Up North Builders, Inc.

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How an Experienced Excavator Can Save You Money

Before you can build a custom home, you’ll need to prepare the site. That means you’ll need to hire an excavating company. Ask any general contractor, and they’ll tell you that an excavation contractor can make or break a project—and your budget. Here’s how.

Laying the Foundations

Every home needs a strong, solid foundation. Excavators are responsible for digging the hole for this foundation. Framers then lay wooden boards inside the space, creating a mold into which liquid concrete will be poured. Together, these components form your foundation.

For the foundation to remain secure, these wooden boards need to lie flush with the earth. Therefore, if the ground is not completely flat, you could run into a variety of problems. Namely, gaps could form underneath the lumber. Once poured, the concrete fills these spaces, forcing contractors to use more material than is necessary to lay the foundation. The deeper the gaps, the more concrete — and money — is lost.

An experienced professional excavator has both the tools and experience needed to avoid this spillage. They know how to properly prepare the site, flattening the earth, so the boards are in direct contact with it. No materials go to waste, and you save money.   

Handling Other Projects

A good excavator does more than just grading and excavating. They provide a variety of services including demolition, landscaping, and utility placement. Here at Up North Builders, for example, we also offer home remodeling services and excavation equipment rental. So instead of hiring multiple contractors, you can hire one. Thus, an experienced excavator is better for your budget. These professionals also spare you from a lengthy search for accomplished contractors. Think of an excavator as many capable contractors for the price of one.

We have been proudly serving Northern Minnesota since 1994. To hire our excavating team for your home build and save money in the process, call us at (218) 285-3635.   

Buying a Home? Make These Upgrades Immediately

The purchase of a new home is a one-of-a-kind milestone. When all the papers are signed, and your furniture is moved in, you can get to work on making it your own. General contractors specialize in home remodeling and highly recommend a few simple upgrades after move-in day. That way, you can start enjoying life in a space that feels like home.

How to Take Your New House to the Next Level

Hardwood Floors

Many newly constructed homes come with hardwood flooring. However, slightly older models have been furnished with wall-to-wall carpet. While carpeting is soft to the touch, it ages interiors and is difficult to keep clean. Wood flooring, on the other hand, is stylish, classic, and low-maintenance. If real wood doesn’t suit your budget, vinyl floors are an exceptional alternative. These panels allow for the rich look of genuine hardwood without the high cost. A general contractor will facilitate the installation process to ensure seamless results.


One of the first things you'll want to do is throw a housewarming party with all your friends. However, you can't do so if your oven is old or your fridge is too small. Appliances are a major part of any home, and if you use them heavily, it’s crucial to invest in high-quality models. A gas oven, energy-efficient refrigerator, and automated washer and dryer will make your life easier and your home more modern.

Exterior Improvements

Your home’s interior isn't the only aspect that requires attention. Head outside to recreate your front and backyard. Pulling weeds, removing or planting trees, and re-seeding the lawn are all inexpensive ways to create a beautiful atmosphere. If your home needs upgrading, install new shutters or paint a fresh coat on the walls. With these simple steps, you can customize your property’s curb appeal.

If you've just purchased a home that could use some upgrades, don’t be afraid to explore all of the options you have to customize your space. Demolition, concrete pouring, and home remodeling are just a few of the excellent ways to refresh your home.

Should You Hire an Excavating Contractor for Your Next Project?

Before starting a home improvement project, you need to hire the right team. In most cases, that includes excavating contractors. Here’s how to know whether you should hire a professional.  

5 Reasons You Need Professional Excavating Services

1.     You Want to Build or Repair Your Driveway 

Though you may not realize it, your driveway relies heavily on the soil below it. The area needs to be completely smooth to prevent flooding and cracking. Our excavation and grading contractors can give your new driveway a smooth foundation by removing rocks, laying down a protective base, and creating a pitch. Together, these steps will keep your driveway in great condition for years to come.

2.     You Need to Lay a Foundation

Before constructing a new building or home, you must first create a land opening large enough for a strong, supportive foundation. That’s where excavating comes in. We at Up North Builders, for example, will prepare the site, so your general contractor can lay the foundation and start the construction process.

3.     You Want to Revamp Your Landscape

Landscaping projects involve soil. And where there’s soil, there’s excavating. Whether you’re building an outdoor play area or creating a lush outdoor oasis, you’ll need help from a qualified excavation company. We can safely remove unwanted shrubbery or debris as well as grade the land, so it’s ready for the next steps.  

4.      You Need to Access Buried Lines

Sometimes home improvement lies below the surface. If your property’s water line needs repaired or replaced, for instance, you’ll need an excavator to access the buried pipe. Fortunately, we can do so without disturbing any other line.

5.     Your Project Requires Digging, In Any Form

If your home improvement project requires digging in any capacity, you need to hire a professional excavator. Digging can unearth not only contaminated materials but also soil, sediment, and rock fragments. Without proper erosion control, this detritus can enter lakes and streams. Digging can also harm underground utilities like gas, water, and fiber optic lines. Only excavation contractors have the skills needed to avoid these hazards.  

If your project meets any of the above requirements, don’t hesitate to call Up North Builders at (281) 285-3635. Our excavating team is here to help!

The 5 Steps for a Successful Excavating Project

Every construction project — whether it’s a new business or a custom home — starts with excavating. Hence, it sets the tone for the whole job; a small miscalculation can not only delay a project but also squander valuable resources. That’s why our excavation contractors follow a five-step process to ensure high-quality results.   

Excavating: A Step-by-Step Guide

1.     Erosion Control

Rain washes soil, sediment, and rock fragments away from the job site and into lakes and streams. Not only does this impede construction but it also poses an environmental hazard. Plus, with Minnesota’s average annual precipitation of 18 to 32 inches, it’s even more pertinent to Up North Builders. Our contractors implement erosion control at every excavation, namely stripping the topsoil and erecting silt fences.

2.     Site Sequencing

To keep things running smoothly, excavators must observe the scope of the entire project. That includes designating construction entrances, creating access roads, and otherwise preparing the site for excavation work. Without these critical steps, you can expect lengthy delays.

3.     Utilities Management

When excavating, you are likely to encounter gas lines, fiber optic lines, water lines, and other underground utilities. Thus, excavation companies must locate and identify all of these utilities, so they’re not disrupted by the digging process. 

4.     Time Management

Besides monitoring utilities, excavators must also carefully manage their time. Namely, they must plan around inclement weather, since rain and snow can slow down or altogether halt the process. Project schedules keep contractors accountable as well as help them take advantage of benign weather.

5.     Open Communication

A typical construction site consists of not only excavators but also general contractors, engineers, and other professionals. For the job to run smoothly, excavators need to communicate with each of these groups so as not to cause delays or other problems.

Lay the foundations for a successful excavation — and a successful construction project — by hiring a contractor who follows the above steps. Contact Up North Builders today!

4 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Undergoing a Home Addition

Home additions are an excellent way to create more interior space and spruce up your house simultaneously. However, it is a significant construction undertaking that may cost you a lot of time, money, and convenience. To help you make a smart decision, we at Up North Builders, a trusted general contractor in International Fall, MN, share some of the questions you should ask yourself before proceeding with the project.

General Contractor Lists 4 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Making a Home Addition

1. Will It Add Value to Your Home?

Your goal should not only be to expand or add functionality, but also to enhance your property and make it more valuable. That way, it will pay for itself — at least partially — in the long run. A bathroom addition, for example, can cost you $25,000 but get you up to 67% in return. A new sunroom, meanwhile, costs an average of about $73,000 and can fetch you up to 47% of this amount in value.

2. How Much Do You Want to Spend?

This is probably something that most people already ask themselves right from the onset. However, once the project begins and they are shown higher-quality materials and more features, some homeowners tend to get blinded and lose track of their initial budget. Talk to your general contractor, explain exactly what you want, set a spending limit, and stick to it. If you need to make adjustments, try to find ways you can do so without going over.

3. Are There Building Restrictions You Have to Consider?

There will always be building restrictions. The real question is what they are, since they may differ depending on the state or municipality. The best way to ensure that you’re not breaking any local building law is to hire professional home remodeling specialists who would be familiar with all of the regulations in their service area and can process all of the paperwork for you.

4. Should You Choose to Build Up or Down?

There are pros and cons to both. Building down tends to be easier, as there is less disruption to your existing space. Building up, on the other hand, can save you money, as it won’t require excavation or foundation work. However, you will need the help of an architect if you were to build up since you risk compromising your home’s structural integrity if the job is done shabbily. Your location, the type of house you have, and other factors may also affect this decision.

There are several projects you can take on to improve your home whether it be for your enjoyment or in preparation for putting your home on the market. If you need a general contractor to help you add a new room or feature to your home, we are here to help. Our company has been providing efficient and reliable excavation, demolition, and residential and commercial construction services for over 35 years. Give us a call at (218) 285-3635 send us a message online.