Congratulations! You’ve designed the perfect space, found a respected contractor to build it, and you marvelled at the project’s completion. As your renovation or remodelling project comes to an end, you may think that your homework is done. However, here begins one of the most crucial stages, the walkthrough.
The walkthrough is where you will scrutinize every detail of the project in the presence of your contractor. It is an essential step for utmost customer satisfaction.
While admiring your new home or renovation, it is easy to get swept up in the thrill of it all and miss some small but very important details. That’s exactly why it is important to be prepared for the final walkthrough with a checklist, detailing everything you need to examine.
This list is certainly not exhaustive but will arm you with a list to tackle the most common renovation or new-build problems.
- Make sure the flooring & walls are free from dust & debris. Make sure there are no dents or chips, which can occur during a remodel or new build.
- Check every light switch throughout
- Turn on & off every light
- Turn on each sink and let it run for at least two minutes. Run it both hot & cold to test the temperature adjustment. Look for any backups in the pipes, hiccups in the water pressure, or other discrepancies
- Check underneath for leaks
- Use a LED Circuit Tester (available for as little as $10 at the hardware store) to test every socket in the home
- Open and close every window and door
- As you do this be sure to look, feel, and listen for any issues in the way they move
- Check the locks as well
- Make sure all smoke detectors are working properly
- Turn on the heater, and place your hand in front of a vent to ensure it is in working order. Do the same for the air conditioning.
- If applicable, make sure all new appliances are working properly. This covers but is not limited to:
- Heater & Air Conditioning
- Water Heater
- Turn the garbage disposal on & off
- If there is a range hood, test that as well
- Inspect the countertops closely. Many countertop materials are susceptible to chips & cracks during the installation process
- Scrutinize the alignment of all cabinets throughout, and make sure they are aligned and even
- Open and close all cabinets & drawers to ensure that they move smoothly
- If applicable, make sure the backsplash is clean and even. Grout lines should be consistent, and there should be no cracks
- If applicable, check the garage doors & their openers
- Check every closet to make sure the shelves are even & aligned. The closet doors should open and close properly
- Make sure the bathroom mirrors & medicine cabinets are evenly placed and level
- Bathroom accessories such as towel bars, shower curtain rods (if applicable) and toilet paper holders should be level
- Test the bathroom ceiling vents
- Make sure that the toilet flushes properly, and also that it refills to a normal level
- Run both the shower & tub to make sure the faucets are working properly. Run for at least two minutes to ensure that it drains properly
- Any tile in the bathroom, be it the floor or shower wall, should be evenly spaced with consistent grout lines. Check closely for any cracks.
- Double check that no wires are exposed and the circuit breaker is in working order.
Lastly, ask your general contractor to explain warranties, manuals, and maintenance info for any applicable appliances. This is often the last thing on many homeowners’ minds, but appliances are getting more & more advanced and will require a brief introduction to understand. From Wi-Fi ready refrigerators to smart thermostats, the technology can be daunting to learn without a mentor.
While you may be anxious to have the whole process over with, the walkthrough stage is essential. If you feel intimidated by the task, you can always hire a 3rd party inspector to tag along. This will provide an extra set of experienced eyes to help spot any discrepancies.
Most importantly, it is crucial for you to speak your mind during the walkthrough phase. Don’t feel guilty about scrutinizing a certain aspect of the work. Contractors live by their reputation, and would much rather fix something they missed, rather than have you complain about it for years to come.
In short, the walkthrough is an often overlooked but always essential part of the new-build or remodeling process. Your duty as a homeowner is to make sure the project turns out exactly as you had planned. As always, before you hire a contractor, do your homework. Read reviews, get quotes, and make sure you are hiring only the best of the best.
About the author:
For over 35 years, Keith Gerety and team have provided clients with a hands-on approach while maintaining a personal commitment to customer satisfaction. They are renown for delivering the best home remodeling and renovation in Westchester and Fairfield Counties.