As you close the chapter on the first phase of building your home - property/lot acquired; dream house plans chosen and purchased; permits and licenses in place; contractor hired – get ready for the fun and exciting adventure of the actual construction of your home.
The adventure of building from the ground up will take you from this rendering (left) of a four-bedroom country home to the delightful “finished” product (right) (Plan 120-2176)
What comes next? Will it be a home “swift” home – or a prolonged process before you see your new home fill that property? From ground-breaking to moving in, here is a timeline of the typical steps by week – and the amount of time necessary – in building your home.
Week 1: Groundbreaking/Site Excavation/Footings
Just think of all the images of groundbreaking events you’ve seen - but, this time, this exciting moment belongs to you. Watch as your contractor maps the layout of the home on your property, and his team gets ready to level the site to insure proper drainage, and clear out debris, rocks, and trees. The first step in building your home is now underway.
The first phase in building your home: site excavation (left): bulldozers come in to level the land, clear trees and debris. Get the shovels ready for your own groundbreaking.
The home’s foundation sits on its footings - the concrete base that is the lowest part of the home. Footings carry the weight of the entire structure and are usually set about four feet below the frost line to protect your home from soil moisture.
Construction is underway on the structure’s footings. Once this is completed, concrete is poured into each section.
Week 2-3: Foundation
With the footings all set and inspected, it’s time to pour the concrete on the foundation – which can be a full basement, a slab, or crawl space. Since this is the backbone of the home, it is crucial that it stay dry and free of cracks. In addition, there should be anchor bolts that tie the framing structure into the foundation.
Time frame? Including the wait for it to dry and another inspection, the process may take two weeks.
Once the concrete is set and completely dry, the next step is building the framework or the “skeleton” of your house. The exterior walls are the first to be framed followed by the floors and roof rafters. “Sheathing” is then applied to the walls and roof. Next, it’s covered with a protective barrier known as a house wrap which prevents liquid water from infiltrating the structure, while allowing water vapor to escape. An inspection comes at the completion of initial framing – making sure the job has been done properly.
Once the frame – or skeleton of the home - is finished, your builder and his crew can start work on siding and roofing as well as wiring and plumbing in the new home. Expect to see wires, pipes, sewer lines, and vents running through the floor, walls, and ceilings as water heaters and the HVAC system are installed. More inspections will follow after the plumbing, mechanical and electrical systems are in place.
Week 7-8: Insulation/Drywall
At almost the mid-point of the building process insulation is installed in walls. The interior walls and ceilings are covered with drywall or a plaster board, then sanded and primed. The first coat of paint may also be applied at this time.
Week 9-11: Flooring/Trim/Paint
From here on, things will get more fun and exciting. Flooring is ready to be installed – you can choose between wood, ceramic or vinyl. Carpeting comes at a later stage – but interior doors, cabinets, moldings, built-in shelves, and other pieces of carpentry are fitted into place. After the trim is put up, a second coat of paint is applied to the drywall.
A finished floor complete with the window trim, light fixtures, and switches. (Plan # 142-1046)
Week 12-13: Exterior Facade
Contractors begin installing exterior finishes such as brick, stucco, stone and siding.
Week 14: Fixtures/Appliances/Interior Finish
At this juncture, trade professionals (electricians, plumbers, subcontractors) will create a lot of traffic in and out of the house to install light fixtures, plugs, faucets, bathtubs, toilets, sinks, shower units, cabinets, countertops, and appliances. If you decide to have carpeting in the home, this is the time to do it.
Hanging lights, cabinets, counters and other appliances (left) (Plan # 141-1297) … a stand-alone tub and vanity - now fill the kitchen and bathroom. (Plan # 108-1789)
Week 15: More Exterior Work-Driveways/Walkways/Doors
It’s recommended that homeowners wait until all the interior finishes and trim work are completed before installing driveways, walkways, and exterior doors – to avoid any potential damage when heavy furniture is hauled inside the house.
Week 16: Interior Clean Up
With fixtures and furniture all set inside the home, it’s time for a thorough clean up to get ready for “moving day.”
You’re almost there!
Week 17: Landscape Work
And now, it’s just the landscaping to think about! Walkways are framed by shrubs, trees, flowers, and grass to create an attractive and appealing facade.
A beautifully-landscaped courtyard entry adds to the curb appeal of this one-story, three-bedroom European style house plan. (Plan # 135-1060)
Week 18: Inspection
An inspection by a building-code official is conducted to ascertain that everything is according to standard regulations. A certificate of occupancy is issued once the inspector determines that there are no errors or code violations.
Week 19: Walk-Through/Review
You’ve passed the final inspection – and now, your builder will give you a “tour” – otherwise called a “pre-settlement demonstration” - of your home – from top to bottom, so that you can familiarize yourself with all the features and systems involved. Be your own “inspector” and carefully examine fixtures and appliances for any defects or damage.
Be sure you are comfortable – and satisfied – with everything in your new home before closing the deal.
Week 20: Closing
This is it! The moment you’ve been waiting for all these months. Take your keys… and, welcome to your new home!
Worth the wait! A two-story, three-bedroom country home features an attractive vaulted covered porch – made more inviting by its clean and classic lines. (Plan # 108-1789)
Open the doors and step into the foyer… and, take in the view – an open floor layout with a spacious great room. (Plan # 108-1789)
Walk through the house and out the back door, where a wonderfully appointed covered rear patio awaits. (Plan # 108-1789)
Keep in mind that weather considerations – rain, extreme heat – and other unexpected events may delay construction for a few weeks. Be prepared for this, communicate with your builder, stay calm and cool, and most of all, enjoy the ride!
Footnote: The lead image in this article is an elegant two-story, three bedroom Victorian style house plan. For more on this home, view: (Plan # 131-1039)