Continuing our Series on the Home Construction Process

In April, we began a series of blogs on the new home construction process from beginning to end.  Our series has covered the topics of Floor Plan Choices When Building a Custom Home, New Home Foundations – The Important Things to Know, and The Framing Stage of New Home Construction.  In this month’s blog, we focus on the main tasks leading up to the drywall stage and the drywall process.

Prior to Drywall

Before the drywall goes in, there are several important steps to complete to ready the home.  These include the following:

Closing in the Home from the Outside Environment

Once your new home is framed and the roof is intact, the home should be closed off from the elements with any exterior doors and windows. It is important to close off the home to begin drying it out from moisture and creating a stable temperature environment before any drywall, ductwork, plumbing, or electrical work is completed.

Electrical, Plumbing, and HVAC

Now that your home is closed in from the outside environment, critical work begins on laying your electrical wiring, adding your plumbing, and installing the HVAC ductwork.  These three items may happen simultaneously, or you may see one before the other based on the availability of the construction trades.

  • You will begin to see the wiring being added into the walls and rough ins for the wall outlets.
  • Pipes are placed into the walls throughout the home to prepare for the plumbing.
  • Duct work and rough ins for registers will also be added into the ceilings and the attic to prepare for your heating and cooling system.

Depending on the building codes, each of these items will be required to pass specific inspections.  Your home construction consultant will work directly with the inspectors to ensure that these items adhere to all the building codes and are ready to move on in the process.  Drywall cannot happen until all inspections are cleared.

Important Tip:  A helpful tip that may help you later is to carefully photograph all the electrical and plumbing prior to drywall.  Go around the home and take pictures of the wiring in the walls and the pipes.  Keep notes associated with your photos so that in the event you want to do something later once the home is complete, you have a record of where specific wiring or pipes are in the walls.

The Drywall Process

Once the necessary inspections are completed, it is time to begin the drywalling.

To help you to know what to expect, we explain the key steps in this process:

  1. Drywall materials are usually stored in a dry environment and given time to adjust to the room temperature.
  2. You may hear the drywall referred to as “plasterboard”, “Sheetrock”, or gypsum. Drywall is typically a ½ inch thick layer of plaster, which is sandwiched between heavy paper.
  3. Drywall is nailed to the framing on the walls and ceilings. The installer will use a nail gun to secure the drywall material to the framing throughout the home.
  4. Once the installation is completed, the drywaller will apply tape over the seams, any cracks in the materials, and cover the nail holes with a type of spackling compound.
  5. Drywalling is a quick process, especially if there are several installers working at once.
  6. Drywalling is a dusty process, so it is important that the construction site is cleaned of plaster dust before working on the next stages of the home.

Once this process is complete, you have reached a major milestone in the home construction process.  Your home now takes on shape and form and hopefully you will begin to have greater vision of what it will look like when it is completed.

In next month’s blog post, we will continue our series with a look at the tasks that now begin to add the various finishes to the home, including cabinetry, flooring, and paint.

If you would like to learn more about custom new home construction, reach out to a consultant at Prominent Builders and Design today to schedule an appointment.

The Framing Stage of New Home Construction

Over the last few months, we have posted a blog series about home construction from the ground up.  We started in April, with a look at popular floor plan designs.  This is an important step in the process that will determine many of the remaining stages of your new home construction.  In May, we looked at the common types of foundations.  Once the foundation is poured, cured, and/or built, it’s time to start putting some shape to your home with framing.

In the continuation of our series on custom home building, we focus on the framing stage this month. We will examine the important considerations for the framing process leading up to the pre-drywall stage.

What is Framing?

Think of your home’s framing as the bones of the home.  Together with the foundation, the framing plays an important role in the structural integrity of the building.  Because a solid structure is so important to a lasting and safe home, framing is governed by various building codes.  These codes ensure that your framing is built with strict engineering principles to protect your home and its occupants.  If Prominent Builders and Design is working on your new home construction project, you can be assured we are going to meet the strict code guidelines.

Types of Framing

Most residential home construction uses platform framing in the process.  Platform framing involves the use of independent walls on the interior and exterior.   The term “platform” implies that the structure sits on the foundation and then multiple levels, or platforms, are layered on top of the structure.

Platform framing uses treated wood to build the external and internal walls.  Some home framing may be constructed with metal, but it is not common.  Wood framing is easier to work with and costs much less than metal.

Platform framing is different from balloon framing.  Balloon framing uses long 2×4 wood that runs from the foundation to the roof.  This type of framing was used on earlier homes and connects the framing together.  However, it also poses a fire risk because balloon framing is more likely to cause major damage in the event of a fire and spread throughout the entire home.

In some states, such as Florida, framing may include the use of manufactured concrete blocks (cinderblock), to create the first level of a home.  This process is used to protect the structure of the home from high hurricane winds.  In addition to the concrete blocks, rebar (steel rods) is used to reinforce the concrete bases of the home.

Framing Components

As you are involved in your home’s construction, you may hear us mention many terms that apply to framing that are helpful to know.  These are common terms for aspects of the framing structure that may apply to the floors, the walls, the ceiling, or the roof.  These terms include:

  • Joists: Joists are horizontal framing components that run the length of the floors, or the ceiling.  Floor joists are the base for the wall panels and are used to support the floor and the structure.  Ceiling joists help to secure the load of the roof to the studs in the joists.
  • Truss: The floor truss is a way to support the floor of the home through a series of web-like structures that help to maintain stability of the floor.  On the other hand, the roof trusses are pre-manufactured wood structures that help to support the weight of the roof and distribute the weight over a larger area.
  • Sheathing: Sheathing is what covers the floor structure and is referred to as the sub-floor.  Sheathing is also used on exterior walls as panels made of plywood, gypsum, or other materials.  The sheathing strengthens the walls and is what builders will apply siding or other exterior components to the sheathing on the outside.
  • Top and Bottom Wall Plates: The plates are the structures that run along the top of the wall frame that support the roof and ceiling or run along the foundation to secure the framing to the foundation.
  • Rafters and Decking: A rafter is a roof structure that supports the sheathing and runs along the roof ridge to the end wall plate.  Decking is what lays on top of the trusses and rafters and provides the framework for the layers of the roof, such as the weatherproofing materials.

There are many other terms that apply to the various aspects of the framing in your home.  If you are interested, talk with your new home construction consultant.  It is always good to ask about how the home is framed so you can better understand the quality of craftsmanship that goes into new home construction.

In next month’s blog post, we will continue this series with a look at the tasks involved at the “roughing in” stage for the electrical, HVAC, and plumbing in your home’s frame.  If you would like to learn more about custom new home construction, reach out to a consultant at Prominent Builders and Design today to schedule an appointment.

New Home Foundations – The Important Things to Know

In last month’s blog post, we reviewed the popular custom home floor plans that are available in new home construction.  Picking your floor plan has a lot to do with your individual preferences, along with the utility of your living space.  We continue this series on custom building with a look at the foundation of your home.  While you may not necessarily choose the foundation for your home, it is useful to know more about the types of foundations that are typically used in home building.

The Importance of a Home Foundation

Your home’s foundation is a critical aspect of your home’s lifespan and safety.  In simplest terms, the foundation is the anchor to the rest of the house.  The foundation must be able to support the weight of the home and protect it from the elements of earth (in the form of seismic activity), wind, and water (e.g., underground water or moisture).  If your foundation is not solid, it cannot handle the stress of shifting ground and water over time and could result in structural damage to most of your home.

Factors for the Right Foundation

Factors that may go into selecting the right foundation for your home may include how you plan to use the space in your home.  For example, if you want to use space below ground level, then choosing a more secured foundation that provides adequate protection from the elements is important.  This ensures that any living space “below ground” is free from the damaging effects of moisture.

If you live in a warmer climate, the right foundation may be determined by the hazards of that climate – for example, Florida homes stay away from wood foundations because termites pose a risk to the homes.  Homes in Florida are also victim of hurricanes and strong storms, and so they require solid foundations to withstand hurricane force winds.

The type of soil, moisture content, and even the topography of the lot also plays a role in selecting the type of foundation for your home.  For example, a good builder may sample the soil and conduct a “perc test”, which measures if the soil will percolate water through it.

Common Types of Home Foundations

While there is a wide range of foundations for homes, we consider the five more common ones you will find in today’s homes.

  1. Concrete Slab Foundations: Probably the most common type of foundation, the concrete slab foundation lays on top of the ground.  Before the slab is poured, plumbing is laid out in the ground for access to the main plumbing system.  Slab foundations are usually about four to eight inches and do best in warmer climates where the ground may not freeze and thaw.
  2. Cinder Block Foundations: Cinder block foundations use fabricated concrete blocks, that are easily placed and stacked to form a home’s foundation.  Block foundations can hold more weight of the home due to their solid construction but can be susceptible to problems if not properly installed.
  3. Stone Foundations: You will normally find stone foundations in older homes.  Stone foundations use large stones that are cemented together.  If these foundations are not full waterproofed, they can deteriorate over time and cause damage to the home through cracking or moisture intrusion.
  4. Crawl-Space Foundations: Crawl space foundations have a space between the ground and the home (about four feet).  This space is not heated, but typically is vented so that there is free-flowing air to avoid any moisture build-up below the home.  Some homeowners may even use the crawlspace for storage or for home components like a furnace or water heater.
  5. Wood Foundations: A wood foundation may use a combination of wood and concrete the form the home’s foundation.  Wood foundations use treated wood for mold, fungus, and a variety of pests.  This type of foundation is more expensive to build but provides home protection from the cold over concrete versions.

If you are working with Prominent Builders and Design on your custom home, speak with your consultant about the type of foundation that will be used for your home.  Talk to them about the advantages and disadvantages of your home’s foundation, and the possible issues to consider over time.

Floor Plan Choices When Building A Custom Home

Building a custom home can be an extremely rewarding process!  Today’s homeowners who choose to work with a custom home builder get a chance to turn their dreams into reality.  But building a custom home comes with many choices and decisions.  One of those decisions that you need to make early in the process is picking the layout, or floor plan, of your new home.  But with so many options, what type of floor plan should you choose?

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What is a Smart Home?

Most Americans have some type of smart phone which enables them to stay connected to everything that is important to them like the weather, news, and a myriad of apps.  Oftentimes, people wonder how they were able to function prior to smart technology as it has become a necessity for day-to-day living.  Homeowners are discovering ways to integrate smart technology into their homes as well.  In this months’ blog, we examine ways you can add more smart technology to your existing home.

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Replacing Your Home’s Flooring … What are the Options?

Your home’s flooring is one of the bigger investments you can make to not only improve your living experience, but also increase the resale value of your home.  It’s a big decision to upgrade your flooring and one that requires a good understanding of what is involved in flooring replacement.

In this month’s blog, we examine different flooring upgrades, important considerations for this larger undertaking, and ways that each of the flooring changes are prepped prior to installation.
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Home Renovations Can Come With Complications

When most people think about home renovations, they are reminded of the 1986 movie, “The Money Pit.” In this classic movie, Tom Hanks and Shelley Long play a couple who take on monumental renovations of their home. Their experience is nothing but disastrous consequences throughout the project. In the end, the renovations result in a beautiful home but at the cost of the relationship and their sanity.

Real life may not always mimic the movies, but home renovations can come with complications. There are times that during a renovation, your contractor may discover other unknown issues (big or small) that require attention. In this month’s blog, we highlight the typical problems you may encounter during a renovation project and ways to be more prepared for these setbacks.
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Tips to prepare your home for cold weather

With global demand up and production down for oil and natural gas, predictions are that this will be an expensive winter for many Americans.  The high demand and low supply have caused home heating fuel prices to skyrocket, and consumers will feel this in their pocketbooks as they settle into a cold winter.

The good news is that you can take some steps to improve your home’s heating and insulation.  A few home modifications can help to reduce your overall need for heating so that you can better manage your budget.  In this month’s blog, we provide helpful tips to prepare your home for cold weather and keep energy costs down.

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Interior and Exterior Residential Trends of 2022

This past year has been a pivotal year in new home construction.  First, historically low mortgage rates induced many home buyers to take the plunge and get into the “custom build” action.  In addition to the affordability of new home construction, anyone building a new home was most likely influenced by emerging trends from 2020 and the significant worldwide events.  The global pandemic and the transformation of home as a place for education, work, and everyday living has surely factored into the trends we are seeing now and for the future. 
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The major steps you will take on your path to building a custom home – Part 2

In last month’s blog post, we examined the new home construction process.  We focused on the first three phases of new home construction – Design and Planning, Laying the Foundation, and Framing.  Knowledge of these phases gives you the opportunity to better understand how your new construction home is progressing and the role you will have during this process.  In this month’s blog, we discuss the remaining phases of new home construction which are the Open Wall, Drywall, and the Finishing phases. Continue Reading