What I'm Seeing Now


The "I Don't Care" Attitude In New Construction - 'Nuff Said

This beautiful, oak staircase fully demonstrates the "I don't care" attitude in new construction - "nuff said.

You will notice that there are brads shot into the wood.

They are NOT at the pre-drilled points, already provided by the staircase producer who is obviously trying to be careful to protect his work.

The photo below accurately describes what the subcontractor has done, and what he has done all over the staircase.

THAT is a pre-drilled hole!

Notice, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, the brad BESIDE the pre-drilled hole!

What the manufacturer is intending is that a finish nail be inserted into that pre-drilled hole, hammered in CAREFULLY so there is no hammer-head dent on the wood, and then driven into the wood with a nail punch.


The hole would then be filled with putty that IS SUBSTANTIALLY THE SAME COLOR AS THE WOOD!

Instead, this is what they did all over the staircase!

Behold the wondrous carpentry and installation of a custom, oak staircase!

These pre-drilled holes you see appear in six places on each stair riser.


Every tread had a multiplicity of power-driven brads in assorted arrays!

You have to understand - these oak staircases go from lower level to the upper level in a three-floor townhouse on a slab.

They have all been ruined.

The buyers said they had been there 20 times and had not noticed this.

I can tell you that I found many other things they had not noticed either!

The supervisor should be taken to task for this work.

It should have been EXCEPTIONALLY explained to the sub "contractor" how these stairs should be treated, installed and protected AFTER installation! 

These stairs were not taken care of in any way. 

They are muddy, scratched, full of unwanted holes and damaged all over the house!

This is not finish carpentry by any stretch of the imagination.

My recommendation:  sometimes incompetent and uncaring work is NOT covered by drywall!  Sometimes it is very, very visible.  This builder balked at the idea of having me come by.  A home inspector, they said, of course, is "unnecessary" as "so many" other inspections are done by "so many" other people.





Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC  

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.

Office (703) 330-6388   Cell (703) 585-7560


Comment balloon 16 commentsJay Markanich • April 25 2013 05:29AM


What an utter disgrace by unskilled and poorly supervised installers. The developer/seller should take the contractor to task and have them replace the work under warranty.
Posted by Mark Delgado, Benicia and Vallejo, Property Management, rental h (houses for rent, Solano County & Glen Cove) almost 8 years ago

You know EXACTLY what the buyer wants Mark!  He paid a tad extra for custom staircases!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 8 years ago

What a shame, I am sure the stair manufacture is furious. Most likely untrained carpenters working on the job, probably never used a hammer or nail punch and has no idea what to do.

Posted by David Popoff, Realtor®,SRS, Green ~ Fairfield County, Ct (DMK Real Estate ) almost 8 years ago

You just hit on the crux of my displeasure with modern construction David!  Unprofessionalism.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 8 years ago

It is a shame that the beautiful Oak was not treated with care and the instructions followed. Unfortunately, many contractors act as if they do not care Jay.

Posted by Tom Arstingstall, General Contractor, Dry Rot, Water Damage Sacramento, El Dorado County - (916) 765-5366, General Contractor, Dry Rot and Water Damage (Dry Rot and Water Damage www.tromlerconstruction.com Mobile - 916-765-5366) almost 8 years ago

Uncaring is right. That is incredibly botched work. it's a shame.

Posted by James Quarello, Connecticut Home Inspector (JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC) almost 8 years ago

Jay, you are dead right.  The last New Home Builder I worked with advised that we could use an inspector, but blah, blah, blah, they have so many inspections and must be up to code and the builder also went a step further and stated, "we don't fix anything the home inspector finds.  We build to code and will not make any changes beyond that."

Posted by Christopher Campa, Northern VA Realtor (LONG & FOSTER REAL ESTATE) almost 8 years ago

You have oak out there AD Model Man?   I thought you had grapevines and citrus trees.  ;>)  Crap work, to be sure.

Jim - I was so disappointed.  And the buyers were enraged!  This was not a cheap upgrade.

Code is NEVER impressive Chris.  It is the floor.  What's stopping the "best practice" instead?

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 8 years ago

Hi Jay,

I bet the contractor still wanted paid for this mess. How many times do we point out the bad work by contractors till they get it?

They don't seem to care a bit. But they have no problem handing the owner the bill for shoddy work do they?

Have a good day in Bristow my friend.

Best, Clint McKie

Posted by Clint Mckie, Desert Sun Home, Comm. Inspection 1-575-706-5586 (Desert Sun Home, commercial Inspections) almost 8 years ago

Jay, It's not what you want to see (nor expect) when you're paying big bucks to someone to build your home.

Posted by Liz and Bill Spear, RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton) (RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 www.LizTour.com) almost 8 years ago

Sickening. The buyer did not notice this? Can you say "stars in their eyes?" This is exactly why everyone needs to have a Home Inspection, someone who will actually look at everything and not just where little Johnny's toy chest will fit into his room!

Posted by Fred Hernden, CMI, Albuquerque area Master Inspector (Superior Home Inspections - Greater Albuquerque Area) almost 8 years ago

Jay - unbiased eyes inspecting the home always see something the builder or buyer (even dare I say a Realtor) would miss.  Always request a home inspection.

Posted by Steven Cook (No Longer Processing Mortgages.) almost 8 years ago

They are still on site Clint!  They had some bad things to say about me, thinking I didn't understand.  They got the message real quick that I LOVE to dance, and they didn't want to dance with me.

If you catch my drift...

Bliz - people think I invent this stuff!!

They never noticed Fred.  And had been to the site many times.  This was NOT the worst thing I found.

I bet the supervisor did know this was here Steven.  Maybe they were going to fill the holes with spackle, like that kitchen I did last week.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 8 years ago

Jay - that's exactly what those contractors were banking on, that their botched up work would go unnoticed. It was faster for them to just shoot nails into the wood than install the finished nails in the pre-drilled holes. What a shame.

On the bright side, it shows the value of a home inspector!

Posted by Eric Middleton, Professional Property Inspector (Closer Look Property Inspections Inc.) almost 8 years ago

Good evening, Jay. Looks like someone got a little over zealous with the nail gun...

Posted by TeamCHI - Complete Home Inspections, Inc., Home Inspectons - Nashville, TN area - 615.661.029 (Complete Home Inspections, Inc.) almost 8 years ago

How can something that egregious slip by Eric!  They hoped the buyer would not notice.  They were very dismissive and discouraging of having a home inspector.  The buyers found out why.  The missed a lot!

Sure did Michael!  I think they think this is just another day with the OSB flooring!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 8 years ago

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