“If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you”*, then you will survive a construction project on your house.

Why is that, you ask?  Well, here are some examples of what kinds of things can happen during a typical project…things that have happened to us and things that’ve happened to our clients:

 We purchased all of our own finishes – lights, sinks, tubs, tile, flooring, doors, windows, you name it.  When the master bathroom sink faucets were being installed (2 sinks), it turned out that one of them leaked and couldn’t be repaired.  Guess what?  They didn’t make that model of faucet anymore (all of 5 months between purchase and installation) and we had to buy new ones – 2 faucets.  We had a perfectly good faucet and one broken one and nowhere to use the good faucet, aargh.

The perfect sink cabinet. Twice as expensive as we planned...

After looking forEVER for a unique bathroom cabinet, something antique-y looking – the design of the house was ‘cottage-style’ with emphasis on everything looking vintage yet fresh – I spent hours online, hours at antique stores, hours at design stores.  I found the perfect one and we stored it in the garage.  Can you guess what happened?  Somehow 2 corners were broken when they went to install it!  Our fault for not checking to see that it was perfect before shlepping it home.  I was very lucky to be able to  find another one. 

Bathroom sink – different bathroom – was 2 inches too wide for the space.  It would have fit, technically, but Code requires a specific distance between the potty and the sink and this wouldn’t have met code.  What happened to make the room 2 inches smaller than on the plans?  Well, we are talking about a ¼ scale plan and 2 inches is a tiny margin of error.  Anyone wanna buy a pedestal sink?

Think anyone will notice?

We bought butler pantry cabinets and they arrived with a broken drawer front – no big deal, we are able to have it replaced, but its just one more thing, isn’t it…

 One bathroom drawer was in the way for the plumbing so it had to be shortened.

 We found this great mosaic tile on sale, during installation we ran short by 1 sheet.  1 LOUSY SHEET!  I ran to 5 stores before I found any in stock.

 We forgot to include a switch for the garbage disposal sink above the kitchen counter, so we had to have one added under the sink.

They said I didn't order enough, but I ended up with left overs, hmmm?

Once the beautiful bamboo floor was installed, the guys put down a heavy layer of paper to protect it.  In spite of that, someone tracked some sort of adhesive ALL OVER THE HOUSE.  I spent hours and hours scrubbing it off – using goo-gone to start with and advancing to ever-stronger solutions with scrubby sponges, paint scrapers and prayer.  Hours and HOURS!  A couple spots absolutely refused to come off completely and I marred the floor in 1 spot – I was sick to my stomach for days about it.

 We didn’t think about how the lower cabinet in the laundry room should open and it is backwards, which is inconvenient.

 The beautiful vinyl, double-paned windows are installed and all of them are sliders with the exception of 1, it has a hand-crank.  By the time we go to sell the house, the crank is misplaced and we have to order a new one, it comes in, it’s the wrong style, we have to reorder.  I can’t complain much since Anderson sent the replacement out for free. 

 I definitely learned to keep items like this in a safe place and labeled properly!  Otherwise you’ll pull out some weird doohickey and wonder what the heck it’s for?  Shall I toss it, should I keep it?  3 years later you still don’t know what it’s for so you finally throw it away.  Then, and only then, do you need it.

Ryan is such a good worker!

 Garage door installation occurs prior to electricity being hooked up at the garage (a trench we forgot to have dug, so we recruit our kids and their friend to dig it).  Of course, we can’t have it tested – no electricity.   And, naturally, it doesn’t work when we do test it and we have to call the installers to come fix it.

 I called AT&T to come out and hook up a phone.  I wait all day for the technician who never shows.  I again called AT&T to give them a piece of my mind (which I can ill afford to lose) and they say no appointment was ever made!  Aargh!

...such a destructive and hungry little cuss!

We have gophers…in our pristine, gorgeous new sod…gophers are digging between the emerald carpet of sod and the dirt >sigh<  I consider using TNT.

 There is a tremendous amount of waste in a big project.  For instance, if you buy moulding, it comes in certain lengths, let’s say 14’ lengths.  You have a room that is 13×12, then you are tossing 1 foot and 2 feet with every cut.  And there is not one thing you can do about it.  You’ll have a pretty big pile of moulding by the end.  Maybe you can find a use for it, I couldn’t.

http://www.logcabinrustics.com (not the guy I contacted)

When we had a tree taken down I tried to find someone who would like the lumber.  A guy in Santa Cruz does carvings with a chain saw on big tree trunks.  He said he was interested and I followed up with him a few times, he never showed, so the tree eventually got chopped into fire wood.  I still have another big redwood tree trunk on a different property that someone is welcome to.

 Here’s a pretty frustrating scenario:  We’d gotten our project estimates based on product pricing.  I was very specific and got prices on everything I could spec ahead of time – knew where our doors where coming from, windows, potties, and on like that.  Well, when we went to buy the flooring, the supplier wouldn’t give us the same discount we’d talked about, making the product too expensive.  I have to find another supplier fast, which was very irritating…same product, same supplier, why wouldn’t they give us the discount?  Economy was still down, it wasn’t like buyers were climbing over the ramparts to order their products!  Anyway, we discovered Lumber Liquidators!  Great products and great prices.  Yay!

 We ordered a ton of cabinets – and when the order arrived there wasn’t room in the garage with all the other stuff (oven, stove, dishwasher, doors, screens…you get my drift) so we had to (scary thought, here) store it outside in the weather!!!  We bought a gi-normous blue tarp and stacked all the cabinets in the backyard and covered it with the tarp, holding it down with cement blocks.  Lucky for us, nothing was damaged.

 Other fun things that happen to the best of us:

Buried treasure? Well, not so much...

The contractor is digging a trench in the yard for a sewer pipe…Lo! And behold!  He unearths an old, abandoned septic tank in your back yard!  Surprise!  Or it could be an old diesel gas tank or oil tank or propane tank, whatever.  You can’t leave it alone.  You might be able to fill it in with gravel or you might have to dig it up and fill the hole in, either way, it’s $$ out of your purse.

 You order carpet, based on the room sizes, the installer and carpet store say you need to order ‘x’ amount of carpet.  Fine, you do so, 10 days later it comes in, the installer begins laying it out and you get a call.  There wasn’t enough carpet ordered to account for the pattern.  You’ve got to order more…and wait for it to arrive…delaying when you get to move in by 2 weeks.

Just tear it off and start over, old plaster stinks anyway.

You buy an old house and want to remove all the old paint and wallpaper from the walls.  There are about 8 layers of it and by the time you get to the last layer, the wall falls apart – its made of lathe, plaster and horsehair.  Now you have to put up drywall and have it taped and textured (which is actually OK because old plaster smells).  If you had just taken down the wall in the first place you would have saved yourself 3 long weekends of effort.

 The fence on your property is 3 feet closer to your neighbor than it should be. You are going to lose 3’ of your sideyard.

 Many of these happenings are no one’s fault.  You can’t sue anyone, you can’t pass the bill along to someone else, you are stuck and that’s the bottom line.

Count on having delays and surprises, you’ll live longer and without the tummy upset that worry can cause.  😉

 *IF, by Rudyard Kipling

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