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It's April 2015- How is your build progressing?

9 years ago

No fooling- it's April! Winter is slowly losing its grip, so building should be ramping up. Yesterday, it was almost 80 here in SC, and I finished up some outdoor trim painting that I abandoned last fall when it got cold.

Inside, I'm working through painting 33 drawers in the kitchen. We settled on BM White Dove for cabinets and trim. I'm using their Advance line in semi-gloss- it's wonderful paint! Still, there's a lot of sanding, dusting and painting; it's a slow process.

We chose our flooring, which is reclaimed pine from an old cotton mill nearby. They saw and mill the 115 year-old beams into flooring, which have a wonderful patina. I'll be picking it up soon, and then it has to sit inside and acclimate for a few weeks. I plan to finish painting the walls and ceilings before I lay the floor so I can be my usual messy self without worrying about my new (old) floors.

There's an interesting tie-in with our flooring. I play in an historic reenactment community band which is based on the bands that the cotton mill communities had 100 years ago. We are an adjunct of The Greenville Textile Heritage Society, and play at various events in upstate SC. It's only fitting that our flooring should come out of an old cotton mill!

So let's hear it- How is YOUR build progressing?

Comments (235)

  • 9 years ago

    MushCreek, Your kitchen is incredible! I love every detail. Swooning over the tin ceiling.

  • 9 years ago

    Finally, I have some progress!

    The people behind my lot better be careful backing out of their garage, lol.

    It looks so small,...and it is a small house, but still. So far it looks only big enough for one room. I hope it doesn't seem so small once framing and drywall are up.

    I think they may have forgotten to add 2 ft to my garage that I requested.

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    I've finally, finally, FINALLY got back up to my build two hours north of here yesterday! I hadn't been able to get up there since mid October. Glad I went; I got to fix a couple things before they went too far in a direction I didn't want. Here's me and my house -- and here you can also guess why I haven't gotten back to my future home until now: (I thank a good friend of mine who was able to take 5 hours out of his time to drive and come up with me -- although we both had a great time doing this.) The garage door is painted and about ready to go on -- here are the panels ready and waiting -- this door matches the front door -- this part of the job should be finished tomorrow: I love the front of the house, including the private guest room entry area on the porch. There will be a rustic railing here eventually. And I am hunting down a source for three log rocking chairs -- but they have to be comfortable. Here are two views of the back of the house (taken by my friend, as I wasn't about to be able to navigate this on crutches) -- the white framing on the white doors will be painted "Anderson terratone" to match the windows and that deck French door. First photo from the eastern side; second from the western, in the midst of what I call "Juniper Island". All doors except the French doors on the deck in back will be handicap accessible. Since those doors open out, there will be a step, but with the potential for a future ramp. Yes, there will be steps from the deck on down (right side) but access to the deck itself will be wheelchair accessible. Scenery, you know! PS, the opening in the lower right: a window into future workshop room... And in the basement: Mechanicals to the far/deep right. The blocked-in area around center will be a place for an eventual half-bath geared towards space to clean off after tending livestock (chickens, goats, small sheep), which are livestock I intend to raise when I'm able-bodied for such activities. The photo was taken by my friend, while standing in my future root cellar portion of the basement -- to the immediate left will be a workshop for stained glass and for woodworking activities.
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  • 9 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Thanks for the update ChicagoDreamer! Good luck! I can empathize with the "just get it done please" feeling.

    We sell our current home next week and I am almost done packing and loading. It is exhausting. Everything goes to storage while our new home gets finished. And we go to the hotel with a mountain of essentials and the animals. My builder is back to his "Did I say I would have that done by Friday? Oh...hmmm..."

    I guess I need to go back to just nagging like a wife as opposed to engaging in the activities a project manager would engage in. Maybe he understands that better!

  • 9 years ago


    I thought the same thing when they were putting in our basement. When it was finished I thought, holy cow, is the house really going to be that small? But once they started framing, I could see how much bigger it looked and when the windows were put in and the drywall started going up, it looked like the size I had imagined. I have heard others on this post say the same thing, that with only the basement in it looked so small.

    They started dry walling last week and are scheduled to start siding next week. Hope they are finished with both by the end of April, that would be great, it's been a long, long process.

  • 9 years ago

    Great progress everyone. Mush, outstanding work on the kitchen! Did you say you built those cabs yourself or used RTA cabs? Either way what a great job.


  • 9 years ago

    I built all of the cabs my self. The idiot (me) that designed the kitchen didn't make anything standard, so all of the cabs had to be built to fit. This is the part of building that I have been looking forward too, though, and it's been a long time coming. The finish work is much more rewarding than lugging plywood up on the roof!

  • 9 years ago

    We've got painted walls!!

    Main areas of house are SW Agreeable gray...I love it!

    Trim carpenters start tomorrow morning and husband has the week off to install tile.

  • 9 years ago

    Today we had our house professionally cleaned - took 7 hrs with two cleaning crew. I was there to watch and also helped out certain areas they were not focused on like wiping down doors & frames, etc where there was so much finger prints and nicks and scratches.

    As a first time home builder, I'm not sure how this goes but we have had soooo much dust in the house and the subcontractors rarely cleans after they are done so the dust is settled in every nook and cranny. So the cleaning crew spent alot of time getting the dust out of everything, including cabinets, counters, etc.

    As I watch and inspect the house, I'm noticing so many imperfections including smudges on the painted walls done by the hardwood stain people (we will go back and touch up the walls), imperfections on the sanding of the door frames so that when it got painted on the frames, it comes out streaky vs smooth, sections where the hardwood stain (ebony color) got on the base board, paint dots and streaks on the stairway steps, scratches on tiled floor, scratches and nicks on kitchen and bathroom cabinets - I can go on and on.

    Here's the question, do I live with these imperfections or do I fight to get these fixed? It's so many on the list. Does your houebuild have a lot of dust? Mostly the dust comes from when trim work is being done. Anyone have the same issues I have? Any recommendation or feedback?

    Next step is hardwood floor team is coming back tomorrow to lightly sand and put final coat of varnish. Then Tuesday, the painters will come back to do touch ups and finish painting areas where they did not finish. Electrical, HVAC will be back Tuesday also to finish up. Wednesday is inspection, hope all goes well. Looking forward to your feedback!

  • 9 years ago

    Hello. I have been away for the last week. I went to NYC with a girlfriend. Lots of shows and shopping.

    While I was away, we had another break-in at the site. They broke the lock box off the fence, took it to smash it open, and came back with the key. They stole the welder and the welder's tool box, and cut the power line for the $5 of copper. Argh. DH found the house wide open and had to sit with the house until a locksmith came. I am so sick of this.

    We finally got someone to do the siding, the same guy who did our framing. He starts that tomorrow. They also pour the pad for the garage on Tuesday.

    The stairs are done. Yay! No photos yet. They still need to be painted, and we need final treads. But the welding is done.

    Yellowducky, I did decide on the brick. But yesterday DH overheard our bricklayer friend tell me the rough price of installing brick, and he had a conniption. He's now saying we're not doing brick, that we can leave it until after we move in and save up more money. Sorry, but it's too late. I wanted to leave the fireplace until after we moved in, but BIL insisted it would be better to have it in before drywall and flooring. So we did the expensive part already, the actual fireplace. And now we're going to leave it as an unfinished eyesore? No. I can probably do it myself (brick veneers), but it's going to be a fight with DH.

    Another fight with DH is over the pattern of the ensuite tile. I have wanted herringbone. But BIL told DH it'll be crazy expensive to install, so DH is trying to convince me not to do it. I know it'll be more expensive than a stacked pattern. But it's what I want, and again, I'm willing to do it myself if the quote is too high. I've considered doing a 1/3 offset, but based on other comments BIL has made about his tile guy, I'm sure that'll be crazy expensive, too. And I don't want to do that just because it's cheaper. Here are some of my inspiration pics:

    Traditional Bath with an Elegant Vanity · More Info

    And some photos of sample layouts.

    He HAS agreed to let me do the herringbone in the hall bath.

  • 9 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    @Amberm145 - nice floor tile! I would go herringbone! Btw, who pays for the stolen tools? What happens if they steal the washer and dryer? I am starting to get worried about that myself.

    @ChicagoDreamer - If I was OK with stain slopped on my white woodwork I would have hired my nephew to stain the floors and saved a lot of money. Tell him that.

    My SIL completed her home and she noted everything. At the time I thought that was obsessive. I remember we went over there and she had marked everything with blue painters tape. But you know, she, like you and like we all, have paid a lot of money for a brand new home so it should be pristine. From what I've seen of yours it is no average home. Paint spatter on the hardwood steps is not acceptable.

    We were over there at the SILs a couple weekends ago. Her home still looks perfect. So I don't know what others do, but she got what she wanted and is still happy with it. If you don't ask, you wont get.

    But I am excited for you to finally be done. Not too much longer now.

    Good luck everyone!

  • 9 years ago

    Amberm, that herringbone is gorgeous!! I would see what the cost difference is and make a decision then. If there was one thing I wasn't prepared for, it's been the cost to have tile put down. We are working with the flooring place we would love to use (they have products we want and have been very helpful) on meeting our budget right now.

    Nobody does any cleaning up behind themselves at our site either. We just had brick done inside and even though the masons tried to clean up, there's a gigantic mess. We need to do some heavy cleaning, but just don't have the time. I have three small children so if I bring them to do cleaning, they make more of a mess. Lol. There is most certainly dust settled everywhere. Our painters are still working, but I know I'll have to have the floors decently clean before flooring can start to go in. They are horrible from workers tracking mud and clay in from all the rain we've had. It's just a big mess.

  • 9 years ago

    Jn3344, Our insurance doesn't cover contents of the house, as it's under construction, and they figure there shouldn't be anything inside. Once we start putting appliances in, etc, we have to increase the insurance. The welder has his own insurance. But he just got that welder for this job, and didn't specifically include it in his policy, so they were only going to give him $1000 for it. It's a $4000 piece of equipment. His tools would have been covered, but it was only about $400. And he has a $1000 deductible. So he's taking the hit on it. :( Our insurance would pay for the power cable and locksmith, but we also have a $1k deductible.

    Chicago, our house is also a disaster. We have heating ducts so clogged with crud, there's no air coming out.

  • 9 years ago it normal to go in and clean during the building process? We were at the house over the weekend painting again (NOT the kitchen theory, they're going to fix that mishap!) :) Anyway, I told my husband I wanted to bring the shop vac over and clean up the mess that is everywhere (at least a little bit!) He looked at me like I was crazy...and thought it was nuts I wanted to do that...he said "they'll do that". I don't believe it will happen.

  • 9 years ago

    pwanna1 - Our GC has a crew that comes in and cleans up for $15/hr. We chose to save that money about $3k total over the entire build on other things, so we are stuck doing the cleaning which I wish now we would have just paid them to do. We are however, having them do the final move-in clean as I don't have the time or the want to spend several days cleaning, since I'll be doing the check-out cleaning at our rental. I did decide to let his crew clean up after the drywall sanding and ceiling knockdown mess.

    amberm145 - So sorry to hear of the damage and theft. I swear people just don't respect anything these days.

    We are supposed to be dry all this week which is nice for a change. Maybe they can actually get our septic done. I know the trim carpenter is at the house this week and the flat work guy too, so he can get our porch poured this week too. I just hope the cabinet maker gets on our stuff.

    Michelle - Congrats on getting paint going.

  • 9 years ago

    pwanna1 - I think it is totally normal to go through your house and clean. A woman I worked for would go through at every stage of the building process with a shop vac and vacuum the floors and even in between all the studs. She said she didn't like the idea of all that dust/dirt being behind her sheetrock. Even the unfinished attic space would get vacuumed!

    We are breaking ground tomorrow and I have seriously considered buying a shop vac just to keep the new house as clean as I possibly can with a vacuum.

    But maybe I'm not normal??

  • 9 years ago

    The only cleaning I did was earlier on. I spent hours scraping mud off the concrete once we were dried in and then it got ruined when the plumber flooded the house while testing water lines. I did clean out wall cavities a couple days before insulation and drywall. Just with a broom, which isn't very helpful. Lol. We are at the painting stage now so the painters have sanded a lot of stuff. It's messy. Especially since I didn't properly clean after drywall. I just started today taking one room at a time and sweeping the best I can. We need to get a shop vac though. We are contracting ourselves so we don't have any cleanup.

  • 9 years ago

    DH has done a lot of cleaning throughout. No, the trades never do a good job of cleaning up after themselves.

  • 9 years ago

    We vacuum our new build constantly. DH doesn't like the dust build up if we don't.

  • 9 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I also think it is fine to go and clean your house whenever it is warranted. I chose not to as few times I did, the next day I would see dust all over again and it was an endless task. Our GC paid for the professional cleaning at the end. It was definitely worth it, although I'll probably have to go back and do some more cleaning.

    My GC told me before we signed the contract that he was meticulous about everything, including finding all flaws and cleaning during construction. Boy, he end up being totally the opposite. I wish my GC would have been more proactive and cover all the cabinets and the floors to prevent dings and scratches from happening. After the cleaning, I found so many dings, scratches, etc., it didn't feel like a new house anymore. :(

    JN3344 - you are absolutely right, I am going to put every little thing on the list for him to fix. We did pay alot of money for the house and I should get a brand new house with almost no flaws... :)

    For newbies, I would encourage you to make sure your GC covers all cabinets, flooring, appliances etc. during construction.

    Did I tell you we have a big deep scratch on our quartz kitchen countertop (about 12 inches long)? I just found it yesterday after cleaning was done. My GC asked how did that happen? I said it happened because you didn't tell your subs not to put their heavy tools and crap on the kitchen counter and you didn't cover the countertop with protective lining - that's how it happened. Just goes to show you noone cares about your house.

    Now that our hardwood flooring is done - I put a big sign on the door that all workers need to take their shoes off and use footies before entering in the house. I wonder if they will listen. sigh...

  • 9 years ago


    We bought a shopvac we love and relatively cheap.

    Vacmaster VBV1210 Detachable Blower Wet/Dry Vacuum, 12 Gallon, 5 Peak HP

    It works at as shopvac and blower!! It's $85 at

  • 9 years ago

    I can't wait to be able to walkthrough the house and clean lol.. but at this point we are still working on the foundation..

  • 9 years ago

    Amber, that herringbone is stunning! Excellent design choice.

  • 9 years ago

    njbuilding, I was even cleaning at that stage. :D We had to clean the footings off before they could pour the slab. And they cleaned out the pump truck right into our future roughed in bathroom. I had to chip it out so the plumbers could run pipe there.

    mom2sulu, DH met with a couple of tilers this morning. They said that a year ago, nobody had heard of herringbone, and now everyone wants it. I'm wondering if it's too trendy, and I should go back to the lengthwise pattern. :P

  • 9 years ago

    I don't think it is trendy--classically beautiful.

  • 9 years ago

    Amberm, herringbone is a classic pattern but yes it's also trendy right now. Old mansions had herringbone and it will always be classic. Now sliding barn doors are a different story. ;)

  • 9 years ago

    Whoop whoop! Doors, trim, and shiplap going in today. Hubby and I took off work and laid backer board for tile too.

    Grr. Why all a sudden are my pics sideways?

  • 9 years ago

    Michelle, love, love, love your doors and facings. Exactly what I'm wanting to do in our home. Please post pics of the shiplap! Are they installing over drywall? Are you putting on ceilings or walls? Painting or staining?

  • 9 years ago

    Jenny, they're doing both. Installing the shiplap on master bedroom ceiling over drywall. Also in half bath and in foyer area, no drywall. I will take pics next time I'm there. :)

  • 9 years ago
    Another fire drill with my house, and I'm besides myself I could cry.

    We had our hardwood stained on site and add two coats of varnish.

    The second coat went in yesterday and I went to see the floors today. The weird thing is, after sanding, staining and first coat of varnish, we waited a week before we lightly buffed the floor and put second coat. During that week off, we had a lot of activity at the house from electrical, plumbing, Trim, hvac, painting etc. working at the house, with no cover on the hardwood floors. My GC and hardwood guy said this is ok.

    We chose dark stain, ebony. At first glance everything looked good today but it was 6am and our family room/kitchen combo faces east so it was still shaded.

    Around 4pm (yes I was there all day cleaning), the sun shined in and to my dismay I could see all the swirls, scratches, uneven stain work and even white paint dots that were embedded on the floor. It almost looks like the paint dots were there and the floor guy did not remove it and added varnish on top. Also we found several hairs that was stuck to the floor. There was probably 100 plus scratches and 80 paint dots stuck to the floor - just in my family riom/kitchen. I wanted to cry because instead of a new floor, under the sunlight it looked like a old used flooring.

    I asked my GC if he ever used this guy before and he said no. I am so mad at him. I asked what can we do and he said I'm not sure. I told him I will not accept the floor in this condition.

    We had two trades come in today and I had them wear footies and I was at the house early putting down brown paper all over the floor to protect the floors.

    Any advice? I scoured the Internet and garden Web and couldn't find any related issues like mine. All advice welcome. Thanks.

  • 9 years ago

    oh, I'm so sorry, chicagodreamer. No advice here, just lots of sympathy :(

  • 9 years ago


    So sorry to hear about your floors. I can see why you are so upset. I cannot believe they did not cover the floors when they knew workers (who are not careful) would be coming in and out. I am especially amazed that it seems the painter did not cover the floors. Who ARE these people, no concern for other people's property. Is there any way the floors could be resanded? I think the contractor needs to do something about it. I hope they can be fixed, I know I would be sick if this happened to my floors. Good luck.

  • 9 years ago

    Chicagodreamer - so sorry that people don't care at all about our homes. I know if were theirs they'd be more concerned.

    Went to our build site yesterday to meet with the trim carpenter to go over closets. He had all the interior door hung and most of the trim work around doors, windows and baseboards done. I was impressed at how fast they worked. They started on Monday and I got there at 3 yesterday afternoon.

    GC keeps bumping our cabinets for another house he's working on. I guess they scream louder than we do lol. I was told Monday it will be 3 weeks for our cabinets to be completed WTH. Not happy at all. They are going to pour our porch tomorrow if they pass inspection today on the piers. I'm not sure what they are going to work on between now and when the cabinets are done.

    So frustrated!

  • 9 years ago

    Chicagodreamer - in our last build we made them re-do the floors (ie, sand and re-finish) three times. We actually counted the amount of "hairs" left in the finish of the floor and it was outrageous. The last time our GC brought in a different company because the orignal guys' work was so poor. We did not pay any extra for this, either. Our GC stood behind the quality of the work and agreed that it needed to be re-done. This was the last thing done in our build and delayed our move-in by 3 weeks but it was worth it to have our floors properly finished. Good luck!

  • 9 years ago

    Oh Chicagodreamer, I'm so sorry! I can't imagine this kind of widespread ineptitude in any other industry. It really is a mystery to me. Hang in there and make them get it right! I have found that when things have gone wrong it has often proven to be an opportunity. Aside from the poor workmanship, do you like everything else- the color of the stain, the sheen level, etc? If they need to redo the work, now is the time to make a change if it's not what you imagined.

  • 9 years ago

    kiwigem, our environmental consultant quoted DH in his latest blog post: “there is nothing like giving a half million dollars away to high school dropouts to build you a home”.

  • 9 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Ha! To dovetail, my Dh's favorite line from a friend who just went through this process is, "If I weren't an attorney, I'd sue him!"

    I think I like your DH's line even better. So sad. So true.

    Edit: Upon further reflection, I think we probably need to be circumspect about jokes like that. Of course, no real harm is meant, as there are plenty of good reasons people leave school and plenty of great tradesmen out there. But I think we'd all agree that finding them is like striking gold!

  • 9 years ago

    Chicago, I'm sorry too. How maddening!! Definitely make them redo it.

  • 9 years ago

    Michelle.. Love your doors and trim. Are your windows casement windows?

    Thank you.

  • 9 years ago

    ILove Red, thank you. Yes, they are casement windows, by Kolbe.

  • 9 years ago

    Michelle - also love your doors? What brand are they? We want 5 panel but recessed although not a shaker sticking (ie we want some detail at the recessed panel). Our current spec is to use the Masonite Riverside series but we'd really prefer a recessed panel (and that is raised). But hoping to find something comparable in price to Masonite Riverside.

  • 9 years ago

    Faultsr, thanks! The doors are Jeldwen from Home Depot. We shopped a sale and we use a site to buy gift cards at a reduced price (usually around 10% off) to buy all our materials from chain stores. It helps! These doors weren't cheap, so we needed every $1 we could. I think they were close to $300 per door if memory serves me.

  • 9 years ago

    you all are the best! Thanks for your feedback, it really helps. I just wish my GC, who hired this guy, would fight for quality workmanship. He is being sorta flaky and trying to side with the hardwood guys.

    I randomly called three reputable hardwood floor installers in my area and they all agreed that our hardwood guy did a poor job.

    alley2007 - how did you convince your hardwood floor guy to redo (resand, stain & varnish)? Our hardwood guy is blaming the painters for not covering the floors and tries to take no responsibilities.

    kiwigem - we really like the color and the sheen. While I was apprehensive about dark floor, my DH loves it and I have to give in on this one.

    Michelle - I heard great things about Kolbe and your casement windows are awesome!

    We passed electrical, hvac, plumbing and fire inspection today. We have few misc. items from the building inspection to complete but once we do, we can move in!

    If only we can resolve the floor situation quickly . :(

  • 9 years ago

    Chicago Dreamer, I'd point out that even if the painters were at fault for not covering the floors, the flooring guy removed your opportunity to clean that up by varnishing over it. Now, thanks to the floor people, it needs to be resanded. They have the option of doing it, and doing it right, or you'll hire someone else and THEY'LL be the ones getting paid.

  • 9 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Chicago Dreamer: Our GC took care of the floor issue 100%. I actually don't think he thought the floors were as bad as we did, but we showed him all of the hairs/brush bristles and areas that were missed (door thresholds, between stair rails) and said that it was unacceptable and we expected them to be re-done and he said "ok." The second time was actually worse than the first time, so we insisted he use somebody else and he agreed to that as well. I don't know if he ate the cost or worked it out with the floor guys. I think the cost to re-finish with the new company was around $5k - our entire first floor was hardwood. I guess another option would be to have somebody give you a quote and ask the GC for a credit for that amount and then have the floors re-done after closing but before you move in. I'm in Chicagoland, if you'd like a reference for the floors.

    We are building again and did pre-finished floors this time just to avoid that stress :).

  • 9 years ago

    Renee: LOVE the inlaid wood tiles on your stair treads. What a labor of love! And artistry.

    Goosie: I can't wait to see your cupboard and floor colors; we want to go with cherry cabinets too and wood floors.

    Mushcreek: Great country view: the red barn. So Americana.

    Reseebc: How in the world does anyone get in and out of their garages? Or is it just the angle we are looking at in your pics?

    And a shout out to everyone else's progress. Jealous and zealous: envious of every one's pictures and zealous to make this thing happen for us.

  • 9 years ago

    Jenny, here's our shiplap. It's turning out so cool. I love it!

    Half bath:

    Master bedroom ceiling:

    It needs a good cleaning, but you get the idea.

  • 9 years ago

    Michelle- LOVE it!!! Can you tell me what exactly this is? Are they pine boards? I'm reading that several materials are being called "shiplap" these days but this is exactly the look we're going for.

  • 9 years ago

    Jenny, they are 8" poplar boards. 3/4" thick. They are tongue and groove 1x8s. The tongue was milled specifically to our specifications as I wanted the gaps to be about a nickel width after installation. But the pricing wasn't too bad. For the material, it was $2300 for all three rooms. My husband suggested buying from a lumber mill not a building center if that makes sense.

  • 9 years ago

    I love the ceilings too, Michelle. How did they get installed (over drywall, directly on i-joists)? Sorry for the basic question, but I have never seen this done.


  • 9 years ago
    Alley- thank you!! We are going to make sure our floor guy fixes this before we pay him or deduct from his bill. I appreciate your feedback!!
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