The Top 10 Fixtures Most Commonly Damaged During Residential Construction
Construction projects are very complex. There are many different construction workers, subcontractors, plumbers, and electricians working on different areas all at the same time. This, combined with dust, debris, and heavy building materials, often results in damage to expensive home finishes such as cabinets, counter tops, doors, etc. Here is a list of the top ten fixtures that tend to get damaged during the construction process:
1) Cabinets – In residential construction, cabinets are often one of the most expensive and easily damaged fixtures. According to the NAHB New Construction Cost Breakdown*, cabinets cost on average somewhere around $10,395 to install in a new home. They tend to be installed fairly early on in the construction process, so they can be easily damaged by stucco spray, impact from stray tool belts, and general carelessness by subcontractors. A great way to prevent damage to cabinets is to use thick, adhesive foam such as Protecta-Foam to cover it. It is easy to install and protects cabinets against spray, dust, dirt, and sudden impacts.
2) Doors – Much like cabinets, both interior and exterior doors can be quite expensive. On average, interior doors cost homeowners around $2,883 while exterior doors cost $2,150. High end homes often have grand entryway doors that can cost upwards of $10,000. Doors are also installed early in the construction process, and with subcontractors and construction workers coming in and out, sometimes with heavy equipment in hand, dents and dings are a persistent problem. To prevent damage, use reinforced corrugated cardboard or specialty door protection such as Door Guard™. This will prevent dings and scrapes and will help builders deliver a truly brand-new and quality product to homeowners.
3) Bathtubs/Showers – Bathtubs and shower pans are some of the trickiest fixtures to protect from damage in a home. Along with windows, they are the first fixture to be installed; very early in the bathroom construction process. Bathtubs cost on average around $4,346 but can be much more. After the bathtub has already been installed, subcontractors such as electricians, tile installers, and plumbers will all work in and around the expensive tub. Many subs actually do their work while standing inside the bathtub, and some construction workers even use it as a toilet! With so many people working in the area, damage can happen very easily. In conjunction with a company policy that absolutely forbids using the tub as a toilet, builders can use a spray-on tub protector that dries to a rubbery consistency and peels off easily when the project is done.
4) Carpets – Most homes have extensive carpeting, which often shows dirt and debris easily and is more difficult to clean than other types of flooring. The average price of carpet for a home is around$8,363. Foot traffic can track in dirt and dust from subcontractors and can end up requiring the builder to either replace some carpeting or foot the bill for expensive cleaning after the job has already been completed. A great way to prevent damage to carpets is to use adhesive carpet films. These clear films stick to carpeting but must be replaced every thirty days to avoid adhesive transfer. Make sure to check the quality of the carpet film before you buy – anything less than 3mils thick is low quality and may not protect carpets adequately.
5) Hardwood floors – Homeowners love hardwood floors and they are extremely common in new residential construction. On average, hardwood floors cost $1,939 to install in a new home. Floors are subject to a lot that may result in damage, including foot traffic, heavy materials or machinery, dust, dirt, and general debris. It is absolutely critical to take measures to protect hardwood floors during construction. The first thing to consider is how long the floors have been down for. If they are newly installed are still curing or breathing, breathable protection is available. There are many different types of protection ranging from a light duty protective film to recycled cloth to heavy duty builder board.
6) Door jambs – Jambs often get bumped and scratched during construction. Since they are installed very early in the process, each subcontractor coming through with material or installation tools could potentially inflict damage that results in the need for replacement or, at the very least, repair. Jambs typically run around $148 for a home. Many different types of protection for jambs are reusable, so a single box of ten will last through several projects. There are many options ranging from plastic to cardboard to cloth.
7) Stairs – Much like the issue with carpets and hardwood floors, stairs see a lot of foot traffic before the home is completed. The stairs for a typical home generally cost around $1,052 to build and install. Stairs are usually either carpeted or hardwood. With construction workers and subcontractors going up and down to complete their work, stairs really need to be covered to ensure they look perfect when the homeowner moves in. There are several types of stair protection depending on whether the stairs are carpeted or wood. While many general floor protection products can be used to protect stairs, only a few specialized types of surface protection will protect stairs without needing tape that could potentially damage paint.
8) Thresholds – Door thresholds get very dirty and scratched on a construction site. On average, thresholds cost around $213 for a home. While that doesn’t seem like much, the threshold is the entrance to their home, and as such homeowners want to make sure it looks perfect. There are several high quality, 9mils thick protective tapes on the market that do a great job protecting thresholds at a cost-effective price point. If the home is being built in a sunny or hot area, it is important to take the time to invest in protection that has UV protective qualities.
9) Countertops – The countertops of a home are extremely important to the homeowner. Countertops, along with cabinets, are a significant cost of a kitchen remodel and they need to look perfect for the homeowner to be satisfied. At an average price of $5,141, it is important to prevent damage or scratching that may happen from careless subcontractors or construction workers leaving a large, dirty mess of cups, cans, food, liquids, or other junk. Paint drips, mud and stucco splatters, etc. can ruin an expensive countertop. There are two main types of countertop protection; film and adhesive bubble. If deciding to use a film, make sure to invest in a high-quality 3mil film. If heavy-duty protection is needed, Tack Guard™ bubble is the way to go. It is a thick adhesive bubble that sticks to counters without leaving a residue. It looks professional and is a great deterrent to workers looking to place junk on the countertop.
10) Handrails and Banisters – Handrails and banisters are often overlooked during construction. After they are installed they may be subjected to paint and stucco splatter, dust, scrapes from moving, and more. Handrails and banisters in the average home cost around $646. Investing in protection is a sound investment when looking at the potential costs that damage could incur. An effective way to protect handrails is to use an adhesive bubble wrap. Swiftwrap™ is a great product for handrails because the adhesive sticks to itself rather than the handrail. This makes removal very easy and eliminates the possibility of adhesive transfer.
With proper protection, builders can protect these expensive fixtures and save time and money on replacement/repair costs. For more information about protection materials, visit www.buildsitepro.com.
*Estimates for average cost of materials came from:
2011 NAHB New Construction Cost Breakdown