Building your new home is exciting, especially when you understand how the process works. The following overview outlines the typical steps in the construction of a home and will help keep you abreast of what happens at key stages.
1. Prepare site and pour foundation:The crew levels the site, puts up wooden forms to serve as a template for the foundation, and digs the holes and trenches. Footings (structures where the house interfaces with the earth that supports it) are installed.
If it’s slab-on-grade, the footings are dug, formed and poured; the area between them is leveled and fitted with utility runs (e.g. plumbing drains and electrical chases); and the slab is poured.
Once concrete is poured into the holes and trenches, it will need time to cure. During this period, there will be no activity on the construction site.
After the concrete is cured, the crew applies a waterproofing membrane to the foundation walls; installs drains, sewer and water taps and any plumbing that needs to go into the first-floor slab or basement floor; and backfills excavated dirt into the hole around the foundation wall.
3. Complete rough plumbing, electrical and HVAC: Once the shell is finished, siding and roofing can be installed. At the same time, the electrical and plumbing contractors start running pipes and wires through the interior walls, ceilings and floors. Sewer lines and vents, as well as water supply lines for each fixture, are installed. Bathtubs and one-piece shower/tub units are put in place at this point because there’s more room to maneuver large, heavy objects.
Ductwork is installed for the heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) system, and possibly the furnace. HVAC vent pipes are installed through the roof, and insulation is installed in the floors, walls and ceilings.
After the roofing goes on, the house is considered “dried in.” The electrician then installs receptacles for outlets, lights and switches and runs wires from the breaker panel to each receptacle. Wiring for telephones, cable TV and music systems is included in this work.
Note that HVAC ducts and plumbing are usually installed before wiring, because it’s easier to run wires around pipes and ducts than vice versa.
Stage 4 – Insulation and Drywall
First the walls are insulated and then the drywall or sheetrock is installed over them.
Stage 5 – Exterior and Interior Finish
In this phase, all the final details are taken care of, including installation and testing of electrical, mechanical, HVAC and plumbing systems and the installation of ceilings, doors, baseboards, window sills, floor coverings, countertops, cabinets, tiles, appliances, mirrors, lights, faucets and showerheads. Everything gets a covering of paint or wallpaper and the driveway and sidewalks are poured. Final inspections, both municipal and with your inspector, are performed now and landscaping is done.
It is recommended that you do a walk-through inspection of your home with your builder 5-10 days before closing to allow time to address concerns and answer questions. Be sure to do a follow-up walk-through after repairs or fixes have been made to confirm that it is as you discussed it. Once everything has cleared inspection, the home will be given a certificate of occupancy and you’re ready to move in.
Keep the following tips in mind and you can make these five phases a lot easier to live through.
Deanna Clark follows the stages of construction and sends photographs to her out of the area clients to keep them informed.
2. Complete rough framing: The floor systems, walls and roof systems are completed (collectively known as the shell or skeleton of the house). Plywood or oriented strand board (OSB) sheathing is applied to the exterior walls and roof, and windows and exterior doors are installed. The sheathing is then covered with a protective barrier known as a house wrap; it prevents liquid water from infiltrating the structure, while allowing water vapor to escape. This reduces the likelihood of mold and wood rot.
Realtor®, CHMS, ALHS
Coldwell Banker United, Realtors
4225 Research Forest Dr. # 101
The Woodlands, TX 77381
Phone: (281) 363-2500