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Built Smart™ Construction

Built Smart™ Construction

From foundation to chimney our team utilizes the best building methods and state of the art building materials to assure long term structural integrity and lowest cost of operation for the homeowner.

Built Smart™ Construction by Graf emphasizes a robust foundation using Certainteed Form-a-Drain and Integraspec ICF, ensuring durability, moisture control, and superior insulation. The process includes a meticulous approach to floor framing, employing Weyerhaeuser I joists and Edge Gold sub-flooring for a sturdy, noise-reduced base. This foundation system, managed by Graf’s own skilled team, provides a high ROI and exceptional long-term stability.

In the construction of walls, roofs, and exteriors, Graf prioritizes structural integrity and aesthetic appeal. They recommend 2×6 exterior wall framing for better insulation and noise reduction, complemented by custom stick-framed roofs with substantial overhangs. High-quality Andersen windows and a range of siding and stone veneer options ensure both functionality and visual elegance, adhering to Graf’s commitment to quality and customer satisfaction.



Every home must sit on a good foundation.  Seneca Foundations is a part of the Graf Family of Companies allowing us to cut out the need to subcontract the most important part of your home, the foundation.  Graf starts by using a Form-a-Drain system to form our footers and provide an integrated french drain and passive radon evacuation. When built properly and to adequate width, a footer will spread the weight of the house across a larger surface area than the foundation wall alone will, reducing the chance for foundation settlement or sinking. 

We primarily use Cast in Place (CIP) walls. We own our own aluminum wall forms which allow us to tackle any foundation regardless of its complexity. All foundations (on the exterior) are waterproofed with a bituminous waterproofing spray with an application of minimum 1’’ insulation to grade. We also can do Integraspec Brand Insulated concrete forms, otherwise known as ICF, if requested.

Floor Framing

Have you ever been in a home and noticed that when you walk the fancy china in the cupboard rattles? This is due to poor floor deflection of conventional lumber over the live load structure of the floor. We take care of this issue by utilizing an iJoist-engineered manufactured floor system (TJI). The first-floor system receives a fire-resistant coating to increase safety and durability in an unfinished basement application. The floor is sheathed with Edge Gold sub-flooring which is glued and nailed with ring shank nails to help eliminate the potential floor squeaks. The combination of these components provides the ultimate finished experience with a quiet and strong floor.

Wall Framing
Have you ever closed a door and felt the wall vibrate? Can you hear everything that goes on immediately outside your home, through the exterior walls? Are your heating bills high? This is why we recommend the use of 2×6 exterior wall framing. The rigidity of a 2×6 versus the smaller 2×4 makes for a better overall building envelope. This reduces the potential for nail and screw pops in drywall, provides a deeper cavity allowing for additional insulation, and reduces outside noise. On the kitchen and shower walls, we use Parallel Strand Lumber (PSL). A PSL is part of a family of products, structural composite lumber (SCL), that are made of dried and graded wood veneers. A PSL has a zero tolerance on thickness deviation, is perfectly straight, and should not twist and turn. This is an important detail when hanging a cabinet or applying tile to a shower wall.

Roof Framing
Most townships and municipalities now require structural drawings by an engineer for your home or project. Depending on the calculations of the building, the size and pitch of the roof, and the roofing material (shingles, metal, composite, etc.) we may use a trussed roof system or a stick-framed roof. Our preference is a Custom stick-framed roof for more substantial overhangs to provide more architectural curb appeal and weather protection, but we do both all the time depending on the design and complexity of the home.

Windows are a cornerstone of a home’s exterior finish system. All too often, home buyers are not aware of the windows that they are getting in their new home. Hollow vinyl framed windows or inferior clad wood windows can cause a homeowner major grief after move-in. Windows are an area in your home that we want to make sure are right for you. Depending on the home style and related budget, Graf typically utilizes Andersen 100, 200, 400, A, and E series windows. Don’t want a basic white window? Want special grille patterns? Want optional interior and exterior finishes? That is no problem with Andersen. Through a close relationship with Andersen and their local wholesaler, Graf can provide quality Andersen products at competitive pricing. Remember, we are a fully custom home builder and will source windows from any manufacturer if you prefer, such as Pella or Marvin.

Depending on the style and price point of your home, we install various types of exterior cladding to meet your needs. Color, style, durability, price, maintenance requirements and life expectancy are the things we help you consider when choosing a siding or cladding product. We use reputable manufacturers who will stand behind their product and their warranty. Our project managers will work with you on your exterior siding selection to make sure the products chosen meet your expectations for the overall design of your home. We will work with you and your budget to select a product and finish that can work with your application.

GAF Timberline HD and Owens Corning Lifetime Architectural Shingles are standard architectural shingles. They are a thick and durable shingle that has very nice shadow lines and coloration. Valleys and eaves will receive Ice and Water shield. All Roofs are covered with a synthetic roof underlayment instead of inferior felt paper. Graf also uses 24ga standing seam metal roofing products with hidden fasteners. At certain pitches, such as 3/12 and less, metal roofs are utilized as a best building practice in this region and climate. All roofing products come in various stock colors of your choice.

Brick and Stone
We offer nearly limitless options and combinations of full brick, brick veneer, and veneer or natural stone. What you choose comes down to your style, overall budget, and quantity to be applied. Would you like to match your interior fireplace surround to your exterior brick or stone, or do something completely different? Not a problem.