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How to Build Your Own Home

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It is beyond the scope of the average person to actually build a house, but it is important to at least know how to build your own home if home building is something you are considering. In previous generations many of our great grandfathers built their own homes, but then they didn’t have building inspectors or a lot of plumbing and wiring to contend with, nor were there any building codes.

So let’s go over the basics of how to build your own home in simple steps so you have a general understanding.

How to Build Your Own Home Steps

How to Build Your Own Home Step One: The Foundation
The first step is to clear the land and grade the area the house will sit on so that it will be level. The next step is to dig footings, to pour the foundation. This requires digging a trench 2 feet deep and 18 inches wide around the perimeter of the future house. The trench should extend 2 inches beyond the perimeter, and 16 inches into the area that will be under the house. If the house is wide it may need additional footings and peers in the middle. These can be dug at the same time. Check local building codes for specific requirements. When all these are dug, add some rebar, pour concrete into the holes at a depth of one foot. Smooth it and allow it to dry. Note that you are still one foot from the surface. Once this is dry, build a form over it, so that you have a space of 8” to pour the bottom of the wall. How deep you want the concrete may vary as long as it is even and the top is below ground, because you are going to lay brick on top of this. You will want to take the brick up to a reasonable height so that a man can crawl under it. This will be the crawl space.

How to Build Your Own Home Step Two: The Floor Joists and Sub Floor
After the foundation wall has been laid and dried, a sill plate is bolted to the top. A sill plate is made of 2” x 8” or 2” x 10” treated lumber laid flat on top of the foundation wall all the way around, and bolted down. Next another set of 2” x10” boards or larger, this time on end, and nailed together like a frame and nailed into the sill. This is called a rim joist. Then the other joists are nailed on the inside of the rim joist from one side to the other of the house at a distance of 18” on center. (Check this because building codes vary.) Older construction is often 2 feet apart, but the lumber was larger often up to 4” x 12” and often made of stronger wood than pine. This construction was better, but today we must deal with smaller lumber spaced closer. Nail in the joists from the outside through the rim joist. Check frequently with a level to make sure the boards are exactly level. Now is the time to put in the plumbing pipes, right before covering the frame of joists with at least ¾” ply wood sub floor, or perhaps tongue and grove wood flooring. Some use wafer board, but this is not appropriate in my opinion. Insulation may also be required by codes to be placed under the sub floor between the joists.

How to Build Your Own Home Step Three: Framing
Walls are framed by creating a frame of 2” x 4” s. Studs should be evenly spaced at 18” on center possibly 16” and framed in around where the windows and doors go. First build the walls while they lay flat on the sub floor, and then raise them and nail them into place. Once all the exterior walls are complete, the interior walls are done exactly the same way, carefully framing the interior doors. Repeat the process with another sill plate and joists. If there will be another floor building a sub floor, followed by framing the upper story, frame that in the same as the first floor. If not then put up the trusses on top of the upper sill plate. If there will be an attic the roof is framed with rafters instead.

How to Build Your Own Home Step Four: Roofing
The next step is the roof. First ¾ inch plywood is spread over the top of the house, covering the rafters or trusses across the top. Next tarpaper is spread and then shingles or other roofing materials applied. Shingle roofs are best applied in spring or summer, because the summer sun helps them seal.

How to Build Your Own Home Step Five: Finishing Up
Exterior walls are then covered with ply wood, insulation and siding of whatever type has been chosen. Interior walls are covered with sheet rock, but not before electricians wire the home, and plumbers also hide their pipes behind walls, at least in most cases. Plumbing fixtures are installed, and flooring is laid, and cabinets are put in place. Trim is applied to walls inside and out. Walls are then painted, and all the finishing touches applied.

Building a modern home is a bit more complex because of building codes, electrical wiring, and plumbing compared to what our great Grandfathers had to deal with. There are also stairways, fireplaces and plumbing fixtures to install, but this is a brief explanation of how to build your own home.

Let’s recap…

How to Build Your Own Home Overview:

1. The first step is to prep the land and get the foundation in place.
2. Next the floor joists and sub floor are installed.
3. All walls are framed.
4. Roofing is laid and roofing material applied.
5. Exterior and interior walls are completed. All other final touches are applied.
6. Learn more about how to build your own home by downloading the free New Home Steps Guide above and become savvy on new home building from start to finish.

I hope this information on how to build your own home was informative for you. Good luck with your home building endeavors. If you have any questions let me know.


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