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@fightclub30 wrote:

@GO4 wrote:

Anyone ever go through the process of building a new house? We are starting discussions to build with Capstone Homes so any feedback on the builder themselves, questions or concerns to bring to the table about the process, etc. would be greatly appreciated. Feel free to PM if you don’t want to air any dirty laundry in public. :)

I am an Architect and usually have an aversion to “builders”. Because they want it done cheaply and quickly, which is usually at the expense of properly.

The little bit of residential work we do no longer has house-wrap or vapor barriers. We do rigid “out-sulation” with taped seams. I cringe when I see house wrap flapping in the breeze on multi-million dollar homes in wayzata on the lake. House wrap is so, so rarely installed properly that we stopped using it and went with

The number of improperly installed windows/doors we see is kind of scary. We have seen doors and windows installed against what the manufacturer publishes for their product and hear “this is how we install all our windows”. Which doesn’t make it any less wrong.

The number of showers that aren’t water-proofed correctly is staggering… Cement board, tile, and grout is not waterproof, you need an actual waterproofing system in place (there are several means and methods available). The things city inspectors are willing to approve and pass off as acceptable kind of bothers me.

Basement floor slabs without insulation and/or vapor barrier. CMU foundation walls (just a bad idea in general) that aren’t waterproofed correctly…

The terms “Builder-Grade” come about for a reason. It is usually similar in quality to, and some times worse than, the things you’d find in Menards. Builder-grade windows versus Marvin or Anderson. Builder-grade plumbing fixtures versus say Kohler, Delta, or Toto.

If you ask a builder for details of things, or that they follow TCNA, ANSI, etc. standards (which should be followed anyway…) and they tell you it is going to increase the cost, that is a red flag.

Of course I am biased, and would love to see everyone hire an architect. There are also many builder grade homes that last a reasonably long time, and architect designed homes that have their own problems. We have started to view homes as commodities/investment and trade it in every 3-5 years to maximizing profit rather than a home that you live in for 20-30 years.

Also remember get the things you want in the house priced from the start; removals are dimes, additions are dollars. (I.e. taking out that kitchen Island once construction has started would get you back $2,500, but adding it once construction has started will probably cost $7,500).

My Dad was a contractor and was the general for a couple whole house builds during his years in business otherwise he stuck to remodeling mainly. In those couple builds though he strongly encouraged the homeowners to go to an architect to have the house drawn up professionally and get the layout nailed down. Once the boots hit the ground that main drawing wouldn’t change greatly only the small details. It helped alleviate numerous issues and problems that could delay a build using a builder off of some “plans” that they have to choose from.

Also I agree that the amount of corner cutting to proper installation of just about anything is staggering just in the name of time and getting it done. Hell I had a fight on my hands over the holidays when I went to Iowa a couple weekends to help my in-laws on some remodeling in their house. It can either be done or done right and a lot of times done right may cost more in money or it may cost more in time….but anything is possible if you are willing to spend the money and the time.