Cost efficient home building doesn’t mean you need to save in every area of the home. Often, one expense today can save you over time. How do you measure where to splurge or save? You’ll see that more permanent elements of the home are good places to spend more, and things that get replaced often are places where you might want to save a little. What does this mean? Let’s run down some of the most important examples:
SAVE: Natural Stone Alternatives
The look of natural stone is very popular. Like all design trends, it may last for a long time or fizzle out. You should achieve that look if you enjoy it and not worry about the trend elements of it. The more important part of this is that having the look of stone doesn’t actually mean using stone.
Major advancements in ceramic and porcelain tile allow you to use strong, durable, and affordable materials where you might otherwise use expensive stone: floors, shower walls, backsplashes, and countertops. The range of natural stone looks is very large. Take a look at these materials and compare the costs. It’s often worth it to choose an alternative that gives you the same look and is still durable, but isn’t as expensive.
SPLURGE: Foundation & Framing
The foundation is literally what your home is built upon. The framing can be understood as the home’s bones and muscle – what give it shape, strength, and durability.
When deciding where to splurge or save, lean toward spending a little extra on the permanent elements of your home. It doesn’t get more permanent than the foundation and framing. Aren’t most foundations and frames pretty much the same? To some extent. What this means is ensuring that you have experienced contractors handling these elements and that you use quality materials.
One good place to focus on it by using 2×6 lumber for the frame. This allows thicker walls where you can pack in more insulation, thus reducing energy costs. Speaking of…
SPLURGE then SAVE: Energy Efficiency
The best elements to splurge on are those that save you money down the road. If you’ve got energy efficiency or green energy elements that you’d love to be a part of your home, these can massively cut the costs of operating your home. A combination of energy efficient home design and materials can cut yearly energy costs by hundreds or even thousands of dollars.
Best of all, these have been shown to help a home maintain and build its value. Energy efficiency in homes will only continue to get more popular, and they’ll be more desired. Should you ever seek to move down the road, your home will have built considerable value. Should you hand your home off to one of your children, you’ll be giving them a home that has amazing value and features that will still be modern two decades from now.
An energy efficient floor plan can still be spacious and luxurious. It can help direct air flow so that cooling and heating both waste little energy. Insulation with high R values ensures that you won’t be losing cooling and heating through the walls. Double- and triple-glazed windows mean you won’t lose as much energy through glass. Even landscaping can help to shade homes to the east and west, reducing sun exposure and the amount your AC has to work extra in the summer.
These are just a few of many potential energy efficient elements to your home. None of these elements are particularly expensive, and added together they can create significant energy savings every year.
SAVE: Energy Star Appliances
This helps with the last point, of course. It’s separate because the idea here is that energy star-rated appliances will serve you better than fancy or custom ones. You still have a wide range of looks and designs to choose from, and of course they’ll save you on your energy bill.
Simply put, many people who splurge on professional grade appliances end up with the same experience using them that people with medium grade appliances have. You can feel great cooking and baking either way because these appliances will function the exact same way – plus, you’ll have more money for really good ingredients.
SPLURGE: Continuous Load Path
What is a continuous load path? It’s important in areas that get major storms on a regular basis. Essentially, it connects all the framing elements of your home together. This adds a great deal of structural stability that can help a home withstand high winds. Cost efficient home building doesn’t just mean saving money where you can, it also means improving efficiency where it’s most important.
You’ve probably seen archival or news footage where high winds strip the roof off a home. With today’s technology and design advancements, that shouldn’t happen. A continuous load path connects your home from the roof all the way down to the foundation. Like anything, there are different qualities of reduced load path. Many will be required by code, but this doesn’t mean you should just meet the minimum standards. A little extra structural stability goes a very long way.
SAVE: Fixtures, fixtures, fixtures
Fixtures don’t have the lifespan that permanent structural elements, materials, or even appliances have. Their lifespans can be measured in years instead of decades. There will be fixtures you never feel a need to replace, but as trends shift or your tastes change, they’ll likely be the first thing you make a change on.
You’re also very likely to find inexpensive fixture choices that you really like. Does it make sense to spend two or three times as much on a fixture that you like just a tiny bit more? This is one of the best places to save in your budget, and given the number of fixtures in your house it adds up to pretty considerable savings.
SAVE: Reduce Paint Colors
Painters will often charge more the greater the number of paint colors you choose for the walls. Every additional color in your home is more money. That doesn’t always make sense. Reduce the number of paint colors you choose and you can save a good amount.
You can always paint a room differently down the road with little expense. Interiors also don’t need the highest quality premium paint. A good quality paint should be fine.
SPLURGE: Smart Features
Take a look at the Smart Home features that appeal to you. These may seem like extravagances because some of them are. Many of them can have a major positive impact on your life, however.
Consider smart lighting, which can be programmed however you like, including to reflect the color temperature outdoors. This might seem extravagant to some, yet for those who have trouble falling asleep, waking up, or suffer seasonal affective disorder, smart lighting can be a much needed aid. For those who work off-shifts or have changing schedules, smart lighting simulating daylight rhythms when it’s still night outside can change their lives.
Smart features such as voice commands for entertainment, or having TV following you room to room when you like may seem like an extra expense. If it’s something you want, it’s worth it, yet give it extra consideration if there’s someone who’s elderly or disabled living in the home. Voice commands like this can drastically improve their quality of life, making everyday elements much more accessible and easy-to-use.
Smart security can literally be a life-saver. It can also save you a lot of hassle, such as unlocking a smart lock from your phone if a family member stops by the house when you’re at work. Or you’ve left for a restaurant without remembering to set the security system, or you meant to adjust the thermostat but you’ve already climbed into bed…smart security can allow you to manage every smart feature in your home put together remotely.
Is getting every smart feature a good splurge? Only if you’ve got money to burn. For most, selecting a few smart features that really speak to them and can improve their quality of life is a very reasonable place to splurge.
Where will you splurge or save in your custom home building?