Remodeling in Texas from a British Perspective

If you have ever experienced that sinking feeling when you realize that your house is on the move, you are not alone. Texas has expansive soils and its conditions are unique to only a handful of places around the globe. 

The construction process depends in its entirety on your foundation and how the ground under your house was prepared prior to laying the concrete slab. Builders in Texas use a post tensioned monolithic slab, which sits on the ground, you often see the forms as you pass new construction sites. If you watch the process, you will observe heavy machinery passing over the bare ground repeatedly. The aim is to compress the dirt so there are no voids or hollow areas under your house. The principal is good; unfortunately the execution is not always as it should be. It does not matter how strong the concrete slab you cast is if the ground is flawed your house will move. 

New home builders in Texas have a hard time, competition is stiff and people want more for their money. Mistakes happen; things are often overlooked or forgotten. I watched some framers erect a house in McKinney in two days. I never saw a long spirit level in the whole process. The work is okay, just not perfect; rough openings are often over allowed or miss-measured. Welcome to Texas, where rooms are not square, walls are rarely straight and everyone passes it on to the next guy. The truth is the sheetrock guy can’t make a curved wall straight; he can overspray trim work and doors because the painter will fix that. The trim carpenter also like to leave things for the painter, poorly mitered external corners, (I have yet to meet a carpenter who correctly copes an inside corner) and yes the special art of forgetting to trim the frame of a pre-hung door. If you ever wondered why the gap under your doors was a little on the large size, pre-hung doors come in a frame that needs to be trimmed to suit the floor covering. They also like to fit the door to the framework put up by the framer, oops remember he never had a spirit level. The door may shut in the frame with a little planning, but it will never sit correctly in the opening and may like to swing open on its own. No it’s not a ghost, gravity just loves to move things to there rightful position. 

The painter; well he just sprays everything (including windows, cabinets, and tiles), they just keep the prep work to a minimum. That explains all the bumps on your trim, why clean off dry mud when you can paint over it, along with the open nail holes if you are lucky or exposed nail heads if you are not so lucky. So that’s the finished house with leaning cabinets, and counters that could host the downhill Olympics all ready for your occupation. There are some highly experienced contractors but they are a dying breed, skilled people have left the industry. Students train for white collar careers, manual work and technical skills are out of fashion. 

Supervision plays a huge role in any construction project, if you have minimal supervision and don’t have the ability to communicate things will fall through the cracks (and they can appear any time the weather changes)

So if you need to fix something later you call an experienced contractor, and most can fix anything your budget allows. See how it should be done with our Before & After pictures. We don’t advertise for work, come and see for your self why people get so excited about the British builder. 
If you are a contractor who takes pride in your workmanship and would like to work with like minded people please contact us for opportunities.