Here’s how to build a brand new home in 23 steps

Editor’s Note: Richard “Monty” Montgomery writes a real estate advice column for Creators Syndicate. He is the author of “House Money: Insider’s Secrets to Saving Thousands When Buying or Selling a Home.” He advocates for business reform and gives readers unbiased advice on real estate.

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Dear Monty: We have decided to build a new home. We realized that there is no home out there that we love enough to own. What are the actual steps in the construction process?

Monty’s Answer: Presumably a full concrete basement and 2,500-square-foot ranch home, without commenting on cost, funding, timelines or builder differences in the sequence of steps, here are the steps.

FIRST PHASE

1. Find a home location. Choose from three locations. Here are some tips on how to choose a builder.

2. Design the home to fit the lot. Designing a home first can narrow down your site options.

3. Clear the lot and dig the foundation. Make sure your final grade will direct the water out of the house.

4. Pour footings and basement walls. Accuracy here is a necessary component. Basements must be adequate to support the weight of the home.

5. Insulate the foundation. Insulation reduces energy costs. Include the filter and sump tile in the base. Water is the eternal enemy.

6. Backfill with soil suitable for the home site. A poured foundation or concrete block, depending on the type of soil.

7. Public utilities. Laterals for sewer and water and electricity and natural gas. A rural area requires a dug well.

THE MIDDLE STAGE

8. A wooden plank rots a home at its foundation. The bolts are inserted into the wet concrete when pouring the wall.

9. The floor plate is an engineered truss system to support the 250-ton weight of a 2,500-square-foot ranch home.

10. The subfloor is a half-inch or three-inch plywood sheathing that is secured over the truss system and exterior foundation walls.

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11. 2-by-4-inch studs frame the interior walls. Plumbers, electricians and HVAC workers are rough on the functional parts of the plan.

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12. The roof truss system is a waterproof sheet, tar paper and hard tar and asphalt shingles covering the roof.

13. Exterior walls are covered with water sheeting, then finished with brick, stone or different types and colors of siding.

14. Windows are manufactured in factories, shipped to the site and installed there by the builder. Windows complete the security of the home.

15. Insulation is placed between the studs.

16. Sheetrock is often screwed into nails as it provides a strong bond to secure the heavy material permanently.

17. Plaster, of many types, includes sheetrock.

THE LAST PHASE

18. Painting is finished when the plaster is dry. Now is when the plan and decoration start to appear.

19. The curved floor lays the foundation for the height of the cabinet, future doors and trim.

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20. The cabinet today is built in a factory and delivered ready-made. There are many choices of style and finish.

21. Finished trim is milled and pre-finished in factories and installed by finishing carpenters.

22. Lighting fixtures and finished floors are the final interior works. Installers want owners to be the first to set foot on them.

23. Landscape is often a threat to architecture. Many variables, especially weather, can affect the planting of grass, shrubs and trees.

CHANGING TRADITION

Building a home can be a fun and rewarding experience for many. It can be a nightmare for others. Careful planning, timing, and strong mentors are key.

Richard Montgomery is the author of “House Money: Insider’s Secrets to Save Thousands When Buying or Selling a Home.” He advocates for business reform and gives readers unbiased advice on real estate. Follow him on Twitter at @dearmonty.

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