January 2020

Willis Sinclair Homes

The Lowcountry’s Premier Custom Home Builder”

This five foot long gingerbread house is on display at Biltmore, the largest single family residence in America. It seems it would be more fun to demo (eat) the gingerbread house than build it.

24 Gabriel Road

Lodge, South Carolina 29082



843 599 9056

January 2020

Number 71

From the desk

of Willis…

Happy New Year! We hope that everyone enjoyed time with their families over the past few weeks and made it safely through the holidays!

The year 2019 was another good year for us and we are looking forward to good things in the year 2020. Some of you may not know it but we still perform all of our work right on Brays Island. With the exception of one home we built on the river right outside of Brays Island we have been working exclusively on Brays since 2007. That’s 13 years now that we have enjoyed working in this beautiful place! We don’t exclude the possibility that we will expand outside of Brays in the future, but for now we are committed to providing the best home building and home stewardship services that we can, right where we are.

Working on Brays has its unique challenges as well as it’s many benefits. We have learned a lot by working for some of the most successful people, literally, from around the world. Our customers have all helped us in one way or another to build and improve our business and services. Having come from such a wide variety of backgrounds, each of our customers has something different to offer in the way of opinions, preferences and past experiences. Past experiences usually drive future expectations, so we have learned to do different things in different ways that we would not have otherwise if we were working for a less varied demographic.

The various backgrounds of our customers is also one of the challenges of working on Brays. Often we will be discussing with a customer how something “should be done” and we find that their preference varies greatly from those of other customers. What one person would see as the “right” way to do something might be completely unacceptable to another. We welcome this diversity though and enjoy stepping up to the challenge of meeting all of these varying needs. We listen, seek to understand and then implement our customer’s ideas in the best way that we can. This keeps us flexible and in the process we usually learn something new!

We consider the various challenges we face in work to actually be one of our greatest benefits. We are continually challenged to grow our skills and improve our services. This leads to our better ability to serve an ever-increasing number of customers. We are so very thankful for all of our many customers and look forward to helping all of you with any of your needs in this new year. Should you ever need help with anything at all, please feel free to call on us. Also, if you have suggestions for improvements to our services or business, we are all ears!

Best Regards, 


Flooring Materials


Wood is the most common material we use in homes we build. There are so many different choices with wood floors that we seldom lay the same type of floor twice.

Species & Type

Pine and oak are the most common species we use, but we have also used black walnut, hickory, Brazilian cherry, bamboo and even tigerwood among others. A hardwood mix of reclaimed ash, beech, chestnut and oak is also a popular option. Heart pine is very common here in the Lowcountry, but is getting more and more difficult to obtain. Black Walnut is dark wood that makes a beautiful, but relatively soft, floor. Walnut is the accent wood used in the octagonal pattern in the photo in the next column.

This entrance foyer (and the entire house) has mixed hardwood flooring made of reclaimed lumber.

In addition to species the age of the wood (new or reclaimed) is also an option. Do you want your floors to look rustic or perfect? Some people love the character of wood that is hundreds of years old while others prefer the cleaner look of new wood.


The pattern on this floor was created by using different species of wood.

The size of the boards is the next option that needs to be chosen for floors. Wider is more expensive (per square foot) than narrow boards just as longer boards are more expensive than shorter ones. Random lengths and widths are easier to supply, thus less expensive.


After deciding on a species, age and size, you need to consider the different finishes available. Wood floors can be stained or left clear. They can be finished with a shiny, satin or even matte finish. They can be oiled or coated with polyurethane or varnish of some sort.

Pre-finished flooring is also available in many species, dimensions and prices. This is something to ponder particularly if you are remodeling. It prevents having to sand the flooring which will leave dust in your home. Flooring sanders have good vacuums they use when they are sanding floors, but none of them are good enough to completely contain the dust.

This beautiful floor is narrow oak with a number of throw rugs on it.

Wood floors are fairly durable, but can be scratched by claws on pet’s feet or just normal foot traffic. Different finishes have pros and cons as it relates to scratching so be sure to do your homework before deciding on a finish.


Here the flooring sub was making samples of different stains so the home owner could choose.

Tile is another popular flooring type, and is typically used in areas where floors may get wet or see a lot of traffic. Tile is usually scratch resistant and water will not harm it like it does wood flooring. Tile prices vary widely depending on the material chosen.

One of the newer trends is tile that looks like wood planks. They are much more durable than wood, but if you drop a plate on a tile floor, you will need a dust pan to pick up the pieces.


Carpet is sometimes selected for flooring in bedrooms. It provides a warm, soft floor for bare feet. Hard floors (wood, tile and others) tend to be cold and some find them uncomfortable to walk on without shoes.

Carpet tends to get wear marks in it where there is a heavy traffic flow. It also collects dust and dirt. When an old carpet is removed, there is typically a very significant amount of dirt under it that has filtered through the carpet.


Stone is used where a natural material is desired that is more durable than wood. It is available in many shapes, sizes and materials. It is used much in the same way as tile but it often requires more care and maintenance than tile.


Brick floors are usually used as an accent floor inside of a house. They are mostly used in damp areas such as laundry rooms or mud rooms. They are also used as flooring for entrance foyers. Many different colors, sizes, shapes and surfaces of brick are available along with dozens of colors of mortar.


This is a floor electrical outlet in a stained concrete floor.

Stained concrete is another type of flooring we have used. It looks nice in casual areas. One home we built has a stained concrete floor in an area that was modeled (roughly) after an African hunting camp building.

There are many things to consider when thinking about flooring. The look is important as is the durability and the cost.

If you need help deciding or just want to bounce some ideas around, call us: we can help. We will be happy to share our home building experiences with you. No cost or obligation, of course.

Willis Sinclair Homes

A builder striving for excellence!

Call Us

Willis: 843 599 9056

Abbey: 843 599 2302

Bill: 843 846 2500



First Quarter 2015

Willis Sinclair Homes

The Lowcountry’s Premier Custom Home Builder”

You can enjoy your porch all year without gnats and pollen.

24 Gabriel Road

Lodge, South Carolina 29082




843 846 2500

First Quarter 2015

What is missing from this photo?

This is Bill and Liz Burdick and their eight children. Bill is Willis’ brother in law and Bill and Kandy’s son. Bill and his family live on a 20 acre farm in North Florida.

Oh, yes, the missing item … It is child number nine, but he or she is on the way. ETA October 26.

This will be Bill & Kandy’s 31st grandchild.

From the desk

of Willis …

We are really busy here at Willis Sinclair. Two houses are under construction (one will be finished by the time you are reading this) and we have a number of smaller, but very important projects in the queue.

One of the more popular projects here has been closing in screened porches. A screened porch seems like a good idea, but two things may cause you to have second thoughts: ‛no see ums’ (gnats) and pollen.

Screens are effective keeping mosquitoes out, but the sand gnats (‛no see ums’) can get through most screen. Screens with a fine mesh (20×20 per inch) will also restrict breezes.

Pollen is another problem. Unfortunately, the pollen season has two peaks: spring and fall – when the temperatures are pleasant for sitting on your porch. Screens don’t slow pollen down.

A glassed in porch will prevent gnats and pollen and you can still retain fresh air if you incorporate opening windows. You can also condition the porch with through the wall heat pumps to make your porch a year around room.

We would be happy to price closing in your porch. Wouldn’t it be nice to sit on your porch chairs without getting yellow pollen stripes on your clothes and bites?

Call us. We can help.



Willis Sinclair, Inc.


843 846 2500


Counter Tops

Counter tops are available in many different materials and colors. They can brighten a kitchen and give it a new look. Here is a quick rundown on the choices you have.

Solid Surface, commonly known as Corian®, is an acrylic material that is very versatile. It can be seamed invisibly.

Solid surfaces will not tolerate heat as well as some other surfaces. The manufacturers don’t recommend taking a hot pot or pan off the stove and setting it on a solid surface counter top.

Solid surfaces are nonporous, so stains and bacteria are not an issue. On the other hand, it is softer than other counter top materials, so it can be scratched.

There are many, many different colors and patterns available. Sink bowls can even be made of this material. Near invisible repairs are possible if sections have been damaged by scratching or burning.

The cost runs from $35 to $75 depending on color and pattern. Solid surface counter tops are suitable for residential and commercial applications.

A granite counter top

Granite counter tops are a natural stone which is mined and cut into slabs. It is then polished. Clearly, no two granite counter tops are identical.

Granite is typically considered to be a “high end” product.

It is highly scratch resistant and it will not be burned by hot pots. Granite, if damaged, is very difficult to repair.

Granite, like many natural stones is porous and requires annual sealing. Some lighter colored granites may stain even with a good sealer. Granite cannot be used in commercial food prep areas or in the health care industry because of its porosity.

Granite is typically $70 to $100 per square foot.

Quartz is commonly known as Cambria or Zodiaq, both trade names. It is a blend of approximately 93% quartz and 7% polyester resin that is pressed into slabs.

Quartz is nonporous so bacteria and stains will not be a problem. It is also very dense so it is impact and scratch resistant. It can be burned by hot pans or appliances. Repairing burned surfaces is difficult and not always successful.

Many colors and patterns are available. If your counter top is too large for a single slab, you will have seams which are not invisible.

Quartz is an excellent choice for both residential and commercial applications.

Quartz is priced similar to Granite: $70 to $100 per square foot, typically.

A concrete counter top

Concrete counter tops can be either cast in place or precast. Concrete tops can be beautiful – forget the ‛concrete block’ look.

Cast in place tops can have integral sinks, drain boards and other features cast directly in them. They can also have many looks: exposed aggregate (rocks), hones “salt and pepper”, troweled, acid stained, to name a few.

Precast slabs will have joints and many other features like granite has. Cast in place tops can be made in any shape or size.

Concrete tops are porous. Unsealed concrete tops are susceptible to stains, water spots and bacteria. Sealing is a must to maintain its original appearance.

Concrete tops can crack and the quality of the repair depends highly on the skill of the repairman.

The price of concrete counter tops is similar to natural stone: $70 to $100 typically. Integral sinks can add significantly to the price.

Marble is a natural stone. It is primarily calcium carbonate. Marble is often found on fireplace surrounds, vanity tops, shower walls as well as kitchen counter tops. It is a heat resistant material.

Marble can be shiny or have a honed appearance depending on how it is finished.

Marble is softer than granite and can be easily scratched or etched with acids (lemon juice, vinegar, etc.). Marble can be polished to remove dulled spots.

Since marble is porous, it needs to be sealed. Even with sealing the bacteria issue still exists. Kitchen use may not be the best use of marble. If it is damaged, repairs are not invisible.

Marble is about $60 to $90 per square foot.

Soapstone is a quarried stone. It is not as hard as granite or marble. Typically, it is quarried in smaller slabs than granite or marble, so you will have more seams.

A soapstone counter top

Soapstone is dense and nonporous, so it does not stain. It can stand up to acids, so wine, juices or vinegar will not harm it. This is one reason it is popular in science labs. Soapstone does not need to be sealed.

Soapstone is also heat resistant. It is about the same price as granite or marble. Soapstone is dark gray. Sometimes flecks of other minerals will be in the soapstone.

Tile counter tops consist of ceramic (usually) tile laid over a plywood top. They are becoming popular. Tile comes in many colors, patterns and shapes.

A tile counter top

Tile counter tops can withstand heat. While the tile is nonporous, grout (filler between tiles) is often porous, so must be sealed. Tile counter tops are often difficult to repair and matching tile and grout can be a problem.

Prices vary, but generally run from $15 to $40 per square foot.

Wood and other materials can be used as counter tops. If you have something special in mind, give us a call, we’ll help you understand the pros and cons as well as the approximate price.

Willis Sinclair Homes – the premier home builder in the Lowcountry. Call us. We can help.


Willis Sinclair Homes

We will never knowingly disappoint you!

Call Us

843 846 2500