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  • For those who have built there own home...come on in!

    Well, looks like my folks just deeded over 6 of their 40 acres to the wife and I so we can start building a house. Eventually, I'll have all the land, but this is just to get us started.

    Since this is a huge undertaking, figured I'd see if anyone on here had built their own home and what advice they could share. I plan to study up on it as much as possible before breaking ground, but it's always good to hear first hand experiences from those who have been through the process before.

    Any info you could give on what to do and what not to do would be great. Any pitfalls to avoid, material choices and just general advice would be greatly appreciated.

    So, help a fellow Vegistroker out!

    Thanks!
    Greasin & Grinin
    Vegi oil powered since Aug 08
    2006 F-250 PSD - CC, Lariat, 4X4 - Vegistroke converted 1/27/13!!
    2008 F-250 PSD - CC, Lariat, 4X4 - Sold
    2005 F-250 PSD - CC, Lariat, 4X4 - Sold

  • #2
    Nobody on here has ever built their own home?

    Wow...as creative as you guys are I felt sure someone on here would have some good pointers.

    Anyone?
    Greasin & Grinin
    Vegi oil powered since Aug 08
    2006 F-250 PSD - CC, Lariat, 4X4 - Vegistroke converted 1/27/13!!
    2008 F-250 PSD - CC, Lariat, 4X4 - Sold
    2005 F-250 PSD - CC, Lariat, 4X4 - Sold

    Comment


    • #3
      I ran a frame crew 12yrs back part-time.Cost wise it is easier to build small foundation,multiple floors,face it southeast for good passive solar,always go next step better than code(better resale),bedrooms upstairs to conserve heat.And most of all put a Ag solution in the basement.On a serious note use energystar products to save $$$.Let me know if I can help with particulars,................grease out
      2000 7.3X V3 So much fun,so little time,Support small Oil,burn WVO,Free and greasy down the road I go!!!!!!!!!!completely self sufficient and proud of it. (Wood furnace.....X.......solar pontoon....solarsheat twins this summer.....I don't Know much.......I'm just a hillbilly with too many guns..............

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by greasyX View Post
        I ran a frame crew 12yrs back part-time.Cost wise it is easier to build small foundation,multiple floors,face it southeast for good passive solar,always go next step better than code(better resale),bedrooms upstairs to conserve heat.And most of all put a Ag solution in the basement.On a serious note use energystar products to save $$$.Let me know if I can help with particulars,................grease out
        Thanks for the info Greasy, I appreciate it. Ironically, I was thinking of solar power for homes yesterday. I'll have to look into that.

        I hope to use as much energystar equipment as I can...saves money!!

        Keep it coming...
        Greasin & Grinin
        Vegi oil powered since Aug 08
        2006 F-250 PSD - CC, Lariat, 4X4 - Vegistroke converted 1/27/13!!
        2008 F-250 PSD - CC, Lariat, 4X4 - Sold
        2005 F-250 PSD - CC, Lariat, 4X4 - Sold

        Comment


        • #5
          Ideal structure 1)$$$,2)heating/cooling efficientcy,3)ease and speed of build=Salt-box style with a loft,not a conventional loft,more like 25-35% open.This will ease solar with passive heat control.Also add "Solar Room",build it big enough fo a geo-thermo water storage tank,(hot water and radiant heat/cooling)and leave room for a steel 275 tank to pre-heat your oil,Metal roof Is Little $$$ more but helps alot for climate control,and has 35-50 year warranty.Do vinyl siding "Vinyl is final",so make sure you like color,up here it heps with not having to shovel snow away from structure.Down there it would make you house bug proof and 87-93% energy efficient(no air leaks).good luck
          2000 7.3X V3 So much fun,so little time,Support small Oil,burn WVO,Free and greasy down the road I go!!!!!!!!!!completely self sufficient and proud of it. (Wood furnace.....X.......solar pontoon....solarsheat twins this summer.....I don't Know much.......I'm just a hillbilly with too many guns..............

          Comment


          • #6
            Don't over build...the bigger it is, the more you have to heat and cool (and clean) the days of the 3000' home are over according to the real estate news around here...peeps are scaling back to smaller simpler sizes.
            Mine is 1800' plenty big for the 3 of us and even if i had another child. 3 beds, 2 baths, no formal dinning. If i had it to do over, i might add an office but with wireless internet and a laptop, my lazyboy is my office.
            I added a wood pellet stove for heating and it paid for itself very fast. I use no propane in the winter anymore...only wood pellets...cheap, easy to use...i love it. 48,000 btu stove uses about 1 40 lb bag per day and heats the entire house. I spent 400 dollars for pellets last winter to heat for 6 months. If i could just cool it in the summer as cheaply.
            Remember, heating and cooling cost will only get more expensive so look hard into energy saving ideas. A tankless water heater is also a good idea.
            Last edited by Clay; 09-27-2008, 11:09 AM.

            Comment


            • #7
              If you have "good soil" think Geo-thermo,if ledge think radiant.Clay is right spending 5K more now for efficiency could save you 20K in the next 15 years.
              2000 7.3X V3 So much fun,so little time,Support small Oil,burn WVO,Free and greasy down the road I go!!!!!!!!!!completely self sufficient and proud of it. (Wood furnace.....X.......solar pontoon....solarsheat twins this summer.....I don't Know much.......I'm just a hillbilly with too many guns..............

              Comment


              • #8
                Great info guys...keep it coming.

                Clay you've got a good point on the size. Looked at a lot of plans, but haven't made a final choice yet. Probably will go with a basement if at all possible.

                Geo-thermal is an interesting idea...I actually did a project on that in college. Can't tell you much about it now though...haha!
                Greasin & Grinin
                Vegi oil powered since Aug 08
                2006 F-250 PSD - CC, Lariat, 4X4 - Vegistroke converted 1/27/13!!
                2008 F-250 PSD - CC, Lariat, 4X4 - Sold
                2005 F-250 PSD - CC, Lariat, 4X4 - Sold

                Comment


                • #9
                  Marv, You are correct it is a huge undertaking. I am doing an addition right now so I know. While everyone has given you great building and design ideas. Let me add a few things. If you are going to be the hands on builder, what ever your time schedule is add 50%-75% more time there will always be something that will hold you up, weather, inspections, suppliers etc.
                  Now if you are going to be the general contractor, set up a realistic schedule for job, excavating, foundation,framing etc are jobs that can't overlap while rough plumbing, electric heat and roofing foundation waterproofing and backfilling can.
                  Use the best materials you can afford, try not to skimp on hidden things like subflooring, while you may have nice hardwood floors in the end, squeaks usually are from the subfloor if its not glued and screwed.
                  Now as far as using contractors, go see thier work, references are fine but a talk with a prior customer is key. Oh and this is a big one don,t hire family just trust me on this one! I am not saying don't have family help thats different if money is not involved.
                  As far as budgets go, you will get all your numbers together have a completed price and add 15 to 30% as reserve you know for that upgraded low flow golden toilet your wife wants or the driveway you forgot you needed or for the utilities to be run to the house or for the wood deck that you decide should be trex instead. Then there is the nickle and dime costs that add up like the 50 light bulbs you need or the plants in the flowerbeds throw in some grass seed while you pick up the plants. Now I hope your taking this as advice with some humor added, while I am up to my eyeballs with contractors and thier bs, just know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, but be forwarned when you get to that light I will bet you hear this-- Honey this house is so beautiful, but you know our furniture is kinda old and doesnt match anymore lol

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    This is all good advice, especially about being realistic on size, but don't go too small either. It sounds like this is going to be the family homestead and will most likely be passed down instead of sold off on down the line, so going with the best materials you can afford now will greatly pay off in the future.

                    I haven't built my own, but I am trying to undo what the guy that built our current home did! He wasn't a carpenter, electrician, or plumber; but he sure thought he was! Nothing is square level or plumb. If you are going to hire out the bulk of your work be an absolute bastard if it isn't what you expect it to be. A good friend hired out the framing of his house and the contractor put all the window opening 6" too low; so Jon held his feet to the fire and made him redo it all.

                    A last piece of advice, if you're building a garage at the same time, plan that out real well - you know, room for mechainc work, woodshop etc.

                    Finally CONGRATULATIONS AND GOOD LUCK!!!
                    2001 F250 Crew Cab V3 Conversion

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by scooters2 View Post
                      Marv, You are correct it is a huge undertaking. I am doing an addition right now so I know. While everyone has given you great building and design ideas. Let me add a few things. If you are going to be the hands on builder, what ever your time schedule is add 50%-75% more time there will always be something that will hold you up, weather, inspections, suppliers etc.
                      Now if you are going to be the general contractor, set up a realistic schedule for job, excavating, foundation,framing etc are jobs that can't overlap while rough plumbing, electric heat and roofing foundation waterproofing and backfilling can.
                      Use the best materials you can afford, try not to skimp on hidden things like subflooring, while you may have nice hardwood floors in the end, squeaks usually are from the subfloor if its not glued and screwed.
                      Now as far as using contractors, go see thier work, references are fine but a talk with a prior customer is key. Oh and this is a big one don,t hire family just trust me on this one! I am not saying don't have family help thats different if money is not involved.
                      As far as budgets go, you will get all your numbers together have a completed price and add 15 to 30% as reserve you know for that upgraded low flow golden toilet your wife wants or the driveway you forgot you needed or for the utilities to be run to the house or for the wood deck that you decide should be trex instead. Then there is the nickle and dime costs that add up like the 50 light bulbs you need or the plants in the flowerbeds throw in some grass seed while you pick up the plants. Now I hope your taking this as advice with some humor added, while I am up to my eyeballs with contractors and thier bs, just know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, but be forwarned when you get to that light I will bet you hear this-- Honey this house is so beautiful, but you know our furniture is kinda old and doesnt match anymore lol

                      Haha...Scooters, that was spoken truly like a man with first hand experience!!

                      You definitely nailed it on a couple points...great advice. Haven't decided yet if I'll play the general contractor role. I guess I'll have to make the call when the time gets closer. Also depends on how much time I have to dedicate to the project and how long the construction loan allows. Most places I see now are only allowing 6-9 months, so that'll be a major driver in how I setup the construction.

                      Great advice on the $$ reserve and talking with previous customers. Right now, I'm leaning toward a steel frame home. I've done quite a bit of research on this and it's an interesting process. I actually have a company about 45 mins from here that has done a number of steel frame homes in the Southeast. Excalibur Steel is the name...and they've got a number of nice designs with the option to modify them as well. Lots of benefits to this building method - no interior load bearing walls, increased fire and termite protection, etc. Heck even the roof can go on really early in the process allowing work to continue even in poor weather.

                      Here's the site:

                      http://www.excalibursteel.com/

                      As I move forward, I'll plan on talking with them.

                      And I'm sure your right on the furniture comment. I have no doubt my wife will hit me up for that shortly after we get done!!
                      Greasin & Grinin
                      Vegi oil powered since Aug 08
                      2006 F-250 PSD - CC, Lariat, 4X4 - Vegistroke converted 1/27/13!!
                      2008 F-250 PSD - CC, Lariat, 4X4 - Sold
                      2005 F-250 PSD - CC, Lariat, 4X4 - Sold

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by waytallwhitey View Post
                        This is all good advice, especially about being realistic on size, but don't go too small either. It sounds like this is going to be the family homestead and will most likely be passed down instead of sold off on down the line, so going with the best materials you can afford now will greatly pay off in the future.

                        I haven't built my own, but I am trying to undo what the guy that built our current home did! He wasn't a carpenter, electrician, or plumber; but he sure thought he was! Nothing is square level or plumb. If you are going to hire out the bulk of your work be an absolute bastard if it isn't what you expect it to be. A good friend hired out the framing of his house and the contractor put all the window opening 6" too low; so Jon held his feet to the fire and made him redo it all.

                        A last piece of advice, if you're building a garage at the same time, plan that out real well - you know, room for mechainc work, woodshop etc.

                        Finally CONGRATULATIONS AND GOOD LUCK!!!

                        Appreciate the well wishes WayTall...great advice as well. My dad warned me of going to small also. I don't plan on going huge, but I would like room to expand as the years go by.

                        You're also right on the family homestead. The 6 acres is just a start...I'm sure one day the folks will hand it all down. I too was hoping to build with quality materials now that will not only last, but will add value over time as well. Nothing like having equity in your home from the minute it's done being built.

                        I feel your pain on the remodeling. My dad has fought that ever since they bought their house. I work on remodeling jobs with my father-in-law occasionally and it's really a huge pain to go back and try to correct someone else's hack job. Makes it twice as hard to get anything done.

                        And don't worry...the garage is toward the top of the list!!

                        I actually had decided to go conservative on the attached garage and maybe squeeze in a decent size seperate shop. I thought it would be better to go that route than to try and build a huge attached garage.

                        Keep the advice coming!!

                        Thanks!
                        Greasin & Grinin
                        Vegi oil powered since Aug 08
                        2006 F-250 PSD - CC, Lariat, 4X4 - Vegistroke converted 1/27/13!!
                        2008 F-250 PSD - CC, Lariat, 4X4 - Sold
                        2005 F-250 PSD - CC, Lariat, 4X4 - Sold

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          morton buildings well built
                          2000 7.3X V3 So much fun,so little time,Support small Oil,burn WVO,Free and greasy down the road I go!!!!!!!!!!completely self sufficient and proud of it. (Wood furnace.....X.......solar pontoon....solarsheat twins this summer.....I don't Know much.......I'm just a hillbilly with too many guns..............

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Marv,

                            If for some reason you don't go Geo and you have a wood supply and enjoy cutting wood, I would suggest the possibility of an outdoor wood boiler. Put one in about five years ago and love it. No dirt in the house, stacked full it will burn for a full day in the cold of winter in PA and you don't have to split anything (if you can lift it, it will go in the huge dooor and burn up). The unit is completely automatic and keeps my house at whatever temp I want to within one degree. Also heats all my domestic hot water. Although some people keep them burning all summer to heat water, I switch mine off and use a little bit of heating oil for hot water in the summer.

                            While all this is great in terms of money saving, the best satisfaction is knowing the bit of muscle power I use to cut and process wood goes a long way to my energy independence. Love walking out to the field on cold winter mornings and seeing a puff of smoke come out of that thing. - Patrick

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Marv View Post

                              I actually had decided to go conservative on the attached garage and maybe squeeze in a decent size seperate shop. I thought it would be better to go that route than to try and build a huge attached garage.

                              Keep the advice coming!!

                              Thanks!
                              Do both if you can afford it

                              Originally posted by greasyX View Post
                              morton buildings well built
                              Overpriced IMO...i talked to them about building my shop and they were the highest bid i got.
                              Originally posted by lancaster,pa View Post
                              Marv,

                              If for some reason you don't go Geo and you have a wood supply and enjoy cutting wood, I would suggest the possibility of an outdoor wood boiler. Put one in about five years ago and love it. No dirt in the house, stacked full it will burn for a full day in the cold of winter in PA and you don't have to split anything (if you can lift it, it will go in the huge dooor and burn up). The unit is completely automatic and keeps my house at whatever temp I want to within one degree. Also heats all my domestic hot water. Although some people keep them burning all summer to heat water, I switch mine off and use a little bit of heating oil for hot water in the summer.

                              While all this is great in terms of money saving, the best satisfaction is knowing the bit of muscle power I use to cut and process wood goes a long way to my energy independence. Love walking out to the field on cold winter mornings and seeing a puff of smoke come out of that thing. - Patrick
                              A definate good idea right there. The price of wood will always be free if live in the right area and can cut it yourself. Even if you had to buy it, its not too expensive.

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