Building a House

July 11, 2015

I would like to build a house on my own. I do mean by gathering all the materials myself and putting together a home. Has anyone ever done this on a frugal budget? I would like to know how and where to get the materials.


I'm interested to hear of your costs as well. I do plan on building little by little, from the ground up. Any advice and or experience shared would be greatly appreciated.


Bronze Answer Medal for All Time! 220 Answers
July 12, 20150 found this helpful

There are many resources online (how to build a house" and books in libraries to help you.

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July 12, 20150 found this helpful

Hi Day Go,

Mother Earth News magazine has, over the years, done several articles by people who have built their own homes from the ground up, some of which was done with found materials. On their website you should be able to look up the publication dates of these articles. You may have to buy back issues on a C.D.


Countryside and Small Stock Journal is another magazine you might find helpful.

Also I would check out YouTube for this kind of information.

Hope this helps!

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Gold Post Medal for All Time! 969 Posts
July 14, 20150 found this helpful

4truelady has the right idea. I googled stack lumber homes and got a ton of articles, this one in particular.

I wish you tons of luck. We would all love to see what you come up with!

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July 18, 20150 found this helpful

You will need to find out whether this sort of thing is allowable in the area where you live. Some areas are much more restrictive than others. Rural areas and small towns may be more viable. However you build, you will need to find out about building codes. If you are building a standard sort of home, you will have more options. If you are building from alternative materials such as an earthship out of used tires, a home out of flaxstraw bales and plaster, or similar ideas, you will have to find out where such a home would be allowed. My son and daughter-in-law are building an underground home with a living roof that uses many recycled and natural materials. They have been able to source recycled windows from our local housing authority that was changing out double panes for triple panes; they were able to get these free of charge. They also obtained off-cuts of granite and quartz free of charge from places that installed granite countertops.


These places have to pay to have these scrap bits crushed into gravel and hauled away, so my son offered to haul these away, and so could take all he wanted. He gets a tremendous amount of help from articles on the internet and from books. He has also had to learn how to do a lot of things, and has had to redo some things because he made some mistakes. He is building this very frugally, but it is taking a long, long time-- over 5 years. I do not want to discourage you, but you must be prepared for a tremendous amount of hard work and you must do a lot of research to find out how to do things if you do not have carpentry, plumbing, and electrical skills. Also, I do not think you should attempt electrical and plumbing work without consulting a professional.

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June 2, 2011

After a renovation or construction outside there are quite often loose nails lying about. Rather than trying to find them and pick them up, construct a sweeper board with high-powered magnets to do the work.

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June 30, 2006

We are going to start building a house. I'm scared out of my mind! Any tips for me? Things to watch out for. Things I might not of thought of... anything! Thanks!

Debbie from Lewiston, NY


July 1, 20060 found this helpful

Are you literally building the home yourself, or working with a contractor?

The basic bottom line... get EVERYTHING in writing. Make NO oral contracts.


And make sure that everyone you are working with is licensed and insured. Run a BBB search and ask questions about any negative reports you find.

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By Beverly (Guest Post)
July 5, 20060 found this helpful

This is probably not exactly what you are looking for but it is what came to mind immediately.

When we built a new home it caused the most arguements in our 42 years of marriage. I mean bad arguements. So my advice is to agree that there will be differences in opinion and that you will compromise with each other.

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By Poco (Guest Post)
July 5, 20060 found this helpful

Be sure to insulate the inside walls of bathrooms and kitchen. We are regretting we didn't do that. Our guest bath is between two bedrooms, when you turn on the shower it is so loud in the bedroom, the toilet flushing is also very loud, if people are trying to sleep in the bedroom and some one is using the shower etc in the bathroom they will have a hard time trying to sleep.


The kitchen also backs the bedroom, I can't use the microwave if someone is sleeping in the bedroom it is so loud.

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Silver Post Medal for All Time! 364 Posts
July 6, 20060 found this helpful

Inspect the house daily. People have told me stories about windows placed where they don't belong and the toilet drain where the shower is located.
When you see a pipel, ask where it goes and what it's for.

Do not use a paint that is called "Contractor's grade... or something like that". It sounds nice, but won't last long.

Do not order the best appliances for the house. They will be part of your mortgage and long after they break and need replacing, you will be still paying for them and also rebuying replacements at the same time.


Don't even get granite countertops. Expensive, requiring upkeep and I wonder about the weekly maintenance oiling rubbing off on clothing.

Make sure the ceiling fans are not going, "tick...tick...) because although they may be installed properly, if they are cheap (and part of the house package deal), they will never be well balanced. Offer to pay more out of pocket for better fans.

Get the most powerful vent exhaust for the bathrooms and kitchen you can afford! This help with mildew and greasy old cooking smells hanging around the house.

Good luck.
I have heard that building a house puts a strain on a marriage. Keeping that in mind, try to keep your calm and tell that to your spouse!

Also, a built in cabinet for a microwave will tie you to a particular size forever. You are better off having a place where you can just purchase a new one off the shelf. Our micro costs triple because of the wierd sizing. Only 1 co. in the US makes it.

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July 6, 20060 found this helpful

Take pictures as building progresses. It's not only fun to look back years later on the process, but it's also helpful in finding out where particular wiring and plumbing lines are located.
Drilling a well? Installing a septic system? Have the soil tested to see if it will "perk" and drill the well first thing if the area you live it has problems with that sort of thing.
Ditto on the suggestion of insulating the bathroom walls...we did and are extremely happy we did (we have a small home).
Don't make a payment in full on anything until the work is completed. Partial payments may have to be made...keeps the workers working, but you need a guarantee that the job will be finished.
Doors on your walk in closets? Although they're pretty and do provide air circulation, the "slatted" type (can't recall the name) are only dust-catchers and are very hard to keep clean.
Although it may cost more during the initial build, get the best windows possible. You'll not regret it...and try to get the type that are easy to clean on the outside...from the inside, if possible. Especially if you're going to need a ladder to do the outside cleaning.
My husband and I had a very good experience building a home. Still married...for 29 years now. Now putting a metal storage building together during our 2nd year of marriage was another story. I've always said if you can make it through building one of those, then there's hope for a long life together!
Enjoy the experience...just remember that after the house is in the dry...the inside work goes rather slowly...but it will all be worth it!

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By suzi_homemaker01 (Guest Post)
August 14, 20060 found this helpful

Watch daily, know who's doing what, hold them responsible for their actions, get really good windows installed, I personally reccomend staining all of your concrete even if you're going to have it carpeted, you may change your mind later, pick out your own light fixtures and fans, and be there as much as possible to prevent the contracters from taking shortcuts!

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September 9, 2007

We are going to be building a house in Montana. We want to use solar power and windmills. I am wondering if anyone here has had experience using them and what you can tell me about them. Any advice would be appreciated. Thank you.

Sherry from Silverale, WA


By Granny Lu (Guest Post)
September 13, 20070 found this helpful

You need to check out theprice of Batteries and how many you'll need,since your energy is stored in Batteries[not Car Batteries] they are REALLY expensive and you'll need a bunch.depending on how big your house is and how many solar panels you plan on using.same for wind will probably find it cheaper by far to just go the conventional way and hook up electricity..

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