The Cost of Building A Custom Home in Ontario

A full break down of what you can expect the full costs of building a 2000 sq.ft. custom home in Ontario with an example quote including average cost and high end cost.
Home Building Cost Ontario
Georgian Bay Homes
Georgian Bay Homes

Building & Planning Team

If you are looking to build a custom home in areas such as Midland, Penetanguishene, Collingwood, Blue Mountain or the Muskoka cottage country – below you will find an estimate of the cost of building a home in Ontario and the areas mentioned above. You can find stunning craftsman homes all over Ontario. Architects, home designers and custom home builders are able to build the exact home you have always wanted and help inspire some useful upgrades that add great value to your lifestyle. Custom homes and craftsman homes often include extra touches and trims, along with expansive rooms, incredible exteriors and curb appeal, and some “must have” upgrades.  Alternatively, a custom home can also be designed with efficiency and price point in mind, using new home designs that take in to account the future of your family. We’ll take a look at what goes into creating a custom home in Ontario, and importantly, some of the costs you should be aware of.

The Factors that Go into the Cost of a Custom Home in Ontario

The Cost Of The Land

Nowadays, this is by far and away the big one.  Land values have exploded in recent years and show no sign of abating, no matter where you are in Ontario.  The Georgian Bay has seen an increase in population due to the changes in real estate market, as are its immediate surrounding areas.

In some cases, the lot you select will have a house already on it.  That means to get the land, you have to buy the house as well, thus incurring additional costs.  To that, you must also add the cost of demolition of the existing dwelling, before you can start building your custom home.

The Location Of Your Custom Home

This factor is crucial too.  The cost of land, as mentioned above, is general.  Location is specific.  At the end of the day, it’s all relative.  A custom house built on a downtown Toronto ravine lot will be far more expensive to build than the exact same house on a similar-sized lot in Penetanguishene, Midland, or many other places in Ontario. Even within a specific area, there will be more expensive and less expensive lots on which to build.  The more desirable a location, in terms of amenities, services, transportation and roads, proximity to a body of water – all the nice-to-haves will drive up the cost of a vacant property to build on in Ontario.

Design And Construction

For a custom home with lots of upgrades and extras, chances are you will want to work with an architect or building firm that can assist with the design of your custom home.  They will have the expertise you’ll want, along with the latest in home design trends and styles. They’ll also be able to assist with permits, building code inspections and everything else when it comes to the legal documentation and permits to ensure you can actually build what you want to on the plot of land you select.

Administrative Costs

Permits, fees, the costs of inspection.  All these should be factored in at the outset, so there are no surprises.  You’ll need to contact your local municipality to confirm all the requirements for building a house – a good custom home builder will help you with all of this.

Square Footage And Amount Of Floors

The bigger you build, the more it’s going to cost; it’s pretty basic arithmetic.  The actual cost of building boils down to two main factors:

  • Labour
  • Materials

The bigger the structure, the more of each will be necessary.

Materials And Styling

These two factors will play a big role in the overall cost of a custom home.  The more customized the plans are – or the less off-the-shelf they are, the more expensive the finished project will be.  Think about one example: suppose you are envisioning a multi-story home with an elevator in the middle.  This feature will obviously cost significantly more than simply installing staircases.

Stylistic details can also drive the price upward.  For example, many rounded finishes in walls, stairways, window details, etc. can be significantly more expensive, both in materials and labour, than their squared-off counterparts.  Upgrades such as heated floors will not only cost more to install; they will also cost more to keep running.

Areas such as kitchens and bathrooms have many potential luxury upgrades that will impact the cost of the custom home.  Consider the granite or marble countertops, fancier light fixtures, wood types and styles for cupboards, appliances – the list goes on and on.

The Big Picture – Approximate Square Foot Cost of a Custom Built Home

For Georgian Bay and surrounding area, statistics show a great disparity between the square foot cost of a typical production home, and a custom-built home with upgrades and customizations.  Using the benchmark of 2,000 square feet, the cost to build a house runs from approximately $150 per square foot to $250 per square foot.  A luxury home of the same size would cost in the range of $350 to $400 per square foot.  That means the upgrades and special features you incorporate into your luxury dream home could double its building cost.  When you consider that the labour component is likely comparable, it means that most of the additional cost – though not all, depending on the complexity of the upgrades – will be primarily on the material side.

Custom Home Building Cost In Ontario for 2000 sq ft home.

The following is a central Ontario-based example; the range will probably still apply in other regions of Ontario, with perhaps some increases in square foot cost related to transportation (distance) and access issues on more remote properties.

Let’s delve a little deeper now, into the individual components and details that go into the building of a custom home.  This way, you’ll know what comprises that $400-odd dollars per square foot, in the case of your dream castle.

A Quick Lesson on Home Building – the Steps involved in Building Your Custom Home

Whatever type of custom upgrades you are considering for your dream home in Georgian Bay and surrounding areas, the basic steps and components that go into building it are the same as any other house.  Here’s a summary of the steps that will go into building your custom home.

Applications And Acquisition Of All Permits

This is pretty standard; unless you have some really wild requirements or approvals to apply for, the costs for permits will not vary among house types.  There may be some differing costs and requirements from municipality to municipality. The approvals required include zoning, grading, septic system if not municipally serviced, the actual construction of the dwelling, plumbing and electrical systems.

Excavation And Levelling Of The Building Site

Again, this will be pretty standard, cost-wise – an obvious variable will be the size of the structure’s footprint; the bigger it is, the more digging and levelling there will be, and therefore a higher cost.

Foundation And Footings

Here’s the digging and levelling part.  The footprint of the home is created, including digging downward for the basement, putting forms in place for the foundation and building footings – the part that connects the earth to the structure.  All the requirements for plumbing and electrical are built into this phase of the construction, as per the plans and drawings. 

Following the completion of foundation and footings, an inspection will take place, to ensure everything is properly installed and meets code requirements.

Framing Of The Structure

The skeleton of your future dream home can now be erected.  This includes the flooring, walls and the roof framing.  Upon completion of the exterior walls and roof decking, usually done with plywood or oriented strand board (OSB), a house-wrap barrier is installed which prevents moisture infiltration into these newly installed components.

Once the framing is complete, all siding, exterior doors, windows and the roof can be installed.  This is an important step because it waterproofs the structure so that interior work can commence.

HVAC, Plumbing And Electrical Installation

This is when all the mechanical components of the new house are installed.  All the pipes and wires for plumbing and electrical service are put into place according to the plans and drawings.  Heating and air conditioning components are installed.  This includes:

  • Drains
  • Sewers
  • Incoming water line connection, piping for both hot and cold water fixtures throughout the house – all taps, sinks, toilets, showers and baths
  • HVAC vent piping and ductwork

There are three more inspections and approvals required upon completion of this phase – for the framing, plumbing, and electrical HVAC installations.  Once everything is approved, interior finishing work can commence.


This is a very important step, given the climate conditions in our part of the world.  We have temperature extremes to deal with – both cold and heat – and insulation plays an essential part in helping deal with both, creating the most comfortable interior living conditions while conserving energy use.  Insulation for the walls and attic of your new dream home can include:

  • Foam board panels
  • Spray foam to a designated thickness
  • Foam mineral wool
  • Fiberglass
  • Cellulose
  • Insulated panels of various types

The type of insulations for the structure and the R-factor they achieve are typically worked out well in advance, as part of the plans, drawings and specifications for the project.

Interior Fixtures And Drywall

During this part of the process, the skeleton of your house will be covered over, and the rooms start to take shape as such.  This would include drywall and taping and any textures for fancy finishing and accents to ceilings, doorways and walls.  Upon completion of the drywall installation, a primer coating of paint can be applied, which will serve as a substrate for the final painting with custom colours.

Concurrently, exterior work can also be completed, which might include any brick, stucco or stonework remaining to be done.

Interior Trim

Now the house can be converted into its final visible form, with all the finishes.  The vision for your future home’s interior takes shape with the installation of:

  • Baseboards
  • Door casings
  • Mouldings
  • Interior doors
  • Stairs and banisters
  • Window sills
  • Cabinets
  • Vanities
  • Mantels over fireplaces
  • Any other decorative trim

The prime coating of paint will now be covered with the finished coats and/or wallpaper as specified.

Driveways, Walkways, Patios

These are generally installed at the same time as interior finishes are being done.  Many builders prefer to leave driveway installation to this later stage to avoid damage from equipment and vehicles during construction; gravel pre-surfacing is generally the substrate left exposed.  Occasionally driveways will be poured and finished at an earlier stage.

Flooring, Countertops

This might include stone tile – ceramic, porcelain, granite or marble, along with kitchen counters.  Other flooring options would be wood or vinyl and broadloom carpet.

Now that driveways, walkways and patios are in place, final grading of the exterior will take place at this stage as well.

Mechanical Trim and Bathroom Fixtures

The house is just about ready for occupation.  Outlets, switches, light fixtures, electrical panels, heating and air conditioning equipment are all installed at this stage.  In bathrooms and kitchen, sinks, faucets and toilets are installed, as are mirrors and shower doors.

Exterior Landscaping

The exterior landscaping can now be done, as the grading has been completed and the water flow away from the house has been established. Landscaping items include grass (sod), shrubs, and trees, along with any other landscape features.

Before the home is certified as occupiable, a final inspection is performed, ensuring that all components were installed according to code.  This inspection is performed by a building code official – any deficiencies noted during the inspection must be corrected before approval and sign-off.

How Costs Breakdown in the Building of Your Custom Home

As a very rough guide, here’s how the various components and stages break out as a percentage of the overall cost of construction:

  • Excavation, foundation, footings, framing, rough exterior, finish exterior, roof (including soffit, fascia, eaves)  – 40-45%
  • Doors and windows – 10-15%
  • Electrical, plumbing, HVAC – rough and finish – 10-15%
  • Insulation, drywall, paint – 10-15%
  • Flooring – 10%
  • Interior doors, cabinets, counters – 10%
  • Deck, railings – 5%

This can only serve as a very rough guide, but you can see that the bulk of the cost of constructing a house is the mundane stuff that goes into the building of any type of house, your luxury dream home or more entry level custom craftsman home included.  There are, of course, some variables, particularly in:

  • Insulation upgrades to increase R-factors and energy efficiency
  • Metal roof versus traditional asphalt shingles can triple the cost of roofing
  • Fixtures – upgrades can double or triple the cost of lighting, interior doors, more extensive use of woods over prefabricated materials, etc.
  • Smart technologies of all types – in HVAC, electrical

Detailed break down of building a 2000 sq.ft home in Ontario

This breakdown is an average cost on the low end or high end based on design choices and build materials for a 2000 square foot custom home in Ontario. Georgian Bay Custom Home builders can provide a very detailed free quote based on your design and build choices. Contact our team for more information.

Build Stage% of buildLow rangeHigh range
2)Footings / foundation4$18,400.00$32,000.00
4)Roofing cover6$27,600.00$48,000.00
5)Doors / Windows9$41,400.00$72,000.00
6)Soffit / Facia / Eaves3$13,800.00$24,000.00
7)Rough in electrical3$13,800.00$24,000.00
8)Rough in Plumbing3$13,800.00$24,000.00
9)Rough in Heating4$18,400.00$32,000.00
10)Basement floor2$9,200.00$16,000.00
11)Insulation / vapor barrier5$23,000.00$40,000.00
12)Heating equipment2$9,200.00$16,000.00
14)Paint / prime4$18,400.00$32,000.00
15)Interior doors / casing3$13,800.00$24,000.00
17)Cabinets / counters4$18,400.00$32,000.00
18)Finish electrical2$9,200.00$16,000.00
19)Finish plumbing2$9,200.00$16,000.00
21)Decks and railings4$18,400.00$32,000.00

There are many factors which can effect totals. This is an average cost of building the house only, this does not include such things as engineering, septic, fill materials, septic, hook up to utilities, landscaping and other factors. The actual build can be higher or lower.

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Factors that will effect the final price of the build.

  • Lot: Is there an existing house for demolition? Is it a treed lot? What are the soil conditions (sand, clay, rock)
  • What is the ground the conditions for the footings? Is engineering required? Is rebar required? Is it a block, poured, ICF foundation
  • Building Materials: Wood stud or steel stud? Truss or hand cut? Roof profile design type: bungalow, split, or multi story?
  • What is the front door style: single, sidelights, or double door. What is the window style slider, casement or hung?
  • Is it metal or vinyl soffit?, eaves trough?, eaves trough cover?
  • Electrical: number of plugs, specialty plugs, over head or underground service?
  • Will there be specialty plumbing requirements?
  • Size and type of heating sources.
  • Insulation type: Batts, foam or blown insulation.
  • Type and size of heating equipment
  • Type of drywall or backer.
  • Type and style of flooring.
  • Grade and style of cabinets and counter tops.
  • Type of siding (vinyl, stone, brick, wood)
  • Deck and landscaping style and size.

Additional Upgrades Or Design Ideas In A Custom Built Home In Ontario

Now, for some custom home luxury upgrades.  Here are some examples of what are considered to be the luxury, or modern home design must-haves in a custom home nowadays.  Some of these items are not strictly construction and building-related.  These bells and whistles, however, should for the most part be factored in at the design, prior to building.  Attempting to retrofit any of these features would be difficult and, in fact, even more costly than factoring them into the new house at the design stage.

Technology and Home Automation Features

Home Automation Features For Custom Home

There is smart this, and there’s smart that – virtually every component in a house can be automated and made smart, from the lights to the appliances, to the alarm system, to the front doorbell. Finding the right home automation eco system that works for you is important and should be considered when planning your home design

Kitchen Upgrades

Kitchen Upgrades and Modern Kitchen Design

The word “upgrade” doesn’t quite capture it – today’s kitchen upgrades can include commercial-grade, restaurant-quality appliances, wine coolers, walk-in pantries, warming drawers.  Kitchen opulence at its most opulent.

Outdoor Cooking Station

Outdoor Kitchen Build For Custom Home in Ontario

Having a house with a knock-your-socks-off custom kitchen is not enough with today’s most luxurious custom-built homes.  The cream of the crop also includes an outdoor kitchen, complete with a cooking area – built-in gas grill, food prep area, fridge/freezer, sink, and of course, a seating area on the patio.  Needless to say, all of these amenities must sit adjacent to a pool/hot tub combo, preferably with a waterfall or other water features.

Games Room/Home Theatre

Home Theater For A Custom Home

These have been around for a while, but they are getting more and more elaborate.  The sky’s the limit these days – full theatre sound and seating, indoor basketball court, bowling alley; you name it.

Exercise Room or Home Gym

Home Gym In A Custom Home In Ontario

Barely considered an upgrade these days, having a home gym in your basement or a specially crafted room with lots of windows and mirrors will provide you the perfect gym room in your custom home and help you create the healthy habit of getting out of your desk or office and getting the workout in each day.

Spa Bathroom

Custom Home Spa Bathroom

The same as you see in hotels, only you don’t have to leave home to enjoy one.  Spa bathrooms rank high on must-haves in luxury homes – towel warmers, heated floors, huge walk-in showers with a multitude of jets, and a soaker tub are just a few of the necessities of a truly opulent spa experience, right in your own house.

The true Cost Of Building Custom Home Ontario

We hope we’ve provided you with a useful cross-section – from the building blocks that go into building a custom home and the custom home upgrades that turn it into something truly spectacular. Georgian Bay Homes builds all around the Georgian Bay area of Ontario including, Midland, Penetang, & Collingwood. See our recent featured projects for our latest custom home builds and renovation projects including kitchen renovations, basement renovations, bathroom renovations, plumbing services, home additions and cottages builds. Contact us for a free quote on your next project.

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