Important Terms to Know When Building a Home - The Hardware Hut
Cabinet Hardware, Bathroom, Amerock Hardware, Terms Needed To Know, The Hardware Hut
Cabinet Hardware, Bathroom, Amerock Hardware, Terms Needed To Know, The Hardware Hut

Five things to Know before Building Your New Home

Building or remodeling can be a stressful but marvelous experience. Those who venture into the home building game, who have done their research and choose the right contractor to fit their needs and desires, happen to have the best luck, in my opinion.

Home Building Budget

First and foremost, you need to determine your home building budget. Be realistic about what you can afford: many people get to the middle of their project and start to realize their budget is blown.

When a project is incorrectly estimated and budgeted, the end can become super stressful and disappointing. Finishes (hardware, electrical, and plumbing fixtures) may be cut to stay within budget, and a high-end home can end up with finishes and products that are mismatched for the amount of money spent. This is a major disservice to you and your home’s resale value down the road.

Once you’ve calculated your home building budget, do yourself a favor and add another twenty percent to the final amount. The extra cash provides a buffer zone if unexpected expenses arise (which is almost a certainty when dealing with a construction project). If you don’t spend the extra, great! If you have to, however, you can absorb unexpected costs into your overall budget.

Residential Architecture Terms You Should Know

Before you even start looking for a contractor, familiarize yourself with commonly used building terms. Understanding residential construction terminology will help you communicate well with your contractors and avoid potentially costly misunderstandings. Below is a short house terms glossary of building terms you should know:

  • Backsplash: Decorative paneling or tile used to protect walls. Most often used in kitchens and bathrooms.
  • Bearing Wall: A wall that bears a structural load. 
  • Casing: The frame around a door or window.
  • Eaves: The portion of the roof which extends out from the house. Also called the overhang.
  • Footings: Rebar-reinforced concrete foundational structures used to support a house.
  • Foundation: The lowest load-bearing portion of the house, typically below ground level and made from concrete.
  • Joists: Wood or steel elements that transfer load from beams to the home’s vertical columns and studs. 
  • Load-Bearing: Used to describe walls, foundations, or other structures which support the house’s weight. 
  • Plot: A parcel of land. 
  • Rafters: Including wooden elements that form the basis of a roof.
  • Rebar: A steel rod used to reinforce concrete.
  • Sheathing: The outer cover of a framed wall or roof section.
  • Site Plan: A diagram detailing the architecture, engineering, and landscaping involved in a construction project. 
  • Trusses: Beams or other objects used to form a rigid framework.
  • Wainscoting: Decorative panels used to accent or protect a wall.

Finding a Contractor

Take your time finding a contractor for your project. You want a contractor with a proven track record who you trust to take charge of your building project. At a minimum, interview three different contractors and ask them for quotes. Check all their references carefully, and remember the cheapest construction quote is not always the best choice. 

If you’re working with a residential architect to design your new home, they may have contractors they can recommend or with whom they have a working business relationship. Failing this, one of the best ways to find a contractor is through word of mouth. Ask friends, family, or coworkers who have had construction done for recommendations. You can also find a contractor through online directories or your local Yellow Pages.

Home Building Materials

Choosing the best home building materials for your home is very important. From the concrete used to pour your foundation to your choice of door hardware and cabinet knobs and pulls, the materials used to construct your home are just as important as the people you hire to build it. 

Keep your budget in mind as you select home building materials. Consult your local wholesale suppliers. Ask your general contractor to tell you exactly what they use for roofing, siding, windows, doors, and hardware. Research the brands your general contractor uses, and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Cutting corners on home building materials may cost you less now, but the long-term impact on your home can be expensive.

Home Building Team

You’ll need to work with an architect or engineer, depending on the project you are taking on. While you can find excellent software for designing your home, unless you’re an architect I recommend spending the money to have a professional draw detailed blueprints. Consulting an engineer helps when remodeling and relocating beams and other structural components.

Consider using an interior designer as well. The input of an interior designer during the architectural design process helps bring your project full circle. Let the interior designer find the greatest use of space in your new home or office space. You can save thousands of dollars by getting the design right the first time. I don’t know how many times we have to reframe or tear out walls because the original design did not match the homeowner’s needs.

There are many amazing design professionals we deal with here at Spokane Hardware Supply, Inc. and Hardware Hut that provide help with budgeting and design to create your dream home.

Allow Us to Help You

The advice and house terms provided here may seem obvious, common-sense tips. However, they are essential to the overall success of your project, so please follow them. They will help make the home of your dreams.

Good luck! Don’t hesitate to reach out to us or connect with us on Facebook if you have any questions. If you are starting your new home or remodel project, we would love to be involved in this special process with you.

About the author
Tom Reinbold has been in the cabinet and door/finish hardware industry for over 20 years and has a small stint in the residential construction business and experience in commercial hardware. In his free time, he enjoys golf, camping, fishing, and watching sports.