QUALITY VERSUS PRICE
(this list is for those who are making their decision primarily based on price)
Note: 95% of this list consists of items not visibly recognized even by a professional after the job is complete.
-Will the subsurface be prepared correctly, or is there a good chance your foundation will have abnormal settling/heaving?
-Will the foundation and footing be set to the correct depth to avoid frost heaving?
-Will the contractor use a plastic and/or insulating barrier under the concrete slab to minimize vapor penetration (and maximize comfort) of the cellar/ house?
-Will they mix the concrete properly for sufficient strength? (Unauthorized additives, or adding too much water can greatly reduce strength).
-Will the contractor use steel for reinforcing the concrete walls and floor slab, for strength and longevity? -Will the footings and concrete walls be sized correctly? (Depth, width and height)
-Will methods be used for tying the concrete footings to the concrete walls?
-Will anchor bolts be installed for tying the house structure to the foundation?
-Will appropriate measures be taken to ensure a dry basement, such as a perimeter drain and/or foundation waterproofing?
-Will the contractor use a pressure treated sole plate to avoid rotting of the sill?
-Will the walls be bolted to the foundation?
-Will a sill seal be used to combat insect infestation and drafts?
-Will the floor joists be correctly sized to minimize deflection (bounciness)?
-Will the floor joists spaced appropriately to carry the required load?
-Will the contractor use floor bridging between joists to help transfer the weight evenly?
-Can your contractor offer you engineered floor-framing lumber for a quieter floor and longer spans?
-Will the contractor use authentic ¾" tongue and groove plywood, or will they use an inadequate, substandard material?
-Will the plywood be glued, nailed and screwed, to minimize squeaking?
-Will the contractor use 2x4 or 2x6 wall studs? Will they be spaced appropriately?
-Will the contractor use real plywood for sheathing, or a lesser product that's prone to moisture absorption and potential early failure?
-Will the entire house be covered in house wrap, correctly overlapped and taped at all seams?
-Will the walls be framed using tested standards, including but not limited to double top plating and structural headers for all openings?
-Will adequately sized window and door framing supports be used to carry weight of structure?
-Will the walls be straight? Level? Plumb? Square?
-Will the contractor include an adequately sized ridge board, rafters, and other framing members(to prevent sag)? Will they be spaced correctly to carry our regional snow loads?
-Will all lateral, horizontal, vertical and diagonal bracing be used to ensure a roof that will not be susceptible to high wind and enormous snow loads?
-Will the roof structure be square? Straight? ? Level? Plumb?
-Will the contractor use real plywood (moisture prone area!)? Is the plywood the correct thickness?
-Will the overhangs be sufficiently supported?
-Will the roof be completely covered with 15 lb. Tarpaper?
-Will the entire roof perimeter be covered with an 8" galvanized drip edge, or its lesser cousin, the 5" aluminum drip edge?
-Will the contractor use a reputable shingle from a well-known name brand? Beware of the 12-year builders shingle (Check for specified shingle life, minimum 25 year)
-Will the shingles be installed with the correct exposure to the weather? (Beware the overexposing shingle applicator.)
-Will the shingles be nailed with the correct type of nails at the correct spacing? (Beware of roofing staples, or the 3 instead of four nails per shingle installation.)
-Will the spacing of the shingles be in accordance with the manufacturers recommendation for aesthetic appeal?(curb appeal)
-Will your contractor use the correct flashings (custom bent metal that makes all roof protrusions watertight)? (Beware the use of caulking or tar; a properly flashed roof relies on virtually no sealants).
-Will all flashing material be compatible with each other? (Beware dissimilar metals, which when in contact with each other cause electro galvanization will result in extremely early failure.)
-Will the chimney be correctly counter flashed? (The process of weaving lead flashing into mortar joints of chimneys).
-Will the roof be adequately vented, using either correctly sized gable vents, or preferably a continuous ridge vent, (in conjunction with Soffit vents)?
-Will house wrap or foam water barrier be used under the siding?
-Will all window and door openings be detailed with flashing to shed water to the outside of the homes shell?
-Will all the proper accessories be used, such as mounting blocks under all fixtures and outlets, outside corner posts, inside corner posts, appropriate weatherproof nails (length?), and all other applicable detailing required for a professional looking job.
-Will the siding be installed with the correct exposure to the weather to ensure water tightness?
-Will a professional grade caulk be used in all applicable situations? (Beware of water-soluble caulking)
-Will a name brand product be used?
-Will insulated glass be specified? Low-e coating (fading furniture, heat loss)? Inert gases (insulating value)?
-Will the unit have a good manufacturers warrantee?(glass breakage, seal failure)
-Will the product be installed correctly? Square? Level? Plumb? Will the builder supply hardware, such as doorknobs, deadbolts, etc.?
-Insulation: Will the contractor use the appropriate insulation for the job?
-Will the insulation be installed correctly? (Beware the insulation splitter.)
-Will the insulation be fastened correctly, to prevent future sags and droops, which would reduce the insulating value tremendously.
-Will the contractor meet recommended insulation requirement (R-values) for this part of the country?
-Will a polyethylene vapor retarder be used to avoid moisture collecting inside walls (dry rot)
-Will the correct thickness drywall be used? Is it up to all codes as required?(fire walls)
-Will there be a quality finish?(Requires a professional touch to appear seamless.)
-Will the contractor take appropriate measures to reduce drywall dust as much as possible? (Mostly remodeling specific)
-Will the contractor use real, solid wood? (Beware of a veneer over a poor grade of wood or of a veneer over plastic)
-Will the contractor use a scrap wood finger joined substandard material for a stain grade finish?
-Will the contractor go the extra mile to produce miter joints that don't require putty? (The carpenters buddy)
-Will the contractor use glues and adhesives for all susceptible joinery?
-Will all cabinets used be a name brand quality cabinet?
- Will these cabinets be installed level? Plumb? Square?
-Will the doors and drawers work smoothly?
-Will the countertops be installed securely and level, or does water run downhill?
-Will the contractor use a licensed firm? Does this licensed firm carry their own insurance?
-Will this licensed firm install all fixtures according to code?
-Will your toilet rock back and forth after the job is done?
-Will your faucets start dripping soon after installation?
-Will quality name brand products be used throughout?
Floors & Finishes:
-As this is a more visible product, a consumer is relatively safe if a name brand item is chosen. However, be wary of the installer because if a floor is not done properly seams can separate, nails can protrude from the subfloor (and buckle your smooth surface) and the problems can be endless. Just be sure that the installer has not only been around for years but has a solid reputation with good warranties.
-Simply make sure a reputable name brand product with solid warranties is going to be installed.