Tips & Advice
How long does it take to build a house?
The time it takes to build a house varies, with the average time of the construction being 6-7 months from the time the permits are approved. If a customer chooses a personalized production home in a development, the construction phase can take only 4-5 months.
Custom homes take longer, for a few reasons: before the permits are approved, the custom design, floor plans and pre-construction process has to be complete, and this alone can take a few months. Getting financing and choosing a contractor can also add time to the process.
All home builds can be delayed due to weather, permit and inspection delays, waiting on construction material supplies, and disagreements between homeowner and contractor on design details.
Is it cheaper to build rather than buy a house?
It is not easy to figure out whether it’s cheaper to build a new house rather than buy. Industry reports show that the final price of a new construction home is significantly higher than buying an existing home. However, this isn’t necessarily an accurate side-by-side comparison, since new builds tend to be larger, more energy efficient, and more customized in terms of features and materials. Pre-existing homes will often end up requiring significant repairs, and ongoing upkeep.
What is a general contractor?
A general contractor is a company or individual that oversees an entire construction process and is responsible for pulling permits, liaising with inspectors, hiring subcontractors, working with homeowners and designers, and handling day-to-day oversight on the construction site.
How much does it cost to build a new house?
The cost to build a new house varies widely and is affected by many factors including the market, the specific location, the size of the house, what kinds of materials will be used, and what kinds of special features will go into the house. To get a better idea for price of new homes, start by researching comparable new builds in the area and neighborhood you’re interested in buying. Speak with architects and builders in your area. Also, read local blogs and trade websites. In general, the cost per square foot of a new development is $150.
How to choose a home builder
Choose a home builder based on their reputation for quality work, their style (it should match what you want in a home), their price, how busy they are, and how well they listen to and understand your needs. Take lots of time to research and interview. Read plenty of articles and profiles, ask people you trust for their recommendations, and ask your potential builders as many questions as you need to before committing. This is a major decision and above all you should not feel rushed or boxed into a decision.
What are the different types of foundation repair methods?
There are several methods of foundation repair, based on the problem.
- Sealants and masonry patches can be used for minor foundation cracks and imperfections.
- Slab jacking is a process used for sunken foundations that raises the sinking foundation back to normal by pumping a fill material below the foundation to regain its original position. This method, as laborious as it sounds, can actually be done quickly and efficiently.
- The most severe form of foundation repair is piering, or piling, in which steel or cement piers or pilings are driven through the foundation into the ground to correct and re-stabilize the foundation. In steel-pressed piling technique, steel rods or beams are driven into the ground via a hydraulic ram to the foundation back to its normal position. In concrete-pressed piling, holes are drilled deep and filled with reinforcement materials. This is a cheaper solution, but only a short-term one.
How can foundation problems be prevented?
There are a few ways that can help decrease chances for foundation problems, and they are all water-related.
- Install quality gutters around your roof with downspouts that take the water at least 3-5 feet away from the foundation. This can prevent water from pooling around your foundation.
- Address the soil grade in your yard. Your soil type and the slope of the land are major factors in water retention and pooling. Be aware of trees and plants that affect moisture levels in the soil adjacent to the foundation. In drought conditions, consider a soaker hose around the perimeter to prevent the soil, particularly clay soil, from drying, shrinking and cracking.
- Check all plumbing and drainage properties regularly for leaks. Consider a French drain, which is an underground trench system where excess water is collected and removed.
How can you tell if a foundation has problems?
There are several signs you may have foundation problems. If your foundation is visible (you have a basement or crawlspace foundation) there will be visible evidence of cracking or crumbling. If your walls are warped, or the floor slopes, those are major indicators you foundation is sinking. If doors are hard to open or close, or get stuck, this may be a foundation problem (but could also just be a door frame issue, so don’t freak out yet). Cracks on the walls or on floor tiles are a sign. Water in the basement or crawlspace can be a definite danger sign. Warped walls or gaps between the walls and ceiling should be cause for concern. Having any of these symptoms (outside of the blatant visual evidence of a cracked or crumbling foundation) might be a warning sign, but is not necessarily proof of foundation problems. However, if you do have symptoms, you would be wise to have an inspection done. Problems like that only get worse.
What are the causes of foundation damage?
Water is the No. 1 source of foundation damage. Too much water can saturate the soil beneath your foundation, causing the soil to expand. Conversely, too little water can cause the soil to shrink. Both situations affect the soil level of your foundation. As soil shrinks, foundations can sink, causing stress on them, which can lead to damage. Plumbing leaks are another primary source of problems. That leaking water changes the soil under you house, a problem you may not discover even exists until it’s too late. Poor drainage construction is another culprit. Water that pools up for long periods wreaks havoc on the soil levels. Poor soil preparation prior to pouring the foundation can be problematic. Different soil types require different preparation. A poorly constructed foundation is another potential hazard. Far and away, water is what caused the most problems--too much or too little.
Do foundation contractors offer warranties?
Not all foundations contractors offer warranties, but the one you hire should. Foundation repair is a critical element in the health and stability of your home, and can be very expensive--so why would you not get a warranty? If for some reason the contractor doesn’t warranty their work, move on immediately.