Homeowners building their own home want advice on estimating construction time
I am building our home. It is about 2350 sq. ft main floor and have the basement poured and the house is in the dry with no windows or doors or siding. I am wanting help guesstimating my time with each phase from here on out. I realize we will be slower than professionals. I have some building experience from growing up in the country and on the farm. I’ve helped others with their homes/buildings. I have some experience in all areas of home building. Like I said, I would just like a little help in estimating the time investment. My wife told me to ask. ; )
Here's a recent thread from MWGaines re. his whole house pretty much gut and start over remodel. You should read it and do a search here for threads started by him. This will give you an idea of time that could be spent.
I joined the carpentry trade 38 yrs ago. 22 yrs ago I built our house. It took a yr and a half - nights and weekend-while working union full time (8 hr days, no worries). I had some help, I hired out the shingles and drywall.
I have helped owner/builders construct their homes a couple times. In most cases they ran the job-hired out the work. Their period of construction probably took them twice as long as a builder. They got good work from their subs, though some strung them along a bit too long for my liking.
The frame you have as it exists is usually the quickest part of the job. Don't use it as a gauge of how long the finish might take. For us to guess your progress and pace would be pretty much a wild guess. Your best bet is to plan the rest of the job out complete-divide the hours total by 5, 8 or 10, depending on the time you can spend on it per day. That's how long it will take (plus the large fudge factor as it's your first time.
Best of luck.
Thanks for replying to my post. I appreciate the quick response. I'll check out that post.
Basically, take how much time you think it will be and then double that. And whatever value you end up with will be about half as long as it will actually take.,
Thanks for the idea. That's
Thanks for the idea. That's kinda what we do now. Time and weather will tell. Bob
I'm still working on mine
I am in year 4 of building our house. We moved in after about a year, but it was kind of like camping for the first month or so. We did almost everything ourselves from digging the hole, to septic, foundations, concrete, plumbing, electrical, framing, roofing, siding, insulating, drywalling, finishing, etc, etc. The only thingsI hired out was the propane gas work, HVAC, and carpet installation.
If I was to do it again (with a slightly higher budget) I would hire the drywall done. I was hanging it by myself (alone), and it took a couple months to get the main floor (2250 sq ft) hung, taped and sanded. We did all flat walls with no texture, so some of the taping had to be touched up and re-sanded. I had some knowledgeable friends help with the concrete finishing, but that is something I would hire out if I was doing it all by myself.
Your question is tough to answer, because we all have different amounts of time available, different skill levels, and different standards of perfection... I have a job that keeps me busy 60-80 hours a week in the summer and 50-60 hours the rest of the year. For the first year and a half, we worked every evening, every weekend and I burned up about 6 weeks of vacation time I had saved up. I also lost 30 pounds and was completely exhausted! Once the upstairs was pretty liveable, our motivation was not as high, and we took the occasional weekend to visit our family. THen we had a baby. things slowed considerably from there. RIght now the upstairs is done, the downstairs is all framed, one bathroom is almost done downstairs, the entryway is finally finished and the landscaping is pretty close to done. I still have to hang and finish drywall, do flooring and hang the suspended ceiling (all in the basement). People keep asking me if my house is done, but I just tell them that "done" is a relative term.
My wife is very capable and willing to help anywhere she can, but sometimes I am learning how to do something myself, so I can't give her instructions on what I need her to do. My wife is very also creative, so our tiling jobs that would take a solid day with a simple layout took us about a week due to intricate designs, mosaics, etc. Some projects were put on hold for my wife to find the right piece of antique furniture to make into a sink vanity or learn how to do something special for a handmade countertop. We also live a long ways from a well stocked hardware store, so if I mis-estimated materials I either had a 120 mile drive for more stuff or I had to wait until Monday for the local store to open and HOPE that they had what I needed. We also made choices that took more time. We have done about 1300 feet of unfinished #2 oak flooring that we had to nail down, sand, the put 5 coats of oil based Polyurethane on. Our wood floors took us about 2 weeks. If we had gone with prefinished we would have been done in two days. But I would not trade our beautiful floors for any prefinished flooring I have seen, and the sanded floors feel so much better underfoot.
It is also important to include what I call 'learnin' time. I'll explain: Most professional contractors will never build an entire house. THey sub parts out that they don't want or don't know how to do. As a DIYer, you have the same option, but if you decide that this will be all your work you will need some time to read books, search the internet and talk to professionals to learn how to build things right. That is where most DIYers go wrong; they charge forward trying to meet some made-up deadline, instead of taking the time to learn and do it right the first time.
Most jobs I do will take me 3-4 times longer than everyone tells me. I had a dozen people tell me that we would have our house sided in 2 days. But since we have a lookout basement and a big house with an attached garage, it too us about 2 weeks. We also only had the two of us working on it most days, so there is a lot of time spent up and down the ladder/scaffolding.
My advise to someone building their own house: When in doubt, buy the tool! (and buy a good one, or rent one-time use tools like floor sanders) tools sometimes seem expensive, until you struggle for 2 weeks trying to get by without it, then finally buy it and realize that you could have been done in 2 days. - Buy the proper materials! good materials are not any more expensive than the wrong material that has to be modified and jerry rigged. Especially since you will probably end up redoing it with the proper materials later anyway. - Not every contractor you talk to knows what the heck they are talking about. Some are called professionals simply because they get paid for shoddy work. find some good contractors to help answer your questions. - Don't get in a hurry! this project will take lots of time, so don't try to set goals that will make you cut corners to to meet some silly deadline. You will spend a few years building, then you will have to live with your work for the rest of your life. - Shoot for perfection, but know when to call it 'good enough.' In mathmatics we were taught to do your rounding at the end of the calculation. It is the same in building.
you forgot to mention the time you............
step back and adjust the plan.......
marvel what you two (four/six/eight/) hands have done.
If you had folks stop by and help like I was lucky enough for, those hold some moments that money saved can't be put to.........
The relatioinships you make while doing this.
And while you're building or after you're done-there's the time you spend repaying those favors.
Time spent, but very rewarding.
Yes, having good plans is very important, but I found that I had to be very flexible. Just before we finished digging, my wife decided we needed to bump a wall out 10 feet. The we were plumbing for under the slab and she added two bathrooms to our plans...
And the pay back! OH yes! My father-in-law warned me that it's hell being handy. Now I know what he was talking about. I am currently helping the sister-in-law get started on their house and I just finished helping the brother-in-law get his house finished with wood floors and a tile shower. Free help isn't exactly free, but it is also kind of fun to be involved in other projects where the stress and decisions are not my problem...
where the stress and decisions are not my problem...
Spec House From Hell
Been a long time since I brought this up on BT. You might enjoy this thread from when I built my house.
BTW - I'm also a farm boy. And as someone already said, everything takes at least twice as long as ya think it will.
Thanks for posting that again. I remember reading it a while back and you had me laughing my head off. Fortunatly you have a sense of humor about it.
How old are you??
DW and I were 26 YO when we built our first house with a 5YO and 7 YO 'to help' .
It took 2 years to clear a 1000 ft or road, dig the well (by hand with bucket) and put in the septic and get the house into the dry, no electrical or plumbing or windows or doors yet. The 2 years was also needed to save a few more $$ as we built without a loan and all 'pay as you go'.
Took about 6 months from 'roof on' point till we moved into 3 completed rooms (kitchen, living, and one bedroom, kids slept in living room) I typically worked 8-1/2 hrs in office a day, 1 hr total commute, then 6-7 hrs working on house and playing with kids - cannot remember the mix of time there, but do recall averaging only about 6 hrs of sleep a day.
Total time to finish (all carpet in, all elect and plumbing in, all walls and ceilings, etc. ) from that point was another full year.
Kinda slacked off after we first moved in. <G> Add a week for every year older than 26YO, another month per year after 40 YO, and 3 months for every year over 60YO <G>
edit add-on: a grade school friend started his house when he was 40 YO, moved into about the same 3 type rooms as we did in about the same time; but, 10 years later he still had bare drywall in 1/2 of the house.... .
RE: How old are you
Laughed when I saw that heading, I guess because I'm 51. But, before you put one of my legs in the grave I should probably tell you that a doc told me I had the muscle tone of a 20-something. Not bragging, don't work out, ain't buff just good farm boy stock, I guess. : ) Age does make a difference though because now I usually like 6-7 hrs of sleep.
RippySkippy commented about the drywall costs. We are definitely checking into the cost of diy or hired out on everything as he said sometimes it's cheaper to have a real pro do the job. Around here you can get your trim cut and stained cheaper than you can buy unfinished trim.
Also, we, too, are a pay as we go. No loan, just sweat equity.
Appreciate all the comments and insights and really enjoyed hearing about everyone's experiences. We will be posting again about some things we are planning on doing.
Been there done that.
Our house roughly the same foot print, ICF foundation & walls. I hired the concret poured, roof install and drywall. With regards to the drywall...I could hire it done (ready for priming) for what it the raw materials would cost me. Shop around. We did the rest.
I worked a day job from 5 to 1-130, and the house until and after dark for 12 months. My construction loan had interest only payments on draws.
I don't think anyone can give you an estimate of the time it will take...everyone works at such a different pace. I focused on one big task at a time...rough in wiring, rough plumbing, etc. Look for ways to become efficient. For example when wiring, I had a small cart with almos every concieable thing I may need (tools to consumable items) with-in hands reach. You'll be amazed at how much time running for this and that takes away.
I know thats not the level of detail you were looking for...but the long and short of it is that I would do it again in a heartbeat. Remember:
it is hard work,
it is rewarding,
most likly you will see value in the sweat equity,
and, it is way too easy to slack once you move in, I'm as guilty as the other guy...
At some point in time, if yours goes anything like mine, you are going to end up feeling like the lone ranger. You'll get initial help but as it drags on, the friends will go first. They have their own crap to do. Then the relatives will stop coming. After a while, the wife will see it as "working on the house" when she spends all her time shopping and you'll be stuck busting your butt and knuckles and back at the house by yourself. The trick is can you get over the lone range syndrome and get it done and still stay married or will you let it take you down.
One year in the house-camping a month or so
Thanks for all the information. My wife says we'll camp out in ours if it's not ready eventually...
The info on the siding, drywalling sounds about right for us, too. I'll have the help of my 'capable' wife, 16 yr old daughter and 13 yr old son (He's bigger than his sister), 11 yr old son, 8 yr old son and youngest son our 5 yr old 'big helper'. Some of this help with speed things up some of it will slow it down...But, it's all part of it. I decided we were going to build our own house and do as much of the work as possible. My wife was ready to move in yesterday as we are currently all living in about 1000 sq ft. : )
My wife also has creative ideas for the house which I am adjusting to or figuring out in my head how it will work.
Enjoyed reading about your experience.
wife also has creative ideas
Been married 45 years - a hint: incorporate every one of her ideas if at all possible, DO NOT ever complain about how hard it is to incorporate and of her ideas!!!!! Sinks, etc. go at HER height, not yours_except in the barn/shop you will build later <G>
Also, if she already does not have a decent sewing machine, get her one and talk her into learning to sew. DW made all the drapes, etc. for out house, and, as we made nearly all our furniture too (out of mostly salvaged oak), she got to learn upholstery also.
Suggested to DW about 16 years ago when 51YO that we build another house, all I got was 'cant do it now, dont have the stamina'.
BTW, 2 or 3 DW's least favorite jobs involved hot tar - she painted the outside of the foundation with tar and as roof was a built up roof - she and melted the kegs of tar in a 55 gal bbl and put it in a 5 gal bucket for me to haul up. 3rd least favorite was hand diggeing a well - scared her to see me down in the hole while she hauled up buckets of dirt. You are past those points it seems.
Well you are dried in ... maybe about what ... 10-20% done? My framer said when my drywall was done ... that was about 50% and you are a LONG way from that.
I had a colleague once who would work full time and bang out large houses in amazingly short order. He had a wife and 5 kids that were generally fairly capable ... plus some family resources to draw on. I think he was doing them in about a year. This is also in a cooler/wetter northern climate.
It took me 2 1/2 years working full time plus (my project was right next door to where we lived, so it was easy to go over and do some things or check on something when I was ironing out details/planning). I subbed out drywall, insulation, concrete (foundation), shingles, and gutters. All VERY worth every penny, too. Had help w/ the framing, but my framing was really complex ... which affected some other work, too. Most the rest of the work I did solo. Learning as I went slowed me down even w/ some past elect and plumbing experience. Siding alone took like 3 months, I think ... some help there, but I did a lot of work on some high scaffolding and it wasn't a box, so there were a lot of cuts going on.
The carp that built our house did about 2 houses/year (2000 sq ft range), working mostly with 1 other helper, though subbing out concrete and maybe drywall. But he was not the type to go back and fix a mistake (nor think too long about not making them in the first place).
And I know another guy who builds low-end homes for a contractor south of here. They can put a home up in maybe 2 weeks, with a crew of maybe 6-8. But the guy's a wiz at organizing stuff in his head. We were working in TN (where footings are shallower than here) and he came onto the site, looked around for ten minutes, ordered concrete for the footings, and had the footings dug & formed before the truck shows up, using volunteer labor.
Hi Bob. MWGaines here. I'm
Hi Bob. MWGaines here. I'm the guy Calvin mentioned. This is a very rare moment for me. The guys who frequent this forum are really sharp, so I usually limit my comments to avoid embarrassing myself. :) However, this is one topic where I feel like a genuine expert!
My wife and I started remodeling my former in-law's house in November of 2006. It's a brick ranch, just over 1300 square feet.I completely gutted the interior down to the bare studs, including the ceilings. The exterior masonry was in such bad shape that we hired someone to re-brick the entire outside. The house previously had a fireplace. I tore it completely down and did all the cleanup. The mason just laid the bricks. The fireplace doesn't exist anymore (We wanted the wall space back).
Prior to the new brickwork, I installed new sheeting, tyvek and replaced all windows and doors. I changed one rear double window into patio doors and enlarged three bedroom windows. I also installed a window where the fireplace used to be and placed a picture window in the master bath.
This house had once partially burned. I replaced a few really twisted framing members and have tried to compensate for many others. I'm strictly a DIY'er, so the frustration has been extreme at times.
Did I mention that we made changes to the floor plan too? It used to have four bedrooms and a bath and three-quarter. Now it has three bedrooms, a full bath, a master bath with a soaking tub and a separate laundry room. Some walls were built. Others were either removed or relocated--all with codes in mind. Yes, I pulled a permit.
This house previously had ceiling heat and one window air conditioner. I made a deal with a local HVAC contractor. I agreed to pay him full price if he would allow my wife and I to completely install a total electric split heat pump, including all duct work fabrication throughout the attic. He supplied the materials, supervised our work, gassed the unit and performed the initial start-up.
I've installed all new plumbing and electrical, including the service entrance. New insulation in the walls, attic and crawlspace. Structured wiring throughout, but not connected yet. New sheetrock on all the ceilings. New sheetrock on all the walls except the kitchen and master bath (hope to do those soon). The sheetrock has only been mudded and painted in three rooms so far: the laundry room, the hall bath and one bedroom. Those are also the only rooms with interior doors so far. The windows still need casings.
Those rooms were finished to that degree so we could get permission to occupy the house. The house we were previously in was sold for the balance owed. We couldn't afford it and had to move.
Other than tiling the bathroom floor, the whole house still needs new floors. I still need to mud all the sheetrock and install interior doors. I have no kitchen cabinets or appliances, and no money to buy them. Of course, there's a lot of finish work ahead that I probably won't have the time or money to deal with for quite a while either.
I'm the sole contractor and the entire crew has consisted of me and my wife, with an occasional hand from a friend or family member. Like I said, I began this project in late 2006 and it is now almost 2011 with still a lot of work and expense remaining.
On the upside, I no longer have a mortgage, everything in the place is paid for, and I feel like I'm finally turning the corner on this project. I've put a lot of thought into comfort, convenience and energy efficiency. Hopefully, that will pay dividends as well.
Would I do it all over again? No, not at my age. I'll be 54 in April. I love doing this stuff, but this project makes me feel like I've aged 10 years in the last four.
Let me just offer you this advice:
If you're determined to build your own house and do your own work, plan to take a lot longer and spend a lot more than you have any desire to. Also expect the unexpected. I got sick for awhile and it put me way behind. Most importantly, make sure you bookmark this forum. These guys have been my best friends. I honestly couldn't have survived this long without them.
If that were a car it would be jacking up the radiator cap and driving a new car under it.
Thanks all...Off for Christmas
We are grateful for all the responses that are helping us put things in perspective. After Thursday, we will be traveling & visiting friends and family for about the next week so not much working going on..
Wish you all a Merry Christmas and a great New Year. Looking forward to more conversations in the future.
90/90 Rule of Project Schedules
Just follow "Runnerguys 90/90 rule of Project Schedules" and you'll be fine:
The first 90% of the project will take about 90% of the time. The last 10% of the project will take the other 90% of the time.
Its all about scheduling = 5 month 2800sf buildout
So here's a brief description of my project:
-Original house torn down to foundation.
-All new framing
-625+/- double car addition on the side incl foundations.
-Total final buildout = 2800 sf.
From gut to move in = 5 months.
Its all about doing your homework from the design phase. Being an architect also helped...:)
Basically I scheduled all my subs in tandem. E.g. once the 1st floor framing was done, I had the plumber start on the basement rough.
Once the sheathing was up, next day inspection, following day the roofers were on site to wrap it up. Windows were ordered on the day I demoed, etc....like I said its all about planning...
But just as an FYI...original plan was 4 months...the "complete tear-down" was never part of the plan...it was a result of finding rotted out studs in the existing home...plan for a contingency, and you will be ok...
PS. the downturn in the economy definitely helped...found a bunch of great subs looking for work...hope they can commit to me again once things start to heat up...