Post details: How Will Your Builder Build? - Part 2


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How Will Your Builder Build? - Part 2

Builder Quality Checklist

Homes Under Constuction
As a homeowner, when making job site visits, come prepared with a flashlight, paper and pencil, 25-foot measuring tape, screwdriver (with interchangeable bits for checking behind outlets), impact-resistant bubble level or laser level, binoculars for checking roof shingle installations, and an electronic measuring tool for checking the dimensions of large spaces. Some two-piece electronic measuring tools can even be used to gauge lot sizes.

- If you live in an area where most homes have basements, study the builder's foundation techniques. A poured concrete foundation makes a better basement than concrete blocks because it is one continuous structure that is less likely to leak or let in cold air. There should also be some type of waterproofing system. If the soil underneath the house is clay, basement floors will be prone to expansion and contraction. In these cases, drainage tiles outside the foundation will reduce movement that can cause cracking of floors and walls.
- Also note whether the corner walls of a foundation meet at 90-degree angles. For any rectangular space, the two diagonals between the opposite corners should be the same length. If they're not, the foundation isn't squared off properly.
- A good framer will make clean, uniform cuts. Look up at the rafters to see that they're joined tightly and that all the cuts are clean and at uniform angles. A poor framing job can result in cornice lines that are uneven or bent.
- Walls that are framed with 2 x 6 beams instead of 2x4s create a larger cavity for insulation, an important consideration in climates with long, cold winters.
- Bring a level with you to check top plates on walls; they should be horizontal.
- Look for wall studs that are badly warped, and for misaligned studs and joists.
- See if the drywall is being fastened with nails or screws. Nails are more likely to pull away from the studs and pop through the surface later on.
- Neatness counts in plumbing, electrical, and HVAC installation.
- Fittings and joints should be secure, and air-conditioning ducts should be taped together smoothly to avoid air leaks.
- Cement backer board should be used behind tile in wet areas, such as bathrooms. A waterproofing membrane between the backer board and the framework is required for areas such as showers.
- Openings around doors, windows, pipes, ducts, and wiring -- anywhere air infiltration can occur -- should be caulked or insulated. Doors and windows should be weather-stripped.
- Notice what kind of framing materials are being used. Engineered, or manufactured, floor joists are partially made of particleboard and may look cheap, but they're actually stronger and more stable than dimensional lumber, which comes straight from the tree and is full of sap, bends, and cracks. Dimensional lumber will shrink during the first year the house is occupied, causing the floor to move slightly. Also, doors can become hard to open as the framework dries and the house settles, and nail pops and cracks will appear in the drywall. Another benefit of engineered truss joists is that they result in a more level floor that doesn't squeak.

Better Homes and Gardens Store



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