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RE: Taking possession a week from Fri...any advice? (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: bevangel on 08.16.2011 at 12:33 pm in Building a Home Forum

It is probably late for this advice but you need to spend at least a full day at your house looking for punch list issues and making a written list BEFORE you meet with your builder for your "pre-through." And you need to be able to do this while there are no workmen there so they are not making noise or getting in your way. There are just too many things to look for to try to do the checking WHILE walking thru the house with your builder. Even if your builder gives you a full three or four hours for the walk-through, that is simply not enough time...especially if builder is taking time to write notes about the things you mention. And it is possible your builder will attempt to rush you because the fewer things you mention, the less work he has to do. Better to go with a list in hand (with a copy for builder) so that your walk-thru with builder is just a chance for you to show him what each note on the list refers to.

On your list, for each issue indicate EXACTLY where the problem is located.... What room, what wall, Where on the wall, what the problem is, and what needs to be done. Eg., 1) Living room; on north wall, 4 ft from east wall & 18 inches above the floor; there are gaps in sheetrock around electrical outlet; need to patch gaps, smooth patch (or texture to match wall texture) and prime and painted to match wall. 2) 1st floor powderroom, floor 20 inches from west wall & 2 ft from south wall; cracked tile; remove and replace with good tile, regrout - make certain replacement tile is set level with surrounding tiles and that grout matches surrounding grout. The more detailed you are, the more likely the fixes are going to be done satisfactorily. So, a laptop with an excel program can be helpful for making your lists because you can copy and paste the correction instructions everytime you find yet another electrical outlet with gaps around it.

So, if it were me, I would ask to postpone the walk-thru with builder until after this weekend - even if that meant postponing my move in date by a week or so. Then I would take a couple of very persnickity (sp??) friends with me to the house over the weekend and spend several hours going over each room and making lists of punch list items. People seeing the place with fresh eyes will see problems that you noticed months ago, that your builder promised to fix, but then somehow never got around to doing. Keep a copy of your list and then check issues off as they are corrected. Otherwise, chances are, half the stuff you point out will never get corrected. Don't rely on your builder putting sticky notes on walls. Sticky notes have a way of disappearing without the work ever getting done!

Some things you need to check:

Whole House
_ Turn every light switch on and off.
_ If you have ceiling fans with multiple speeds, check that they work on every speed.
_ Test every electrical outlet (both top and bottom as we've actually found that on a number of outlets in our current house - which was purchased from a previous owner - only one half of the outlet has power and the other half is dead!)
_ Check that both heating and air conditioning work, and that you have an adequate flow of air from every register. This will require turning the AC down so that the house gets extra cold and then, after checking AC, turning the heat on to make sure that works. While it'll be a bit of a waste of energy, you don't want to find out that the heater isn't working the first night that temps suddenly dip below freezing.
_ Open and close every window. Make sure they open easily and close and seal completely. Look for any light entering around the edges of window (between the sash and the jambs.) If light can enter, so can water! If your windows tilt out to clean, check that function on every window as well.
_ Open and close every door, interior and exterior.
_ Check that all doors are plumb and square. The crack around an door should be even on all sides when the door is closed and you should not be able to see light coming from the other side except at the bottoms of interior doors.
_ Check that exterior doors close and seal completely. You should not be able to see any light coming in between the door and jamb or the door and the sill AT ALL.
_ Lock and unlock every lock
_ Check that walls are plumb and flat, that there are no nail pops and that the texturing and paint is even. BTW - nail pops are where the nails holding sheetrock to the studs back up slightly. You see them as little round bumps in the paint. You should not be able to tell where the edges of sheetrock panels are. Nor should you be able to notice any dips or high places in the walls where they taped and floated the sheetrock.
_ Check walls carefully around all outlet plates to make certain there are no gaps where the cuts in the sheetrock were made too large and then never fixed.
_ Check every piece of molding looking for cracks or gaps where two pieces of molding meet. Check the paint or stain on molding - particularly cut ends.
_ Check floors. Tiles should have even and straight grout lines; hardwoods should not have gaps between boards; seams on vinyl flooring should not be noticable; carpet should be tight and should not show seams; etc.
_While the house is quiet (late night is best), walk up and down the steps and across all portions of any hardwood floors. There should be no creaks or squeeks.
_ Check ceilings. You should not be able to tell where the edges of the sheetrock panels are.
_ Check stair spindles, balusters, and handrails to make sure they are solidly installed. No shakiness.
- Take a sprinkler with you and set it so that water falls down against your windows (simulating rain) and check for leaks on the inside. You should not see ANY water on the inside. (Caution - don't spray water UPWARD against your windows as you may drive water through the drainholes, set the spinkler so that water falls downward against the windows.)
_ If you get lucky and it happens to be raining while you are there, go into the attic and look for leaks.
_ Check that smoke detectors are working.
_ Turn everything in the house off and unplug the refrigerator, then check the electric meter. It should no longer be running. (Be sure to plug appliances back in afterwards!)
_ Make sure all water spigots are turned off and that your water heaters are full, then check your water meter. It should NOT be moving. If it is, you may have a leak somewhere in your plumbing system...possibly even under your slab.
_ If you have a real wood fireplace, build a very small but smoky fire (damp wood and newspapers) and make sure the chimney draws properly.
_ If you have a gas fireplace, light it and make sure all the vents work properly and that the flame heights are as you would expect them to be.
_ If you have natural gas or propane, find the inside gas cut-off valves. (NOTE that these should not be hidden behind an appliance - you need to be able to get to them easily in case of a fire!) Make sure the gast cut off valves turn easily. Light the appliance then turn the gas off at the cut off valve. The flame should go completely out. If it doesn't, the cut off valve is working properly.

Kitchen/Laundry Room/Pantry
_ Check that every appliance is working properly
* Refrigerator
* Freezer
* Dishwasher (run thru a cycle to ensure no leaks and that it actually cleans dishes. We bought a house once where the dishwasher seemed to work when we tested it but when we actually tried to wash dishes, they never got clean. It turned out that the water had never been attached and the little bit of moisture we were seeing was just moisture from the air!)
* stove top - check every burner
* vent hood - make sure it is actually hooked up and venting to the outside.
* oven
* microwave
* garbage disposal - put some garbage in it and make sure it chops it up.
* washer (again, run a cycle to make sure its not leaking and that it doesn't dance around)
* dryer (run a cycle with some clothes to make sure it doesn't dance. Also, make sure the dry vent is hooked up!)
_ Open and close every cabinet and every drawer to make sure they function properly.
_ Look inside each cabinet and drawer to make sure it is finished properly, that there are no missing shelves, etc. Also, look for scratches, nicks, and stains. Once you move in, you builder will assume that you made any mars on your cabinetry.
_ Turn both hot and cold water on at the sink. Fill the sink with water and then, after a while, check under the sink for evidence of leaking. Check around the sink to make sure that it is properly sealed to your countertop.
_ Check the countertop for flaws. Check the edges of countertops especially carefully as these can easily get chipped or scratched (depending on the type surface) during the building process.
_If you have a granite countertop, inspect it carefully. Run your hands over every inch feeling for any rough spots. Also, get down on your hands and knees and look across the granite from a height just an inch or two above the surface - places that are not properly polished will be more visible.
_ Inspect every light fixture installed by builder to make certain it was not scratched, dented, or marred in the process of being installed.

Bathrooms
_ Actually step into shower stalls and bathtubs to make sure they feel solid underfoot. Acrylic tubs and shower bases that "give" underfoot will crack over time.
_ Run water in every sink and bathtub and make sure they hold water without leaking. (Look under the sinks for leaks).
_ Run the showers.
_ Make sure you get hot water when you turn on a hot water spigot. Try it at every sink, tub, shower, and in your washing machine.
_ Run water at several locations at the same time to make sure you have adequate water pressure.
_ Test that bathroom fans work.
_ Flush all toilets several times to make sure they STOP running when the tanks refill. (Having a bunch of friends out for several hours also means your toilets may actually get "field tested" to make sure they really flush adequately... which not something you are likely to test while doing a walk thru with your builder!)
_ Make sure toilets sit solidly and evenly on the floor and are properly bolted down. There should not be any "rocking" motion when you sit down.
_ Have someone flush a toilet times while you run hot water in the shower and feel it. Flushing the toilet SHOULD NOT cause the shower water to suddenly get noticeable hotter.
_Make sure shower faucets are grouted properly so that water does not get into the wall behind them.
_ Check the cabinetry the same as you did for the kitchen.
_ Make certain that mirrors installed by the builder don't have flaws in the silvering.
_ Test that toilet paper holders and towel bars are firmly affixed to walls.

MISCELLANEOUS
_ If your builder installed blinds or operable shutters (inside or out) make sure they work properly.
_ Check that you OUTDOOR water spigots work.
_ Check all outdoor electrical outlets as well. These often get over-looked.
_ Check your garage door openers. Also make sure that, if something is in the way of the door as it comes down, that the door stops and goes back up.
_ If you have an attic access ladder, pull it down and make sure it works smoothly.
_ Climb into the attic and make sure you have the amount of insulation you are supposed to have.
- If you're really lucky and it rains while you are checking out your house this weekend, go up into the attic with a flashlight and look for roof leaks.
_ Make sure gutters are fully attached to walls and designed to drain water away from your house. Pull downward gently on the downspouts and make sure that there is no movement where they connect to the gutters. If downspouts have not been properly connected to gutters, they can fall out.
_ Check that ground around the house has been graded so that it slopes away from the house.
_ Get as high above the ground as you can safely manage and look to see if your roofing shingles appear to be flat and tight against the roof.
_ Check all exterior concrete for cracks.
_ Check the siding on the house to make sure everything that was supposed to be painted has been painted.
_ Check that exterior sprinkler systems work and that landscaping plants are alive and appear healthy.

This is all just "off the top of my head." I'm sure if you think about it you can add dozens of other things to check for. And, no doubt other posters will chime in with other things to add to your check list.
Ultimately, you don't have to insist that the builder fix every little tiny thing. If something won't bother you - or if you can fix it easily yourself and don't mind doing so, point it out to your builder anyway and, once you've gone over everything you can cross those items off your list as a way to show you're being reasonable but that the rest of the list IS important to you.

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clipped on: 02.13.2012 at 04:15 pm    last updated on: 02.13.2012 at 04:15 pm

Brands/Products That I'd Use Again. (Follow-Up #59)

posted by: joyce_6333 on 04.30.2011 at 08:31 pm in Building a Home Forum

We haven't moved in yet, but the things that get my vote, and great reviews from installers are:

PROGRESS LIGHTING. Got these for our basement baths, they were rediculously cheap, and they look great and the electrician said they were made very well.

ARMSTRONG ALTURA LUXURY VINYL TILE: This went in the utility areas, and basement baths. This stuff is indestructible, and looks fabulous. We had them lay it without grout, and it looks seamless.

DANZE KITCHEN FAUCET: Looks beautiful. And made very well so the plumber says.

NATURAL CHARACTER HICKORY FLOORS: What can I say. Wow!

OFF-THE-SHELF GRANITE COUNTERTOPS: For the basement baths. 48" with undermount sink was $70. Look fab!!

CERTAINTEED IMPRESSIONS SHAKE SIDING: This is probably my favorite thing about the house so far.

STAIRS FROM GARAGE TO BASEMENT: How would we ever live without it.

ALL OUR CUSTOM CABINETRY: Albert (our cabinet maker) you've surpassed our expectations again.

Things I'm excited to try: Microwave drawer, garbage disposal air switch, outlet in vanity drawer for hair dryer.

I'll report later on the geothermal. Keeping my fingers crossed that it's worth the $$.

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clipped on: 06.01.2011 at 11:22 am    last updated on: 06.01.2011 at 11:22 am

RE: Brands/Products That I'd Use Again (Follow-Up #34)

posted by: home_nw on 06.25.2008 at 04:34 am in Building a Home Forum

- Caesarstone quartz counters
- Canyon Creek cabinets
- Top Knobs cabinet hardware
- Milgard windows
- Fireplace Xtrordinaire (both wood-burning & propane models)
- White oak flooring in CD character grade
- Godfrey Hirst wool wall-to-wall carpeting
- Mico Seashore kitchen faucets
- Bosch dishwashers
- Sub-Zero side-by-side refrigerator
- Sharp drawer microwave
- GE Spacesaver microwave
- Enkeboll wood trims
- Pearl wood mantels
- CDM and Chemcrest decorative trims
- Azak exterior trim
- El Dorado stone in "Country Rubble"
- HardiShingles
- Solatube
- Amarr Classica garage doors
- Benjamin Moore paint (interior & exterior)

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clipped on: 06.01.2011 at 11:16 am    last updated on: 06.01.2011 at 11:17 am

RE: plugmold in a kitchen (Follow-Up #2)

posted by: spencer_electrician on 03.20.2006 at 07:09 pm in Electrical Wiring Forum

Plug mold plugs into one outlet? didnt think it plugged into anything. The thing is the plug mold has to be on 2 different 20 amp circuits and needs gfci protection. Run atleast 2 seperate 12/2 lines to gfci breakers, connect each romex to each plug mold strip. Have one going one way with circuit and the other going the other way on its own circuit is one possibility for different circuits. Drawbacks, just remember you'll have to look down and up at the cabinets if it is mounted underneath, makes it kind of hard to find the plug as to being right in front of you. I assume youy would mount it up high on the cabinet, if it is mounted right to the back splash, obviously the cosmetics would look like school or public building wiring.

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clipped on: 06.01.2011 at 11:07 am    last updated on: 06.01.2011 at 11:07 am

RE: Best advice from this forum (Follow-Up #141)

posted by: lovlilynne on 06.15.2009 at 08:39 pm in Kitchens Forum

I was just searching for this thread because I needed that picture of Dmlove's cord hole thingy (what would you call it?), and found that the thread had rolled off (it's in the "keep on page one" directions), so I figure I'll bump it - I re-read a bunch of it because I've just started my renovation, and it's good to review this stuff.

I'm a little scared, though, because of igloochick's advice - I am going on vacation during my renovation. Yikes!

Also, it's funny to see how much I didn't remember reading, but I've actually done, like post a picture/drawings of things I want done, and make a list of all my categories of stuff and where they will go in the new kitchen.

I'd say some of the best advice I got was around my budget and how to make the hard decisions on what should stay in and what should go (that was from Beuhl).

(1) What is not that important to me and doesn't add functionality? [Candidate for elimination altogether]

(2) What can I do at a later date? [Candidate for deferring until a later date]

(3) What can't be done at a later date and I can't live without? [Candidate for keeping and doing now]

I think everyone should ask and answer those 3 questions - even if money is no object - so that they know their priorities.

Lynne

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clipped on: 03.06.2010 at 10:16 pm    last updated on: 03.06.2010 at 10:16 pm

RE: Electric radiant floor heat reviews (Follow-Up #8)

posted by: bill_vincent on 09.20.2009 at 04:45 pm in Flooring Forum

There are several systems out that are good. Suntouch is certainly one of them, as well as Laticrete's Farenheat, Warmly Yours', and Costco's system, all of which are clones of the Suntouch system, and all just as good. The only other system that I know well, and think highly of would be Nuheat's system. About the only difference in their mats from the other is the "matting" that the wires are weaved through. Whereas with the Suntouch system, it's kinda like a fishnet, with Nuheat, it's more like burlap. That's about the only difference I've seen, and I have no problem installing any of these systems. All are reliable, all have terrific product support (and I DO mean terrific), and all are priced, give or take, about the same. I guess it all depends on which is most available to you, and who's willing to give you a deal.

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clipped on: 02.08.2010 at 11:06 am    last updated on: 02.08.2010 at 11:06 am

RE: Best advice from this forum (Follow-Up #41)

posted by: lascatx on 09.06.2007 at 12:56 pm in Kitchens Forum

Don't have a picture, but my before had a shallow cabinet over the fridge. It was only 12" deep, and over a tall, 30" deep fridge, you can't really reach much of anything -- even if you are as tall as I am. A deep one would be 24" or possibly deeper to come out the depth of the fridge. More like a built-in might have a cabinet above it, and it will make even a standard fridge look a bit more finished/built-in.

For me, the Never-M-T was something I'd never heard of and still haven't seen anywhere else. I can't imagine having my deep single bowl sink without one, and it saved a very expensive redo in my island cabinet and/or granite when the sink and hole placement wasn't just right.

I think I'd heard of the air switches, but at a time when I didn't need one. Seeing them here reminded me of them when we did -- we moved the prep sink to the island. I would not have been happy with the switch inside the cabinet.

We kept pressing on our layout, and I'm not sure that we learned about that many of the bigger things here, but seeing and reading so much gave me the confidence to keep pressing and to make some changes that are not the norm around here. It also helped me get past my guilt over tearing out cabinets that I didn't like and that had issues, but that were structurally sound. That really opened up the possibilities to improving the layout even without changing the footprint. Makes a big difference.

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clipped on: 12.10.2009 at 05:14 pm    last updated on: 12.10.2009 at 05:14 pm

RE: Anyone have a cabinet to store a step ladder? (Follow-Up #14)

posted by: jodi_in_so_calif on 03.02.2008 at 06:16 pm in Kitchens Forum

Here's ours. It would be a great place to store cookie sheets as well and we may end up doing that and find another home for the step stool.

This particular step stool is an interim until I find a more substantion design.

Toe-kick drawer open


Jodi-

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clipped on: 12.10.2009 at 04:59 pm    last updated on: 12.10.2009 at 04:59 pm

RE: Anyone have a cabinet to store a step ladder? (Follow-Up #4)

posted by: rmkitchen on 11.18.2007 at 10:25 pm in Kitchens Forum

I wonder if evergreendan's is the one you remember seeing:

It's in the gallery section. I'm pretty sure the stepladder is from Williams-Sonoma, like cat_mom's.

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clipped on: 12.10.2009 at 04:56 pm    last updated on: 12.10.2009 at 04:56 pm

RE: Best advice from this forum (Follow-Up #23)

posted by: chmpgntst on 07.18.2007 at 04:21 pm in Kitchens Forum

Can I change my answer? I really like this that I stole from Dmlove---
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

I love not having all those cords on my desk/countertop! So best advice from this forum... details make the difference!

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clipped on: 10.13.2009 at 11:34 pm    last updated on: 10.13.2009 at 11:35 pm

RE: Best advice from this forum (Follow-Up #9)

posted by: gizmonike on 07.16.2007 at 11:45 pm in Kitchens Forum

1. Zones!
1. Drawers
3. Blumotion
4. Induction + gas range
5. Steam oven
6. Advantium
7. Miele dishwasher
8. No air gap

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clipped on: 10.13.2009 at 11:27 pm    last updated on: 10.13.2009 at 11:27 pm