I really like seeing finished carpentry this, especially on new construction.
One thing I like to see on new construction, especially the high end, is the finished carpentry. Indoors and out.
That is the easiest way, and most visible way, a builder can set itself off from the crowd.
SO WHY DON'T THEY?
These are both representative of what I found on a recent new construction inspection.
The left is trim outdoors. Small cracks all over the place had not been caulked. The painting was very thin, and sloppy, probably done when it was too cold outside ** . Also, there were large gaps left where the trim had not been cut properly. Look at the trim on the left. That gap is 3/16". Even if that is caulked it will be ugly.
** Note: exterior painting should NOT be done when the temperature is below 50F OR if it will freeze the night after. Read the label! Why not? Because the surfactant leaches out. What is the surfactant? Oh, just the chemical that helps the paint to bond to the surface it is intended to adhere to. So your paint will begin to peel in short order, probably the very next summer! You can see if the surfactant has leached out in a few days as small dots of brown will be dried on the paint. I see that all the time on new construction and point it out not only to my clients but also the supervisor. If the supervisor pretends not to know that painting should not be done when it is cold, I make a point of offering an embarrassing lesson in front of the buyers. Trust me, supervisors don't like that!
The photo on the right is in the kitchen. There is granite counter and ledge tops. It is called Venetian Gold, and that is a Level II of the five granite levels. It is a very nice-looking product! The splash block is tile.
So, what's my beef? LOOK CAREFULLY!! The caulking between the (unattractive) casement molding and granite had been slopped onto the granite all along that counter top. The grout above and between the splash block tiles is already cracking. They got paint on the splash block and granite. And worst of all - the wood trim is merely cut at a 90 degree angle, and not back edged! The end is unpainted and I can see tile glue in the gap!
What is back edging? It is FINISHED CARPENTRY! Look to the left.
Rather than simply cutting the end of a piece of trim, like we see in so many places on new construction, the end is cut at a 45 degree angle and a small end piece is cut to fit into that slot. It finishes off the end, making the end look like the molding. This is the back edge I cut on the chair rail in my dining room. There are six such cuts in my dining room. They all demonstrate finished carpentry.
I have to say, Mr. Brautigam, my 8th grade shop teacher, would have given me a D for the work in that kitchen above. And a talking to probably. It is schmuck work. It is NOT finished carpentry.
If I was a supervisor, I would be embarrassed to show that to my buyers.
My recommendation: when you walk through your new house, look carefully. Check the FINISHED work. Is your house a show piece, or is it sloppily and unprofessionally done? Remember, as the buyer, you are the boss. You deserve work Mr. Brautigam would be happy to give an A. (Like he used to give me...)
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC
Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.
Office (703) 330-6388 Cell (703) 585-7560