Excellent design is all about the details. Every aspect of your project, from the textures, patterns, and lines to the use of space, form, and color should come together beautifully and functionally, from the floors to the roof. Everything should be measured twice so it fits perfectly. Everything should be perfectly balanced, aligned, spaced, and securely fastened. This is what we at Patrick A. Finn Custom Homes & Remodeling mean by “fit and finish construction.” It’s a sign of excellence in Chicago residential remodeling.
Many homeowners have never heard the phrase “fit and finish”, so it can be hard for them to tell the difference between your average contractor and true old world craftsmanship. By learning about what remodeling fit and finish means for your project, you will be able to see the details clearly in your own project to ensure your project goes above and beyond what your neighbors down the street may have experienced. Our goal is build and remodel homes that will stand the test of time and last for generations to come.
One of the best things you can ask contractors as you are shopping for someone to handle your remodeling project is, “How do you ensure a good fit and finish?” Because so few homeowners know to even ask this question, many contractors aren’t expecting it. You can learn an awful lot about your remodeling firm by how they respond to this question. If they seem uncomfortable answering, you should be uncomfortable choosing them for your remodeling project. If their eyes light up like you’re speaking their language, it’s time to ask the follow-up question(s):
“May we see one of your projects in person?” or “Could we talk with one of your clients for whom you did some work at least five years ago?” A contractor who is hesitant to answer either of those questions should not make your shortlist. The best design-build firms in Chicago will happily and proudly provide references. And since remodeling is a significant investment in time and money, you deserve to get the right answers so you can choose the right builder.
It doesn’t take too much imagination to visualize what could happen in your kitchen if the cabinetry is not perfectly measured to fit where it’s supposed to go. Either the cabinets may be too big and need to be totally refashioned, or they may be too short, leaving wasted space. Even if the measurements are off by mere millimeters, things will fit poorly and materials may have to be reordered, which causes lengthier schedules and busted budgets. These are issues that are difficult, time-consuming, and expensive to repair. This is why building with a fit and finish professional matters so much. Your design-build team should be absolutely persnickety about the measurements for every aspect of your project to avoid problems like these. In addition, fit and finish construction ensures that the finer details of design and style will come together beautifully and functionally, standing the test of time for years to come.
When looking at your design-build firms’ previous work, or as you go through the remodeling process on your own home with them, there are certain details to look for to ensure you get that excellent fit and finish in your own project. Here are some of the most important things to examine:
Take a close look at where the corners where different surfaces meet. Every section of wood, every piece of natural stone, or any material used in framing, cabinets, walls, and crown molding should fit perfectly and tightly where it goes. There should be no gaps or irregularities in the fit.
Are the edges perfectly finished, smoothed, and polished, painted or stained in the way they should be? Again, there should be no irregularities or nicks. Everything should measure perfectly as promised.
Make sure all surfaces are at the correct angle and height. Also, check any finishes on the surfaces. Paint, tile, paneling, etc. should meet up perfectly and seamlessly with no nicks, dings, or other imperfections.
Make sure every door to every room and on every cabinet fits perfectly. They should all open and close smoothly, leaving no unnecessary gaps or uneven spots. This goes for windows as well, of course.
In the end, these are all longevity issues as well as style and craftsmanship issues. When your design-build firm is meticulous about the measurements and getting the details just right from the beginning, the work done on your remodeling project will last longer and require fewer complicated repairs, and be easier to maintain for the long haul.
The Patrick A. Finn design-build firm in Chicago's Northwest Suburbs is passionate about fit and finish work, just as you should be. Take a look through our portfolio for examples, and then schedule a consultation to talk about your next remodeling project!