Archive for the 'Building a House' Category

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

Profile Image of Curtis Cadenhead

The House Plan Shop: 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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Oct 20 2010

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5 Recycled Home Building Materials – The House Plan Shop

Trex DeckingWith the big push toward green building these days, more and more manufacturers are coming up with ways to use recycled materials to create new building materials. Below are five such items. Talk to your builder about the possibility of incorporating these materials or others like them into the construction of your new home.

 

1.    Aluminum Panels: Not only do aluminum siding and roofing panels use recycled materials, but they can be recycled again at the end of their life cycle. For instance, in 2003, flat-rolled, construction grade aluminum manufactured in the US used 80-85% recycled content. Recycled aluminum requires 95% less energy than virgin metal and reduces water pollution by 97% and air emissions by 95%.

2.    Concrete: Coal burning power plants produce fly ash as a waste product. Typically, the wasted ends up in landfills. But, some earth-friendly concrete manufacturers have found a way to mix it with lime and water creating a usable mixture similar to Portland cement, a major component used in concrete driveways, sidewalks and foundations. This fly ash compound is a superior building material because the coal combustion creates tiny spherical particles that make the mixture smoother and reduce friction during mixing and pouring.

3.    Insulation: Insulation is available from a few different recycled materials. The most commonly known insulation made of recycled materials consists of recycled newspapers that are shredded. Denim, such as old blue jeans, has also been reused and transformed into insulation. Recycled paper insulation is more readily available because newspapers are produced and distributed in mass quantities making it easier to collect and reuse for insulation. 

4.    Trex: This compound is an ideal alternative to wood. It consists of a combination of recycled plastic and reclaimed wood. Plastic shopping bags are the main source of its plastic fibers while sawdust and used shipping pallets make up the wood portion. Trex’s unique combination of plastic and wood fibers creates a wood-like material that is more durable than standard wood. The plastic protects against any damage from moisture and insects. The role of the wood is to prevent UV damage that is common with plastic materials. Trex products include many of the things traditionally made from lumber such as fencing materials, railings, boards for decking and trim products.

5.    Salvaged Wood: Salvaged wood is becoming more popular in new home construction. Any wood taken from a pre-existing construction project, such as an older home or building that is being torn down, and is reused in a new construction project is considered salvaged wood. This can include anything from wooden beams, doors, flooring and decking.  Sometimes old wood, or salvaged wood, offers an advantage in new home construction. In some cases, new wood is not thoroughly dry, which means it may shrink overtime causing the new home or building to shift. Old wood is fully cured and dry. It will not shrink so there is no worry about the building shifting. Another advantage of old wood is its size. Trees used for lumber in the past were larger in girth meaning old trees and old wood have fewer knots. Salvaged wood and salvaged wood products are available through dealers that specialized in reclaimed wood and at some salvage yards.

 

For additional information on green building, check out The House Plan Shop’s resource section.

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Sep 15 2010

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New Edition of Residential Construction Performance Guidelines Released

Last week the National Association of Home Builders released the fourth edition of Residential Construction Performance Guidelines. It is the most widely used reference in the building industry regarding how new homes should perform. The reference guide is available in a consumer version and a contractor version.

 

The contractor’s version of the fourth edition features:

·         New guidelines addressing efflorescence, deflection and water penetration

·         Remodeling-specific guidelines

·         A glossary

·         And much more

 

The consumer’s version helps consumers understand the basics of proper home buildings and how the home should perform during the warranty period.

 

Find out more about the newest edition of this handy building reference.

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