Building a new home will either be the fulfillment of a dream or the beginning of a nightmare, depending on how you prepare yourself for the experience. Homeowners save for years, build their credit, and apply for the perfect home loan, putting in all the effort needed to make sure their credit and loan are ready to go. Then, as if reaching the 5-yard line, they drop the ball and fail to finish the planning that they needed to do for successful project completion. It is sad to watch.
However, if you follow a few simple rules, your new home construction project can go forward with very few bumps and a lot of smiles. Our goal at High Quality Contracting is always to see our customers smile when they step into their completed home for the first time.
So, how do you plan for the perfect new home construction project? Here are a few simple rules that we like to live by when advising our customers on planning for their new home construction.
#1 Start with Confidence.
Many contractors will say that ratings and reviews by such organizations as The Wisconsin Better Business Bureau, The National Association of the Remodeling Industry, and Angie’s List, to name a few, really do not mean anything. Well, they are lying.
A home building contractor who is sincere in their business is not only willing to join these organizations but to follow their guidelines to ensure that their customers receive fair and honest pricing and work. The ratings indicate our adherence to organizational standards. The reviews reflect a candid glimpse of our past work. By joining these groups, we are standing up and stating our commitment to honesty, integrity, and quality.
The problems start when you choose to hire a contractor who does not stand by these principles. What does that say about your future endeavors with them? Why are they providing you with a low ball bid? What are they not telling you? Be honest with yourself and think about the possible reasons and then run the other way. Always hire someone who has a solid ethical contracting background to build your new home. This is not a simple set of deck stairs, this is a new home, and you want that experience and history backing up the work they do for you.
#2 Identify & Budget For The Total Project
The second-most-important rule that any new home builder needs to follow is to budget correctly for the project. Budgeting for such important projects includes factoring in a lot of variables. It is always best to sit down and talk seriously about your budget for the project with your contractor. We found that homeowners sometimes forget to consider the following items in their budget:
Site Preparation- clearing and grade work on the property before the start of the build.
Landscaping- the cost for grass, hay, trees, etc.
Building Permits- Municipalities and counties usually require a variety of permits for a new home build. Each license is a separate cost and can run as high as 1% of the total construction cost.
Utility Access- such utilities as water, sewer, gas, cable all may have a fee to access the lines.
Driveway Materials- The price for the concrete, pavers, bricks, and stone are all additional costs.
#3 Factoring in Time and Conditions for the Build-
Many homeowners fail to consider how long the lending process can take, which will delay the construction and purchase of materials. Since the 2008 home crisis, lenders are requiring more paperwork and are taking longer to release funds. If you want to start your project in spring, it is best to start your financing in the fall to allow time for all the paperwork.
Another thing to consider is the weather. Depending on the phase of the project, the weather can delay a home build for weeks to months.
Delays in obtaining materials are another example of something that can cause your home to fall behind in the timeline. Although High Quality Contracting Inc. uses only the best companies for their materials, sometimes obtaining a popular material can cause a delay because of supply and demand.
Building a new home is a lot of work, as well as rewarding. High Quality Contracting, Inc. pledges to be with you every step of the way to assure your best possible experience. Working with your High Quality Contracting, Inc new home specialist will help prevent a nightmare and help make your dream home a reality.
When considering adding an outbuilding to your property such as a garage, pool house, stable, garden shed, She-shed, storage shed, or home office, it is imperative to plan out the design to create visual harmony between your existing home and the outbuilding. Failing to do so will cause the outbuilding to look misplaced and shatter the flow and feel of the property. High Quality Contracting Inc of Franklin, Wisconsin, are experts in designing and building outbuildings that enhance the look and feel that you want for your home. Our design and construction team has put together some tips to help you achieve success in your outbuilding project.
The planning stage of your project is the time to address all of these considerations.
First off, choose a place in your property to give you the best possible outcome for your outbuilding. A She-shed or home office will need to be located in a more private area than a garage. Take into account the size of the building, while you are determining the location.
Identify some of your home’s exterior details, such as the type of roof it has, colors, and the materials used in the building. Use the characteristics that your existing home structure has and implement these same details in your outbuilding. If your house has a copper or slate roof and your garage has a composite roof, the buildings will not match, and the flow will be off.
Next, while planning, you will want to familiarize yourself with any architectural review board or HOA requirements that are standard for your neighborhood. Going back to the architect a second or third time to change construction plans because you did not include this information, the first time can become costly. If you are in a historical zone, outbuildings are carefully monitored, and you may not be able to obtain a permit. Even if a license is given and the design is too modern for the area, a zoning board may fine you or force you to remove the outbuilding after it is already complete.
Heating and Cooling are also major considerations that you need to decide upon while planning your outbuilding. Air conditioning and heat may seem like a luxury for a garage or a She-shed, but, there are a lot of advantages to installing these systems now rather than later. The cost may be less in the long run and the units more efficient if you install while building. The buildings will not have the humidity issues that they have when no AC or Heat is installed. It also gives the building more use in cold or hot weather. Tools also tend not to rust as easily in a non-humid environment.
Deciding on what type of flooring to install is also important for any outbuilding project. Will you be doing a lot of mechanical work in your garage? Then a heated concrete floor is a good idea. Will you want a cozy space to relax and read? Then perhaps a nice hardwood or carpet flooring would be a better option. If you are thinking of doing gardening in the space, perhaps a nice strong tile with a good drainage system installed would be the best option. The functionality of the building’s requirements needs to be considered at all stages. It is not always the best choice to lay down a solid slab of concrete.
Windows and doors are other items that need planning. Will the garage work best with a garage that can open on both sides giving it drive through abilities? Would a standard garage door work or do you need something that allows for a higher door opening so that vehicles that carry ladders or sporting equipment can access easily. Does your home office or She-shed need windows to look out onto the property? If you are building a garden shed, would multiple skylights help improve your plant’s growth? Do you need any of these doors to open automatically or do windows need to be double-hung?
Before construction starts, please verify that the new building looks like it belongs to the property. Perhaps the materials you will need to complete the project may take a little longer to get in, or you may have to wait to get the right tiles or features. However, in the long run, careful planning with a reputable contractor will save you a lot of heartache and problems in the future. An adequately built outbuilding should feel like it belongs and is not an afterthought. It will increase your property value and give you pleasure for years to come.
Protecting your family from home safety hazards is a top priority for any homeowner. According to the National Safety Council’s 2016 report, an estimated 161,374 people died from unintentional injury-related deaths in their homes. Adding an extra layer of safety to your house can help keep your family and friends safe year round. Below is our TOP 5 safety tips every homeowner should follow.
Three out of every five house fires start with the stove. To prevent home cooking fires, objects such as towels, curtains, etc. should stay at least 3 feet away from the heating surface of your stove. Furthermore, maintaining a clean stove and oven where grease has been removed can also prevent a fire. Don’t neglect the range hood. Maintaining the fan features in the hood and keeping it also free of grease is a priority.
The National Safety Council further sites that home dryer fires happen at approximately 17,800 a year. These fires are preventable and usually start because of built-up lint. Remember to clean the lint trap after each use. Moreover, scheduling the dryer vent for a good cleaning semi-annually is imperative. If you need a good HVAC person to come and help you clean these vents, contact the Wisconsin Better Business Bureau. They have a list of companies who provide this service.
Carbon Monoxide and Radon Detectors-
Over 400 Americans die each year from carbon monoxide inhalation each year, and the number of lung cancer deaths associated with high levels of radon in homes is over 21,000 a year. These numbers can significantly be reduced and so can your chances of experiencing symptoms or death related to carbon monoxide or radon by merely installing and maintaining the detectors. Be sure to check your detector’s batteries monthly. Because radon comes from the ground, be sure to install a radon detector in your basement.
Electrical Cord Fires
According to the EFSI, an estimated 51,000 fires each year, nearly than 500 deaths, more than 1,400 injuries, and $1.3 billion in property damage each year come from electrical fires. The majority of these are due to frayed cords, damaged cords, or products that were not in use but plugged in. Whenever an appliance is plugged in, it is live and able to catch fire. Unplugging things like curling irons, kitchen appliances, and charger cords can help prevent a fire. Be sure to check cords if you have pets regularly, as some pets tend to chew wires.
Other Electrical Fires
Homeowners also need to be aware of what is going on in the walls of their home. Listen for strange buzzing sounds or watch for lights that flicker. Be sure to not overload outlets with too many cords, and if you decide to get any work done on your property such as installing outlets, be sure to use an expert. Keeping fire detectors working and a family evacuation plan on hand in the event of a fire. If you suspect your electrical system is old or may not be working correctly, contact an expert and licensed professional as soon as possible to have the issues inspected.
Keeping your family safe is a priority for High Quality Contracting. This list of 5 home safety tips is not an end all list, however, it will help keep you from harm. If you would like more information, contact your High Quality Contracting team today.
Time for fall home maintenance. Along with the taste of hot apple cider, the smell of burning leaves, and the beauty of the trees comes the autumn fall maintenance checklist. No, it’s not fun. But, every good homeowner knows it must be done to keep themselves and their families safe from the elements and cozy once the cold winter months hit. You have 6 to 8 weeks to get ready in Wisconsin so the sooner you tackle this, the sooner you can sit back with your fuzzy socks and enjoy the beauty of the season. To help you out, High Quality Contracting Inc. developed this handy checklist for your fall home maintenance plan.
Inspect your roof
Don’t forget to check their roofs at least twice a year for damage. Homeowners usually realize something is wrong when the damage has gotten so big that the cost is, well,“Through the Roof!”. So, now is the time to do that inspection. Walk around the outside of your home at your roof looking for signs of damage, sagging or aging. Pay particular attention to areas that moss, algae, and leaves pile up because those areas are prone to get water and leaking damage. Look for buckled, curled or missing shingles. Look for granule loss (texture on shingles) which is an indication that the shingles are aging and worn from the weather, they may need replacing. If you are able to get up on a ladder and look at your roof, do it. Check the spots that you had noted for damage. If you are not able to get up on a ladder, contact a local roofing expert such as High Quality Contracting, Inc. to come to take a look for you.
Check attic for wet or missing insulation
This is an area that many homeowners also forget. Who wants to crawl around in an itchy attic and check their insulation, right? But, you should. Wet insulation means that leaks are coming through the roof. It can cause further damage and molding issues if not address. Missing or condensed insulation causes your attic to leak out your winters heat causing your energy bills to skyrocket while your home stays cold. Pay attention to corners and around areas that have those storage items to make sure your items are not wet or having been leaked down on. If you find a problem- We are the experts ready to help.
Clear out and repair gutters
Clogged or damaged gutters can cause ice dams, siding damage, and roofing damage. It is imperative to check your gutters for any damaged or missing drain spouts. Climb up on the ladder (if your comfortable doing so) and remove any debris, leaves, sticks etc. from the gutter system. If you have problems getting up on a ladder, you may want to consider having new gutters with a gutter guard system installed. These revolutionary systems help prevent a buildup of debris and ice dams from forming.
Caulking cracks and gaps
When cold weather hits, the cold air starts leaking into your home along with the neighborhood critters who are seeking refuge and a bite to eat in your pantry. Keep them both out by sealing cracks and gaps around your home. There are several great products out on the market that can help you fill in the small cracks such as caulk, GreatStuff, and Flex Seal. For larger gaps and cracks, you may need some wire mesh, heavy-duty hardware cloth or hire a professional contractor to handle the problem. We found these useful tips from the Department of Energy on their website http://www.Energy.gov.
Tips for Sealing Air Leaks
Test your home for air tightness.
Caulk and weather-strip doors and windows that leak air.
Caulk and seal air leaks where plumbing, ducting, or electrical wiring comes through walls, floors, ceilings, and soffits over cabinets.
Install foam gaskets behind outlet and switch plates on walls.
Inspect dirty spots in your insulation for air leaks and mold. Seal leaks with low-expansion spray foam made for this purpose and install house flashing if needed.
Look for dirty spots on your ceiling paint and carpet, which may indicate air leaks at interior wall/ceiling joints and wall/floor joists, and caulk them.
Cover single-pane windows with storm windows or replace them with more efficient double-pane low- emissivity windows. See the windows section for more information.
Use foam sealant on larger gaps around windows, baseboards, and other places where air may leak out.
Cover your kitchen exhaust fan to stop air leaks when not in use.
Check your dryer vent to be sure it is not blocked in order to save energy and may prevent a fire.
Replace door bottoms and thresholds with ones that have pliable sealing gaskets.
Keep the fireplace flue damper tightly closed when not in use.
Seal air leaks around fireplace chimneys, furnaces, and gas-fired water heater vents with fire-resistant materials such as sheet metal or sheetrock and furnace cement caulk.
Applying weather-stripping around the frames of windows and doors can help reduce your energy costs. Weather seals rip, compress, and wear over time so remedy this with weather stripping. Another great fashionable item homeowners find useful are colorful draft stoppers. These sometimes home-made, sometimes store bought products adhere to the bottom of your door and help to reduce cold weather air from getting in. If your door has damage or larger gaps, consider having a new door installed by High Quality Contracting Inc. Give us a call today.
Trim bushes and trees
Trimming back your bushes and removing any dead branches from trees is a good thing to do this time of year. If you have several trees on your property, consider hiring an arborist to check out the health of your trees. This time of year is the perfect time to have these specialists check your trees for disease, to safely trim back the branches that may fall in the winter, and to apply treatments into the trees for fungus and diseases such as diplodia.
Prepare your windows for winter
Newer weather resistant windows do not need much maintenance. They simply need to be shut and locked closed. But, if you are like many Wisconsin homeowners and you have windows that are older that leak air, you have a lot more do to than that to ready yourself for the winter months. Installing weather stripping and plastic are two options that can help. If the window is cracked or broken it will need to be replaced. If you can feel a heavy breeze or you can see a gap between the window and the seal around it, it may be time to replace your windows. High Quality Contracting Inc. can help you with an estimate of the costs to have that happen. We install all types of windows and doors to help keep your heat in and the elements out.
Check walkways, railings, stairs
It is important to check your stair railings, walkways, and stairs for loose rails, boards and large cracks or gaps. Loose rails and boards can lead to serious slip and fall situations during the winter months. Large cracks and gaps in the walkways can cause ice to build up and for you to slip and fall. If you find your stairs, decks or railings to be faulty, contact a certified contractor like High Quality Contracting Inc. to come and repair or replace the items for you. No one wants to spend the winter in a cast. Taking care of these dangerous items now can save you later.
Shut off exterior faucets
Prepping your pipes from freezing and damage can save you a bundle in repair bills. Simply shut off exterior faucets and valves before the winter freeze hits. Drain and roll up your hoses and put them away for the winter. If you have a faucet that sticks out a little bit, adding some foam or insulation products around the pipe is a good idea as well.
Stock winter supplies
Don’t wait until you have 3 feet of snow on your front driveway before you realize that you might need a snow shovel. Check your shovels, ready the snow blower with yearly maintenance, get out the snow brushes for the cars, and purchase the ice melt products that you need. Don’t forget, if you have pets or plants, check for products that are safe to use. Many retailers offer specials early in the season, and prices can go up if they start running low. Don’t be caught unprepared.
Check safety devices
Now is the perfect time to check your safety devices around your home. Check your fire extinguishers and replace them if they are past the expiration date. Check the batteries in your fire alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. If you have never had your home checked for radon, now is the time to do it. High radon levels of 4 and above can be extremely harmful to you and your family, so having this checked is important.
Cover up the A/C units
Window A/C units should be either removed or covered before the weather turns cold. Covers can be purchased at a local hardware store or home specialty store. If you have a central air conditioning unit, you will want to consult your owners manual before ever covering your unit. Some units should not be covered to prevent moisture build up and others are recommended to be covered. It depends. If you are not sure, contact a local A/C company or the manufacturer to find out.
Check dryer vents
As you use your home dryer through-out the year, the lint sometimes passes through and builds up in the venting tube. When this happens, it causes your dryer to work less efficiently and becomes a fire hazard. The cool, dry fall and winter air causes an increase in static electricity which can ignite with the lint. Clear this out and if needed replace the lint vent tubing with new tubing. You will be surprised at home much actually gathers in there.
Schedule chimney cleaning
Nothing better than a warm cozy fireplace or wood burning stove in the winter. Keep those items working at their peak and safely with an annual cleaning and maintenance. Be sure to include a chimney cap if needed to keep creatures from climbing down your chimney when it is not in use. This will help keep your family safe to warm up by the fire.
Schedule heating maintenance and change your filter
Just like the fireplace and the wood burning stove, your home’s heater needs regular maintenance. The last thing you want is to have it break down in subzero temperatures in the middle of the night where the cost for repairs will go way up. Prevent all of that by scheduling a heating company to come in and check your products. The Wisconsin Better Business Bureau has a great list of contractors who have been verified to help you choose the right contractor for your home. Also, don’t forget to change your heating filter and replace it with a high-quality one. Your heating system has sat all summer long and the filter will be dirty and dusty. Replacing that will help keep allergies down and your unit working efficiently.
Contact Us for help with your fall roofing, or chimney issues.