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  • Kiersten Morton

Remodeling Pet Peeves from an Industry Professional

As with anything in life, there are a number of positives and typically an equal number of things that will test the limits of any person's good nature. I started in the remodeling industry as a mid-twenties professional accountant. What a difference it was to jump into construction and the land of the "good 'ol boys" who continually stated, "That's just the way it is!" As I learned the industry inside and out, I began to teach some old dogs new tricks and brought an element of "professionalism" from my former career to the crazy world of remodeling. I never settled for "That's just the way it is." I decided to spend a few minutes listing some items that I see over and over again, so here goes...they are not in any particular order and this list is in no way complete. Feel free to comment with your own remodeling pet peeves.

  1. Lack of shoe moulding (or quarter round) on all hard surface floors...shoe moulding or quarter round actually has a purpose. It is the barrier between vacuums or mops and the base moulding affixed to the wall. It is far more expensive to replace damaged or worn base moulding than it is to replace shoe moulding because removal of base moulding could easily create drywall damage, especially if painted and caulked to the wall properly.

  2. Lack of scribe moulding where cabinetry meets the walls...gaps are left or caulked, which shrinks very soon after and becomes an ongoing maintenance item. cabinetry should be installed plumb and level, which could easily result in a gap between the back of the cabinet and the wall or where the sides meet an adjacent wall. Walls are rarely plumb!

  3. Lack of crown moulding or top moulding of any nature on moulding is the finishing touch that all kitchens deserve. The moulding can be simple or ornate and designed to your taste.

  4. Casing used a base moulding...I am unsure why this is a bother to me, but there are certain profiles of door and window casing that should never be used at the base of the wall..."That's just the way it is!" ;-)

  5. Dark grout on white tile...this is more of a design issue in the industry that leads to installation issues and it is one that continues to baffle me today. The entire point of grout is to transition from tile to tile and help "mask" slight wall or floor imperfections. Dark grout simply highlights those imperfections and looks messy unless a truly skilled professional completes the install.

  6. Subpar drywall work...joints or patches not being floated, which makes the repair obvious to even the most untrained eye. Drywall repairs should be difficult to locate once finished.

  7. Painting...don't even get me started here...lack of prep work (i.e. sanding trim, etc), caulking should be completed BEFORE painting and not after, lack of primer on walls or trim before the actual paint (primer seals new drywall and woodwork), lack of sprayed doors/trim or a skilled tradesman to lay on the paint properly.

  8. Improper waterproofing of anything, but especially showers! Waterproofing of showers is required per code and there is a plethora of great products available.

  9. Outdated shower doors with frames when semi-frameless (no frame on the door itself) is less expensive and far easier to maintain.

  10. Designers who do not know or understand the products they sell... for example, plumbing fixtures that fit the intended purpose and have all of the parts needed...also, is there room to accomplish what is designed??

  11. Designers or superintendents who do not understand construction or even the bare minimum required to work in the industry...take pride in your chosen profession, ask questions, research, and learn! Do not make the same mistake twice!

  12. Designers or superintendents who do not know how to measure.

  13. Remodelors who lowball estimates and then add change orders to cover costs they KNEW would be incurred to accomplish the design agreed upon. This scam is as old as the industry and unfortunately unsuspecting consumers pay the price. Estimates should never be more than 5-10% apart if comparing apples to apples. Ask questions!

  14. Remodelors who "lean" on their subcontractors to complete work for less money than the agreed upon pricing because they screwed up. This is simply unprofessional and will result in unhappy tradesman that will then sacrifice quality trying to complete the project for less money.

  15. Any professional that doesn't admit a mistake or ask for assistance, from design to construction...I learn something new every day and so should every professional in this industry.

  16. Designers or general contractors who ask a tradesman to do the work "half-A$$" because they messed up and don't want to spend the money to do it right. Sometimes you just have to cover the additional cost and learn from the mistake.

  17. Multi-million dollar companies that continue to ignore the advice of their highly skilled and experienced employees and subcontractors. This is all too common and continually frustrating because it results in rework and extended project timeframes that only serve to punish the client.

  18. temporary lights or live outlets wired during the construction process. Easy, but often overlooked by even the best electricians.

  19. Scheduling multiple trades on the same day in small spaces (or on projects with limited parking). Scheduling is one of the easiest parts of construction to understand, but it takes constant tweaking to adjust day to day and it is one of the things that alleged professionals in this industry are the worst at. Again, the only one punished is the client.

  20. Last and most important...communicating with clients...there is ZERO excuse for a client to not know what is happening each and every day in their home! The technology is available and must be utilized. Delays happen in construction that are beyond the contractor's control, but the easiest way to alienate a client is to not communicate. The contractor and client have the same should never be an adversarial relationship.

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