Building a home can be a very overwhelming process. One way to feel less overwhelmed is to understand the 10 steps of homebuilding. These 10 steps are fairly common throughout the industry but may be labeled differently by your builder. Either way, learning the basics of the 10 steps will help you recognize what work is being completed at your job site. After many of the steps below, a local inspector will review the work to ensure it has been completed to code. Once the 10 steps are completed, you'll be ready to move in to your new home.
Step 1 - Site Preparation and Foundation
To begin building a home, a crew of builders will first prepare your home site. They'll clear the lot, if needed, and prepare the area where your foundation will be poured. Once the ground is properly prepared, the crew will put up forms to hold the concrete while it is poured. They'll also dig trenches for footings which will help support your home and install any plumbing or other items that will run through your foundation. After all the prep work is done, the crew will pour the concrete for your foundation. After the concrete is poured, it will need to cure before moving to the next step.
Step 2 - Framing
Framing will begin after the foundation has cured. Your house will start to look like a home as the structure of your home is assembled. You'll see walls and the roof start to take shape as plywood covers the exterior and roof of your home. The plywood will be covered with a house wrap to protect your home from moisture. At this time, doors and windows may also be installed.
Step 3 - Electrical, HVAC and Rough Plumbing
Once the frame of the home is completed, the builders will continue working on the exterior of your home while beginning work on the systems of the interior of your home. Outside, shingles may be installed. On the interior of your home, expect to see pipes, electrical wires, junction boxes, receptacles, cable TV wiring, HVAC ducting and one piece bathtub units being installed. This is the last time to make any changes to electrical or plumbing, as the next step will make changes very difficult.
Step 4 - Insulation Installation
After everyone signs off on the plumbing, wiring and HVAC in your walls, insulation is installed based on your builders specifications. There are many types of insulation, so talk to your builder to understand what type will be installed in your attic and walls.
Step 5 - Exterior Finishes, Drywall and Interior Finishes
Once all major systems and insulation are in place inside your home, you'll start to see drywall going up. After drywall is hung, builders may apply texturing and the first coat of paint to your drywall. At this time, the exterior may start looking more complete as siding or other exterior finishes, such as stone, begin to be installed.
Step 6 - Interior Trim, Driveways and Other Concrete Paths
The inside really starts to turn in to a home during this step as the doors and decorative trim are installed. Normally, builders may begin installing cabinets in your kitchen and vanities in your bathrooms at this time. You may see painters putting a final coat of paint on the walls, as well. Outside, your driveway and other concrete paths, such as sidewalks, will be poured.
Step 7 - Countertops, Hard Flooring and Exterior Grading
Countertops will be installed in your kitchen and bathrooms during this step. Your hard flooring, such as tile or wood, will be installed, but your carpets won't be installed just yet. On the exterior of your home, builders work on making sure water runs away from, not toward, your house by completing exterior grading.
Step 8 - Bathroom Fixtures and Mechanical Trim
More finishes are completed in this step. You'll see your bathroom fixtures, such as toilets, sinks and faucets, get installed. Electrical work, such as light switches and outlets, will be installed as well. Additionally, your HVAC unit should be hooked up to the ducting in your home.
Step 9 - Shower Glass, Mirrors, Soft Flooring and Landscaping
Breakable items, such as shower door glasses and mirrors, are some of the last items installed to make sure they don't get damaged during construction. Carpeting should also be installed now as all the major construction should be complete. On the outside of your home, final landscaping is being completed to give your home a finished look.
Step 10 - Homeowner Walkthrough Inspection
After the home is complete, the builder will want to walk you through the home. This is your opportunity to make sure everything is up to your expectations and nothing is damaged. Be extremely vigilant and check every surface for damage. After you close on the home, your builder may try to blame you for any damage that you discover after you move in. During this walkthrough, the builder should also explain any builder warranties you may have as well as the details of how you should maintain your home. Listen carefully. If you don't perform the proper maintenance, you may lose out on your warranty coverage.
Remember, the 10 steps of homebuilding listed above may end up happening in a slightly different order when your personal home is being built. Regional differences may cause steps to occur in a slightly different order. Once you close on your home, it's time to move in and start enjoying your new construction home.