So answer the question - what do we do on new construction when doors aren't level or plumb?
One basic rule of carpentry is that doors and windows be level and plumb.
Level noun 1 a horizontal plane with respect to the distance above or below a given point
Plumb verb 3 testing an upright surface to determine the vertical
When doors are shipped they have little stabilizers on the corners that insure that the door framing is absolutely square. It is a perfect rectangle.
If it is a rectangle and level, it is also plumb. We used to test plumb with a weight on the end of a string. It still works! Now we use levels with little bubbles.
Standing in the hallway I looked at the front door and with chagrin noticed something.
The right corner is angled down to the right.
When you approach the door it wasn't sitting flush in the wall either, but that did not photograph very well.
Setting my level on top of the door frame surprise, surprise! Not levelo. That's perfect Spanish.
And also placing my level againse the side framing, surprise, surprise again, it wasn't plumb!
You will notice that this door has four hinges and each is shimmed.
How do you make sure a door is plumb (or level) when installing it? That's right, with shims!
In this case the "carpenter" merely used the shims to fill the space beside the hinges so he could nail the door on "securely."
Immediately suspicious I went to the back door on the same level.
Well good gosh, good golly, gee oh gee me! What did the bubble say?
It wasn't plumb either!
And not level.
My VERY, VERY sarcastic phrase for this sort of work is "7-11 Construction."
What do you want to bet the same crew from the 7-11 parking lot installed both doors?
They were both done exactly the same way. I bet so.
They were foamed, so this group thinks these doors are installed.
The "carpenters" worked on this and saw how it looked when they were finished. The house has been inspected every day by the building supervisor. The house has been inspected by the County structural inspector and given its stamp of approval.
How come I can walk in and glance at the door and see this within seconds of entering the house?
A door that is not level will never close properly and eventually will bend in its framing and seal out no air. It will only be good for allowing the pet snake, and his friends, to enter and exit at will.
My recommendation: this was not the only glaring problem with this house. If you think for a minute, or less than a minute, that a home inspection is not needed on new construction, you need to reorder your thinking! Absolutely request one at the outset of the building process and make sure it is properly scheduled. And I know that isn't perfect Spanish up there - don't you see my tongue jammed into my cheek?
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC
Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.
Office (703) 330-6388 Cell (703) 585-7560