how much is post construction cleaning?

kateskourosDecember 17, 2011

so we are in a bad situation. in short, GC is a crook and stole our money. even though it is not finished we are trying to get in as quickly as possible. our floors are ruined due to cupping (moisture issues have been resolved) and we will need to get them refinished, hopefully after the holidays. i'm planning to get a cleaning crew in when the floors have had a chance to cure and then work out the rest of the details while we're in.

so i make my first call to try and line up post construction clean up. the house is roughly 6800 sq ft, 5 bedrooms, 6.5 baths, mudroom, kitchen, office, living room, great room, play room and a few larger than average closets. there are some two story ceiling heights and all the walls would need to be wiped down, so there are tall surfaces that need attention. how much do you think it would cost to clean?

obviously i have several more calls to make. the first "gentleman" i spoke with today quoted me ...wait for it ...$6456.00.

have you picked yourselves off the floor yet? yeah, no.

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kate - so sorry to hear you're dealing with a crooked contractor and having to finish up the build yourself. Been there, done that - and it is no fun.

Overall, that $6456 bid seems high to me but of course it all depends on just how messy your contractor left things and how expensive cleaning labor is in the area where you live.

In order to save money after we fired our crooked contractor, we did all the post-construction cleaning ourselves with the help of a bunch of very dear friends. A dozen of them actually threw us a "house-cleaning" party.

They all came over one Saturday morning with ladders, brooms, mops, buckets, rags, various cleaning supplies plus a couple of shop vacs. We started at the top of the house with the shop vacs and worked our way down. Once the whole house was swept and vacuumed (walls and ceilings included) as clean as we could get it, then we started in on the details. Windows, light fixtures, floors, plumbing fixtures, woodwork, picking up all the construction debris outside, etc.

With a dozen people working (none of us professional cleaners), it took us about 5 hours to get my 3200 sq ft home clean enough that I felt I could move in. This included removing all the stickers from windows and cleaning and polishing them inside and out, cleaning all the light fixtures, wiping down all the walls, polishing all the stained woodwork, scrubbing the plumbing fixtures and cleaning all the construction debris laying around the outside of the house.

So figure 72 man hours for my 3200 sq ft home. At $15/hr plus the cost of cleaning supplies, I figure it might have have cost me about $1200 to $1500 to get my home cleaned if my friends hadn't pitched in. (No, house cleaners don't make $15/hr in my area BUT companies always charge more per hour for labor than they pay their help in order to cover insurance and overhead and make a profit.)

Since your home is slightly more than double the size of mine, it seems like you ought to be able to get the cleaning done for something in the neighborhood of about $2500 to $3000.

Note however that the only 2 story ceiling height area that I have is my stairwell. On the other hand, I do have lots of windows and patio doors (42 total) all of which have 9 lite (prairie style) simulated divided lites and cleaning those turned out to majorly time-consuming and a real PITA.

I did find a couple of web sites where they talk about the typical cost of post-construction cleaning so these might be helpful to you as well but keep in mind that prices will vary considerably in different parts of the country plus some of these are a bit out of date so take that into account as well.

Definitely do get a couple of bids and make sure you know EXACTLY what is included in each bid.

Oh, and BTW - if you ran your HVAC system at all during construction, be sure to remove the grills and vacuum out the ducts as far down as you can reach. Also put in new filters as soon as you finish your post-construction cleaning. It is amazing how much construction dust winds up in the ducts.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   December 17, 2011 at 6:56AM
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Depends greatly on your area and the degree of dirt. Windows included or not?

One thing though: try to get a crew or company that does this regularly. Not the local cleaning lady. There are special techniques that do come in handy on delicate surfaces.

In my area, I'd expect to pay $800-$1,000 for a home your size with a finished basement, window exteriors not included.

Yes, house cleaners do make $15 an hour here.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2011 at 9:14AM
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BTW, I'm not including construction debris in the contract, duct cleaning, filter changing. Just vacuum/sweep, dust, mop. (Unused bathrooms only.)

But, then, I keep the build clean throughout the construction period. This may not be so in your case.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2011 at 9:21AM
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We're in Alabama, so I'm not sure how much help this will be, but the number in our bid for final cleaning (including windows) was $2,000. We haven't completed the build yet, but so far the bid numbers have been pretty accurate. Our house will be two stories plus a full basement and total of about 4800 square feet -- plus a couple of porches.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2011 at 3:47PM
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Sophie Wheeler

2-3K is about average charge here. It probably costs the builder no more than 1K for undocumented labor to actually do the job, that that's another story. Your house is at least twice as large as the average new construction here. So double that to 4-6K. And we are in a cheap place to live, about a .7 of the national average. If you're in some place like MA, you might have to multiply that by the COL factor there.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2011 at 4:29PM
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thanks so much. it's a big help knowing what it might cost in different areas. bev, i'm going to go over those websites, so thanks for that. a lot to digest and too much going on (it's Christmas, you know!).

i'll post back and let you know how it's going.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2011 at 6:57PM
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My concern was when you said you were getting the hardwood floors refinished after you move in. We had ours refinished just before we moved into our house (resale, not new construction). Our wood guy had the dustless sanders, etc, but there was still a lot of dust on EVERY surface.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2011 at 10:55PM
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Sorry to hear of your "exciting build"! Did you know it took us 4 years for our build? You are over 2 years right? So that said, our home is larger than yours and I had a cleaning crew come in (Not including windows) for 1K. I used a cleaning lady and she brought her friends. I WOULD NOT pay more than that unless they guarantee your satisfaction. Payment at time of service, not before! Oh and the floors, we had sandless too. What a joke, dust everywhere! Get cheap filters and change once dust settles. I ran the AC constantly so it would not go into ducts as much....
When do you project being in?

    Bookmark   December 18, 2011 at 7:57AM
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no, the floors will be refinished and then i will have the house cleaned after they are cured.

i have someone coming in to have a look next week. they come highly recommended and pricing is supposed to be "fair". we'll see!

    Bookmark   December 20, 2011 at 10:18PM
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Oh nooo, your floors are to die for! Hopefully they are not completely ruined and you are able to get good results with refinishing. Sending positive refinishing thoughts your way!

    Bookmark   December 21, 2011 at 12:42AM
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Kate, I am so sorry to hear about your build. What a nightmare! I was wondering how things have been going since we started our builds around the same time and had many similarities in our homes. I've been checking back periodically anxiously awaiting the "Finished Home" pictures, and I'm so sorry to hear that the house isn't finished after all those years!

Anyway, not sure how helpful this is, but we're in WI and the entire amount for all things relating to site cleaning and disposal for the entire build totaled about $6,000. That figure includes dumpsters for the entire build, port-a-potties, several site clean-ups during the build, including pre-cleanings before floors were laid, and the final move-in clean, which included interior and exterior window cleaning of an inordinate amount of windows. Our home was spotless when we moved in.

Anyway, good luck with everything. Please post updates, especially when you are finally settled in your beautiful home!

    Bookmark   December 21, 2011 at 2:16PM
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Again, not sure how helpful this is, but we have a 10,000 allowance for build cleaning throughout the entire build. Our house is a little bit bigger than yours, and we are in the South which is generally cheaper than the northeast!

Good luck to you!

    Bookmark   December 21, 2011 at 6:12PM
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