Frequently Asked Questions

Our Frequently Asked Questions page in broken down into 7 sections. While the topic of building a home can generate a lot of questions, we have tried to gather the most asked questions and organize them here.

Each section below has the most asked question in that category. If you do not see the question you need the answer to, please phone or email us your question. If enough people have the same question, we will expand this section. And remember no question is too small, we deal with home plans all day so what might be obvious to us could be a total mystery to someone building a home for the first time.

Plan Options

What is the difference between print licenses?

A print license is conveyed to the purchaser as either a PDF file or a printed vellum. The PDF file cannot be modified and can only be printed. The vellum is erasable and allows for very minor changes and /or notes to be added. An electronic license allows for the client or the client’s consultants to make more elaborate modifications to plans (i.e.: widen a bedroom, add a fireplace, or add a window, etc.).

What is a Unfinished Walkout Basement?

An unfinished walkout basement is designed for a sloping lot which falls away to the rear of the property.  Access to a rear patio on the basement level is provided via French and sliding glass doors. With this option we provide, in addition to the standard plans, a basement foundation plan, a first floor framing plan, and revised typical wall sections.

What is a Unfinished Basement?

An unfinished basement is a popular foundation due to the added functionality it brings to a home. The basement can be used as storage space, finished off for living areas (depending on location), or both. The basement foundation combines elements of both a slab and crawlspace foundation. The floor in a basement is basically a concrete slab, and the engineered floor truss system is basically the same that a crawlspace uses. The foundational wall system is built as either an 8” concrete block or poured in place concrete. Please refer to your contractor and/or local building official to determine the best solution for your site and the governing building codes. Basement foundations can be found all over the country, but areas with high water tables or unsettled soil may preclude you from building a basement due to potential flooding or cracking in the foundation walls.

What is a Crawl Space?

A crawl space foundation is designed with an engineered floor truss system supported by an elevated stem wall. Crawl spaces are typically used in areas with colder climates and/or high moisture, where excessive water can build up. Supporting the home off of the ground keeps it away from moisture that could cause damage. A crawl space will also allow easy access to piping and utility areas underneath the home for both hookups and any necessary repairs.

What is a Slab/Stem Wall Foundation?

A Slab/Stem Wall Foundation is where the finished house floor is required to be raised above grade more than 12” without adversely impacting the surrounding grade, due to zoning or flooding requirements. This requires a block stem wall at the perimeter of the home to contain the fill required for achieving the desired house floor elevation. The garage floor is usually exempt from this requirement and is located closer to finish grade.

What is a Full Reverse?

Full reverse plans are redrawn with all the plans including elevations fully reversed. Additionally, all text and dimensioning notes are right read, rather than mirrored, which are simply plans printed backwards.

What is a Rendering Print?

A Rendering Print option is a full color print, on a 20 x 12 sheet of semi gloss paper, of the front rendering of the plan you are purchasing. It is the same front rendering that is currently shown on the website.

What does Exterior Wall 8″ Block mean?

Our optional 8″ Block for the exterior wall typically encompasses the first floor only on Two Story Plans, and the basement/ground floor and first main living level for Basement and Island Basement Plans. The second floor living levels are typically drawn as frame construction even with an 8” block construction option. If you wish the plan to be 8″ block on all stories of the home we can convert it, but it must be done through our Plan Modification process. It is industry standard that a plan that comes with a basement, of any type, the exterior walls will be either 8″ block or poured concrete.

What does Exterior Wall 2×6 Wood mean?

Our Frame Exterior Wall Option includes all exterior walls, excluding foundational stemwall or basement walls, which are typically either 8” concrete block or poured concrete. Other wall construction methods are available through our Plan Modification process.

What is a ICF Wall?

First, ICF stands for “Insulating or Insulated Concrete Forms”. Basically, these are insulated foam panels used as forms to contain steel reinforced poured concrete. These forms may consist of an open center, which many times houses metal reinforcement used to stabilize and strengthen the concrete that will eventually be poured into it. You can apply any interior or exterior finish to ICF homes. ICF systems are most often used for exterior walls only. The benefits of an ICF wall system to the consumer would be improved energy efficiency, greater strength and durability, better sound resistance, superior fire and pest resistance as well as a more environmentally friendly construction method.

What is involved in converting a plan to Metric?

This plan option is to convert the plan dimensionally from feet and inches to the metric equivalent .



Frequently Asked Questions about Custom Home Design

If you are looking for information on getting a custom home plan designed, please visit Sater Group, Inc.