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Build Your House Yourself University

Wish you knew more about the biggest investment you will most likely ever make? Build Your House Yourself University (byhyu) will teach you to save money and make smart decisions about the construction of the place you and your family will call HOME. We will help you understand residential construction— simplify and demystify the design build process. You’ll come away with successful strategies for building your own house, with or without a general contractor. Become an educated consumer, even if you prefer to buy, rather than build a new house. Complex construction jargon and best practices will be explained in easy to understand terms. It’s not the typical DIY (do it yourself) show. You will learn how to MANAGE the labor, not DO the labor for your new house. Join me, Michelle Nelson, host and fellow informal residential construction student. I’ll share the research I find on home design and building as I prepare to build my home. Together, our community of future home builders, will learn the tips, tricks and trends of experienced contractors and industry experts. I’ll interview owner-builders and construction professionals. During our mini lessons, I’ll inform you about framing, flooring, windows, insulation, kitchen cabinets and countertops…almost anything having to do with new construction homes. You’ll hear about energy efficiency and green building too. There will be product reviews in which you will be introduced to cutting edge, as well as, tried and true products and services. And in keeping with the university theme, episodes will end with short, fun quizzes. If we do our due diligence BEFORE we start construction, we will actually start construction with the most difficult part of the project behind us. Let’s put in the time, effort, preparation and research BEFORE we break ground and building our homes will be much easier and more enjoyable.
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Now displaying: Page 7
Sep 28, 2016

Today we have the second part of a conversation that I had with Judy Bilyeu, the corporate marketing director of Metro Appliances and More.  Last week she told us about refrigerators and cooking appliances.  This week, she’ll introduce us to some the new trends in dishwashers, washers and dryers and plus some luxury appliances.   

Show notes at BYHYU.com

Sep 21, 2016

Today we have the first part of a conversation that I had Judy Bilyeu, the corporate marketing director of Metro Appliances and More.  She tells us about the newest trends in kitchen appliances, including a refrigerator that has a built-in Keurig coffee maker.

Show notes at www.BYHYU.com

Sep 14, 2016

This week’s mini lesson is a continuation of last week’s lesson on hardwood floors.  Today’s show will cover the pros and cons of pre finished hardwood floors versus site finished floors.   We’ll also discuss how various wood species, wood cuts and flooring finishes can affect the appearance and durability of your hardwood floors.

Show notes at BYHYU.com

Sep 7, 2016

Hardwood floors are one of the most popular flooring options in new homes. They add warmth and classic beauty and they can work with virtually any style of home—from a simple tiny house to a mega mansion, from a sleek, contemporary to a rustic traditional, and everything in between. 

This week’s mini lesson will cover hardwood floors and the flooring layers that support them.  It’s great to have pretty hardwood floors, but hardwood flooring that well-constructed will help you avoid squeaking, creaking and premature wear.

This week we’ll be talking about what type of material and construction is best for subfloors.  We’ll compare solid hardwood floors and engineered hardwood floors. And I’ll give you some secrets on how to prevent hardwood floors from squeaking and creaking.

Show notes at BYHYU.com

Aug 31, 2016

Choosing your kitchen countertop is one the more fun and exciting choices that you’ll make for your new home.  Choices should be made based on the material’s appearance, durability, maintenance and price.  This week we’ll cover the most common types of materials used for kitchen and bathroom countertops, including laminate, ceramic and porcelain tiles, solid surface options, like Corian, butcher block, stainless steel, concrete, soapstone, marble, granite, quartzite and quartz (Silestone and Caesarstone).  There’s a difference between quartzite and quartz, you know?  We’ll talk about all of those options in this week’s mini lesson.

Show notes at www.BYHYU.com

Aug 24, 2016

Did you know that most water heaters use more energy than all other household appliances combined? According to the US Dept of Energy, water heaters account for almost 17% of a home’s energy use.  Other sources say it’s up to 30% of the a home’s energy.  This week’s mini lesson will help you decide if a conventional, storage tank water heater or a tankless water heater is  the better choice for your new home.  And the choice is probably not as cut and dry as you think.

Conventional, storage tank water heaters are still the most common type of water heaters found in new homes. But tankless water heaters are steadily gaining popularity.  We’ll go over the basic information about how conventional water heaters and tankless water heater work, plus the pros and cons of each system.

Show notes at www.BYHYU.com

Aug 17, 2016

Today is the last installment of a series of mini lessons that I’ve done on insulation.  In this week’s episode, we’ll talk structural insulated panels, or SIPs, and insulated concrete forms, or ICFs.  These options are especially unique because they not only provide extremely effective thermal insulation, but they also provide structural framing components for the house, including walls, floors and roofs.

 

Show notes at www.BYHYU.com

Aug 10, 2016

According to Green Building Advisor. com, “spray polyurethane foam is better than any other type of insulation at reducing air leakage.”  And that’s one of the biggest reasons that spray foam insulation is becoming one of the most popular insulation options in North America.  This week's mini lesson will discuss the two types of spray foam insulation, open cell spray foam and closed cell spray foam.  We'll also cover rigid foam in insulation.

Show notes at www.BYHYU.com

Aug 3, 2016

Blown in insulation, also called loose fill insulation, is made of fluffy fibers of cellulose, fiberglass or mineral wool.  It’s blown into walls, attics and floors with special equipment. One the main advantages of blown in insulation is that it fills in odd shaped cavities, crevices and gaps and eliminates cold spots.   Learn more about blown in insulation in this week’s mini lesson.

Show notes at www.BYHYU.com

Jul 27, 2016

For most people, blanket insulation is the insulation that comes to mind when they think about insulation in a home. Most of us have seen attics filled with pink or yellow insulation.  That pillowy insulation that we’re familiar with is blanket insulation and in most cases it was made of fiberglass, which is the most common type of insulation in the United States. But blanket insulation can be made not only of fiberglass, but also of other flexible fibers such as cotton, mineral wool and sheep’s wool.  Today’s mini lesson give an overview of those different types of blanket insulation.

Show notes www.BYHYU.com

Jul 20, 2016

When building a new home, investing in insulation is one of the best ways to decrease your energy consumption and save money far into the future.  Talking about insulation may not be an especially exciting topic in residential construction, but is one of the most important subjects to understand because choosing the amount and placement of insulation will directly affect the physical and financial comfort of you and your family.

Insulation has one of the fastest payback times of all investments you’ll make in your new home.  The savings can be so great that you can often recover your initial investment in just a few years. So, if you can afford it, add the maximum amount of insulation recommended for your home design and region.  In this week’s mini lesson, we’ll talk about some general recommendations for insulation. And over the next few weeks, we’ll learn about some specific types of insulation that are commonly used in residential construction, including spray foam insulation, rigid foam board insulation, batt and blanket insulation and blown-in cellulose.

 

Show notes at www.BYHYU.com

 

 

 

 

Jul 13, 2016

Today’s mini lesson will help not only those wanting to build a new house, but those who want to remodel an older home, especially the kitchen.  As promised last week, we’ll be talking about choosing kitchen cabinets.  If you think choosing kitchen cabinets is simply a matter of choosing stained, wood cabinets versus white, painted cabinets… keep listening.

Naturally, you’ll choose a style that you find attractive, but beyond looks, there are lots of factors that you’ll need to consider that will impact the quality and cost of your cabinets.   For example, a standard 30 inch cabinet can range from just over $100 to well over $1000, depending on its construction, finishes and how customized it is.  Today’s lesson will help us understand the different materials used to construct cabinets and how those materials impact cabinet price and quality.

 

 

Show notes at www.BYHYU.com

Jul 6, 2016

For most families, the kitchen is the most important room in the entire house.  It’s not only a functional family space, but it serves as the central area for entertaining, as well. Today we’ll talk about 8 common mistakes to avoid when designing and organizing your kitchen.  Next week, we’ll have another kitchen-centered lesson when I give an overview of what to look for when choosing kitchen cabinets.

 

 

Show notes at www.BYHYU.com

Jun 29, 2016

What siding you choose for the exterior of your house will greatly influence the overall appearance and style of your home.  More and more, people are choosing not just one type of siding, but several.  It’s not unusual to see houses with a mixture of brick and stone, or stucco and stone, or even fiber cement siding with brick or stone.

While appearance is a very important consideration when choosing the type of siding, you should also consider the material's price, durability and maintenance. Siding is not simply an aesthetic feature, but it functions to protect your house from the elements.  In today’s mini lesson, we’ll talk about the pros and cons of the most popular siding options.

 

 

Show notes at www.BYHYU.com

Jun 22, 2016

Most people are not considering building a tiny house.  Most of us want homes that are larger, in fact MUCH larger, than a typical tiny home. Mobile, trailer-ready tiny homes are usually between 100 and 300 square feet and tiny homes with a permanent foundation can be up to 600 square feet.  To put that into perspective, according to reference.com, the average American bedroom in a new home is between 120 and 150 square feet.  And master bedrooms are typically larger, averaging more than 200 square feet.  That 200 square feet, by the way, does not take into account the master closet space or the master bathroom. 

The closest any of us will ever come to tiny house living will be the time that we spend in a stateroom, on a cruise ship.  The typical room on a cruise ship is 150 to 200 square feet.  So, if you can’t imagine your whole house fitting into such a small space, a tiny house is probably not for you.  But, even if you have no desire to live in just a few hundred square feet, there are many lessons that we can learn from the tiny house movement.

 

 

Show notes at www.BYHYU.com

Jun 15, 2016

If you are thinking of being the general contractor of your own home, today’s mini lesson will give you an overview of the different subcontractors that you’ll have to hire.  Even if you decide to hire a builder to oversee the construction of your dream home,  it’s helpful to have a general idea of what each subcontractors does. I’ll briefly describe the role of the major tradesmen in residential construction and give some tips and tricks on hiring and managing those tradespeople.

 

 

Show notes at www.BYHYU.com

Jun 8, 2016

When I was growing up, we were told to say “rooves", with a hard “V.”  These days “roofs” is the more common pronunciation.  I might say either or both today in our mini lesson about choosing the right roofing material for your home. 

When choosing the type of roof you want for your new home, you’ll need to consider how much money you want to spend and how often you want to maintain, and potentially repair or replace your roof.  The roof is first and foremost a functional structure, but don’t dismiss the importance of choosing a roof that is aesthetically pleasing.

We often give quite a bit of thought to the way the front of our house, or the front elevation, will look, but we sometimes fail to give the color and texture of our ROOF as much consideration. What roof you choose will have a big impact on your home’s curb appeal.  I recently read that if we think of the front of the house as your home’s face, then the roof is like your home’s hair.   And you know how important someone’s hair is to their overall appearance. 

So today I’ll give an overview of the 6 most common types of roofing materials.  We’ll talk about how they function, how much they cost and how they look.

 

Show notes at www.BYHYU.com

Jun 1, 2016

People seem to really like the quiz questions at the end of each episode, so this week we have what I’m calling a semester exam.  The whole episode is dedicated to exam questions that are based on information that we’ve covered in episodes 1-19.  Most of them are original questions.  I repeat 2 or 3 previous quiz questions, but for the most part, these are original.  I plan to do a semester exam every 20th show, so let me know how you like the format.  Our exam today will have 35 questions.

 

 

Show notes at www.BYHYU.com

May 25, 2016

In this week’s episode, we’ll hear the final part of an interview I did with owner builders Chris and Shacuna Jones. I spoke with them recently about them building their new home.  They acted as the general contractor and have some great construction management and money saving tips for us.

 

 

Show notes at www.BYHYU.com

May 18, 2016

This week we have the first part of an interview with a Chris and Shacuna Jones who recently finished building a beautiful house for themselves and acted as their own general contractor.  They’ll tell us about how they managed the construction of their dream home and give us some great money saving tips. 

 

 

Show notes can be found at www.BYHYU.com

May 11, 2016

Most people know that the square footage of a house will affect the cost of construction, but many people don’t realize that how a house is designed and laid out will also affect the bottom line. And since many of us are unaware of what design choices we can make to reduce our construction costs, I’ve compiled a list 20 money saving design and layout ideas. 

The easiest way to save money DURING construction is to figure out how to reduce costs BEFORE construction even begins—during the design and planning phases.  The cost to build two houses with the same square footage can vary greatly depending on how the houses are designed and constructed.  Great savings can be hidden in small details, and a few dollars saved here and there can add up to thousands of dollars over the course of construction.

 

 

Show notes at www.BYHYU.com

May 4, 2016

One of the most important decisions that will made about the construction of your home is what type of framing it will have.  And granted, it’s not one of the most exciting decisions, but it is one of the most IMPORTANT ones. How your home is framed will significantly impact your wallet, both during and after construction.  The framing impacts the energy efficiency and comfort of your home and it has some impact on the environment, depending to how much material is used and wasted during construction.

My goal, of course, is not to make us experts, not to train us to go to the job site with a hammer in hand and act as framing carpenters (that’s what the framing crew is for).  My goal is to give you a good overview and foundation of knowledge that will help you intelligently converse with contractors about your construction options, in this case the option of advanced framing.

You know, I think it's such a shame that most people think more about the options on a car they are thinking about buying, or a vacation they are planning on taking than they do about the options for their new house, the biggest investments they will probably ever make. So, kudos to you for educating yourself.

 

 

See show notes at www.BYHYU.com

Apr 27, 2016

Today’s episode covers some different design features and construction practices that are suited for either a cold or a hot climate. My goal is for us to get a general background about the differences in building a home in these different climates. We don’t have to know every detail about regional climate design, but I want us to learn enough to make educated decisions about our construction choices.  Plus learn enough so we can ask about some cutting edge and common sense options that maybe our contractors might not typically offer.

 

Find show notes at www.BYHYU.com

Apr 20, 2016

As we plan to build our homes, I thought it would be a good idea to scour several blogs and forums to get advice from those who have built before.  I specifically wanted to find out what mistakes people had made in building their homes—what they would do differently if they were to build again.  So I’ve compiled an extensive list which details the things that homeowners would do and DID DO differently when building their second, third and even fourth houses.

Let’s learn from the experiences of others, so we don’t make similar mistakes.   Now, some of what others consider “misses” won’t matter to you in the least.  Some features you’ll hear about today should not be included in YOUR house plans because they won’t enhance the way you live.  And many of the suggestions are pretty luxurious in nature, so they may not fit everyone’s budget or style. Take suggestions that resonate most with you and the vision you have for your home.  But listen with your current AND future lifestyle in mind. Think about how you CURRENTLY live in your home AND how you might live in 5, 10 or even 20 years.

Our Pro Terms for today are Eave, Fascia and Soffit.  www.BYHYU.com

Show notes at www.BYHYU.com

Apr 6, 2016

In today’s episode we’ll go over the sequence and timeline of the major steps of building a home, so you get some idea of what to expect from the overall construction process.  This is a general overview and we’ll go into more detail of the major phases of construction in future episodes.  But today’s show is a broad outline of building a house.

It’s important to have an understanding of the overall project early in the planning phase, because when you know what to expect, you will know what to plan for.  And, like I’ve said this before, knowing what to expect takes away the fear to the unknown and decreasing the fear to the unknown, decreases the stress associated with any process, including building a house.  So you are super smart, to educate yourself and prepare BEFORE construction, so that building your home will be more enjoyable.

 

www.BYHYU.com

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