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May 2022 Building a Home

Keen B
4 months ago

Building a Home or simply thinking about it, this is the thread for you! We are a kindly group, here to share our joy and relieve our stress and anxiety over this rewarding, daunting endeavor. The ins and outs, ideas and solutions...we might not have all the answers, but we can at least share the experience. All Welcome! Glad you are Here.


Comments (631)

  • Naomi
    3 months ago

    Sofia - I love light as well….so it’s a silent battle between us. I open blinds, he closes them. Lol

    I don’t have my mind set on any fixture and indeed I was struggling to figure it out.

    I had contemplated painting the ceiling a dark color in that area (as a cool contrast to white walls), so maybe all recessed would be better and I save some money.

  • Naomi
    3 months ago

    Erica - wow!! They are moving fast. What part of the country are you in? I grew up in Canada and our basements were always poured, but we were fully underground (no walkouts).

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  • Kat
    3 months ago

    @Naomi I'd definitley have your ceiling fan and can/disc lights be on seperate switches. I'd also consider a dimmer for the disc lights.


    @Erica Clarke Tachoir that's great progress. I miss basements!!

  • KT_B
    3 months ago

    Talk me off a proverbial ledge please.


    Remember how the stain was all wrong on the hood? Thursday, I told the builder to hold off on staining anything else until we got the stain right on that to be able to match it. I bought samples and boards and figured out I wanted 50/50 special walnut and classic grey. Friday I sent a picture to the project manager. He said he would talk to them about mixing the stains but it shouldn't be a problem. I go by today expecting to see nothing happening but there is a truck there. They've stained all the shelves, the mantel, the mudroom bench, the pantry door, and my mahogany front door. The color is not awful but it is definitely NOT what I told the builder on Friday, and I don't believe it is the "special walnut" we had originally settled on either. It looks more like dark walnut and like they put 45 coats of it. I'm not happy. I don't know what to do. Project manager did not answer any of my messages today. I cried.


    What I wanted:


    What they did:


    It isn't bad. It's just so dark. This is the only pic I got before I ran out of there. I wouldn't be so upset if we had not just had this conversation. Somebody didn't communicate or somebody jumped the gun. I don't know. The guys kept nodding and saying "special walnut" but that is NOT SW. Maybe dark walnut. I've played with the SW stain all weekend. I was trying to ask if they had put varnish or seal or something but they said they couldn't understand English. Uuggghhh I don't know what to do here. Talk me down?

  • nhb22
    3 months ago

    Looks like Special Walnut with a heavy hand.

  • KT_B
    3 months ago
    last modified: 3 months ago

    @nhb22. Yes they definitely used a very heavy hand with whatever they used. Is there anything I can do to lighten it?


    They were also using some kind of red cans of stain, and I was told to choose from minwax colors which come in yellow.

  • Kat
    3 months ago
    last modified: 3 months ago

    @KT_B I'm so sorry.That doesn't look like SW at all, but could be the lighting. We had similar issues. I wonder if your painter is using Old Masters from Benjamin Moore.

    I had asked them to use Early American on our porch ceiling and they gave me a sample board from Sherwin Williams and then used the Old Masters from Benjamin Moore and it turned into a nightmare that eventaully I just let go. It's definitely not the color I ever would have chose for our ceiling, but I just accepted it because it was going to mean taking down the wood and redoing it.

    Our latest was them staining our outdoor mantel. There are places where there is no stain at all. I know some places don't take the stain well, but they could have tried to add a second coat or something in those spots, but they didn't and then sealed it. Thankfully, I'm at the point, of whatever for most (okay some) things.

    I think staining is a skill that not every painter has, but they all pretend they do because the builder doesn't want to higher multiple people.


    They could probably sand and restain with a lighter coat of it. They tried that with our ceiling, but because it had gone red, there was just no way to get it back to the Early American Color.


    Speaking of problems. They bricked my living room faux fireplace. On the back wall of it, something is off. The brick runs on a slant. I waited for this weekend when company was coming so I could ask them if they noticed anything with it, and they all saw it right away. I wouldn't accept this for a shower or other area so why sould I have to for this? (wouldn't let me upload photo from computer so uploaded it from phone below)

  • Kat
    3 months ago
    last modified: 3 months ago

    Do you see the slant on the back wall in this photo?



  • Erica Clarke Tachoir
    3 months ago

    @Naomi, we are in Pennsylvania. Walkouts are sometimes common here. Depends on the slope of your property. @Kat, I love a good basement. Can’t wait to use it. Your home, BTW, is phenomenal. Just beautiful.

  • Kat
    3 months ago

    @Naomi, we grew up in Ontario Canada and lived there the first 14 years of our marrage as well. Our extended family is all still there. My brother and his wife actually have a walk out and they were pretty common when dh and I lived for a while in Kelowna BC. I think it's all about elevation. If you build on a sloped lot then you often end up with a walkout in the basement.


    The one house dh and I had was a tri-level, so our basement was only dug down half way allowing for so much light, but without having the back deck all the way up a whole flight of stairs. I loved that house.

  • KT_B
    3 months ago

    @Kat. Yeah I really think it is dark walnut, not special walnut. And many many coats of it when it was just supposed to be a light wash.


    I do see your slant. I'd be upset about that too.

  • Kat
    3 months ago

    @KT B even one coat of some stain not wiped off properly, ends up very dark. It’s called wiping stain for a reason. Some of them use it like paint.

    I wish I had noticed the fireplace before grout as I would have said something before it was done, but the grout is what made the slant really stand out to us:

  • Keen B
    Original Author
    3 months ago

    @KT_B My Goodness, I'd be steaming mad with tears, too. A red can? The only products that I know that come in red cans are General Finishes stains and Old Masters Fast Dry Stains. I'd be very surprised that they'd use either because they'd want to go cheap, so they might be using something that is not available to public? But let's assume they did use those. Neither come in "Special Walnut" or "Class Gray", so first, they need to show you the cans if you cannot find an empty one somewhere on site. From there, you may have a bit of legal leverage since the colors are not what you specified. Did you have anything written down--an email or anything?


    But let's say they did use the colors you specified, pine, as you already figured out is tough to stain evenly without a bunch of tricks. These guys probably have no interest in these techniques if they are a paint team, so their solution was to layer and layer and layer and walk away.


    As Kat said, the only way to lighten those now is to strip them. You can try a spot that is inconspicuous, and sand it lightly to see how much work that would be. If you do have any legal recourse, are you prepared to have them pay to replace everything and do it over? I can say I have a very specific look for my cabinets; if they turned out too dark because of their mistake, they'd be replacing my cabinets...


    But to anyone else who has not reached the stain step, get it in writing, put pictures in that writing, understand that your samples will not look exactly like finished product because as I've said here before, sanding and age of wood can affect final finish, as does whatever they coat it with after staining.

  • Keen B
    Original Author
    3 months ago

    And BTW, I will start our June thread in the morning. Cannot believe another month down.

  • KT_B
    3 months ago
    last modified: 3 months ago

    @Keen B

    I do have text messages with the project manager where we agreed to hold off on all staining until the cabinet maker put together a sample board to fix the hood, and where I stressed how important it was to get it right. On these same messages, I told him what I found about mixing the two stains and he said he would check into mixing to see if they could do that. He told me this morning that those guys were only supposed to do the front door. The front door is also wrong (way too dark) but it wouldn't be as far reaching as this issue since the door isn't visible from the other stained items, due to our foyer. I wouldn't have loved it but could live with just that, you know?

    Ages ago, I had shown the project manager a pic of the same door stained in a light wash of special walnut and told him to do that. Something did not get communicated or these guys don't know how to stain, like y'all said. I really believe it is dark walnut they used, though. And I don't *hate* it but it kind of screws up a lot of my decor plans.

  • Emily
    3 months ago

    @KT_B, In the first house we built custom, way back in the late 1980s, we specified a fiberglass Thermatru entry door. These doors were new on the market, and the painters had no idea how to treat them with stain. They could be painted, but we wanted a light stain. In order to see the grain on these doors and make them look like wood doors from a distance, you have to apply the stain, then immediately wipe it off. The painters didn't do this, and our door was dark and very uneven after they stained it. I freaked out and they did redo it at their expense. But that was just one door. I just don't know what I'd do in your situation, but assuming you told your builder what you wanted, and assuming that the paint crew did not do it, they should sand and redo at no cost to you. I can see how much darker the results ended up than your sample boards. HUGE difference and an important one.

    @Kat, Same deal -- the mason should definitely rip that out and redo. Fortunately, it's a small area. One wonders how they didn't notice that slant! Sigh...I am so very thankful that we are through with our build. Of course, now we're having similar types of issues with furniture and other things we buy. For example, we recently ordered a solar shade for our living room. One of the bracket ends was damaged, so I had to submit a claim, and thankfully it was approved, and they remade the shade. We installed it a couple of days ago, and the bottom edge is slanted! There may be an easy fix for this, but none of the other shades or blinds I've ordered from the same company (Select Blinds) has had this issue. And since it's a remake of the first order, I hate to contact them again. We're going to see if we can fix it first. It's a little thing, but as expensive as shades are, you want it done right -- most especially in the living room! 🙄🙄🙄

  • nhb22
    3 months ago
    last modified: 3 months ago

    @Kat - Although I do see it, I am having a hard time seeing where the level brick (started out fine at the bottom) went to a slant. Could it be that the surrounding brick is not level. Take a level and tape measure out and measure the areas! Maybe the difference will not be noticeable when your logs are in and there is something on the mantle to pull attention away from the back of the fireplace.

    KT B - Below is SW Special Walnut on our pine doors. Very dark! As you may recall, the doors did not take the stain well and we ended up painting them. Which I was happy about. Then we discovered that the windows were all scratched up from the painters scraping them with a bad razor blade. When I told my builder that we wanted new doors, he went to battle with the manufacturer of the doors saying that the doors did not stain well. There were areas that did not take the stain at all. The door company is replacing all 4 of them free of charge!!!




    These porch railings are Special Walnut on mahogany. The ceiling is pine T&G done in Dark Walnut.


  • Kat
    3 months ago

    @nhb22 I'm surprised your Special Walnut is so dark. The sample made for us was much more medium tone and what I've seen of other's who have shared.


    We went with Provinical and on our Mahogany Doors it turned out to be almost as dark as Dark Walnut sample on the interior. . On the exterior it looks a bit lighter. On our Douglas Fir Dutch Door it took on a medium almost reddish door.


    We also had them use the Provincial on our interior stair rails and post which are white oak and it is darker there. So odd how much it can change from lighting and material.


    Our Early American came out red, where as on the sample it was a honey gold color. In the end it all looks fine (other then where the mantel didn't take any stain) and I'm just rolling with the variations.

  • KT_B
    3 months ago

    @nhb22. Yes I've been working with special walnut and it looks nothing like that (or like my red oak shelves) on multiple pieces of red oak that I've stained. I let it soak for 15 minutes and did a second coat.

  • Naomi
    3 months ago

    Basements - I grew up in Winnipeg….flattest place ever! No one had walk outs. Basements did vary from half in the ground to 6’ in the ground. When we moved to IN, some people had walkouts, which I thought was so cool.

    Oh that stain looks so dark! It sounds like they just planned to do everything on Tuesday and went ahead with it. Maybe the PM didn’t communicate with them fast enough.

  • Naomi
    3 months ago

    It took over a month for my "designer" (I use this term VERY lightly) to find out why my updated tile quote is over 30% higher from the contract. This was the wonderful response (after I had to bug her 3-4x about this):


    "I spoke with my rep at Taylor Tile and he said the difference in price is because of the daily price increases we are seeing in tile and shipping."


    Really? Daily increases? Over 30% in the last 5-6 months since our contract seems really high. I know a lot of stuff has been 10-15% and I was expecting more of that.



  • nhb22
    3 months ago
    last modified: 3 months ago

    Kat - Our painters did the doors and they are pine, so it soaks the stain up. Heavy hand there!

    Oh, and the porch rails were a very dark purple mahogany - Sapele. DH and I stained them with a heavy brushed hand. No wiping. That's the key there. Hardwood floors are wiped.

    Remember that we also have Provincial on our red oak floors (with a lot of white oak thrown in the batch) and the floors turned out lighter than I had wanted. It's all in the hand! The samples that I made up on the same wood as our floors were darker than the way the finishers stained them. I simply had a heavy hand.

    It appears that KT B had a lighter hand than the guys that stained her shelves. I do hope that KT B gets to the bottom of the color and type of stain used. Also, I was under the impression that your shelves were pine, KT B.

    Our Mahogany front door against the red/white oak floors. Both with Bona Provincial stain. Floor finishers stained the floors. Painter stained the door.


    Floors against the red oak threads, and red oak handrail. All 3 vary slightly in color, yet they all blend together. The painter did the handrail.


  • Kat
    3 months ago
    last modified: 3 months ago

    @Naomi some tile has increased a lot. I bought our Calcatta Gold backsplash tile from a discount site where it used to be $35 a square foot. When I went to actually buy it it was $55.

    I bought all our Calcatta Gold shower tile in October from the same discount place and it's now increased from the $15.95sf that we paid to $26.95.

    The same lights I bought at the start of our build have more than doubled in cost.

    Our garage door doubled in cost over a 6 month period and we had no choice but to just pay it.

    I'd say it's mostly supply and demand. There's low supply and high demand on many items and so they can charge what they want. It probably has a domino effect as well with increases from supplier and the distributer both passing them on to the consumer as well.

    Last example the Cafe range I got a quote for went from $7900 last Fall to over $12,000 in February when I was getting cold feel on the range we ordered ever showing up. Thankfully that price turned me off so I ended up holding on and our range from Italy did arrive. It's also increased if you were to order it today over 20%.

    It's horrible that's for sure, but if you have other allowances, I'd order sooner rather than later. Nothing is going down in cost.

    @nhb22 deifnitley a lot of variety and no certainty in the finishing with stain.

    I thought the same about the brick. I sat and looked at each row and couldn't figure out exactly where it went off. I also thought maybe the opening wasn't square and causing it to look that way, but it's 4" all the way around and seems to be square.

    I asked the builder to look at it to see what he thought, and he only responded with, "I'm going to need more brick tile". So I've ordered more boxes, but hope he has determined the cause before having them rip out and redo because while the slant is obvious the cause wasn't to us either.

  • Naomi
    3 months ago

    @Kat Wow...those are some crazy increases. But I guess good to know these aren't out of line. Unfortunately, ordering is out of my control as the builder doesn't have a warehouse for storage. So I'm at their mercy. And tile HAS to be through their distributor.


    I did tell them I have zero days in July to meet on selections and that maybe we start doing stuff in June. She said due to lead times they are doing tile selections when drywall comes in (maybe they would normally wait longer?).


    PM said shingles are going on today...CRAZY. On Friday we didn't have a roof shell. I guess they worked over the weekend?


    I also had to decide on the location of the AC unit: outside master closet or bedroom 3. I chose master closet. I'm not about to figure out sunshine and shade and hubs will be angry if he hears it outside his room (his room is bedroom 3).

  • KT_B
    3 months ago

    @nhb22. Our shelves mantel and mudroom bench are all red oak. Pantry door is pine. No idea what the cab guy used on the hood trim

  • nhb22
    3 months ago

    Naomi - We had choices for the exterior HVAC unit all along the same wall in the order of the M. Bedroom, my walk-in closet, and the M. bath. We chose the closet area. We can hear it in our bedroom and in the bathroom as the sound comes through the bank of windows. The interior unit is under the closet in a basement area. It's loud! We use a white noise machine that helps.

  • anj_p
    3 months ago

    Just chiming in on the stain convo. We had two of our stained cabinet drawer fronts replaced due to what looked like marks from a box cutter (builder said they were inherent in the wood and were just due to how the cabinets were cut but they still looked bad to me so they replaced them). They took a leftover can of stain from our house so they would match the stain exactly...well, the new drawer fronts are noticeably lighter than the originals. Stain is tricky I think. Not saying they didn't make a mistake either - could be. FWIW I was also surprised at how dark our cabinets came out. I had expected them to look more like our new lighter drawer fronts. Now I know that it is all about how they apply the stain.

  • 2rickies
    3 months ago

    Following along on this discussion of prices. A lot of things seem crazy high right now (and this was reflected in our builder estimates!), but with new home starts and sales slowing down, some of that may change. Lumber prices have dropped in the past couple of months, at least.


    @nhb22 I'm curious what type of HVAC system you installed that is noisy? We have that problem in our current house, and I'm hoping to avoid it in the new build.

  • KT_B
    3 months ago

    Gag

    I just got back from the house. From the lids I found in the driveway, it appears they mixed the stain into minwax fast drying polyurethane for floors (!!!). It is lighter than yesterday but SO red (🤮I hate red) and so gross and shiny. It's going to have to all be replaced I'm afraid.

  • Naomi
    3 months ago
    last modified: 3 months ago

    @KT_B OMG...what on earth were they thinking or doing? it really sounds like they majorly screwed up!


    @nhb22 The placement of this seems far enough away from the bedroom (closet-bath-bedroom is the order from outer wall to inside). Our current HVAC is outside the garage and there is a bedroom window about 10' away and we don't hear it. I don't actually hear my unit unless I'm standing a couple feet away from it.


    @2rickies I honestly wonder whether some stuff will come down. They get people used to higher prices and c'est la vie. Lumber fluctuates because of the market...what other direct supplies for homebuilding are based on market futures? Maybe steel and concrete? Also...no slowing down whatsoever in my area. It's hotter than hot.


    Just got off a phone call with an AV company about the ethernet wiring and stuff. They say they only use Cat5e, but it seems everyone uses Cat6. He claims residential people don't really need it because the speeds coming into the house aren't fast enough. I need to compare his price against the other company and I'm waiting on the guy my builder has used in the past to call. Companies are booked out about 2 weeks, so I've got to make decisions on this.


    Also going back and forth on plumbing fixtures. Caught an error on a credit that was about $100. Trying to get one more shower head selected and then those decisions will be done. I decided to go with Trinsic everywhere. Champagne bronze in the kitchen and chrome in the bathrooms (wide spread). Upgraded the shower to have a separate pressure/temperature valves and then a diverter to the bench handheld. All told, these upgrades will be costing about $1100.


    I totally want to drive out to the house right now to see the shingles....like did they get the right color? LOL And omg...it will totally look like a house!

  • Joy M
    3 months ago

    Siding started today. Interior insulation tomorrow! Still pushing for a late July completion. Hubby asked what’s going to make the house pop? Gray-green shutters, stained columns, and front door.

  • Emily
    3 months ago

    @Joy M, That's great...but I hope your builder is a lot faster than ours. We got siding and insulation in late Oct. and did not get a CO until four months later, so you are hoping for half of the time it took our build to complete. Of course, winter slowed things down for us -- weather, holidays, etc.. But still, interior finish work is not always super fast. Best of luck, but always have a Plan B!

  • Joy M
    3 months ago

    Thank you Emily, we’re the builder. It’s a roll of the dice though. When the trusses were set we established a completion date of July 22nd. Then we had a setback with the mason. I’m pushing the schedule to see what we can do. We’re scheduled for flooring install three weeks from today. Just typing that doesn’t sound realistic. We’re living rent free in a temporary house, it’s wearing on me though.

  • Naomi
    3 months ago

    Wow Joy! I hope you finish that quickly!

  • Kat
    3 months ago
    last modified: 3 months ago

    @Joy M how big is your home? We did insulation back in November and are just winding things up now. We did have a delay with our cabinets, and may have been in in April if not for that. I think 7 weeks may be a bit unrealistic, unless you have the fastest and best trades.

    Good luck though, I hope it works out for you.

    Our contractor says he hopes to call for final inspections Friday. Praying all goes well.

  • Steph
    3 months ago

    @KT_B, I'm sorry for the issues you are having and certainly understand your frustration!


    We are staining a pine T&G wall in our den and a few sliding doors that are pine, the seat in our drop zone and the top of our built in cabinets in the great room that are oak, our front door that is mahogany and the entire house floors/stair treads that are red oak. The floors will be last. They will use Bona stain and said that they will mix some stains and do a few samples to find the best one to go with everything else. Our painters will do everything else and will use Minwax. I've been playing with Minwax Special Walnut, Provincial, Early American and Classic Gray. I think those are some of the same ones that @KT_B mentioned a few days ago.


    @nhb22 and @Kat, both of your homes are absolutely beautiful! If I've read correctly, @nhb used Bona stain. @Kat, did you use Bona, Minwax or something else? Could it be that Bona special walnut is darker that Minwax special walnut?



  • KT_B
    3 months ago

    @Steph. Yes what I want is a 50/50 blend of special walnut and classic gray, but actually properly stained and wiped off....not mixed into a polyurethane and painted on like my painters did. It is such a mess.

  • cwcf185
    3 months ago
    last modified: 3 months ago

    Here's how May 2022 ended in terms of my house:

    + Drywall was hung last week (photo coming into my kitchen from the garage looking forward toward the back of my great room. There will be built-in bookcases on each side of the fireplace. )


    +Today they started installing my limestone window wraps (the three sets of front windows + garage door). They'll finish the brick after the limestone is set. They'll also add the address block to the far right side.





  • Blair Courtney
    3 months ago

    @Kat @K T M. Love your molding. I just got a quote for wainscoting in my foyer, dining room & powder room. Honestly , there isn’t much to do, as there are many windows. I was quoted $6,000.00. My mouth dropped. And he wants to use MDF, which my husband says is crap. So I am not sure what I want to do

  • nhb22
    3 months ago

    2rickies - It's Rheem HVAC. Runs on gas in winter and electric in summer.


    Naomi - It's the air handler below in the utility room that makes the most noise when on. We have asked that the fan be turned down and told it is not advisable for the system. That's what we did in our previous home. The air vents in the house are noisy because there is so much air force being blown through them.


    On the outside, it's mainly the smaller upstairs unit that is loud. Told nothing can be done. Makes a whoop, whoop noise. We cannot hear it from inside the house, but I feel it is too loud when near it outside. Thankfully, we cannot hear it from either porch. It's interesting that the upstairs air handler is above the hallway to our bedroom and it is quiet as a mouse. Backs up to a guest bedroom and again quiet.

  • Joy M
    3 months ago

    @Kat our home is 2,500 sq. ft. I sadly realize that a July 22nd completion date isn't likely, but I'm going to push that it is. This morning I referenced our previous build schedule and we moved in 14 weeks after drywall began. We broke ground August 9, 2021. Our HOA states a one year completion. We're going to do everything we can to finish ASAP.


    Has a June thread been started, I didn't see one yet.

  • Keen B
    Original Author
    3 months ago

    I'm starting one now...

  • nhb22
    3 months ago

    Steph - One stain is darker than the other, but frankly, I cannot remember which it is. I do know that the Bona Provincial is lighter than the Minwax Provincial. We played with the Minwax and Bona. We preferred the look of Minwax better, but the floor guy liked using Bona better. And then he applied it with a lighter hand than we wanted.


    cwcf185 - Your home is really coming along!


    Joy M - Good luck to you in a speedy finish.

  • Kat
    3 months ago
    last modified: 3 months ago

    June Board

    I started one @Joy M



  • Keen B
    Original Author
    3 months ago

    Oh, @Kat we crossed paths...I said yesterday I'd do one this morning.

  • Kat
    3 months ago

    Aww must have missed that. Usually just whoever is on first does it!

  • Molly
    3 months ago
    last modified: 3 months ago

    Such threads are a must. It helps me because I find many great things and advice, so I don't make mistakes while building my house. It is costly to build a house, but luckily I sold my old one, and I wasn't struggling with finding money and was concentrated on the planned building process. I thought I would be struggling with selling my old house, but I found a method to sell my house fast in Baltimore. I immediately got the money, and I was able to start building my new one and finish the building as soon as possible.

  • Keen B
    Original Author
    3 months ago

    @Kat I will delete

  • Naomi
    3 months ago

    Nhb- ahhhh that makes sense re air handler. My friend installed a new one in CA and she said it sounded like a jet engine. She made them uninstall it.

  • Steph
    3 months ago

    Thank you @nhb22. Your comparison of Bona vs Minwax is good to know. Our flooring guy also prefers Bona but everything else will be Minwax.