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I hope this hasn't been asked & answered many times.

I want to build a complete, simple (simple!) house 28x56, 3-ft cinderblock foundation, 5-in-12 gable roof completely on my own, no help, except for the initial concrete pour.

I'm thinking way the heck out in the boonies, maybe Arizona, or more likely, Wyoming.

The reason I want to do it all on my own is that I want to look at it when I'm done, and say "I did that all by myself". I know it's a little crazy. I know I will have to quit my job, or take leave of absence. I know it will take months. I know there is a chance I could get hurt or maybe even killed out in the middle of nowhere.

Going for me: I'm 41 years old, in good health, and pretty handy, good with math, and not too incredibly stupid(I hope :)). I am physically fairly strong when I need to be. I know what square plumb and level is, and how not having it will make a disaster. I've done some construction (well cover and a couple of decks). I know it doesn't compare, but I have some small frame of reference.

Going against me: My back is not "bad", but I do have to be careful with it. I'll have to go slow, especially early on, until I get used to the labor. When I'm ready to do this, I'll be late forties at the earliest. My job is sitting in front of a computer all day.

Bottom Line: Is this a lunatic, escapist mid-life-crisis pipe dream, or could I have a shot at doing this thing?

Thanks to all,
--Goose
 

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Physical ability is only part of building a house. There are lots of skills involved that require considerable knowledge. While many of the how-to's are available in books, there are always things not written down where the hammer meets the nail. Even in the boonsticks, there are codes, procedures that should be followed for safety sake. Can you be a mason, framing carpenter, electrician, plumber, drywaller, finish carpenter, carpet/flooring installer, roofer, etc., etc.??? I am a remodeling contractor and can do most of those trades, but I have learned that while I can do a fair job on some, a professional can do it better. And some trades I am not allowed to do without proper licensing.

A noble plan, but not realistic, or even smart.
 

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I will start by saying, you can do whatever you put your mind to!
But... I don't beleive you can build a house completely by yourself, with no help. I can tell you that I have helped my uncle build two different houses, which, he undertook completely by himself, come to think of it, he was about your age at the time. There is just no way you can start putting up walls and trusses by yourself! The rest, on a pinch, can be done at a snail's pace. I would recomend purchasing a fixer upper, which you may still be able to get that satisfaction when it's done of saying, " I did this",
good luck!
 

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My wife and I are currently doing that very thing. We're living in our RV while building a log home. It is almost under roof, and except for the foundation the two of us have literally done everything ourselves so far.

Just Bill is right about the various skills needed. I doubt anybody (or very few people) could actually build a house entirely by themselves. One skill Bill left out that you can't legally do without the proper certification is HVAC. Also, many locations don't allow unlicensed people to do electric and/or plumbing even on their own home. Fortunately, that's not the case where we live.
 

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I'm thinking way the heck out in the boonies, maybe Arizona, or more likely, Wyoming.

The reason I want to do it all on my own is that I want to look at it when I'm done, and say "I did that all by myself". I know it's a little crazy. I know I will have to quit my job, or take leave of absence. I know it will take months. I know there is a chance I could get hurt or maybe even killed out in the middle of nowhere.
Yeah, it's probably mid-life crisis. :yes:

Wyoming? Triple your timetable. Terrain and weather will cost you close to a year by themselves. Supplies and delivery and storage protection are going to be a consideration. Utilities are going to be a small hassle. Yes, it WILL take months... somewhere around a minimun of 36 of them.

A chance of getting hurt? Make that more like a probability. The questions will be how often, and how severely.

But if you have a need to do this, you'll do it. I question how serious the desire is because you are here asking about it rather than packing your bags. :wink: Nothing wrong with gathering information and opinions. But the only questions the pioneers usually asked was "Where do they sell wagons"?

Live the dream for awhile. Plan, figure, envision, and sleep happy with the thoughts. But also just consider a sports car and a 22 year old mistress.
 

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I AM building a 24x36 3 story addition by myself, I'm almost 48
I installed 5 sets of LVL's by myself - 4 sets 24' in length
1 set of these is a triple 16"
The excavation & concrete pour were done by Pro's
I drew up & designed & created the plans
In 6 weeks I was on the 3rd floor ready to start roofing
Then winter.........:(

I have raised almost all the walls & installed the rafters by myself
The wife did help with 2 walls - but she made ME nervous

Here you need a plumber - no DIY
The only plumbing will be garden hose pipe in the garage
AC not really used here - I'll have in-wall unit(s)

My regular job was (unemployed) working on PC's
I have a background in college in architect design
I have used 3 different software programs to design
But for final plans I printed out & did some work by hand/ruler etc
I've been doing electric & building work since I was a kid - not really a choice - old man made us help :thumbsup:

I bought the NEC codebook, a couple framing books for reference
I research everything 1st
Local lumber company sized the beams & sent my plans out for engineer stamp
There are a few sites like this where I ask questions & input
There is more then one way to do something
I have seen some excellent info on this site & the others

It is NOT an easy task
If I was working FT it would have been even harder
Prior to this I added a 2nd floor to my last house
Dormered the back of this house, added front porch, a greenhouse & a 16x17 sunroom off the back
You want some fun try getting a 606 (46x46) skylight onto a roof by yourself. I guess I was younger 2 years ago :laughing:

If we had enough $$ we woudl have hired someone
In todays economy - $$ stays in the bank, no loans
 

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As long as you are ready to study and learn I don't think the "skills" part will be an issue at all. Like Willie said this would be more than months even with good weather. Things take a lot longer without a second helper and you'll spend a lot of time developing ways to do things by yourself. 3 years might be conservative depending on how you intend to finish it.

Lot's of places will allow you to do all the trades including HVAC work yourself. If your going to have Air Conditioning that will require a lot of study and expensive tools and you'll need an EPA License. The EPA license is actually fairly cheap to get but will require some studying.

Why wouldn't you do the initial concrete yourself? That's not that difficult or complex and if the goal is to say "I did this" then you'll want to have done the concrete.

You will need all the money up front to buy the construction supplies and tools and whatever you need to live on because no bank is going to loan you the money.
 

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As far as no bank lending the $$ that is false
In this economy it would be MUCH harder
But if a person has good credit & collateral it can be done
They generally set out a time frame with inspections & you must meet that timeline. Money is dispensed to continue work as work is completed & progress is inspected
 

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Physical ability is only part of building a house. There are lots of skills involved that require considerable knowledge. While many of the how-to's are available in books, there are always things not written down where the hammer meets the nail. Even in the boonsticks, there are codes, procedures that should be followed for safety sake. Can you be a mason, framing carpenter, electrician, plumber, drywaller, finish carpenter, carpet/flooring installer, roofer, etc., etc.??? I am a remodeling contractor and can do most of those trades, but I have learned that while I can do a fair job on some, a professional can do it better. And some trades I am not allowed to do without proper licensing.

A noble plan, but not realistic, or even smart.
Excellent advice :thumbsup:
 

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I built my house with the assistance of my two teenage sons and its imperative that you would have at least one assistant.
If you don't have an assistant, get married and use your wife! LOL!
When I built my house the internet was a gleam in some nerds eye. Now, everything that you will need to know is easily available on the internet.
There is no reason to assume that you will be injured. Its important to arm yourself with top of the line tools. Especially ladders. Think about how you are going to approach the project and what danger is about!
Falls are probably the most likely accident to occur. Make sure that you ladder is properly positioned and if you are working up higher than 10 feet, that you are tied off with safety gear!
After awhile, you can become complacent, as you become used to climbing and moving about in the framing! Its when you become complacent that it more likely that you can hurt yourself.
You can train yourself to be safety conscious and then it will become second nature.
And don't forget about lifting. Use proper lifting techniques and save your back!
It will likely take about 3 times as long to complete a job as you figured. So, if you think that you can build your house in a year, it will more likely be 3 years.
And money! It takes wheel barrows full of money to build. And again, it will be more than what you figured initially!

And then, when you are finished you can come back to this site and tell us how it went. Well, you can tell others, as I'll probably be dead and gone! LOL!
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Yeah, it's probably mid-life crisis. :yes:

Wyoming? Triple your timetable. Terrain and weather will cost you close to a year by themselves. Supplies and delivery and storage protection are going to be a consideration. Utilities are going to be a small hassle. Yes, it WILL take months... somewhere around a minimun of 36 of them.

A chance of getting hurt? Make that more like a probability. The questions will be how often, and how severely.

But if you have a need to do this, you'll do it. I question how serious the desire is because you are here asking about it rather than packing your bags. :wink: Nothing wrong with gathering information and opinions. But the only questions the pioneers usually asked was "Where do they sell wagons"?

Live the dream for awhile. Plan, figure, envision, and sleep happy with the thoughts. But also just consider a sports car and a 22 year old mistress.
A sensible and honest opinion, and much appreciated.

I dig your comment about how if I was really *really* serious, I'd just be doing it, and to he11 with the consequences. I took that that to heart. The only thing keeping me from doing it right this minute is family obligations (teenage son).

I hate sports cars, too delicate ... much rather have a big 3/4- or 1-ton 4x4 pickup. The 22YO sounds like fun at first, but without honest love I'd get bored soon enough.

Maybe a smaller house.
 

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If your actually serious about it the best thing you could do is try get a job with a framing company that isn't out of work right now. If your there even for 4-5 months you will learn how to do it properly and things will go alot faster because you know what to do and don't have to stand around wondering. It will take you a long time and require a lot of skill and strength. For a house that size it will take ALOT of drive. Plumbing and electrical may have to be done by somebody in the trades depanding on laws in that state. Here in Ontario you can do it all yourself but still needs to be inspected. I have heard of lots of people building their own house but everyone of them says it takes a long time and wouldn't do it again. It's a one time thing that they wouldn't want to do again
 

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never thought i'd be building a home from scratch in my 50s, doing all phases myself, but here i am....
i had to update wiring and do new plumbing before we could even move in. MY teenage son is a blessing, though he's mainly learning and his jobs are mostly "grab me that ***** over there", or "help me lift this into place".
but.... he's in college now, so he's only here one or two days a week...
listen to what the guys are saying about the time frame expected however, they are correct. i figured i could do the work in 2 years. i COULD have done the work in two years....but because of stalls in permits, plans, etc. it's been 5 so far, and i think i'll still need 2 more to finish. here's where i was as of yesterday.

DM
 

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Only if you really want to

Triple at least your time frame.
Things that are hardest alone are lifting wall sections into place (walls are built flat and stood) and heavy beams and long rafters. And maybe roof sheathing. I'd say keep it no steeper than 4/12 so as not to fall off but Wyoming snows might not allow that.
These can all be overcome.
Jacks can be made to stand walls or you can frame them in smaller sections.
Rafters can be hung alone if you have a plan and act carefully.
Big beams are handled one end at a time.
This is a lot easier if you already have years experience doing these things as part of a team.
But a woman rowed a boat across the Atlantic alone. Of course you can build your own home.
Keep a computer handy and I, for one, would be psyched to provide help.

But man you'd better have a ton of motivation or it won't get done.
 

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We built spec homes from the ground up, and the prep work is more than most people anticipate. I also believe that if you set your mind to it and are determined enough, you can do anything, just be clear that there will be several unexpected things and challenges that will occur.

One option to consider would be to hire a company to build you a shell and you complete all the interior work. You will cut down your time frame drastically and can still feel good that you were involved in the process.

Another option if you want to build the entire house is to consider volunteering for habitat for humanity because you get to work with skilled pro's and can pick their brains while receiving hands on training.

I wish you well!

Nia
 

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My dad was just a wiry little guy, but he built his house almost entirely alone, with just some help from my brother part of the time, and my mother probably lent a hand now and then.

You've got to be clever at figuring out levering and pulley systems and how to hold things in place while you start nailing etc. It's not the technical aspects of the wiring and plumbing so much as the manipulation of big, heavy objects in awkward/high places.

Keeping it simple and close to the ground will help.
 
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