Thursday, August 22, 2013

The Shower Saga and Other Issues

Since moving into our new home nearly two months ago, we have discovered numerous issues, most small, some rather large.  The biggest problems being centered around our master bathroom, one part of the home where we spent in excess of $7,000 upgrading.   The first time we used our soaking tub, we noticed water spots on the ceiling the next morning.  This happened because one of the intake lines for the air jets was hanging down onto the floor and allowing water to escape.  Not only did this create water stains on our ceiling, it also compromised the floor under the tiles because immediately after this happened we noticed a loose section of tile and the shower pan would creak every time you walked thru the room.

So at our "30-day" post-settlement followup, which was actually more like 20 days, the RH handyman scraped out the grout joint , which should have been caulk, between the shower pan and floor tile and re-did it with caulk.  This, they claimed was the source of the noise.  Immediately after that, we used the shower stall and noticed more wet spots on the kitchen ceiling, as well as water damage to the drywall next to the shower.  Great the tub leak is fixed and now the shower starts leaking!

The PM stated it could be a "weep hole with a back-pitch onto it", so he arranged for the Kohler rep to come out and look at the pan.  The rep decided there was nothing wrong with the pan and it was installed incorrectly.  To fix it the original tile installer was called back to tear out the first course of tile and caulk properly.  Since no one actually read the installation instructions, they were not aware that the pan had small channels to divert water to the weep holes.  In order to prevent water from flowing past these channels and out of the pan, an L-shaped bead of silicone caulk was to be installed around these channels.  We only discovered this when I pulled up the Kohler installation instructions on my iPad and showed them to the PM and tile installer when he was here.  This was after the tile installer argued with the PM as to why it leaked and how he did everything by the book.  Not to mention the tile installer did not remove his shoes in our home and scratched the paint on our front door.  So he makes the repairs and reinstalls the tile.  Turns out it was the wrong color tile.  Same pattern, different dye-lot, so it was quite a bit darker than the existing tile.

We told PM we were not happy, don't put shower door back on, tile needs to be fixed, AGAIN!  He sends a different tile guy over to repair it.  This time the tile matched, but the grout joints did not line up, the tiles were not flush with each other, and in the corner it looked especially bad where the tile tapered down from a 1" wide piece to less than 1/2".  Long story short it looks like crap!  And to top it all off, while myself and my wife were looking at the tile, my wife was cleaning up the tile installation dust and debris that had made it into the soaking tub and discovered a large CRACK in the tub!  We are beyond pissed off and are very tired of not being able to use our bathroom!  The PM contacted the tile installation company who said they were going to send somebody else out, but this guy hurt his knee and was waiting to hear back from the doctor.  This was two days ago, we have since heard nothing.  Now it has been nearly a month since we have been able to use our shower.

In other news we have 4 loose stairs, several floor squeaks--some that have been fixed twice now, carpet pad squeaks,  numerous windows that do not open and close easily, land that was never cleared completely, a crooked mailbox post, and an I-joist that was damaged and compromised by the company that installed the gas line to the stove.

Other than that, we like our new house, just wish this didn't have to be such an ordeal to get these issues corrected and would like to see a greater sense of urgency in getting things taken care of.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Closed and Moved In

We closed on our home on June 19th as expected.  The closing went pretty well.  Probably about 45 minutes or so.  They tried to slip their survey in at the end and wanted us to fill it out at closing.  Since we had not spent any time in the finished house other than with the PM, we declined to fill it out on the spot.  The settlement agent made a joke that we would be put on the "uncooperative list" and our attorney recounted an episode of Seinfeld where Elaine was blacklisted by all of the local doctors.  At any rate things were pretty good in our new home at the time of closing.  There were a few very minor things, but most items were resolved prior to settlement.

There are some floor squeaks here and there, a bent window screen, scratched transom over the front door, the garage door tracks need to be aligned, some little paint touch-ups, etc.  The big item on the fix list is the whirlpool bath tub.  It leaked the first time we used it.  That was on a Saturday.  Sunday morning when we got up the kitchen ceiling was wet.  We emailed the PM and 9am Monday morning he was at our door with a plumber.  Turns out one of the air intake lines was hanging down below the level of the jets and drain so it was leaking water.  The PM corrected it and brought over a high volume air mover to dry things out.  He was going to have a plumber, tile guy, and sheetrock guy all come this week to fix things, but with our schedules we decided it would be best to let things dry out completely and then just let them deal with it on Monday at the post-settlement (30 day) follow up.

Other than the aforementioned issues, we have been very happy.  We installed some ceiling fans, pendant lights, a cable outlet in the study, an over-the-range microwave, and a garage door opener.  The flat panel TV is mounted to the wall in the master bedroom.  We also added some plants to the landscape and over-seeded the front lawn.  One big disappointment is the "topsoil" they used.  It is unscreened garbage and LOADED with rocks.  I raked most of them out of the front lawn but I think we are going to see how the back does with them, since it is a lot of work to remove them all.

We signed a contract with a paving company to add a third lane (12') onto the width of our driveway and extend it back alongside the garage just past the service door.  We have three vehicles and do not want to be jockeying cars all the time.  Besides the 18' they give you for a driveway is very narrow and does not leave much room once you've parked two vehicles side by side.

One other project that we hope to complete very soon is the addition of a deck off the morning room.  The "safety rail" they install in front of the slider is a little ridiculous.

There has been so much to do since we have moved in and we are nowhere near being done, but we will try to post some pictures once we have the time to take them, lol.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

"Pre" Pre-Settlement Walk Thru

Yesterday we toured the house.  Things are nearly complete inside.  Carpet has been installed.  Paint is mostly done, minus a few touchups.  Door and cabinet hardware is installed.  Brushed nickel shower door enclosure is in.  Cleaning has started.  The appliances are all in.  Plumbing and electrical are complete.  Things are looking pretty good, but there are several punch-list items to take care of.  For the most part they appear to be small things.

Outside there are still several things that need to be done.  The porch columns and trim need to be painted.  The decorative oval louver over the garage has been moved to the correct location, however they had to replace the siding underneath it and did not have the correct color with them, so they pulled some pieces off the side of the garage that will need to be replaced.  Grading has been started but will still need a lot of work.  They planted trees in the back.  Not really where we wanted them, but they are in.  The brick paver walkway still needs to be done and is supposed to be started soon.  Sewer vent and clean out pipes need to be cut-down to proper length.  Lawn needs to be seeded.  So there is still quite a bit to be done outdoors, but it should mostly be done by our closing date on the 19th.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Tile Grouted, Appliances Installed, Plumbing Complete

Friday we toured the house and we were pleased to find the toilets, faucets, towel bars, and other fixtures had been installed.  The grout in the master bath has been done.  It has a nice contrast with the Truffle Field tile we selected.  Down in the basement, the plumber was making all of the connections to the main water supply.  The bathroom rough-in was finished up.  Floor drain was put in.  Water heater was installed.  We now have running hot and cold water.

In the kitchen, the appliances were being installed.  The gas stove, dishwasher, and garbage disposal are all in and working.  They attempted to install the range hood, but the unit they had was white so they were re-ordering a black one.

Outside, the gutters were put up.  They look good but we may need to relocate one of the downspouts since it will likely interfere with our future driveway expansion.

Hose spigots were also installed in our selected locations.

This week the trim carpenters are coming back to fix some issues and the painters are coming to do some touch up and to paint the baseboards, casings, and doors.  There were several trim issues we are hoping are resolved.  Some of which include crooked window trim, stair railings that do not line up, and a half-wall cap that looks like they used a butter knife to create the edge detail.

Hopefully all of these things will be corrected.  We are nearing the end!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Listello Tile Update, Fireplace Complete, and Finish Electrical Started

For those who have been following the blog, you might recall that they installed the wrong listello in the owner's bathroom.  Apparently the listello we picked out is no longer available from the manufacturer, Dal Tile.  So we were given the option to go in and reselect our listello or our PM suggested we could go to Home Depot and pick out a new listello and he would go purchase it and have it installed.  We thought that was nice, but then we came up with another idea.  The glass shower enclosure comes in a chrome finish, unless you pay to upgrade it to bronze or nickel.  We were not crazy about the chrome finish, but their price to upgrade was quite high.  So we suggested to our PM that we could leave the installed listello in place and simply upgrade to the brushed nickel shower enclosure.  They agreed to it, so we are keeping the tile and getting brushed nickel.  Appears to be a win-win situation!

In other news our fireplace stonework has been completed.  We picked Bucks County Ledgestone and are very happy with the end result.

Finally the electrical trim-out has been started.  Recessed light trims are installed.  Doorbell is working.  Chandeliers in dining room and foyer are in and outside lighting installed.  Things are starting to come together.  Less than 1 month to go!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Cabinets, Columns, Doors, Floors, Driveway, Paint, Trim, and More

We were able to go thru the house today with the sales rep.  Lots of changes have occurred since our last visit.  There are still several issues inside and out that still exist.  Some things our PM has been responsive towards, others have been largely ignored.  We are going to create a separate post listing the problems that we have noted and will make updates as they are, or are not, dealt with.

The driveway has been installed.  Looks good.  Luckily we said something to our PM regarding the placement because we discussed the driveway in detail at the pre-construction meeting and, unfortunately, our request was not going to be honored.  Since RH installs an 18' wide driveway, that basically gives you 1 foot on either side of the garage door.  We want to expand the driveway by one whole additional lane so we requested that the driveway be shifted 1 foot to the right, which would have lined it up with the edge of the door on the left side and the edge of the wall on the right.  Before the driveway was installed, the outline was marked out and it was just going to be done with 1 foot on either side of the door.  They did correct it after we brought it up, but it is getting very frustrating knowing that simple requests we have made are being disregarded.

The metal roof has been started on the porch.  There are only two pieces of it up, but the rest of it is fabricated and in the garage waiting to be installed.

Porch columns have been installed.  Six of them in all.  They will need to be painted and a trim board under the front door still needs to be installed.

All of the doors and casings are in.  The kitchen cabinets and countertops are installed.  Looks like an endpanel still needs to be installed on the island, but it is BIG and overall there appears to be a ton of cabinet space.  We were pleasantly surprised with our cabinet and counter top selections.  There was an incentive on the maple cabinets, so we got them at no additional charge and they actually look pretty good.  The bench/cabinet is installed in the mudroom.  This will be handy for storage and putting on shoes.

Railings around the stairs are in.  They will need to be stained.  Hopefully it is done neatly.  That seems to be a common complaint amongst bloggers.  It would be nice if they came pre-stained and then were just touched up after installation. Some of the trim work is pretty sloppy but most of it looks good, at a casual glance.

The master bath has been tiled.  We like the tile but they installed the wrong listello.  Brought this to the PM's attention but it seems to have been ignored.  Basically he acted like we were wrong.  Said he would confirm it on the selection sheet.  Well they were wrong.  So we are still waiting to hear on this item.  The vanities in both baths are in and the absolute black granite tops work well with the Andover white in the hall bath and the Wyoming cherry in the master.

First coat of paint has been sprayed,  They cheated us out of the Kilim Beige that they advertise as a standard feature for the community.  We are not happy about this, but they would not budge and would have rather us walked away than paint it the color that they advertise.

Vinyl flooring has been laid in the kitchen, foyer, laundry room, powder room, and main bath.  We really are not crazy about it, but plan to install tile and hardwoods after settlement.  Apparently they are not planning to install shoe moulding or quarter round along the baseboards in the rooms with vinyl flooring.  This is pretty standard for resilient floors and we have seen several RH blogs that depict this type of trim, but, in our area, it looks like one more corner they can cut.