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Old 10-14-2012, 07:08 AM   #1
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Building a new home... Tips?


Hello everyone, first time poster. I am currently in the process of having a home built in Ohio. I'm not building it, I hired a builder, but I want to do my due diligence and do some work myself while the house is going up. For example, I am going to tape all duct seams before the house is dry walled. Is there anything else I should consider doing before it is finished and to late? Taping the seams is the only thing I could think of doing the the builder won't.

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Old 10-14-2012, 07:17 AM   #2
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Take lots of pictures---they will help in the future if you need to hang things--drill holes--or come here to ask questions.

Cleaning up the site is sometimes helpful---but ask the builder first---that guy (or gal) needs to know exactly what his workers are doing--You included.

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Old 10-14-2012, 08:30 AM   #3
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Take lots of pictures---they will help in the future if you need to hang things--drill holes--or come here to ask questions.

Cleaning up the site is sometimes helpful---but ask the builder first---that guy (or gal) needs to know exactly what his workers are doing--You included.
Lots and lots of pictures.....and measurements....

Later on you may want to hang something on the wall....most stud finders (my wife excluded) are not very good. If you measure the location of the first stud from a corner and make note of it...it's a lot easier to find it later....remaining studs should be 16" OC....if not, note that. I will typically lay the tape measure down next to the bottome plate and take a pic of that.

You want pictures of all your electrical and plumbing in the walls before it gets closed up. Comes in real handy if you decide later that you want to 'do something'.

Run Cat 6. Even if you don't think you want it.....you just might....say for video streaming in the future?

If you think you might want extra outlets outside say for lights....do it now...

If you think you want to put flooring up in your attic so you can walk around...do it after the insulation....but before it's complete....

Most important....yes..it's your house...but it's really the contractors house until he is finished. Tell him in advance what you want to do....basically you are asking for his permission to work on your house....but it's not really your house just yet. As long as he feels like you are not there to nick pick his work....you should be ok.....

At the end of the day...he is the one responsible for the job and everyones safety....
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Old 10-14-2012, 08:49 AM   #4
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Got any questions, ask the builder, not the workers. It's nice to be nice to everyone but if he feels your going behind he back it can cause issues.
Double check he's following the layout on the plans, sometimes changes have to be made, but anytime it happens it can effect something else.

Make sure all holes running though the floor for wiring and plumbing get sealed before the insulation goes in.
Make sure your using foil tape on those ducts not just "Duct tape".
A simple sting pulled across a wall can find any wild 2 X 4's before the sheetrock goes up. There never going to be 100% perfect but one really bad one can distroy the look of a whole wall.
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Old 10-14-2012, 08:52 AM   #5
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Got any questions, ask the builder, not the workers. It's nice to be nice to everyone but if he feels your going behind he back it can cause issues.
Double check he's following the layout on the plans, sometimes changes have to be made, but anytime it happens it can effect something else.

Make sure all holes running though the floor for wiring and plumbing get sealed before the insulation goes in.
Make sure your using foil tape on those ducts not just "Duct tape".
A simple sting pulled across a wall can find any wild 2 X 4's before the sheetrock goes up. There never going to be 100% perfect but one really bad one can distroy the look of a whole wall.
Oh....THAT is so true.....on one of my walls I had a 4x4 that was about 10' tall (racked wall)....DF#1....and stuck out about 1"....it was a b!tch to get it out (at least I had not drywalled yet)....but I'm glad I replaced it....
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Old 10-14-2012, 09:29 AM   #6
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A few things I have found.
Bottom plate was bow out 3" in the midlle when it was installed, and they built the wall anyway.

Builder left out the dormers off the roof, his excuse was he had made a mistake when quoting and it was going to cost to much.

Home owner went behind my back and had one of my workers move a closet wall over to make it bigger. While I was there the wall was built, I had checked it and it was right. When we went to install the vanity in the 1/2 bath it stuck out 6" behond the door trim.
Electrition had pulled the wiring right through a window opening.
Someone had framed a closit to the finished size not the R/O.
Started putting shingles on with no tar paper, another one forgot to install a started strip.
The home owner insisted on installing his own french drains when we built an attached 2 story garage. He was a retired master plumber.
The trench was already dug for the footings and back filled with gravel and leveled out. We show up the next day and he had install the drains right in the middle where the footings went and all the holes were facing up.

The best one was while I was gone he told the mason to leave leave off the two last rows of block to save money on back filling and block.
That one mistake ended up costing him over $10,000 in added cost and caused all the water running down his lot to run under the doors.
By the walls being 16" lower there was no way to have a door from the house to the garage. We had to add what amounted to a 2' knee wall to the wall already built to make it work.
We also had to build a platform for the new laundy room and change the whole stair layout.
All so he could "save" $1000 on fill and block.
He also insisted his son wiring the whole thing. It would not pass inspection because there was no hard wired smoke detectors and no GFI.
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Old 10-14-2012, 10:08 AM   #7
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the mention of taking photos of wall layout for stud locations for hanging pictures is a bit redundant.. a simple stud finder or easy anchors fix that issue. but taking photos of pipe and wire locations yes. so you dont go driving screws into pipes causing a leak which means opening up the wall to fix
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Old 10-14-2012, 10:11 AM   #8
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Make 100% sure there adding nailing plates over any plumbing any closer then 1-1/2 to the edge of the stud.
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Old 10-14-2012, 12:20 PM   #9
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good call on that actually joe

its just 4" strips of metal that get nailed to the bottom plate protecting the pipe from finish nails for putting down baseboard
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Old 10-14-2012, 03:51 PM   #10
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Building a new home... Tips?


I understand wanting to have a properly built house. But if I had to worry about the builder doing (or not doing) all the things mentioned in this thread, I would've hired a different builder.

I am not a pro, but were I, I would never let the customer "do some of the work." I see too many ways that could go bad.
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Old 10-14-2012, 06:38 PM   #11
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joes right.

we allow the homeowners to do things occasionally but its limited to site cleanup, picking up material if we run short by a few peices of a item. if we dont have a painter lined up they can paint if they actually get it done , most times they arent quick enough so we end up bringing in the painter
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Old 10-14-2012, 06:48 PM   #12
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Even that does not work out some times. I ran out of drip cap. So I cut off a piece as a sample, he comes back with Z moulding after waiting for him for 2 hours and said the guy at home depot told him they never did sell drip cap.

They all say I need to save money and tell you I'll do the demo work, move the furniture, remove the trim, whatever, you show up and nothing got done and expect you to come back some other time.
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Old 10-14-2012, 07:34 PM   #13
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I would check to make sure: all "shiners" (squeakers) are pulled in floors; dryer/bath fan ducts are properly fastened with tape/screws (not dryer) and insulated with v.b.; kitchen, laundry, bath hardware/cabinets have solid backing for mounting; stair handrail/and returns have backing; check-on required air-sealing of plates, wiring/plumbing holes, closures under tubs, showers,ceiling, ext.wall outlets/switches; ask builder if HVAC includes ducting in all return-air locations; check in attic before roofing for all sheathing ink-stamp labels facing same way (rather than a few perpendicular); be sure they don't inset staple insulation batts; supply a correct dryer termination hood if needed- Type "A" with one door is best; photo the first window install and show us pics; hot/cold water from correct sides; cold water supply to ice-maker; soffit intake venting near fascia board. Links in library, just ask.

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Old 10-14-2012, 09:00 PM   #14
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install central vac piping..use 45 degre elbows NOT 90's to prevent plugging up

ask builder to include garage door openers or at least the wiring for same

also install 220 V outlet in garage if you think you might need one
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Old 10-15-2012, 10:26 PM   #15
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Pulled my notebook out; trench crawlspace for drainage w.hole for sump-add receptacle; used "closed crawl" if possible-radon, termites; poly sill-sealer under mudsill plate; add attic/crawl space lights, recep; add Holiday receps at top story exterior; recep in closet for electric broom charger; one at iron-board build-in; motion sensors hard-wire at house ext. corners; pot-filler water supply over stove; recep at vac. system, each box if power-head; wire for Insta-Hot under sink, reverse-osmosis water filter, wire for heated bath floor; 110 and 220 for Jacuzzi; wire for stair tread lights, over cabs in kitchen, under cabs (toe-space); wine-cooler, warming drawer, trash compactor, mini-refrigerator, inside med.cab light, hard-wire phone in garage; front door chime location; heated towel bar in bath. Of course, these should have already been discussed at planning/design stage.

Gary
P.S. Fiberglass or rock wool the stairs, bath walls for sound.

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