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Edgar

Advice Sought for New Home Construction

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We've had to use ours 3 times over the last 6 or 8 months.   Its saved our butt.  Some years you may just use it briefly and think thst you wasted your money but when you really need it, it's a god send.

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52 minutes ago, JJkizak said:

I just saw an ad for a 22KW (200amp service) for about $5200.00 with control panels.

JJK

That's about right.  Installation labor during construction would be probably be less than half the cost of a retro fit i would imagine plus you'd finance it with the house instead of coming out of pocket later.

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1 hour ago, CECAA850 said:

Whole house generator.   Now is the cheapest time to do it.

 

Very close to my own thoughts. Power has been pretty reliable around here, but I was thinking about photovoltaics. A small (10 m²) system would only be a few thousand dollars, and could help with the electric bills in the brutal heat of summer. The house will face east/west, so the only south-facing roof area will be on the garage.

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IF I WERE BUILDING A HOME FOR ME........

 

Anything that is easy to change later, who cares

 

- Kitchen appliances, carpet, counter tops, any of the finishing materials.

- I would rather have a temp kitchen for a year aka stove, fridge metal shelves and a table, and come back later with the easy to install high dollar kitchen

 

Anything that is costly or near impossible to change later, over do it.

 

- The Foundations and footings are impossible to change later. 8ft vs 9ft, extra wide and thick footer with extra gravel. Lots of re-bar in footers and foundation walls, and lots of gravel. More gravel.

 

- Floor Joists are impossible to change later 2x10 vs 2x12 & or laminated

 

- Steel beams in the basement so the ground floor is rock solid, as many as possible while preserving head room.

 

-  Wall Studs are impossible to change later 2x4 vs 2x6. 2x6 min, I would look at 2x8x10 ground floor insulated, with 2x6x9 or 2x8x9-10 second floor.

 

-Attic floor that is load bearing with 3/4 plywood floor with gaps for air movement cut into 2ft wide 8ft long strips, gaps between them for air movement 1/4 in.

  • Staircase to attic, door at the bottom, trap door on counter weight at the top.
  • Gable vents with windows on one end,
  • windows and a low rpm exhaust far with louvered doors on the other end flanked by 2 windows, fan might be 3-4ft square with cage and 1/2 horse low rpm motor and pullies. sp. Thermostat for fan plus bypass switch.

 

- Roof overhang of 1-2 ft all the way around, oversized, steep pitch gutters and downspouts all the way around to shed the rain as fast as possible.

  • If possible run the gutters underground in PVC to a lower area in the yard preferably a hill or swail leading to a drain, sump should never run. Builders and gutter installer will install level if you don't watch them like a Hawk, install the plastic leaf guards with the little round holes when you build.
  • Alternative, large underground cistern that can be used for gardening, watering the lawn, filling a pool and drinking if needed, and a plan for maintenance and use.
  • If cistern, this gets into roof materials and other materials to ensure potable water.

 

- Extra gravel in the trenches for the water pipes and sewage lines to the street, dirt cheap up front, $10K later if you are lucky.

 

- Conduit for the electrical so wires can be pulled or added later

 

- One Over Code on everything down to the nails, the Code is the minimum acceptable usually written by large builders shaving pennies. + $2-3K per house. Better door knobs etc everything. Fewer doors allows for much higher quality doors and hardware, perhaps wide commercial grade.

 

- High Quality low maintenance windows, laminated triple pane with gas, dead silent.

 

- Basement, open plan, sealed and painted 100%, plenty of lighting and electric with 3 way switches.

  • 9-10ft ceilings, 2-4ft above grade.
  • Walk out basement door, staircase covered with a steel trap door works great, wide enough to easily bring appliances, materials and a furnace in and out. Covered staircase with a regular extra wide door is the ultimate. Full size treads not too steep. Cement foundation wall for stairs  1-2 ft above grade so it doesn't become a drain.
  • New forms so basement walls are perfectly smooth on the inside, have the builder smooth the wall with thin set where needed, which should be minimal with new forms installed properly, 2  coats of penetrating water proof and a coat of high gloss bright white cement paint all the way around
  • -Floors painted with porch paint, battleship grey is my fav..
  • Outside of foundation, double drain tiles, double gravel, 2 coats of tar sealer on walls, lots of gravel.
  • More gravel.
  • Top of foundation must be perfect, smooth and level and 2 layers of top insulation inspected, I have seen plenty of million dollar houses on my street where the wind blows through the gap and you can see light.
  • South side of basement with walk out escape windows metal grates on top, vent windows on one other side
  • Load bearing second floor walls must have iron directly under them in the basement.
  • Hook-ups for washer and dryer, and if drainage allows, a full large bathroom with exhaust vent and window.
  • High quality chimney for wood or coal burning stove.
  • Plan and hook-ups for a full kitchen inc vent and exhaust fan.
  •  If in a cold area, have the Chimney installed for a wood burning stove with better quality vent pipes with built in clean outs. Something a lot of people wish they had right now. Same on the ground floor.

 

- Attached or unattached garage, this space is low cost by comparison. This space is dirt cheap and very useful.

  • Preferably attached, direct or 2 floor breezeway-mud room, independent heat and AC so it could be finished for a very large family room-home theater, that could be left on 50 degrees when not in use winter etc. 2nd floor independent heat and AC. No water allowed in this space.
  • 2nd floor and ground floor chimneys for wood burning stoves built in.
  • The garage would be 5 cars wide, 5-10ft extra deep, 30ft.
  • 2x6-8 construction, with 2 iron beams running entire length to stiffen second floor.
  • Insulated and finished with drywall, doors with weather seals
  • independent heater, exhaust fan, for ground floor
  • elec, outlets all the way around 36-40 in above the floor, preferably conduit run outside of the drywall for access, low cost easy maintenance etc.
  • have a staircase up to an unfinished second floor with windows and electric that can have a door and be finished later if desired.. 
  • Wall to ceiling 2x6 shelves built in across the entire back long wall with electrical outlets and a 3ft deep work bench made from 2x6 the entire length of a second wall a short wall.
  • A rear exit from the garage to the back, maybe double door or a small garage door or french doors with easy access for a riding mower. A break in the shelves where the door is located.
  • the shelves will use all of the wood used for braces, etc plus some new ones to minimize scrap. Top of shelves attached to second floor to stiffen the structures and support weight above.
  • Iron down the center the entire length to stiffen the second floor and make it load bearing. Make a space for an extra large fridge and large upright freezer in the plans and wire it 10ft wide.

 

- House should be 2x6x9 or 10ft tall studs, both floors.

 

- Ground  floor Open Space Plan

  • large entryway walk in closet and large full bathroom with hook-ups for washer and dryer.
  • entering into open space kitchen-LR designed for Stereo and theater with wood stove on a side wall with a cook top,
  • doors offset so all speakers have good corners.
  • Builders and architects love lots of small rooms to drive up the cost of design and construction. Open floor plans are low cost regardless of materials.
  • For damping, wood plank floors entire open space, hard pine or oak planed on site and screwed in with plugs for holes over 3/4 plywood. If builder agrees, oil the planks before installation no urethane I hate it.
  • I would do large crown molding all the way around every room.
  • Open floor may require some 8x8 beams on the first floor, I would oil them. Would have to tie into basement with pillars of some kind inc 10x10 cement pillars in basement with wood pillars bolted on, that run up to beams supporting second floor. Like a post and beam construction. Could also be iron with wood boxes for the ground floor pillars aka vertical I-beams.
  • Extra wide staircases double center bracing, mid point landing, wide senior treads and design, rails on both sides. The life you save may be your own.

 

- I would take half of the second floor for the Master bedroom, and design it for a great stereo and an office corner with a window and desk and walk in lockable closet for the files etc. Reinforced walls and door.

  • 2nd floor should have dedicated heat and AC system, possibly the independent AC systems per bedroom. Leave the house on 72-78 when you go to bed and chill the MBR to 68-70 at night.

 

- Wire the house every room  with Ethernet Cat 6 and cable RG6 high quality Belden pure copper.

 

- Electrical connections and pre wiring for a whole house 100% generator and pad far from street, add the generator later if budget with NG, LPG back up, Cummings seems to be the best. If you want some solar, I would put it on the ground in the rear of the house off street out of sight.

 

-Plumbing

  • Single water pipe vertical feeding 3 bathrooms stacked like pancakes, single sewage pipe back down
  • Kitchen hookups as close as possible to bathroom
  • all pipes use inside walls, no outside walls to prevent freezing
  • If kitchen has to have window sink, run the pipes inside of the cabinet, so they don't freeze. vent the cabinet so it gets heat.
  • Architects and builders love 50ft plumbing runs across the house, it's expensive.
  • 4 Chicago area houses, I had to tear out the plumbing and re-route to inside walls because of freezing due to bad original but typical lazy design work.
  • If tile, use durarock and thin-set all the way around. Builders love green drywall, it doesn't fail until after the warranty has expired.

 

- Chimneys, like the bathrooms, I would stack the wood stoves, and furnaces, and run an outside box on the back to accommodate 4-5 chimneys. If masonry, then have a crane install single stainless exhaust pipes up to 40ft long, and fill the gaps with the chimney mix of cement.

 

- Basement option to get to 9-10 feet tall

  • 6-7 ft of basement below grade and 3-4ft above grade
  • above grade can be a knee wall made of 2x12x3-4, which the ground floor rests on top of. This wall can easily be insulated and finished on the outside.
  • For all of the wood contacting cement and the casing must be treated green wood.
  • On million dollar houses, I saw builders use the lowest quality 2x4s for load bearing, if they can shave a penny you can't see, they will. The driver from the lumber yard was stunned at the garbage wood they used to frame the houses, his much less expensive township in a different county was much stricter on quality.

 

- Driveway, If Budget, I would go stone with calcite sp or quartz until I had cash to pave which may be never if I like the stone.

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On 2/8/2021 at 7:27 PM, Edgar said:

I'm making decisions on a new house that I'm having built. I've made most of my selections, but one just won't go away. Builder and realtor are encouraging a "nine-foot pour" for the basement -- nine-foot basement walls instead of eight-foot. It seems to me that eight-foot walls are stronger, place the basement floor one foot farther away from the water table, and $6000 cheaper. But I'm seeking input about any advantages that they might bring. Thanks.

 

 

Structurally, there's little difference between an 8ft and 9ft tall basement wall. Concrete or Masonry, doesn't matter. As for the "Advantage", that can only be measured based on your intended "USE"....  are you buying 8'-2" tall speakers?  are you installing a vehicle lift?  

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1 hour ago, Gilbert said:

As for the "Advantage", that can only be measured based on your intended "USE"....  are you buying 8'-2" tall speakers?  are you installing a vehicle lift?  

 

"USE" will be as a basement, nothing more. Listening room is on the main floor. It will have 9' ceilings.

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On 2/16/2021 at 7:30 AM, JJkizak said:

I just saw an ad for a 22KW (200amp service) for about $5200.00 with control panels.

JJK

new fridges sell for 2-3k, so that doesn't seem bad from that perspective.  $1000 for a 1/4 of a cow, that's 5 years worth or 5 power outages of ruined meat. 

 

I'm not going to be much help, but I could see if not finishing the basement, then save the 6k.  But can see the resell value. 

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People use the term resale value a lot. The problem is, you have to spend it to make it back. Yea Edgar could spend 6k on a 12" taller basement wall, but what will it add in value....6k, more? You might not get any extra money by adding optional equipment, but it can make the home easier to sell.

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32 minutes ago, Ceptorman said:

People use the term resale value a lot. The problem is, you have to spend it to make it back. Yea Edgar could spend 6k on a 12" taller basement wall, but what will it add in value....6k, more? You might not get any extra money by adding optional equipment, but it can make the home easier to sell.

 

Houses have been selling in hours in this market, above asking price, despite COVID and winter. Basically, if it has a roof, it sells. I suspect that having an 8' pour instead of a 9' pour won't significantly affect that.

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14 minutes ago, Edgar said:

 

Houses have been selling in hours in this market, above asking price, despite COVID and winter. Basically, if it has a roof, it sells. I suspect that having an 8' pour instead of a 9' pour won't significantly affect that.

True, but that is now, not 10-20 years down the road.  

 

50 minutes ago, Ceptorman said:

you might not get any extra money by adding optional equipment, but it can make the home easier to sell.

Good point, may not increase value, but make it easier to sell.  

 

On those thoughts, I hate it when I purchase something and the original owner hadn't paid for the upgrades. With those thoughts in mind, I would probably go with the extra foot.   I mean think of all of the Mopar owners that could have paid only $300 or what ever it was back then. 

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22 minutes ago, Edgar said:

 

Houses have been selling in hours in this market, above asking price, despite COVID and winter. Basically, if it has a roof, it sells. I suspect that having an 8' pour instead of a 9' pour won't significantly affect that.

This great sellers market will come to halt when interest rates climb to 6, 7, 8 %. And they will — at some point you have to pay the piper 

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15 minutes ago, The Dude said:

True, but that is now, not 10-20 years down the road.  

 

Twenty years down the road I will be in my eighties, and they will be carting me off to the old folks' home.

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1 hour ago, Edgar said:

 

Twenty years down the road I will be in my eighties, and they will be carting me off to the old folks' home.

 

They might have incorporated "Soylent Green" by then.

JJK

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2 hours ago, Edgar said:

 

Twenty years down the road I will be in my eighties, and they will be carting me off to the old folks' home.

 

Or maybe they will cart you off to your basement, in which case you will wish you had the nice 9' ceilings. 🤣

 

Good luck with the house and enjoy the process.  I have always regretted not spending money on certain things, but you do need to maintain a budget. 

 

One thing that I can tell you, you will use the basement at some point.  You will grow into the space and eventually build it out if you like to tinker.   A shop, arcade, bar, sex dungeon, whatever.  So you may want the tall ceilings at some point. 

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2 hours ago, Edgar said:

 

Houses have been selling in hours in this market, above asking price, despite COVID and winter. Basically, if it has a roof, it sells. I suspect that having an 8' pour instead of a 9' pour won't significantly affect that.

Sorry Edgar, it seems like almost nobody is listening to the fact that you're not doing 9' walls, despite having told them that many times.  I, on the other hand, have read what you said and commented based on what matters to you, but these other jokers can't seem to comprehend, so you're gonna have to get a little more abrupt.  LOL

 

EDGAR DOESN'T WANT TALLER WALLS, HE HAS NO NEED FOR TALLER WALLS AND AS FOR YOUR THEORY ON RESALE VALUE, HE'S NOT PLANNING ON SELLING THIS.  :D

 

Bunch of stubborn SOBs on this forum.  LOL  Happy Thursday! 

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19 minutes ago, tigerwoodKhorns said:

Good luck with the house and enjoy the process.  I have always regretted not spending money on certain things, but you do need to maintain a budget. 

 

The budget is the key. I am currently renting, but facing retirement at some unknown time in the near future. (The actual time may be dictated more by health than by age -- I'm healthy now but I learned two years ago how quickly and severely that can change ... for anybody.) I cannot afford to continue renting for the rest of my life, and by the same token I cannot afford to pay-off a huge mortgage when retired. So I have to trim this down to the bare bones by keeping only the most essential items: a really great listening room.

 

Quote

One thing that I can tell you, you will use the basement at some point.  You will grow into the space and eventually build it out if you like to tinker.   A shop, arcade, bar, sex dungeon, whatever.  So you may want the tall ceilings at some point. 

 

I abandoned apartment living in 1995 and have lived in various houses ever since. I use the basement for storage. In this house I hope to add a speaker-building shop in the basement, but 8' walls are plenty good for that. (For reference, my dad had such a shop in his basement, and we got along just fine with 7' walls.) I just don't see justification for spending $6000 for an extra foot of basement depth.

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35 minutes ago, tigerwoodKhorns said:

 

Or maybe they will cart you off to your basement, in which case you will wish you had the nice 9' ceilings. 🤣

 

Good luck with the house and enjoy the process.  I have always regretted not spending money on certain things, but you do need to maintain a budget. 

 

One thing that I can tell you, you will use the basement at some point.  You will grow into the space and eventually build it out if you like to tinker.   A shop, arcade, bar, sex dungeon, whatever.  So you may want the tall ceilings at some point. 

 

A finished 8ft ceiling in a basement becomes a finished 6.5-7ft ceiling due to HVAC and plumbing etc.

 

Continuing with your thought, leave head room for the iron maiden.....go with 9ft min

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7 minutes ago, Edgar said:

 

The budget is the key. I am currently renting, but facing retirement at some unknown time in the near future. (The actual time may be dictated more by health than by age -- I'm healthy now but I learned two years ago how quickly and severely that can change ... for anybody.) I cannot afford to continue renting for the rest of my life, and by the same token I cannot afford to pay-off a huge mortgage when retired. So I have to trim this down to the bare bones by keeping only the most essential items: a really great listening room.

 

 

I abandoned apartment living in 1995 and have lived in various houses ever since. I use the basement for storage. In this house I hope to add a speaker-building shop in the basement, but 8' walls are plenty good for that. (For reference, my dad had such a shop in his basement, and we got along just fine with 7' walls.) I just don't see justification for spending $6000 for an extra foot of basement depth.

Timing is key.  In your 30s and even into your 40s, no problem with taking on a little more.  50s and later, on the downturn and need to keep perspective.  Downsize everything, including income, so the calculus is different. 

 

Enjoy the build and your new home. 

 

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8 minutes ago, Edgar said:

 

The budget is the key. I am currently renting, but facing retirement at some unknown time in the near future. (The actual time may be dictated more by health than by age -- I'm healthy now but I learned two years ago how quickly and severely that can change ... for anybody.) I cannot afford to continue renting for the rest of my life, and by the same token I cannot afford to pay-off a huge mortgage when retired. So I have to trim this down to the bare bones by keeping only the most essential items: a really great listening room.

 

 

Property Taxes would be my primary concern depending on the State

 

With your new info, have you considered a Ranch with full basement and one large bedroom, large bath and the rest an open floor plan with the kitchen and LR. Depending on where you are, 9-10ft ceilings wouldn't be a show stopper.

I would still go with min 2x6 studs for more insulation and quality windows even if there are less of them.

Quality fixed windows are far less expensive if all of them don't have to open.

A bunch of small rooms just run up the cost for no benefit, especially if it's for 2 people.

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, Bubo said:

I would still go with min 2x6 studs for more insulation

Not needed if you use closed cell foam.

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