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Step-by-Step Guide to Building Your Home

June 06, 2013

Step-by-Step Guide to Building Your Home
Building your new home is an exciting time for everyone involved. This article will summarize what to expect from your general contractor in ten key steps.
 
1. Foundations: The site is prepared; removing debris and leveling the site. Wooden forms and footings are installed. After concrete is poured there will be a pause in construction to let the concrete cure. Waterproofing is then applied, plumbing fittings, electrical hookups installed, and any gaps filled with excavated dirt. A city inspector may also come to visit, checking if the foundation is up to code.
 
2. Rough framing: The shell or skeleton of the house, i.e. the floor, wall and roof systems are completed. Windows and exterior doors are also installed. The exterior walls and roof are covered with plywood or sheathing, and this sheathing is then covered in a house wrap, preventing moisture from entering.
 
3. "Dried in" stage: The electrics and plumbing are run through the building whilst the siding and roofing are installed. Ductwork for heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) is also installed. Once the roof is up, the house is considered "dried in". Inspections of the framing, plumbing and electrics are also completed at this point.
 
4. Insulation: All the exterior walls, the attic, and the ground floor are insulated. Fibreglass, cellulose or foam tends to be used, although other alternatives also exist. The form may be that of batting and rolls, or liquid foam. Kraft or foil-kraft facing may also be used to act as a vapor/air barrier.
 
5. Drywall: Drywall is hung, taped and a primer coat of paint applied. Interior texturing and exterior finishing such as brick or stuccos are started.
 
6. Interior trim completion: Interior trim is completed, including the doors, baseboards, stairs as well as cabinets and fireplace mounts. Walls are finished with a final coat of paint or wallpaper. Exterior features such as driveways or patios are also installed at this stage, although this may vary depending on the general contractor.
 
7. Flooring: Hard flooring is now installed, as well as any countertops. The exterior is also finished and graded, ensuring proper drainage.
 
8. Trims and Fixtures: Electric fixtures such as outlets and light switches are installed, including HVAC equipment. Sinks, faucets and toilets are also installed.
 
9. Interior completion: Final touches to the interior, including carpets and shower doors are installed. Exterior landscaping is also completed at this stage. The place is then finally cleaned up ready for inspection by a building code official, with a certificate of occupancy (C.O.) issued if satisfactory.
 
10. Pre-settlement walkthrough: Your general contractor now will walk you through, guiding you through all the features of your new home. Any maintenance requirements and warranties will also be explained at this point. Take the time to look at all the fixtures for damage, as this avoids any dispute later on.
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