There are a few “non-common”, reasonably cheap, and worthy features that you should consider when building a new home.
When you begin planning the design of your new home, there are several extra features that you should really consider. These are not necessary but will add extra strength and protection to your home – further protecting you, your home, and your family. The extra cost is minimal when compared to the cost of a new home, and will be worth the money spent!
Consider These Ideas Before Building a New Home
Whether you are building your home or are hiring a contractor to do the work, consider the following ideas before building. As mentioned above, they will provide extra strength and protection, and will greatly increase the value of your home!
No Vinyl Siding – Go With Brick
Vinyl siding has no strength and no R-value when it comes to insulation. Vinyl siding looks nice when it is new, but it will eventually fade and begin to warp. If a fire was to somehow start in your home, vinyl siding will burn like fuel!
Vinyl siding has no strength to protect your home from storms and if the children accidentally hit it with a baseball (as they commonly do), it will break. It’s expensive and not worth the money invested.
Brick, although has a higher cost than vinyl and many other kinds of siding, will withstand strong winds, and also provides insulation for the home. Brick looks better than vinyl and will also last a lifetime! Unlike vinyl, a brick home has a much higher value.
Heavy Duty Foundation
When it comes to a building, the foundation is the base and strength of the entire home. Whatever the recommendation is for the foundation, double it! If you plan to build your home on a concrete slab, most contractors will recommend its thickness to be four inches. Instead of a four-inch concrete slab, an eight inch, the heavy-duty slab will provide a “crack free” slab that will last forever!
Those who are not planning to use a concrete slab and prefer a wood floor, consider doubling the size and depth of the foundation to set the cinder blocks. A common cinder block is 8″x8″x16″.
Most contractors will recommend a foundation just large enough for the cinder blocks to sit on – and the foundation will only be 4″ to 6″ deep. A 24″ wide and 24″ deep concrete foundation will support the cinder blocks much better than the recommended. Concrete is cheap and doubling the amount used will be reasonably cheap.
If Using Sheetrock
If you plan to use sheetrock in your home (as most do), a contractor will recommend that a ½” thick – standard home sheetrock – be used. Industrial 5/8″ fire resistant sheetrock only costs a few more dollars per sheet!
Fire Resistant sheetrock can resist fire for 30 to 45 minutes and can save your home from total disaster from the fire. Fire Resistant sheetrock is used in nearly all industrial buildings and is used in all firewall applications. Most people do not use fire resistant sheetrock in their homes because they know nothing about it.
Too, when the drywall is installed, have the sheetrock installers add extra screws to the sheetrock. The normal amount of screws used in the sheetrock is sufficient, but why not go ahead and provide a little extra strength at this step? Also, monitor the sheetrock company for scrap.
Sheetrock scrap can be placed inside interior walls (away from plumbing) to provide excellent soundproofing. Some people do not recommend this, but a wall that is solid sheetrock will help eliminate unwanted sound and you will have less scrap to dispose of.
Joist Hangers, Framing Angles, and Hurricane Clips
These are metal clips and brackets designed to strengthen the point where boards connect. While standard nails will hold the wood in place, these metal clips will triple the strength of the connections. Hurricane clips are designed to thoroughly connect the roof boards to the rest of the house.
Most city codes require that these are installed around the outer perimeter of the home, but these are cheap! Install these on every internal wall as well. If you watch homes being destroyed on television, what is the first to go? The roof! Hurricane clips help “hold the roof down” when those winds begin to really pick up.
Add a Little More Insulation
If you have children, they can sometimes (or quite often) be loud. Rarely do people insulate interior walls in their homes, but if you spend a few more dollars to insulate interior walls, you will be glad you did! Insulation makes a great sound barrier and even insulation such as R-11 will provide a very good sound barrier to help eliminate unwanted noise.
Most city codes require that R-30 insulation is installed in attics. Insulating companies will often recommend that “blow in” insulation be used – but reject this. Blow-in insulation is made from recycled components, and no matter what you hear, it will burn! It’s a cheap method for insulation installers but they will charge a high price for this.
Use standard R-30 fiberglass insulation for your attic – it will be worth the money in the long-run. If the budget allows, install a standard R-30 insulation and then install another layer of “unfaced” R-30 insulation on top of the standard R-30. This will give your attic an insulation value of R-60. Initially, it might be a little costly, but it will pay for itself in the long run.
The Electrical Wiring
The standard home will use a 14-gauge wiring system for the common household receptacles. Other than appliances such as electric dryers and electric stoves, the electrician will likely recommend 14-gauge wires. Instead of using 14-gauge wires, use 12-gauge wires in your home.
A 12-gauge will only cost a few more bucks but will assure that your electrical appliances will not cause any wire overheating and will help prevent electrical breakers from triggering.
Storm Windows and Doors
While your home is being built, pick out some storm windows and doors. These two are fairly cheap and will supply resistance against the outside elements and will also help soundproof your home. Many storm windows and doors are available on the market, and if you are on a tight budget, “high-priced” storm doors and windows can be avoided.
Even if you install cheaper storm windows and doors, you will appreciate them on those cold and windy days.
There are many small modifications that can be made to your home that will make it much stronger, efficient, and safe for your family. Most contractors are there to make money and they have plans to build your home as cheap as possible while charging you as much as possible.
If your State or County allows it, be your own contractor. Being your own contractor is easy! Building a home is planned in steps starting at the foundation and normally ending with painting the interior walls and installing furniture. Most people have a general idea of the steps needed to build a home, but if not, a simple Internet search will provide this information.
If you decide to build your own home or be your own contractor, you can make your own decisions as to how you want the home to be built. When it is finished, you will know how well your home is built and have an understanding of the quality of home you have! The family home is one of those things that should last forever while protecting you and your family – and providing a lifetime of comfort and peace.