Here are some tips to help you budget when you build your own home.
Concrete slab construction is cheaper than wood joist and sub floor construction.
Asphalt tile is a cheap durable flooring material which comes in many attractive colors.
Radiant panel heating, instead of a forced air furnace, will be less expensive and is reasonably satisfactory.
Forced-air heating is cheaper than heating with steam or hot water. Gravity warm-air heating is cheaper than forced air.
Group your plumbing as close together as you can to save on the piping. Asphalt shingles are the cheapest-built up roof next, then shingles, shakes, rigid asbestos shingles. The most expensive are slate and tile.
Copper flashing is more expensive than galvanized iron.
The copper is more durable, but the galvanized iron will probably last as long as the rest of the roof, perhaps longer.
An open cornice is cheaper than one that is boxed in.
The more moldings and the larger they are the more expensive the cornice. The appearance of a simple cornice may be more pleasing than an elaborate, expensive one.
A roof with few or no valleys is cheaper than a complicated one. A hip roof does not add much to the cost, because the extra you spend on the roof is saved by not having to build the end walls so high.
Avoid dormer windows since they are expensive and often leak.
When you do your own work, you can often afford to buy better materials than when you hire the work done.
The amount of labor required is usually the same whether you use cheap materials or the more expensive kinds; in fact, the more expensive materials often require less labor than the cheaper stuff, and you get a better house using the best materials.
Some things may not be done with the precision of professional craftsmen, but if the color scheme is good, and the defects do not happen to be in the most conspicuous places, you should be able to live very comfortably in a house, wholly, or at least partly built by yourself, with the help of your family and friends.
Whatever you do, let it be done as well as your skill and your ability will permit.
Never knowingly do a poor or slipshod job, especially when you are building a house. Besides causing you trouble later it will be difficult and expensive to remedy. Do the best piece of work that you possibly can do.
Be thorough in your foundation work; just because it is out of sight do not conclude that it is unimportant.
Take special precautions in your roof work, remembering that water will always run down hill under the influence of gravity, and sometimes up hill when the wind blows hard enough. Fit your windows so that they operate freely.
Do your plumbing so that it will not get stopped up, or if it does get stopped, have clean out plugs at the proper places. Solder the joints in your wiring carefully. Join wires only in boxes.
Thoroughness in every detail pays big dividends in later satisfaction and especially in freedom from repairs. Repairs seem always to be needed at the most inopportune times.
People who have never traveled often think that things are universally done the same way they are in the old home town.
Those who travel and observe find that there are many acceptable ways of doing most things. Don’t be afraid of inventing something new, or some new way of doing; in this way lies progress.
To follow slavishly the accepted way stops progress and results in stagnation. As a Chinese worker once said to his friend who was interested in being up to date, “Don’t try to tell me how to do this; my grandfather taught me.”
I have traveled and built buildings in many parts of the world, particularly in the Orient, and I have found many alternative ways of doing building work, some of it superior to our own, and much of it just as good.
Another tip to save money is to use a mortgage calculator when you purchase land or property.