How to Build Custom Built Homes

After we receive your building permit, its time to build your dream home. Construction is all about contractors, special trades, and on time delivery of services and material. So the key, to have a successful project with on time delivery is to have a good, reasonable schedule for your sub-trades and supplier, as well as professional, skilled trades to ensure the best workmanship of the project.

1. Preparing land for development - Preparing Land for construction

a. Demolition - This step is relatively simple and easy, compare to an "addition construction". With use of modern, heavy machinery, we demolish any exciting structures on the property and remove debris after. If our land is clean and had never been developed before, things become much easier and we save on demolishing.
b. Excavation - Once land is clear, we will excavate it for our new house. New empty space will be used for future foundation works. Most of the soil will be removed from the property, but a small portion of it usually stays for further back fill and grading needs. If there is a truck access to the property, dirt is removed by trucks as most money saving option, but sometimes, when trucks could not get to the site special dirt bins used. This way is more expensive and time consuming.

2. Foundations
Footing & Foundation is the main part of your house. The quality of your footings, concrete walls or block walls, weeping tiles, and others works involved in this part of construction practice will affect all other parts of your house. That's why those works required a very skilled, experience and dedicated contractors. The price of mistakes is very high. Once your excavation is accomplish we start to work in a "whole" to build a foundation of the house.

a. Footing -Your foundation walls no matter how high it is and either its done from concrete or blocks should be based on base on a layer of concrete, creating a stable stand for entire house. This first layer of your house called footing. Your future foundation walls, frame and en entire house will be based on it

b. Foundation - Once we create a footing we now can build a foundation walls. It can be done either from concrete blocks or concrete walls. Concrete walls are more advance technology and wide spread in todays construction industry due to speed, but more expensive as well.

c. Weeping tiles - This step is among most important steps in your project. You should build a correct weeping tiles and drainage systems to protect your walls from storm waters. Usually its a special plastic tube with thousands of whole in it that installed on the base of gravel around footings of your foundation walls. Your basement should be dry in years to come. Mistake in this step could cost you thousands in future.

d. Walls water proofing - Once you have built your foundation and install weeping tiles you would need to add extra protection to your concrete walls, by painting them with rubber based paint and installing plastic barrier. This step will protect your basement from water coming through the walls. All storms water would meet the walls and flow down toward the weeping tiles, which will forward water away from the house. Proper water proofing system will last for many years and insures a dry basement for your house.

3. Grading & Backfill
When we finish foundation walls and ready to proceed with framing, we have to fill the space left from our excavation with dirt and level it so water will flow away from the house. Usually final grading is done once the entire house is build and all exterior works are accomplished.

4. Framing & Roof & Utilities
Framing & Roof & Utilities. Now we can start framing and other jobs which are due once we have foundation in place. Basement and framing can count for one third of the entire project. Starting with exterior walls we will go all the way to the top. It’s critical to prepare yourself for this step: all of your subcontractors should be ready by this time and materials are waiting to be delivered. Your lumber supplier should calculate the required amount of lumber for your projects as well as roof trusses. It’s much more convenient and faster to pre-manufacturer roof trusses on a factory and brings it, already assembled, on the site. While we are working on framing, other jobs have to be initiated in the same time to ensure speed of the project.

a. Framing and walls - Once we finished with foundation we can proceed to frame and walls - skeleton of the house. On this stage you will see how your new house is starting to have shapes inside and outside. You will build new rooms, future openings, windows frames, closets, and many other thing that you were working on for the past month with your designer. Its all still out of plain wood yet, and there is a lot of works have to be done before it will be finished.

b. Utilities rough-in - House has a lot of plumbing connections, wires, vacuum tubes, etc, that are covered by drywall. Therefore it has to be installed while there are no walls. New plumbing tubes, HVAC ducts, electrical wires. This is also the last time to do any small interior changes. To add more lights, move washroom or closet, make some rooms bigger or smaller, etc.

c. Windows and Doors installations - Once you accomplished the frame and cover roof with plywood you can install your windows and doors. On average its takes up to 8 weeks to make your windows at a factory so its very important to order your windows and exterior doors as soon as you have you drawings on hand. Other way your project will be delayed as you cannot proceed with interior works until you close your house.

d. Concrete slab and connections to the city electrical grid and water system - Upon completion of the framing its time for small structures concrete guys to show up and finish their part. They have to connect your utilities pipes with the cities, cover everything with concrete slab in the basement, install new slab in garage, and build your stairs and porch. If you have walk outs then finish them as well. Usually its two different contractors for foundation walls and slabs. Despite the common grounds its two completely different steps of construction.

e. Roof installations - Once you have finish installing your roof trusses and cover it with plywood. It’s time for roofers to show up and finish it with shingles. There are various types and styles of shingles to choose from to satisfy any budget and taste. However it’s the best to check the references for the roofers as well as to keep small portion of entire contract payment until heavy rain pass to make sure the roof is covered and not leaking.

5. Exterior works
Exterior works. Upon accomplishment of your rough carpentry and sealing your house under the roof, it is time to start work on your exterior look and think of downspouts, soffit and other aluminum elements of the house. There are four main options exist to cover your walls from outside: brick, stone, siding or stucco. Each of this options is plausible and last long, however the costs of each category is quite different from one another, as well as the meter of your preferences.

a. Brick construction - Brick is the most common way for exterior look in GTA and other big cities, however its become quite rare in rural areas of Canada or US due to multiple reasons. Brick construction is one of the most expensive way to finish exteriors of the house and requires skilled and experience team to install it. It also required a manufacture of the brick located close to the sites. Transportation cost of this heavy material can skyrocket the price. It creates a solid, monumental looks of your home, and add to the value of the house, however sometimes its more plausible to find an alternative solution.

b. Stone Construction - Stone is most expensive exterior finish you can think of. This way of finishes was know for many years and still attract a lot of attentions. It creates a unique, solid looks of the house. But this attraction has its cost. The price of such installation are very high, that's why its rare to see a house finished entirely by stone. In majority of houses we use it as design elements to highlight a special feature of a house.

c. Stucco Construction - Stucco construction is relatively new technology used for exterior finish of the house. It gives a house a very easy, light weight looks. There are many options available to make it look different and unique. Stucco is also a cheaper way to finish the exterior of the house.

d. Eavestrough, Downspouts - Soffit and Fascia. Another part of exterior works are aluminum elements like eavestrough, downspouts, soffit and fascia. You also can consider to install additional outside shutters or cover your porch roof with metal. Those jobs usually done by one contractor. Those things a very important to your house. Professionally installed aluminum elements will protect your house from water damage by collecting and removal of water away from house, make sure that air is circulated freely in your attic.

6. Interior works
Interior works. Now we accomplished one third of your house. In the past couple months you saw how your house grew from foundation to the roof. It looks amazing and you could actually see it growing! No more imagination excises and doubts about final look. Now we can proceed to the interior works. That where budgets are busted and sometimes become uncontrollable. Be careful here.

a. Boxes & partitions - Once your exterior works are almost complete and all rough-ins utilities are done its time to finish your frame work and prepare it for insulation and drywall installations. In this period your contractor will work on new partitions around HVAC ducts, build new small frames around pipes and wires. If you are building cathedral ceilings now is the time to finish frame for it. They will also build new internal partitions for walk-in closets, fireplaces etc. This step will finalize your framing works. This is the last time when you can change something in your layout. Once it is covered with drywall its is done thing

b. Insulation and drywall installations - Upon completion of all framing works and utilities connections, we are ready to cover all exterior walls with insulation and install drywall on an entire frame. If you would like to add some sound proofing for your rooms then we can install some special sound insulation. This will takes time. Washrooms and water exposed walls have to be covered with different type of drywall as well as some fire coded drywall has to be applied in certain situations. After dry wall is in place we call for taping crew. They will insure smooth finish of your walls and prepare it for painting and other interior installations.

c. Stairs & Railings - It’s recommended to install stairs once you start your drywall. It takes at least 4 weeks to make stairs from scratch so think about it at least in stage of basement construction.

d. Tiles & Marble & Stone - Once you drywall is in place in washrooms and other rooms where you are planning to have tiles or marble, It is time for tile installer to come. Tiles and other similar finishes is one of the most important works in the interior design. Mistakes will ruin your tiles and you would have to do it all over again which would cost you additional sometimes very high expenses. Heated floors have to be installed prior you will install tiles.

e. Painting. Painting the house is usually done in two stages - First a professional painting crew will prime all the walls in the house and if necessary correct small spots missed by taping crew. Then they will prime any decorative wood elements like baseboards, moldings, etc. And than once everything is complete they will come in the end to paint your house completely.

f. Wainscotings & moldings & other decorative wood - This is one of the most important parts of construction. Starting once your drywall is primed. Sometimes it can takes weeks to finish. This step will create a final look of your interior, will help create a special touch to your rooms and make your house unique. There are numerous of options available so take your time and enjoy.

g. Floors - There are many types of flooring cover in modern world. Most common are carpets, laminate and hardwood. This is almost final step of your house completion. Once this is step is done your house is almost ready to be occupied.

h. Final plumbing and lighting fixture installations - Once your house is almost complete and your interior looks almost finished it is time to finalize your plumbing and lighting installation. New faucets, toilets, sink, showers and whatever you have connections for, can be installed now. As well as it is time to install yours pot light, beautiful chandeliers and other lighting fixture you have in mind.

7. Kitchen & Vanities& Counter-tops
Kitchen & Vanities& Counter-tops. While this step is usually goes along with interior finishes we decided to put as different bullet. The look of your personally made kitchen, build-in shelves in library or office, or specially made vanities in master washroom can change your house look dramatically. Take your time to design it and think about it. Also keep in mind that it takes time to build so plan at least 5 -6 weeks ahead of actual installation. There are variety of materials you can choose from for Kitchen, bath cabinets and counter-tops, and prices range from as little as $170 per linear foot to as high as $500 per linier foot. But median price to work with is about $250-$350 per linear feet for above average kitchen (see pictures below). Also keep in mind appliances which could be very expensive especially if you are planning a build-in features.

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