Here are a few areas builders can improve upon in order to prevent property damage at their clients homes. We see these things on nearly a weekly basis and are always baffled at how simple it would have been to prevent the damage in the first place. Yes, it costs money to protect - but so much less than to fix damage!
1) SINKS & TUBS
How to prevent: Consider not installing sinks and faucet fixtures until the very last possible moment. Once installed, immediately cover sink and/or entire counter-top with protective cardboard or whatever safe means necessary to prevent tradesmen from using the sinks at any opportunity. For extra insurance, place protective, impact resistant covering inside on bottom of sink as well. Fixtures can we wrapped with cloth and then covered in plastic wrap and/or blue tape to prevent use along with signs directing folks to NOT use the sinks/faucets under any circumstances without direct permission from the builder or project manager. There is a professional "blue-goop" application we apply to tubs to protect from damage that works very effectively and is actually extremely cost/benefit worthy. Keep tradesmen OUT OF THE SINKS & TUBS! Recently, our expert crew spent nearly half a day with 2 grades of fine auto-repair type sand-paper and other safe methods & chemicals to try our best to 'restore' the look & feel of a stainless steel kitchen sink that other workers had scratched to 'h_ _ _!' The finished product came out pretty impressive - but why the damage in the 1st place?
Invest in floor protection - either thick paper designed for the job, or a stiffer cardboard also designed exactly for this application. For some reason, painters these days are forgoing drop-cloths quite often and we find a lot of paint on nice tile and even expensive wood floors This is not acceptable and can be prevented. Make sure to apply the protective application with the right kind of tape that is LEAST likely to leave tape residue or marks that are then difficult and time-consuming to remove. Make sure all edges are appropriately sealed because if not, small pieces of metal, such as nails, screws, etc., will inevitably find their way under the floor protection which when stepped on, can easily create damage to the tile or wood floors. When the WRONG type of tape is used, particularly on some fine wood floors, the 'stain' mark left by the tape and/or tape residue can sometimes be almost impossible to completely remove without a full, costly floor refinish.
Carpet should have a plastic covering designed just for this applied immediately after install, and even then, sometimes an additional layer of card-board is laid down over that. Case in point: We recently went into a multi-million dollar new home the day after carpet had been laid and there was already black tar on the carpet in several places where a worker had walked right with his dirty boots onto the carpet! Once again, this could have been prevented by protective application being applied directly after carpet install. Act quick, don't wait!
3) WINDOWS (glass & frames)
We cannot over-emphasize the strong need for protection, in most cases of new construction, and in some remodeling cases, for the glass and frames of windows. This should be applied AS SOON as windows are installed. First, inspect the windows and frames to see if prior to or during install any glass or frame damages, such as gouges or scratches, has occurred. Then, have the plastic application applied expertly to the glass by trained professionals as well as a special "magic" white tape applied to any frames. Very large glass windows or doors, such a sliders, can even have cardboard taped over them to protect them if they are in areas especially susceptible to potential damage. If a builder is allowing bare glass & frames to be splashed with concrete, grout, paint, etc., it will cost more money in the long-run to have a clean-up crew fix it and get it looking good - and, it may never be able to be brought to a nearly perfectly new look & condition. Our crews sometimes spend absolutely inordinate time and resources, such as expensive professional products, to remove concrete and grout, etc., from window frames & glass, and we often notice damages at that point as well. Expert cleaners like Expert Property Clean-Up can get things looking pretty clean & shiny even if there's damage.... but not every surface can be restored to perfection when damages are present.
These are just a few of the important areas in a home to protect - there are more, and we'll talk about these next time. Also.... if you need some suggestions for keeping dirty shoes off the new floors in a home or preventing other surfaces from getting scratched during the final stages of a new build or remodel project - those are coming in my next blog post as well. Let's all take a stand against unwarranted property damage and do right by our clients to protect their most expensive investment - their beautiful new home.