Elisha writes: Thank you for the insight you have provided into what it means to build a house. We are planning to build in the Poconos. Given a total budget of about $200K, I'm assuming we should go with a Design-Builder to help us with siting and designing the house, and with project management and construction. Is this the best approach? Steve Bliss, of … [Read more...] about Design-Build on a Tight Budget
Missy writes: I am in the process of building a new home in Michigan and when the foundation was poured last fall there was water sitting in the basement throughout the whole process. Now three months later as they are finishing the house, the sump pump has continued to run. We have a mix of clay and sand soil on the property. We want to know if this is just a temporary problem … [Read more...] about Wet Basement Solutions for New Home
Whitney writes: I recently bought a home and found out that the entire lot is backfilled with cinder block, brick, tiles, asphalt, and metal, which is causing damage to the foundation. Also, a large section of land keeps washing away due to all the buried debris buried. What can I do? Steve Bliss, editor of BuildingAdvisor.com, responds: Sorry to hear about your problem. … [Read more...] about Foundation Damage from Buried Debris
Louise writes: We submitted detailed plans and specs for a substantial remodel of a beach house to five builders: two "big name" builders, two midrange, and one "mom and pop," but very highly regarded, small builder. This is our first time going through this process and we (naively) assumed that we would get back five proposals that we could compare easily. Wrong! Some are … [Read more...] about Comparing Bids: Is the Low Bid the Best?
Peter writes: I received a quote from a building company for a new customized, pre-fabricated home. The quote and specifications are quite complex. How can I tell if the price is reasonable and competitive with a site-built home? Steve Bliss, of BuildingAdvisor.com, responds: To find out if the bid is in the ballpark, you can compare it to similar new homes for sale in your … [Read more...] about Will Modular Homes Save You Money?
Denise writes: We built a home in rural Oklahoma in 1996. Since we moved in, white sediment and white scale in our well water have forced us to frequently change elements in our electric hot water heater. The water also leaves white stains and sediment build-up on my dark green whirlpool tub and tends to clog the jets. One year we bought an above-ground pool and took a sample … [Read more...] about Best Treatments for Hard Water
Sally asks: What is the best way to flashing around a window? Is the flashing part of the window or the building exterior? Also, should there be a flashing above the window to divert water away? Steve Bliss of BuildingAdvisor.com, responds: Water leakage around windows is one of the biggest problems in modern home construction, but you may not notice the problems until years … [Read more...] about Leakproof Window Flashing
Bud writes: Our contract is a fixed fee tied to the final cost per square foot, and it provides the builder a bonus for meeting the cost target. Should the bonus be held until the punch list is completed or paid at the final draw before punch list? Second, who typically pays for the punch list, the builder or the owner, if issues arise and the workmanship was not up to par … [Read more...] about The Final Check and Punch List