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Mdbuilder 11-07-2007 08:24 AM

Poor drywall job common these days?
How common or uncommon are crap drywall installations these days?:whistling2:

What do I mean? I've got a new house built by a regional production builder. Basically semi-custom, they'll modify their plans in lot's of ways into what you want. They build a lot of homes but we aren't talking KB / Hovnanian / Lennar etc. volumes. Overall we are very happy with the finished product, great design and generally everything is right - except the drywall when you look close.

There are 2 problems. First is the large # of surface flaws in corners, around outlets etc. We pointed outa huge number during the walk through, some got fixed, many didn't. It's not a major concern since eventually we'll paint over the builder beige and all these flaws are simple fixes with either a bit of sandpaper, a spackle knife or both.

Here is the biggie - NOTHING IS FLAT. It all looks pretty darn good in daylight but when walking around after dark with the lights on you notice the lack of flatnees in general at joints / between floors in the vaulted areas and in corners - seems like there isn't a straight corner in the house if you look up at a 9 foot section. Now, I know WHY nothing is flat. Before drywalling, and by code, the plates were covered with dozens of steel wire and plumbing protecion plates. Any given wall generally has a couple + of these steel plates banged in on the surface of the top plate or the surface of the stud anywhere a wire of pipe passes by and isn't deep enough to avoid they drywall screw. Also at beam intersections in the ceiling the row of joist hangars is lower than the LVL by at least the thickness of the hangar steel so you wind up with an unflat surface.

So is this just the way things are these days? Other than skim coating the entire wall or ceiling in at least an 1/8" of compound I don't see anyway to get an actual flat wall with the way these houses are built today - comments?

AtlanticWBConst. 11-07-2007 06:37 PM

It's not common.

Custom builders will usually stipulate a "Drywall Finish level".


Someone's dropping the ball. Alot of factors could acount for it:
Poor sheetrock installation (seams poorly placed and poorly screwed off, etc), Cheap labor. Painters that are trying to do drywall, a "stretched"(Short on help) drywall company allowing inexperienced workers to do work that they are not skilled enough to do yet. Behind schedule and cutting corners. Etc, etc.

Done right by skilled & experienced workers, and installed onto proper framing, drywall can come out as smooth as plaster.

Mdbuilder 11-07-2007 09:43 PM

Well, I've got the level 5 paint work - primer + 2 rolled coats of paint as specified. The underlying drywall is level 4 by that site - no overall skim coat.

moneymgmt 11-08-2007 08:07 AM

I never knew drywall could be "bent" until I did finish carpentry in new homes. Unfortunately when everything gets subcontrated out, each trade doesn't care how good or bad the guy before him was. They get their work done and get the heck out. If the framers did a poor job, the drywallers try to cover it up, then the mudders try to hide it better, and by the time we came in with the finish work a lot of walls were impossible to trim.

The number of steel plates you mention seems odd to me but maybe that's how its done where you are. Without question I would talk with the site super. and see what the deal is, and get it fixed. Just because most companies use green lumber that will warp over time anyway, it doesn't mean you should start with bowed walls.

Mdbuilder 11-08-2007 08:45 AM

Maybe I'm exagerating a bit ;)

The walls weren't bowed, I would have given hell over that during construction :) The rooms that are actually rooms like the living room, and dining room are OK - these places are 4 sided areas defined by full walls / stub walls and header areas. These rooms are also nicely trimmed out with full crown / chair rail and picture moulding which probably helps. BTW, I think the third finish carpenters name was CAULK :)

The main ceiling problem is in the area which is a family room opening on to a kitchen and a gallery / hall area. The whole thing is open concept so the ceiling is on big flat expanse that crosses over major support beams (triple LVL's) burried in the ceiling. It is very noticable at night with just a couple of lights on. If I turn on all the lights so the whole area is well lit you can't see the small waves as it crosses a beam. Corners are another matter, maybe sticking your head in the corner and looking up a 17 foot corner isn't fair but - it isn't straight.

I'll *************** about and see what happens. I suspect not much going by the contract and service policies. They'll fix / address just about anything according to the contract except for drywall. That is very specific, they'll address what you point out at walk through and they'll patch nailpops and seam issues once towards the end of the year but they won't sand and won't re-paint which makes that service of questionable value to me.

RemodelMan 11-08-2007 01:19 PM

2 other possible scenarios
1st) Often times there are framed up homes that have been exposed to rainfall over night or the weekend. Cloudy overcast or high humidity follows while the walls are insulated and rocked. The moisture is then essentially trapped and the wood needs to expand.

2nd) The interior walls were framed up or relocated after roof amd windows are installed. Fresh lumber from the yard is delivered and installed.
If the temperature and humidity is significantly different from indoors to the outside, you can expect a fair amount of warping and twisting lumber to wrestle with particularly the green treated.

Scheduling to meet the "deadline"(most of which are someone's fantasy date on a calendar that coincides with their lottery numbers) can produce a fair amount of compromise and conscious oversight. Therefore, as the dreaded deadline draws nearer the stress increases as the quality decreases.

localtradesman 11-08-2007 06:54 PM

To Many Ways to SLICE this ONE!!!
As a professional drywall finisher I must throw in a curve or two. First, the builders usually don't pay the top dollar that is really FAIR to most people doing drywall work. They, as far as what I have seen over and over again, usually take the lowest price and go with it. Of course, the framers are in the same boat too. I would sue the builder and see who really is too blame. It is the builders job to oversea the job and sign off on the work that he has looked at and approved. Your builder is the real knucklehead here!!!! Have Fun With It!!!!:laughing:

RemodelMan 11-08-2007 10:12 PM

Walk a mile in their shoes...
I agree with LocalTradesman. Working as a contractor who has worked most every trade along the way, I can vouch for the drywall and tapers who are supposed to work miracles with poorly framed walls, usually with the toe tapping from both owner and contractor to "git er done!"

If the framers were expected to assist the drywall hangers and tapers along the way, they would soon realize the inherent hassles that the following trades have to deal with from a sloppy builder and hopefully raise their standards to create a smoother transition along the way to completion.

AtlanticWBConst. 11-09-2007 05:06 AM


Originally Posted by AtlanticWBConst. (Post 72399)
Done right by skilled & experienced workers, and installed onto proper framing, drywall can come out as smooth as plaster.

Guess you guys stole my point....:wink:

jogr 11-09-2007 10:44 AM

MD, are your walls consistent with the quality of the walls in the other homes built by your builder?

Mdbuilder 11-09-2007 11:19 AM

Probably. They all look OK in normal light, I can't say I've seen any other places in the lighting conditions that accentuate the problem areas in my home. It's a good point though, I'll look more closely in deciding how much of a squeeky wheel to be. Lawsuits won't be happening though :whistling2: they don't help anyone and just shovel money in the lawyers pocket...

jogr 11-09-2007 11:32 AM

The toughest part of any project is evaluating what builder/contractor to use. Alway look hard at their previous work because that is the quality that you will get regardless of what they promise or what you ask for.

troubleseeker 11-10-2007 09:41 PM


Originally Posted by AtlanticWBConst. (Post 72399)
It's not common.

Have to disagree with you here on semantics:) . Unfortunately it is common....but as you said, it is not correct and does not have to be acceptable.

If the metal straps and hangers are applied correctly (obviously not so), they should not be the issue here . Sounds like a sloppy framing job (also too common) , coupled with poor mud work.

I have an ongoing battle on every job about the kind of sorry mud work described around the electrical boxes.

Sounds like another stay in the office contractor, who never puts any time on the job doing what he is getting paid for.

AtlanticWBConst. 11-10-2007 09:43 PM


Originally Posted by troubleseeker (Post 73043)
Have to disagree with you here on semantics:) . Unfortunately it is common....but as you said, it is not correct and does not have to be acceptable.

Trouble, I agree that poor drywall work on spec, and mass produced homes is not uncommon. Generally, you can walk into any new home or building these days and find drywall flaws. My comment was in regards to ''Custom-Built" homes.

troubleseeker 11-10-2007 09:52 PM


Originally Posted by RemodelMan (Post 72708)
If the framers were expected to assist the drywall hangers and tapers along the way,.

That would certainly add another $500 worth of mud to the job when they cut the rock to the same accuracy as they cut most of the framing pieces:laughing: . Not that all framers are bad, unfortunately the bad ones way out number the good.

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