Richard Montgomery: 23 Construction Steps to Build a New Home | Homes & Lifestyle

Dear Monty: We have decided to build a new house. We haven’t seen an existing home that we like enough to own. What are the actual steps in the construction process?

Month: Assuming a full poured concrete basement and a 2,500-square-foot ranch home, with no comment on cost, financing, schedule, or builder variances in the step-by-step order, here are the actual steps.

initial phase

» Locate the home page. Choose from three locations. Click here for tips on choosing a builder.

» Design the house to fit the property. Designing the house first can limit your choice of location.

» Clear the property and dig out the foundation. Make sure your end note directs the flow of water away from the house.

» Pour foundations and basement walls. Precision is a necessary component here. The subsoil must be sufficient to support the weight of the house.

» Insulate the foundation. Insulation lowers energy costs. Include drainage tile and swamp at the base. Water is the eternal enemy.

» Fill up with soil suitable for the location. A poured foundation or a concrete block, depending on the type of soil.

” Public facilities. Connections for sewer and water as well as electricity and natural gas. A rural property requires a drilled well.

intermediate phase

» The wooden sleeper plate bolts the house to its foundation. The studs are driven into the wet concrete as the wall is poured.

» The floor slab is an engineered truss system to support the 250 ton weight of a 2,500 square foot ranch home.

» The sub-floor consists of a half or three-quarter inch thick plywood sheathing that is secured over the truss system and outer base walls.

» 2 by 4 inch studs frame interior walls. The plumbers, electricians and HVAC workers install working components according to the blueprints.

» The roof truss system consists of waterproof sheeting, tar paper and heavy tar and asphalt shingles covering the roof.

» The outer walls are covered with waterproofing foil and then faced with bricks, stones or paneling of different types and colors.

» Windows are built in factories, delivered to the construction site and installed there by the client. The windows complete the protection of the house.

» The insulation is installed between the studs.

» Sheetrock is usually screwed into the studs as it provides a solid connection to permanently secure the heavy material.

» Gypsum in different variants encapsulates the sheetrock.

closing phase

» The painting is complete when the plaster has dried. Now the planning and decor are beginning to show.

» The rough flooring forms the height base for the cabinets, future doors and panels.

» Furniture today is built in a factory and delivered ready for installation. There are many options for style and finishes.

» Finished panels are milled and pre-machined in factories and installed by final carpenters.

» Lighting fixtures and finished floors are the final indoor jobs. Installers want owners to be the first to enter.

» Landscaping is often the crowning glory of construction. Many variables, especially the weather, can affect the planting of grasses, shrubs, and trees.

moving target

Building a home can be a fun and rewarding experience for many. It can also be a nightmare for others. Careful planning, time commitment and solid advisors are key.

— Richard Montgomery is the author of Home Money: An Insider’s Secrets to Saving Thousands When Buying or Selling a Home. He advocates industry reform and offers his readers unbiased real estate advice. Click here to ask him a question on or follow him on Twitter at @dearmonty. Click here for previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

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