It rarely happens that the house-builders ideas of what he wants to pay and his requirements as to number of rooms, their size and location, are co-ordinated one to the other. Almost invariably his desires are greater than his set limit of price can secure. Also he is not to be satisfied with the architect's mere statement of this fact; but is only convinced by having the house that he desires drawn out and estimated; when he either has to cut it down, and so sacrifice many of his pet ideas, or else make up his mind to pay the larger amount that his ideal will cost. Generally a satisfactory compromise is arrived at. Certain things he is willing to give up; certain others he is willing to pay for the privilege of securing.
The architect is often confronted by a client demanding a house at a cost and of a size that will not possibly give him the kind of dwelling that he really desires and with which alone he will be satisfied. If the mistake is made of starting a plan intended to meet the clients expressed wishes, either the house when finally built will cost greatly more than such a plan rightly demands; or the scheme is abandoned and an arrangement better suited to the client's needs substituted in its place. In the first event the client remains forever unsatisfied; and in the latter much unnecessary time and energy has been lost by both parties. If the owner - as frequently happens - states at the first an amount less than he actually intends to expend, a similar result is to be expected.
The cost of the various items that go to make up the house may be stated with fair exactitude, although it is doubtful if the attempt to estimate such minor details is not, after all, more confusing than beneficial to one inexperienced in house building; as all these details are already included in the general methods just given for approximately estimating the cost of the completed dwelling.
For plumbing, it is possible to say that the cost of installation - including labor and simple but good fixtures - will average from $50 to $75 per fixture, depending upon whether the house is small or large; while if more elaborate or expensive, individual fixtures are employed, the cost may run to over $100 an outlet.
For heating, the hot air furnace should cost between $20 and $25 per register in the small house, while running to perhaps $30 or more on a larger dwelling. If a combination hot air and hot water heater is used, it may average from $35 to $40 an outlet. For steam, the cost on a small or large house will probably vary from $40 to $45 per radiator with an additional 25 per cent increase for hot water.
It is customary in some sections to estimate from a dollar to $1.25 an outlet for gas; and about $1.50 or $1.75 an outlet for electricity, the latter sum including switches as an outlet, wherever they occur.
Window screens may be obtained for from about $1.25 to $2.25 a window, depending upon the material of the frame and the quality of the wire employed; the lower price being for wood frame and steel japanned mesh, while the more expensive would generally cover the cost of a metal. and bronze wire window screen. Screen doors of pine will run correspondingly from $6.00 to $7.50 apiece; with metal weather strips for windows at about $2.00 to $2.50 and for doors from $3.50 to $4.00 an opening.
The cost of doors and windows depends upon both their design and material. Stock doors of the cross panel, or four upright panel, type can be obtained in so-called pine (generally actually Washington Fir), Carolina Hard pine, or Birch for about $2.50 apiece.
The frames will cost from $1.25 to $1.50, and the architrave finish upon both sides probably $2.00 more, making each opening cost about $6.00 or with hardware a total of about $8.00 a door; not allowing anything, however, for labor in fitting, hanging, and finishing around openings, etc.
A window costs - for the frame - between $2.50 and $3.50, with sash costing from $2.00 to $3.00 and, with hardware and architrave finish, the whole would probably run to about $10.00 an opening.
These sums will only apply to those sizes and designs that are near enough to the stock patterns to be handled by the concerns manufacturing these specialties in large numbers. For special mouldings, designs and sizes, or for work executed in more expensive wood, such as oak and mahogany, a considerable difference in cost will at once manifest itself.
Storm windows range from $1.50 to $2.50; with window blinds at between $1.00 and $1.50 an opening.
A fireplace will cost about $40.00 for facing and hearth with about $30.00 more for a mantel. This is additional to cost of chimney. It will add perhaps $25.00 to the latter for each fireplace after the first one it carries. In more important rooms the mantel will cost more than the sum given; in bedrooms suitable facings may be obtained for less; but the above amounts will stand for fair averages.