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61 posts

Master Geek
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Topic # 160254 30-Dec-2014 09:09
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We've had an extension built and are at the point where it's our turn to paint it all. However we have just noticed that when we look at (and measure) some of the gaps between the top of the architraves/jambs on windows/wardrobes and the scotia that the distances from end to end are not the same. The differences are anywhere from about 3-7mm off and whilst it's hard to notice the 3m ones, the 7m one is quite noticeable, especially seeing as it's a narrow gap to begin with.

I was wondering what's considered "normal" in this situation as I do understand that it's unlikely to be mm accurate and weather something like that is worth bringing up with the builder to get repaired?


Secondly, we have one cupboard that has just a rebated jamb and no architraves (The doors are the full width of the opening). However in order to get the left jamb to be plumb and true, it actually moves out from the wall about 6mm. The builder said we just need to fill that gap but of course with no gap on the right side I'm concerned that it will not look that hot. Again, what's considered within the realm of normal variations with these things?


On a related note, the people who previously painted the old part of the house just painted inside the holes of the cedar weatherboards and didn't bother filling them. I was just going to do the same on the new ones so that it matched but this a good idea? Our cedar is textured and I've heard that if I fill the nail holes it and sand a little then I'll end up with lots of little spots that we'll see.  Any ideas?

Thanks



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258 posts

Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 1205939 30-Dec-2014 10:20
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I would have thought the 3m ones were big enough to fall into

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Vocus

  Reply # 1205950 30-Dec-2014 11:02
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What's a scotia?  Could you post a picture of what exactly you mean?

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  Reply # 1205954 30-Dec-2014 11:03
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a picture speaks a thousand words, especially in a situation like this

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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 1206001 30-Dec-2014 13:38

As Jase says, photos would be good.

Most houses are not perfectly square, so you will often get these sort of issues where things don't quite line up.
Once the gaps are filled and painting has been finished these imperfections are usually not noticable. Visitors probably won't notice them, unless you point them out. You know that they are there, but after a while you won't notice them either.

Suggest that you show the things you aren't happy with to the builder. He may be able to rectify them for you.

Not sure about your cedar holes.



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Master Geek
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  Reply # 1206060 30-Dec-2014 14:33
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Thanks guys. Here's some pictures of the various things I'm concerned about. Firstly the cupboard jamb. Here's an OK picture of the right side where I expect a small gap that I just fill. The left side however has a much larger gap.

OK jamb
Click to see full size

Dodgy jamb
Click to see full size
Click to see full size


The wardrobe issue is the most noticeable jamb to ceiling issue as it's such a small gap anyway.

Wonky gap above wardrobe
Click to see full size


There there's the windows. Most are out by about 5mm or so but here's a picture of two of them. It's hard to give a really good representation due to camera alignment etc, but I can see the issue in the pictures and I think it shows what I'm on about; one side is narrower than the other side. If I had my way I'd say "fix them all" but I don't want to be unrealistic if this is standard or not. Basically, around the old part of our house things are off too but more like 2-3mm which you can hardly notice.

One wonky window
Click to see full size

The other wonky window
Click to see full size


Thanks.

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  Reply # 1206089 30-Dec-2014 15:12
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GJ Gardner built us a new house.  On one of the walls 2.4m from floor to ceiling the wall was leaning 10mm.  All walls are wavy (in horizontal plane), but fortunately you don't see most of it.  I think few tradesmen take pride in their work (I see the same with product design engineers, symptom of school system of "on standard" or "achieved" rather than performance percentages).

I believe it is normal to just fill those gaps with filler and paint over it.  Walls with pink batts are the worst for getting straight, the batts put pressure on it.  Our rumpus room had the worst wall, terribly crooked along the floor trim, but fortunately (for the builders) that is the wall that we planned on covering in book cases so it is all hidden and did not need repair.  The book cases are screwed to the wall, essentially permanent.




You can never have enough Volvos!


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Vocus

  Reply # 1206368 31-Dec-2014 10:38
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Well either those windows or the ceiling are well out of plumb by the looks of it.  As with the cupboard door frame.  I wouldn't expect things to be so far out on a new construction.



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Master Geek
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  Reply # 1206370 31-Dec-2014 10:45
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I should mention we're in a bit of a tricky situation. The builders who got as far as the framing and roof/ceiling were bloody useless and ended up going into receivership. The reno company we're using got some new builders in who are pretty decent but they're trying to finish the job, obviously as quickly as cheaply as possible. The window frames seem to be very level from what I've measured so I don't think it's caused by the current builders. It seems to be the scotia and ceiling that are off. Sometimes the ceiling looks a little off and the scotia mores but I'm guessing the scotia just follows the line of the ceiling?

Thing is, to remedy it I would imagine requires removing all the ceiling gib and and making it level which I bet the reno company is NOT keen to do. In the end though, if it's really bad we want it fixed so really just trying to find that line where we need to draw in the sand regarding tolerances etc.


Thanks




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Vocus

  Reply # 1206375 31-Dec-2014 10:53
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It's really up to you then, since it seems unlikely you'll get the original builders to remedy it.   If it's going to piss you off, then get it fixed.  If you can live with it, then live with it :)

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  Reply # 1206380 31-Dec-2014 11:04
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Who engaged the original builders? Was it you directly or the Reno company? If it was the Reno raise the issue with them ASAP. The sooner you raise the issue the better. If you contracted a company to provide a turnkey project they are obligated to fix it regardless of whether the original builder has gone under.

Also don't pay them anymore money until you are happy with the job. If you pay them they can just disappear and not fix it without a whole lot of cost and hassle on your part. If you don't pay they can't get the money without a whole lot of cost and hassle on their part, irrespective of the legalities.

If the original builder was engaged by you it's much harder.

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  Reply # 1206769 1-Jan-2015 10:39
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You can streighten walls to some extent by applying a skim coat, but it costs money.  At this point might be the cheapest option though.  Our daughter's bedroom had a cornice with a twist in it because it followed the wall.  It was an internal wall filled with sound insulation and some leftover pink batts (which are a bit thicker) combined with misaligned framing causing a bulge in the plasterboard.  It was very obvious as it was in-line with walking into the room, so we got GJ Gardner to rip off half the plasterboard and pack it out.  The wall is now straight along the top with a slight bulge in the middle, but usually the middle does not matter much.

Our builder's contract had a clause regarding the flatness of the walls.  It was stated that you will get shadows in some situations, and need to go to skim coat if you want it flat.  There was a claim of some industry standard grading level, and a good builder should be able to tell you more about it.  We did not bother finding out, it was a standard GJ Gardner contract.

The alternative to skim coat would be rip off the plasterboard and pack/plane the framing before fitting new plaster board.  Skim coat might be your cheaper, faster and better option.  It also does not get the builder involved (as much), you (they) just get plasterers.




You can never have enough Volvos!




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Master Geek
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  Reply # 1206857 1-Jan-2015 14:41
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Handle9: Who engaged the original builders? Was it you directly or the Reno company? If it was the Reno raise the issue with them ASAP. The sooner you raise the issue the better. If you contracted a company to provide a turnkey project they are obligated to fix it regardless of whether the original builder has gone under.

Also don't pay them anymore money until you are happy with the job. If you pay them they can just disappear and not fix it without a whole lot of cost and hassle on your part. If you don't pay they can't get the money without a whole lot of cost and hassle on their part, irrespective of the legalities.

If the original builder was engaged by you it's much harder.


The reno company engaged all the trades and so they are the ones that will have to fix it. We have paid most of the money with about 5% remaining for the final payment. Of course we won't pay that until it's all good.

Doing some measurements we're finding that in one corner there's a 5-6mm drop in the scotia height from floor over a span of about 50cm. That corner is the worst. A builder friend who popped over said what they usually do is laser the ceiling and pack/space it out so that it's totally level before the line it. Something I would have thought was standard to get everything good but it seems if you're not paying millions then you get basic quality (Which is bollocks IMO).

Niel: You can streighten walls to some extent by applying a skim coat, but it costs money.  At this point might be the cheapest option though.  Our daughter's bedroom had a cornice with a twist in it because it followed the wall.  It was an internal wall filled with sound insulation and some leftover pink batts (which are a bit thicker) combined with misaligned framing causing a bulge in the plasterboard.  It was very obvious as it was in-line with walking into the room, so we got GJ Gardner to rip off half the plasterboard and pack it out.  The wall is now straight along the top with a slight bulge in the middle, but usually the middle does not matter much.

Our builder's contract had a clause regarding the flatness of the walls.  It was stated that you will get shadows in some situations, and need to go to skim coat if you want it flat.  There was a claim of some industry standard grading level, and a good builder should be able to tell you more about it.  We did not bother finding out, it was a standard GJ Gardner contract.

The alternative to skim coat would be rip off the plasterboard and pack/plane the framing before fitting new plaster board.  Skim coat might be your cheaper, faster and better option.  It also does not get the builder involved (as much), you (they) just get plasterers.


The builder husband of a friend came over yesterday and offered some solutions, which were along the lines of plastering as you suggest. Basically he said they could replace and scotia so it's perfectly level (Not just following the ceiling) and then skim coat out from the gap between scotia and celling so it looks all flat and the scotia edge looks good. The big gap in the jamb of the cupboard he said the plasterer could easily just build out the wall to match the level jamb.

So having him visit gave us some information to take to the reno company but man it's a nightmare. The whole build has been full of mistakes and low quality work and we find more at every step. This is basically our life savings and extended mortgage and it's really sad and stressful to have to monitor everything because you can't trust the quality.

mmf

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Wannabe Geek
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  Reply # 1207557 3-Jan-2015 11:03
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I feel for you.

I've struck this scenario before with investment properties. If the builder doing the framing is not going to be lining the interior then they are less inclined to worry about true and plumb framing. If they are doing the lining then they are just making work for themselves by doing a bad framing job. If they are rough in general they probably think everything is normal!

Looking at your photos the general quality isn't great but it's fixable. The gaps in the trim around the cupboard and skirting you can use a flexible, paintable filler just be aware that the paint will get cracks and wrinkles in it as it ages. The windows will be hidden pretty well if you put up curtains or drapes. In fact you can put the rail on an angle to hide the out of true in the window to ceiling. Just go by what looks best. Also use flush ceiling lights as these leave a shadow line around and down from the cornice making any out of true less visible.

Some good builders are not good finishers and when you take a level around a house you will find plenty of instances where walls, ceilings and trim is not level or plumb. They uses tricks like setting the trim on slight angles or trimming it slightly so it's not parallel. Curtains, drapes, other build ins to hides imperfections, painting and wallpapering can hide things well.

My point is that if you can make it look okay then you can live with it and it will be easier to resell. The other options will be expensive and time consuming. Although if you are a perfectionist then I guess you will need to remedy the problems with reframing or plastering. Most of us live in houses with faults we are never aware of.

Good luck with it and whatever you get done by others watch what they do and check it. It's all time over money with contractors.



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Master Geek
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  Reply # 1207724 3-Jan-2015 17:16
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mmf: I feel for you.

I've struck this scenario before with investment properties. If the builder doing the framing is not going to be lining the interior then they are less inclined to worry about true and plumb framing. If they are doing the lining then they are just making work for themselves by doing a bad framing job. If they are rough in general they probably think everything is normal!

Looking at your photos the general quality isn't great but it's fixable. The gaps in the trim around the cupboard and skirting you can use a flexible, paintable filler just be aware that the paint will get cracks and wrinkles in it as it ages. The windows will be hidden pretty well if you put up curtains or drapes. In fact you can put the rail on an angle to hide the out of true in the window to ceiling. Just go by what looks best. Also use flush ceiling lights as these leave a shadow line around and down from the cornice making any out of true less visible.

Some good builders are not good finishers and when you take a level around a house you will find plenty of instances where walls, ceilings and trim is not level or plumb. They uses tricks like setting the trim on slight angles or trimming it slightly so it's not parallel. Curtains, drapes, other build ins to hides imperfections, painting and wallpapering can hide things well.

My point is that if you can make it look okay then you can live with it and it will be easier to resell. The other options will be expensive and time consuming. Although if you are a perfectionist then I guess you will need to remedy the problems with reframing or plastering. Most of us live in houses with faults we are never aware of.

Good luck with it and whatever you get done by others watch what they do and check it. It's all time over money with contractors.


Thanks. Whilst we're not perfectionists, we are certainly not "She'll be right mate" sort of people. I just expect a level of quality and a desire to do a good job to be things that builders aspire to. It seems that that actually isn't the case. So long as they can whack it up as quickly as possible, they're happy which doesn't sit right with me - especially when we're paying hundreds of thousands of dollars.

We have not engaged the contractors ourselves, it's through renovation company which in the end are the people who have to sort it out to a reasonable standard and they have been pretty good at trying to fix things but there's been so many that our patience is wearing thin and we feel so exhausted when we find the next step introduces more problems.

The owner of the gibstopping company visited yesterday to check on the job, so we told him our issues and he said a couple of the things could be fixed (jamb gap and wardrobe gap). When the stopper came in today to skim coat another couple of walls we discovered he'd fixed those things to a pretty good standard. Now we just have the window alignment issues.

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