If you’re a prospective homeowner, you no doubt know that house hunting can be a hassle. You, of course, have your most basic concerns such as location, size, and number of bed and bath rooms. You’ll naturally want to make sure the overall floor plan is designed as closely to your needs as possible, which can be easier said than done, as some older homes have some odd choices. On top of these concerns, you’ll also have to worry about potential hidden costs, like repairs that aren’t immediately obvious upon a quick inspection. But what if you could bypass
all of this?
If you want control, then it’s worth building your own home instead of buying pre-owned. This way, you get full control over the design and avoid nasty surprises later. There can be other advantages too, like builders offering incentives/discounts because they want to keep their crew working. Some aspects of home building are more critical than others, though, so here are a few things you’ll want to plan rather carefully.
Foundation, Foundation, Foundation
Like any project, your new home starts from the ground up and will only be as solid as what it’s built on. A good foundation is going to support the overall structure as well as form a barrier to prevent against groundwater and soil vapor. The type of foundation you’ll want to build and the amount of preparation you’ll need before doing so will vary on a few factors, most notably your climate. One of the most common types of foundation is a slab foundation, which is a concrete slab, usually about six inches to a foot in depth. It is poured over the ground where the house is to be located. If needed, it may be poured over something like a pile of gravel for support. This type of foundation is sturdy and typically works well in warm dry climates. It can be problematic in colder or wetter areas, as the ground freezing or excessive water exposure can cause the slab to crack.
Other common foundation types are the crawlspace and basement foundations. A home built with the crawlspace foundation will be suspended above the ground, requiring concrete supports. This allows the home’s wiring, plumbing, and ductwork to be built in the crawlspace under the house, offering easy access for repairs. This type of foundation will be more expensive and take longer to build than the slab.
The basement foundation is essentially a combination of the previous two. The basement is built underground, and its floor is usually near identical to the slab foundation. The basement walls then act as supports for the house above, similar to crawlspace supports. This foundation offers an abundance of storage space, and can double as an extra room for the house, but it is also the most expensive.
Regardless of which foundation type you choose, you’ll need to stay on top of maintenance. Whether it cracks, gets exposed to water damage, or faces other issues, you’ll need to address it early on for safety and to ensure the home maintains its value. Thankfully, there are some great options for any foundation repair you may need.
Beware the Elements
No matter where you live, the elements will likely pose the biggest threat to your home. Water damage can be devastating to any kind of foundation, and if you went with the basement option, it’s extremely important to look into basement waterproofing. It doesn’t stop with the foundation, though. Water can get in from floods to a leaky ceiling causing serious damage risks and mold growth. This can quickly lead to rot if left unattended.
Depending on your area, wind damage can also be a significant problem. Most commonly, extreme wind during storms will damage the exterior of the home, affecting things like shingles, windows, doors, and possibly gutters. Of course, depending on the severity and type of storm, the damage can be far worse and even reach the interior.
Living in an area that’s prone to earthquakes or fire damage just adds to the equation. It’s important to research your area and the most common types of home damage to determine what kind of preparation and protection you need. Insurance will likely cover events you couldn’t have prevented, but it won’t cover poor maintenance.
Naturally, home building is an exciting and happy time of your life, and it’s just as important to look into important features to make your home a perfect fit for you. Thankfully, when building your own home, the possibilities are endless. You won’t have to worry about remodeling your bathroom or kitchen, so you can focus on more fun additions to your new home.
If you went with the basement foundation, that’s an area that could easily be turned into a game room or a home gym. If you have a bathroom to spare, you might turn it into an indoor spa. Maybe you’d like to convert your backyard into a miniature golf course. The point is, when you build your own home, you have the ability to make your dream home an immediate reality.