Home Building Hints & Tips

Page 2 





   I know that this first statement will sound redundant, but, make sure your new home sits high enough on the lot so that water will drain away from it on all sides.  Even in a situation where a home sits downhill from the road, the foundation can be set so the grading around it will direct the water away from it. I mention this only because of the amount of homes I have seen over the years that have very poor drainage.


   When buying a lot on a cul-de-sac you don’t always have the option of which direction your house will face, but if you do have the option of what direction you will face, you may be able to make it work to your advantage. 

   For example, if the front of your house faces south, you will have a relatively clean driveway in the winter as the sun will heat the driveway and help melt the snow that is left after plowing. Facing south will also give you a back yard that will probably be mostly sun free in the afternoon. This may or may not be an advantage, depending on how much you plan to use the back yard, and whether you would prefer it to be warm or cool there.

   The south side should, if possible, have the most glass and the north side should have the least glass. (Just common sense)

   The garage should be on the north side of the house if possible, to help shield the house from the cold north winds in the wintertime.  


   Almost all house styles have the potential to have curb appeal, yet if you look around very few homes really have that “look at me” factor. Too many people put all the money and thought into their new home, and yet put no thought or effort into the grounds around it.

     Almost everyone puts a lawn in, but not enough people take the time to plan for trees, shrubs, and plantings. These items are really not that expensive, and this is something you can probably do yourself in 3 or 4 weekends. So when you plan the budget for your new home, allow at least a thousand dollars or so for some “outside charm”.  The few dollars invested in flowers and shrubs will come back to you a hundred fold in beauty and curb appeal.


   I always recommend three foot wide exterior doors because it makes moving furniture in and out so much easier. I have yet to figure out why companies even make entry doors that are smaller. The difference in price between a 3’ wide door and a smaller door is not a lot of money. In my opinion even basic starter homes should have three-foot wide entry doors.


   I would highly recommend using either insulated metal or fiberglass exterior doors instead of wooden doors. They are much more stable and will not expand, contract, warp or twist like a wooden door will. The new fiberglass doors look just as nice as wood if they are stained properly, and the insulated metal doors available today insulate very well. If storm doors are installed over metal or fiberglass doors, two or three ¼” holes should be drilled in the top of the storm door, to allow hot air to escape in the summer.


   Whatever you buy for windows, spend as much as you can justify for high-end energy saving windows. Windows are not rated in “R” value, but rather by air infiltration. Some are filled with various types of gases to help the thermal factor, (glass itself has no thermal value).

   I personally recommend high quality windows. I also recommend vinyl windows over wood windows. Try to educate yourself to what’s available, and don’t buy a product just because they have been around for awhile. Some of the older companies live on their name, rather than a quality product.