While the builder has the framing crew at your home site, you will be spending your time making all your selections. But there are some important things to be thinking about during the framing process. If you haven’t already, ask about the width of the wood being used. 2×4’s are appropriate and used in most homes. But if you are worried about the cost to heat and cool your home, you may want to ask for your exterior walls to be framed with 2×6’s. It should not be too expensive for this upgrade and you will be gaining 2 inches of insulation (6 inches instead of 4 inches). And since we are on the topic of insulation, discuss to differences between spray foam and batting with your builder and ask what they intend to use to insulate your home. Foam’s R-Value, or thermal performance, is twice that of the traditional batting. Don’t forget about extra insulation in the attic, basement, and over the garage.
If possible, make frequent visits to the home site. I always like to double check that windows and doors are being put in the correct places and are the correct sizes. No matter how much you trust your builder, mistakes happen and it is much easier to fix if you catch them early.
Once the walls are up your home will be “wrapped”. This helps protect the wood from mildew, mold and warping while it is exposed to the elements. Later, this house wrap will serve as an extra layer of insulation.
Before the framed walls are sheet rocked, you will be asked about electrical needs. If you are not, you should ask your builder if you can walk through the home together and discuss where outlets, light switches and overhead lights will be located. If the electrician has not started to drill and wire, it should not be a problem to switch the placement of these items to suit your needs as long as your requests still meet code. When you walk through the home, see where your hand naturally goes to turn on a light. That is going to be the best place for it. Do you already know you will want a reading table and chair in the middle of a room and not up against a wall? If so, you may want to have an outlet installed in the floor for a lamp. Maybe you know you are going to offset your kitchen table and you would like the overhead light centered over the table rather than centered in the dining area. If possible, walk through with your builder and have your preferences recorded.
At this time you should also think through the insulation needs for interior walls. If you work from home, sound board or insulation in your office walls might be worth the added expense. It is much easier to install added insulation to reduce sound travel before the sheet rock is installed.
Now that your home is underway, it is time to pick out all the little (or not so little) details. We will walk you through flooring, tile, cabinets, lighting, and more.