When I started building in the late 60’s and early 70’s I had the good fortune to work with a very good carpenter for a few years. This fellow taught me that good carpenters never made any mistakes but that great carpenters knew how to cover them up. Of course he meant fix them in such a way that ended up looking as if that was what was intended all along. Sometimes you just had to start over but knowing the difference between what could be fixed and what needed to be redone took a lot of experience and skill.
I used to ask my employees the following question: “Do you want to remember in 10 years how you fixed it or how you did not fix it?”
It can be painful (not to mention expensive) sometimes to suck it up and do the right thing. It is all a matter of whether you want to be a good carpenter or a great carpenter.
On a recent inspection I found an instance where someone, in my opinion, chose to be “good” (perhaps closer to mediocre) rather than “great.”
Take a look at this countertop next to a shower enclosure. Forget for a moment the silliness of how close the countertop and cabinet are to the glass side panel of the shower—and how difficult it will be to maintain this 1″ space between the shower and the cabinet.
Can you see where the countertop had to be cut off to allow for the shower door to swing by it? It is difficult to see in the picture but the door misses the countertop by less than 1/16.” Pinched fingers anyone?
This bathroom was likely intended to have a pedestal sink installed instead of a cabinet with countertop—but what the heck do I know.
In another bathroom in the same home there was a similar condition, but this time the shower door was doing battle with a toilet.
Maybe cut the toilet? Maybe cut a little 1/2 moon shape in the shower door? I suspect we will likely see a different toilet installed–or perhaps the shower door assembly moved into the shower a little bit more. Just another one of those plan ahead moments that will tell the world whether the builder was a good builder or a great builder.
By Charles Buell, Real Estate Inspections in Seattle
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