Builder installing flooring over muddy subfloor

LisaInPAJanuary 25, 2014

We are due to close in two weeks, and today we caught the subcontractors in the act of installing our carpets over the dirty, muddy sub flooring. We have had lots of snow and rain during our build, and they took no precautions to keep the mess from being tracked inside. The beautiful, expensive upgraded hardwood they installed last week also was completely covered with dirt, mud, and grime when we stopped by today. All the tubs and showers are also filthy with mud from the subcontractors shoes. At this point I feel like the place will never feel clean to me. Needless to say we are livid, and at this point have lost all faith in this builder. Any advice? We are seriously thinking about trying to end our contract.

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We had our hardwood floors also covered in mud in one of our builds, when the floors were cleaned there were many scratches in the pre-finished wood foors. The builder had to replace all the hardwood in the the areas damaged. They also cut all the hardwood with their power saw over our frieze (like shag) carpet in our living room which did not get discovered until we started to move our furniture in. The tall carpet strands hide the saw dust. There was so much sawdust in the carpet it filled several vacuum bags and years later it was still getting picked up.

Make sure to also look very carefully at your bathtub when it's cleaned for cracks and scratches, if they are fibreglass or acrylic they can be repaired to be virtually invisible.

I would request that a sign be put up at the entrance saying "Clean indoor shoes only".

    Bookmark   January 25, 2014 at 11:04PM
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Lisa -
Tell the builder that you will not accept damaged floors or carpet or showers, and you expect him to make it good ... up to and removing anything that is irreparably soiled by his crews.

It's INEXCUSABLE for them to be tromping all over the house in muddy boots. You carry the clean dry ones and change.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2014 at 12:07PM
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Rest assured they are taking as much care with the building aspects of the house. Not a bad idea at all to get out now if you can.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2014 at 2:01PM
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sadly, this is a typical reality. Subcontractors do not give a rats ass about your house, they will trample and damage and go nuts all over the floors, countertops, etc.

I wouldn't walk away 2 weeks before closing, that seems crazy. Just tell the builder that everything must look nice & neat prior to closing. Do a few walk-throughs, make a list, send the list to the builder, have him fix it prior to closing.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2014 at 7:13PM
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It's not the carpet installer's job to clean the floors. They scheduled a block of time to install carpeting. Your builder did not have the job ready for his subs.

What the builder wants most is to get that house closed. He has two weeks. He has interim financing for x number of days. If he can't get the deal closed, it gets expensive and the banker starts leaning on him. Use that to your advantage.

Let him know, in writing, what you saw. Tell him that the carpeting must be removed and the subfloors cleaned. You want new padding and will accept reusing the carpeting only if it is still in "new" condition. Note that you also saw that no protection (his responsibility) for the newly installed hardwood floors had been installed and that the flooring has been damaged by muddy feet. (I would not assume boots. He should have had some kind of tarp installed to prevent damage to the floors.)

Go on and list whatever other items are of a concern. Be very direct. Describe the problem without using any perjorative terms. Don't talk about his subs. "Speak" in the letter as if these are his employees, because they are. Let him know that you will inspect the house thoroughly before you will accept it. Use the words, "new condition".

Put it in writing. State the facts, and only the facts. Tell him in writing what is acceptable and what is not. Don't skip this. Writing is very important. He has two weeks to make you happy. Let him know how to do it. In writing. If you want the house, be reasonable. If not, don't be reasonable.


    Bookmark   January 26, 2014 at 8:19PM
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We built a house in 1988. I was hugely pg and didn't stay on top of things.

In the family room there were huge bumps when you walked across the wall to wall carpet. Bugged the heck out of me. Several years later when we changed out the carpet we found huge clumps of drywall mud under the carpet pad.

Amazing that carpet installers would do that. Glad you are raising he**

    Bookmark   January 27, 2014 at 5:43PM
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Sadly, we have decided to begin the process to be released from the contract. I am hoping it goes well. Our realtor is contacting the builder today. Yesterday they did some cleaning and re-layed the carpets. We went over and after the initial cleaning the hardwood floors' surfaces showed many surface scratches and scuffs, and some deeper scratches. Additionally the new kitchen cabinets had many doors/drawers that were misaligned, and there was a huge yellow flawed area right in the middle of the granite on the island about 6" in diameter. That would need to be replaced too, along with really bad tile work on the tub surround in the master bath, which was still caked with mud. After all this, we can never picture ourselves being happy in that house, and have had it with the whole process. After losing confidence in the builder, we dread what would be ahead with the grading of the yard and landscaping, etc, and how they would deal with additional problems as they are discovered. Next step - look for a relatively new existing house where we know what we are getting into from the beginning!

    Bookmark   January 28, 2014 at 9:31AM
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Glad you are able to do this if the house is not satisfactory.

How hard will it be to get out of the contract?

    Bookmark   January 28, 2014 at 12:15PM
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The emotional roller coaster continues. We talked to the builder and I guess we are stuck based on what $$$ they could go after us for - but the good news is that they are now willing to replace everything that is not to our standards. So... we will get that done and move past this to enjoy our new home. It is a beautiful house on the outside - and will be on the inside too. I guess this experience just had taken the wind out of our sails, but we will make the best of the situation. I will post photos after the final grading is done and the driveway is in.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2014 at 1:40PM
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Sorry to hear about your situtaion. It's good though that you had access to your site before closing, otherwise you might not have seen what was getting covered up. I was going to suggest you give them a chance to fix things first, before trying to bail. Your contract probably requires that anyway. But if in the end you really do want to get out, I wouldn't take their interpretation of the contract as truth. Get your own expert.

Carelessness by subs aside, there is a failure of site supervision, housekeeping, and quality control. If it's a larger builder you might be able to get someone else put on the job. Otherwise, ditto what bkay2000 said. Document, document, document! Even (especially) now when you're told everything will be replaced that is not to your standards. What is not to your standards and their willingness to replace what is not to your standards should all be in writing! Good luck. I'm glad you're otherwise happy and it will be beautiful as you say.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2014 at 2:40PM
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