the purchase of a new lot of land:


Using wooden stakes, surveyors stake the corners and the lot lines of the lot and your desired position of the home on the building site. This process is referred to as “staking the lot." Surveying and staking are important functions, as homes have been found in violation of certain regulations or restrictions, and if a surveyor improperly surveys your land, they are responsible for the expenses associated with correcting the mistakes.

If there are existing stakes marking the corners and property lines of a building site, it is recommended that the lot be re-staked anyway as the stakes for the lot could have been moved or torn down before or since you purchased it. A surveyor will know how to locate and correct this issue and prevent what could turn into an extremely costly error.

Clearing and Excavation

Clearing a building site includes clearing trees, brush, rocks, and roots from where the home will sit, and usually an additional 10 feet or more around where the foundation will be - allowing space for heavy equipment needed at the building site.

Utilities Hookup

Your realtor or purchasing agent should have given you the information regarding cost and availability of utilities at the time your lot was purchased. You’ll need to make plans for each utility (phone, cable, water, electricity) to be paid for and installed before building, so that subcontractors can use at least the water and electricity for the building.


Footings are the base of a structure. They are made up of a mass of concrete that supports the foundation of the house and can be poured into trenches or wooden forms. Footings are probably the most important part of a new home building process. If footings move or settle, so will your home. If they are done improperly and not according to the dimensions of your building plans, the plans will need to be changed to accommodate the footings or be done over.

The locations of footings are checked by building inspectors before being poured to be sure they are deep enough and that they rest on undisturbed earth. This inspection is highly necessary and will help you avoid spending thousands of extra dollars in the future if there is a problem.


Foundation material can be concrete block, brick or poured concrete. Stone foundations are no longer used because they aren’t as strong as concrete or brick. Stone is better used for aesthetic purposes - as a veneer like brick.

After the foundation is in and before the concrete is poured, it is wise to have your soil treated for pests or insects - termites in particular.


If your house is being built on a concrete slab (instead of wooden floor joists), once your foundation is in, backfilled, tamped (packed down), and your soil treated, your plumber will install your sewer lines and water pipes that will stay under the concrete. Also, any electrical wiring that goes under the concrete is placed in a conduit and roughed-in.

…..these are the first six basic steps that go into the building of every home. Stay tuned for the next blog which will cover the next steps that go into building your home from day one.


5 Home Remodeling Projects that Should Always be Done by a General Contractor

construction tools woodA lot of DIY home improvement projects should never happen while you're in a hurry and without a proper plan. Something as seemingly small and straightforward as forgetting to turn off the water main, using the wrong tools for the project or even just attempting to DIY repair a dishwasher or garbage disposal can result in massive flooding and water damage to your floors, walls, cabinets, and ceilings. Not to mention, the results of water mixing with electricity can be deadly.

Here are five home remodeling projects that should always be left in the hands of a general contractor:

  1. Structural Changes or Home Additions - knocking down walls may look like a relatively simple project, but unless you’re fully confident you know what’s behind them, this project should be left to a professional. From electric wiring to plumbing or gas lines, what lies behind the interior and exterior walls of a home can vary dependent on someof factors - including the year the house was built or previous structural changes - and can spell trouble for a DIYer.
  2. Installing Siding - appropriately and professionally installed siding is capable of lasting for many years, but siding that is not properly secured leaves room for leaks, water damage and mold or other issues that cause significant structural damage. 
  3. Outdoor Kitchens - with all of the factors involved in building an outdoor kitchen, the results of outdoor kitchen DIY work can be disastrous. If you want it to bring you many years of enjoyment and less headache, leave this project to the professionals.
  4. “Lipstick on a pig” - as general contractors, we find that it’s common for people to put money into expensive, upgraded cabinets for a house with a failing foundation, or to invest in a high-efficiency furnace for a house with insufficient insulation. Listen to the professionals who come to look at your project. Be open to their suggestions.
  5. Work within a design - Some projects require the skill of an architect, some the skill of an interior designer, and often a talented builder will understand your aesthetic and help you design a good plan. Whatever you do, do not begin a remodel without a detailed floor plan. A lot of elements interact within a space — put them all down on paper and problems are caught before they are built. You may be able to attempt to create a functional space without a proper plan, but if you want both a functional and beautiful space, hire a contractor.

Remodeling for the 21st century, technology, and new construction

To make an informed decision about the building project you’re considering, you’ll need to understand the logic for each choice. A new construction project offers you a fresh start. If you’re looking for greater space, better location within the area, and more accommodation and availability for the implementation of 21st-century technology, a new construction project is the best way to go.

home remodel technologyPerhaps your budget can’t handle the expense of a new construction project, though, and you can get by with a simple remodel of your current space. Remodels or expansions are accomplished quicker and, in many cases, without completely disrupting your home’s day-to-day routine. 

Benefits and Drawbacks

Every construction project comes with both benefits and drawbacks. To get as close to perfect in a finished project as you can, it is important to consider which drawbacks you’ll have to acceptorder to gain the benefits you’re after - and then select the project that offers the fewest drawbacks to you. 

New Construction Benefits:

  • Freedom of personal selection: New Construction offers you a wide open selection. Location, features, size and floor plan are all up to you - you name it, you get it.
  • Everything is brand new: With new construction, you’re not inheriting a former owner’s problems - and, once completed, your new construction is ready to handle every day of your family’s life in it for generations to come. 21st Century technology could mean a brand new lifestyle for your family.

New Construction Drawbacks:

  • Cost: Planners, materials, designers, construction crews, and land. There is a lot to consider - and to carefully budget.
  • Lengthy process: New construction is usually a longer process than simply remodeling or expanding; and, with delays, it can get longer.
  • Relocation: If land in your immediate area is too expensive or your local codes are too restrictive for the project you want, you may have to relocate further away. 

Remodeling Benefits:

  • Quicker turnaround time: Remodeling projects tend to be completed the quickest and can often be done within an existing framework.
  • More affordable: In general, remodeling is less expensive than completely starting from scratch.
  • Upgrades: remodeling allows you to accommodate 21st-century technology in your existing home
  • More efficient: Remodeling allows you and your family to remain in your current location, while it’s being improved.

Remodeling Drawbacks:

  • Delays and Cost Overruns: Sometimes contractors run into unexpected problems that are discovered in the process of a remodel and cause delays and budget overruns. A damaged subfloor, for instance, can be discovered and needed to be repaired before adding new tile.
  • Necessary noise and disruption: a construction crew in your home is going to naturally cause a disruption to your daily routine during the project. Temporary electrical power disruption, dust, and noise are just a few things to expect during the undertaking of a remodeling project. 

Consider Your Needs

  • Before selecting either of these types of construction, you need to carefully consider what needs you want this building project to address. Has your family simply outgrown its current space? Do you have plenty of space, but need more functionality? Carefully consider the problems your home faces currently, and compare those with the benefits of each building project before deciding.
  • A building specialist consultation provides you with a cost comparison to determine which process is best for you and your family. Schedule a consultation with the experts at RJ Builders and avoiding making the wrong decision.

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Latest Blog Posts

OSB vs Plywood... How Do They Stack Up To Each Other

Thursday, August 3, 2017

A common question in our industry is “What are the differences between plywood and oriented strand board (OSB) and how do the two stack up to one another?”


Wire your new construction for the future

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Not too very long ago, the majority of newly constructed homes and buildings were wired with little more than alternating current (AC) electrical power lines, a few phone lines, and a few TV cables. Times have changed, and we’ve come a long way, baby.


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RJ Builders, Inc.

RJ Builders, Inc.
207 North Blvd. W
Leesburg, FL 34748

(352) 787-4600 (phone)
Monday through Friday 9am-5pm EST

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