Most people are overjoyed (and breathe a sigh of relief) when the finish carpentry starts. Doors, cabinets, casing, baseboard all signify that the dust has—for the most part—settled. Yet, you'll quickly realize the project is far from over when scheduling the remaining jobs.
Most of the finishing items are already specified in the house plans and bid. But there always seems be a hundred little details that require your attention.
Even though the house is nearly complete, be prepared to be patient. The detail items are what get noticed and what you end up living with, so make sure they get done correctly.
Woodwork & Hardware
Finish carpenters work with standard trim details like window/door casing and baseboard all the time and the work goes pretty quickly.
But things can slow down when you introduce detailed work like coordinated banding and curved treatments so remember those specialized items may end up costing even more in labor.
We included a custom-built stairway. It cost more than a staircase with preassembled components because each piece of wood was cut and fit to match on-site. It also took longer to install, but we were happy with the way it turned out.
The carpenters also installed the doors and hardware. We also picked custom doors that took more time to hang because the jambs, hinges, and doorstop aren't already assembled like on prehung units.
The carpenters also cleaned up on other detail jobs like installing cabinet and drawer knobs/handles, towel bars, closet organizers, mirrors.
Tub and shower tiling starts by nailing up concrete backerboard and sealing the joints with fiber glass mesh tape and adhesive. Then the tiles are set in place and grouted.
If you're having a lot of tile work done, give your sub plenty of time to finish the job. Things can really slow down when tiling starts and the other subs may have to wait awhile before a room is ready.
We included some detailed layouts in our bathroom floor and shower that took a bit longer to complete than normal, but our tile sub handled them well.
Ideally, the time to install any flooring is once all the finish work and painting are done. It doesn't always work that way, but it's something to shoot for.
In the kitchen, the flooring crew brought in maple flooring and let it acclimate for a few days. They first put down builder's felt as a moisture barrier, then nailed on the flooring.
The crew used heavy-duty sander to prep the maple once it was all installed. The painters were starting upstairs at the same time, so the dust was kept down using tack clothes. We chose a polyurethane finish for the floor that the crew applied with lamb's wool applicators.
For subfloors getting carpet, check for any exposed or loose nail heads and pound those down. If you don't, they can wear through the padding and start tearing into the carpet backing.
Vacuum up all the dust and dirt off the subfloor so it won't work into the pad and carpet. Okay, it's not really a management-type job, but it's one the contractor often ends up doing to save the cost of hiring someone.
Installers often work alone, and carpet is heavy. When it's carried in, the backing can accidentally brush up against a door jamb and scrape off the finish. So it's not a bad idea to be on hand to help get it through the tight spots.