To What Level Of 'perfection' Should I Expect Of The Finish Work In New Construction? - Carpentry - DIY Chatroom Home Improvement Forum

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Old 01-14-2014, 07:47 PM   #1
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To what level of 'perfection' should I expect of the finish work in new construction?

As a Joe-Blow DIY homeowner who takes a lot of pride in his work, I saw some rather "not-make-me-so-happy" finish work in my new construction house in regards to some trim work. I haven't had a chance to fully walk through the house in detail yet, but it's just what I saw on a quick walk-through. I'll snap some pictures when I am up there next time, but I'm curious as to what's acceptable and what is not.

The main things that caught my eye so far were the nail holes on the trim work, a lot of them I noticed a hump at each hole...assuming it's humped filler. A lot of built up filler or something on the corners that should have been sanded/knocked down. Just sloppy.

It's kind of annoying to be putting so much effort and hours into my current house which will be a rental, and move into a brand new house built by professionals, and have lesser quality trim work than done by Joe-Blow yours truly.

Another thing was the hardwood stairs and railings. I put a lot of time into mine with the sanding/stain/seal. The new ones seem rather 'blah'. Like they're missing a couple more coats and some sanding. Standard? Maybe, I don't know.

In what situations would you use drywall nails instead of screws? I will occasionally use them if I just need to get a couple in to hold something in place, then follow everything up with screws. I know that as a new house settles, the nail pops are inevitable (I'm told), but I don't feel that I should be seeing ANY nail holes already, especially not a whole line of them.


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Old 01-14-2014, 08:02 PM   #2
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The level of perfection depends on what you're willing to accept from these professionals. Construction is hard work so some contractors may decide to take short cuts. It doesn't sound like your contractors much as much effort as they should have. The key is to manage them as you would a business. You are the boss and they are your employees.

You must be there at least periodically. Don't be an absentee manager. Do make sure you are clear as to what your expectations are.

Now, as a rule of thumb:
With a higher end property (a mansion for example), you can expect more because you are paying more and will want it to look elegant. With a lower end property, the expectations should be lower because you are paying less and will probably want it to just look passable.


Last edited by Fly_on_the_wall; 01-14-2014 at 08:04 PM.
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Old 01-14-2014, 09:24 PM   #3
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exactly fly,

on a lower end job the finishe carpenters will rarely check their nails and sand the puckering out, high end trim guys will. most leave it for the painters.. it coiuld also be the guns their using. cheap guns make a mess out of the trim with the nail holes. how is the joinery, are the mitres tight are things glued. are the interior doors hung plumb and are the margins on the jamb even all the way around. same with casing revels onto jambs

as for drywall nails as opposed to screws.. its not uncommon to see sheets tacked on teh wall at the corners so its up in place then another guy comes behind with the screw gun and screws off the sheets
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Old 01-15-2014, 12:48 AM   #4
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Around here carpenters NEVER fill nail holes, they leave that to me( the painter).I would agree, you need to bring up what ever concerns you have with the GC before it gets to far along, you are paying them.
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Old 01-15-2014, 02:27 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Dave88LX View Post
but I don't feel that I should be seeing ANY nail holes already, especially not a whole line of them.
That whole line may have missed the mark. Easy enough to check that out with a straight pin and a pair of pliers.
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Old 01-15-2014, 05:51 PM   #6
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its pretty much standard practice to leave nail holes to the painter. same with caulking trim where wood meets drywall not matter how tight the trim is or isnt. when it gets painted there will still be a black line that forms when the paint cracks at that junction point.. if something is a little bit open and it cant be made tighter i will fill it or dap it accordingly if not to totally fill it just to have a base amount there so it dries and the painter can finish it off.

some painters will complain that the nail holes have been filled already others wont. most allow for it in their pricing right from the get go. they will caulk and fill all holes before any paint hits the wall, i know some that do it after they spray everything with primer and even the first coat of paint but ive seen it flash after the finish coat.. if the filling is done first its virtuallly invisable
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Old 01-15-2014, 06:16 PM   #7
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Entry level tract houses would have all that you describe and maybe worse. Tract semi custom would be about what you are describing. Upper end semi custom would at least not have immediate nail pops or obvious holes in trim, but wouldn't have top quality stainwork for any wood work or a level 5 drywall finish. Upper end pays to have nothing but top quality trades work on the job and although you might get any of that, the GC would have already addressed the issues, or would have gotten a new sub.


Do it right from the beginning if you only want to do the job once. It'll be cheaper in the long term.
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