I don't know about you but I see these programs on TV all the time. They spend so much money building extravagant houses for people. But who pays for it, and how do they earn that money back?

The short answer is:

The show is funded by the network, in this case ABC. These homes, built in such a quick time, may cost $500-700,000.

That might seem like a lot. Let's compare to some other show budgets:

"Friends" in the later seasons cost $10 Million per episode, as each of the stars were making over $1 Million per episode.

"Frasier" cost $5 Million per episode.

There are many others that cost even more.

Extreme Makeover: Home Edition required no locations other than that of the "winner", no cast other than Ty and crew which was the same every time, no sets, absolutely no special effects to speak, not a single "artistic" lighting scene, or anything.

You pay the cast (none of which were huge celebs), you pay the crew, you build a big house in a week. All in all, you have spent way, WAY less money than a single sitcom episode. reality type shows are super cheap to create relative to scripted TV. You're not paying script writers, big name actors, set designers, renting locations, special effects, etc. The hosts make good money, but not star of sitcom/drama money by a long shot. The participants do it for free. There are not a bunch of locations that require moving truck loads of equipment for a 30 sec scene. So your labor costs are a tiny fraction of scripted TV, and the construction costs are probably less than an actual show that needs sets, on-location set-ups in many places, etc.

The remodels are partially subsidized by products mentioned or that buy sponsorships. Then the shows have ad time in them that is sold.

So a production company spends $100k on a remodel, $100k on crew & host, $50k on post production. Then they sell the episode for $300k to HGTV, who sells $500k in ads against it (might only be $50k per airing, but they run each episode like 5x a week when new, and run re-runs later on).


Continuous footings are what you find under bearing walls on houses. they're typically (2) - #4 bars top and bottom. continuous footings are around the entire perimeter of a house, and then under all the bearing walls. On a raised floor foundation they will have a stem wall above them. on a slab on grade situation it will just be the footing with a slab.

They'll be called out on the footing schedule, but will only have a width and depth, not two widths and a depth. if it's not on a schedule, then you would typically see something like: 18"(W)x24"(D) cont. ftg w/ (2)-#4 T&B

Spread footings and pad footings are the same thing, they're what go under posts. typically on a footing schedule, you'll have F1, F2, F3, etc and they'll have a dimension in each direction and a depth and reinforcing.

If it doesn't say top and bottom reinforcing, then it's just at the bottom. typical callout format would be: 3'-0"x3'-0"x18"(D) pad ftg w/ (4) - #5 bott.

That's as simplified as it gets. some people call continuous footings spread footings. on larger projects (i.e. not houses), spread footings implies a shallow foundation system, where each of the columns lands on a pad footing and there's usually grade beams between them. another shallow foundation system would be a mat foundation.

Deep foundation would be piles/caissons with pile caps and grade beams.

So if you're on a big project and they say "it's on spread footings", that basically means "it is NOT on piles" (which is the most important distinction in construction, because pile foundations are a billion times more expensive than shallow foundations).

Foundations can generally be split between deep foundations and shallow foundation systems.

Deep foundations: consist of piles (of which there are different types).

Shallow foundations: footings

  • Pad footings are used to pick up a point load, such as a post or column. Imagine a deck with posts coming down at the end. At the bottom of each post is likely a 4'x4' (or whatever) footing there specifically to support that single point load
  • Continuous footings/track footings/strip footings are footings which usually encompass the perimeter of the structure, whether a building or retaining wall. So, when you see a foundation wall for a house or retaining wall to hold back earth at the bottom of that is a footing which continues along the entire length of it in order to support the load of the bearing wall or the foundation wall itself.

"Regular footings" is a general term which will encompass both of these categories.

"Spread footings" is likewise a general term which encompasses both of these categories, as the footings function by delivering the weight that they must support over a larger area - spreading the load.

I feel the answer above is far more informative but just wanted to chime in to stress that continuous footings are actually spread footings/regular footings (although, as pointed out above terminology probably changes by region and sector of industry).