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Frequently Asked Questions

Common questions about custom homes, the construction process, & common terms.

Answers to Custom Home Questions

Q: Why build a custom home?

A: Building a custom home is rewarding. It is a home that is designed and built based on you and your family's needs, nothing less and nothing more.  Back to top

Q: Does it cost more to build my own home?

A: In most cases no, it does not cost more than the cookie cutter homes in sub divisions. It really depends how in depth you go with the design process and what quality finishes you opt for.  Back to top

Q: Does the lot/land have to be owned already?

A: No, you do not have to own land. Our in house Realtor Tiffany Squires McNeely with At Home Texas Real Estate out of Greenville is ready to assist you in finding the perfect location and the perfect size for the price range you are looking for.  Back to top

Q: Can I use an architect of my choosing?

A: Of corse you can, but the truth is you do not need an architect to build a custom home, in fact there are 100's of reputible sites with premade plan sets on them availble for purchase. However, if you want the full custom home experiance than we would recommend hiring an architect. But yes, we will be more than happy to work with your architect, we can even recommend one if you do not have one.  Back to top

Q: Can you find a lot/land to build on for me?

A: We can, our in house Realtor Tiffany Squires McNeely is lisenced in the State of Texas and standing by to assist with your land purchasing needs.  Back to top

Q: Do I have to hand pick all the finishes?

A: No, you can be as detailed or as broad as you want, of corse we would want you to approve everything that we put in before hand, but we have several options you can choose from as well.  Back to top

Answers to Questions About the Construction Process

Q: How long until I can move in?

A: The actual construction of the home usually ranges from 3-4 months from ground breaking until move-in. However the whole process, which depends mainly on the design phase, should commonly be about 6 months.  Back to top

Q: How does the billing process work?

A: We will be in contact with the bank and request the money from them.  Back to top

Q: Can I visit the site to check on progress?

A: Of corse you can come and see the site, you are welcome to come whenever you like, just please schedule a time with us and we will make sure the site is safe and tidy for whoever you want to bring along.  Back to top

Q: What if I change my mind about a detail, finish, etc..?

A: If it is before the item is ordered or installed, then no problem. However if the item is already ordered or installed in the home, there will be associated costs with returning the item or modifying the item already installed.  Back to top

Q: What do I need to look for when choosing a lot/land?

A: Something I always recommend in choosing land, is to find land with utilities already run to it. This is your water and electric service. Of corse it can be installed after you have purchased the land, but depending on how far they need to go to tap into the nearest supply, it could get quite costly in a hurry. Besides that it is up to you! Feel free to contact Tiffany Squires McNeely with real estate questions.  Back to top

Q: Do I have to provide insurance while the home is being built?

A: Being a lisenced contractor, I am required by law to carry insurance for the home while it is being built.  Back to top

Q: If something is damaged/vandalized during construction, and I at risk?

A: No, the builders risk insurance I provide will cover most of these claims.  Back to top

Building a Home From Start to Finish

1. Surveying & Staking

A surveying crew will come out and survey the property, in this stage they will provide benchmark points, property lines, and critical points to maintain. Also, utility companies will come out and mark any underground lines that may be running through your property.   Back to top

2. Dirtwork & Underground Utilities

This is also known as the "ground breaking". Crews will come in and begin stripping vegitation and prepping the dirt for slab work & roughly grading the site. This is also the stage where your MEP trades come in and install your underground utilities that service your house, and any sort of piping that will run under your slab, such as your sanitary drains.   Back to top

3. Forming & Pouring Slab

After all the underground work is complete, the concrete contractor will begin his work. He will dig out where the slab is to be poured and provide any select fill if needed. His crew will then form the slab and install rebar or post tentioning cables before the slab is poured.   Back to top

4. Interior & Exterior Wall Framing

Once the slab has been poured, the framers are released to begin framing the walls. They begin by laying out the floorplan on the slab to achieve the proper measurements, this is followed by constructing and raising the interior & exterior walls. If it is a two story, they will continue to the second story by installing floor trusses and decking on the second story.   Back to top

5. Framing of Roof Trusses

Once all the walls are complete, they will begin standing or constructing trusses. The trusses can either be pre manufactured or stick built on site, each have their advantages and disadvantages, but serve the same purpose.   Back to top

6. Exterior Sheathing, Decking, & Roofing

Once the trusses are in, the framers will continue by installing sheathing on the exterior walls, followed shortly by the decking on the roof. Once the decking is installed the roofing contractor will then install the roof system of choice. After this phase, the building is now "dried-in". Also, at this point, the homes structure should be 100% established and all temporary shoring and bracing can be removed.   Back to top

7. Install Windows

After the roof, decking, & sheathing are installed, the windows can be installed   Back to top

8. Mechanical, Electrical, & Plumbing Rough-in

All of this starts once the building is dried in, it can happen before the windows are installed, but usually occurs at the same time. This is the phase where all the in-wall and ceiling wire, pipes, ducts, electrical boxes, etc.. are installed before sheetrock goes up.   Back to top

9. Install Masonry & Siding

This can run concurrently with the interior rough-in, and even during the sheetrocking phases. Before any exterior protection goes on, a vapor barrier is installed over the sheathing to provide water-proofing.   Back to top

10. Sheetrock Walls

All the in-wall and above ceiling items are installed and inspected, insulation is installed in the walls, it is time to sheetrock and cover those bare studs.   Back to top

11. Install Exterior & Interior Doors & Complete Building Envelope

With sheetrock and the exterior facia and siding complete, all the door frames are now put in. Once this is done, the building envelope is complete with caulking and sealants and water tight assemblies to ensure your home is moisture free for its entirity. A good contractor will sit down and review all of these details first with the architect, then with you.   Back to top

12. Install Trim & Millwork

The sheetrock is installed, door frames are in, it is time to install the trim and finish millwork, including your cabinets and any other built in shelving or features in your home.   Back to top

13. Tape & Bed, Texture, & Paint

This is also dubbed the finishing stage. All of your sheetrock joints are taped and mudded over with joint compound, and all gaps are caulked tight. Any texture or finish is applied, followed by the final paint.   Back to top

14. Install Flooring

Usually one of the last items, the flooring goes in after the base is installed and everything else is pretty much finished, you can install it at an earlier stage but it is uaually held off mainly due to dirty footprints being tracked in the house and the possibility of ruining new flooring.   Back to top

15. Mechanical, Electrical, & Plumbing Trim out

This is ready to begin when all of your finishes are done, most of these go on top of the finishes and the "trim" products are premanufactured with their own finished which is specified when ordering. These include light switches and fixtures, HVAC diffusers, sink faucets and drain connections, etc...   Back to top

16. Final Grading and Site Paving

This stage can happen almost immeaditly after the framing is done, but is held off due to the workers being in the way of others trying to build and to prevent damages to the newly paved surfaces. This includes your driveway, walkways, and patios. The final grading will be done to achieve proper drainage away from the slab & towards the street or other specified runoff destinations and include any landscaping features as well.   Back to top

17. Landscaping & Irrigation

This is done after the rough final grade has been achieved and the area surrounding the house is sloped and draining properly. The landscapers will trench and bury and underground irrigation lines that are included, and then finish off the area with grass, schrubs, trees, flower beds, etc...   Back to top

18. Final Clean

This takes place after the house is 100% complete. A cleaning crew will come in and c lean up and mess or dust left from construction and prepare the house to be turned over to the owner.   Back to top

Definitions of Common Terms Used in the Construction Industry

Caulk-  A type of sealant that is applied to close a gap and make it either air tight, water tight, or physically appealing.   Back to top

Country Home-  A home that does not have all the city utilities (ex. electric, sanitary, gas service, etc..)   Back to top

Custom Home-  A home designed and built out of request of the owner.   Back to top


Single Phase vs 3 Phase-  Single phase wiring is your basic 120/240v service with 2 120v hot legs, 1 neutral, and one ground for your basic house power needs. 3 phase power is needed for large motors and large commercial applications and is rarely used in the housing industry.   Back to top

Circuit Breaker-  A safety device required on any circuit that is being used in the house designed to trip and cut off the supply of electricity in the case of overload. If circuit breaker is not installed, there is a greater risk of a fire caused by an overloaded electrical circuit.   Back to top

GFCI Outlet-  Abbreviation for "Ground fault circuit interrupter". An outlet required around water sources with a built in ground fault protection in the form of a breaker. If the outlet detects a ground fault(short circuit) it will trip and shut off the electrical supply to anything connected to that GFCI.  Back to top

Ground-  Wire that safely directs all unused electricity to the ground.   Back to top

Wire Gauges-  The thickness of the wire used. The required wire gauge is dependant directly on the rating of the circuit breaker it is being fed from. Regular 15 amp circuit breakers require 14ga. wire, 20 amp requires 12ga., 30 amp requires 10ga., and 50 amp requires 8ga., there should not be anything bigger than an 8ga. in most houses besides the incoming supply wire. If the right gauge wire is not used with the right circuit breaker, the wire will overheat causing it to fail and possibly a fire.   Back to top

Dried-in-  The term used when a house being built has a finished roof and sheathing installed. This is the go ahead for MEP rough-in to begin.   Back to top

Fascia-  A wooden board or other flat piece of material such as that covering the ends of rafters.   Back to top

French Drain-  Underground drain pipe buried in rock. Usually installed around houses with basements to prevent flooding of the basement. Also used to dirvert water away from a low laying area to where it can be properly drained.   Back to top

Girder-  A horizontal main structual member.   Back to top

Grading-  Grading is a pre-engineered slope and height of areas to ensure drainage is directed the right way.   Back to top

Grout-  Material used to embed rebars in masonry walls, connect sections of pre-cast concrete, fill voids, and seal joints.   Back to top

HVAC-  Abbreavation for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning, also know simply as mechanical.   Back to top


Blown-in Insulation-  Loose insulation that is blown in with a large hose, typically used to insulate ceilings in attics.   Back to top

Foam Insulation-  An expanding spray type insulation, primairly used in basements.   Back to top

Insulation Batt-  A premade section of assembled insulation designed and cut to fit in specified size of cavity, typically used in walls.   Back to top

R-Value-  The rating system of insulation based on heat loss/gain.   Back to top

Sound Attenuation-  The rating system in insulation based on transferrable sound.   Back to top

Joist-  A horizontal framing member.   Back to top

Load Bearing Wall-  Section of an interior wall designed to take a portion of the total load distributed.   Back to top

MEP-  Abbreavation for mechanical, electrical, and plumbing.   Back to top

Mortar-  A workable paste used to bind construction blocks together and fill the gaps between them.   Back to top

OSB-  Abbreaviation for oriented strand board whihc is engineered wood partical board, also referred to as chipboard.   Back to top

Partition-  An interior wall that is primairly for architectual use & does not support any portion of the structure's load.   Back to top

Paving-  Non-structual concrete work.   Back to top

Pier & Beam-  Foundation of a house supported by piers dug in the ground with structual beam members atop the piers. Leaves a crawl space underneath house.   Back to top


Backflow Preventer-  Device required on irrigation systems that prevents contaminated water from being pushed back into the domestic water system.   Back to top

Instant Hot Water Heater-  Also known as a tankless water heater, it is a water heater equipped with a booster heater that instantly heats water passing through.   Back to top

Post Tension Slab-  A structured slab that has post tension cables imbedded in it. When the slab has cured for a few days the cables are tensioned which re-supports the slab despite having settled a bit.   Back to top

Punch List-  Done prior to move in, the owner walks with the contractor or home builder and compiles a list of items that need to be repaired or refinished before he takes ownership of the house.   Back to top

Purlin-  Supporting members that run perpendicular atop the rafters.   Back to top

Quick-set-  A workable paste used to secure tilework to floor or wall.   Back to top

Retaining Wall-  A wall constructed to retain soil behind it where natural grading has to be interrupted for any reason.   Back to top

Rafter-  Supporting member of a roof running from top plate of framing to roof ridge.   Back to top

Rough-in-  The common term of something installed that is not final product nor is going to be seen on a regular basis.   Back to top

Select Fill-  Basically engineered dirt, good quality fill dirt when the structure of the dirt is relied upon by another element.   Back to top

Shear Wall-  An engineered wall section which provided additional support against horizontal loads.  Back to top

Sheathing-  Sheets of wood, usually OSB that are attached to rough framing on the exterior of the house to provide structual support and a defined wall.   Back to top

Shoring-  Usually temporary during construction, but can be permenante bracing of an object incapable of supporting itself.   Back to top

Slab on Grade-  Foundation or concrete that is sitting directly atop the grade.   Back to top

Soffit-  Board directly below the roof line closing off the attic from the elements.   Back to top

Stick Built-  All framing members are cut and prepped on site.   Back to top

Stud-  Vertical supports in walls.   Back to top

Swale-  A section of landscaping purposly left low, designed to catch, direct, and run off excess water.   Back to top

Trim-out-  The process of installing the final items in electrical, plumbing, and mechanical systems.   Back to top

Truss-  Pre-engineered and usually pre-manufactured structual member constructed of smaller framing members pieced together.   Back to top

Vapor Barrier-  Any barrier that is applied to keep moisture and water out of a specific area.   Back to top

Weep Hole-  Small hole on the bottom row of bricks designed to let water that has seeped through the mortar to drain from the cavity within the vaneer.   Back to top

Squires Construction, Inc.
2414 Hwy 34 North
Greenville, TX 75401
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