How long does it take to build a house from start to finish? Building a house from start to finish is a complex and strategically infused project.

It requires the involvement of professionals from your municipal offices, architectural designers and the pros involved in working the bare bones including plumbing, electrical and foundation requirements. Keep on reading to see what you can expect when it comes to building a new home, whether it’s a do-it-yourself process, or if you are hiring a contractor.

With the site prep work and construction basics out of the way, including clearing the building site of brush, a surveying the lot and installing temporary utilities, then pouring of concrete for the footings and the foundation can begin.


Foundation work should always be left up to the professionals. They are foundation specialists and are separate from the carpentry portion of your build. The steps involved require very specialized skills including digging trenches for frost footings, footing drainage, and building of vertical foundation walls while ensuring the foundation is waterproof. Inspectors will do a thorough examination of the foundation before giving the green light to proceed.


Once the foundation is in place and has passed inspection, it is time to move on to the framing, siding and roofing. Homeowners can assist with the work at this point and can help tackle laying the floor sheathing over the joists or hanging wallboard. They can also frame the house walls, ceilings, and the roof skeleton. Next, the installation of the rough openings for windows and doors will be framed with sheathing of the wall and roof surfaces being completed at this stage. Windows and doors are then installed and subcontracted plumbers and electrical workers can begin the rough part of their jobs. At this point, the finished sheathing and siding is completed.


The roofers now arrive to take care of the roof flashing and shingles. The basic shell of your house is completed.

Interior Work

If your home has a chimney, masons will have to be called in. To build the chimney, the mason work involves the application of brick or stone veneer over a base of concrete blocks that were previously laid by the foundation contractor.

Next, the rough in work for electrical and plumbing is installed along with HVAC system duct work. Inspections will then be made of the rough in work, then you can proceed to the next step of installing insulation.

Insulation will be applied to the walls and attic at this point. This is an excellent job for homeowners as it saves time and money and is easy to accomplish.

Hanging Drywall and Installing the Trim

These next few steps will start to make your shell of a house look like a home. If you have good DIY skills, and feel you are very much capable of taking on the work yourself, then go for it.

Typically, the process should follow a certain set of tasks starting with hanging the drywall. Ensure all wall and ceiling surfaces are done before progressing to any other work. Next, tape and mud the drywall seams with a joint compound before sanding.

Prime the walls and ceilings with spraying equipment. Drywall mudding is an art. We highly recommend hiring a seasoned professional to complete this portion of your drywall installation process. The pros guarantee there won’t be any ridges or lines on your walls from the mudding.

Finish work

Now is the best time to install your cabinetry in your kitchens and other areas.

Drywall work is very messy, so leave the installation of any interior items until after the drywall work is completed.

At this point, walls and ceilings are painted, countertops installed and the completion and hook up of finished electrical and plumbing fixtures are done. Again, plumbing and electrical work should always be entrusted to the professionals and must be up to code in many locations. This work will also require a follow up inspection.


Flooring is another DIY possibility, especially with today’s easily installed floating floors. It’s best to lay down the finish flooring throughout the entire house, whether you have carpet in some areas, laminate in others. Ceramic tile or marble flooring should be left to the professionals however, as the cutting of tiles can be rather tricky.

How long does it take to build a house from start to finish: Interior Finishes

Now the fun begins. Designing and finishing the interior rooms of your home. It’s like having a beautiful fresh palette as you decide upon your paint colors.

Each room will be ready with a clean, fresh surfaced wall, all you have to do at this point, is choose your colors.

Decide your color theme for the house. Will you be going with bold and dramatic colors or opt for softer hues. This all depends on your choices, personality and preferences.

Window treatments are also extremely important and play a huge impact on your interior finishes.

Choose quality window treatments over lower cost and cheaply made options. If there is one area you should splurge in your new home, it is the window treatments.

You can purchase well made curtains and blinds at department stores, just ensure they appear elegant and well made with materials such as natural silk or linen. If you prefer blinds or shades, stick with bamboo or wood blinds.


Lighting fixtures play such an important part in the interior ambiance of a home. Depending on your desired outcome, choose lighting accents to complement your interiors such as chandeliers in the dining room, sconces in a hallway, and table lamps to floor lamps, etc.

Some ideas to further accessorize your home include decorative mirrors which add instant light to any space. Experts suggest adding a mirror to every room. Put mirrors perpendicular to windows, not directly across from them. Select artwork for the walls ensuring the audience, no matter their height, will enjoy the work. The rule of thumb is having the middle of the picture hanging at eye level.

Next, the moving trucks arrive with your furniture and household items. Be sure to set every piece to enhance and give off an elegant vibe. Stay away from cluttered rooms while taking advantage of storage cabinets, either hidden or in sight.

The overall timeline to prep a home from start to finish varies and ultimately depends on how much work you will be doing on your own. Be sure to inquire with your municipality regarding permits, inspections, etc. A new home can be built, from start to finish (beginning with the foundation) within a 7 to 8 month time period. Again, this is relevant to the amount of work involved, the size of the home and the area the home is being built upon. Consult with a local contractor before starting any project. – Text by Cora Lee Ertler

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Canadian Home Trends magazine gives you a personal tour of the most stunning homes and condos across Canada. You'll be inspired by a selection of accessible home décor products, trend reports, simple yet stylish DIY projects, and much more. In each issue, you are given the tools to recreate designer spaces you've always dreamt of having at home, in-depth renovation and design advice, colour palette and furniture pairings, and Canada's best places to shop.

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