How to Build a Home Properly

1. Prepare construction site and pour foundation

Site preparation and fountdation work are alway performed by the same crew, but this may not be the case with a wooded lot. Using backhoe and bulldozer, the crew clears the site of rocks, debris and trees for the new house and, if applicable, the septic system. The crew levels the site, puts up wooden forms to serve as a template fot the foundation and digs the holes and trenches. Footing (structures where the house interfaces with the earth that supports it) are installed. If your home is going to have a well it’ll be dug at this point

If the home has a full basement, the hole is dug, the footing are forme and poured, and the foundation walls are formed and poured. If slab-on-grade, the footing are dug, formed and poured,; the are between them is leveled and fitted with utility runs (e.g. plumbing drains and electrical chases); and the slab is poured.

Once the concrete is poured into the holes and trenches, it will need time to cure. During this period, there will be no activity at the construction site.

When the concrete is cured, the crew will apply waterproofing membrane to the foundation walls; install drains, sewer, water taps, and any plumbing that needs to go into the first-floor slab or basement floorl and backfills excavated dirt into the hole arount the foundation wall.

2. Concrete rough framing

The floor systems, walls and roof frameworks are finished (collectively known as the shell or skeleton of the house). Plywood or orienten strand board (OSB) sheathing is applied to the exterior walls and roof and windows and exterior doors are installed. The sheathing is then covered with a protective barrier that is calle house wrap; it keeps fluid water from infiltrating the structure, while allowing water vapor to escape. This decreases the probability of mold and wood rot.

3. Complete rough plumbing, electrical and HVAC

When the shell is done, siding and roofing can be isntalled. At the same time, the electrical and plumbing contractors starts to run wires and pipes through the interior walls, ceiling and floors. Sewer lines and vents, as well as water supply lines for each fixture, are installed. Bathtubs and one-piece shower/tub units are put in place at this point because there is no more space to maneuver large, heavy objects.

Ductwork is installed for the heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system, and possibly the furnace. HVAC vent pipes are installed through the roof and insulation is installed in the floors, walls and ceilings.

After the roofing goes on, the house is considered “dried in.” An electrician then installs receptacles for outlets, lights and switches and runs wires from the breaker panel to each receptacle. Wiring for telephones, cable TV and music systems is included in this work.

Note that HVAC ducts and plumbing are usually installed first before wiring, because it’s easier to run wires around pipes and ducts than vice versa.

4. Install insulation

Insulation plays a key role in creating a more comfortable, consistent indoor climate while significantly improving a home’s energy efficiency. One of the most significant characteristics of insulation is its thermal performance or R-value, which shows how well the material resist heat transfer. Most homes are insulated in all exterior walls, as well as the attic and any floors that are situated above unfinished basements or crawl spaces.

The most common types of insulation used in new homes are fiberglass, cellulose and foam. Depending on the region and climate, your builder may also use mineral wool (otherwise known as rock wool or slag wool); concrete blocks; foam board or rigid foam; insulating concrete forms (ICFs); sprayed foam; and structural insulated panels (SIPs).

Blanket insulation, which comes in batts or rolls, is typical in new-home construction. So is loose-fill and blown-in insulation, which is made of fiberglass, cellulose or mineral-wool particles. Another insulation option, liquid foam, can be sprayed, foamed-in-place, injected or poured. While it costs more than traditional batt insulation, liquid foam has twice the R-value per inch and can fill the smallest cavities, creating an effective air barrier.

Fiberglass and mineral-wool batts and rolls are normally installed in side walls, attics, floors, crawl spaces, cathedral ceilings and basements. Manufacturers often attach a facing such as kraft paper or foil-kraft paper to act as a vapor barrier and/or air barrier. In areas where the insulation will be left uncovered, such as basement walls, the batts sometimes have a special flame-resistant facing.

5. Complete drywall and interior textures; start exterior finishes

Drywall is hung and taped so the seams between the boards aren’t visible, and drywall texturing (if applicable) is finished. The preliminary layer of paint is likewise connected in the wake of taping is finished. Contractors start instaling exterior finishes such as bricks, stucco, stone and siding.

6. Finish interior trim; install exterior driveways and walkways

Interior doors, baseboards, door casings, window sills, moldings, stair balusters and other decorative trim are installed, along with cabinets, vanities and fireplace mantels and surrounds. Walls get a finish coat of paint and are wallpapered where applicable.

Generally, outside driveways, walkways and patios are formed at this stage. Most of the builders prefer to wait until the of the project before pouring the driveway because heavy equipment (such as drywall delivery truck) may damage the concrete. But some builders pour the driveway as soon the foundation is completed so that when the owners arrived on site, they won’t get their shoes muddy.

7. Install hard-surface flooring and countertops; complete exterior grading:

Ceramic tiles, vinyl and wood flooring surface are installed as well as countertops. Exterior finish grading is completed to ensure proper drainage away from the home and prepare for landscaping.

8. Finish mechanical trims; install bathroom fixtures

Light fixtures, outlets and switches are installed and the electrical panel is completed. HVAC equipment is installed and registers completed. Sinks, toilets and faucets are put in place.

9. Install mirrors, shower doors and finish flooring; finish exterior landscaping

Mirrors, shower doors and carpeting are installed and final cleanup takes place. Trees, shrubs and grass are planted and other exterior landscaping completed.

10. Final walk-through

Your builder will show you your new build home to acquaint you with its features and the operation of various systems and components and explain to you your responsibilities for maintenance upkeep as well as the warranty coverage and procedures. This is often referred to as a pre-settlement walkthrough. It’s also your chance to spot items that need to be corrected or adjusted. Examine the countertops, floors, fixtures, and walls for possible damage. Sometimes homeowner discovers a gouge in the countertops after moving in and there’s no way to tell whose fault it is.