Building a New Home Key issues to consider at the design stage

Five practical areas to discuss with your designer or to keep in mind when plan shopping for your new home project. Here they are: Roofline-The steeper the roof the more the cost in most cases. If you have noticed lately, there are allot of new home developments where the roof of the home is quite high and large. This is usually because the home itself is a smaller square footage and the roof makes it look bigger.

Always remember that the roof area equates to more sheets of plywood, more shingles and more labor. Gable roofs are less expensive than hip or cottage roofs. I suggest a 6/12 roof slope or less to keep the roof cost on budget.

You might want to discuss this with your designer. Windows/doors-This is a crucial part of design. Let's look at a few things that effect overall cost.

Obviously the amount of windows, size of the windows, whether they open or not, as well as rounded top glass will effect your budget. The average home usually has 12-15 windows. Opening or venting windows cost more than a fixed or picture window. Rounded glass can cost as much as double the cost of an average window so use them sparingly. Wood windows usually cost more than conventional vinyl (PVC) windows.

A door example is a double French exterior door is more expensive than a standard patio door. Wall heights-The trend in the new home building industry today is to design and build with 9 foot walls and ceilings. This gives a home larger feel vs. a traditional 8' wall height. This will affect the cost of the finished home as there is more wall area for drywall, siding, etc.

In a 1500 square foot home or less, I would recommend 9' ceilings to take advantage of the space. Two story walls, referred to as balloon framing, really adds to the cost of framing. Vaulted ceilings-This is a raised ceiling in the home, usually going to a peak. It is a great idea to integrate into the design if you want the cost of standard 8 foot high walls with the higher vaulted ceilings giving the perception of a lager space. There are typically two types of vaulted trusses used in a new home design. The first on is the Scissor truss vault which gives a gentler raised ceiling and is less expensive, and the second is a cathedral vault which typically is a full height vault with a ridge beam.

You see these allot in a Chalet style cabin. (steeper vault) Foundation-A full concrete foundation (8 foot basement) in most cases will cost more than a crawlspace or slab foundation. If you don't have allot of storage designed into the home, a full foundation may be required and is also a great re-sale feature. A sloped lot may accommodate a day-lite or walkout basement option as well.

Basement development, as well as extra space over a garage, are the least expensive ways to add square feet to a home. So if you are about to get plans designed for your new home or just looking for a plan online, keep this five points in mind. Your wallet will thank you.

Larry J Clark is President of Allpro Building Systems which is in Canada.Their new resource website is Larry can be reached personally at or 604-504-1555

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