Custom Homes
If you chose any kind of basement foundation, you will likely see a crew arrive on site first. They will begin by digging a hole that is larger than the foundation to accommodate workers doing their job around the foundation forms. Poured concrete is the most common basement foundation method, but treated wood, brick or concrete blocks also are used. It all depends on your location and soil type. With poured concrete, you’ll see the foundation forms go up and reinforcing bars go into the forms. You also will see openings being marked for windows and utilities.

After the concrete is poured into the forms, anchor bolts are placed into the still-soft mixture. These bolts are responsible for securing the exterior walls to the foundation. Once the concrete hardens sufficiently and the forms are removed, you probably will see waterproofing measures being taken, including an impermeable membrane or asphalt coating being applied to the foundation wall to prevent water from seeping in. After the waterproofing measures have been done, the surrounding soil is backfilled against the exterior of the foundation wall.

STEP 2 – CONSTRUCTING THE FRAMING
Framing is the next step of the building process. Floors are framed first and then the walls. If you have a basement foundation you will notice a subfloor will be installed first. Subfloors consist of joists with 4x8 flooring material nailed or screwed to the joists. If you have a slab foundation, the exterior walls will be mounted directly onto the slab.

The framing stage provides a glimpse of the future shape of your home. In many ways, framing is the house skeleton. You will see holes for windows and doors appear in the building’s envelope, and the interior will begin to show its form as well. The interior walls and closets will be framed within.

Framing follows an upward progression. The walls of the first floor are framed, then the second floor and the second set of walls (if there is a second floor) and lastly the roof. Roof trusses are placed on top of the walls and then linked to the exterior walls by metal straps. Next, they are tied in to each other by 2x4s. Roof sheathing, usually 4x8 sheets of plywood or oriented strand board, is nailed to the roof trusses. This provides a deck on which the roofing material can be fastened.

STEP 3 – INSTALLING THE ROOFING
When it comes to roofing, an additional step is needed for those that live in colder regions. For these regions, the first thing to go down on the roof deck is an adhesive, impermeable membrane, which is placed along all the eaves. This membrane prevents ice-dam or trapped water from backing up under the shingles during the winter. It costs more than asphalt paper or roofers felt, but it’s definitely worth it in the long run. Once it is put into place, asphalt paper is applied to the rest of the deck.

Roof covering is the next step. Asphalt shingles are most common. They are designed to last 25 or 30 years although longer-lasting (thicker) shingles are available. Additional roof-covering choices include clay tiles, slate, cedar shakes and sheet metal. Prices will vary among them.

STEP 4 – PUTTING EXTERIOR TRIM IN PLACE
Now that the skeleton of the home is in place, it’s time to give the home some skin—exterior trim. This step is often performed while the roofers are still carrying out their duties on the roof. The same sheathing material that is used on the roof is used to cover the bare exterior-framing studs. At this time, a vapor barrier is stapled to the sheathing to help prevent moisture and air from seeping in and rotting the studs. This is also when the windows and doors are installed as well as fascia boards and soffit boards.

Exterior cladding is the next step in the exterior trim process. This could be cedar siding, stucco, brick, stone, vinyl or cement fiber siding. Once the cladding is up, gutters can be installed. Keep in mind that it’s a good idea to wait until the roof is complete before you begin installing the gutters. You wouldn’t want a worker’s ladder to ruin your new gutter system.

STEP 5 – INSTALLING MECHANICAL SYSTEMS
The mechanical systems include your heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems (better known as your HVAC systems). This step is completed in two steps. The first step requires the workers to install the internal components that will be hidden once your house is complete. These components include your house’s water pipes, ducts and wiring. The second step is when the workers return at a later date to install the light and water fixtures and heat registers.

STEP 6 – INSULATING THE HOME
Insulation is a huge step in the building process, and it plays an important role in the comfort of your home, not to mention energy savings. This step requires the exterior wall cavities between the studs to be filled with whatever type of insulation you specify. Popular choices include fiberglass batts and blown cellulose, but a growing number of homebuilders are using foam insulation as well.

For those of you interested in “green building,” there are environmentally friendly insulation choices. A popular environmental choice includes UltraTouch, a batt-type insulation made from reclaimed cotton. Other choices include insulation made from newspaper and low-density concrete.

STEP 7 – PUTTING UP DRYWALL
It is now time for the drywall. Drywall is hung or nailed to your interior walls and ceilings, providing more structure to your home. After the drywall is hung, you will notice the builders spreading a thin, fibrous tape over the seams between the sheets. Joint compound is then spread over the tape. Typically, about three coats of the compound is applied, allowed to dry and sanded smooth before the walls are ready for the final step.

   
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