Have you ever walked into a new home and said, “Wow, this is a quality home!” You most probably have. But the questions is what is it that you see that gives you that sense of a quality built house?
Quality is such an elusive idea because it is defined differently by each individual. When it comes to homes, quality can be divided into two types: quality of construction and the quality of the finish.
The quality of construction, in general, is determined by the builder; whereas, the quality of the finish, at least in a custom home, is largely determined by the homeowner.
Construction quality is what most custom home builders refer to when they talk about the quality of their homes. Construction quality is what is behind the walls; it is what often cannot be seen; and it directly effects the integrity of the structure, the comfort of the home and how truly problem-free the home will be for years to come. Construction quality is generally determined by the builder. A builder may incorporate extra energy efficiency into his houses by using insulation with R values greater than what is minimally required by code, or by using higher efficiency HVAC systems than state code, or by including radiant heat barrier sheathing or by caulking and sealing all possible air penetration spaces behind the walls. A builder may use better lumber or stronger concrete or added structural support to his houses. A builder may focus on minimizing water issues by elevating a house to provide for better drainage, and by building a healthy, vent-less crawl space. Quality construction is the builder’s standard of construction.
W. Epstein Builders of Southport, NC suggests when interviewing a builder that you ask about his construction quality standards. Also ask why he uses certain products and techniques. You want to select a builder who will build the house that you want and that meets your quality standards within your budget.
Builders understand the value and importance of the finish quality of a house. They realize it is the “Wow factor” of the house. And they know their work is primarily judged on the finish quality. They know the finish quality is very important to the consumer. Most builders include some higher end finishes in their homes to provide that feeling of quality. Finishes that are often deemed to be quality are features such as some brick or stone on the exterior, higher pitched roofs, granite or high-end counter tops, hardwood floors, custom trim work, wood or upscale cabinetry, beautiful tile work, high grade paint and precision paint work, large windows, and custom ceiling treatments. The finish quality captures the eye, touches the senses and, in turn, registers that feeling of quality. When building a custom home, the finishes will be the choice of the homeowner. The only limit to the finish quality will be the homeowner’s budget.
When getting ready to build a home, be aware that there are two types of quality—construction quality and finish quality. Custom builder Bill Epstein of W. Epstein Builders says, “Before you interview builders, have some idea of the quality features you would like to have in your new home. Then ask the builders about the quality standards (both construction and finish) they build into their homes. This will help to ensure you get the builder who will build your house to the quality you want and expect.”