Category: Managing Construction


5 Things to Know Before Buying Land to Build a House

Building a custom home is a dream for many, but before construction can commence, you have to purchase the land. Our tips on buying land to build a house can simplify the process and eliminate unwanted surprises.

buying land to build a house

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Buying land to build a house is more complex than it might initially seem. For many, having a home built to their specifications is the culmination of many years of poring over house plan magazines and driving through neighborhoods looking at existing houses for design inspiration.

However, the building process is multifaceted, and the lot or land chosen for construction must meet certain specifications. Whether you long for a rural pastoral view with no neighbors in sight or you’re more interested in choosing a lot on a cul-de-sac, there are things to consider when buying land to build a house. The land you purchase lays the foundation for the entire construction process.

1.  You may need to pay for the land in cash.

Mortgage lenders are less likely to loan money for raw, undeveloped land than for an existing house because there are too many unknowns with raw land. This is especially true for large plots of rural land because it can be cost-prohibitive in many cases to bring electrical power to the site and make provisions for a driveway, potable water, and a suitable sewer system.

The upside is that if you can pay for the land in cash, the lender is more likely to finance the construction of a new house. Suppose you own the land or lot outright (without a loan). In that case, the lender may consider your ownership as a down payment for construction financing, which can later be transferred into a traditional mortgage at the end of the building process.

The exception to this general rule is when you purchase a lot in a residential development where homes are currently under construction because the lender knows the developer has already taken care of the technical details. With a suitable down payment (the amount can vary by lender), you may be able to finance a platted lot and the cost of building a house in a single construction loan that will later roll into a mortgage when the house is move-in ready.

Related: 15 Cheapest Places to Buy Land in America

buying land to build a house

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2. Look for land, but hire a real estate agent before you make an offer.

Part of the fun and excitement of building a new house is finding just the right location, so go ahead and scour the internet for property listings, drive up and down neighborhoods, or look for land that’s coming up for sale at auction. But don’t make an offer or place a bid before you hire a real estate agent that knows the area. If you work with an agent, you’ll have certain protections, such as the ability to get out of the contract if the property isn’t suited for construction.

Suppose you spot a 5-acre tract that looks like a heavenly place to build your rural dream home, and it has a For-Sale-by-Owner sign in front. It’s just the location you’ve been looking for, and you’re anxious to buy it before someone else does. Rather than make an offer, call an agent and ask her about the property. A knowledgeable agent can often tell you whether the land is in a flood plain, whether rural water and electricity are available in that area, and what type of building restrictions are in place.

An agent can also write up an offer that lets you back out if the local building authority does not approve a permit to build a house or if you’re unable to secure financing to build. You’ll end up paying the agent’s commission when the transaction is complete, but it’s worth it not to get stuck with land you can’t build on.

3. Research the value of nearby homes.

Building a home is a major investment, but the value of the house you build can suffer if homes of lesser value surround it. Your house will be worth more if it’s of similar or slightly less value than the nearby houses. If your new home costs $500,000 to build, but the neighbor’s homes are valued closer to $250,000, you may have a tough time selling your home for what it’s worth. On the flip side, if you spend $300,000 to build your house, and nearby homes are valued at over $1,000,000, your house will be more attractive to buyers and bring a better price.

Related: How Much Does a Land Survey Cost?

buying land to build a house

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4. Consider how much land you really need.

If you’re buying a lot within the city limits, odds are the lots will already come with restrictions on the size and type of house you can build. If you’re unsure whether a specific lot is suitable to build your dream home, contact the local zoning authority or homeowners association (HOA), if one exists. They can tell you whether the lot comes with covenants or other restrictions that will impact what you can build.

While the idea of having an oversized lot is appealing to many, consider whether you’ll have the extra time to keep it mowed, landscaped, and watered. This is even more important to consider when buying large parcels of rural land. Mowing a 5-acre lot is time-consuming if you don’t have a riding lawn mower or a tractor mower.

It may be tempting to purchase a large tract of land and then section it off for family members to build nearby, but that may not be possible. County regulations often control the ability to subdivide a property, and they may pose obstacles to your plans.

Related: How Much Does It Cost to Demolish a House?

5. Don’t buy raw land before knowing the potential pitfalls.

You might have found a wonderful spot for your new home, but if local zoning does not allow you to put in a driveway that connects to the main road, the land is virtually worthless as a building site. Discovering potential pitfalls is another area where hiring an agent familiar with the community is essential, but you should also do your own due diligence.

If you’re looking at buying raw land to build a house, drive down the nearby roads. A hog farm less than a mile away can make it difficult to enjoy your property if the wind shifts. If the ground is heavy clay, installing a septic tank and lateral sewer system may not be possible.

Zoning restrictions in some counties will not allow property owners to place a mobile home or a tiny home on the property. Others will not let homeowners do their own construction. Find out as much as possible about the land and the local building and zoning rules before you buy. Even if you’re looking at buying land to build a house later on, your investment won’t be worth much if you discover you can’t build.




6 Important Things to Know if You Have an Attractive Nuisance on Your Property 

Building a custom home is a dream for many, but before construction can commence, you have to purchase the land. Our tips on buying land to build a house can simplify the process and eliminate unwanted surprises.

attractive nuisance

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Swimming pools, playsets, fountains, and other landscaping features can make a yard more enjoyable for you and your family. But these features also may attract uninvited visitors, particularly children in the neighborhood, and can be considered an attractive nuisance.

It may be hard to believe, but you can be held liable for the injuries sustained by others on your property, even if they were trespassing. Continue reading to learn more about what’s considered an attractive nuisance, what you can do to protect children from harm, and how to limit your liability.

Do you have an attractive nuisance on your property?

An attractive nuisance is something on your property that is enticing or attractive to children and poses a threat of harm to a child. It can be a fixed feature like a swimming pool or temporary like a remodeling project, and it can entice children so they feel drawn to enter your property. If an uninvited child is harmed on your property, you may be held liable by the law.

what is an attractive nuisance

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In most courts, only man-made and “maintained” features are considered to be attractive nuisances. When determining whether something is considered an attractive nuisance, many courts assess whether a reasonable person could have foreseen potential harm being caused by the situation and if any steps were taken to mitigate the risk of injuries.

Some common attractive nuisances include:

  • Swimming pools
  • Playground equipment
  • Trampolines
  • Tree houses
  • Fountains
  • Power tools and machinery
  • Ladders and scaffolding
  • Tunnels
  • Wells
  • Stairs and paths
  • Weapons
  • Broken gates

Things that aren’t considered attractive nuisances.

Every aspect of your property that could potentially harm an individual is not considered an attractive nuisance. As mentioned above, attractive nuisance elements are generally defined by a court as something that is man-made and maintained.

Therefore, features of your property that are not man-made or maintained are generally not considered an attractive nuisance by courts. These can include lakes, ponds, hills and cliffs, acorns, tree droppings and other small items that represent a potential choking hazard, and trees that someone could fall out of or bump their head on. As long as working alarms are present, carbon monoxide poisoning and smoke inhalation also are not considered harm from attractive nuisances.

Since courts realize that small children could potentially hurt themselves on nearly anything, things that are commonly understood to be dangerous, even by children, also are typically excluded from being classified as an attractive nuisance. These exclusions can include sharp objects, open pits, open flames, poison, falling from a height, hot water, and walking up to a wild animal or angry animal on the property.

Related: This Vibrant Paint Color on Fences and Trees Isn’t Just for Curb Appeal

Child trespassers are treated differently than adults.

If a child trespasses on your property and becomes injured due to an attractive nuisance, your responsibility will be viewed differently than if an adult was injured. Children receive special care under the law and aren’t considered old enough to necessarily know the risks of their actions. This means that if a child gets injured on your property, you could be the one legally responsible for the injuries.

Each court is different, and the age at which children are old enough to “understand” an attractive nuisance can vary. In most cases, children over the age of 12 are considered old enough to identify potential hazards, but in some cases attractive nuisance cases have been ruled in favor of children up to the age of 17.

attractive nuisance

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Signage helps, but it won’t protect you from liability. 

If you have an attractive nuisance on your property, adding warning or hazard signs may help deter some children from entering the property and becoming injured. However, the presence of such signs will likely not be enough to exculpate you from liability.

Children who may trespass on your property may be too young to read or simply may not see the signs you post. Courts will want to see that you have taken steps to reduce the risk of injury to others. In some cases (but not all), being able to identify the various measures you took to prevent someone from sustaining an injury on your property may be enough for a court to side with you in an attractive nuisance case.

Read up on state and local attractive nuisance laws, and speak with your insurance agent. 

Attractive nuisance and child trespassing laws vary from state to state. If you have an attractive nuisance on your property, one of the first things you should do is check your local attractive nuisance doctrine. This can help you figure out the next steps you should take to protect yourself in the event a child is injured on your property in the future.

Speaking to your insurance agent about your potential attractive nuisance issues is important. While your insurance company won’t help you mitigate the risk of injury, it can make sure your insurance is sufficient to minimize financial loss due to a possible future injury on your property.

Related: 9 Things You Should Know Before Buying a House with a Pool

attractive nuisance

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Take steps to protect children from attractive nuisances on your property.

Once you learn that there is an attractive nuisance on your property, identify steps you can take to minimize harm to a child. Document each measure you put in place since some courts will view this as sufficient evidence to keep you from being held liable.

The exact steps you should take can vary based on the specific feature on your property. Consider installing a locking gate around playground equipment, storing machines and power tools out of sight, inspecting your property for any fall hazards, and fixing anything that isn’t up to code.

If you have a pool on your property, it’s important to put a locking fence around it. Also, consider installing an alarm system around the pool, safely storing any chemicals for the pool out of sight, ensuring water rescue equipment is conveniently located by the pool, and having a first aid kit nearby.

Also, speak with the parents of any children in your neighborhood about the attractive nuisance on your property, and encourage them to discuss staying away from it with their children.


Setback Requirements: 7 Things All Homeowners Should Know

Building a custom home is a dream for many, but before construction can commence, you have to purchase the land. Our tips on buying land to build a house can simplify the process and eliminate unwanted surprises.

setback requirements

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Despite owning the property where you are building, there are many rules and regulations that affect the location, size, height, and even the shape of any structure or building added to the property. One of these restrictions is known as a setback or setback requirement, which gives the town or municipality the ability to dictate the distance from the property line that a home can be built.

These requirements also impact the placement of any accessory structures, like a shed, detached garage, or workshop. However, the exact property setback can depend on the shape of the building, the shape of the lot, the type of structure, and several other factors that are detailed below.

Related: Trees and Property Lines: 8 Things All Neighbors Should Know

1. Setback requirements influence the development of neighborhoods.

While the word ‘setback’ generally makes people think about an event that has halted progress towards a goal, the term is used differently when referring to properties. Instead, a setback or setback requirement for a property refers to the distance that the house or structure must be from the front, sides, and back of the property line.

This building restriction is intended to help ensure home security, privacy, a uniform appearance, and environmental protection, though the placement also allows public utilities to access plumbing, gas, electrical, or internet lines that may be running through the yard. However, the setback for residential buildings is often very different for commercial, industrial, or institutional structures, depending on the zoning laws in the area.

2. Setback requirements for main buildings are different from setbacks for detached accessory structures.

The setback requirements that are in place for the main house or an attached garage may be different than the restrictions imposed on accessory structures, like a detached garage, shed, or workshop. While the exact setback line differs from property to property and even from town to town, these restrictions help to protect your property and your neighbors’ properties from potential problems, like an oversize building that encroaches on the property line or exceeds a reasonable height for the neighborhood.

However, accessory structures are rarely built to the same size as the main home on the property, so they can fall under a different setback from the property line because there is little concern that a utility shed will be built large enough to completely prevent direct sunlight from reaching the neighbor’s windows or cause damage to an existing ecosystem. Always check the local regulations with the municipality or town permit office to be certain.

setback requirements

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3. Special rules may apply when measuring setbacks for irregularly shaped lots.

Measuring the front, back, and side yard setback requirements isn’t difficult with a rectangular- or square-shaped property. Simply measure a perpendicular line from the edge of the property to the border of the setback area. Repeat this process on each side of the property to find the exact area where you can build. However, not all properties have neat, rectangular or square shapes.

Irregularly shaped lots need to be measured differently, but the methods for establishing the setback requirements for an irregularly shaped property can vary from town to town, so it’s important to verify the exact information with the permit office. For instance, the rear setback line for these properties can be based on the average lot depth, while the front yard can have a rounded or irregularly shaped setback line that matches the shape of the property line, but this isn’t a consistent method for all towns and municipalities.

4. Structure height also factors into setback requirements.

One of the main reasons for imposing specific setback requirements on a lot is to help prevent the disruption of natural lighting, clear ventilation, and increase sound insulation. By limiting the size of the building on the property, the town or municipality can ensure that neighboring buildings have adequate access to sunlight, fresh air, and a relatively private place to live, instead of always having to overhear the neighbors fighting.

Height plays a big role in establishing setback requirements because a taller building will block out more sunlight from surrounding homes and it will typically have a broader base to increase the balance of the building and provide better support during storms and high winds. Tall structures are imposing and out of place in most residential neighborhoods, so if you plan to add to an existing building or you are in the planning stages for a new building, keep in mind that setbacks can also restrict the height of the structure.

setback requirements

Photo: istockphoto.com

5. Some properties may be eligible for setback variances.

Setbacks are not set in stone, so if there is an outstanding situation, like a river, pond, or other obstruction that may impact your ability to use the property in a similar way as your neighbors, it’s possible to apply for a setback variance.

A variance must be approved by the local government zoning board and is typically given if the condition that is negatively affecting your ability to build is generally unique to your property. However, if the majority of the properties in the neighborhood share a similar issue, then it’s likely that the government zoning board will not approve a variance.

Related: 6 Things to Know Before Installing a Lean-To Shed at Home

6. Within reason, most municipalities will allow attached building features to extend outside of setback requirements.

The laws and regulations around setbacks are intended to benefit the community as a whole, so while they can be strict about certain things, like the height of a building or the placement of a home, there are some features that may be allowed, despite falling outside of the setback requirements.

Fire escapes, chimneys, balconies, decks, a front residential fence, porch, or backyard fence are all building features that most municipalities or towns will allow, within reason. Keep in mind that if the addition negatively impacts the neighborhood then you may be forced to remove it, so take the time to ensure that the plan is sound before spending the time and money to build a new balcony, porch, or fence.

setback requirements

Photo: istockphoto.com

7. If setback requirements aren’t met, homeowners can be forced to make expensive alterations to structures on their property.

If property setback requirements are not followed, it can cause significant problems. There could be the forced removal of the building or an expensive alteration to the structure to ensure that it complies with the restrictions imposed by the setback requirements. In some cases, homeowners can apply for setback variances in order to obtain permission to work outside of the property setback requirements. However, this is not a guarantee.

It’s best to contact the permit office to discuss your potential plans and get a permit for the work to show that the structure is being built according to local laws and regulations. Without a permit, there is the chance that the project may be interrupted or that the local government will force you to make alterations to the structure.


Before & After: A Drab Concrete Patio Becomes a Chic Outdoor Living Space

Building a custom home is a dream for many, but before construction can commence, you have to purchase the land. Our tips on buying land to build a house can simplify the process and eliminate unwanted surprises.

Photos: Tony Carrick

Like many homes built on a slab foundation, ours has a standard concrete patio that extends from the back of the house. While this spartan patio was perfectly functional, providing a stout place to set up an outdoor sofa, dining set, and barbecue, it wasn’t adding much in the way of aesthetics to our outdoor space.

Although our backyard patio was perfectly serviceable, we longed for a more visually interesting space for outdoor living. Our first attempt at beautifying the cold patio, which involved the addition of an “outdoor” burlap rug, was a failure. For a while, the rug added interest and warmth to the patio, but it ultimately succumbed to the elements. After a year, it was ragged, stained, worn, and ready for the trash bin.

We determined that transforming our patio into the backyard living space of our dreams would require a bigger effort. Although we knew it wouldn’t be easy, we decided that installing tile on the patio was the only solution.

Selecting a Durable and Functional Outdoor Tile

As much as we wanted a tile that would enhance the aesthetics of the patio, that tile also needed to be durable. It had to be strong enough to stand up to rain, snow, hot summers, and cold winters as well as our large gas grill and heavy outdoor furniture. Ordinary kitchen or bathroom tile wasn’t going to cut it.

We knew that the tile would get wet frequently because it’s outside, so it was also important to us that it be slip-resistant to prevent falls. We opted for an outdoor porcelain tile, a durable ceramic tile with a textured, matte surface that isn’t as slick as your run-of-the-mill bathroom tile.

Photo: Tony Carrick

A Patio That Complements Our Home’s Exterior

The whole reason we were embarking on this project in the first place was to improve the look of the patio, so aesthetics were vital. We opted for a gray tile with a faux wood pattern, complete with a textured wood grain that featured irregular knots for authenticity. The tile complemented the gray of our house’s exterior while meshing nicely with the earth tones of our outdoor furniture.

At 6 inches by 18 inches, the tile is long and narrow, accentuating the wood grain pattern. We didn’t want the grout lines to draw a lot of attention, so we went with a light gray color that blended in with the tile.

Prepping the Space

The nice thing about tiling a concrete slab patio is that much of the prep work is already done for you. There’s no old flooring to remove or subfloor to add, and the tile can be installed right on top of the concrete slab.

Because I had installed tile in a bathroom during a renovation a few years back, I knew that the first row would dictate how the tile would look when it reached the outer edge of the patio. To achieve a professional-looking installation, it was crucial to make sure the edge of the tile sat square to the outer edge of the patio.

I also didn’t want to have a skinny strip of tile running along the patio’s edge, which would be both odd-looking and structurally weak. To avoid these pitfalls, I mapped out each row, marking a line on the pavement where each row would start. While making these measurements, I accounted for 1/4-inch gaps between each tile for grout.

Photo: Tony Carrick

Essential Equipment

While a wet tile saw was the most critical piece of equipment I needed for this job, a few other essentials made this laborious project a little easier. One was a set of thick knee pads. Tiling is physically demanding work. You end up spending long hours on your hands and knees, spreading mortar and laying tile. The knee pads made that bearable and ensured that I could still walk at the end of the day! Laying tile also involves mixing a lot of concrete. While it’s possible to do this with a hoe, a spiral mixer attachment for my power drill sped up the mixing process, saving my back and arms while producing lump-free mortar.

Mixing the Concrete

One of the most critical parts of laying tile is getting the right consistency for the concrete. I used thinset, which is a type of mortar explicitly designed for tile. It’s smoother, thinner, and easier to work with than standard mortar.

There was, however, a bit of a learning curve with using thinset. I realized that once mixed, thinset begins to dry pretty quickly, especially in midsummer heat. While the manufacturer lists a working time of 90 minutes, I found that the mortar was too dry to work with after about an hour.

With that in mind, instead of mixing a whole or even half of a 40-pound bag, I mixed the concrete in smaller batches in a bucket, using about 10 pounds of dry concrete mix at a time. This strategy allowed me to use up all of the concrete before it became too dry.

Photo: Tony Carrick

Like Laying Railroad Tracks

We wanted the tiles to have a staggered look that mimicked a plank hardwood floor. So, instead of lining up the tiles evenly, I started each row with alternating full and half tiles, cut with the tile saw.

Once I established the first row, laying the tile became a mostly repetitive process of spreading concrete on sections of the patio with a trowel, then placing tiles with plastic 1/4-inch spacers. Before starting each row, I used a tape measure to make sure I was keeping parallel with the outer edge of the patio.

Photo: Tony Carrick

Grout Blunder

After giving the mortar a full day to dry, I began to grout the tile. Here’s where I made a big mistake. Grout sets in about 30 minutes, after which one must wipe the tile clean with a wet sponge.

Anxious to finish what had already become a monster job, I waited until I had spread all of the grout before wiping any of the tiles clean. The delay gave the grout enough time to dry on the tile surface, leaving a haze and dried bits of mortar. This error forced me to scrub each tile clean with a brush, turning what should have been an easy task into a much harder, more time-consuming one.

The Finished Product

Although tiling the patio turned out to be one of the more laborious DIY projects I’ve undertaken, the finished results were worth it. So far, the tile has held up well to both cold and hot temperatures as well as the wear and tear of a gas grill, heavy furniture, and regular foot traffic.

No longer merely a drab concrete slab, our patio now sports a finished look that serves as the perfect backdrop for our patio furniture, barbecue, and potted plants.

Photo: Tony Carrick


What Is a Contractor? All You Need To Know About What Contractors Can Do

Building a custom home is a dream for many, but before construction can commence, you have to purchase the land. Our tips on buying land to build a house can simplify the process and eliminate unwanted surprises.

What is a Contractor

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A: In the construction business, a contractor is a person or organization who is hired by a client to complete an element or elements of a building project. There are several types of contractors with various roles and responsibilities, so the type of contractor hired will depend on the nature of the job. Typically speaking, however, the term “contractor” will refer to either a general contractor or a subcontractor.

Looking to hire a professional contractor for an upcoming home improvement project? Learn all about what a contractor is, the different types of contractors, and how they contribute to the home renovation process.

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A general contractor is a person who supervises and coordinates the aspects of a construction project.

What is a Contractor Supervisor

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A general contractor (or GC) is hired by a client to take a set of plans and ensure the building project is completed on a timeline. They coordinate and supervise workers and their tasks, order materials, and handle the paperwork and billing processes. The GC makes a profit by marking up labor and materials costs by a percentage (usually between 10 to 30 percent). This contract stipulation is also known as a cost-plus contract.

Some handy homeowners may consider being their own general contractor. While this can be an effective means of saving money and ensuring that the project meets expectations, it’s also crucial for homeowners to consider whether they have the time, money, management skills, and home renovation expertise to take on this task. Acting as one’s own GC also requires a person to have their own builder’s risk or file policy (at minimum, during the building phase) in the event that something goes wrong.

A contractor will make your home reno go smoothly
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There are different types of contractors including construction managers, design-build contractors, and prime contractors.

While most contractors fall under the category of general contractor, there are several different types of contractors, including construction managers, design-build contractors, and prime contractors.

A construction manager is typically hired to help during the design process, helping the team develop the project and even initiate the construction phase. Conversely, a design-build contractor stays with a project from start to finish. They are in charge of both designing the project and managing its development, and in some cases may even help with the physical construction or maintenance.

A prime contractor is a broad category that refers to the relationship between a contractor and their clients. Prime contractors and their clients develop long-term commitments that may include future or ongoing projects. This is often seen in large-scale clients, such as organizations that frequently need construction work.

What is a Contractor Hire Subcontractors

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Contractors will hire subcontractors, who offer specific skill sets.

While some general contractors will tackle parts of the building process, they will generally hire subcontractors to complete specific parts of the project. GCs often have long-standing relationships with subcontractors who possess specific skill sets, allowing them access to specialized expertise for even the most niche of project requirements.

Subcontractors tend to focus their work in a single area such as plumbing, electrical work, HVAC, and tiling or flooring. These subcontractors may be self-employed or they may work under a subcontracting business. Homeowners will likely have little to no interaction with subcontractors, as they are hired, managed, and paid per project by the general contractor.

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Contractors ensure quality and compliance on home renovation work.

A contractor will ensure quality and compliance through all stages of the home renovation process—perhaps the most important aspect of the job. If anything goes wrong or does not meet requirements, it is the contractor’s job to correct the problem and cover any associated costs.

When a general contractor obtains building permits, they are filing under their business name. This holds them accountable for following any required building codes, as well as paying any fines if these codes are not followed. In addition to maintaining legal compliance, a GC will also ensure that the conditions for product or material warranties are met. For example, it is common for roofs and windows to have warranties that are only valid if the work is performed by a qualified and certified professional.

What is a Contractor Liability Insurance

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Contractors should carry liability insurance to protect homeowners from damage and on-site injuries.

In the event that something goes wrong in the building process, such as property damage or on-site injuries, the contractor should carry liability insurance. In many states, contractors are legally required to purchase this insurance in order to obtain a business license.

A contractor typically will carry general liability insurance, also known as commercial general liability (CGL) insurance, to cover third-party property damage and customer injury. A general contractor may also carry a separate worker’s compensation policy, which relieves homeowners from liability for any injuries sustained to employees on the job site.

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Look into hiring a general contractor when you will need multiple subcontractors, are dealing with municipal building codes, or a project will take an extended period of time.

Before tackling a home improvement project, it’s worth considering what type of professional is best for the job. In some cases, especially with large-scale or complex projects, a general contractor is necessary. Other times, a specific subcontractor or even a skilled general handyman can tackle the task.

If the intended project requires multiple subcontractors, will take an extended period of time, or requires dealing with municipal building codes, look into hiring a general contractor. The GC has the time, resources and skill set necessary to successfully manage all aspects of the renovation from start to finish. Conversely, if the project only requires one or two subcontractors, will only take a short time, or does not have municipal building code requirements, a client may be able to oversee (or even complete) the project themselves.

Generally speaking, it is advised for homeowners to only tackle renovation projects they can do skillfully and confidently. Otherwise, it’s best to hire a professional for their insight and expertise.


Solved! How Long Does It Take To Build A House?

Building a custom home is a dream for many, but before construction can commence, you have to purchase the land. Our tips on buying land to build a house can simplify the process and eliminate unwanted surprises.

How Long Does It Take To Build A House

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Q: I am interested in building a home and want to make sure I allow enough time. How long does it take to build a house, and what steps will I need to take?

A: Building a house from the ground up can offer endless possibilities for design and lifestyle fit. While purchasing a house that’s already on the market is often easier and less time-consuming, future and prospective homeowners may be wondering how long does it take to build a house to suit their needs. In addition to considering the cost of building a house, buyers must also go into the process understanding how much time they need to set aside for the project.

Interested in learning how to build your own house? Here’s everything homeowners should know about the process, including how long it will take and which factors can impact the timeline.

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On average, it takes seven months to build a house.

How Long Does It Take To Build A House Seven Months On Average

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The physical building process—from start to finish—takes about seven months. The length of time will depend on the home’s size and whether the home is prefabricated or fully customized. Construction typically begins within one month of obtaining permits, particularly when working with a professional like a contractor.

Note that seven months does not include any of the pre-building steps. Homeowners should also factor in the length of time to assemble a team, find a building site, design the home and floor plan, and obtain permits and loan approval. Some of these steps can be bypassed or shortened—for example, working with a general contractor can speed up the team-assembly process, while having a designated building site can cut down on property-scouting time. All in all, homeowners should be prepared to set aside a full year for the process to allow for these additional factors.

Owner-built homes take closer to 12 months to build.

Handy homeowners may consider taking on some (or all) of the construction process by themselves. However, this is only recommended for those who have the time, experience, and skills to devote to the project. On average, owner-built homes take approximately 12 months to build.

Building a home often takes longer than expected, even for seasoned professionals who can devote their full workday to the job. This effect is amplified when the person who owns the house is building it, as they may not have as much experience, access to resources, or even time during typical working hours. Generally speaking, it is not recommended for homeowners to take the DIY house building route unless they possess the necessary skills and can set aside enough time to do it properly.

How Long Does It Take To Build A House Prefab Homes Take Less Time

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Prefab homes take slightly less time to build—about six months.

Prefabricated houses can help homeowners to move into a house quickly while cutting down on construction time. Because their structural pieces are pre-built in sections to be assembly-ready, such as in a modular home, the construction piece of a prefab home can be completed in about six months on average.

Of course, even prefab homes must also undergo the appropriate permit process and steps to select and prepare the land. Therefore, homeowners should allot extra time for this process.

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Custom-built houses take the longest to build.

Another factor that impacts how long it takes to build a home is whether the house is built for sale or entirely from scratch. Assuming there are no delays due to weather or other variables, personalized production or built-for-sale homes can typically be completed in three to four months. This is because the designed floor plans have been built many times before, allowing the project to pass approval and parts to be ordered in a timely fashion. While the homeowner may customize specific home components, many of the large-scale decisions will already be built into the plan.

Conversely, houses that are fully custom-built take the longest time to build. The actual construction process can take up to a year or longer, depending on the size and scope of the project. This also does not account for any pre-construction steps, which can tack on additional months or even a whole year to the process. Additionally, when every component is hand-selected by the homeowner, further research, planning, and time will be necessary.

How Long Does It Take To Build A House Phases of Construction

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Different phases of construction will take different amounts of time.

While no two jobs are exactly the same, most home building projects will have a similar construction schedule. Each step of the process will take different lengths of time, not including any downtime or periods where work is on hold. This also includes the pre-building stages. Before starting any construction, the surveyor will need a half-day to stake the foundation location. Excavation and any necessary clearing and tree removal take one to two days as well.

Once the land is cleared, exterior work can begin. Footing and foundation require two to three weeks of work, with framing necessitating an additional one to three weeks. Set aside another one to two weeks for roofing and chimney installation. After this, expect another two to four weeks for exterior work like windows and siding, with one to two overlapping weeks for electrical and plumbing.

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On the interior, walls and ceilings take approximately two weeks, with interior finish work requiring anywhere between two to eight weeks to complete. After all of this, finishing up the punch list and final inspection will add another week to the process.

Multiple factors can impact a timeline, including weather, the contractor’s skills, how fast decisions are made, and local building department’s schedule.

It’s critical to keep in mind that the above durations are estimated timelines, assuming everything in the process moves smoothly. Several factors can impact the timeline of building a house—only some of which can be controlled.

Weather is one of the most significant determining factors of build time, as extreme temperatures and excess precipitation can delay external construction. Local building department schedules and timelines and the ability to obtain labor and necessary supplies can also impact how quickly a house can be built.

One factor that can be controlled in the timeline for building a house is the planning and decision-making process. Each step of the process builds upon the other, so homeowners must plan out as much as possible ahead of time and minimize last-minute changes. If a change needs to be made, it’s best to address this as early as possible and have contingency plans in place. Without contingencies or backup plans, homeowners will face delays in obtaining new materials and restructuring the building plan.


How Much Does a Home Addition Cost to Build?

Building a custom home is a dream for many, but before construction can commence, you have to purchase the land. Our tips on buying land to build a house can simplify the process and eliminate unwanted surprises.

Home Addition Cost

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  • Typical Range: $20,835 to $72,552
  • National Average: $46,498

Ready to add some space to your house? Home additions are a popular way to maximize an existing property by adding new rooms to the floor plan. You could build another bathroom, bedroom, living space, garage, or even an entire apartment. Each kind of room comes with its own complexity, so home addition costs have a wide range of prices: $20,835 to $72,552, or an average of $46,498. The total price depends on the kind of space you’re adding, the size, complexity, materials, and labor. Home additions make a great investment in your home, and you can often expect a significant return on your investment. If you’re committed to adding on to your house, but you’re wondering about home addition costs, then read on for the cost of home additions—and how to save money.

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Factors in Calculating Home Addition Cost

Home Addition Cost Factors in Calculating the Cost

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Home additions typically cost more than a single-room remodel or renovation since there are more factors to consider, particularly if you’re adding more than a single room’s worth of space. If you add space on the ground floor, contractors will need to add a new foundation plus all the standard building materials from wood to shingles. While some additions can be a simple add-on to the back of the house, others are much more complex and require an architect to ensure the existing home doesn’t lose structural integrity. Knowing the location and style of addition you want to add will help guide the first steps of the budgeting process.

Size and Scope of the Home Addition

As is typical for any construction project, much of the cost is determined by the total size. The bigger the space, the higher the price. According to HomeAdvisor, home additions cost $80 to $200 per square foot. Adding a spare room is a common project, and the average cost ranges from $32,000 to $80,000 for a 20-foot by 20-foot room, with the higher end including more customization or luxury fixtures.

Labor and Permits

There’s no way around most labor costs on a large project like a home addition. They tend to make up 30 to 50 percent of the total price. You’ll be paying for skilled laborers like electricians, roofers, siding contractors, drywallers, and painters, depending on the type of space being built. Additionally, home additions are significant projects that require building permits from local authorities. Obtaining a permit will be the first step a general contractor takes to make sure the project can proceed as planned. Expect to pay between $400 and $1,850 for permits.

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Materials

The range of materials used for home construction is vast: concrete, wood framing, drywall, paint, electrical wiring, ductwork, roofing materials, plumbing, and more. Beyond these basic materials, include any customizations and accents like flooring, exposed beams, lighting, fixtures, windows, and doors into your budget. The cost to build a garage will also be different since you may need fewer common materials for an unfinished garage but then have to include a big-ticket item like an automatic garage door. Each material comes with an associated cost that is based on current market prices for the region.

Geographic Location

Home construction costs vary from state to state and city to city. Homes with the same square footage could have a valuation discrepancy of millions of dollars in some coastal urban areas compared to others cities farther inland. Home addition costs will be reflected by the home’s current valuation and the cost of labor and materials in the region. A booming construction market tends to push prices higher, too.

Building Up vs. Building Out

There are two directions you can build when adding onto a house: up or out. Building up tends to be less expensive and could be your only option on a smaller property. If you have an existing garage, building on top of it is more economical since the foundation is typically built to withstand more weight. Building out is often more expensive since a new foundation will need to be laid, and there may be structural issues to address to make sure the roofline and walls remain strong with the new addition. Talk with your contractor about which option works best for the property and budget.

Site Preparation, Excavation, Demolition

No matter where you build the add-on, the contractor has to prepare the site for new construction. This could include demolishing part of the roof or house, landscaping, or concrete that’s already on the ground. It costs $1,276 to $5,024 to prepare a site for new construction.

Architectural Services

If you’re wondering, “How much does it cost to build a garage?” then be sure to also factor in an architect’s services. Adding a significant structure to your house should look intentional and match the current style and design to maximize ROI (return on investment) and curb appeal. For $2,020 to $8,400, an architect can draft an updated blueprint that includes all structural considerations and the aesthetics of the home addition. Permit approval will also require these blueprints.

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Contractor Services

Hiring a general contractor may seem daunting and expensive, but the peace of mind knowing they are capable of handling a complex project is worth it. General contractors usually cost $150 per hour, and their total cost can add up to approximately 10 to 30 percent of the final bill. General contractors will obtain permits, hire and coordinate subcontractors, purchase materials, and ensure the job proceeds on schedule.

Cleanup

Home additions generate quite a mess despite efforts to minimize the dirt and debris. As part of the construction process, the contractor should include time and effort for cleaning up the project. This should consist of hauling away any debris or extra materials and cleaning up dirt, dust, and debris from the floors, walls, counters, and windows. It usually costs $550 for a post-construction cleanup.

Home Addition Cost Additional Costs

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Additional Costs and Considerations

Most of the additional costs for home additions are made up of essential materials. The difference in total price will be based on how much of each material is required for the size of the addition, as well as the quality of the material.

Foundation Materials and Installation

Adding a foundation for a home addition is a critical first step that can’t be skipped if building out. On average, the materials will cost $400 to $700 for 100 square feet, but the installation will cost $4,000 to $12,000. Much of these costs will be based on the size of the foundation. To find out how much it is to build a garage, talk with a garage contractor to find out if you’ll need to reinforce the concrete or build it thicker for your vehicles.

Roof Framing and Materials

A waterproof roof makes for a livable space that protects from the weather, so don’t skimp on these materials. Roof framing costs $700 to $900, and roof materials cost $500 to $5,000 for 100 square feet. You’ll want to use the same material as your existing roof, with the closest color match possible. Adding shingles will cost between $80 to $100 per square foot, but steel roofing costs between $75 and $350 per square (10 feet by 10 feet).

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Siding and Trim

Many homes use vinyl siding to complete their exterior with a uniform look, so if your house has siding, you’ll need to budget for adding siding to the new construction. Vinyl siding averages $4 per square foot, and the trim costs $2 to $5 per square foot.

Drywall Ceiling and Walls

While in some climates you could install an unfinished garage without drywall, every other home addition will require drywall to cover up the insulation and electrical wiring and create the dividing walls between other rooms. To drywall 100 square feet, expect to pay $400 to $600. It costs about $1 to $3 per square foot to install drywall on the ceiling and walls.

Insulation

Any structure considered a habitable space (not a garage) is required to have insulation. The type and thickness requirements are based on local building codes that a contractor will know. It costs $2 per square foot to install insulation. Adding more or thicker insulation will cost more, and using blow-in insulation typically costs at least $2.88 per square foot.

Doors and Windows

Adding natural light is a common preference when adding to a house—but it comes at a cost. Windows are a fast way to increase the cost of an addition, whether by their size or number. At a minimum, it costs $235 to install a window, but you could spend up to $2,500 for a customized window. Doors typically cost $1,000 to install, but hollow interior doors are less expensive than heavy exterior doors or glass doors. In both cases, adding a heavy frame or molding will add cost as well.

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Electrical

Electrical wiring is essential for all home additions to make sure you have light and power for all those electronics. An electrician can wire the room to spec for a rate of $40 to $100 per hour. They’ll make sure the house is built to code to pass inspection when the construction is complete.

Flooring

Whether you’re considering the cost to add a bathroom or a bedroom, you’ll need to decide on the type of flooring you want to install. Linoleum and vinyl are the least expensive options, but you could also choose tile, carpet, or hardwood floors. The price ranges widely from $3 to $20 per square foot, so choose the option that fits your budget.

Plumbing

You might not need to install plumbing if you’re only adding on a bedroom or office; however, bathrooms, kitchens, and in-law apartments will need some plumbing installed to be fully functional. Plumbers typically charge $45 to $200 per hour to install plumbing and fixtures for a bathroom or kitchen.

HVAC

Adding an HVAC system (or extension from an existing system) is necessary for habitable spaces. A garage may not need heating and air conditioning, but a bedroom will. Expect to pay around $1,150 to install new ductwork and vents for an add-on, but that price will increase if you need to add a new zone to the system to accommodate a significant addition.

Landscaping

After the construction is done, you’ll need to turn your attention to the landscaping around the addition. Heavy equipment may have damaged more of the grass than expected, so consider replacing it with new sod to freshen up the space. Otherwise, factor in the cost to update the new area to match the existing landscaping with bushes, trees, or other features. Landscaping a new area could cost between $500 and $2,500.

Home Addition Cost Types of Home Additions

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Home Addition Cost: Types of Home Additions

Choosing to add on to a house doesn’t have to be limited to a garage or bathroom. If your budget allows, you could expand the home’s footprint with functional and emotionally satisfying spaces ranging from bedrooms to sunrooms to family rooms. These less common options are completely doable and often solve the problem some homeowners have when they cannot find a new, larger house in their desired neighborhood. If you have the space, talk with a contractor about the associated costs of adding on any of the following types of additions.

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Room Addition

Most homeowners are looking to add an extra one or two rooms to their house. This can be done on the ground level or the second floor. Room addition costs mainly depend on the kind of room being installed.

  • Bedroom: A 10-foot by 12-foot bedroom costs $9,600 to $24,000 to build or an average of $80 to $200 per square foot. It costs less than a room that requires plumbing, but you’ll still need to add HVAC ductwork and finish work.
  • Bathroom: Bathrooms can quickly surpass a budget if you have visions of a spacious, spa-like interior. High-end fixtures are the fastest way to increase the cost of a bathroom. You’ll pay between $20,000 and $90,000 to build a new bathroom, but consult with a contractor to determine how much does it cost to add a bathroom for your specific space.
  • Sunroom: In sunny regions, adding a sunroom is a popular option that adds style and helps blend indoors and outdoors. You could build an all-glass or partial-glass sunroom, so the costs range from $25,000 to $80,000. Sunrooms typically don’t include any heating, so you’ll save on HVAC costs. Alternatively, you could purchase a prefabricated sunroom for $11,000.
  • Four-season room: If having a sunroom all year makes you excited, then plan to budget for a sunroom that includes heat during the colder months. This feature will push the price to the higher end of the $25,000 to $80,000 spectrum, with an average of $300 per square foot in some cases.
  • Family room: Creating a larger space for friends and family to gather is increasingly popular. When an outdoor deck isn’t an option due to frequent bad weather, opt to build a new or expanded family room. An 18-foot by 12-foot expansion will cost $17,300 to $43,200, with the higher end including custom built-in cabinets or high-end flooring.
  • Kitchen: If your kitchen is too cramped, then adding more space can be helpful. Due to the complexity of the plumbing and electrical requirements, kitchen additions are more costly: $48,000 to $95,000 for 200 square feet.
  • Laundry room: Design inspirations have made adding a laundry room a top option for home additions in recent years. You could add a new, stylish, functional laundry room for $5,000 to $7,000 for a space that helps you enjoy this chore.
  • Home theater: For cinephiles, adding a home theater might top the wish list. This type of room typically goes in a basement, but extra soundproofing measures will be taken for an additional cost if it needs to be added on the ground level. Obtain a quote to know where your project would fall within the $20,000 to $70,000 range.

Adding a Second Story

When a homeowner decides to add a second story, it’s usually to add more than a single room—adding just a single room on top of a house would look odd. Adding a second story costs $100 to $300 per square foot but could run up to $500 for complex jobs that require more shoring up of the original house. It’s common for second-floor additions to cost $150,000 to $200,000 for an additional 1,000 square feet of space.

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Home Extension Costs

In some cases, you may only need to do a home extension to get the extra space you need. These jobs range from garages and balconies to in-law suites and mudrooms.

  • Garage: If it’s time to protect your cars or add more storage for outdoor equipment, you can expect to pay $23,900 or $49 per square foot for a 2-car garage. An enclosed garage will significantly increase your home value. Adding a detached garage without heating or air costs around $9,000 to $12,000.
  • In-law suite: An in-law suite could range from a simple bedroom to a fully functioning studio apartment–style suite, depending on local building codes. The simple bedroom option costs $44,000, but a detached, fully independent, plumbed suite costs at least $100,000.
  • Front porch: Porch options run from simple step expansions to full wrap-around verandas. Once you decide on the purpose of the porch, whether it’s functional or for entertainment, you can estimate the costs between $12,000 and $30,000.
  • Modular addition: If you own a modular home, be aware that adding on is not always possible if the foundation can’t support it. But it’s possible to have a room addition prefabricated and added for a cost of $20,000 to $30,000. Speak with a contractor to learn which option is feasible for you.
  • Bump-out: A bump-out is a small extension of an existing room. The cost depends on the house’s existing structure and materials, but the average cost is $4,000 to $9,000.
  • Mudroom: A coat closet at the front door doesn’t seem to do the trick for larger families, so you might want to add a mudroom extension. For 36 extra square feet, you could pay $3,600 to $7,200 for a small room with closets, a door, and easy-to-clean flooring.
  • Cantilever: If you’re adding a second floor to your house and want a larger footprint, you may need to cantilever the upper floor. This extends the upper footprint beyond the lower footprint by adding proper joists or even shoring it up with beams on the exterior. A cantilever addition costs $15,000 to $25,000 on average.
  • Balcony: If space on the ground is at a premium—or you just want your own private outdoor space—a balcony is a fast way to gain an outdoor living area. A contractor can securely build a balcony suspended off an upper floor for $4,000 to $9,000.

Attic Conversion

Converting an open attic to a usable living area costs about as much as adding a new room, mostly to make sure there’s proper insulation, ventilation, light, and egress options. You can expect to pay between $40,000 and $50,000 for attic addition or conversion—they’re basically the same thing.

Home Addition Cost Benefits of a Home Addition

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Benefits of a Home Addition

It’s a toss-up to decide where to spend your hard-earned money sometimes. If buying a new house isn’t an option, but you need extra space, then doing a home addition is a great solution. Home addition costs are well spent when improving and expanding a home. Here are several popular reasons to add to your home that will get you excited for this project.

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More Space

This is likely the number one reason homeowners spend money on home additions. More space is a considerable benefit for growing families, holding large gatherings, or adding storage or living space. Adding only a few feet of space to a cramped bedroom can help couples regain their own space. Expanded living rooms offer more room for families and friends to gather for important events. More space allows for you to adhere to your lifestyle values.

Added Property Value

Many household construction projects increase your property value—the question is by how much. No project offers a dollar-for-dollar return, which is why it’s wise to avoid extravagant upgrades that won’t make a significant difference. However, some projects can boost your property value. A master suite addition returns 63 percent, a bathroom returns 53 percent, and a second-floor addition returns 65 percent. You could speak with a real estate agent or home appraiser to get an idea about which additions and features will best help your property value.

Added Luxury

If your bathroom is as small and basic as it gets, bumping out your bathroom could be a huge benefit that adds spacious luxury to an intimate area. Having a little extra room to take care of your personal needs is fast becoming necessary to appeal to future home buyers. Additionally, expanding a kitchen to add more appliances or counter space is another way to make a common living area appear more luxurious.

More Storage

Building a garage offers two immediate benefits: protection for your vehicles and extra storage space. If you already have a garage but still need extra storage space, bumping out a larger area for a laundry room and mudroom could be a perfect idea. With built-in cabinets and closets, you’ll have plenty of space to store outdoor items or seasonal clothing and bedding.

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Moving Alternative

Almost every homeowner dreads the moving process simply because of the tremendous hassle of packing, moving, and then unpacking your life’s possessions. There’s also the possibility that you cannot find a house that suits your needs in the area you specifically want to raise your family. Choosing to build an addition on your home solves all of those problems—if you have space—and it’s usually cheaper than buying a new house.

Home Addition Cost: DIY vs. Hiring a Professional

Home additions aren’t much easier than building a home in the sense that each part of the complex construction process is involved—just on a smaller scale. Since home addition costs can quickly become overwhelming, it can be tempting to wonder if you can do at least some of the work on your own. You could safely tackle some DIY tasks, such as removing existing landscaping to prepare the site, doing some demolition on non-structural features, painting the finished room, or installing new landscaping. However, unless you’re skilled at other tasks like plumbing, framing, roofing, or installing drywall, a general contractor should handle the project.

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Home construction projects involve many moving parts to get the job done right and on time. From obtaining permits to scheduling contractors to ensuring materials are up to spec, the money spent on a contractor is worth it. Reputable contractors are licensed and insured to ensure you’re not liable for any accidents that could occur, saving you the potential embarrassment of calling your homeowners insurance company to explain an error you made that will now cost more to repair. You’ll also appreciate that general contractors can obtain some materials and fixtures that aren’t available to the public, so be sure to ask them about any items they may already have on hand or what they could recommend for your project. They’ll help guide your planning and building decisions as you begin this exciting process.

Home Addition Cost How to Save Money

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How to Save Money on Home Addition Cost

Home addition costs quickly jump from affordable to expensive. Since spending more money on a home addition doesn’t guarantee an equal return on your investment, you’ll want to make sure you spend only what needs to be spent. Once you’ve got an idea of your budget and what kind of addition you need, use these suggestions to save money on your home addition cost.

  • Get several bids. It only takes a little more time to get bids from several contractors. This helps you find the one who can create your vision at the price you can afford.
  • Keep it simple but stylish. The fastest way to blow your budget is to choose expensive materials when other options work just as well. Choose what suits your style and your budget.
  • Be flexible when needed. Sometimes you may need to pivot on a choice reasonably quickly for many reasons, like a sudden supplier problem. Or you may realize the double French doors are a luxury that just doesn’t suit your budget when a single door will work just fine.
  • Use discount warehouses or repurposed materials. If you’re a fan of shabby chic or vintage fixtures and furnishings, then thrift your way out of expensive costs by finding deals at unexpected places like Habitat for Humanity or other thrift stores.
  • Carefully consider DIY options. If you’ve never hung drywall, then let the pros handle that job. But if you know your way around a paint store, then be sure to negotiate the paint job out of the bid to save on labor. Also, consider doing your own demolition of old cabinets, nonstructural walls, and landscaping. Remember, you’ll need to haul it away at a cost, though.
  • Make your decisions early and stick to them. Another fast way to rack up extra costs is to constantly change your mind or delay making decisions. A contractor juggles many tasks to make sure the project runs smoothly, so requesting change orders can become costly—as does choosing a different kind of flooring after the first kind was ordered.
  • Check for tax credits or refunds. Many programs are available for homeowners to save money by installing energy-efficient appliances or solar or renewable energy resources.
  • Consider building up rather than out. Have a contractor review your house to determine whether your floor plan will save you money with a build-up rather than a build-out.
  • Look at prefabricated stand-alone options. Sometimes the extra space you need can function as its own building. Ask a contractor about prefabricated modular buildings that can work as an office or studio detached from the house, which reduces the building cost.
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Questions to Ask About Home Addition Cost

It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the process of planning and executing a home addition. You’ll need to find a contractor you trust, who is reliable, and who will achieve your vision with ease. Use any of the following questions when talking to a licensed, insured, and bonded general contractor to help make the process easier and avoid miscommunication.

  • How long have you been in business?
  • Can I see a portfolio of your work?
  • How do you calculate home addition costs?
  • Can I review a line item bid?
  • Will you provide a fixed-price contract with a detailed scope of work?
  • Will you pay the subcontractors?
  • What kind of payment schedule do you prefer?
  • What do you suggest as the top ways to save money on this project?
  • Do you already have some extra materials (like flooring) available that I could purchase at a discount?
  • After looking at my house and my ideas, do you have suggestions for materials or designs that may work better?
  • How can we make sure the addition looks like it’s intentionally part of the house rather than sticking out like a sore thumb?
  • Do I need to hire an architect?
  • Will my second-floor addition require us to strengthen the existing foundation? If so, what will that cost?
  • Will you obtain the necessary permits?
  • Are there any zoning restrictions to consider?
  • Will you or a manager be on-site when the subcontractors are here in case of problems or questions?
  • What if I decide to make a big change partway through the project?
  • What hours will the workers be here?
  • Will you have other major projects you’re working on at the same time, or will mine be a priority?
  • What is the anticipated timeline to complete my home addition?
  • How much value will this addition add to my house?
  • What kind of warranties and guarantees do you offer?

FAQs

The options are nearly endless when building a home addition, but choosing a general contractor and laying out a specific plan for your project will get you started on the right foot. As you begin finalizing your decisions, consider these answers to some frequently asked questions.

Q. How much does a mobile home addition cost?

It’s entirely dependent on the kind of addition. A metal carport costs $2,300 to $4,850, but a porch could cost $4,600 to $22,000. These additions will not be structurally attached to a mobile home to avoid straining the structure.

Q. Does a Cape Cod addition cost more than other home styles?

It might. Cape Cod additions are a unique and stylish way to add space to your house, and with that style often comes extra costs. Speak with a local contractor near you to find out the most cost-effective way to build this style of home addition.

Q. Do I need to hire an architect for additions?

An architect is a must if you’re looking at an extensive addition that alters walls, redesigns room flow, or affects any other major structural changes to the roof or foundation. An architect’s expertise will ensure the addition is structurally sound and meets building code requirements. Suppose you’re doing a simpler addition like a bump-out or single room addition. In that case, you may not need an architect if the general contractor is experienced at updating blueprints and meeting zoning codes.


Solved! How Much Concrete Do I Need Per Fence Post?

Building a custom home is a dream for many, but before construction can commence, you have to purchase the land. Our tips on buying land to build a house can simplify the process and eliminate unwanted surprises.

building a new wooden natural fence - work tools

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Q: The last time I installed a fence it didn’t last long because I underestimated the amount of concrete necessary for the job. I want to get it right this time around, so how much concrete per fence post is necessary to properly secure and support a fence?

A: Finding the right amount of concrete depends on the size of the hole and the size of the post. The diameter of the hole should equal about three times the diameter of the post and the depth of the hole should be about ⅓ to ½ the total length of the pole. With these measurements, it becomes possible to determine the volume of the post hole and the volume of the post within the hole.

To determine how much concrete per fence post is necessary, simply subtract the volume of the post from the volume of the post hole to find the volume of concrete. Just keep in mind that the post hole needs to be deeper than the frost line and you should also have about 6 inches of gravel in the bottom of the hole for proper drainage and to help protect against frost heaves.

Related: How To: Mix Concrete

how much concrete per fence post

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Consider the size of a hole and the post’s depth in the ground.

To accurately calculate the amount of concrete necessary for each post you need to determine the diameter and depth of the hole as well as the diameter and height of the post. The post hole diameter should be about 3 times as large as the diameter of the post, so a 4-inch diameter post would have a 12-inch diameter hole.

The depth of the hole should be about ⅓ to ½ the height of the post. For example, a 6-foot post would require a hole that is at least 2 to 3 feet deep, though the gravel layer and frost line should also be taken into consideration when determining hole depth.

Related: Concrete vs Cement: A Case of Mistaken Identities

Don’t forget about the frost line for your region. 

As noted above, frost lines can be an issue that impacts the necessary depth of the hole. The frost line refers to the specific depth at which the ground freezes completely during the colder months of the year. Depending on where you live, the frost line can range from nonexistent up to 10 feet in depth, so it’s important to check the average frost line depth in your specific location before trying to put up a fence.

On average the frost line for most areas is about 3 feet down, so an appropriate minimum depth would be about 4 feet. In colder locations, the post hole may need to be dug much deeper. This means that if the frost line is typically 6 feet deep in your area a fence post hole should be about 7 feet deep, even if the fence is only going to be 4 or 5 feet above the ground.

how much concrete per fence post gravel wheelbarrow

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Remember to factor in a layer of gravel.

Gravel is an important factor to keep in mind when installing a fence. A 6-inch layer needs to be poured into the bottom of each hole to serve as a barrier between the wooden posts and the moist dirt, making the post less susceptible to frost heaves. The gravel also helps to drain water away from the base of the post, reducing the chance of wood rot.

This 6-inch layer of gravel cannot be overlooked when determining the amount of concrete necessary to fill the hole. While the hole may be 42 inches deep, you need to subtract the 6-inch gravel layer to calculate an accurate concrete amount. So, the 42-inch hole is actually a 36-inch hole for the purpose of determining the amount of concrete.

Related: How to Remove Concrete Stains

Calculate the amount of concrete per post. 

To find the specific amount of concrete, you will need to calculate the volume of the portion of the post within the hole and the volume of the post hole with the following formulas:

Rectangular post/post hole: volume = length x width x depth
Example: 2 x 2 x 36 = 144 cubic inches

Cylindrical post/post hole: volume = radius² x π x depth (π = 3.14)
Example: 1.5² x 3.14 x 36 = 254.34 cubic inches

Remember that to find the radius simply divide the diameter by 2. After finding the post and post hole volumes, simply subtract the post hole volume from the hole volume to find the total volume of concrete necessary to fill the hole.

Concrete amount: volume = hole volume – post volume
Example: 5184 – 144 = 5,040 cubic inches

Convert the total volume to cubic feet or cubic yards as necessary. One cubic foot is equal to 1,728 cubic inches.

Convert to cubic feet: concrete volume in cubic feet = concrete volume in cubic inches / 1728
Example: 4823.04 / 1728 = 2.79 cubic feet

By following each step, you can find exactly how much concrete is needed for each post.

Complete calculation:
Example: An 8-foot-tall round post with a 4-inch diameter should have a 4-foot post hole with a 12-inch diameter. Only half of the post will be in the hole, so the volume of the post should be based on a 4-foot post with a 4-inch diameter.

  1. Find the radius of the post: radius=diameter / 2
    • 4 / 2 = 2 inches
  2. Find the volume of the post: volume=radius² x π x depth
    • 2² x 3.14 x 48 = 602.88 cubic inches
  3. Find the radius of the post hole: radius=diameter / 2
    • 12 / 2 = 6 inches
  4. Find the volume of the post hole: radius² x π x depth
    • 6² x 3.14 x 48 = 5425.92 cubic inches
  5. Find the volume of concrete: volume = hole volume – post volume
    • 5425.92 – 602.88 = 4823.04 cubic inches
  6. Convert to cubic feet: concrete volume in cubic feet = concrete volume in cubic inches / 1728
    • 4823.04 / 1728 = 2.79 cubic feet

For reference, a 40-pound bag of concrete typically yields about 0.3 cubic feet, a 50-pound bag yields 0.37 cubic feet, a 60-pound bag yields 0.45 cubic feet, and an 80-pound bag yields 0.6 feet. This means that in the example above, each post would require about eight 50-pound bags.

Related: The Dos and Don’ts of Setting a Fence Post

how much concrete per fence post : setting up wooden poles in concrete foundation.

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Alternatives to concrete for setting fence posts. 

Digging and filling fence posts with concrete can be a long, arduous process and may require at least a few calculations to properly determine the amount of concrete necessary per post, but concrete is only one method that can be used to set a fence post. DIYers who aren’t interested in using concrete have a few alternatives including:

  • Backfilling the post hole with tightly packed gravel by digging a hole about the size necessary for concrete, then adding about 5 inches of gravel at a time, tamping it down regularly to ensure that the gravel has very little space to move and shift.
  • Expanding backfill composites like Fast 2K can be used in place of concrete to set fences in minutes and at a lower cost.
  • For fence post repairs, consider using a fence ground anchor, like the MTB fence post anchor to secure a cracked or damaged fence post instead of digging up the concrete base and replacing the entire post.

Related: 7 Important Things to Know About Fence Post Repair


The Best Pool Builders Near Me: How to Hire the Best Pool Builders Near Me Based on Cost, Project, and More

Building a custom home is a dream for many, but before construction can commence, you have to purchase the land. Our tips on buying land to build a house can simplify the process and eliminate unwanted surprises.

Pool Builders Near Me

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Hiring the Best Pool Builders Near Me

Lounging by the pool with a cool beverage close at hand can be a wonderful way to spend a warm afternoon or shrug off the workday. Maybe your vision is a classic aqua-blue rectangle surrounded by a paver patio with umbrella-covered tables, or a natural-colored stone pool with a hot tub off to one side, or perhaps a lap pool to cool off your daily exercise. A good pool builder can make your custom pool designs into a reality and your backyard into an oasis. Swimming pools are sizable investments, and it’s hard to know if an inground pool is well constructed until after you begin to see cracks or leaks, so it’s a good idea to do your research before you hire a builder.

Why not just pick a pool from a pool store online and let the manufacturer choose a dealer? Some pool stores are quite reputable and can offer some great deals. If you’re looking for a standard-size pool, your landscaping is already level, and your electrical panel can handle the addition of a pump and filter, this may be an option. But choosing this path means that the company will select the designer, builder, and finisher, so you have no control over who will be doing the actual build or what their experience or qualifications might be. By selecting a professional pool builder in your area, you’ll have the opportunity to customize your pool design for your backyard (even if they’re small tweaks to a standard design) and interview the people who will do the work in your yard. This will ensure that you’re comfortable with the contractor and trust their judgment before letting them manage a large and costly project.

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Cost of Pool Builders Near Me

Pool Builders Near Me Cost

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Building an inground pool costs, on average, between $36,750 and $66,500, with above-ground models costing significantly less and truly custom models ranging up to and beyond $100,000.

The cost will be highly dependent on the style and type of pool you select. Lower-cost materials include vinyl and fiberglass, which are preconstructed liners that are stretched over the framing steel of the pool. These liners will need to be replaced periodically, but they can make the cost of a pool significantly more affordable than one made of concrete or gunite (a type of sprayed-on concrete and sand mixture). While concrete and gunite pools are more expensive to install, they do have a longer lifespan. Adding decorative tile will increase the cost. The pool size also matters: Small pools and spas cost significantly less than larger pools, lap pools, and irregularly shaped pools.

Excavation is a significant part of the expense of a pool installation. The average cost is between $400 and $1,500, but the grade of your yard, the soil type, and the cost of labor in your area, along with how far you are from the nearest dump that accepts soil, will affect the overall cost. In addition to excavation and the pool material, the total cost will be affected by your choice of filter and pump in the size appropriate for your pool; then you’ll need to decide whether you want a heater ($1,800 to $4,000), electric pool cover, and extras that can each add between $300 and $5,000, such as a diving board, slide, or waterfall. Finally, you’ll need to check local ordinances and determine if you need to install a fence or upgrade existing fencing for safety. Building screens or enclosures can add as much as $14,300, depending on the size of your yard.

Finally, your geographic location will affect the total outlay, as the cost of labor, materials, and professional builders varies by region. Areas where pools can be used year-round, such as the southwest and western United States, have a wider range of costs since pools are much more common in those areas, so there are plenty of experienced designers and builders. In northern areas, pool installation is less expensive overall, but since pools are more of a luxury item, there are fewer options in the lower price range, and maintenance and running costs are higher for pools that have to overwinter. The exception is Las Vegas, Nevada, where installation across the board is more expensive than any other area, and the luxury range runs up to $131,000 as a result of the demand and local cost of permits and labor.

Working with a professional builder will help you determine what will work best in your yard while staying within your budget.

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What Services Can Pool Builders Near Me Provide?

Building a pool is a complex operation, involving grading and excavation of the land, site preparation, framing and pouring, and building a surround. But that’s just the physical pool itself: There are many other components involved in completing a pool build. You may choose to subcontract some of these services out, but the best pool builder will include them in the cost of the build.

  • Designing a pool that best suits your space, needs, and budget
  • Acquiring the necessary permits for the build; each municipality will have different requirements and time frames, and a builder will identify the permits you need and when to get them
  • Installing the steel framework that supports the pool structure
  • Installing the plumbing necessary to run the pool itself and any connections that need to be made to city services
  • Installing pumps and filters, along with the plumbing and electrical work they require
  • Pouring the concrete, spraying the gunite, or installing the fiberglass or vinyl liner
  • Installing ladders, slides, or diving boards
  • Installing decks, patios, or paver surrounds
  • Cleaning the pool after it’s built and filling it with appropriate pool-quality water
    Balancing the chemicals in the water and teaching the new owner how to maintain and care for their pool
  • Providing a pool maintenance agreement, either through their own services or in cooperation with a pool maintenance company
  • Building fencing or protective enclosures, or supplying a clear recommendation for a company they work with who can provide this service.
Pool Builders Near Me Do I Need Pool Builders

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Do I Need Pool Builders?

Once you’ve set your sights on a backyard pool, you’ll need to decide whether you want to hire a professional to build it. Time, complexity, and cost are the biggest reasons to choose a pool builder to help realize your plans.

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Pools take a long time—usually between 8 and 12 weeks—to design and build. While it’s possible to contract with a number of different specialists, there’s a lot of time that can be lost between planning, permitting, shopping, and building. Also, the timing of each part of the job is critical: If the concrete pourer arrives before the inspection of the steel, you’ll either have to postpone the pouring (at a cost) or try to skate by without an inspection, which can result in having to drill out the whole pool and start again. A pool builder will have an existing framework for the order of events and will know how and when to rearrange the schedule to make the pieces fit. It’s a long process easily hampered by weather, inspection times, and supply chains, and a pool builder understands the process well enough to manage it as efficiently as possible.

In addition, pools are incredibly complex structures. A swimming pool may look like a smooth concrete shell, but underneath is dirt and soil that has been excavated, wood or steel framing, and then poured concrete, sprayed gunite, or premade fiberglass or vinyl, not to mention yards and yards of hose and electrical conduit along with mechanical pumping, filtration, and lighting devices. If any piece of the intricate puzzle is off by a couple of inches, the whole pool can fail spectacularly and expensively, sometimes with no recourse or repair other than digging out the pool and starting again. A reputable pool builder can save you this trouble (or take responsibility for correcting it), saving you money in the long run. Professional builders won’t over- or underbuy materials and will save costs overall through careful planning, professional volume discounts, and sourcing, and will help you choose a pool design that fits your budget.

While there is a lot of time and expense involved in building a pool, the rewards are many. For families, having a great pool can make their home the place to be, turning your home into the local hangout and making it easy to keep an eye on the kids. Pools are great centerpieces for social gatherings in warmer weather. Those who enjoys swimming as part of a fitness routine know how much time it takes to drive to a public or club pool, change, shower, swim, shower again, change, and drive home—it’s such a laborious process that you might be inclined to skip the routine on busy days, but a pool in the backyard saves time, simplifies your day, and makes your swim more relaxing. Studies have shown that a pool build isn’t an investment to choose to increase the sale price of your home—while it won’t lower the value in most cases, the increase in sale price won’t cover the cost of the installation, so this choice should be based on your own enjoyment of the pool, not on a potentially recouping of the cost of your investment.

DIY vs. Hiring a Professional Pool Builders Near Me

It’s possible to build your own pool, or rather, serve as the primary contractor for the building of your own pool. A successful DIY build usually occurs in a yard with few or no obstacles to excavation, and it is spearheaded by a homeowner with some construction and design experience and relationships with other contractors already in place. Without the deep knowledge of the workmanship that individual contractors provide (which professional builders will know through experience or reputation), you’ll risk hiring substandard contractors who do less-than-impressive work or cut corners that you’ll pay for later. Because of the sizable cost and complexity of building an inground pool, it makes sense from a financial standpoint to hire a builder to manage the project—and you’ll end up with a more polished project as well. In addition, managing the maintenance of a pool can be complicated, and a professional builder will teach you how to balance the chemicals, clean the pool, and how often maintenance is needed if you prefer to handle the work yourself, or make a recommendation for a pool maintenance company.

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Unless they have a lot of experience, DIYers should stick to above-ground pool kits that are designed to be set up by homeowners or solid-state pools such as stock tanks, which, while still requiring a significant amount of preparation and effort, can be more easily accomplished. These reduce the need for excavation for a huge cost savings, although you’ll still need to level the ground, which is not always an easy job. Inflatable-ring and metal-frame above-ground pools are comparably inexpensive to buy and maintain, and they can be taken down and stored during colder weather. Stock tank pools come in various sizes and can compensate for slightly unlevel ground, but they must be stabilized. While these DIY pools are great for a quick cool-off, they don’t provide the space for real exercise and require a fair amount of maintenance and time each season to put up and take down. If you want a pool large and deep enough for swimming or a large gathering, a professionally built inground pool is a worthwhile investment.

Pool Builders Near Me How to Find

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How to Find Reputable Pool Builders Near Me

Finding a pool builder that you’re comfortable working with is key to your satisfaction with the outcome. So how do you go about choosing the right pool builder? It’s not as simple as pulling up a website; you’ll need to dig deeper to find out if the promises on the glossy-looking home page are borne out in practice. To discover this, you’ll need to do a little sleuthing and make some contacts.

  • Customer references. Ask neighbors whose pools you admire about their builders, or check on local social media sites for recommendations (and invite members to message you privately if they have had a bad experience), then ask prospective builders for references and check them yourself.
  • Check the products and brand names the builder uses along with the ratings the products received. Builders using only bargain-basement products may cut corners elsewhere.
  • Look at pricing and contracts. See what the builder includes and excludes, and ask about the conditions under which pricing would change.
  • Check out the business itself: how long it has existed, whether licensing and insurance are up to date, if it’s rated with the Better Business Bureau, if there are a lot of complaints registered (be careful about random online complaints, but if there are many, investigate further).
  • Head to a store that sells pools and make sure the employees are people you’d be comfortable working with, then seek out their recommendations.
  • Check on reputable websites that rate and recommend local contractors.
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Questions to Ask Your Local Pool Builders

Even the most rigorous background work can’t replace asking a prospective pool builder some direct questions. This person is a contractor who will be spending a significant amount of time (and a significant amount of your money) working in your backyard. It’s important that you feel comfortable interacting with the contractor, asking questions, and pushing back if you’re not satisfied, especially because it’s better to proactively ask questions and push back than it is to correct elements you’re unhappy with later. Here are some questions to start with—and then follow with more!

  • What suggestions do you have for the design of the pool? What if I disagree?
  • What challenges does my yard present for excavation and installation? How would you address those challenges?
  • What problems tend to crop up during the build in our area? How have you anticipated those?
  • Do you provide financing options or information that I can use to secure a swimming pool loan?
  • What information can you provide that will help me make decisions about the materials and design options that are available?
  • Will all the people working on the project be licensed and insured?
  • What kind of warranty or guarantee do you offer if there are problems with the pool?
Pool Builders Near Me FAQs

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FAQs

If you enjoy swimming and playing in the water, a pool can be a great investment that leads to relaxing afternoons, family fun, and increased fitness without leaving your backyard. But it is a big decision to make, and while hiring a pool builder will reduce much of the stress of the design and installation process, the selection of a reputable builder is something else to add to your to-do list. To get your thought process started, here are some of the questions we’re often asked by homeowners considering a new pool.

Q. What is the cost of a 12-foot by 24-foot inground pool?

The average cost of an inground pool is between $50 and $125 per square foot, so the average cost for a 12-foot by 24-foot pool would be between $14,400 and $36,000. That price, however, will be affected based on the material you choose for the pool (vinyl is the least expensive, with concrete and custom tile rounding out the top end of the range), your location, the complexity of the excavation, extra amenities you select, and any necessary upgrades to your electrical system.

Q. Can I get an inground pool for $30,000?

In most cases, yes! A pool in this price range will require some balancing between the size of the pool, the depth of the pool, and the materials you’d prefer to use (vinyl, fiberglass, and possibly gunite are the most likely options at this price point), so your choices will determine how much pool you can get for the price, but a good designer can help you make the most of the budget.

Q. How long does it take to build a pool?

There are a surprising number of steps in building a pool, but a good contractor can streamline the process and keep the project moving. The design phase takes between 1 and 4 weeks to hammer out, but it’s important that this step not be rushed or you may end up making an expensive mistake. Once the design is set, allow for between 2 and 6 weeks to acquire the necessary permits for electrical, plumbing, excavation, fencing, and pool installation, which can take some time depending on your municipality. Excavation should only take a couple of days, but it’s good to plan for a week to allow for delays due to weather or the discovery of unexpected underground utility lines nearby. Installation of the steel plumbing and electrical will add another 1 to 2 weeks, and then the surface installation will take between 1 and 3 weeks (vinyl and fiberglass are quicker, as the liner is prefabricated, while gunite and concrete need time to cure after they are sprayed and poured). If you’ve opted to add a deck, patio, or landscaping, or you need to add a fence to your yard, those additional features will add between 1 and 4 weeks. All told, the average time it takes to build a pool from scratch is between 8 and 12 weeks. Your experience will vary a bit depending on the complexity of the design process, your selected materials, and the extras you’ve added on, but 8 to 12 weeks is a solid estimate.


7 Things to Know About Concrete Forms

Building a custom home is a dream for many, but before construction can commence, you have to purchase the land. Our tips on buying land to build a house can simplify the process and eliminate unwanted surprises.

concrete forms - pouring concrete

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Poured concrete is a viscous solution that can take up to 48 hours to properly set. During the setting time, the concrete needs to be contained in a concrete form. Concrete forms or formwork are the supporting materials or molds that are used when working with concrete. They also determine the final shape of the concrete, because liquid takes on the shape of its container.

However, not just any material can be used as a concrete form, as formwork needs to be able to hold the concrete’s weight and shape. For the formwork to be useful, it should have strong joints to prevent leaks, a rigid structure so that it doesn’t bend or break under the weight of the concrete, and it should also be able to be used with horizontal and vertical bracing. Keep reading for more details and important information about how to use concrete forms.

Related: Cement vs. Concrete: A Case of Mistaken Identities

concrete forms

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1. Concrete forms are necessary to ensure that the concrete sets properly during a construction project.

Concrete is used regularly in construction projects. For example, it can be poured to create supports for a fence or gate or as a foundation for a new shed. However, when concrete is initially mixed, it isn’t a stiff compound that will hold a shape without help. It is a thick, viscous liquid that is difficult to mix, and it’s hard to manage without using concrete forms.

A concrete form or formwork is a support or mold that the concrete is poured into. Temporary or permanent, the formwork is built into the shape that the user wants the concrete to take when the liquid concrete begins to dry.

concrete forms

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2. Timber is the most commonly used material for formwork.

There are several different materials that are used to make formwork, but the most commonly used material is timber. This is because timber is cost-effective, lightweight, durable, and flexible, allowing the concrete to shift while it sets without pieces breaking off or putting strain on the formwork.

For the best results, invest in timber formwork that is easy to work with, lightweight, and dried thoroughly. Also, make sure the timber doesn’t have any loose knots that could pop out and allow the wet concrete to seep through the hole. While there is the chance that wood formwork will warp if it absorbs the water from the concrete, this effect can be limited by treating the timber forms with a sealant.

concrete forms

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3. While timber is most common, there are other materials that are used for concrete forms, including steel, plywood, and fiberglass.

In addition to timber, there are a few other common materials used to make concrete forms. Steel is regularly used in heavy civil construction to create thin steel plates, which can be held together with clamps or with fasteners to support broad concrete projects. This durable material is more expensive than timber, but it’s also stronger and can be reused or sold.

Another type of material used to make formwork is resin-bonded plywood. These sheets of plywood will typically be attached to timber frames to create large, inexpensive concrete forms. However, plywood is less durable and rarely reusable. Fiberglass concrete forms are best for projects with curved surfaces, though they are expensive and often need to be custom ordered.

Related: Plywood 101

concrete forms

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4. A good concrete formwork needs to be both strong and lightweight with a rigid construct that retains its shape under stress.

In order for a concrete formwork to be suitable for a construction project, it needs to be strong enough to hold the weight of the concrete without slipping, cracking, or bending. Any significant damage to the formwork will allow the concrete to pour out, or it may just ruin the intended shape if the concrete is partially cured.

However, the concrete forms also can be made with a lightweight material that are used without significant physical effort on the part of the user. Timber and plywood are great examples of material that is strong, flexible, and relatively lightweight, yet rigid enough that the concrete forms will keep the same shape, allowing the concrete to set in the desired form.

concrete forms

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5. Concrete forms are necessary to create high-quality concrete, but with careful planning, measuring, and cutting, users can save on the overall cost of formwork.

Many people either don’t know about concrete forms or they don’t want to have to pay for timber or plywood to set up formwork because the extra cost is too high. Unfortunately, without the use of formwork, it’s all too easy for construction projects to go awry, leaving the concrete slab for the new shed or workshop uneven and difficult to use as support. So, while it’s a bad idea to go without concrete forms, there are ways that can help save on the cost of these materials.

Plan out the project carefully so that pieces of the formwork can be reused for multiple sections and it’s also a good idea to limit the number of slender sections to avoid wasting small pieces of timber or plywood. By reducing the number of cuts that need to be made in the concrete forms, there is less timber or plywood needed in total. However, users should keep in mind that while formwork typically costs about $1.10 per square foot of the concrete area, a rounded or contoured framework is generally more expensive.

Related: How To: Cut Concrete

concrete forms

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6. One of the benefits of using steel is the long-lasting durability that allows it to be reused and even resold to help save on the cost of the project.

The initial cost and skill required to make steel concrete forms are higher than what’s needed for timber or plywood. Due to the impressive strength, durability, and resilience of steel, the steel concrete forms can be used on multiple projects without damage. For companies or independent professionals that regularly work with concrete, this is a way to cut costs on a project.

DIYers also can benefit from the long-lasting strength and flexibility of steel concrete forms by using this formwork on more than one project. If the steel formwork is just sitting in storage in the garage, consider selling it to another avid DIYer. A professional also may be interested in a bargain price for used concrete forms to help reduce the total cost of a project.

concrete forms

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7. Formwork helps to ensure that the concrete sets properly, so it’s necessary for a range of projects including building a fence, installing a gate, pouring a foundation, and constructing a home. 

There are many different construction projects that utilize concrete and most of them require some type of formwork to ensure that the concrete sets according to plan. Goals can range from making a few simple steps to lead up to the porch to pouring a complex foundation to make insulating concrete forms for the home. Insulating concrete forms are essentially concrete walls that are poured between two layers of insulating material to create a strong and insulated foundation.

Other common uses for concrete forms include pouring a simple concrete slab to act as the foundation for a shed or workshop, securing the posts of a fence or a gate in the ground with a concrete base, or making simple paving stones for the yard with a shallow formwork mold.

Related: How to Repair Concrete Steps