The Custom Home Building Process – Q&A
One of the questions we get asked time and time again is, “What does the custom home-building process look like?” So we went back through our notes, emails, voicemails and texts to find some of the more common questions we’ve received and thought it might be helpful to put a blog post together to add some color around the typical process vs how our custom home-building process here at North Star Premier Custom Homes. Grab a cup of coffee, it’s a doozy!
The Typical Design Process for Building a Home
The design process for a custom home typically involves working with an architect or designer to create a customized floor plan and design that meets your specific needs and preferences. Some custom home builders have in-house design services that can help you with the design process, while others may work with external architects or designers.
If the builder you choose has in-house design services, they may have a team of designers or architects who can work with you to create a customized design based on your vision, budget, and functional requirements. They will typically work closely with you throughout the process to ensure that the design meets your needs and that you are happy with the end result.
If the builder works with external architects or designers, you may have the option to choose your own architect or designer to work with. The builder will then work with the architect or designer to ensure that the design is feasible and that it meets your budget and functional requirements.
The design process for a custom home is a collaborative process between you, the builder, and potentially other professionals such as architects and designers. It’s important to communicate your needs and preferences clearly and to work closely with your design team to ensure that your vision is realized and that the end result meets your expectations.
The North Star Custom Home Design Process
The truth is that not all custom homes are what we would consider custom. Why? Well, more often than not the conversations around your custom home are based on existing plans or models where your custom touches are reduced to paint, trim, tile vs wood, a couple of different appliance options for the kitchen, maybe some lighting fixtures, whether you want carpet and are you willing to pay extra to have marble vs granite on the island and countertops. The rest of the home is essentially pre-configured. Yeah, that’s not really custom is it?
We Do Custom Homes A Little Differently
From the outside, we’ll walk the lot so we can discuss the look and feel of the exterior and pour over the vision you have… or the feeling you want to evoke in your guests. Now this can be a lot we currently have available or a lot you already own or are looking to buy. We’ll circle the property, and we’ll take notice of the potential impact custom exterior lighting can have on your home. We’ll walk the potential driveway… carve out an idea of what you’d like to see in the front walkway and discuss the special features you’re imagining that will leave your friends and family awestruck. We’ll walk, we’ll talk, and we’ll share ideas about what it’s going to take to bring your dreams to life.
We’ll tour the inside of our model homes and imagine how your guests might flow after they make their grand entrance. We’ll ponder: What should they see? Where will they go? We’ll climb the stairs, walk the halls, and peek into the bedrooms with adjoining bathrooms complete with spa-like features. We’ll see if you can picture yourself winding down in complete comfort and relaxation. We’ll explore the great room with vaulted ceilings and clean sight lines through to the kitchen, and then discover an outdoor living space complete with a kitchen and fireplace. We’ll envision open spaces to entertain complete with memories to share or create. And, we can visit our Inspiration Center for more possibilities.
Luxury Meets Functional Practicality
When it comes time to design your custom home in Avon OH, we can look into any number of our award-winning house plans, start scratch, or a combination of both to complement your lifestyle. We can find little details, such as custom deluxe pantries and package delivery ports that can help make your home exactly what you envision. Maybe you’re dreaming of a spa-like retreat in the master bathroom or custom kitchen fit for a world-renowned chef. Maybe you’re a techie who is all about home automation and gadgetry. We are here to help create a home that not only exceeds your expectations but also realizes your dream.
Bringing Your Dream To Fruition
Part of this stage of the custom home-building process is a step-by-step virtual walkthrough designed to examine every room, door, floor, and piece of hardware that will make your home uniquely yours. We’ll review the basement build-out to the shingle selection and everywhere in between. We’ll discuss budgets, estimates, contract negotiations, and changes/enhancements, as well as the required paperwork we’ll need to move forward.
Building Your Custom Dream Home
Before breaking ground on your premier custom home in Avon, OH, we bring everyone together for a pre-build meeting on-site. We’ll walk your lot to make sure everyone involved has a detailed outline of what’s going into your dream home. We’ll review the initial trades to ensure that all sub-contractors and suppliers meet our rigorous standards for quality craftsmanship and reliability. From there, we work through a series of checklists to make sure scheduling, permit acquisition, additional contracts, and inspections are set. Since we’re personally involved from Day 1, you can feel confident in knowing that we’re there throughout every stage of the process to handle site visits, progress reports, change orders, billing, construction schedules, and much more. We take an active, personal role in each stage during the process to make sure that your dream is being realized down to the last detail. We also use various online tools to digitally track and catalog the entire process so you, your family, and your friends can log on at any point to see how your home is progressing.
Preparing The Lot
- Clear the lot: The first step in preparing the lot is to clear any trees, brush, or other debris from the site. This will provide a clean slate for construction and help ensure that the lot is level and stable.
- Survey the lot: Before construction can begin, it’s important to survey the lot to determine its boundaries and any potential issues such as soil instability or drainage problems. This will help ensure that the custom home is built on a solid foundation and that there are no surprises during construction.
- Prepare the foundation: Once the lot has been cleared and surveyed, the next step is to prepare the foundation for the custom home. This may involve excavating the site, pouring a concrete foundation, and installing any necessary utilities such as water, sewer, and electrical lines.
- Grade the lot: Grading the lot involves leveling the ground and ensuring that the site is properly sloped to prevent water from pooling around the foundation. This may involve adding fill dirt, compacting the soil, and installing drainage systems.
- Install any necessary infrastructure: Depending on the location and local building codes, there may be additional infrastructure that needs to be installed before construction can begin. This may include things like a septic system, a well, or a driveway.
- Consider landscaping: While not strictly necessary for preparing the lot for a custom home, it’s a good idea to think about landscaping early in the process. This may involve planting trees, shrubs, or grass, or installing hardscaping features such as walkways or retaining walls.
Framing & Carpentry
Framing and carpentry are key components of the construction process for a custom home. Here is some general information about framing and carpentry for a custom home:
Framing is the process of creating the structure of the home, including the walls, roof, and floors. This involves constructing a wooden frame that will support the weight of the structure and distribute it evenly to the foundation.
The framing process typically involves the following steps:
- Laying out the walls: The walls of the home are laid out on the foundation, typically using chalk lines to mark the locations of the walls.
- Installing the sill plates: The sill plates are installed at the base of the walls and anchored to the foundation.
- Building the walls: The walls are constructed using a series of wooden studs, typically spaced 16 inches apart, that are connected to the sill plates and top plates.
- Installing the roof trusses: The roof trusses are installed on top of the walls and provide structural support for the roof.
- Adding the sheathing: The walls and roof are covered with sheathing, typically made of plywood or oriented strand board (OSB), which provides a solid surface for the exterior siding and roofing materials.
Carpentry is the process of constructing the finishing details of the home, including doors, windows, and interior finishes such as trim, baseboards, and cabinetry.
The carpentry process typically involves the following steps:
- Installing doors and windows: The doors and windows are installed in the openings created in the framing process, typically using shims to ensure a snug fit.
- Installing trim and baseboards: Trim and baseboards are installed around the doors and windows, as well as along the floors and ceilings, to provide a finished look.
- Installing cabinetry: Custom cabinetry is typically installed in the kitchen and bathrooms, and may be designed to match the overall aesthetic of the home.
- Adding finishing touches: Other finishing details such as stair railings, mantels, and built-in bookshelves may also be added during the carpentry process.
Plumbing, Electrical & HVAC
Plumbing, electrical, and HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) are critical components of a custom home. Here’s some general information about these systems:
The plumbing system in a custom home is responsible for delivering clean water and removing wastewater. This system includes pipes, valves, and fixtures such as sinks, toilets, and showers.
The plumbing process typically involves the following steps:
- Rough-in plumbing: The rough-in plumbing involves installing the pipes and drainage system before the walls are closed up. This includes installing pipes for hot and cold water, waste and vent pipes, and installing plumbing fixtures.
- Finishing plumbing: Finishing plumbing involves installing the final plumbing fixtures and connecting them to the rough-in plumbing. This includes installing sinks, toilets, showers, and other fixtures.
The electrical system in a custom home is responsible for providing power to all of the electrical devices in the home, including lighting, appliances, and electronics.
The electrical process typically involves the following steps:
- Rough-in electrical: The rough-in electrical involves installing the wiring and electrical boxes before the walls are closed up. This includes installing electrical panels, outlets, and switches.
- Finishing electrical: Finishing electrical involves installing the final light fixtures, electrical outlets, and switches.
The HVAC system in a custom home is responsible for heating and cooling the home, as well as providing fresh air and maintaining proper ventilation.
The HVAC process typically involves the following steps:
- Designing the system: The HVAC system is designed based on the size and layout of the home, as well as the heating and cooling needs of the occupants.
- Rough-in HVAC: The rough-in HVAC involves installing the ductwork, vents, and air handling units before the walls are closed up.
- Finishing HVAC: Finishing HVAC involves installing the final heating and cooling units, as well as any necessary ventilation equipment.
Insulation & Drywall
Insulation and drywall are two important components of a custom home that are essential for creating a comfortable and energy-efficient living space. Here is some general information about insulation and drywall for a custom home:
Insulation is a material that is installed in the walls, floors, and ceilings of a home to help regulate the temperature and reduce energy costs. It can also help reduce noise transmission between rooms.
The insulation process typically involves the following steps:
- Determining the insulation needs: The insulation needs of a home depend on a number of factors, including the climate, the size and layout of the home, and the type of heating and cooling system being used.
- Installing the insulation: The insulation is typically installed in the walls, floors, and ceilings before the drywall is installed. It is usually made of fiberglass, cellulose, or foam insulation.
- Ensuring proper installation: It is important to ensure that the insulation is installed properly and meets the local building codes and energy efficiency requirements.
Drywall is a material used to create the walls and ceilings of a home. It is typically made of gypsum board and is installed in large sheets that are cut to fit the walls and ceilings.
The drywall process typically involves the following steps:
- Installing the drywall: The drywall is typically installed on the framing of the home after the insulation has been installed.
- Taping and finishing: After the drywall has been installed, the seams are taped and covered with joint compound to create a smooth finish. This process may require multiple coats of joint compound and sanding to achieve the desired finish.
- Texturing and painting: After the joint compound has dried, the walls and ceilings can be textured and painted to the desired finish.
Finishing Carpentry, Painting, and Staining
Finishing carpentry, painting, and staining are important steps in the construction process of a custom home that help add the finishing touches to the interior and exterior of the home. Here’s some general information about these components:
Finishing carpentry involves the installation of the final details and trim work to the interior and exterior of the custom home. This includes installation of baseboards, crown molding, wainscoting, trim work around windows and doors, stairs and railings, and cabinetry.
The finishing carpentry process typically involves the following steps:
- Installation of baseboards: This involves installing the baseboards at the bottom of the wall to cover the gap between the wall and floor.
- Installation of crown molding: This involves the installation of the crown molding at the top of the wall to cover the gap between the wall and ceiling.
- Installation of trim work around windows and doors: This involves the installation of trim around the windows and doors for a finished look.
- Installation of staircases and railings: This involves the installation of the staircase and railings to provide access to the upper floors and a finished look to the interior of the home.
- Installation of cabinetry: This involves the installation of custom cabinetry in the kitchen, bathrooms, and other areas of the home as required.
Painting and Staining:
Painting and staining are the final steps in the custom home building process that help to protect and beautify the interior and exterior of the home. The color scheme of the home can also add personality to the space.
The painting and staining process typically involves the following steps:
- Preparation of the surfaces: This involves cleaning the surfaces, filling any holes or cracks, and sanding the surfaces to ensure a smooth and even finish.
- Application of the primer: This involves the application of the primer to the surfaces to ensure that the paint or stain adheres properly to the surfaces.
- Application of the paint or stain: This involves the application of the paint or stain to the surfaces in the desired color and finish.
- Touch-up and finishing: This involves the final touch-up and finishing of the surfaces to ensure a smooth and even finish.
Closing Out Your Custom Home
A close-out checklist is a helpful tool for ensuring that all necessary tasks are completed before moving into a newly-built home. Here are some items that might be included on a close-out checklist for building a home:
- Inspect the home: Conduct a thorough inspection of the home to ensure that all work has been completed to your satisfaction and that there are no defects or issues that need to be addressed.
- Obtain all necessary permits and certificates: Ensure that all necessary permits and certificates have been obtained and that the home complies with all local building codes and regulations.
- Complete any final punch list items: Create a punch list of any final items that need to be completed, such as touch-up painting or minor repairs, and ensure that these items are completed to your satisfaction.
- Test all systems and appliances: Test all of the home’s systems and appliances to ensure that they are functioning properly, including HVAC, plumbing, electrical, and appliances.
- Final cleaning: Ensure that the home is thoroughly cleaned, both inside and outside, to ensure a move-in ready condition.
- Landscaping: Ensure that any landscaping work, such as planting trees or installing walkways, has been completed to your satisfaction.
- Final walk-through: Schedule a final walk-through with the builder to go over any final items or questions and to ensure that everything has been completed to your satisfaction.
- Obtain all necessary warranties and documentation: Ensure that you have obtained all necessary warranties and documentation for the home, including manuals for appliances and systems, as well as warranty information for the builder and any subcontractors.
- Obtain final inspection and certificate of occupancy: Obtain a final inspection and certificate of occupancy from the local building department to ensure that the home is safe and complies with all local regulations.
A close-out checklist can help ensure that all necessary tasks are completed before moving into a newly-built home, and can help prevent any surprises or issues down the road. It’s important to work with an experienced builder who can guide you through the process and help ensure that everything is completed to your satisfaction.
We know that was long but hey, hopefully that helps answer the majority of the questions about what goes into our custom home-building process. Whether we’re building on one of our lots or on a lot you own, we would love the opportunity to bring you and your family’s dreams of a custom home to fruition!