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Re: [Shop-talk] Have you built your own house?

Subject: Re: [Shop-talk] Have you built your own house?
From: Mark Miller <>
Date: Wed, 3 Aug 2016 11:06:55 -0700
References: <>
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I built mine about 10 years ago.  It was a wonderful experience for me 
and my family and we love our home. And I'd do it again in a heartbeat 
(except one seems to be plenty for us).

We designed it with an architect to take advantage of our site's views; 
I'm in rural West Sonoma County.

The permitting process was fairly straightforward (though expensive). 
County inspectors were great to work with and helpful (different than 
what I've heard from many other people so I think attitude might be 
important here. . .).
Our county permit folks put out a great residential construction manual 
noting most of the local code requirements.  It was very helpful.  If 
you can get something like that I recommend it.  If not: this one is 
probably generic enough to be useful; let me know and I can get you 
one.  I also bought a copy of the national electrical code book.  Also 
very useful.

I subbed out the foundation  as it was complicated (pier [57 at 14 feet 
deep] and grade beams)
Hired a small crew to assist me and we framed it to weather tight (took 
about 2 months).
I did all the plumbing, electrical, and assorted rough and finish carpentry.
Subbed the insulation (hate that)
Subbed the septic.
Subbed the sheetrock (hate that too)
Bought cabinetry for kitchen and baths
Subbed tile

I did it full time and it took 13 months from ground breaking to move 
in.  Final completion took - well, it's not quite done but to 98% was 
another 6-12 months (depends on whether you ask me or my wife).

Did I make mistakes in design and construction? Absolutely.  Were they 
all able to be worked around? Also yes.
One of the big advantages of doing it yourself is that you can do it so 
you can maintain it and also do the little things that you want but no 
one else would.  I've got shutoff valves under the house for each water 
zone (kitchen, baths, laundry) so I can turn them off separately and 
cleanouts on all drains at each bend.  Cost no more than $200-300 extra 
in parts. Way way more electrical outlets separated into more circuits 
than necessary.
Placed the electrical box under the kitchen so it was simple to have 
lots of breakers feed the space.


Mark Miller

] Have you built your own house?
> I'm toying with doing this, mostly myself. I've done a few big projects like 
> dormers, full remodels, so I'm not green. I'm mostly curious in what you 
> thought about the experience and the result, and would you do it again. I 
> have read Norm Abrahms' book (which is a fun read if you haven't) as well as 
> House by Tracy Kidder.
> thanks,
> jim


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