Home Construction: Process and Tips

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(Last Updated On: February 22, 2017)
Home construction job
Home construction project

Home construction is like a dream for a common man. Most of the people dream to have a good home and then end up living there happily ever after. But to get a perfect home, you need to be very careful and take too many things in consideration. Some of them are to be taken care during the project of home construction, while some of them must be taken into consideration even before initiating the project of home construction. One of the major factors affecting your home construction is your home construction cost. You must consider taking estimate of home construction cost from three to four home construction companies and see what things are included and what is the prevailing home construction cost in the market? Before contacting any of the home construction companies, you must also make your own research. Start collecting home design ideas and home design plans. Go through various magazines or check from the internet about home construction.

This will help you get the knowledge before you start with your actual home construction project. When you finalize the home construction design, prepare your home construction plan. One of the essential aspects is to check out home construction cost. Whether it is within your budget or not? How much you will be paying in cash and how much home construction loan would be needed? After each and every thing is decided, you just cannot rely on the home construction companies for the work. You will have to be extra alert and extra careful, after all it’s your dream which is going to be fulfilled. While selecting the home construction design, make sure there is no wastage of space and also don’t increase the slab height. Taking care about such minor things will save you from making big home construction mistakes.

Home construction is an exciting project that too when you understand how the process works. Here is a detailed explanation about the home construction process which your builder will undertake which will help you to know what happens at which stage. Home construction process can vary from place to place and from builder to builder but basically the main structure remains the same.

Home construction process

  • Prepare site and pour foundation

Preparing site for construction
Preparing site for home construction

Usually, site preparation and foundation is undertaken by the same crew but this might not be the case if there is a wooden lot. By using a bulldozer and a backhoe, the crew clears the site and removes all the rocks, debris and trees. Septic system can also be used if applicable. Crew will first of all level the site, then put up some wooden forms for serving it as a template for the foundation, and then dig the trenches and holes. Then footings which are the structure where house interfaces the earth which supports it are installed. If you want sump pump to be installed, then it will be installed at this point. If your home has a basement then the hole is dug, then footings are formed and poured and then the foundation walls will be formed and poured. If there are slab on grade then footings are dug, formed and then poured. The between areas are leveled and then fitted with utility runs.

Once the concrete is poured into the trenches and pours, it will require time to cure. During this period of time, there will not be any activity on the home construction site. After concrete is cured, waterproofing membrane is applied to foundation wall along with installation of sewer, drains and water taps. Any of the plumbing which goes into the first flooring slab or basement floors will be done in this step of home construction only. When you are done with the curing process, city inspector might visit your site for ensuring that your foundation components are up to the code and are installed properly. This inspection can be done again depending upon the type of foundation of your home construction.

  • Finish rough framing

The floor system, roof system and walls will be completed which are collectively known as skeleton of the house or the shell. Oriented strand board or plywood sheathing is applied to the roof, windows and the exterior walls and exterior doors are installed in the home construction. Then the sheathing is covered with a protective barrier which is known as house wrap. It will prevent the water from deteriorating the structure and it will also allow the water vapor to escape from the structure. This will reduce the likelihood of wood rot and mold.

  • Complete electrical fittings, HVAC and plumbing

Once you are done with the shell, roofing and siding can now be installed. At that time, the plumbing and electrical contractors also start running the wires and pipes through the ceiling, interior walls and floors. Vents and sewer lines and also water supply lines for each and every fixture must be installed. One piece shower or tub units and bathtubs are put in their place in this step of home construction as there is more room for managing heavy and large objects.

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Ductwork is also installed at this stage of the home construction for air conditioning, heating and ventilation systems and possibly also for the furnace. Vent pipes of HVAC are installed through the roof and insulation is also installed in the floors, ceilings and walls.

After the roofing is done, the home is considered as dried in. Then, the electricians install the lights, switches and outlets and run the wire from breaker panel to each of the receptacle. Wiring for cable TV, telephone, and music system is included in this stage of home construction. You must be aware that HVAC ducts and plumbing are generally installed before wiring is installed as it is easy to run the wires around ducts and pipes and vice versa.

Electrical fittings, plumbing and rough framings and also the mechanical systems are also inspected to check whether they are in compliance with the building code or not. This inspection of your home construction can be done in any of the stages of the process. Most probably there will be three different inspections here. Framing inspection will be done separately from mechanical and electrical inspections. At this very stage, the drywall is transferred to the building site.

  • Installation of insulation

Install insulation
Installation of insulation

Insulation is a major factor in creating a consistent and comfortable indoor climate which will in turn improve energy efficiency of your home. One of the important benefits of insulation is R value and thermal performance which shows how well the material will resist the heat transfer. Most of the homes are insulated in all the exterior walls along with the attic and any of the floors which are located above the crawlspace or unfinished basement. The most common types of insulation, which is used in new homes, are cellulose, foam and fiberglass. Based upon the climate and region, builder might also use mineral wool, foam board, rigid foam concrete blocks, insulating concrete forms, structural insulated panels and sprayed foam.

Blanket insulation which is available in rolls or batts is generally installed in the attics, floors, sidewalls, crawlspace, cathedral ceilings and basements. Manufacturers usually attach a facing like kraft paper or foil kraft paper for acting as a vapor barrier or air barrier. In the areas where insulation is left exposed like basement walls, the batts will sometimes have a specific flame resistant facing.

  • Finish drywall and interior textures

Drywall is properly hung and taped, so that the seams in between the boards are not visible and drywall texturing is also completed. Primer coat of paint is applied after taping is done. Contractors will start installing exterior finish like stucco, stone and brick siding.

  • Install exterior walkways and driveways

Baseboards, interior doors, window sills, door casings, moldings, stair balusters and such other decorative trim are installed along with the vanities, cabinets and fireplace mantels and surroundings. Walls will be given finish coat in this stage of home construction and it will also be wallpapered wherever applicable. Usually, the exterior driveways and patios and walkways are formed at this stage of home construction only. Many of the builders usually prefer to wait till the end of the project before pouring away the driveway, as chances are there that heavy equipment’s can damage the concrete. Certain builders pour the driveway just after the foundation is finished so when the homeowners visit the construction site, they will not get their shoes muddy.

  • Install counter tops and hard surface flooring

Wood flooring, vinyl flooring and ceramic tile flooring along with the counter tops are installed at this stage of home construction. Exterior finish grading is done for ensuring proper drainage away from the home and makes the yard ready for landscaping.

  • Complete mechanical trims and install bathroom fixtures

installing-bathroom-fixtures
Fixing bathroom fixtures

Installation of switches, outlets and light fixtures are done and also the electrical panels are completed. HVAC is also installed at this stage and registered are also completed. Faucets, sinks and toilets are also fixed at their places at this very stage of home construction.

  • Install shower doors, mirrors and finish flooring

Shower doors, carpeting and mirrors are installed at this stage of home construction. After that, final cleanup is undertaken. Grass, trees, shrubs and plants and such other exterior landscaping is undertaken and also completed. In this stage of home construction, a final inspection is done by a building code official and a certificate of occupancy is issued if everything is okay. If any defect is discovered during this inspection, a follow up inspection is scheduled for ensuring that they are appropriately corrected.

  • Final walkthrough

In the last stage of home construction, the builder will walk you to your new home and introduce you with its features and functioning of various systems and components and also make you aware with its maintenance and upkeep and also let you know the warranty coverage and all its procedures. This is generally referred as pre-settlement walkthrough. It is also a nice chance to spot the items which needs to be adjusted or corrected. Make sure you are alert, attentive and observant in this stage of home construction. Check out the surface of counter tops, floors, fixtures and walls for any damage. Sometimes disputes can also arise due to homeowner discovering a gouge in the counter top after they move in and there is no chance of proving whether it was done by the builder or by you and hence you cannot take any action. Hence, it is advisable to check the things beforehand so that you can tell the builder and get it repaired instead of regretting at the end.

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Inspection tips

Home inspection tips
Home inspection guidelines

Your new home will be definitely inspected regularly during the time of construction. In addition to it, compulsory inspections for code compliance will also be conducted and your builder will also have some inspections for quality check at some of the critical points in the process of home construction. The main idea is to find as many potential problems as you can before construction is completed. Of course, there will be some issues which will come up only after you start living in the home. Speak with your builder about attending inspections with your real estate agent or even without him. Even if your presence is not necessary then also it’s a nice chance to learn more about what’s there behind the wall and how will everything work. If you are appointing your own inspector for doing an additional review of your new home then it’s advisable to inform your builder before even starting your home construction. For some of the safety aspects and also logistics aspects, builder generally deny for any unannounced visit at the home construction site. If you want to visit, your home construction site, make sure to inform it in advance. Chances are there your builder will conduct regular inspection session for you to take the call of speed on the work progress.

When you get to know the home construction process, you will be much knowledgeable to know what things should go where and how and at what time. But there are some of the extra things which you need to be careful about during your home construction. Here are some of the extra home construction tips to follow.

Home construction tips

  • Select the builder carefully

Choosing the builder
Picking the builder

Before you hire the builder, check out their previous jobs and also talk to the homeowners where they have worked. Ask whether the builder has a good follow through or not. Also ask whether the job was completed in time and in budget and whether they were okay with quality of the work or not. Also see the relationship of contractors with the subcontractors and also with the supply houses. Also find out if they pay their bills or not. A builder who doesn’t pay the bills on time will also have a delay in getting the delivery of materials and also face difficulty in keeping the quality team.

  • Hire a lawyer

Appoint a lawyer for reviewing the contract with your builder. Home construction is a major investment and it’s very essential to see all your bases are covered. Minor fees of lawyer can save your thousands of bucks if something goes wrong during home construction project.

  • Investigate the total area

Before you buy the land and start up with the project of home construction, check out the school district and the crime rate prevailing in that area. Drive around the area and spent some time there. See whether there are basic amenities available in the areas or not. Whether there are schools, transportation facilities, grocery stores, shopping market, restaurants, hospitals and all such facilities available or not.

  • Don’t overbuild

Before you finalize your home plan and start with home construction, compare the home which you are planning with the other homes on your street. If you are having the home which is most expensive in your whole block, then it is not the right thing to do as you will not get such huge return when you sell it back. Hence keep the budget of your home limited to that of the other homes in your street.

  • Don’t choose a builder based on bid

While selecting a builder, don’t pick the one which has the highest or the lowest bid. This is not at all the right way of selection. Opting for a high bid builder don’t guarantee superior quality of work and opting for the lowest bid doesn’t mean you will get work with lower quality. Many of the times when you fall for the low bids, you will have to pay extra costs in the middle of the home construction project. Low bid is just to get you in the trap.

  • Hire locally

References are a good way for hiring any builder. Instead of relying on any other thing, it’s better to ask the people around about the opinion of the builder and his work and then opt for the one. Opting for the local builder will also save you lots of time and money, as he will be in contact with lots of sub-contractors around and also with the suppliers. This will save the time of travel delays and also the time of waiting for out of town team and supplies and materials.

  • Build for your future

When planning for the layout of your home, not only think about your current lifestyle and design your home. Also think about the future years to come and future needs to be satisfied. For example going for a huge master bedroom and utilizing space of two rooms as you are the only couple to live in, is not a good idea. Instead, you should think about the future family to come and go for two bedrooms which can be turned into kid’s room in future.

  • Don’t opt for latest and greatest

Fill up your new home with technology which will stand very well with the test of time. Filling your home with the artistic things is great but it will become outdated very soon. Buy those things which have sustained in the market for two to three years. They will be less costly, easily available and any of the flaws and problems will also have been resolved in these years.

  • Avoid current trend

Nothing is more betraying for a home than a trendy fitting. If any of the fixtures which is currently too much in trend is installed then you will be regretting after few months. Current trends always keep on changing in small period of time and make your home look outdated and old even if is freshly built.

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Home construction is a lengthy process and a very important one. Take in consideration the process and the tips described above before you rush into making any decision. This will help you make an informed decision and most probably the right one.

 

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