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March 2021 Building a Home Discussion

doc5md
last year

Here's to a more productive month for us all! Snow is melting!

Comments (511)

  • Sherryl
    last year

    Brandie May - LOVE your house and the brick is done! We have all of our brick staged and ready to lay, but no mortar! I asked our Construction Manager if I could go pick it up in my car. He laughed and told me how much there is and said it will be on a fork lift! LOL

  • Ash M
    last year

    @brandie may your home is gorgeous!!
    @ghatta I love the slabs! Soapstone is definitely a top choice- if DH wasn’t so handy with pouring the concrete we’d probably go for that.

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  • tendrac
    last year

    @ghatta Such beautiful stone! You mentioned all of the reasons why I have my heart set on it--especially, the antimicrobial part. Did you purchase locally?


    In my area, during our initial search, we were having a difficult time find anything besides Black and Churchill--neither of which I really like. We may look again locally but, weirdly enough, it seems less daunting to just purchase from a reputable out-of-state source.

  • ghatta
    last year

    @tendrac. Thanks. I got it through a stone yard where I live in Minnesota. They have a huge inventory of just about any stone one would want. They had a large variety of slabs from different areas so we got to go up and down aisles to see them all. I am not a fan of glossy and at the time, (2018) glossy seemed to be all the rage. Thank you Ash M! I’ve seen some spectacular concrete counters too.

  • Kat
    last year

    @tendrac how exciting about the new little one coming. We have 9 children, but the oldest 6 are moved out of the house, 4 of them now married. My oldest daughter just made us grandparents 2 months ago and I'll be watching the baby a couple of days a week when she goes back to work, and am very excited about that. Our youngest is going to be 13 in May so I've been missing having a little one around.


    I guess our living room would have been called the drawing room then instead of the parlor...haha.


    @Brandie May your brick looks great!



  • tendrac
    last year

    @Kat So sweet! You get to freely spoil the little one. You know, after following back up on the subject, I have come to the conclusion that early room-naming was all over the place. I guess the memo was never shared between neighbors or different areas. Some people called it parlor, some drawing room, some front room and others day room. There doesn't seem to be much of a consensus, unless the "elites" are asked. So, I say, have fun and go with what you like. Perhaps I will call mine "there" since I am known to shout at my kids: "what are you doing in there?" "stop jumping around in there!" "you guys sit down in there!" can you quiet down in there?"


    @ghatta Thanks so much! Your source definitely seems better than the last two local places that we visited.

  • Kat
    last year
    last modified: last year

    We have a pre-construction meeting with our builder this afternoon. Our plans were approved by the town and our HOA and we finally signed the construction loan papers yesterday afternoon, which will allow us the flexibility to wait to sell this home until the end of construction is near.

    Exciting to have those key hurdles done with. We are hoping to at least get the lot cleared relatively quickly, as it's a pain to have to cut it and things are starting to grow again here, but not sure how fast the rest will go. Like @Emily the area has had a lot of rain, so I'm not sure how far behind the contractor is on his other starts. He is a one man show and usually only does two or three at a time, but guess we'll find out more specifically today.

    @tendrac yes, "there" could be the perfect name room since the constant what's going on in there is surely timeless. With two tween/teen boys I still do a lot of that. My youngest daughter is much quieter, and loves to bake. We are having fun planning the kitchen together.

    Perhaps the room naming was geographical as well, although my husband and his family, who lived in the same town as us, although at the opposite end, always referred to their main living space as the front room, where as we grew up calling it the living room. Our downstairs space was called the family room, but some people called it the rumpus room.

    What part of the country is your build in?

    @Emily I don't have windows, but it made me go look where to find it on my MacBook Pro and with the click of a button it's now at my fingertips in the menu bar and if I hit control command spacebar it pops up as well. Very cool. 😀😊

  • Sherryl
    last year

    Kat - it’s an exciting time for you! It’s also challenging building during this time. Our builder told us that sheathing (under the roof) is backlogged, and we had trouble getting brick. I would order your brick now! Our builder says they are ordering brick as soon as a contract is signed. Right now, our brick (first ordered in October and we had to change twice!) is all there, but the mortar is not! Where is your build? How big is your builder (number of houses per year)? Our builder builds 40 homes per year now (and it was 20). Larger builders (like the huge ones) seem to be getting materials easier, from what we are seeing.

    Try to enjoy the process and not to stress too much. I obsessed over every little decision and started to re-think everything. It’s much less stressful if you can avoid doing that!

  • Rebecca Delo
    last year

    Speaking of back orders and shortages......I talked to our builder yesterday. Of their 11 houses in progress, 6 are at a standstill, because there’s no drywall tape. They’re running around to all the retail stores trying to cobble together any little bits they can find. It’s apparently the toilet paper of 2021.

  • Ash M
    last year

    Yikes @rebecca delo... I just texted my husband to ask if we have all we need of it!

  • Emily
    last year

    @Kat, Great to hear of your progress! Exciting times indeed. Glad you figured out the emoticons on your Apple machine too! 😏

  • nhb22
    last year
    last modified: last year

    Speaking of back orders and shortages......I talked to our builder yesterday. Of their 11 houses in progress, 6 are at a standstill, because there’s no drywall tape. They’re running around to all the retail stores trying to cobble together any little bits they can find. It’s apparently the toilet paper of 2021.

    As of Monday, late morning, our guys had drywall tape. They told us when they first got to the house to start our job, their boss had forgotten to deliver the tape. 😁 They had to run across town and pick up a bag full.

    The toilet paper problem may come back according to an article I read about the Suez canal upset. TP Shortage

    We have more rain today...and flooding. 🤔When we checked on the house Monday everything was dry, and surprisingly, so was our lot for the most part. Many of our neighbors had flooding in their basements because of all the rain storms we had over the weekend. There was large golf ball sized hail, as well. Our roof appears to have suffered a chipped shingle, and we were missing a shingle that was over a chimney flashing. Many homes in our area suffered damage. Our roofers will fix the damage and check the rest that we cannot see from the ground. We have so many complicated angles on our roof, that I believe we need to get a drone to check it out thoroughly in the future.


    We are suppose to meet tomorrow with the window rep about a couple of issues. Have no idea what time, but we are expecting blustering weather and snow showers! On April 1st!!! 👀

  • Brandie May
    last year

    Our area is experiencing a shortage of insulation. Our GC told us we were blessed that we had ours done when we did, because all of his other jobs are now held up because of the shortage. We have a small area above a porch that still needs to be insulated, but it shouldn't hold up anything if we can't do it as soon as the porch ceiling is installed.

  • Ash M
    last year

    @nhb22 snow is blowing here! Covering the ground. We had fake spring- though not unusual for here.

  • Kat
    last year
    last modified: last year

    @Sherryl and @Emily thank you!

    Sherryl, I'm going to try very hard to stay calm and just go with it, but so hard for my type A personality.

    I had hoped to be in by Christmas, but now that that possibility has past, as long as we are in by next year's swim season, I think it'll be okay.

    Watching all of you, as well as a house directly across the street, that started end of August, go through the process, has reminded me just how slow the process really is, and even more so with complete custom and Covid shortages on top. The last time we built we did a home with what you'd call a tract builder I guess. It was in a country club/golf community with several builders where we could make some changes, but were limited in selections etc., but I remember we signed the week after Christmas and closed beginning of July and at times the process seemed slow then.

    I can only imagine what this next year will seem like, but we've already been at planning 13 months with a large plan revision/engineering/budget/quotes/appraisals and on and on, not counting the 6 months before where we bid/lost out/changed our mind on several lots. I will say, it took my focus off of Covid at times, so I guess I'm thankful for that.

    But yes too much time and so many options to look at can get overwhelming.

    We are building in coastal NC. Literally around the corner from where we own now, and we walk by the lot every day when we walk our dog.😁

  • Sherryl
    last year

    Nhb22– I’ll try to get a better photo of the Comfort Gray porch ceilings and post when I go up next!

  • Buzz Solo in northeast MI
    last year
    last modified: last year

    I just bought a vanity for the guest bath. It's the very last one in stock, so I hope it arrives in good condition! Got a rectangular mirror to go with it. It's 42" wide and 22" deep, the top is a "cultured marble". You can barely tell the sink is on the left, it's an undermount rectangular sink.

    Rather than a new post, I just thought I'd add this photo. DH and I finished all the floor joist tension bracing today. Tomorrow he'll go get more OSB sheets and we can finish the subfloor! Temps are dropping for 2 days, so we quit early it's cold in the house and will be much colder tomorrow. I figure the subfloor will be done within a week!


  • Emily
    last year

    @Kat, that would be very cool to be so close to the build site. The ultimate in convenience! We're only about 20 minutes away, not too bad, but I would love to be closer. I do understand your frustration with how long this all takes; we've discussed this before. We closed on our property on May 29 of last year and thought we'd be building by this past fall and in this spring or summer. Now it looks like we'll be in next winter sometime. My husband tells me it is better for us financially if it runs into 2022 just a bit anyway, since we are paying cash, and the more he takes out of his retirement accounts in one year, the higher a tax bite there will be, so I guess it will maybe work out better this way. But it's hard to wait, especially since we both so want to be gardening. Living in a rental now, we can't do anything in the yard, and we have so many ideas we just can't wait to get started.


    @Buzz Solo in northeast MI, I like that vanity! Sure hope it arrives in perfect shape. 🤞🤞🤞



  • Kat
    last year


    I know there was talk of it earlier but I didn't pay much attention as assumed we'd be having electric, but who all has propane for their cooktop. Dh asked the contractor today at our meeting about burying a propane tank because he wants it for our fireplaces, outdoor grill and to extend the pool season just a little bit.


    We didn't think we'd be able to, because of the required setbacks when burying one, but I guess we can in the front yard, right at the setback line.


    I've never had a gas cooktop, never mind a propane one, because natural gas has made me nervous. We only had gas hot water and fireplaces in our other homes. Currently everything is electric.


    Tell me the pros and cons of having a propane cooktop? I love the way gas cooktops look, so that's definitely one plus.


    @Emily yes, I can imagine you'd be itching to get some gardening going. When we first closed on our lot last March, I had dreams of our kids swimming this summer...haha. Oh well next year it will be.


    @Buzz Solo in northeast MI You are making good progress. I like the vanity. I hope it arrives safely. We ordered one for our master bath renovation in this home that came with a marble top and I was worried, but it was perfect.








  • bytheriverbank
    last year

    @Kat We have a propane tank. I can’t tell you the pros and cons though. We’ve always had either propane or natural gas so it’s what I’m used to. Our range is dual fuel so it runs on both and the fireplace will be propane. Our bbq has a line to it but I think the one my husband decided on is pellet. I’m not sure what the water heater and furnaces are. I think they’re electric.


    We got our appliances delivered today and they get installed tomorrow :) Movers are scheduled for 4/8-4/9. Hopefully we get our CO by then.

  • Buzz Solo in northeast MI
    last year

    @Kat My new house will have a propane stove/oven. My last house had one and the one before. Works great, flame is still blue if you were wondering, plenty of heat. We'll also have a freestanding gas stove/fireplace in the living room, Don't know if DH plans on having a propane hot water heater or not.


    Most ranges are natural gas and you have to get a propane orifice which around here is an extra $50. The appliance guys will be changing it for us when the appliances are delivered.

  • chispa
    last year

    @Kat, the key element is that the appliance gets installed correctly. Most gas appliances can run on NG or propane, but each type has a slightly different set up. Just had a grill serviced and it turns out the person who installed it did not do the necessary adjustments for propane, so it was barely heating up to 350F, which isn't enough for grilling!

    I've mostly lived with NG and never had any issues with it.

    Great thing about propane is that you can get a generator to run off of it for emergency power. Relatively easy to set up with new construction.

  • Kat
    last year

    @bytheriverbank that's exciting about the appliances arriving. Our contractor just said, one of his had to close without a dishwasher, due to delays. I hope your CO is issued before your scheduled date. I'm glad you are happy with using gas.


    @chispa thanks for the information about the generator. That could be a big plus, since we get plenty of storms and a threat of a hurricane just about every year now it seems.


    @Buzz Solo in northeast MI thanks for the reassurance. I think I've always just been worried about a leak/explosion, but obviously that is such an extremely freak occurrence. We had considered an on demand hot water tank, but when we were doing electric our builder told us they don't work well, but with propane I guess they do, so we may consider that as well. I guess we'll have to see how big of a tank we can get buried.😁

  • K H
    last year

    @Kat We have a propane range and a 500 gal above ground tank. Like @Buzz Solo in northeast MI said you have to tell the appliance guys to convert from natural gas to propane. Ours cost an extra $80.00. I've had electric glass top before. Gas is a lot quicker to cook with. So I prefer gas to electric. If you are worried about leaks be sure to purchase your smoke detectors with the extra CO detector in them. We also have propane as our back up heat source for our heat pump. So we have those dual smoke detectors in our basement too.

    We did not do a gas water heater because of the extra venting that it requires and my husband is terrified of them. Lastly be sure to have a range hood that exhausts out of the house if you end up with a gas range. We did not do the dual fuel because the price of the range increased substantially. The gas range we have does have convection which bakes evenly enough for me!

  • Kat
    last year
    last modified: last year

    @K H thank you, all very helpful information. We will definitely do the CO detectors. We had them at our last house where we had the natural gas fireplace and hot water tank and furnace. I don't know why I forgot our furnaces were always natural gas too.


    Honestly, every house we've lived in before this one had natural gas for the hot water tank, fireplaces and furnace. I don't know why the cooktop has always worried me. I think it was the thought of the pilot going out unknowingly and then leaking gas/explosion. I'm sure they all have safety measures in this day and age.

    Do you always have to turn on the exhaust fan whenever you are using the cooktop then, even if just boiling water for pasta or something?

  • K H
    last year

    I don’t always turn on the exhaust.

  • di0spyr0s
    last year

    We signed our construction contract with a local builder this week! Excavation should get started mid to late June.

    So excited to get this started!

  • Buzz Solo in northeast MI
    last year

    @Kat modern residential gas stoves don't have pilot lights. The gas doesn't turn on till you turn the know and the sparker ignites it. I supposed a very strong wind could blow out the flame, but unless you put your range under a window, which is generally not advised, it would rarely be a problem.

  • tendrac
    last year
    last modified: last year

    @Kat we are located in the southeast. . .I'm your neighbor to south (GA).

    Regarding the gas, we have a Lacanche range, and it has a thermocouple sensor; it responds to temperature changes (i.e., flame goes out, gas turns off). I am assuming this is standard for all domestically sold gas ranges and cooktops.

  • tendrac
    last year

    @Kat forgot to add: I've not always turned on my exhaust fan but try to make a habit to do it when using gas. In our last home we had a substantial cooktop and griddle combination. So, lots of BTUs. But, due to the house not being "tight", it didn't concern me much to sometimes cook with the hood off or on low. Now, if I lived in a house that was tightly sealed and multiple gas fixtures, I would not dare do it. Our current home that's being built is not as tightly sealed as a spray-foam home (we were wanting a bit of "breathing" in this home) but I would not feel comfortable not using the hood due to the type of range we will install.

  • Kat
    last year

    @Buzz Solo in northeast MI thank you, it won't be on a window wall so that is good although perhaps more tricky for venting the hood to outside. I clearly need to do some in-depth reading before I make this decision.😂


    @tendrac I just looked up the range you referenced and they are true pieces of art. Is your whole house going to be french influenced? Our second oldest son and his wife live in GA. There is just so much beautiful architecture in many parts of the state.


    Does anyone have recommendation for a quiet(er) range hood? Are they a thing? After reading all of your replies, that's my new concern. With the family room/kitchen being open to each other, the noise from the fan running more frequently then we are used to, may become an issue.



  • K H
    last year

    I have a Broan insert and it’s isnt too loud plus it has three settings I use the #1 for boiling and the #3 for frying. @opaone installed an extremely quiet range hood but it wasn’t in the budget for us. Here is my range at Christmas time!


  • opaone
    last year

    Quiet is definitely a thing. U.S. consumer exhaust hoods are generally quite noisy and noise is the #1 reason people give for not using their hoods.

    The best affordable option is to have the blower in the duct or exterior w/ a silencer in the duct between the hood and blower. Consumer hoods all lack containment volume which is critical to effectiveness and being able to use lower CFM's which also reduces noise. So possibly the best option is a Wolf hood + Fantech silencer + a Wolf or Fantech blower.

    More: https://www.gardenweb.com/discussions/5161173/hood-faq


  • tendrac
    last year
    last modified: last year

    @Kat No, no french influence. I just happen to fall in love with the lacanche ranges and it was the best fit for our kitchen (style-wise) which will be, I guess, unfitted though we will have one run of cabinets and a large, multipurpose "freestanding" wall unit. There will be no upper cabinets.

    What part of GA does your son and wife reside?

    Regarding the range hood: we have an inline Fantech blower and silencer and the hood liner will be by Modern-Aire.

  • nhb22
    last year
    last modified: last year

    bytheriverbank - So excited for you getting closer to your move-in date. Please post an updated photo of your exterior when you get a chance.

    tendrac - Thank you for the reminder to always use the exhaust fan when cooking with gas. I was lax about that in our previous home. Our new home will have more airtight, as well. When the weather is nice, could I get by with just opening up a nearby window or door? I hate the sound of exhaust fans!

    Our window guys showed up a day earlier than planned, so yesterday we made a mad dash over to the house. The crew of 3 were working on some windows in the dining room that we had not noticed there being a problem. We were very impressed! They were there all afternoon, and over again this morning. They check out and inspect every window. Replace parts as needed.

    The sheetrock finishers are so far doing a great job taping up!

    We had no snow, but it is cold.

    Shouldn't we be starting a new thread for April?

  • tendrac
    last year

    @nhb22 I hate the sound of the fans, also! From what I have read, it seems to be okay to open windows for ventilation. Unfortunately, I am not certain how well this works with removing CO. I would think that cross ventilation or a window fan would be the best option when using windows in order to facilitate pulling (or pushing) the gas out. Except for quick stove-top items, I have never done any extended cooking with the hood off. So, I am probably not the best person to give advice.

  • nhb22
    last year

    The only time that I turned my exhaust fan on was when I was cooking something steamy, or I had burned something. Which was often! 🤣


    I would think that the most important times to have the vent on is when starting the burners or oven. I will have a casement window near the range (a bank of 3 over the sink area), and a door out to the front porch on the other side (next to banquette.) Both of which can be cracked easily. I just hope that my fan is not too noisy!

  • Ash M
    last year

    If you have an air exchanger no matter how tight the insulation is there will always be a movement of air. My husband set it to be slightly negative pressure in the house to pull more air in through regular air movement.

  • opaone
    last year
    last modified: last year

    Something we've learned over the past 7 years is just how much noxious VOC's, carcinogens and particulate matter are in cooking effluent - gas or induction. Exhaust hoods should be run continuously ANYTIME a range or oven is on.

    More here (more to come): https://bamasotan.us/range-exhaust-hood-faq/

    A lot of open windows with a lot of cross ventilation can work. Be careful though.

    Sealed houses do need ventilation from an ERV/HRV. That is not close to a substitute for a proper exhaust hood in your kitchen though.

    .

    "My husband set it to be slightly negative pressure in the house to pull more air in through regular air movement."

    Be careful about this. If outside humidity is high it will pull moisture in to wall cavities. The first problem is mold which can become a serious health problem for occupants. The second problem is rotting structural members. And the third potential problem is that whatever is in the wall cavities gets sucked in to the house and becomes a contaminant.

  • Keepthefaith MIGirl
    last year

    I tried to start a new post for April. I can't edit it? It should say Building a new home, not house. That's a big distinction. Hoping we all have a fresh perspective and progress this spring!

  • Ash M
    last year

    Thanks @opaone. I’ll let him know.

  • Charlene
    last year

    @nhb22, Do you have any recent pictures of the interior or exterior of your home that you can share?

  • Jenna Armstrong
    last year

    About to start building and our landscaper pulled out last minute. Now we are having to try to find a different one for the same price as the first.

    Can we save some money by doing some of it ourselves? Our plan includes sod, gravel, mulch, fencing, and plants (shrubs, flowers, and one tree for sidewalk planter). We were thinking we could save a but by purchasing and planting the plants ourselves. Any ideas?

  • Karen
    9 months ago

    @ghatta - I love your soapstone slabs and wonder if you know what type of soapstone (name) you have. I am currently looking at something called Manhattan Grey but love your stone. Do you have it installed yet? Will you please share photos? are they oiled or waxed? Thank you!

  • ghatta
    9 months ago

    Thanks Karen. I’m not sure if this will be a double comment as I got an error when I posted and it all disappeared. It is Barocca and is 3 years old now. It scratches easily and I use a silicone mat when I do stuff on my island. Nowhere else though. Oiling or the wax will make the scratches disappear or less obvious. I have left mine and it is darkened naturally, more in the areas I use it. Am thinking of oiling it someday but haven’t yet.

  • Karen
    9 months ago

    @ghatta- thanks. I went to look at soapstone today and was able to put tiny scratches on the samples with my fingernails. And my nails are as soft as a two year old's. Must say that that gave me pause for thought. Maybe isn't the stone for me. But still gorgeous.

  • ghatta
    9 months ago

    @karen, some are softer than others. I didn’t realize how easy this one scratched, but I like the antibacterial, high heat tolerance and the soft feel. It’s beautiful too. I might have tried for a harder soapstone though.

  • Karen
    9 months ago

    @ghatta-i agree about the best tolerance and antibacterial qualities. Wondering if there is a chart somewhere with MOHS hardness of stones. Manhattan Grey is one I'm looking at now. Will go research. Happy Holidays!