Has Your Home Had Shoddy Work Done In The Past?

The quickest way to discover shoddy workmanship is to be the general contractor remodeling a home.  Some clients know that their home has issues due to past craftsmanship lapses by others.  Some clients suspect that there are issues, but are unsure.  Recently, a client asked if we could help them with a small kitchen remodel.  They wanted new soapstone counter top, a tile backsplash, new lighting and they wanted to revise and add some cabinetry.  Seems pretty straightforward, right?

And So It Begins

From the very start, it seemed like we were at a baseball game instead of a home remodel! Here are the calls as we saw them:

  • Strike One: Lower Kitchen Cabinets Out of Level

What We Found

We stripped off the old tile countertops and found that the cabinets were way out of level.

What We Should Have Found

A craftsman installs cabinet’s level. This means having a flat and even surface without slopes. You don’t want to chase a spill or an egg across the countertop; you don’t want doors or drawers that are difficult to close or are self – opening.  If you are installing solid surface countertops, even slight variations can cause appearance issues.

 

  • Strike Two: Upper Kitchen Cabinets Nailed in Place

What We Found

The cabinets had been nailed in place instead of screwed in place.

What We Should Have Found

Cabinets should always be screwed into place, not nailed. Nails of a size capable to hold a cabinet full of plates can split a cabinet hanging rail, or the stud or backing in the wall.  Repeated loading and unloading of the cabinet can work nails loose over time.  But most importantly, nails do not have the holding power of good cabinet installation screws.

 

  • Strike Three: Running New Floor Under Old Appliances

What We Found

A new floor was installed in the kitchen with the floor running up to, but not under the old appliances.

What We Should Have Found

Often a kitchen remodel starts because an appliance breaks.  Here the dishwasher broke and the client bought a new dishwasher. Easy fix, right? Wrong! A prior owner had put in a new floor on top of the existing floor, which can be an acceptable solution but they made one very big mistake.  When you install a new floor in a kitchen, you must ensure that the floor runs under the appliances. Locking an appliance under a countertop by laying a new floor in front of it, is the quickest way to cost a homeowner thousands of extra dollars when it is time to fix or replace the appliance. Often the only answer involves tearing up the countertop or the flooring!

 

  • Strike 4: Hood Ducting Error

What We Found

The ducting for the hood fan ran into the attic and then stopped; that’s right, a six inch duct pushing up through blown in insulation.  The client had mentioned that the hood was useless. It’s no wonder when insulation is knocked into the hood duct and the hood fan is pushing hot steamy air into an obstructed damper into a dusty, dirty attic.

What We Should Have Found

Hood fans that are not recirculating (i.e., the ones that just blow the smells and steam around the room), must be vented to the exterior.

 

  • Strike 5: Unsafe and Illegal Electrical Work

What We Found

Some people should be shocked (the ones who do shoddy wiring)!  When we removed the sink and sink cabinet (which was leaking by the way), we uncovered electrical wires that had been spliced together under the cabinet.  The wires were discolored by heat, most likely because small gauge wires were spliced into an oversized circuit, and without a junction box. This wiring was unsafe on so many levels and, if the splice had simply failed and not started a fire, an electrician would not have known that he had to tear the bottom out of a kitchen cabinet to find and fix the problem.  The fire and electrocution risks for such wiring are unacceptable.

What We Should Have Found

An able electrician would have spliced the wires to an appropriate circuit, inside an accessible junction box.

 

  • Strike 6: Poor Drain Connections

What We Found

We found a flexible dishwasher drain line connected by dropping the line into a crawl space and splicing it to another flexible line in order to reach a vent pipe from the sewer line. Essentially, the contractor used the vent line as a drain for the dishwasher. A vent line is used for air, not water.

What We Should Have Found

The dishwasher drain line should have been hooked up to an acceptable drain line with a trap, as per manufacturer’s instructions.

When craftsmanship is replaced with improvisation, the results are rarely pretty or legal.  When homeowners make these mistakes, they should probably not be doing the work, but I wouldn’t throw the book at them.  When a contractor makes these mistakes, it is time to take away their hammer.

Want a gorgeous home remodel done right? Contact us for a free consultation now.