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Building a New Home: How It Happens

It’s so exciting to build a new home, but we also know it can be overwhelming. At Direct from the Designers, we want you to feel confident in your decision to build rather than buy, so here’s a quick breakdown of the process. Once you familiarize yourself with the basics, building a home won’t seem so daunting!

A foundation for a new home

Pouring your home's foundation is an exciting first step in the home building process.

1. CLEARING THE LOT & POURING THE FOUNDATION: First, your builder needs to prepare the land for the house, which could mean anything from clearing brush and trees to excavating bedrock. Not only does this make room for the house, but it gives you the basis for your foundation. Whatever type it is—basement, slab, crawlspace, piers, etc.—the foundation is essential to the home’s safety and energy efficiency. At the same time, municipal utility connections to the site are put into place, and/or well and septic systems are installed.

Ask for assistance if you don’t know which type to select. For most, the foundation is poured into forms of framing lumber to give it the shape and strength it needs. The wood can be reused later, but you have to give the concrete time to cure before moving on!

a builder inspecting a new home.

The framing phase of home building is where your home will start to take shape. You will be able to visualize rooms, but they might look a bit smaller than they are.

2. FRAMING THE HOUSE: Houses can be framed a number of ways these days. You can choose to build with structural insulated panels (SIPs) or concrete block, but most still use stick framing.

This method raises the skeleton of the house first and then fleshes the walls out. At this point, you can start to see the layout of the home, including rooms, doorways, and windows. Just be aware that the interior seems smaller than it really is at this stage.

Inspector Going Through A House

Inspecting your home is an important part of the home building process. The inspector will check for critical issues that must be amended before the build progresses.

3. INSPECTIONS & FRAME WALK: At various points, the house has to be inspected to make sure everything’s done correctly and a safe, up-to-code home results. An inspector will come through with a critical eye, and if there are any issues, your builder will amend them before the build progresses. With all the walls and trusses framed and the roof sheathing installed, the builder will ask you to walk through the house, too, so you can start to envision the final product.

House Wrap

House wrap will prevent moisture damage and wood rot.

4. INSTALLING HOUSE WRAP: To prevent moisture damage—which can cause mold and wood rot issues—a protective barrier called house wrap is installed around the exterior. This protects the home’s underlying structure and the interior from getting wet. It sets the build up for success in the short and long term!

THD-5546 Weston House Plan for Sloped Lots

Enclosing is when your windows, doors, and skylights are installed. These systems contribute to your home's curb appeal.

5. ENCLOSING THE HOME: A house has to pass inspection before it can be enclosed. In this stage, the roofing system, siding, brick and stone accents, and windows, doors, and skylights are installed. All of this contributes to curb appeal, so choose products wisely and consider them an investment toward your property value and resale potential.

Our architects and designers specify products they feel confident in, so if you need somewhere to start, consider their recommendations. They choose authentic stone and brick veneer from Eldorado Stone for use inside and out. Marvin® offers gorgeous, high-performance windows suited to every architectural style. For entry doors, Therma-Tru® Doors provides quality systems that beautify the entry on the façade and from the foyer. To outfit the garage, check out the dependable garage doors that Clopay® can build with the level of insulation you want. Sun tunnels, skylights, and roof windows from VELUX® can help brighten and even refresh your interior, too.

Thermostat

Your heating and air conditioning systems, along with your electrical wiring, should be installed before you put up sheetrock.

6. INSTALLING THE MECHANICALS: Before sheetrock can be hung, mechanical components of the house must be installed in the walls. These include electrical wiring, ductwork and vents, the HVAC system, and the water heater. In many cases, specialized subcontractors come in to do their parts and your builder will oversee the process.

A person installing insulation

Installing good insulation can help you conserve money by improving energy efficiency.

7. INSTALLING INSULATION: Don’t skimp when it comes to insulation, because it determines the energy efficiency of your home and will affect your utility bills. There are different types of insulation, but it is generally inexpensive. Adequate and proper installation in the floors, walls, and ceilings will prevent heat and AC from escaping, and conserve energy and your own money.

Putting up sheetrock in a home

You'll finally start to see the home take shape inside when the sheetrock goes up.

8. INSTALLING SHEETROCK: With all the framing, enclosing, and mechanicals in place, sheetrock is used to form the interior side of the walls. The build really starts looking like a house now!

a purple sitting area demonstrating beautiful use of color and paint

Choosing interior finishes is the part of building where you can let your personality shine through. Building a new home means you get to select every single part of your home's interior design.

9. INSTALLING INTERIOR FINISHES: For most people, choosing interior finishes is the best part of building their own homes. They get to select everything—like paint, flooring, trim, cabinetry, plumbing and lighting fixtures, and so much more! Think about how you want your dream home to come together.

Our architects prefer appliances from Whirlpool®, KitchenAid®, and JennAir® and the variety of countertops and surfaces from Wilsonart® to suit homes of every budget.

a couple walking up to the rear view of their home

You'll love the moment you're handed the keys to your new home, but before that, a thorough inspection will help give you peace of mind.

10. FINAL WALK-THROUGH: The final stage of building is the last walk-through. Turn everything on, flip all the switches, test every window and door, open all cabinets, run every faucet, inspect the floor for defects, etc. to ensure there aren’t any issues before you close on the home. If anything needs fixing, notify your builder. The building process isn’t over until everything’s resolved!

 
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