- Doors & Windows:
Choosing the doors and windows for your new home is not an easy task.There are many options in construction, materials, insulation factors and styles. However, the better the quality of the doors and windows, the less your energy costs. Once you have chosen the styles and materials you want for your doors and windows, shop around. Name brands have high quality but there are many unrecognized manufacturers that produce quality products and are usually less expensive than the name brands.
Figure 5 - Exterior door with side lights
Figure 6 - Typical Bathroom Layout
- Additional information on Window frame materials
- Additional information on Window styles
- Additional information on Exterior Doors (Figure 5)
Another factor to consider are window sizes. While doors have standard sizes, windows can vary dramatically. However, many manufacturers have
standard sizes which are less expensive than windows that are custom built to size.
Everyone wants there own bathroom (Figure 6)! And, if you have an unlimited budget you should consider it. However, if you are amongst the majority of people who have to watch their spending you should take a hard look at the number of bathrooms you are installing in your home.
Next to kitchens, bathrooms are the most expensive rooms in a home (by square footage). Initially, it is an area where substantial savings can be made.
- Placing a bathroom between two bedrooms and allowing access from both sides, great for kids.
- Layout an extra bathroom for a future increase in family size, but only install the drain, vent, water pipes, a method of ventilation and an electrical cable that runs to your distribution panel for heating, (these can be very difficult and expensive to install at a later date), use the room as a walk in closet, until you need the extra bathroom. With a plumber on site to run the plumbing throughout the home the added piping will cost relatively little and the same applies to running an electrical cable. The major bathroom costs come in the fixtures, flooring materials, wall coverings, lighting and vanities.
- Consideration should be given to how you will provide hot water. Tankless hotwater will save on energy costs. If you are planning to use electricity to heat water then you will need a larger incoming electrical service in order to meet the short period demands of the tankless systems. If you are using gas, you will have to determine the positioning of the tankless units in order to have gas lines and ventilation systems installed.
Consider your lifestyle and what you want from your home in the initial design.
- If you do not entertain a lot? Maybe a formal dining room is not a requirement.
- Do you like an open concept, where the family can be visible from the kitchen?
- Are you planning on or do you have a large family?
- Do you require an area for your exercise equipment?
- Do you live in a climate where having snow removal machines is a basic necessity (build the garage slightly larger)?
- Do you require space for gardening and landscaping equipment?
The key is to include everything you require in the initial design. The more changes you make during construction the higher the costs. Changes are expensive, a survey taken from contractors indicated that a change will cost between 3 to 5 times more than if it was included in the original design plans and specifications.
Seeing your completed home, before it is built used to be a major and expensive project and using drawings and sketches was never a true indicator of the final appearance. However, technology has changed all of that, you can now acquire home design software which will show you your new home from all angles in all 3 dimensions. It is definitely a worthwhile investment. for anyone building their own home.
Using 3D home design software you can also design with the future in mind. Add a room off the back or side of your home and see what the finished project would look like - does it fit. Then you can actually add the room at a later date, knowing now that it will not detract from the overall design of the home.