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Types of Home Construction by Experts in Newport News, VA

When it comes to building homes, there are more home construction types than you might suspect. Homebuilders have a menu of methods to choose from, and the costs and benefits vary widely.

If you are considering a new home, you may be wondering about the type of construction to use. Here are a few considerations so that you can make the best decision for your home-building needs and budget.

Types of Home Construction

First Steps in Building a New House – Identify the Construction Method

Before a structure like a house can be designed, the type of home construction must be determined. The style of the design will depend on a few critical factors.

Purpose

The builders will need to identify the purpose of the structure. While home construction seems self-explanatory, other structures could be involved, such as a detached garage. A structure like that wouldn’t require multiple floors, so basic construction methods can suffice.

Size

Next, the builders will assess how large the structure needs to be. A grocery store or furniture showroom would require heavier construction methods than a garage or house would.

Load Bearing Constraints

If the structure will grow in height, the structure must have load-bearing constraints to bear the increase. Therefore, the construction type should be strong enough to handle the extra load.

Environment

The local ecosystem must be considered before the home construction type can be figured. Buildings prone to earthquakes should have fortified construction types while homes near the coastline might need more elevated construction.

Speed

If the construction is to be performed at a rapid pace, there are construction types available that can speed up the process. Using pre-engineering, which allows parts to be dropped off at the construction site, builders can erect homes on any schedule.

Cost

The cost of materials will always need to be considered when determining the type of home construction. This can prevent you from spending needlessly on an overbuilt structure.

Types of Building Construction

Types of Building Construction Methods

Taking the above factors into account, builders will decide on a final type of home construction. There are essentially six construction types that are commonly used for homes throughout Newport News and the surrounding areas.

Wood Frame

One of the most common forms of home construction, wood-frame structures are cost-effective, mostly due to the renewable nature of the wood studs, joists, plates, and rafters. The materials can be carried onto the jobsite, and most construction tools can be used for rapid building and expansion.

Light Gauge Steel Frame

This type of home construction is similar to wood frame construction, as both styles use studs, joists, plates, and rafters. The main difference is that those parts are constructed from light gauge steel instead of wood. The materials are heavier than wood and can still be carried onto the jobsite with ease. A different set of construction tools will need to be used when building with this construction type. Whereas saws and nails are used with wood construction, lite gauge steel materials need to be constructed with metal cutting tools and screw guns. This type is most commonly used in office buildings as opposed to residential homes, though there have been exceptions.

Joisted or Load Bearing Masonry

This building style involves the use of concrete blocks or bricks to construct the load-bearing walls. The floors and ceilings are made with wooden joists, which is where the term Joisted Masonry came from. The technique is labor-intensive, as each brick or block must be handset, and thus projects built in this style can take longer to complete.

The building style is not common in residential construction, although it is still used in the development of commercial buildings. The style allows for a heavy structure and shouldn’t be used in earthquake-prone areas. The structure is rigid, and cannot flex during tremors, which can spell disaster in areas where earthquakes are common. While not commonly used in residential construction, some homes have been created with this construction type.

Steel Frame

This construction type is used in large buildings. The structure is built with steel trusses and columns that support the floors and roof. Tall high-rises are often built with this construction method. The builders transport materials to the proper levels using cranes, then the components are welded or bolted together. Steel is flexible, which is ideal for earthquake-prone areas or areas with strong winds. Steel can also flex significantly without taking on permanent deformation, making it an excellent material for constructing tall buildings and bridges.

Concrete Frame

This type of construction uses reinforced concrete beams, columns, and slabs to build the support structure. The type is often used in high rises, parking garages, and elevated highways. This construction method has been used for quite some time, which makes the reinforced concrete readily available for all sorts of projects. For almost all concrete frame construction projects, the materials are cast on-site, which quickens construction time. While the concrete does withstand weather quite well for long periods of time, this type should not be used in earthquake-prone areas.

Pre-Engineered

With this construction style, all the parts are engineered ahead of time, which means they are ready to be bolted and screwed together at a moment’s notice. Not only can this construction method be used for garages, sheds, and hangars, but residential structures are also possible, believe it or not. With the right company that offers this construction style, you can have a house that’s ready to be built on your schedule.

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Best Type of Home Construction for Your Needs & Budget

Now that you know more about the various types of construction, you may be wondering which type to select for your new home. For a project you will love, there are two primary methods we recommend.

Standard Wood Framing

Most homes in the United States are constructed with a wood frame design. This construction type uses 2×4 lumber, with each piece spaced 16 inches on center. Most builders will use extra studs at the corners to support the double top plates, wallboard, uninsulated headers, and doors.

OVE/Advanced Wood Framing

With this construction type, a standard wood frame is used. However, OVE (Optimal Value Engineering) implies that the floor, walls, and roof are framed at 24-inches on center. This allows the wood to be used efficiently. In other words, lumber isn’t necessary for load-bearing purposes. OVE reduces production costs for both materials and labor, makes the home energy efficient, and there is very little production waste.

New Types of Home Construction

SIPS (Structural Insulated Panel Systems)

This method of construction combines structural framing and insulation into a single home-building project. During the process, rigid foam insulation is sandwiched between two structural panels (skins) that adhere to the foam. The materials can be cut on-site but are typically ordered as a package from the factory, where they are precut and ready to assemble. The prime benefit of this home construction design is that it has high strength characteristics. In fact, SIPS homes can withstand winds of up to 160 mph. The homes are also incredibly energy efficient.

Modular Homes

This type of home construction comes in a variety of configurations and dimensions. The home building materials are pre-constructed and pre-installed, including drywall, light fixtures, carpeting, and cabinets. If you are considering this construction method, know that there are some limitations, including highway transportation restrictions regarding the height and width.

As far as the construction goes, the process is similar to other conventional home construction types and have immense flexibility. Modular homes can be placed in the same setting as conventionally constructed homes; however, mobile homes are most often delivered to a reserved park setting and spaced close together.

Once the site prep work is finished, the home modules will be trucked to the home site where a mobile crane will lift the modules into place. The entire process takes no more than a couple of days, depending on the configuration of the home and number of modules. Construction time is drastically reduced with this construction type, and the cost per square foot can be similar to that of a conventional home build.

Modern Methods of Construction

For a custom home, the construction type is standardized to allow for fast and efficient homebuilding. The lot will usually be purchased beforehand, or the builder will be a tract home builder, which means that homes are in various phases of construction, pre-built, in progress, and ready to be moved in.

The process will involve the grading and site preparation, followed by the construction of the foundation. The frame will be built, then the roofing, siding, rough electrical, and rough plumbing. Then there is the rough HVAC, insulation, drywall, and underlayment. Next comes the trim, painting, and the completed electrical before the bathroom, kitchen counters, and cabinets are installed. The plumbing will be finished, carpet and flooring installed, the HVAC will be put in, then the water and sewer will be completed. At that point, the home will be finished.

What Types of Home Renovation Service Can I Expect from Any Building Construction?

Many new home builders will also renovate your home for an upgrade you can be proud of. A new kitchen, bathroom, basement, or home addition can add value to your home and make it more livable and comfortable. In short, a home renovation can help you achieve your dream home without being forced to move.


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There are a variety of reasons to call a home renovator. You can redo the floors, such as going from hardwood to carpet, or vice versa. You can upgrade your doors and windows, interior and exterior painting, siding, HVAC systems, add a porch or deck, have a fence installed, or include a swimming pool or spa.

Or, you can add a new room or a second story to your home, giving you more space to move around in. You could also rewire your electricity for new fixtures while making sure all your remodeled rooms are up to code.

The bottom line is that your home can be completely transformed by choosing the right remodeling company. Simply tell the builders your plans and your renovations can be completed to your exact specifications.

Having professionals renovate your home is cost-effective, especially if you do your homework to find just the right company. Doing the job yourself can pose safety and other issues, and you may find yourself in the weeds before you know it, prompting a call to a professional anyway to finish the job.

Choose the Type of Home Construction or Renovation That is Right for You

Do you have an idea of the perfect home or home addition? Your first job is to add substance to your plans. You may want a new kitchen, but what fixtures and appliances would that kitchen include? You may want a custom new home, but which home construction type do you think would create the most stable structure?

With all the construction methods and home renovations to choose from, you are only limited by your imagination. You can remain confident that the builder you work with will determine the proper home construction type for your needs and budget. Whether it’s a wood frame, steel frame, or masonry construction project, you can be sure that your home will be built just as you prefer.

For new home construction and renovations you can be proud of, we encourage you to contact Construction Services of Tidewater, now serving Newport News, Virginia, and the surrounding areas. We want to hear from you if you have ideas about a dream home or the ideal home makeover. Call now for a free estimate and see why we’ve been the chosen builders for custom homes and remodels for over 30 years!

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