Tuesday, October 27, 2015

You Should NOT Build a New House if… (Part 3) You Don't Like Seeing Stuff Immediately Trashed

Building a house is a messy process. For our house, they dug out LOTS of dirt to level the lot in preparation for the foundation. After laying the foundation, the frame went up. Then the wood decking part of the roof went on. At that point things got a bit bizarre. The structure was beginning to look like a house with a roof. However, without the water shield and shingles, a roof is just a sieve. Whenever it rained it just leaked down through the gaps in the wood to the concrete floor below. When we walked through our house while it was raining, we would have to dodge trickles, even streams, of water attempting to soak us as we passed nearby. I was tempted to declare our house to be a water park and charge admission, but was pretty sure the zoning laws would not allow it. Not too long afterwards the roof was completed and the leaking stopped. Thank goodness!

The tubs and showers were put in very early in the building process. They quickly filled up with dirt and trash, which is fine for bugs to bathe in, but not humans. All that pretty white fiberglass looked a mess. But we learned to accept the fact that they would never be clean until the house construction was finished. Well, we hoped they would be clean. But given the way they looked, we feared that there would be embedded stains that could never be removed. Fortunately, that wasn’t true. They came pretty clean.

It really got disconcerting when the flooring was laid. We had hardwood and ceramic tiles put down throughout. But they had to be put down a few weeks before the house was complete. Thus workers were in and out all the time walking on them with their dirt infested shoes. Sometimes cutting and sanding was being done inside the house. The floors got filthy. I thought about jumping from one clean spot to another, but I was never that good at long jumping. I feared that some of the harder chunks of dirt would begin scarring the floor as people walked over them. But I never noticed that happening. Even after the cleaning lady cleaned them several times just before we moved in, I picked up dirt on my bare feet for days. We bought a spin mop to clean the floors more thoroughly, but doing so at the stage where we were still unboxing and leaving trash behind, it wouldn’t have done much good. But eventually things settled down and we were able to clean all the floors to such an extent that they passed the bare feet test.

Once the cabinets and bookcases were installed, they too were quickly inundated with dust. Every time I saw them I had to resist the urge to break out a dust rag and the Pledge, and I’m not even that much on cleaning. But there was no sense in cleaning shelves and countertops when they would be just as dirty the next day. Yet they too came quite clean once the inside work was completed.

The one thing that remained a frustration even after we moved in was paint splatters. The painters were apparently not fans of covering or taping things while they were painting. They just relied on their skill with a roller or brush to insure paint didn’t go where no paint should go. But even skilled painters aren’t that skilled. We noticed some of the splatters early on, but when you are walking through getting an overview of the house rather than looking at details, a lot can be missed. It was only after moving in that we began discovering miniature Picassos at various places about the house. Like on the hardwood and tile floors, the top of the security system box and the thermostat, on the countertops and bookcases, etc. In some places, there were just small pinhead sized spots. In other cases, there were splotches. In most cases these could be removed with a swipe of a razor blade; no shaving cream required. But these spots can be elusive. We still keep finding spots three months after having moved in. Hopefully we have just about found them all. Most of the more recent one I’ve found turned out to just be floaters in my eyes.

So, if you decide to build a new house despite my warnings, don’t get distraught over the messes that are made during construction. Most likely they will clean up just fine. And if for some reason they don’t, you can always build another house to replace it.

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