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Building a Beautiful Custom Home on Lake Murray

Should you build or buy? It’s up to your needs and budget, but building a custom home on Lake Murray has plenty of upsides. Building a home allows you to be able to put together a home that you want, instead of buying and trying to renovate someone else’s house.

Build a custom home on Lake Murray

One Lake, Loads of Options

Lake Murray SC consists of many different neighborhoods and towns to select for your new home. You will definitely have a lot of options with regards to areas where you can plant yourself.

Create a wishlist for yourself. Include the kind of home you want, the location, and other criteria that are important to you. Then, once you have that wishlist, take a look around different areas and neighborhoods, and tick the boxes on your list. You may need to make some compromises, but don’t be surprised if you stumble upon the perfect place when you least expect it.

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A Little About Lake Murray

Lake Murray, SC is a large, gorgeous lake situated on the Saluda River in the Midlands of South Carolina. Covering four different counties (Lexington, Richland, Newberry, and Saluda), it is located near the towns of Lexington and Chapin. Lake Murray is just up the interstate from South Carolina’s capital, Columbia, a metropolitan area with more than 800,000 residents.

Lake Murray is well known for its coves, small islands, and the Saluda Dam (commonly called the Lake Murray Dam). The Saluda Dam is approximately 1.5 miles long (perfect for your morning run) and 220 feet high. At 41 miles long and 14 miles wide, Lake Murray was one of the world's largest man-made reservoirs when it was first completed. It even serves as a primary source of hydroelectric power for the region.

The Benefits of the City, on the Lake 

If you do a little bit of research, you'll see that you'll never be too far away from Columbia and the surrounding towns. If that is one of your factors when choosing where to live and buy or build a home, you'll see that you won’t be sacrificing many of the necessities that you are currently used to having by living in the city. To get to the nearest town or city, it will only take you around a fifteen to a twenty-minute drive. Further, local schools in the Lake Murray area are very highly regarded, both public and private. All are well arranged and nearby to local residents of the area, providing diverse academic offerings for students of all ages.

There’s a Lot to Like (and do) on Lake Murray 

No matter what you love to do, Lake Murray has you covered. The lake features many parks, natural sights, and events.

Dreher Island State Park offers a recreation area, where you can camp with the whole family.  Sailing is a tradition on Lake Murray, with clubs hosting annual regattas and events. The lake has a great reputation for fishing and regularly hosts tournaments for largemouth bass. The striper fishing is regarded as some of the best in the country and during the fall runs, you’ll see plenty of anglers on the water.

If you prefer the river, grab your rod and reel and go after trout, striped bass, and smallmouth bass on the nearby waterways of the Saluda River, Broad River, and Congaree River.

If you’re looking for ways to relax or explore nature, these are great places for kayakers, tubers, and anyone who enjoys time on the water.

Holidays are a sight to behold on Lake Murray. July 4th and Memorial Day fireworks are part of the culture, along with the many boaters who take advantage of the beautiful summer weather. The summers are full of music festivals like Reggaetronic and Drift Jam. If concerts aren’t your thing, you’ll feel right at home cruising and enjoying the water.

Part of the natural beauty found on Lake Murray is the Purple Martins, which roost seasonally on Bomb Island. Adding to the marvel is the fact that this island was used to train bombing crews during World War II. You’ll find these birds filling the evening skies as they make their temporary home. It’s the first official sanctuary for Purple Martins in North America.

There’s more to Lake Murray than just the water. The history, beauty, and activities make it a lifestyle of its own (it’s called lake life for a reason!).

Living the Lake Murray Life 

Lake Murray in South Carolina is an ideal place to settle down, raise a family, or retire. You’ll have all the benefits of scenic lake living, with plenty to do when you’re not on the water. Downtown Columbia offers several entertainment options and great restaurants. From minor league baseball to college football, there’s plenty to do around the lake.

Columbia has a vibrant arts and culture scene. The Columbia Museum of Arts has an extensive art collection and regularly features historic pieces; most recently showcasing select works of Van Gogh. The Koger Center for the Arts is the place to be for those who love theater and drama. And Colonial Life Arena is a frequent stop for some of the biggest names in music and entertainment.

Columbia is centrally located. Charleston, Charlotte, and Atlanta are only an interstate away and an easy day trip. The Columbia Metropolitan Airport is very accessible with many direct flights to US cities and connections to Atlanta and Charlotte for international trips.

Hop aboard your kayak, boat, or your stand-up paddle board and take advantage of all the activities this wonderful lake provides. Take a stroll along lakefront trails, grab a bite at waterfront bars and restaurants, like Liberty on the Lake and Catfish Johnny's, or head into Columbia or Lexington for great local venues. Lake Murray living means you have the best of the South right outside your front porch.

Your Dream Isn’t as Expensive as You Thought 

One of the best parts of Lake Murray life? The cost of living. It’s comparatively low, meaning you have additional flexibility when it comes to your budget (go ahead and add that outdoor kitchen to your dream home). There is no shortage of options when it comes to homes. Each is unique and you’ll find a place that is exactly what you need and likely well within your means. You can go with a new build, or renovate an existing home.

Choosing Dunbar Builders to Build on Lake Murray

When you’re looking to build a custom home, you want to work with experts. People who know the area and how to make your dream come true. That’s what we do here at Dunbar Builders. We’re experts on building homes on Lake Murray. Our job is to build the home you want and take the burden off of you. We’ve been building custom homes in Columbia, SC since 1994. We have a few awards for the work we do, but the real reward is in creating the homes that our clients dream of.

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Our Process is Designed for You 

We know each situation and person is unique. So here’s how we work. We create a step-by-step process that fits your timeline and budget. First, we work with you to pick the custom home floor plan that is perfect for you. Then we move on to making the additions and changes that will make your custom home uniquely yours. Finally, we begin construction. We’ll keep you updated in each phase as we build your new Lake Murray home.

A Great Investment Opportunity 

You can be confident in your investment on Lake Murray. As Columbia and the Midlands continue to grow, your property will continue to rise in value. To get a full picture of your investment, it’s best to speak with a local realtor and other professionals to determine the long-term potential of your home.

Let’s Build Something Together 

Dunbar Builders has been building custom homes for more than 25 years. That’s a quarter-century of experience that you can trust. Let’s work together to make your Lake Murray dream home a reality.

The Ins and Outs of Unfinished and Prefinished Hardwood Flooring

Hardwood Floors

Hardwood floors - we all love them. Our clients want them in most every room - even in bathrooms - for the durability and warmth they provide in a home. There are so many kinds to choose from, and to add to all the many options, prefinished wood flooring is now a highly favorable option! Even if you don’t know what prefinished wood flooring is, we are certain you have recently seen it in design magazines, Houzz, Pinterest boards, and other interior design sites. Prefinished floors are currently a widely popular choice. Unfinished and prerefinished hardwood flooring both have advantages. The question is: are prefinished hardwood floors the future, or will we continue to see traditional unfinished hardwood flooring as well?

If you are building a new home or remodeling a home, you basically have two options for hardwood flooring: unfinished or prefinished hardwood flooring. Many of our customers at Dunbar Builders ask us which is better, and our response is that they both have advantages!

Let’s break down the differences between unfinished and prefinished hardwood flooring

Unfinished hardwood flooring

  • It is raw hardwood that has to be installed, then sanded, then refinished on site.
  • Aesthetically, there is no comparison to the beauty, uniqueness and warmth of unfinished hardwood flooring finished on site by one of our expert craftsmen.
  • It is flush, doesn't have beveled edges.
  • When installed, sanded, and finished/ stained on site, there are no lines between the boards.
  • It results in a perfectly flat, smooth floor.
  • It looks like real wood - like a work of art.
  • It takes several days to a week to be able to walk on it after installation and put furniture on floor.
  • Sanding creates a lot of dust.

Prefinished hardwood flooring

  • It's been finished, sanded, stained, and coated with polyurethane in a factory.
  • The craftsman only has to install it by cutting and nailing to the subfloor.
  • Hardwood boards are finished individually in the factory which creates a beveled edge on the sides of the boards.
  • After installation, each board will have a visible line between it which means floors aren’t completely flat.
  • Installing it is a much faster process (you can walk on it or put furniture on it right after it’s installed!).
  • It leaves no chemical smell because it’s treated in the factory.
  • Installing it creates less mess and less dust.
  • It usually costs less with reduced labor costs.
Floors
Unfinished hardwood flooring: Photo credit Parker Reign

Let’s get back to the aesthetics and some facts on each:

Unfinished hardwood flooring

  • The possibilities are nearly unlimited with color and shade.
  • There are many species of wood available.
  • Innumerable stain colors.
  • Lots of finish options.
  • We can get more creative with effects like wire brushed, hand scraped, even blue and green floors!
  • Finished by hand.
  • More uniform look.
  • Finish takes longer to cure.

Prefinished hardwood flooring

  • Possibilities are more limited.
  • Fewer wood species to choose from.
  • Fewer color options.
  • Fewer finish options.
  • Creative effects are possible, but not as authentic looking as real craftsmanship exhibited in wood.
  • Finished in a factory.
  • May show variations in finish where beveled edges occur.
  • Less vapors.
  • Factory finishes are very durable.
  • Often come with lifetime warranty.

Prefinished Hardwood Floors
Prefinished Hardwood Floors: Photo credit Kelly Nutt Design

We are asked by our clients at Dunbar Builders when choosing between the two types of flooring what happens when the floors need to be refinished. Over time, we have found that both types will get scratches and wear on the surface - this is simply normal wear and tear. Unfinished flooring that has been treated with polyurethane can be buffed and recoated every few years to bring the top coat back to life and remove surface scratches. If our homeowners maintain their hardwood flooring well, and do this process when needed, they should never need a complete sanding!

This buff and coat process is not an option for prefinished floors. Though prefinished flooring can be sanded down to raw wood, due to the high number of polyurethane coats administered in the factory, the wood has to be sanded down deeper into the material than unfinished hardwood flooring. A prefinished floor therefore cannot be re-sanded as many times as an unfinished hardwood floor.

Our Conclusion

Dunbar Builders installs both prefinished and unfinished hardwood flooring in the homes we build. And yes, we do enjoy using both! We tell our homeowners that at the end of the day, they are the ones who will live with the hardwood flooring. They will lay their eyes on their choice daily. Hardwood flooring isn’t inexpensive, so choose what best reflects your personal style and taste! After all, it is your home, your haven, your style, and Dunbar Builders is happy to build a home which reflects just that!