Steps in building a home starts with a thought, idea or concept. Next an architect or home designer takes the concept and creates a blueprint. Then the home builder, together with their subcontractors take the blueprint and make it into a three dimensional home made of wood, stone or concrete. Of course it’s a lot more complicated than that, especially when there are budgets to consider, and the future home owner’s wishes to consider.
Steps in Building a Home: The Blueprint
How you obtain the right blueprint depends largely on your budget. If you have a larger budget, and plan to build a custom luxury home the first step is to find a design build builder or architect and have them draw up a custom plan based on your needs.
If you have a smaller budget you might be able to choose from home plans local home builders have to offer. Often times they can adapt a preexisting plan to your needs.
Steps in Building a Home: Selecting a Home Builder or Contractor
Selecting the right homebuilder or contractor is one of the most important decisions you will ever make. Be sure to research homebuilders in your area thoroughly. Make sure your home builder has a good reputation, no pending law suits, and no line of dissatisfied customers. Further, make sure you select someone who routinely builds homes in your price range and style. Learn enough about construction to insure you know what to request from your home builder. Download our free 98 page home building booklet, available on this site.
Steps in Building a Home: Choosing a Building Location
Choosing a location is a matter of taste. Choosing a lot isn’t. Once you know approximately where you want your home, get the home builder or contractor to approve the exact lot and help you decide how the house should be placed on it. As for picking a general location, there are many factors. Choosing between city, suburbs, subdivision, rural lot, or lake front property depends on your tastes and your budget. Many people love living in subdivisions with a close community of neighbors, others prefer a rural lot where neighbors are kept at a distance. The choice is yours. Consider school districts, convenience to work, shopping, and closeness to the homes of friends and relatives. Consider the immediate area, including neighbors. Be sure to meet people in the area before committing to the lot. Also speak to your home builder or contractor about including the cost of the lot on your home building loan.
Steps in Building a Home: The Foundation
The lot must first be prepared, by clearing trees, and grading the area that will be under the home. Then the foundations must be dug out and poured. Some people choose to build their homes on slabs, while other homes have basements, and still others have crawl spaces. Which one you choose should depend on the water table and frost line. If the water table in your area is high, basements will flood. If the climate is extremely cold, then you must build a basement to take the foundation below the frost line, or it will crack in the extreme cold. Slabs are not a good idea in moist or termite prone areas. Slabs can also crack, and plumbing problems below concrete can be catastrophically difficult to repair. Rough plumbing and electrical are placed in most homes between the foundation and the floor joists, before the subfloor is placed. It’s much easier that way.
Steps in Building a Home: The Framing
Framing starts with floor joists that are at least 2 by 10 inches, placed 18 inches on center. That is standard, but when it comes to floor joists the bigger the better. These will have to support the entire weight of your home and everything in it. Then the subfloor will be applied. Make sure the wood in your subfloor is adequate and rot resistant. Become familiar with subfloor materials and how they react to your climate. The next step is to put up the walls. Usually this should be 2 by 6 pine studs placed 18 inches on center. Insulated concrete panels are an excellent substitute however. Next another set of joists similar to the floor joists will be placed on top of the walls, and then the pre-built trusses brought up on top and placed on top of that. Some homes have hand built rafters constructed on the spot. Rafters are different than trusses because they make attics possible. Building a home with a good rafter system, and an available attic space may cost a little more, but considering that is extra potential square footage, It seems worth the investment if you plan to use it.
Steps in Building a Home: The Sheathing
Homes must be sheathed in plywood of some type. Choosing the correct sheathing is a matter of climate. Do not depend on the industry standard for your area. Investigate how sheathing on other homes is holding up, and the properties of each material considered. This is especially important on the roof. In most cases I’d recommend ¾ inch plywood, despite the fact most builders go lighter.
Steps in Building a Home: Roofing, Siding and Insulation
Roofing is rated by expected lifespan. Choose the one that lasts longest. You will be glad you did. The roof should at least last until the house is paid for. Consider solar shingles and other types of roofing as well, and decide what you really want. Asphalt shingles are an industry standard in most areas, but there are other possibilities. Radiant barrier attic insulation is a must to keep your attic cool and make air conditioning more efficient. The latest in insulation is closed cell sprayed on. Application is crucial so be sure to inspect the job to make sure you got what you paid for. Siding is a widely varied topic. There are many excellent choices in siding, but all are different, so we will just say that the siding is applied during this stage of construction. Insulated concrete panels preclude the need for wall studs, wall sheathing, wall insulation, and in most cases siding.
Steps in Building a Home: Finishing the Interior
Once the heaviest work is done, the drywall is hung, and all the finishes, cabinets, countertops, plumbing fixtures, floor tiles, and carpet are put in place. The electrician and plumber finish up and during this period many workers come to the job site to do various specialty tasks. When these subcontractors are all finished with the final steps in building a home, the house is complete.