which is cost effective?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by nana-san, Dec 23, 2006.

  1. nana-san

    nana-san Well-Known Member

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    I have received conflicting information regarding the cost of building. Sme say building up is least expensive, others have said building wide and others building with a basement is cheaper.

    Which is accurate>

    Thanks in Advance and Happy Holidays.
     
  2. Alice In TX/MO

    Alice In TX/MO More dharma, less drama. Supporter

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    Depends on where you live and many other factors.
     

  3. stanb999

    stanb999 Well-Known Member

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    Doing it yourself is the cheapest by far. Refinishing a basement is easiest to do yourself as the materials aren't ruined by the weather if it takes a bit of time to complete. Heck for the most part you can doit without getting a loan. Pay as you go and thats always the cheapest.
     
  4. nana-san

    nana-san Well-Known Member

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    We will build in the adirondacks. Unfortunately, hubby and I are not handy. We will have to learn as we go and would like to do as much as we can on our own. We have been stationed overseas for the last nine years so we are out of touch with the "real world".

    We figured paying and doing our own work would be cheaper but just wondered if having a basement was cheaper than not.
     
  5. Deb862

    Deb862 Well-Known Member

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    IMHO, I would have to say if we were building it ourselves again we would not do a basement. When we built our home, everyone told us that doing a basement was the most cost-effective way to go to gain more space cheaply, and usually this is the case. However, we found that if you are doing it yourself and you are just "average" people like us :) the actual physical labor that goes into building the basement is what pushed us to the edges of our physical abilities. We used insulated concrete forms that were easy and kinda like Legos to erect but everything else was extremely hard. Working in the dirt in a hole 8-12 feet in the ground is a huge hassle. I still shudder to think about having to use a ladder to get in and out of that hole umpteen times a day for over a month again! (As you can tell, I was the gopher on the job!) And if I never tie another wire tie around rebar in my life it will be to soon! LOL. Next to this, framing the rest of the house was a piece of cake.

    We have decided that if we were to build again we would not do a basement, even if we could hire a contractor to do it. Our thinking is that we have looked at tons of homes over the last few years (new, middle aged, and old) with basements and nearly every single one of them from Idaho to NY had problems of some sort, be it water, mold, cracking, dampness, etc., even some brand new homes we looked at. We have decided that we would rather do a small outbuilding/barn/garage near house or even attached to the house (not for animals) with possibly a small root cellar underneath that than to build a basement again under our main home.

    That said, everyone and every situation is different, that's just our opinion :)
     
  6. NWMO

    NWMO Well-Known Member

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    Around here, it seems to be a "wash" in regard to building up or building out.

    I had always heard that if you built up, as in second story, your costs should be cheaper, as the concrete prices for a basement around here are relatively high.....however, after speaking with more builders, the costs are pretty much the same and based upon square footage of the house.....not sure in regard to doing the work yourself.......Most homes in this area are simple ranch style homes....and many are built by the owners.....so I would say one level would the cheaper, and basements here are a necessity with spring tornado weather! And the basements are mostly finished to nearly double the living space......so I would say one level cheaper in most instances.
     
  7. stanb999

    stanb999 Well-Known Member

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    Well if you are building new. A basement is an extra cost. It will include the cost of the block or concrete/ the added excavation. But most people in this part of the country have them. They add storage space, keep the first floor warmer, keep the dampness that is usally found in the north east in the basement and not the house, and lastly they give you easy access to install furnaces, water heaters, ect.

    Also in the future you can convert part of it to living space and "they" often don't tax you for it as it's below grade.
     
  8. nana-san

    nana-san Well-Known Member

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    DEB,

    That is our opinion as well. the ground is usually wet Upstate and we don't want to worry about mold, mildew and cracks. We even thought of a walkout basement. but one floor sounds good as we get older. LOL

    Stan, we would be building new. The added strage is always a plus but we have thought of using out builldings. We do shallow water table so even thought the site is elevated, i don't know what concenrs may arise later.

    NW, thanks too for the info. It gets confusing building up, out or down.
     
  9. tinknal

    tinknal Well-Known Member Supporter

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    In regards to the basement and roof, I'd say up is cheaper. twice the house with the same amount of basement and roofing. In the north I would say the basement is almost essential and will save money in the long run. A basement is a great temprature moderator, making the house cooler in the summer, warmer in the winter. It will help prevent frozen pipes, and give you a place for the furnace, water heater, electrical service, etc.
     
  10. agmantoo

    agmantoo agmantoo Supporter

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    The cheapest is a slab with the structure going up. All you need to do to verify that is to look at all the starter spec houses. The builders know how to build cheap. The better is as stated, up with a basement. A properly built basement is a must.
     
  11. nana-san

    nana-san Well-Known Member

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    I've seen stock plans and wondered why the square footage sometimes showed main and upper level together and the basement separate. Is it because the basement is nt usually heated?

     
  12. agmantoo

    agmantoo agmantoo Supporter

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    Lending institutions do not loan the same amounts per sq. ft. for basements is the reason I think for the difference you mentioned.
     
  13. agmantoo

    agmantoo agmantoo Supporter

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    If building a spec house, the return on the basement hardy justifies the investment. Builders get their best return from the heated floor space and that is where they will concentrate getting the most return for their money at risk.
     
  14. uncle Will in In.

    uncle Will in In. Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Around here after WW 2 when the vets were coming home and needing houses a lot of them built a basement only. They put the floor joists and subfloor on top with a covered stairway coming out on top. They covered it with tarpaper and tar and lived in them. some for several years. The basement walls came above ground enough to alow regular basement windows along the sides. They were very cheap to heat, and stayed cool in the summer. Everyone of these sooner or later got a nice house built on the top. They were doable to young familys with very limited incomes.
    A site with a slope that would allow a walkout would be great. Most of these didn't here in flat land.
     
  15. stanb999

    stanb999 Well-Known Member

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    Let me give you a bit of advise. If it's wet and you can't use gravity to keep the water out of the basement. DON'T build one. A pipe doesn't fail during a power outage a sump pump will. They almost always fail at the worst times and believe me it will. Don't beleive the stories of "dry-lok" and basement water proofers. If the sump fails with these systems you will have a flood. The insurance will say it's a flood even if you live on top of a mountain..... I do and it flooded (over my knees) but outside it was dry. :rolleyes: . They no pay.
    If you can install a pipe to drain the water then go for it.
     
  16. TNHermit

    TNHermit Well-Known Member Supporter

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    If you have been out of touch that long. I would start with out buildings. Build your self a pole barn to live in. Get the feel of the building process again. You can divide it off part as a workshop and part as living quarters.

    There is an old saying that the basement is the cheapest room in the house. Now days a basement done right will not leak,mold or have the problems of old. You should see if you can do a basement in your area.

    If you want the cheapest house under roof then go with a 12-12 pitch on the roof. Using 2x10 rafters,ceiling joist and knee walls you will get pretty much free rooms under the roof. Put large windows at each end will keep them from seeming to small. The next best thing is a story and1/2. You get a large living room and bedrooms upstairs.

    The probelm now days is nobody knows how to cut a rafter. Everything is trusses. They use to be cheap but their cost now comes close to a well built cut-in roof. And they are not much slower to put up

    Also if you get wider than 28 ft your cost will start to really go up. Thats about the sidest roof you can accomodate with a 16' lumber on a low pitch.
     
  17. nana-san

    nana-san Well-Known Member

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    This sounds like a good idea. We will go to the States on leave in July and hopefully will have the well dug.
    We don't return from Japan until 2009 so we would actually start building then but I do like the idea of having an outbuilding that would serve different purposes. We have tostart small and slowly since we may only be able to travel to the States from Japan once year because of the airfare.

    We would like a timber frame house small footprint. Most of our research has to be through the internet and information will change beteween now and then. One obstacle is that my hubby will have t redeploy to the Middle East and that would postpone our plans.

    I do appreciate all the responses. Thank you again.

     
  18. Beeman

    Beeman Well-Known Member

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    Good topic and worth discussion!

    In my opinion a basement is a must especially in a climate where you have cold weather. It gives you freeze proof storage and a place to locate furnace and water heater, also easy access to plumbing and electrical. For heat up is the best as heat rises so all of the heat is easily distributed and used. Biggest downside to up is the fact that we all do get old and stairs can become an obstacle. No matter what I would build so there was one room on the ground floor that was or could become a bedroom. As for the roof, simplest is best and a standard peaked roof without extra peaks or dormers is the way to go. Personally I would rather have an attic for insulation and ventilation, but with improved insulation materials it's probably cheaper to use that as living space.
     
  19. Dubai Vol

    Dubai Vol Well-Known Member

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    Great question. My take is this: build a walk-out basement and make that the only story of your house. Yes you have to be careful about drainage and waterproofing, but take a moment to look at the advantages:

    First, a crude sketch...

    [​IMG]

    Hey, I warned you it was crude! :p

    Now that basement that stays cool in summer and warm in winter isn't the basement, it's your actual house. And that makes a huge difference in your heating and cooling bills. With dormers on the bermed side you get windows there. Best of all it looks like a normal house so it's not some freaky thing that you can't sell or borrow against, like a true underground house.

    Just a thought, but it's what I'll be building in the new year
     
  20. Deb862

    Deb862 Well-Known Member

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    This is exactly what we did, what the locals called a "daylight" basement. As I stated, to us it just wasn't worth the work we had to put into it for the reasons I outlined above (and it was still hard getting in and out of that hole 5 million times a day!). Again, this is just our opinion; others may/will feel differently.