If you’ve decided to build a house from the ground up, you’re going to learn a lot about the construction process as you watch your dreams and plans become reality. Or if you love your current home but want to do extensive remodeling or an addition to make it perfectly fit your needs–you’re going to get to watch the construction process unfold as well. It is exciting to see a blank piece of land become a new home or addition and you get a front-row seat. You may have some questions about the order in which various parts of the project will be completed, and some of those answers may surprise you! Read on to learn about what you can expect and also why we believe it’s best to hang drywall before siding in your home.
The General Order of Construction
Step One: Site Prep
During this phase, the area is made ready for construction. This is when trees or large rocks are removed, dirt is dug out or brought in (depending on what is needed on your site), and grading happens. The footers and foundation are framed in and poured, and drains and pipes are installed as required.
Step Two: Framing
During this exciting part of the process, you really get to see your project take shape. The walls, roof, and floor are constructed, and the door and window openings are built. The home is then covered in protective sheathing (often plywood or OSB), and then wrapped in house wrap like Henry Blueskin. This thin, synthetic material acts as a moisture barrier, protecting your walls and the interior of your home from the outside weather, while also letting humidity and moisture from the inside air escape.
Because this step is when your home goes from drawings and plans to a real, three-dimensional structure, it’s one of the most satisfying stages to watch. But there’s so much more to come!
Step Three: Plumbing/Electrical/HVAC
After the framing is done, it’s time for the plumbers, electricians, and HVAC installers to get to work roughing in your systems. This means that the pipes, wires, and vents are installed and ready to go. While not as dramatic as the site prep and framing stages, this step provides the necessary systems for enjoying life in your home.
Step Four: Insulation
After the rough-in is done, it’s time to add insulation. There are many types available, like spray foam, radiant barriers, and fiberglass. Each has different uses and benefits. Insulation is rated based on its R-value, which tells you how the material prevents the flow of heat in and out of your home. A higher R-value means greater insulating properties. We will discuss with you what is best for your project and why.
Step Five: Drywall
Your house is dried-in now, which means it’s weatherproof. It’s time to hang the drywall! This is a dusty process, but when it’s complete, the interior of your home will look amazing. After the drywall is hung, the seams are taped and mudded, so they are ready to receive paint.
Here’s Where the Debate Comes In
If you did a Google search asking if you should hang drywall or siding first, you’d get some people arguing one way and some the other. It’s a topic of much discussion! Some builders like to hang drywall after the siding is up. They argue that you should only hang the drywall after the exterior is completed, in order to keep it from getting wet if it rains. We disagree! If a house has been properly sheathed and then wrapped well in house wrap, the drywall is in no danger of getting wet in inclement weather.
Why do we believe it’s so important to hang drywall after the siding is up? Well, the purpose of drywall is not just to make your room look finished. It’s actually a wall-bracing component. This means that when it’s installed, it strengthens the walls. On the exterior walls, it causes a slight persuasion or bowing of the walls when it is secured in place. If you haven’t yet hung the siding, this is no big deal. But if the siding is already up, the straightness of the siding can be compromised, leaving you with a slight waviness.
Again, the statement that the drywall will get wet and fall apart is not accurate. We install sheathing and house wrap to protect your home, and everything is dry inside, even before the siding is installed.
Step Six: Siding
It’s time for the outside to start looking amazing. Whether you’ve chosen fiber cement siding, brick, stone, cedar, vinyl siding, or stucco, it’s time to start installing it. Siding covers the outside of your home, helping to strengthen and protect it, to insulate it, and to make it look great.
Step Seven: Finishes
This stage covers a lot of work. Now is when flooring and carpet are installed and walls are painted. Light fixtures are hung. Toilets are seated, and sinks are installed. Cabinets and countertops are put in place, and trim is hung and painted. Everything from door knobs to drawer pulls are installed and made ready to go. This step takes a while, but it’s exciting to see the finishes you’ve chosen start to make your house look like what you’ve dreamed it could be.
Step Eight: Final Clean-Up
While we have been working hard throughout the construction process to keep the job site clean and orderly, when the project is nearing completion, we always invite our cleaners to do a thorough job getting it sparkling clean. When we hand you the keys to your new or newly remodeled home, we want you to walk into a space that is perfect and ready for you and your family to enjoy. Welcome home!
Ready to Get Started?
If you’re ready to see this construction process in real time as you build, remodel, or add on to your DC, Maryland, or Virginia home, contact us today. Our skilled, knowledgeable team is ready to answer your questions and help you get the ball rolling. The home you’ve always dreamed of can be yours!