Backdoor survive » Frugality, Preparedness, Prepping and Survival Basics, Survival mindset & incentive » Building Our house In The Mountains part 1: Permits, Foundation, Floor, and Beginning Framing
Samantha Biggers | Updated: November 12, 2018


A lot of of people dream of house ownership. The truth that that takes a life time to pay because that a lot of the giant dwellings on the market today way that the seems like a dream that can never be realized.

You are watching: How to build a house in the mountains

In part ways, the totality idea to be what journey Matt, and also I gain started doing things ourselves. My father developed a little house we stayed in awhile as soon as I to be younger, and also Matt’s Dad developed a home that gained them their start. Of course, the time and also place have the right to make a difference, and both of them walk not have to address all the codes and also hassle.

This article is not around building a tiny residence on wheels. No at all. ~ seeing this homes and the cost, i think they are not a an excellent investment unless you totally build castle yourself and realize they space a short-term or holidays home. They room not constructed in a manner that is conducive come the lifestyle human being usually want.

We build a cabin v a floor arrangement that is 480 sq ft ~ above the bottom v a 160 sq ft loft the is a bedroom and office an are with some additional storage past the 160 sq ft.

Table that Contents

Finding home PlansDigging The FoundationThings you have the right to do currently to prepare yourself for home structure even if it is a couple of years in the future

Finding residence Plans

When in pertains to house plans you have to be really careful. There room plans out there in a large price range. Us paid a grand complete of $58 because that two duplicates of our residence plans after realizing we just needed something straightforward to fulfill the building inspector. There were plenty of plans that expense $500-$1,000 back in 2009. The agency was dubbed Sheldon Designs. Sadly ns cannot find their website any longer so ns think they space out of business.

At the moment I was functioning for a financial planner through telecommuting. I was answering phone calls in phibìc Carolina and conducting secretary duties for a place based in Ketchikan, Alaska. The was no a high paying job yet at the time the prices were better than a lot of of tasks in mine area. Budgeting for a home is something we really did no do beyond saying okay let’s just do this as we can.

So $200-$500 in ~ a time, we started.

The frustrating thing once you are very first starting out building a house is the $650 or more you need to shell out before you even get to stick a shovel in the ground. Yep there space a many fees. An initial is the septic tank. Friend cannot develop a home where that is difficult to put in a septic system. $300 to be a lot for united state at the time however that was the cost. Ns was terrified the something stupid would happen and it would certainly not perk.

Then over there is a the $50 fees to acquire permission to dig on your own property and also the $300 structure permit fee. Store in mind that the price has go up and also it is much more for dwellings over 1,000 sq feet. Sorry to get on a fee rant but it is necessary to realize the cash you need to come increase with prior to breaking ground due to the fact that you can get in a bit of trouble and also get ~ above the bad side of her inspector. Perform your homework and also make certain you room going by the rules. It would certainly be unfortunate to get a fine for not adhering to the rules or need to tear down what you are building.

Be all set for stress…a lot of it and also conquering fears.

I had actually no idea what ns was doing as soon as I began out with Matt structure this house. He to be the manager so come speak. He had at least constructed some decks and also helped his Dad with various projects. Ns was scared to go up a 10 foot ladder. Friend just need to take the a day in ~ a time and make certain to read books and utilize resources choose the internet and also Youtube. We bought part books since at the moment there was no possibility of internet almost everywhere near our structure site.

We began our house at the age of 25. If you are older or have actually physical limitations you may still be able to build a house however it may take longer, or you may want to hire much more work out.

I just want to clarify where I to be at in life when starting this house project. A broke 25 year old that had actually come back home after living in Alaska because that 2 years. My advantage was determination, my future husband, and an overgrown 11 acres of residential or commercial property that my Dad was unable to carry out anything with. I likewise knew the my Dad would require some aid over the years together well. At the time his health was ok and he was acquiring out and also about.

When it comes to structure a house, it constantly takes much longer than you want or expect.

If you had told me exactly how long it would take to obtain our residence done at 25, i would have actually been shocked or possibly not thought it. There were delays pertained to money, other work, taking care of elderly relatives, weather, learning exactly how to do particular tasks, etc. You just need to keep plugging along and get through it. Mental that home ownership there is no a mortgage is precious a lot of in the permanent scheme the things.

Digging The Foundation

We dug our structure out the hard and least expensive method we could. We chose to perform a post and pad foundation. The ground was really hard and there to be so numerous roots. Us rented a 2 human auger and used that to ease the soil. Unfortunately when squaring increase the foundation and laying out where the footers would go, us miscalculated a little bit so few of the footers had to it is in dug out lot larger and also filled with concrete.

These things happen, and I remember us were both ypset around it. We had actually to mix twice as much concrete for the ago and former footers due to the fact that you perform not desire a bunch of fill if possible. In fact, if you space going by the password book, you can fail the footer inspection that you need prior to you are allowed to pour her concrete.

Back in the beginning. The wheelbarrow was an upgrade from the wagon in some ways. I can safely to speak we ruined this wheelbarrow throughout house construction. Notification the jungle around our residence site. It was simply a mess. I was simply glad to have actually a small power and a spicket at this suggest for water even if the was far from our camper. There to be no means to relocate our camper up the devastating road therefore we stayed in the sink of ours property and walked up.

Footers had actually to be reinforced through rebar, and also then rebar had actually to be grounding in the footer for this reason we might place the ring concrete develops or tube on the footer and also tie them into it because that strength.

The concrete forms had to it is in cut and also leveled off. We began with a couple of and poured concrete as we could. This connected a concrete mixer, part buckets, and sometimes rise a ladder and also pouring the in when doing the big ones in the prior that room 6 ft tall or more.

Unfortunately, when we had someone drop gravel, they refused to put it wherein we want it therefore guess who got to to draw 13 loads of gravel in a tarp-lined wagon. Little did I understand that eight years later this same human being would enable their bull to stand around and also eat my young grapevines while i was top top my an initial true holidays in 10 years. It to be t; he only times in mine life as well as a couple of week lengthy camping trips in college the lasted a week. I have actually not take away a actual vacation since!

The gravel had to it is in lifted 3-4 times. Once the gravel had actually to be put in the wagon climate it had actually to be shoveled right into the cement mixer climate the cement had actually to go in a bucket and also get carried and dumped into the tube. For the yes, really footers, it to be a little bit easier since we could set the mixer increase close to the footer. Oh, wait i forgot the the gravel had to it is in hauled increase a bank? It no a fast transfer at all.

Look at that tiny yellow wagon! notice the ladder forced to reach the top of the tower so we could pour concrete right into it 6 ft turn off the ground.

We to be so determined and also young. Us were sore together a cook every night and also had no energy to carry out all the points other people our age were doing. Us didn’t walk to parties, bars, restaurants or anything. We sat at our time or camper v our dogs and also had a beer and also meal in the shade read books and eventually I started writing part articles about what we were doing. Lock were straightforward times in a way. We likewise spent some time fencing and raising pets to help clear the land and administer meat because that the table. At the moment we thought we might be able to raise some inspected meat and also sell it too.

Our camper in the sink we continued to be in while building the house. The is 25 year old Samantha v the cow us bought best after gaining married.
Walking back to the camper. I think we had actually a pile of sorghum or corn shocks we were feeding our cow. The pile to the right could have been either. At this suggest we finally had a 1986 F250 truck to gain up and down the mountain. This was taken during framing and also getting the roof on the house.

The waiting is sometimes an extremely hard. Concrete footings needed a week to cure and also then every shaft needed around the same amount the time. As you may have gathered, we can not pour all the columns in a day, so the foundation took awhile.

Since there to be no way to acquire a distribution truck up our road, we had actually to to buy portland mix in town. Those bags weigh 94 lbs. Then there to be the sand the was forced to mix concrete native scratch. Sand had to be hauled and then manually unloaded onto a tarp top top the ground and then it was shoveled in the mixer together needed.

I have to be honest. Everything is a huge difficulty when you have actually very small money, no plumbing past a spicket, and very limited electricity.

We grounding to oneself because, to it is in honest; we were worried that someone would certainly come in and also say we couldn’t live the method we were. I assumed others would think much less of us for what us were doing.

We were proceeding on the house regardless of the fact that I had lost my job working because that a jae won planner on my computer. It was a good job v decent pay for the area. I started picking up some composing awhile after and also in the during there to be odd jobs and taking treatment of the elderly persons in the household as much as possible. My dad was still getting about okay ago then yet my grandmother to be showing signs of her age which taken place to be much older 보다 we realized. Part people, especially those born to combined women, didn’t get birth certificates or social defense numbers. She lied around her period to do herself seem younger years back when they gave her a bear certificate.

What us did as soon as we were the end of building money or wait for inspections

We retained busy with improvements roughly our residential property that take it work however not a many money favor clearing trails and also fencing. We did a couple of hundred Shiitake mushroom logs. When you room clearing and also cutting firewood few of the logs we saved for mushroom logs. These logs still give us a few mushrooms strangely enough. A most them were Chestnut Oak logs the were an extremely dense. This trees were 12 inches thick but 80 year old. This produced some excellent mushroom logs.

The actions after the columns were building the floor and joists.

You can see the joists and braces underneath. It took a the majority of joist hangers and nails to placed those in. Each piece of blocking had to be cut with a miter or skill Saw.

Our house compelled 20 ft boards uneven we wanted to job a many together. We had actually to unique order these and also have them delivered to mine Dad’s house. Currently the an obstacle was relocating them increase the mountain around 1/2 a mile for this reason what did we do. Why we brought them 1 in ~ a time or that was the plan. ~ we acquired one increase the hill someone feel sorry for us and also strapped them to the top of a truck and also drove very slowly. At the time we has just a Honda Civic. No truck, no 4 wheeler, simply a tiny car.

It was slow going and a most hammering constructing those beams. Oh and then there was the load of lifting this beams. We had to build them in place so we would life a solitary board and put it together with patch plates.

The actual joists were put in location with joist hangers and also nails. The was a lot of hammering and likewise cutting the plank to go in-between all those joists.

I remember being so excited through Matt that once we gained the sub floor and put that down. We had actually a platform! A platform that would one day have actually walls. In ~ this suggest we started feeling like this to be going come come together and also one day us would have a real little house the our own on the land my grandfather operated so tough to obtain so numerous years ago. I wish i had gained to accomplish him at the very least once.



The walls came together much faster than I thought they would v the exemption of frame in the doorways. That is a lot harder 보다 it seems. Matt figured it out like he constantly does. At least he had some structure experience unequal me that was fear to walk on a ladder 8 feet off the ground.

Building a house is a lot about overcoming fears. That feels great to do that sometimes and as girlfriend have tiny successes you establish that reaching your goals might take a little longer than you would like yet if you keep at the you will reach where you want to be. Of food you can bite off much more than you deserve to do. I know that Matt and also I certainly took on method too lot at times. It was simple to get sufficient projects walking that sometimes the house stuff would gain delayed. Occasionally it would likewise take us a lot much more time to figure out the right means to do something. Occasionally we honestly acquired frustrated and also had to step away indigenous the house. I don’t advise stepping away from something too long but sometimes acquisition a few days to conference yourself and also work on miscellaneous else can be a large help.

Matt standing just inside our future backdoor. At this point, i dreaded every time the rained. The following step was some sheathing because that support and also then it was a gyeongju to get the loft joists up and also the roof on. Us both slept a little far better when the roof was on.
Jeb. I miss out on him therefore much. He left us much too soon. Cancer at 7. The made me cry to placed this snapshot in this post.

On building a residence with an additional person

This is walk to take it me awhile come cover, yet if i save also one of you out there or your kids from a solitary one that the mistake that can be made, climate my lengthy dialogue is worth it.

So right here we go……

Sometimes civilization wonder just how on earth Matt and I can take top top that lot together and not drive each other crazy. I think I have to be clear the Matt and I had been together for virtually 5 years once we started structure our house. We had each other pretty figured out and had lived in a family together for most of the 5 years. Ns recommend that you be very comfortable v the human being that you decision to develop a house with. This is no an endeavor for those that room still in the very beginning step of your relationship.

If you are a pair that continually is in competition with one one more or that cannot deal with working on a vast project the takes all your time and also money then don’t build your own house. Sorry, however I have worked for a jae won planner that encountered a many divorces and also splitting the finances. A home is a huge monetary investment, and also if you decision on under the line the the human is not the one, then someone or both of you is walk to have to leave that house you built.

You require to be able to leave behind the drama and also setbacks that have the right to occur throughout a job of construction. You likewise need to be ready to alleviate your society life to practically nothing. Nothing assume that civilization will visit friend if you room far external of town. I am 4 miles exterior of city on a 4 wheel drive the only road, and I have the right to tell friend that human being will not display up most of the time and they probably will not help you on any kind of of your major projects.

If you plan on having actually a residence without a mortgage or at least a very tiny one, you will certainly not have actually money to go party v your friends and also eat out. It seems prefer that is what to be going on a lot of with human being our age when we were structure the house.

I recommend living in the same space with someone for a year before you build a residence with them. The is far different living and working with someone than simply dating. I am i m really sorry if this offends someone analysis that doesn’t believe in cohabitation prior to marriage yet my viewpoint is the deciding to spend your life v someone and also build a home is a major life decision. You shot a automobile out before you buy it right? Well i think the it is great to understand you have the right to put up v each other prior to committing to having every element of her life tied together.

Divorce it s okay a lot more facility when there are major assets like homes and also land involved. Even if you space not married, if the various other person can prove they invest money, they could have a case.

I have actually seen also many world rush into significant choices and also then both they and possibly rather are affected for their entire life. The can readjust the course of many lives when major choices room taken v a serial of salt.

Things you deserve to do currently to prepare you yourself for home structure even if it is a few years in the future

Improve her physical fitness

Building a home is tough work also if you don’t take it come the extremes the Matt and I did in ~ times. Let me let girlfriend in on a little secret. We were both in no the best shape after functioning office work in a town that had destructive weather. Ns remember panting making it increase the very first hill to get to ours property. Ns was happy I had actually started exercising much more when i was quiet in Alaska or the would have been worse.

Learn some structure skills

Find reasonable house plans

Get a copy that the building codes if you know where you room going to build in the future

Some areas allow you come do much more work because that yourself 보다 others. If you space not permitted to do your own electrical work because that example, then you require to recognize that so you can budget for having your home wired.

Save up part money to begin out with

You don’t have to save up 10s of thousands although the is pretty if girlfriend can! i think Matt and I had actually maybe $1,500 conserved up after ~ the permits were paid and we could break ground. We simply did that a couple of hundred in ~ a time after that or saved up for various stages.

Other things to remember.

People will certainly say girlfriend can’t carry out it and also even think you space crazy.

It is worth it to construct your own house and ignore the haters. Together they say,

Haters space going to hate.

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Ignore them.

Until following time,


Note: This article is component of a collection as the is difficult to tell the story of structure a home and the struggle in a single post!