Framing Tips

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.

Other Related Articles

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Choosing a Homesite

Before you can build a home, you will need a piece of land. Usually land will fall into one of two categories – a piece of land that is for sale independent of a builder or development or a homesite within a development with a predetermined builder or selection of builders.

Hiring a Builder

When hiring a builder think about how involved you want to be in the process. Typically a person who is building a home will fall into one of three categories:

1) Not too interested in design choices, but would like a nicely built home. – Many of the larger builders offer limited selections and don’t allow for changes. This is a good choice for a person who isn’t interested in the details.

2) Desires a completely custom home. – The very high end custom builders say “yes” to almost all requests and their clients pay a premium for this flexibility.

3) Interested in being involved in the process and would like flexibility in the building and finishings. – Many small and medium sized builders have a selection of floor plans and options, but allow for changes to those plans and flexibility on the finishings and details of the home. This home building series can benefit all three categories of people but is most inline with the the person who is wanting to be involved and make choices, but doesn’t have an endless bank account.

Site Prep

Some homesites will requires days or weeks of site prep. This post is designed to help you think through the potential tasks needed to prepare your land – tree clearing, fill dirt, retaining wall, and drainage.

Creating a Backyard

We have said from the beginning that we like a challenge. This particular piece of land presents challenges because of this steep drop, but it is a challenge that can be overcome with some engineering. It would have been easier to say this home would not have a backyard, but that wasn’t going to work for me.

Cement, Rebar, and Engineer Plans, Oh My!

The average home sits on top of a 12 inch footer with metal rebar every 3 to 4 feet. If you have been following our blog, you know this is not your average home. After the lot was cleared and dirt was moved around, the engineer came out to re-assess. This was the plan all along – start clearing and moving dirt then re-assess our building plan. Even if you know a home can be built, but it is important to take a step back and make sure it is being done the best way.

Window Selections

It may seem early in the process to start thinking about “selections”, but these decisions are often made before the framing is done to ensure all materials are delivered in a timely manner and the contractors have what they need when they are ready to start installing.

Color Selection

I love color. However, picking the right paint color always leaves me stumped. I am the queen of paint samples, samples, and more samples. I have quickly learned that the tiny little color swatch is very different than a 9 foot wall (multiplied by 4 walls). But repainting a powder room a few times isn’t the end of the world. Although my husband may disagree.

Flooring, Cabinetry and Countertop Selections

While the walls and stairs are being built inside your home, it is time to start thinking about the finishing touches. The more custom your builder is, the more options you will have available to you. The three areas we will focus on are: Flooring, Cabinetry, Countertops