The Main Steps to Building a House
The 10 steps to build a new home are:
- Prepare construction site and pour foundation
- Construct rough framing
- Complete rough pluming, electrical and HVAC
- Install insulation
- Complete drywall and interior textures; start exterior finishes
- Finish interior trim; install exterior driveways and walkways
- Install hard-surface flooring and countertops, and complete exterior grading
- Finish mechanical trims; install bathroom fixtures
- Install mirrors, shower doors and finish flooring, and finish exterior landscaping
- Final walkthrough with builder
Often, site preparation and foundation work are performed by the same crew, but this may not be the case with a wooded lot. Using a backhoe and a bulldozer, the crew clears the site of rocks, debris and trees for the house and, if applicable, the septic system. 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 your home is going to have a well, it will be dug at this point.
When the curing process is complete, a city inspector visits the site to make sure foundation components are up to code and installed properly. This inspection may be repeated depending on the type of foundation (slab, crawl space or basement). Your builder will then remove the forms and begin coordinating step No. 2, the framing phase.
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.
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.
Insulation plays a key role in creating a more comfortable, consistent indoor climate while significantly improving a home’s energy efficiency. One of the most important qualities of insulation is its thermal performance or R-value, which indicates how well the material resists heat transfer. Most homes are insulated in all exterior walls, as well as the attic and any floors that are located above unfinished basements or crawl spaces.