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Building a new house! Tips for what to have the builder include?

Discussion in 'The Okie Corral' started by bchandler, Feb 19, 2012.

  1. bchandler

    bchandler

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    My first house! I am very excited, and am going with new construction. Since this is my first, and I do not have any experience contracting, I'm hoping some of you who do can help me out with things that need to be included in the slab pouring or framing stage that would be major PITAs later.

    Here's a few things I've thought of or gleaned from the web:

    1) Fan prewires and bracing in every room
    2) extra hose bibs, one on each side and the back
    3) Microwave that vents to the atmosphere instead of those ones that blow the exhaust right back in the kitchen
    4) Plumbing to later install a bar sink on the kitchn island
    5) Plumbing to later install a utility sink in the garage
    6) 220 line in the garage, on its own circuit
    7) Lots of outlets in the garage, on a few circuits in the breaker
    8) Back yard irrigation (house only comes with front and sides standard)
    9) High intensity flourescent lights in garage, on one or two switches (the default garage light is a singe light bulb in the middle, lol)
    10) radiant barrier behind the brickwork
    11) Soffit lights and/or landscaping lights
    12) outlets outside the house
    13) intercom system or in ceiling speakers (for music)

    Anything else I am forgetting? They are giving me tons of credit towards "upgrades", which I am hoping I can get them to write off the price of the house instead (for most of it at least). I'd rather pay better contractors less, for better quality materials and install. Right now I am just worrying about stuff that should be done in pour and framing.

    I'm especially interested to hear about things to do for better energy efficiency.

    Thanks!
     
  2. MDLibertarian

    MDLibertarian NRA Life Member

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    Have the entire house (garage included) wired with Cat 6 ethernet (you may want a couple of ports in your living/family room), phone line, and coaxial cable ports. HDMI ports would also be a good idea wherever you want HD TV hookups. It's much cheaper to have this installed before the sheetrock is installed than to have to run the cables afterward.
     

  3. Nevada Marine

    Nevada Marine

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    Spray in foam insulation instead of fiberglass batts,
    Upgrade appliances to what you want, rather than "Contractor grade" ones normally used
    Extra outlets in the bathrooms
    If you have natural gas, a stub to the patio for a gas grill
    Energy efficient windows, "low e"
    Window and door frames that are not wood, so they can't rot.
    Exterior that is low maintenance
    Exterior walls that are 6" rather than 4" for better insulation.
     
  4. Atlas

    Atlas transmogrifier

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    Floor drains in all rooms where plumbing is installed, especially laundry-room.
    Wiring for a good security-system, whether you currently have plans for such or not.

    Wiring for a video camera + intercom outside all entrance doors.
     
  5. bchandler

    bchandler

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    Thanks, I had heard of using 2x6 instead of 2x4 for the exterior walls for thicker insulation. Do you suggest spray on the walls too, or is this even possible? I will ask them if these are options.

    If they don't give me credit for the default applicances, I will just take them and sell them on craigslist. I also want to make sure they don't include a markup on appliances. If everything is square though I will for sure opt for nice kitchen appliances.

    The drains: great idea! Don't know why I didn't think of this, but there will definitely be one in the garage and the laundry room. Maybe not the garage if it's sloped.

    As for the networking, any reason for this other than future resale value? I'm a member of the "post-cable" generation. I only use netflix and wifi; both are wireless. I'll never have a phone line ;) Would use cellular for the home security system. I am pretty sure coax drops are standard but I will have them include one in each room, and two in the master.
     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2012
  6. davsco

    davsco

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    pretty much what Nevada said above.

    definitely no exposed wood anywhere on the exterior of the house.
    cellulose insulation instead of fiberglass batts. great insulation and very good sound insulation also.
    also sheets of foamboard insulation over the house sheathing to give you a total thermal break.
    consider radiant floor heating vs blown air.
    try to expand the garage if possible. cheapest space in your house and there is never enough space. even a couple of feet wider or longer will allow a lot of storage space or workbench, etc.
    if you will be considering an outside hot tub, stub the utilities for that.
    gas stub to deck for grill.
    make sure they provide a conduit (ie, 2" pvc pipe) from the basement to the attic so you can run add'l cabling up and down as may be needed in the future.
    all external spigots should be frost-free.
     
  7. bchandler

    bchandler

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    By the way, I have heard that I should do flooring myself. I think they want $2100 for the whole house upgrade for better carpet and pad (1650 sq ft), and they do not allow the house to be delivered without carpet for a credit. I want a nice nylon freize carpet and quality pad. Do you folks think I could do my own carpet for cheaper? It's a shame throwing away brand new carpet, but that's what I'd do.

    Was also thinking carpet in bedrooms only, and hardwood or bamboo in the main room. Are wood floors a problem with a non-declawed cat?

    Should I just pay them to upgrade bathroom and kitchen tile? Sounds like it'd be a PITA removing the default tile.
     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2012
  8. bchandler

    bchandler

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    Can you explain this one to me? I know what foamboard is, but where should it be installed?
     
  9. Hef

    Hef Stop Obammunism

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    We always frame the first floor exterior walls in 2x6 for strength and insulation capacity. A wise move would be to study the builder's window and door installation process, as most tend to do it incorrectly. I would also recommend Ice & Water Shield at the valleys on the roof and at any low pitch (4:12 or lower) areas.

    Now is a good time to install blocking and prewire for wall-mounted TV's, and as previously suggested, Cat6 ( or even Cat7) network wiring.
     
  10. DaneA

    DaneA

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    Look up structured wiring for idea on wiring for the future. Also you haven't said if it has a basement? If it is available I would get it and have plumbing stubbed in for finishing. Careful of getting a drain in the garage. Oil down the drain can be an expensive problem from the EPA.


    Outdoor Hub mobile, the outdoor information engine
     
  11. dan1488

    dan1488

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    have all the interior walls insulated, helps with temperature and sound. Also an oversized pantry so you can start prepping. I went with gas for my water heater, stove, furnace, and dryer. I have a 1000 gallon propane tank you never know when the power will go out and for how long, which leads me to have them wire it for a generator backup.
     
  12. davsco

    davsco

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    exterior of the house. so you have your studs, then osb sheathing on the outside, then the foamboard, then siding.

    without that you have your wood framing on the outside conducting cold to your drywall.

    before they install insulation in the walls and attic, get in there and caulk all the seams and around any pipe holes in sheathing or drywall, etc. any place air would seep in from outside or attic.
     
  13. bchandler

    bchandler

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    OK, thanks for the construction tips so far! I am going to be a problem customer for sure ;)

    Unfortunately no basement is available, nor is a 3 car garage option or gas lines. I would have loved the gas for cooking alone.
     
  14. Glockdude1

    Glockdude1 Federal Member CLM

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  15. Hummerbike

    Hummerbike

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    We have lots of termites in New Mexico. One of the largest builders here installs a special type of soaker hose inside the walls around the entire exterior of the house. There is a fitting that allows a termicide to be injected periodically. This makes the house termite safe. Easy to do when framed but before walls are covered.
    If you can't do that at least have someone come in and spray under the foundation before its poured.
     
  16. Wolfgang

    Wolfgang Millennium Member

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    if you have an unlimited budget, GT is the right place for you to get ideas.
     
  17. Hef

    Hef Stop Obammunism

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    Not sure about other places, but standard practice here is to pretreat for termites before the slab is poured.
     
  18. sierrafast

    sierrafast Coleccionista

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    Make sure he pays for the interim construction loan.
     
  19. sierrafast

    sierrafast Coleccionista

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    Same here.
     
  20. Wolfgang

    Wolfgang Millennium Member

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    i learned about that from the other side.