Some people are fortunate enough to be in a position to build their dream home. This is a big project to undertake, starting with the planning stage, followed by the building process and ending with landscaping the yard. There is a logical, and chronological, process for house construction; familiarizing yourself with the steps will help you get through the situation more easily and calmly.
The first thing you need to do when building a house is determining how much money you have to spend on the project. The easiest, cheapest way to acquire funding for your house is to use your own assets, such as savings, or selling stock or other investments. Not only is this money that you already have, it's money that you won't have to pay back with interest. If you're like most people and don't have the money necessary to construct a house, you'll have to acquire it from other sources. A bank loan or mortgage is your most likely source of financing, but you can also take out a loan against the equity in your home if you're a current homeowner. You can also take out a personal loan or line of credit form your bank, and cover some of the smaller expenses with your credit cards. When taking out a loan, shop around for the best rate you can get, as it can save you thousands of dollars in interest payments over the course of the loan, and don't overextend yourself and borrow money that you can't afford to pay back.
When planning your home, there are two ways you can do it. The first way is to design the home, then find a piece of land that is suitable for that design. However, if you have already decided where you want to build the house, the design needs to work with that specific lot, so you may have to compromise on your ideal design in order to place the home in your ideal location. Hire an architect to design the home, and discuss with him or her what features you want incorporated into the home. This is a major investment that you'll be living with (and in) for years, so you don't want the architect to design a home that you don't like. Another option is to purchase home plans from online websites and then turn the plans over to the builder. After the plans have been completed, you must get them approved by your local zoning board or planning commission, and make any needed changes, before construction can begin.
Hiring the Builder
Many smaller home-improvement projects, from installing a new floor to building an addition, can be done by a contractor. When building an entire house, the easiest route to take for most people is to hire a builder or general contractor. The builder will then hire subcontractors to work on different areas of construction, such as pouring the foundation, framing the house, electrical work, plumbing work, etc. Do research on the builders and contractors that you're considering hiring, and make it clear that you're shopping around for the best bid. Ask them for references, ask your family and friends if they have anyone they can recommend (or warn you about), check out customer reviews online, contact your local Better Business Bureau, and check with the state agency responsible for handling consumer complaints and overseeing builders. Some effort put into research at this stage can potentially save you money and headaches in the long run.
Laying the Foundation
Construction work begins with clearing and grading the land so that the foundation can be built. After the land is cleared, a hole is excavated, then concrete forms made of wood are constructed around the perimeter of the hole. Often, foam insulation panels are installed along the inner edge of the form to provide insulation for the foundation. Concrete mixers are brought to the job site, and concrete is poured inside the forms and and at the bottom of the pit for the basement floor. After the concrete has been poured, it is allowed to cure.
Once the concrete foundation has cured, construction can begin on the upper part of the house. Erecting the framing is the first step in the process. Traditionally, this has been done by constructing wall frames and roof trusses on-site, then raising them to complete the frame. A newer construction method involves constructing the framing off-site at a factory, then shipping the completed frames to the job site by truck, where they are assembled. This is often cheaper than building the framing on-site, and it speeds up the construction process. During this phase of construction, temporary utility lines are often installed so the builders have access to electricity and water.
Finshing the Home
Permanent utility lines are installed after the framing is completed. Plumbing lines are run throughout the house, and fixtures such as toilets, sinks and bathtubs are connected to them. Electrical lines are also run throughout the house, and are connected to light switches and electrical outlets. The main electrical box is also installed, and connected to the power lines of your local utility. Insulation is attached to the framing and then drywall is installed, primed and painted. The exterior finish is installed, with options including vinyl siding, wooden shingles and stone veneer. Doors and windows are installed throughout the home, the flooring is installed and shingles are put on the roof.
A newly built home sits in a sea of dirt and mud. One of the last things the builders do is to install the driveway. This is often saved for last as it provides the heavy construction vehicles full access to the lot without running the risk of damaging the driveway. Trees are planted, and flower beds are installed. The main part of the landscaping process at this stage is the grass. In most cases, grass seed is laid on the bare soil, then covered with straw to protect the seeds. However, this process can take as long as a year before your lawn is fully grown, so some people choose to plant sod instead. This is more expensive than seeding, but it provides you with an instant lawn. You can also install landscaping features, such as gardens and retaining walls, or structures such as fountains and gazebos, as part of the landscaping process.
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