Happy New Year’s Eve Everyone! Today my hubby is going to tell you about our home progress on the first month. Although, we are not contracting our home by our self, and we are using a Contractor/builder from our local town, their is still so much that goes into it. Decisions that have to be made that requires us as the home builder to have to stay on top of things. The steps below that my husband, Shannon will share with you may seem a little less fun, or boring in this beginning process, but they are so important for 2 reasons: 1.Your foundation is everything. I felt the picture above this post was appropriate, because i thought the foundation of our new home is just like our faith. If we do not take the time to build our belief with choosing to stand on the rock of Christ as our foundation to our life, we will just sink. Foundation is what you base everything on when building a home, so you have to make sure this is done correctly. 2. The first month or two of getting started is very expensive. Out of your budget of building your home, excavating, rock, plumbing, concrete, and lumbar, is a huge chunk from your budget, so pay attention in this first month! – Jamie
Hey All, I’m Shannon the Husband, and by no means are we experts but we want to share you our journey in building our home! Here is what has happened in month 1. Now that you have a plan tentatively finalized (unfortunately the plan will/can change 25 times until complete), it is time to start moving dirt and preparing the site for your new home. Location of your lot, where the house will sit on the lot, location of available utilities, and the lay of your land will steer you to placement of your home and driveway. The #1 priority should be placement of your home. Then you can figure out, with the help of your excavator, how to make the driveway happen. In our case, we have nearly 700′ of driveway from the road to the garage. We had a couple of different routes we could run the driveway, and one option cost double. So the budget could also have impact on your decision. Once your driveway is in, its time to get the basement dug. At this point you should have already staked out the corners of your house so the excavator knows where to dig. The excavator will get direction from your builder or concrete company on how he wants the basement dug to facilitate the pouring of the basement walls/floor. There are quite a few details that go into the basement that I wish I had done some more homework on. Hopefully this will help!
- Placement of your driveway can be easy if you only have one option or there is an existing driveway. If you are building on a bare lot, take into consideration water drainage, snow drifting, etc. Make sure you know where your available utilities (water, sewer, gas) are located to help in placement of your driveway.
- If the lay of your land allows you to simply remove topsoil and replace it with rock, you driveway won’t be too expensive. You could find someone who works with a skid-loader/bobcat to remove the top soil and then hire a trucking company to “tailgate” the rock into place. Tailgating is when the dump truck opens the back gate only a few inches to allow a uniform amount of rock to dump out to fill where the topsoil was removed. Once they dump the rock, the same bobcat operator can smooth up the drive for you. Keep in mind the drive will get destroyed before you move into the house, delivery trucks, cement trucks, etc will track mud everywhere. Once the house is built, you will find someone, maybe the builder, who can use their bobcat to clean up the driveway for you.
- If the lay of your land requires some excavating, you will need to hire someone with a bulldozer/track-hoe to do the work. They will dig, sculpt, and build the driveway to allow good drainage so your rock doesn’t wash away. This is much more expensive because the machinery required is larger and it will take more time. If you are thinking about putting in an asphalt driveway, I would recommend using the driveway for at least a year to allow the rock to settle and expose any issues you may have with water drainage. Then the asphalt company can lay the asphalt over the top of the rock.
- Now its time to dig the basement. The placement of your house is the critical factor to the dig. You want to take advantage of the view you want out your back door/front door. You also need to realize the South side of the house will get most of the sunlight and the North will get very little sunlight. So putting a sun-room on the North side of your house, doesn’t bode well for sunbathing. Also, the direction your house faces will also change the calculation your HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning) company uses for the size of HVAC system. Once you have decided on the placement, the green light is on for the excavator to dig the basement. Another important thing to think about is where the dirt will go. If you are on a slope, you can push the dirt out to make the back yard more flat. If you are not on a slope, you will need to have the fill dirt trucked away. Many times people are looking for fill dirt for other projects and might be glad to truck your dirt away for you for free.
- Basement is dug, and its time to set the forms for the concrete walls. First the footers will be poured. Footers act as an anchor/base for the walls to site on. Now the concrete company will build the forms, ensure they are the correct dimensions, make sure they are square, and then fill the forms with concrete to make the walls. The walls will all be in one piece with rebar in the concrete to make the wall stronger. If you have a walkout basement, the back wall will likely be stick built, so you will only have 3 walls. However, with a walkout basement, you will need wing-walls to hold the dirt/water back from creeping around the sides of the house.
- Now that the walls are done, it is time to have the plumber set the plumbing before the floor is poured. It is important at this point to know where all bathrooms/wet bar will be, even future bathrooms/wet bar. You will also need to know where you want to place the interior HVAC system and hot water heater, as they both need a drain. The plumber will run all the PVC needed for these hookups and once that is completed, the concrete company will return and pour the floor.
- The garage floor and any patios, porches will be next for pouring footers and concrete. Instead of pouring foundation walls for the porch/garage, many times the contractor will use cement blocks to build the small foundation walls that will get back-filled with dirt up against.
- Once all the concrete has cured/set, it is time to back-fill around the house/garage with rock and dirt.
- All the concrete work is done, the builder will be ready to start framing the house. To help them, and save you a little money, it is best to have the electric company come out and run the electric hookup. This way the builder can use the electricity to run their tools, vs a gas generator.
So what do you do while all of this is starting? Start on your next steps and do your homework on the items coming next on the list for Month 2, so you will have them ready for your builder. Here is your to-do list:
- Choose the lumber yard you plan on using. I suggest getting 3-4 bids, scouring through them to ensure you are comparing apples to apples, and asking your builder who they prefer working with. If the lumber yard you want to work with isn’t the lowest price, tell them where they need to be to earn your business.
- Finalize your windows and doors. Your builder won’t be able to frame the house if he doesn’t know the RO (rough opening) sizes for your windows/doors. Again, do your homework on windows and doors. You can save/spend a lot of money on these items if you do/don’t do your homework.
- Choose your shingles, siding, and soffit. Once the house is framed, they will need to put the roof on first. So knowing what color/brand shingle you prefer will allow you to shop around. The soffit will be next, and the siding will go on last. Soffit can be vinyl or aluminum, primarily it is aluminum.
Have a great New Year! We welcome questions and comments. Stay tuned for Month 2 progress…..