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Old 08-07-2007, 07:53 PM   #1
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How much of house building to DIY


I've bought some acerage with a small new unfinished cabin that we plan on using for weekend getaways but plan to build a home for retirement. I'm 50 now and don't plan on retiring for another 10 yrs or so. We have another house we live in now so there is no rush to complete this retirement home, so I have the luxury of the next ten years to complete this project. I have no home buiding background but have always done precise careful work when I've had tile, drywall, fencing jobs around the house. We are thinking of building a 2 story adobe style house(stucco) with a slab foundation and a square footage of around 2400. The land is in the country so we can build any style we want but really like the feel of the adobe. The land is in southeast Oklahoma. I would like to do as much as possible in the building process. One to save money but I would also enjoy the experience( I have no hobbies right now).

My question: Is it wise for someone with my lack of experience to consider taking on too much and what's too much. Obviously for most jobs I would need some guidance. Are there particular books on construction that you would recommend. Which project are best left to the professionals and which are more compatible for DIY. Is it advisable to hire a qualified construction worker in whatever phase your currently working as a mentor.

Any suggestions or advise is appreciated...Thanks

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Old 08-08-2007, 08:52 AM   #2
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How much of house building to DIY


After what I've recently gone through, I would tackle any job myself, including a new house if I had the opportunity. I hired a contractor to do the shett of an add-a-level and they messed up everything they possibly could. I did the plans, to local code, then have had to re-do framing, correct many of thier mistakes, like reinstalling windows and creating headers when there was none, then finish as planned, including insulation, electric, drywall, molding etc........
I have the utmost respect for the majority of the posters here, and this site is a big pat of the reason I feel I can tackle these jobs......I can do reasearch and apply what I've learned with logic.....but, there are many bad-apples in the trade and if I can do this work myself, I will. I do and will continue to hire for jobs I can't handle, but I'll hire each of those myself in the future......such as roofing, gutters

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Old 08-08-2007, 08:59 AM   #3
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How much of house building to DIY


I concur with mt232.

There are many people who build boats with no experience whatsoever, and they learn as they go. You can do the same. You're already ahead of the game because you have some skill, in terms of remodeling projects. There's no reason you can't learn and ask questions before starting any job.

As mt232 stated, this forum is an excellent source of information and there are a lot of great people here willing to help. Chances are, someone knows the answer to your question or can point you in the right direction to find it. After all, you've got 10 years to build it right? That's plenty of time.
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Old 08-08-2007, 05:02 PM   #4
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How much of house building to DIY


Welcome from North Central Oklahoma! The first book I would advise you to get is a copy of "Building an Affordable Home" by Ruiz, and then you will have an idea of what and how much you want to tackle. And of course, lots of advice can be gleaned from the forum.

When people tell me how difficult building a house looks to be, I always laugh.....it is just a series of projects...and when looked at that way, and managed correctly, it is a piece of cake.
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Old 08-09-2007, 06:58 AM   #5
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How much of house building to DIY


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....it is just a series of projects...and when looked at that way, and managed correctly, it is a piece of cake.
You have to be one of the first in the trades that openly acknowledges this! Speaks volumes to your character. Those contemplating DIY building, don't confuse "piece of cake" with easy....it's not. It's a heck of a lot of hard work, and your satisfaction level most likely will depend on your motive and motivation.

To the OP: I've done a boat load of home projects for myself and friends and this past year I built my own ICF house (no prior experience with that either) in addition to working a fairly traditional 40 hour week at the day job. I'm not talking about subbing out. I hired the trusses to be set, and the roof shingled. The rule I used is if I didn't have access to the correct labor, then I hired it done.

Take your time, do your research and you should get along fine. If you don't know ASK, ask here, ask your materials supplier, just make sure you ask someone so you understand your processes and plan to keep from kludging it together. Your material supplier, assuming it's not a big box store, has a ton of resources you can tap into. Use 'em. The building supply company I used had prices were cheaper than the borg's, and INCLUDED delivery to the job site.
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Old 08-09-2007, 07:29 AM   #6
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How much of house building to DIY


Quote:
Are there particular books on construction that you would recommend.
Don't forget the Residential Code supplement for your particular state. You could add the Plumbing Code book to the library if necessary. It's kind of up to you as to the types of books that you may think would be worthy with respect to what you desire to learn. I've just provided a basic list to get started.
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Old 08-09-2007, 07:35 PM   #7
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How much of house building to DIY


Quote:
Originally Posted by RippySkippy View Post
You have to be one of the first in the trades that openly acknowledges this! Speaks volumes to your character. Those contemplating DIY building, don't confuse "piece of cake" with easy....it's not. It's a heck of a lot of hard work, and your satisfaction level most likely will depend on your motive and motivation.
Thanks for the compliment, and I will agree with the hard work.

You don't swallow an apple whole, you take a bite at a time......so lets go a little further:

Have a plan.....agree that is the plan, avoid second guesses...when you feel good about the plan, proceed
to the site....don't think about anything except where the house will be on the site, and then bring it to grade...don't think about the bathrooms and plumbing while doing the grade work. Dig the footings, after reading and learning how to set up square and tight....batter boards have a place in home construction still. Now think about plumbing and where to place sleeves in the footing.... Don't think about wiring the house while you set up and dig the footings. Now, form the house slab.......if you are going to have a great room with outlets anywhere except walls, now is the time to think about that, not how to place rafters.....hire a finisher to pour and finish the concrete, unless you have experience at this. ....And so on......do you see they are simple tasks? Stay focused on one at a time, and plan ahead...which is why I recommended the book I did in my above post. Planning and homework done will save you the grief that others find a pitfall in.

I would not get excited about the IRC books quite yet...a good book on construction techniques will get you in the ballpark, and sound practices will keep you out of harms way.
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Old 08-10-2007, 02:44 PM   #8
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How much of house building to DIY


I have thought about building za home myself, researched ti quite a bit. I will probably do so after the kids get out of school, but that is several years down the road. I know for sure I am hiring out the basement.
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Old 08-11-2007, 03:30 PM   #9
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How much of house building to DIY


My suggestion would be to sub out the foundation and framing of the house, because they are very labor intensive, and you really want to get the materials protected from the elements in a reasonable length of time. Once the structure is protected form the weather and has a roof, you can take your time and do anything that you are comfortable with. Check with local building dept on whether they allow you to do plumbing and electrical yourself, some require licensed persons for either or both.
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Old 08-13-2007, 06:06 AM   #10
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How much of house building to DIY


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...Check with local building dept on whether they allow you to do plumbing and electrical yourself, some require licensed persons for either or both.
How true that is. One lot we were serious about purchasing got nixed because the city ordnances would not allow home owner/builder to work on any HVAC, electrical, plumbing, or framing. Went a couple of miles away and no limitations. To those that will be purchasing a building site, check with local officials BEFORE purchasing the lot.

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