How to Build a House

Essential Craftsman is building a house and filming every step of the way. The project is currently underway, and you can watch all of the episodes for free. If you watch this entire series, you are going to know more than almost anyone about how houses are built. If you think this will benefit you - you better get some popcorn going!


Why are we doing this?

Why are we doing this project? Who is going to build it? What is the point? When will this all happen?


Episode 1

Before you purchase a property, there are several things to look for and become aware of. This video discusses our due diligence on the property we selected, and addresses a few initial concerns with our parcel. 


Episode 2

Learn about boundary surveys and get to know my surveyor Carl. In order to address the retaining issues at our site we need to know exactly where the property lines are so we know exactly what we are working with. 


Episode 3

A Geotechnical Engineer will give you valuable information about the soil at your site. This information is critical for understanding what preparation needs to be done before building. A house is a heavy object, and without understanding the soils there are some real risks of the house settling and shifting. This is especially true in our case since we our building on a hillside.  


Episode 4

We didn't have to hire a civil engineer for this project, but it is still very important to understand the role they play in development, even in building a single family home. You will meet Travis Robinson, a civil engineer, who talks about city services, water treatment, hookup fees, and drainage. 

Episode 5

Carl Sweeden is back, this time to do a topographic survey. This is a survey that tells you elevations of your site. This information allows an engineer to optimize the engineering and deliver the best design possible. 


Episode 6

With all of the engineering reports in hand, we are ready to discuss our retaining condition with a Structural Engineer. This is the professional that will design the structure and create a set of plans that we will build to. Most jurisdictions won't allow you to build without engineering of this type done, so don't think about skipping this step...


Episode 7

All about Excavation, excavation contractors (vs renting equipment), benching, and more. This is the official breaking ground video of our house building project!


Episode 8

Setting an edge form on the upper retaining wall. This concrete work is for the retaining wall that will be behind the house. 


Episode 9

Compacting the soil underneath the footer, using a plate compactor and gravel. Learn about basalt, compaction, and why it is important. 


Episode 10

This work is on the lower footer, of the south retaining wall. This is also an edge form, but we are utilizing OSB and turnbuckles. Also learn about that mystery drain pipe. 


Episode 11

The city has hooked up a water meter, and we are now able to connect and access water. Learn about water meters and how they work. 


Episode 12

These footers have a significant amount of rebel, and it is important that is is located exactly in the right locations. Learn about tying rebar, how to suspend, the tools we are using, development length, and more. 


Episode 13

In this episode Scott teaches how to form bulkheads, how strong your forms should, how to use a story pole and builders laser, 


Episode 14

Learn how to order concrete, how to estimate volumes, what types of admixtures can be ordered, and how much concrete we are going to be pouring for he footings of our retaining wall. 


Episode 15


Episode 16


Episode 17


Episode 18


Episode 19


Episode 20