eBook: Planning to Build a House (Part 1)

You do know the “worst of times” is when you might actually have time for a big project, right?

With the problems in the economy unfolding in the wake of last week’s Fed decision; and with more financial concerns about the period ahead, we step out of our usual “let’s make some money” reports to make sure you have the thinking tools to help get your own roof over your head.

Oh, sure, we will do the stock market outlook and charts as always (and they have been really prescient lately).  And we will look at the daily load of headlines.

But if you ever want to build your own home or get an idea what a person really has in a home on the materials side, listen up Bunkie.  Like the Bud commercials say “This one’s for you…”

If you are young and presently rent, this may open up some new vistas of thought for you.  How achievable our numbers are will depend on where you live.

In our rural Texas county, there is not even a Building or Health Department.  So, it follows, there’s no building permit needed.  We pick up our hammers and saw.

In other areas of the country, especially those whose growth has been high, but has leveled off, bureaucracies need a reason to exist.  The mere act of buying a couple of hunks of sheetrock can be an issue.  Seriously!  I went through this in California, 20-some years back.  (You don’t have to answer anyone’s questions in a hardware store!)

While we generally like building departments that are well run (the plans desk is one of the best places on earth to get sound building advice), not everyone is your friend.  The matter of power and politics cannot be trivialized. Don’t even bring up Zoning.

Government concerns are mainly predicated on America’s history of massive residential and commercial building fires (Great Chicago, the Seattle Fire, just about every city has one when you dig into it).  In order to “save the public from itself” taxes are raised, fees applied, and inspectors hired… Wet seals on plans weasel into the mix as the word gets out. Everyone has their hand out (for money) when comes to this business of becoming King of your own Castle. Double-especially if you DIY it.

It’s the American way. Ewe copy?

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author avatar
George Ure
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/George-Ure/e/B0098M3VY8%3Fref=dbs_a_mng_rwt_scns_share UrbanSurvival Bio: https://urbansurvival.com/about-george-ure/

44 thoughts on “eBook: Planning to Build a House (Part 1)”

    • I do need.. ( well want.. ) to get a couple of draw saws..
      I keep forgetting you don’t have a building code and no frost line.. here you have to lay down a two foot by eight inch foot pad.. then a four foot deep foundation upon that foot pad.. I have twelve inches of gravel and three quarter inch styrofoam over a vapor barrier.. I have six inch concrete floors.. and rebar set three up..
      concrete flex’s.. and thermally connected to the outside.. heaven forbid you have a cold day or a wet spring..
      to do a slab .. without this.. then you get the oh my don’t think about it.. black mold.. because of the temperature leaching through to the walls.. you are probably wondering how I know this.. nope I didn’t read it.. LOL I did exactly what you are planning on doing.. and that was what I learned the hard way.. my first house.. didn’t have plumbing.. so I wanted to take a bath or a shower.. I put a small bathroom on it.. I went down two foot and put up my foundation.. etc.. and before I knew it.. what in the heck is this.. black crap on the wall.. it was all throughout the wall.. I had to fix it..
      Nasty dangerous stuff.. do it right the first time and you won’t have to redo it at a higher cost later on..
      put your vapor barrier on the outside of the home as well.. I know it is more expensive.. but it is even more expensive if you have to replace it or you get sick and die from exposure to the black crap..
      the other thing.. is heating and air conditioning.. there is a reason why they put the registers on the outside wall.. that is to force the heat or cold out of the building and circulate it in the building.. my first home .. I thought.. I would put them where I thought.. ducting.. the heating and cooling people refused to recharge my air conditioner heat pump .. seems we went to ozone layer and the freon used in the old system I had was not something they work with .. so I had to replace them.. the fan in the furnace.. etc.. the cost was twenty grand.. a little garage size shed doesn’t need anything that big.. but you are still going to look at half of that.. or get a space heater..
      I know.. who am i.. I just made the same mistakes you are going to make.. roof sheeting.. god don’t do less than half inch I have three quarter.. if you insist on half inch then get half inch five ply..
      the strength is in the layering.. each ply faces a different direction.. to use particle board.. you won’t have the strength needed.. if you put rafters two foot on center there will be to much spring to the layout and you will have problems.. not right away unless you fall through it.. but it is just a small building so you would probably be ok..
      .. https://studylib.es/doc/9082096/building-codes-illustrated-a-guide-to-understanding-the-2
      I just don’t want you to make the same mistakes I made.. I made some .. and had to fix them.. the cost of fixing them are extremely costly.. and twice as much work.. I never had enough money coming in to qualify for any of those low income loans or to get a home loan or qualify to get any of that free money.. I had to do it the hard way.. once a boss tossed me under the bus with playing the stock market.. I was sunk for life.. and any domicile I needed had to be achieved by do it yourself.. If your just building a chicken coup or shed.. its fine.. but a live in structure.. you want to do it right the first time..
      that is as about as inexpensive as you can get.. for concrete.. stick built there is a lot more involved..
      nough said from the rooting section…. good luck with the build.. I hope it goes like you are planning..

      • Excellent advice LOOB.
        There are so many ways to skin this cat. Having spent the first third of my adult life building custom homes and structures, I concur with your advice, it will help Jr. avoid pitfalls.
        I have never had the luxury of building on soil where a ground screw could be used; always fighting rock, earthquake standards, slopes etc. that dictated engineered foundations. I like the idea of low cost semi-permanent foundations with lower impact. George’s project has a different focus than a custom home project so I’m trying to be mindful of that in my assessment of the plan.
        I agree there are many pre-fabricated options out there that are very nicely built and were I to embark on Jr.’s path, I think I would consider creating my own pre-fabbing facility onsite to produce the first iteration and then subsequent copies or revisions. The improved efficiency over site built structures would reduce waste considerably and, if foundations could be kept tight tolerance, make erection quick and easy. Also, building wall panels with proper vapor barriers and minimal penetrations with result in a much ‘tighter’ envelope.
        Materials are coming back to earth lately; I remember for many years the cost of Douglas Fir was $385/1,000 board ft and it is now hovering around $400/1,000BF on the futures market.
        Material cost and availability may be issues regionally, I don’t know specifics of Texas but taking advantage of locally produced products can result in great savings.
        Building without permits scares the hell out of me. One of my first supervisory roles for a commercial solar company was to approach 27 different jurisdictions with my hat in my hands and request building permits for over 2,200 installations that had been done without permits. It was a year long process that involved the creation of a roof truss catalog with standard engineered modifications to support the rooftop systems. All this was followed with 2,200 permits and inspections, a royal nightmare. So, at a minimum, I would adhere to the Uniform Building Code throughout the process in anticipation of possible future bureaucracy. New energy standards are likely to make backyard construction techniques illegal in the near future and it would be a shame to have to fight the battle after the fact on a series of dwellings.
        George’s analysis will lead to best decisions; maybe even some innovations and techniques that change the landscape. Best of luck.


      • Thanks Rico.. I found a great deal of help in making a framing table then I could make the door and window openings ahead of time and place them where I wanted it was slick easy and then I didn’t have to continue with the wall .. I could add whatever I had time to and then zip off to my next job.. I got that idea from the cabinet shop. built my whole house in wall panels then numbered them..so it was put wall a with wall b LOL… at the cabinet shop they premade all the cabinet fronts.. figured that worked really good for them why not a house.. the first bathroom I put on I got black mold and had to redo the whole thing.. it was a costly mistake when I couldn’t afford to have a costly mistake…. made way to many mistakes and thought I would share from my life experiences doing it..Here in this house.. I made the mistake of hiring a big company but because the community I live in didn’t have any checks and ballances over contractors I was taken advantage of.. the contractor took the money and ran when I didn’t have any money to do it…. and I gained his hammer.. my ten thousand dollar hammer.. thought about getting it gold plated LOL.. they did that a lot back then and many homes were done sub standard to code because companies could get away with it.. home owners that hired didn’t have the funds to fight them and basements and foundations crumbled.. .. I had seen a cabin built on television once where they used prefabed concrete foundations and anchored it onto the ground.. I would just hate to see JR. make the same mistakes I did when I first started. G2 gave me excellent advice once upon a time when I needed expert advice.. so I thought I would share.. .. I hope it turns out ok.. I would love to build a rammed earth building.. love the concept.. seen one that impressed me a lot.. but at my age.. it won’t happen.. not by myself.. my days of buiilding a house by myself is over.. the last one I had a couple of walls that were really heavy.. I overdid the hurricane bracing and had to help take trees down to get their help in lifting the walls in place the header above the garage door.. wow.. now that was a pain in the butt.. luckily the guy from the concrete company seen me trying to get that damned thing up in the air and came over with a front end loader …. but then we have had some really nasty storms and it has weathered through them because of all that bracing.. where others had windows sucked out and roofs ending up two blocks away..

  1. I was doing landscape construction for a client in South Laguna Beach a few years ago. She produced a blueprint of their remodel/addition from 1965 (Orange Co. jurisdiction at the time) to help us locate utilities. The blueprint was one page, simple and easy to read and just assumed reasonable construction methods. The county stamp had the fee paid for the permit written on it: $25.
    I compare that with what I saw in San Clemente, CA where I lived and worked 1996-2003: Houses we’re still reasonable before 2000 ($180,000 for a place a couple blocks from the beach) but when douchebag Greenspan created the housing boom prices skyrocketed, city coffers overflowed with tax money, more engineers were hired to find more that could go wrong, permits shot up, more inspectors were hired, and well, I moved and stopped taking jobs there. That $180K house sold for 1.1 million when I moved, BTW.

  2. Strategically Putin should have done a mob hit on London during the queen’s funeral. Bug bomb the town. Similar to the 1307 Freemason hit on the Templars. Kill them all in one swoop.

    Today Putin has to nuke Warsaw or be a proven Paper Tiger. By January Biden will build a wall around Moscow and turn the place into a tourist destination. The rest will be signed over to NATO.

    • Zelensky’s joint address to Congress should be tonight @ 7:30 p.m. A historic declaration of war against Russia could be made by the United States and NATO.

    • Me-Thinks January 12 2023. Sunrise wherever you are.
      Wild Christmas Season this year. For past dozen years, saying Merry Christmas, was mostly met with brooding stares or a grunt of acknowledgement. Yesterday a teller said such and I mirrored. Today at Post office, Bank teller, Cashier@GT, licker store and three locals walking a dog all said the past greeting of the season. WTF?
      Large foreign community here and we all get along with gusto.
      Merry Christmas to all
      Andy good Night

  3. Dude –

    cost estimates for da concrete work seem seem inflated..thought this was DIY project? Wonder the numbers on renting a mixer, hire some newly arrived labor and crank out Ure own concrete. The only way to build a house with block..think tree lil pigs..Only houses left standing after the last 2 major hurricanes to hit CONUS were block built.

    The obvious side gig for the rental mixer – make Ure own M-80’s, CherryBombs and Silver( impact) Crackas. Big metal mixer pointed in safe direction, safety gear..ear pro&eye pro, heavy duty apron and big wooden stirrer – kitchen demolitions! U see these demolitions can be part of the Uretopia border security system..when fuse attached to trip wires along property lines gets “tugged”..
    Hell G pops, you guys sell enough (cash sales) bootleg hand held bombs, ure concrete work be close to no cost.

    How is this not a winna winna chicken dinna ?

    Better yet put all Ure building project dough into BTC and let it ride..https://youtu.be/5deaARYHbeM

    • You will have to use all copper/bronze non sparking metals to mix black powder. Use steel equipment and you will quickly have a smoking hole in the ground.

      James Johnson, ex=nuke

      • LOL great advie James.. I could tell you about my stupidity of making stump remover.. heck it wasn’t but a half tsp.. had it in a little bottle carried it in my shirt pocket.. what could a few drops do.. LOL then drilled the hole .. it still in my pocket.. put it in and dropped a fire cracker down the hole..
        @#$*& and I had that crap in my pocket.. never again.. nope not even with copper.. LOL LOL it could have been me over the tree tops LOL
        don’t mess with stuff you don’t truly appreciate their power .. let professionals do that.. it is their job.. and they know how to do it right..

      • I used wood tools and a ceramic pestle & mortar — but then I was a dumbassed 14yo, and was making powder to shoot my homemade rifle and cannon, so what did I know? The instructions for this stuff, and much else, were in the Reference section of yer local public library, forever… ‘Cept the last time I was there (~20 years ago), somebody had carefully razor-bladed every page out of every reference book, which could be used to provide information on how to roll one’s own fireworks, explosives, or propellants…

      • “The instructions for this stuff, and much else, were in the Reference section of yer local public library, ”

        Heck @Ray.. the US govt.. hands out that information along with guns to children in war zones… they just hand them out. wanna build a claymore.. here let me show you how little on.. say would you like a few grenades to.. they are a lot of fun little one.. (I was being flippant there .. this crap is so useless and needless)

        we hand that crap out.. by the millions to children and what is funny is there isn’t one.. no not one on how to make a victory garden… or how to do improvised hydroponics.. or one on how to help someone in distress.. there is a first aide one.. want to learn the secrets of being a sniper.. its there.. but nothing on how to rebuild or clean water.. yet we will complain about someone that owns a gun here in the USA and tell everyone how evil it is.. so hunters and people wanting to protect their homes in a bad neighborhood.. can feel safe..
        what an oxymoron .. we say one thing then do the other.. and willingly spend billions and billions.. to do it.. yet we can’t fix our bridges replace outdated and worn out infrastructure..
        why teach children how to kill when we can teach them how to rebuild cooperate and treat their neighbors with respect and dignity..

      • I personally would rather see the USA printing up these rules of engagement..

        to children and families..
        “Venture not beyond your doors to know the
        we should examine ourselves on three counts every day..
        In what I have undertaken on another’s behalf, have
        I failed to do my best In my dealings with my friends? have I failed to be trustworthy in what I say?
        Have I passed on to others anything that is good to inspire them to treat others with dignity?

      • You can buy small concrete mixers with a plastic tub rather than steel. For those who are really into this stuff, it might make sense(or make a really loud boom).

      • “You can buy small concrete mixers with a plastic tub”

        Um, no.

        I made everything from rocket propellant to giant powder, to quickmatch, to flash powder. I was as interested in making my own skyrockets and Roman candles as I was, oomph for the smoothbores. I made my powders one CC at a time — even the starbursts. I also made them away from my flammable or oxidizing chemicals. If I’d have wanted quantity, I would have bought ready-made from a Chinese fireworks factory. They have 1300 years more experience than I, and I realized, even at an early age, that it was far cheaper to pay someone, than it was, to try and make, for instance, a pound of flash powder, because you only got to blow your limbs and phalanges off, once…

  4. Regarding housebuilding: Here in the wilds of rural NM, the ideal exterior is well done stucco with a metal roof. These materials withstand the sun and weather better than any wood. I suppose a metal exterior might work also, though I know of few houses with it. Wood is always best avoided when exposed to the elements.

    I’d be inclined to have a larger electrical service(200 amps) and feed the potential shop from that – with a private meter if you really wanted to keep track of watt-hours. A second service comes with a second bill monthly, and there can be consequences(new inspection/permit) if it’s shut off for too long. Just food for thought.

    There’s no mention of PEX vs PVC for hot and cold lines. I’ve used both and prefer PEX since it is far more resistant to freeze problems and the smaller stuff flexes easily so you can minimize fittings. Some say that rodents can chew it, but that’s never happened here, and there are critters here too. The tools have gotten cheaper so that’s hardly an issue.

    My best subfloor has been 3/4 T&G OSB. I like it, though others might disagree. Keep it dry, just like any other wood based material. One takeaway is that ideal building materials are very different in different parts of the country. I’m not sure how well the ground screw foundation will work on clay based expansive soil, though I’d love to know others’ experience there.

    Unfortunately, for any shop, garage, or other heavy work area, there’s no real substitute for well placed and finished concrete. DIY with a one bag mixer can get tiring, but getting a nine yard concrete truck close to many sites can be challenging too. Some areas have small trailers with redi-mix that you can rent. I’ve never used one yet, but it’s a thought. Working alone with concrete is a bear.

    • For a garage / shop pour, getting four (4) nine yard concrete trucks through a site in one day, working the concrete, and making sure hold-downs are in the right places and installed properly, is a job for a half-dozen big strapping fellows from places where working hard in the blistering heat is the daily norm. Trying to p!ss-ant a 800 sqft garage / shop pour is not a realistic DIY activity. Concrete pours are another place which are not for old men.

      • My father inlaw loved to work with concrete.. anyway.. at the end of each project.. he would have a little bit left.. just enough to put in an ice cream bucket with a little rebar ben in a U shape.. his anchors.. he had anchors everywhere.. so one day everyone was complaining about all his bucke anchors.. and I said..
        Heck I know what I am getting dad for xmas.. a cow mold
        if looks could have killed.. I said then.. well would a lamb be better.. LOL LOL LOL he has something he can give everyone for xmas.. a door stop cow.. LOL LOL LOL
        for my safety sake.. I never did buy him that cow mold.. LOL LOL thought about it though..

      • I did a 900 sf basement pour(in sections) solo using a small electric mixer, along with the footers and block work. Of course, I was 25 at the time, but they say that age is only a number. I do have concrete work to do here, but I’ve been delaying it. There’s so much else to do and it’s cold.

  5. Skimming as fast as I can through my favorite news sources, which brings me here, I saw that Ben over as S0 had a SOHO video clip of something headed toward the Sun and then veers away. Said he’d have an analysis of it later today. It is totally weird, Giorgio Tsoukalos material. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S9KZeLTaPOE

    Now off to finish off (God, I hope and pray so! It’s the 3rd day of this project.) putting a new radiator in the Jeep. This was nothing like the radiator swap in the little econocar we just sold. After that the truck desperately needs fresh oil, an oil line and at least one ABS sensor replaced. Vehicles do, truly, own YOU.

  6. House suggestions:

    Too small a house. 800′ min.

    2 entries.

    Facing: want all the sun you can get in the winter; shade trees on west and north for summer. Ergo, long side north and south; narrow side east and west. Rectangle.

    1-story rambler type. (Minimize steps.)

    Attached garage, 2-car, 1 space for car, the other space for misc items.

    Reconsider a shop the size of a house!

    As I said earlier, have the foundation and frame done by a contractor. Well worth the modest cost.

    While that excavator is digging the septic tank, have him dig 1/2 house with basement. Can add (significant part of) ground based house cooling system under concrete floor.

    2 x 6 walls, not pressure treated -no need. Be sure to add seal between foundation and treated wood bottom.

    Be sure to use a ridge-vent across top of roof.

    Soffit vents every 5′ – 6′.

    #12 wire.

    Use Tyvek covering around entire exterior wood surface. . Home Depot: .

    Buy good windows. Don’t get cheap windows; pure vinyl are cheap and will warp. Quality vinyl windows come with a wood core or substitute.

    Since the framing will be open, use foam boards to insulate. They can be purchased for stud width. Easy install.

    R30 is not enough. R40 – 50 in ceiling, R40 in walls and under floor. R20 basement walls.

    Add wood burning, high efficiency heat. Use outside air in. This house doesn’t need a big heater but small heaters use small wood and you will often be adding wood. Make sure to have the vent able to be completely sealed. Can use it to heat water.

    No longer cheap but it can set up now and purchased later. (You have the standing logs, but around cold climes, pine is considered junk poor heating. Use oak or other hardwood.)

    Add ground based cooling system.

    Good luck!

    • “#12 wire.”

      go #10 wire.. for the price it isn’t that much more and you know you have a wire than can take a space heater or two.. or a microwave etc.. without fear of a fire..

  7. “The spending bill provides for more than $15 million for administrative expenses for the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program Trust Fund, which provides funding for the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program.”


    Let us not forget, Social Security was set up like a Trust Fund. – just another stash of money a politician will eventually get into.

  8. I have never built a house. Helped put on a roof once., that’s about it. I did help build three sail boats.., a 32, 38 and 44 foot., all canoe stern, full keel liveaboards.., beautiful boats. Two I know are still sailing., but can’t find out what happened to the 38 footer.., she just kind of vanished.

  9. Rent a 3d concrete printer and print a 1,000 year house.

    Video document the 3d build and post to YT to defray costs.

    If the idea is a hit 3d print a small city on your lot then move.

  10. “So-called “tankless” are great, but I have actually taken a couple of showers in the dark during power outages and that option goes away. Not power, no shower (or you’ll shrivel up with cold, if you follow my meaning here).”

    That’s why I put in a small solar system to operate my propane tankless heater. Three one hundred watt panels and three 12v AGM batteries, plus a charge controller and an 800 watt inverter keep my water hot when the power is off. Only problem is in freezing weather, the tankless has an electric heating element that kicks in to keep the heater from freezing. That will drain the batteries pretty quick. An oil lamp under the heater should keep it warm enough to keep the electric heater from kicking in.

    Wood heat is great. Put the stove as near the center of the house as you can get it, and it will keep the whole house toasty warm. The stove pipe needs to be a straight run so you can push a brush through it at least once a year. Loblolly or most any other Pine is NOT suitable for use in a stove. Any of the oak family is great, Red Oak being the best.

  11. During this inflation storm in my area welfare folk are getting a $95.00+ per month foodie bump. Parallel a regional big box continues catering to the .gov crowd with free delivery and currently a 10% produce price reduction.

    America is so great the most uninterested get free foodies delivered. And the food is even microwavable!

    Meijer to offer discounts on produce for SNAP customers

    Governor Gretchen?Whitmer announced on Tuesday that all Michigan families who are eligible for food assistance benefits will?receive at least an additional $95 monthly payment in December to help lower the cost of groceries.


  12. “Poland will be key. So a number of news items have to be mentioned;”

    NATO member urges civilians to undergo military training

    Thousands of civilian volunteers, including children, are to be recruited by Warsaw in a military training program during the winter, the Defense Ministry has said. Poland wants “to train as many people as possible” to be prepared for a “crisis,” Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak stated.


  13. Watching Football: Something Weird Is Going On

    Something was going on, but what? Our anecdotal impression was confirmed by a longitudinal analysis conducted by the National Library of Medicine, which concluded that “The rate of injury in NFL players during weeks 1-4 of the 2020-2021 regular seasons was significantly higher than during 3 recent past NFL preseasons and regular seasons.” The first mRNA vaccine mandate came on the market in December 2020. The regular 2021 season began in early September, by which time most of the players would likely have been vaccinated. It was bad last year and clearly worse in 2022. Stamina and resilience, muscle and bone, have clearly been impacted.


    • It’s hitting closer to home all the time. A work colleague of my son’s just dropped dead last week from a heart attack. He was 50 something. He’d had a small stroke several months ago preceding this with no prior history of such things in his or his family’s records. I hope and pray my boy and his family haven’t had any more boosters of the clot shot and this starts to connect some dots in his and his wife’s heads.

  14. Poll: 61% of Americans Who Use Twitter Want Elon Musk to Stay On As CEO

    An overnight poll from HarrixX found that 61% of American Twitter users and 53% of American adults want Elon Musk to stay on as Twitter CEO.

    “Interesting. Suggest that maybe we might still have an itsy bitsy bot problem on Twitter,” Musk responded on Twitter.


  15. Go with the 200A 220 VAC residential electrical panel, with the highest circuit count you can find, and make sure you install it somewhere that you can snake additional circuits in later. Also consider putting the lights and selected UPS electricals on a couple of adjacent 120 VAC subpanels. A transfer switch ahead of each of the light and UPS receptacle panels will expedite conversion to off-grid sources when you get a round tuit.
    I have considered a separate DC system for lights, comms, and refrigerator/freezers. I am suggesting that a setting up your house for 120 VAC off-grid for those same loads as an alternate. Either way, take care of the circuit and wire segregation up front, and head off major rework later when you bring in power generation capability.

  16. Definitely reptilian alien types of evil devil worshippers the ussa . Is there a dress code in the Congress ? Animals ! You are farking reptilian animals . Nukes ? Oh Fark live in your dystopia your kidding . Russia is ready animals . Don’t let fear stop yah

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