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Charlie's Advice on Building a New Home

Charles Gueli shares 18 helpful tips on Building a New Home.

  1. Home Decorating IdeasConsider using outdoor lights with motion sensors. This will provide both security and convenience. Lights can be left on, and will automatically be turned on by movement, and automatically go off when the motion stops.
  2. If you have a large family and your laundry area is not on your bedroom level, think about a laundry chute. It can be put inside a closet, and run to the laundry, saving lots of steps.
  3. Two-story foyers are pretty popular. Just remember that you have to clean up there occasionally, and if there’s a light (as there often is) you’ll have to change bulbs. Make sure you build in a way to reach the top.
  4. If the house is larger than 2500 square feet, it probably has multiple plumbing fixtures. Your feed lines should be 1” diameter (instead of the typical 3/4”) and the lines leading directly to the fixtures should be 1/2” diameter. This will insure good pressure and consistent water temperature when several fixtures are used simultaneously. Look into this during the design stages so that it appears on the construction drawings.
  5. Many old houses have access panels for plumbing repair. You would normally see these behind the faucet-end of a bathtub. Think about strategic placement of access doors in your new home so that you can get to shut-off valves easily. This can minimize the cost of future plumbing repairs, and make it easy for you to turn off water to outside lines when you winterize.
  6. As soon as possible, get a floor plan of the house and go through it room by room, checking dimensions and imagining furniture layouts. In this way, you can catch layouts that don’t accommodate the furniture you intend using. You might have to change locations of doors or windows, and you might decide to add ceiling fixtures, or outlets for lamps, and other electrical needs.
  7. If the lights in your bedroom go on by flipping a switch when you enter the room, add a switch by the bed which will turn the lights off. That way you won’t have to leave the bed to turn them off.
  8. It’s a good idea to have your driveway underlayment (usually gravel) put down as soon as you begin the work. This allows the base material to be packed down for a solid foundation before the top surface is applied, and it provides a clean path for trucks to load and unload, which minimizes erosion during construction.
  9. Pay attention to the swing of the doors. Light switches and thermostats should always be on the handle side of the doorway – not the hinge side (where they will be behind the door when you swing it open). Also make sure the thermostats are not in direct sunlight.
  10. Most ceiling fixtures will be shown in the exact center of the room. This might not be where you want it. In a dining room, for example, a server or china cabinet on one wall will make your table placement off center. You will want the ceiling fixture to be centered over the table.
  11. You want the soil around the house to be sloping away from the house. This is facilitated if the elevation of the first floor is above the curb. If a home is 25 to 30 feet from the curb, it should be 18” to 24” higher. If placed 70 to 90 feet from the curb, it should be 48” to 54” higher than the curb.
  12. The architect should specify the floor elevations on the drawings. If you make sure the house is at the proper elevation, and grade the soil accordingly, you will never have to worry about heavy rainfalls, and you will have better “street appeal.”
  13. If you have underground gas utilities, why not have a line run to your gas grill with a shut off valve and hook-up bib. No more propane tanks needing to be refilled.
  14. Buy your home site, and get pre-qualified for your loan, BEFORE you design your house. You can waste lots of money having your design redrawn because it doesn’t work on the plot you’ve chosen, or because you’ve designed more than the bank thinks you can afford.
  15. Exterior painting should only be done in seasons when the evening temperatures are 50 degrees or more. In colder temperatures the paint won’t adhere properly and you might get peeling after a few months. Very high humidity can also hamper your results, so don’t bother during a misty or damp day.
  16. When designing your landscaping, create visible borders. Landscaping takes on a much more orderly and neat feel to it when there are borders between paths, planting areas, hard surfaces & lawn. Borders can be made of stonework, fencing, shrubbery or retaining walls. They will all add to the look and feel of your property.
  17. If you are a big user of holiday lights, put outlets where you might need them. Establish a “holiday circuit” that will allow you to turn all your holiday lights on and off with the flick of a single switch. Lights might be put at fireplace mantels, or on banisters. If you like icicle lights hanging from your roof, consider exterior outlets below the eves for easy access, and to eliminate the need to run extension cords to these locations.
  18. If you think you will need wiring to parts of the property that are away from the house (like lights at the beginning of the driveway), consider running a 4” PVC pipe under the concrete walks, driveways, and patios, to facilitate the running of the future outdoor wiring. Otherwise, you will need to cut through these, and then patch them. Similarly, install a 6” PVC pipe from basement to attic. This conduit can be used for any number of future electrical, telephone, or electronic cabling needs, saving enormous amounts of time and expense.
Article courtesy of:
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Continuous Home Remodeling Help

DateArticle TitleSource
Sep 2009  Charlie's Moving Tips  Home Remodeling Advice 
Sep 2009  Charlie's Advice on Building a New Home  Home Remodeling Advice 
Sep 2009  Charlie's HVAC System Tips  Home Remodeling Advice 
Sep 2009  Charlie's General Home Tips  Home Remodeling Advice 
Aug 2009  Charlie's Ceramic Tile Tips  Home Remodeling Advice 
Aug 2009  Charlie's Bathroom Designs and other Hygiene Tips  Home Remodeling Advice 
Aug 2009  Charlie's Kitchen Renovation Ideas  Home Remodeling Advice 
Aug 2009  Charlie's Home Decorating Ideas  Home Remodeling Advice 
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