10 Ways Builders Cut Corners When Building Luxury Homes

Some builders cut corners. Here's what to look for.

It’s hard to beat the excitement of breaking ground on your new home. But while you may have found the design that matches your ideal vision for your new luxury home, you can’t overlook the importance of carefully overseeing the actual building process. If you want your home to be made with the best quality, you’ll want to look out for the ways builders will try to cut corners during the construction process. 

Hiring Subpar Workers to Build a Home

To achieve the level of craftsmanship and quality you envision for your custom home, it will take the skill of experienced workers. However, some construction companies may try to reduce their own costs by hiring inexperienced workers with subpar skills for the project at hand. Don’t be afraid to ask your building company about each worker’s experience and qualifications. 

Using Cheap Materials in a Custom Home

While you may specify the types of materials you want for your new luxury home, the building company you hire may try to use cheaper materials during the actual installation process. You may not notice the difference until years down the road when materials start to fade or rot when they should last far longer. 

“Builder Grade” Products

The builders you hire to construct your forever home should be able to use specific terms for the materials used throughout each room. If they seem hesitant to discuss the materials they plan to use for your home, it should be a cause of concern. One common term builders will use to try to make their materials sound better than they are is “builder grade.” In reality, this just indicates the materials are bare-minimum quality. It’s kind of like when you see a “real food” label on a frozen meal in the grocery store. 

Incorrect Installations

This is a consequence of either hiring unskilled laborers or simply not wanting to put the time and effort into the construction process. For instance, a roof may look like it’s installed correctly but could start to leak or lose shingles during inclement weather. The same can happen with windows, flooring, and appliances—if they are installed improperly to save time or money, you may soon find yourself dealing with issues.

Using Systems that Are Too Small

The systems installed in your home need to be adequate for the home’s size. Builders may try to reduce their own costs by installing air-conditioners, septic systems, or plumbing that simply can’t handle the demands of the size of your home. You may not notice these shortcomings until you need to put your AC on full blast or after months of using your septic system. Be sure to ask plenty of questions upfront and hire an independent inspector. 

Using Inadequate Insulation

What good is a new home if you can’t feel comfortable? Some builders will try to count extra wood and drywall as part of the actual insulation, which can be a sneaky way to be within code. Unfortunately, this doesn’t translate to equal insulating power, leaving you to deal with higher energy bills and a less comfortable temperature in your home.

Skipping Steps

To maximize the life of a home and reach the level of desired quality, builders need to follow every step. However, some builders may try to cut costs by skipping steps, which will show up later. Perhaps they didn’t add primer before painting one room. Or, maybe they used nails instead of screws when installing drywall. These steps may not make a difference right away, but they will lead to repairs and additional costs down the road.

Selling Luxury Amenities Without the Quality

Builders may try to sell you upgrades at the last minute, such as marble countertops or wood doors. However, you should make sure these are constructed with a commitment to quality. After all, your beautifully stained wood door won’t look so good when it’s falling off its hinges. 

Improper Supervision

For bigger home projects, it can take more than one supervisor to properly oversee a construction job to completion. Only having one supervisor can make it easy for steps to be skipped or for quality to be compromised. Just leaving it to one person can also increase the likelihood they’ll try to get away with cutting corners on quality. 

Fixing Things that Aren’t Broken

While not exactly cutting corners, this is a tactic builders have been known to use to put more money in their pockets. During renovation and construction projects, builders often discover issues with the home or lot. When this happens, the homeowner will need to pay for the additional fixes. However, some builders may try to increase their profit by finding problems that don’t really exist or that don’t need the level of repairs suggested. If problems keep arising, be sure to get a second opinion to avoid having to foot the bill for bogus fixes.

Blueprint for Success

There are many reputable builders who create quality custom homes for their clients every day. To ensure you hire one for your construction project, do your due diligence before making any decisions, or ask for recommendations from people you know and trust. If you still prefer a second set of eyes watching the process, many architects, like Spivey Architects in Charleston, will oversee the construction of your home and specify the quality of the materials to be used. This way your luxurious dream home will truly become a reality.