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Custom Home Construction and Remodelling Tips

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Custom home reno timelineFrom inception to completion, the average home build takes 6-8 months. But not every custom home build is made equally: modular homes, for example, can take three months, while large custom builds can take 16 months or more.


That being said, we’ve put together a general timeline of key milestones, when you should be hitting them, and what you can expect at each stage.

 

The key players

  • You

  • Your builder

  • Tradesmen and subcontractors (electricians, landscapers, plumbers or HVAC specialists)

  • City or country building inspector (will come to check foundation, framing, electrical and plumbing systems)

 

 

The Timeline

Week 1: Excavation

 

This kick-off week will begin with breaking ground, excavating (for a basement), levelling (for a crawl space or slab foundation), and building the footers.

 

What to expect

Bulldozers and diggers on your lot, be prepared for what they might find.

Weeks 2-4: Building the Foundation

Whatever type of foundation you choose, this is the week it gets built. The exact time varies depending on what type of foundation you picked - ICF and basement takes longer than slab, for example.

 

What to expect

A building inspector will come twice during this stage. Once to check the foundation footings, and again to check the foundation built on the footings plus the vents and water-proofing.

 

Week 4-8: Framing

The framing stage will be mostly completed now, with openings for windows and doors. The casings won’t go in just yet, so they’ll still look unfinished. The roof will be finished, though, as the frame is built and then the roofing surface is installed.

 

What to expect

There’ll be an exterior covering to keep the house dry - this is not what the final exterior will look like! You’ll also get another building inspection to make sure all aspects of the framing - walls, floors and roof trusses - are completed according to Code, after which they’ll put on the final exterior finishing.

 

Week 8-12: Exteriors + Mechanicals

 

The house is now ready for electrical wiring, plumbing, and vents for heating/cooling. Specialists will come to carry out these tasks — they might have come before to look at the frame. Because so many subcontractors are a part of this step, this is when a smooth schedule comes in handy. Also, you’ll get more home inspections at this point.

 

What to expect

By the end of this stage, you'll have the ‘inside-the-walls’ parts of the power and water. An electrical circuit or two may be completed to provide power to the construction site.

Week 12-14 - Insulation 

 

Once the electrical and mechanicals are done and approved, insulation is added to the house. It has to happen in this order, since it will block the view of the electrical and mechanicals otherwise. Depending on the climate, you could have several types of insulation; fibreglass batting is the most common, though.

 

What to expect

Not a huge change during this stage; insulation isn’t exactly visually stunning! But you can expect to see the insulators again in a couple weeks - after the drywall is installed, they’ll come back to insulate the ceiling and attic space.

 

Week 14 - 16 (for a full house) or Week 14- 17 (for a full house + finished basement) - Drywall, Wall and Ceiling Finishes

 

It’s time for drywall installation, which begins with strapping the ceilings for drywall or wood finishes so drywall can be attached. The walls will also be strapped for wood finishes (if necessary) so they can be installed. The next step is hanging the drywall boards, taping and mudding seams between the boards, then sanding. Finally, a layer of primer will be applied.

 

What to expect

Your house will start to look more like a house now - the walls will be up and primed! 

Week 16 - 18: Some Interior Finishes: Tile Walls and Floors, Hardwood Floors, Vanities and Cabinets.

 

The frames of windows and doors will be built, and the floors will be installed. The tile walls in the showers will go in first, followed by the tile floors. Hardwood floors will go in and be completely protected for when the appliances are installed. Cabinets and counters will also go in during this stage; if you opt for solid surface countertops, be prepared for up to 3 more weeks after they’re measured. 

 

What to expect

Carpets won’t go in just yet because they might be damaged when the appliances are brought in, so don’t panic if all flooring isn’t put in at this stage. 

 Week 19: Painting + Trim

Your house will get its final coat of paint on the drywall, while the trim is pre-painted before installation. But, a second coat of paint will be added on the trim after installation. The interior doors will also be installed at this stage.

 

What to expect

Your home will have taken shape now, and it will be really something! Your builder should have been checking in with you at every stage to make sure everything is going to your specifications and selections, so there shouldn’t be any surprises at this stage.

 

Weeks 20 and 21: All Final Systems

 

The wiring went in in week 6, but now it’s time to finish things off! Plumbers will install faucets and sinks, electricians will install the light fixtures, switch covers, and outlets, as well as hooking up the rest of the electrical panel. New appliances will come in, heaters, furnaces, boilers (and their controls), AC (and its controls), electrical systems, alarm or media completions, and HVAC systems. 

 

What to expect

Lots of subcontractors and tradesmen will be working on this final stage, so (unfortunately) this might be time when things get delayed.

Week 22: Final Inspections

 

You’ll complete two different final inspections at this stage. The first will be with your contractor, where you’ll work together to make a punch list of things to complete and/or change. The second will be with your city/county building inspectors, who will be back to make sure your house meets building standards and that your house is safe. This is the Occupancy Inspection, which is necessary to close out your permit. 

 

What to expect

Get your keys, get shown how to operate any systems that have been installed (HVAC or security, for example), and then move in!

 

Thinking of starting a custom build? Get our free eBook, Things You Might Not Have Considered When Making Your Custom Home Budget, so you can create a realistic budget! 

 

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