This custom home building guide covers key critical processes in building a new home. Let’s get started learning…
Custom Home Building Guide Critical Processes: The Foundation
This is the single most important part of construction. Included in the foundation are the footings, which are steel reinforced concrete poured deep in the ground below your home. You will not likely ever see your footings, but they are the most crucial part of your home. On top of the footings is the foundation wall. Unless your footing is solid, and placed within solid ground, it could crack and sink down, and that crack would be echoed in the foundation wall, and in turn put pressure on the sill, the floor, the walls and so forth. An experienced home builder or contractor will know how to insure this doesn’t happen.
Custom Home Building Guide Critical Processes: No Foundation
Some homes are built without a foundation. Instead they are built on a concrete slab. A lot of things can go wrong with a house built on a concrete slab. Before a slab is poured, the ground is dug down a bit and scraped which may loosen the dirt in spot, while packing it in others. Then gravel is poured in the hole. Water pipes and drainage pipes are placed in the gravel, and then concrete is poured over that. The underlying ground is disturbed over a large area, and the gravel can also shift. This can result in cracks in the slab. Settling can also result in swags in drain pipes, and drainage problems including toilet back up, and toilet water coming out of drains. The worst part is that the drain pipes are completely inaccessible, unless you dig a hole in the concrete, which could compromise the structure. Spraying for termites is also impossible with a concrete slab, unless special pipes with holes are installed under the slab. Installing the vented pipes under the house makes spraying possible, but it is not as effective as spraying under a crawl space for termites.
Custom Home Building Guide Critical Processes: Floor Joists
Floor joists should be a minimum of 2”x10” and beyond that the bigger the better. Floor joists must also be exactly level with each other. A substantial sub-floor of 4 foot x 8 foot plywood must be laid on top of the joists, and each screw must be counter sunk so that the screw head doesn’t stick up.
Custom Home Building Guide Critical Processes: Wall Construction
The industry standard for walls 2”x 4” pine studs, but certainly anything bigger or stronger would be better. These boards must be placed either 16” or 18” on center depending on your local code. Insure that you notice the difference between on center, and apart, if you are doing any work yourself. The walls are generally then covered with plywood. Sometimes contractors use various composite boards, but it’s not preferable, and you should thoroughly research any other board that might be used. Non standard green construction offers some better ideas, including insulated concrete panels. These are a truly great idea which can make your home much stronger than one built of 2x4s. The R factor of the insulation is very high and will save on the power bill as well. It’s a good idea to research green building materials, and consider which solutions might work for your application.
Custom Home Building Guide Critical Processes: The Roof
Rafters must be big lumber as well, similar to the floor joists. Some home builders and contractors use 2”x 6” but many older homes feature heavier lumber. Like the floor joists, the rafters must be completely even with each other. The roof should be sheeted with ¾ inch plywood, and then covered with tarpaper before shingle roofing is added.
Custom Home Building Guide Critical Processes: Fire Place
Building a fireplace can be tricky and it is a leading cause of fire. Use flue liners, and an adequate firebox made with fire bricks.
Custom Home Building Guide Critical Processes: Plumbing
The plumbing should be accessible in the crawl space or basement. PEX pipe is the latest wonder and it is so simple a child could do it, except for hooking it to the plumbing fixtures. That part is tricky, but the rest is easy. It’s completely flexible, only slightly stiffer than a garden hose. It’s also durable and doesn’t burst from freezing as easily as traditional pipes. Copper is the super deluxe standard, with PVC being the low cost standard, but look out PEX is a ready challenger. It’s more durable than copper or PVC and costs less than both as well. Whichever type of pipe you choose, be sure to check for plumbing leaks periodically. Leaking plumbing can cause rotting, mold, excessive moisture and even soil erosion in the crawl space.
Custom Home Building Guide Critical Processes: Electrical
This is by far the single most crucial, difficult and complex part of home building and should be left to a pro. Be sure that your electrician is licensed, experienced, and has a good reputation. While the foundation is important, electrical work is in a whole other category. Bad wiring can catch fire, and kill your family. Never try to play do it yourself with wiring. Always get a licensed electrician and make sure he follows code to the letter.
These are the crucial parts of the house. If these things are done right, anything else, for the most part, can be changed or fixed later if you are not satisfied. Do not be influenced by the shiny stuff, like floor coverings, paint and wall paper. These things come and go, while the structure is vitally important. For more information, I’m offering a free custom home building guide, which is 98 pages of more extensive resources.