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What The Inspector Doesn't See

A blue tape walkthrough helps you and your builder identify problems, both big and small. It addresses any issues before you move in and helps to ensure that the home you’re buying is in the exact condition you expect. It is common for your real estate agent and a licensed home inspector to accompany you on this walk through, especially to point out safety hazards like improperly installed handrails, cracks in the foundation, or early water damage. Most of the time, they will also check things like window operation, door and drawer movement, and appliance functionality (there are a lot of good blogs and check lists detailing this important step already, so I won’t go too much more into the details).

Unfortunately, this is often as specific as the home inspector will get and will not address some of the most important things you will see and touch every day living in the home: blemishes in cabinet finishes, tight and accurate trim joints, consistent cabinet door and drawer reveals, the quality of crown molding installation, quality of paint and drywall finish, tile details around transitions, and countertop seams and joints, just to name a few.

We think the quality of the trim, finishes, and cosmetics of your new home are just as important as the safety of it.

Our virtual blue tape consultations focus on the cosmetic details and finishes that home inspectors aren’t necessarily trained to look for. It goes without saying that your new home should be a clean, safe, and healthy place in which you and your family can live for decades. After what is often a long and stressful process, we think that being proud of the quality and appearance of your new home is just as important.

Here is a recent example of what was found during one of our consultations and brought to the builder's attention to repair:

This piece of trim is referred to as scribe molding and is designed to cover the seam where the cabinet meets the wall. As you can see, it is cut short (not sure why?) and not correct.

This is a finished end panel in the kitchen. The large gap is from either not scribing the panel to the wall, or not covering with the scribe molding mentioned above. Additionally, it appears the baseboard was cut and installed based off the measurements of the kitchen cabinets, not cut to the actual dimensions once installed. Regardless of why, it is still wrong and needs to be replaced.

As you can see, the crown molding and sub-crown molding do not have tight joints. On face frame cabinets there is often an 1/8" overhang of the frame standing proud on the sides. This needs to be notched out so that any molding at the top sits flush against the cabinet. That is why there is such a significant gap at the bottom of the sub crown. Additionally, the angles of the mitered cuts are just enough off to show the shadow lines of a gap. This is even more pronounced on white cabinets. Pre-finished molding is, indeed, difficult to work with. However, there are several ways to have either prevented these gaps from occurring, or to fill them after the fact. Unfortunately, this installer simply chose not to use either approach, and that is not acceptable.

Yes, this is a difficult cut. No, it has not been done correctly and needs to be redone.

This is a built in storage bench in a playroom and you can see the gap along the wall. Like most things in trim carpentry, there are several ways to address this, the installer just simply chose not to.

Hard to believe this wasn't addressed by the inspector, but unfortunately it wasn't.

We found the problems, now what?

Building a new home can be a stressful and frustrating process, and all of this must feel like drinking from a firehose. That said, you have every right to be delivered a home built to the level of quality and condition you expected. Our consultations are scheduled for 55 minutes and afterwards you will receive both a copy of the video and an itemized list of the issues discovered.

With the knowledge and information you've gained from your virtual walkthrough, you will be fully confident that your concerns are reasonable and be best prepared when discussing solutions with your builder.

You can schedule your walkthrough with an Expert here.


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