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P&W Builders

6222 W. Plank Rd.
Peoria, IL 61604
Hours of Operation
  • Monday - Friday8:00am - 4:30pm

P&W Builders – Building on the Past to Construct a Solid Foundation for the Future

P&W Builders, the 4 time “Who’s Who” local business leader from 2009 through 2012, has proven once again that a strong company with a proven product will survive during the valleys, and thrive during the peaks in the business cycle. As a member of the Home Builders Association of Greater Peoria, the Pekin Chamber of Commerce, and the Better Business Bureau, P&W Builders has earned a reputation as a top-quality general contractor, specializing in custom new home construction, room additions, remodeling projects and garage construction. They also continue to develop residential subdivisions throughout central Illinois, including Pekin, Peoria, Chillicothe, Dunlap, Bellevue, Morton, and Fairview.

Together, Gene Whitehurst and Karol Ponicsan created P&W Builders in 1954 to fill a niche in the contracting business in the Peoria area. Although Karol passed away in 2000, Gene and his family continue to run both P&W and Airport Lumber Company at the Plank Road location.

As a leader in the local construction industry, P&W Builders’ team of experts boasts over 375 years combined experience, and is renowned for using conventional framing methods and materials that allow them to provide maximum square footage and value without compromising their hard-earned, time-tested reputation.

“We’ve resisted the temptation to skimp on material costs in order to decrease construction time and increase profits,” says Gene Whitehurst. “Our basic philosophy is to work with our customers to provide the best final product available in terms of value and durability, regardless of their budget.” In order to continue to provide the best products at prices that are competitive even with modular construction, Whitehurst continues to operate Airport Lumber Company at their Plank Road address. This provides a “one stop shop” for factory direct floorcovering, cabinets, and countertops, besides providing an inventory for the traditional construction materials that P&W continues to use.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is now such a good time to build a new home?
n 2008, the headlines screamed: “Downturn”, “Foreclosure”, and “Recession”, when they should actually have been screaming: “Low Interest Rates”, “Tax Credits” and “Opportunity”. The Peoria area economy kept humming along, even as other areas of the country sputtered, spit, and slowed to a crawl. Our company was around for the early 1980’s, and we remember what it was like: High unemployment, high interest rates, huge drops in home values, and families leaving Peoria at record rates to find greener pastures. We knew that this most recent downturn in our industry was driven by the national media and panic. The reality for Peoria, Illinois is this:
1) 30 year fixed interest rates are well below 4%, 15 year rates are below 3%.
2) We still have some of the most affordable homes and building sites in the country.
3) When you consider the tax advantages of interest and property taxes, the long term appreciation in value, and the functional value of a home, it is one of the best investments you can make.
4) Many of the material costs that skyrocketed several years ago have not only returned to more historical prices, but some of the “fuel surcharges” that were being tacked onto many deliveries have been cut or eliminated.

So, why is this a good time to build? Lots are available; interest rates are low; the value of your existin
What does "Price per square foot" really mean?
Almost every conversation with customers interested in building a home eventually gets around to this question: "How much are your homes per square foot?" Although this seems like a simple question that should mean a simple answer, there’s no way for a knowledgeable contractor to answer this until many other questions have been answered first. One of the most obvious factors is the type of home that is being built. As a rule, multi-level homes: two story, cape cod, 1 1/2 story, split foyer, raised ranch, and anything else that utilizes more than one level for finished living area are cheaper per square foot than a true ranch home with the same square footage and the same amenities. sons are very simple. A multi- level home uses less roof and foundation to provide a larger finished living area. Therefore, when you take the price of the home and divide it by the total living area, it will be less. Another problem with pricing "per square foot" are "site specific" questions, like: "Will the lot require a well, or a septic system, or is there public sewer or water available?" "What municipality is governing the construction?" and "What are the permit fees and sewer/ water hookup costs?" "Does the site have electric readily available, or will the utility company have additional costs to set a transformer?" We recently started a home that required over $8000 in additional electric costs to access their site, a well that added nearly $10,000, and around $6500 for a septic. Depending on the size of the home, this alone could add anywhere from $5 a square foot for a very large 5000 square foot plan, to $17.50 for a smaller 1400 square foot home. The same could be said for walk out basements, retaining walls, driveways, city sidewalks, etc. There also are questions regarding construction and mechanicals that can affect the final price. What framing materials does the builder use? Does he use OSB, plastic wrap, trusses, and TGI joists, or is the home conventionally framed with Douglas fir rafters and joists, close-cell insulated exterior walls, and plywood floors? What is the shingle warranty? What gauge is the vinyl siding? Aluminum or vinyl soffit and fascia? Are the garage doors insulated? What type of front door will I get? Copper or plastic plumbing supplies? What gauge electrical wiring? What efficiency furnace? Sealed or open combustion? Are cable and telephone jacks included? Plaster or drywall? The list goes on, but all of these issues do affect the final price, and therefore, the "price per square foot". Of course, there are what we call "amenities". Brick, stone, fiber cement board, and cedar exteriors; intricate roof lines and foundation bump-ins/ bump-outs; 9’ ceilings, wrap around porches and composite decks; custom cabinets and quartz countertops; fireplaces; over-sized garages; whirlpool tubs, ceramic showers and plumbing fixture upgrades; cathedral and vaulted ceilings; hardwood and ceramic floors; geothermal and radiant floor heat; and anything else that you see on the cable Home Improvement channel that seems really cool at that moment, but may not eventually fit into your final budget. All of these are amenities that add absolutely no square footage, but can add anywhere from $5 to $25 each (or more) "per square foot" to the final price of the home. As a consumer, I would expect to buy hamburger by the pound, and it better be a lot cheaper than boneless rib-eye. But not even all hamburger is created equal, since it is broken down by "Ground Beef", "Ground Chuck", "Ground Round", and "Ground Sirloin", just as rib-eye has its different grades, like "Choice", "Select", "Angus", "Prime" and so on. The USDA requires accurate and truthful labeling. Still, you would never call your butcher and ask, "How much is your beef, per pound?", and expect a straight answer. Leave the square foot pricing conversations to tax assessors and real estate appraisers. Compare contractors’ prices based on the financial strength of the company; building experience; subcontractors; construction of the home. Add in the amenities that you desire and be prepared to pay a little more if your building site requires additional considerations. In the end, you won't feel you've wasted your money on ground beef when you expected prime rib, just because someone threw out a "lowball" price per square foot to get you interested then slammed you with unexpected extra costs. Or worse yet, is out of money and out of business before your home is out of warranty, leaving unpaid bills and unhappy subs and suppliers filing liens and knocking on your door for payment. Then you might as well figure “price per headache”.
I’d like to build, but I have a home to sell. How can P&W “lock in my price” on a new home while I sell my existing?
Many consumers interested in a new home in today’s market are afraid of ending up with two homes at the end of the construction process. Others want to avoid bridge loans, trying to coordinate the completion of their new home with the possession of their existing, and all of the decisions involved with getting the old house ready to sell while making choices for the new. We recommend a simple solution. A P&W “Subject to Sale” contract guarantees the price of a customer’s home for up to 120 days, contingent upon the sale of your home, or your stock value, or financing, or anything that makes an immediate purchase inconvenient or inconceivable. Let’s take it one step further. We talk to people all of the time who think they have to purchase a lot up-front, before they have even begun planning a new home or trying to sell their existing. If their house doesn’t sell or if they change their minds, they are stuck with a lot, the accompanying taxes, lot maintenance, and the constant reminder of a gamble that didn’t pay off. If you are considering building on one of our lots, we will “hold” that lot during the “Subject to Sale” period, and give you “Right of First Refusal” if someone comes along and wants to purchase it immediately. What happens if you change your mind or can’t sell your home? If the terms of the “Subject to Sale” are not meant, there is no contract. No obligation on your part, nothing lost on ours. From a contractor’s standpoint, we can “lock in” subcontractors and suppliers pricing for homes that are contracted, even as price increases take affect for other new jobs. We offer our customers a “No Lose” proposition. Hold the price of the house, reserve the lot, and guarantee they won’t be stuck with two homes. In this market, it is exactly what many customers are looking for, but few others offer.
What’s the difference between P&W’s Legendary “Stick Built” Home and the Lightweight Construction methods most contractors are using?
Approximately 25 years ago, “Lightweight Construction” began to replace the conventionally framed or “stick built” homes in our market. Since then it has become the method used by most contractors in new homes throughout our area. It is easily recognized by the predominance of “webbed roof trusses”, webbed or TGI floor joists, and oriented strand board on the roof, walls and floor sheathing, wrapped by plastic vapor barriers on the exterior. The exterior walls are usually “white woods”(pine or spruce), and may be either 2x4 or 2x6 framing. Lightweight construction homes often have components shipped to the building site already built and ready to assemble. A variation on Lightweight Construction is the “Modular Home, where the entire house is built beforehand, then shipped to a waiting foundation via flatbed trucks. The thought process behind lightweight construction is to build homes with less interior walls; lighter and easier to handle joists and sheathing; and roof systems that can be set in place as a single piece so that little skill is required for completing framing. The primary objective of Lightweight Construction is to build a home as quickly and inexpensively as possible with as little labor as possible. Since many of the products have the word “engineered” associated with their description, the average consumer is convinced that they have a product at least as good, if not better, than the “stick built” homes they grew up in. In reality, the National Fire Protection Association will tell you that the “engineered” products used in today’s homes burn 6 times faster than a conventionally framed home from 25 years ago. Conventionally framed or “stick built” homes utilize traditional methods and materials of homes built over the last century or more in the United States. They incorporate rafters and ceiling joists cut “on site”, exterior walls framed and leveled on the foundation they are attached to, and dimensional lumber throughout. The skill level required by the carpenters to cut roof lines, rafter pitches, birds mouths, and ridges is far above the “assembly” skills required in lightweight construction. Although most “conventional” contractors incorporate some lightweight materials, they can be recognized by the open attic space above the living area. P&W’s Legendary Construction takes the concept of “stick built” to the highest level. P&W uses not only the “dimensional” lumber used years ago, but we have beefed it up. We do not use any “white woods” in our framing. We use strictly Douglas fir materials that we stock in our own lumberyard. Instead of 2”x10” floor joists we used 30 years ago, we’re using 2”x12”, or 16% more wood. Instead of 2x6 rafters, we’re using 2x10’s, or 70% more material. We still use 1x8 pine boards on our roofs, so there are 3 nails every 7 ½ inches on every rafter. We use ¾ inch tongue and groove fir plywood on our floors, and 1” close cell insulation on our outside walls. As we say, if you find any OSB on your P&W home, it blew off the neighbors roof. All of these products are assembled or “stick built” on site by some of the finest carpenters in the area. In addition to our framing, we use copper plumbing supply pipes, 12 gauge electrical wire to all outlets, switches and fixtures, and plaster walls and ceilings. Our basic, legendary construction home has the best framing and mechanicals available, regardless of the budget. In case of disaster, our home will give you and the firefighters at least 6 times longer to locate and extricate your loved ones, pets, and valuables.
“What in the world does P&W Builders mean by an ‘Expandable Home’?“
Doesn’t “expandable” apply more to balloons, stretch pants, and waistlines around the Holidays than to a home with a foundation and roof? Visit a P&W Builders Open House to put to rest any concerns about an inflatable house or a construction that looks like a Lego, ready to accept more pieces as needed. We construct homes designed to meet our customers’ needs and budget today, with incredible amounts of space available in our “attics” for future finish and/or as an attractive re-sale feature. Believe it or not, our 2, 3, or 4 bedroom designs can become 4, 5, 6, even up to 9 bedroom homes with additional space left for a media room, play area, or additional storage. And we accomplish this without adding any foundation or roof to the home. The most obvious for and expandable home is looking for a starter home. Also, families can grow bigger than dreamed; or a promotion may mean relocation. Re-sale brings opportunities for buyers to envision your starter home as a much more valuable investment. However, the concept isn’t just for the starters. Many “empty nesters” feel the squeeze from the generations on each side. Extra living space may be required to save the cost of a nursing home for parents who need regular care; or for the unexpected return of a family member in need of a place to live while getting back on their feet. A very popular use is “home base” for the kids and grandkids when they come for a visit from out of town. Other possibilities include sewing rooms, craft and hobby areas, and game rooms. So maybe the question should be, “Who shouldn’t consider an expandable home?”
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