Realities of Building in the Mountains

Realities of Building in the Mountains

Why you should expect higher costs - and how to stay on budget


1. Sloped site

If you’re building a dream home perched on top of a mountain, chances are you selected the site because of the gorgeous views. However, a sloped site can lead to expensive landscaping bills - just getting the equipment up to the location can be a technical and engineering feat. You also need to be aware of drainage on your site. Selecting the proper design that is tailored to your site will help avoid unforeseen expenses in the long run. Use the slope to your advantage by building out a lower-level walkout, opening up your basement to the outdoors and increasing the square footage without increasing the footprint - a win/win.


2. Unexpected rock layers

Even the most knowledgeable and skilled contractor doesn’t always know what rock layers lay beneath the surface. If they hit rock too early when digging the foundation, they may have to hammer or blast it out, or build the house higher. This might make the project more expensive, but it is definitely more important to build a structurally sound foundation rather than have your house slide down a cliffside! The good news is that once your foundation is in, there shouldn’t be any more surprises.


3. Up-front material costs that reduce your energy bills

Building technology has advanced dramatically in the past few years. Although you may end up paying more upfront for new materials, they end up paying for themselves over time in lowered energy bills and higher resale value. Up in the mountains there are more natural challenges to account for, such as extreme temperature fluctuations, heavy snow, and strong winds. You may invest more for higher r-value insulation materials, for example, but that will keep you from running the heat all winter! There are also different types of glass for windows that will keep the cold air out in the winter and bring the warm sunshine inside. Your bank account will thank you in the long run!

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