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Archive for the 'Building a House' Category

Sep 21 2011

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Building a House: Where to Begin?

House Plan 054H-0077Have you found yourself asking, “I want to build my dream home, but where do I start?” If so, you’ve come to the right place. There is a wide range of resources available to help you get started on your home building project. Most of these resources are easy-to-access and will offer insight and knowledge about the construction project you are about to tackle. Below are just a few of the house building resources available to you.

 

  • Talk to family members and friends who have built a home or completed another residential construction project such as building a garage. These people will speak from experience and have a wealth of knowledge to share. Ask them what worked, what didn’t go so well, what that would have planned better and what things they would do differently if they were to build again.
  • Spend some time talking to professionals at local lumberyards. These people are especially knowledgeable about building materials.
  • Take time to check with your local building department or building inspector. Find out what is required in your city, town or municipality for new home construction. Ask about building permits, building codes and other regulations you’ll be expected to follow.
  • Contact local building professionals that have experience with residential construction and ask lots of questions. Some of these people include builders, contractors, residential designers, carpenters, electricians and other various professionals.
  • If you need to get a loan, check with various mortgage lenders. Find out what steps you need to take to qualify for a loan and what the lender expects throughout the lifetime of the construction loan.
  • Use the Internet. There are all sorts of construction and building websites that offer a wealth of information about the building process from beginning to end.
  • Don’t forget about The House Plan Shop! We have an extensive resources page with many articles and tips to help you through the home building process. Also, you can follow us on Twitter and check out our Facebook page for current postings about building a house, residential construction, green building and other related information.

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Aug 31 2011

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What Information is Included in House Blueprints

House BlueprintsIf you are considering purchasing a home plan from The House Plan Shop, you may be wondering what is included in the blueprints we offer. Below is a listing of the elements typically included in the pre-drawn house plans we published:

 

  1. Cover sheet
  2. Foundation Plan
  3. Floor Plan(s)
  4. Interior Elevations
  5. Exterior Elevations
  6. Basic Electric
  7. Simple Plumbing
  8. Details
  9. Sections

 

To find out specific information about each one of these elements, please review The House Plan Shop’s FAQs.

 

Note: Not all pre-drawn home plans incorporate every element listed here. Blueprint pages vary by designer.

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Jun 29 2011

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Choosing the Right Garage Door for Your New House

Garage DoorsThe purpose and function of overhead garage doors have changed over time. Now, not only do they open, close and lock keeping your cars and other items in the garage safe and out of site, but they also contribute to the overall style and curb appeal of your home giving it a stylish look. Furthermore, they play a roll in energy efficiency keeping the cold and heat out of your home. Safety is another important task for your garage door offering security and protection for your cars and other items stored in the garage. Garage doors are available in a vast array of sizes, styles, colors and architectural themes ensuring you’ll find the right one to complement your new house. If you are building a new home, put some thought into the type of overhead doors you’d like to install. Below is a list of things to consider before purchasing your garage door:

 

  1. Does the garage door have a high durability rating?
  2. Is it available in a color that blends nicely with the façade of your house?
  3. Does the garage door complement the architectural style of your home and its exterior decorative elements like the front door, window shutters, etc.?
  4. What energy efficiency features does it have including insulation?
  5. Are there any special safety features included? Does the overhead garage door have a safety rating?
  6. Is the garage door available with customizable options such as your choice of hardware or glass allowing you to have your own unique appearance?

 

Also, take some time to check with garage door manufactures. Some offer a design tool by which you can upload a photo of your home and experiment or “try on” all the different garage door options including color and style, making it easy to select the right overhead garage door for your new house.

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Feb 09 2011

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Building a House: Home Building Professionals You May Need to Hire

The ContractorIf you are planning to build a new house in the near future, it is necessary to understand it will not be a simple task. Unless you are a qualified building professional or you have all of the specific skills required for a residential construction project, you will need to hire a builder or contractor. Or if you plan to be your own general contractor, you will be responsible for hiring all of the subcontractors skilled in the various building trades to contribute to the construction of your new home. Below is a list of all the skilled professionals you may need to hire to build your house.

 

·         Excavator to clear the lot

·         Concrete/Foundation contractor to build and set concrete forms and pour the concrete foundation

·         Carpenter to frame the home

·         Roofer to install roof covering, i.e. shingles

·         Insulation contractor

·         Electrician to wire the home and install outlets, switches and fixtures

·         Plumber to install all plumbing and related fixtures

·         Stone mason, bricklayer or someone to install exterior finish and trim

·         Drywall contractor to install/hang drywall

·         Taper and painter to cover and paint interior walls and trim

·         Finish carpenter to install interior doors and finish the inside of the home with trim, moldings and some decorative elements

·         Flooring contractor to lay tile, carpet, hardwood flooring, etc.

·         Lawn crew to sew grass seed, lay sod and landscape the yard

·         Interior decorator to add all the finishing touches

·         Garage door contractor to install overhead garage doors

 

Depending on all the details of your new home and the special elements you’d like to include, it may be necessary to hire additional building professionals.

 

For more information about home plans or building with stock house plans, please visit The House Plan Shop.

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Jan 10 2011

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Crash-Testing Residential Construction to Improve Strength and Safety

You’ve heard of the crash-test dummies used to test the safety of automobiles. Home insurance companies recently began using this concept to “crash-test” residential construction. The goal is to provide insight, feedback and concrete evidence about home construction that will help devise new disaster-proof construction practices for home building. Home insurance companies can sponsor a test chamber that simulates severe weather conditions and the effect they have on model houses. For example, tests can simulate Mother Nature’s harshest weather conditions by inflicting gale-force winds, torrential rains, hail, fire and debris. The chief engineer for the Institute for Business and Home Safety, Time Reinhold, says “This is an opportunity to create demand for better construction.” The IBHS lab is designed to subject model homes to simulated weather conditions typical of a Category 2 or Category 3 hurricane such as 140 mph winds produced by fans, hail created by freezing water in different size molds, fire produced by blazing embers (burning mulch hurled by fans), open gas lines and burning shrubs and trees, and rain with up to 8” per hour produced by sprinklers.

 

The IBHS’s test facility debuted in October of 2010 with two test homes side-by-side. One was built to typical building codes used in the Midwest. The other one incorporated structural reinforcements and more durable materials. The results were impressive with the reinforced home suffering only cosmetic damage while the standard-code home collapsed in minutes.

 

The results were clear. It is worth investing in reinforced construction when it comes to durability and safety. For more information about cost and additional details, review this “crash-test” article.

 

Source: Crash-Test Homes Show Value of Better Construction, by Clare Kaufman

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