3 Steps to Building a Sturdy Foundation and Frame

Feb 20, 2017

You’ve found a lot of land that you like, you’ve secured your financing, and you’ve worked with an architecture or designer to put together that dream house. What’s next? Laying the foundation. Although this step may sound less exciting than picking out paint colors or new flooring, it’s one of the most important aspects in ensuring your home remains functional and holds it’s resale value years down the road.

Regardless of how hands-on you’ll be in the actual physical construction of your house’s foundation, it’s important to have an understanding of how the process works. Mistakes made while constructing the foundation of a home are typically the most costly to fix and will impact (and possibly delay) every other area of your home’s construction.

Demolition any existing structures.

Out with the old, in with the new. Tearing down an existing structure requires a separate demolition permit and public notice of proposed work to be completed. Your builder or local city council can help you with this process. 

Demolition of a building

Laying the foundation.

Once any existing structures are cleared, excavation, or the cultivation of the property, can begin in order to lay the foundation for the new home. Depending on the condition of the prior foundation, your builder may be able to build on the existing foundation. 

After your foundation is ready, a foundation inspection will need to be scheduled and completed by the city or country and the title insurance company, if financing is involved. The inspection applies to all foundations regardless of who performs the foundation work. Any subsequent work usually can’t be started on until after the inspection is competed, as the foundation will be covered up.

photo of laying a house foundation

Raise the roof.

After the foundation is completed, framing begins to build the “shell” of the new home and roof. From an interior view of the shell, the framework, or trusses, supports the various beams, posts and framework.

When the framing is completed, the city or county usually completes an inspection. Any subsequent work cannot proceed without the completed inspection. 

Photo of a framed house

Wall sheathing made of plywood or other laminates or fiberboards are attached to the shell and framework of the new home. The construction of the roof follows the framing of the home. The underlying support and pitch of the roof will depend on the type of roofing materials used. The pitch is the angle at which the roof rises from its lowest to highest point. 

Some roofing material (stone, concrete, etc.) require more structural support than composition or cedar shake roofing material. The pitch and type of material is partly dependent upon style, cost and practical considerations, such as amount of rain or snowfall. New construction homes tend to be built with shingles, which are typically more lightweight and lower in cost.  

After the roof is complete, the exterior of the home is usually wrapped with a synthetic material to prevent rain from getting into the wall assembly, while still allowing water vapor to pass to the exterior. 

Photo of a house being constructed 

If you’re thinking about building a home, we’re here to help. We’ve been specializing in helping people achieve their home ownership dreams for over 100 years. To find out more, contact one of our neighborhood branch managers or call us at 800-324-9375.