First Floor Ceiling Height

jolszowy001July 1, 2014

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This post was edited by jolszowy001 on Thu, Oct 23, 14 at 9:32

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Seems to me like maybe you dodged a bullet. I would avoid choosing any builder who would deliberately "hide" information about ceiling height from customers...and then act like the customer was making a big deal out of nothing if the customer caught on to the deception before signing the contract. What ELSE Is that builder hiding from his customers until after they're locked in?

I'm not saying that one cannot build a very nice high-end home with eight foot ceilings. BUT, if his website touts nine foot ceilings as standard, then EVERY TIME a plan varies from that standard, the variation should be made very clear to potential customers up front. Anything else is, IMHO, a deceptive trade practice. Sooner or later some disgruntled customer is going to sue him. But, given the cost of bringing such a lawsuit and the roll-of-the-dice that taking any dispute to court always entails, YOU don't want to be the one bringing suit.

Find another builder. And, if you want to warn other customers away from this particular builder, feel free to post about your experience to the l world via facebook, twitter, review pages, etc and name the builder and the location where he does business. Just keep what you say simple, truthful, and where "judgmental" be sure that it is very clear that you are stating your opinion. Then you can't be held liable for slander/libel.

eg., "Builder X's website says that 9 ft ceilings are standard in their models but, after spending a great deal of time talking with them, we discovered that many of their floorplans - including the one we liked best - only allowed for eight foot ceilings! Just wish Builder X had been upfront about this information rather than waiting until we specifically asked about ceiling heights to disclose it. We would not have wasted so much time on him. We also feel that anyone who would "hide" such information from a potential customer might also choose to hide other things as well. So we chose not to hire Builder X.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2014 at 3:09PM
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Am I making to[o] big a deal of this?

Since you didn't sign a contract to build, nothing lost, nothing gained. But it's a good reminder to have a third party check any contract and building plans before you do commit.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2014 at 9:53PM
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It makes sense that certain two story plans can't have nine-foot ceilings because the footprint of the stairs needed (probably two extra treads) may not fit in the space allotted.

But since the builder should know which plans these are, I am pretty sure, this should be clearly called out on those plans.

I do know one family building a house who got into trouble because they *did decide to raise the ceiling on the first floor and did not redesign the stairs to reflect this, and they had a heck of a time fitting the stairs into the space allotted.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2014 at 10:36PM
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In my opinion the builder should be designing his houses from the get-go to at least have 9' ceilings.
Where we are in Florida there are a lot of builders building spec and custom as fast as they can. Even low cost mass production $150k houses have 9 foot ceilings. You WILL notice and it is not something that can ever be changed later.

Not everyone will feel the same as me, of course, but when we were house hunting for six months (before deciding to build), 8ft. ceilings were the #1 deal breaker. Our realtor said once her clients had been "spoiled" by 9 and 10 ft. ceilings, they rarely if ever went back to an 8 ft. ceiling house.

Again, not trying to bash anyone else's decisions. But I would walk away.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2014 at 4:45PM
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First, avoid generalizations. Expensive houses and high end houses do not always have 9' ceilings (or higher). More likely, this is a newer house thing. Plenty of historic homes and upscale homes built in the 80s-90s don't have high ceilings.

Second, avoid this builder. If he advertises, "All our homes have this feature", then it's reasonable to expect that all his homes have this feature. At best, he's a poor communicator. At worst, he's trying to pull a fast one on you. Also, I would not want to enter into a lengthy, detail-oriented business agreement with someone who "got annoyed with us and acted like we were foolish". If he's going to pull this once, he may well pull it again.

Third, revisit the house plan and consider whether you might be able to go with a higher ceiling in only one portion of the house; for example, would the plan accommodate a higher ceiling ONLY in the great room? A change in ceiling height gives more of an impact than a higher ceiling throughout the whole house.

Are you taking it too seriously? Personally, I don't think 9' ceilings are a make-or-break item -- not if you're set on this floorplan, and I don't think any of us are questioning that some floor plans simply cannot accommodate the higher ceilings. But I'm not going to live in your house, so my opinion really doesn't count. If it matters TO YOU, find a different builder who will give you what you want. Personally, I'd be more concerned with the builder's attitude than the ceiling.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2014 at 1:50PM
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