Building With Bay West Homes

The journey of building a new house...

Tuesday, June 10, 2003

One of the other things we've recently learned from Bay West, in hindsight, is that basements (even walk-out basements) aren't built to the same "spec" as main and upper floors. What this means is that the standards for construction quality, specifically sealing against air leakage, are lower in the basement. This is why my basement is so much colder than the upstairs, and why cold air can be felt blowing in along our baseboards in the winter. I was stunned by this revelation when we were told. Who gets a walk-out basement and doesn't finish it eventually? And if it's a finished basement, that likely means it's going to get used, right? And if it's going to get used, shouldn't it be as comfortable as any other part of your home?

Let's look at the scenario: we have a walk-out basement, and all along our Bay West salespeople knew I was going to be working from home, in the basement specifically. Having never built before, I naively assumed that the basement would be built with the same level of quality as the other two floors. I would have gladly paid more for improved sealing in the basement to secure it against the cold, but Bay West didn't have that as an option. In retrospect we should have added in-slab heating or a second furnace just for the basement - unfortunately neither suggestion was made to us. Being first-time home owners (and builders!) we relied on the experience of the people at Bay West that we were working with.

Ultimately this is our fault for not doing enough research and whatnot, so we can't blame anyone but ourselves...but I sure would have listened if our Bay West salespeople had said "Oh, you're going to work in the basement? You might want to consider a secondary heat source to offset the fact that your basement will be much colder than your main floor." So, word to the wise: add a secondary heat source to your basement if you plan on using it for anything other than storage, because if you live in Calgary, you don't want to be working in your basement when it's -40 outside and only 15 degrees in the basement. I kid you not - when it gets cold outside, the basement is a good 10 to 15 degrees cooler than our main floor. Brrr!

Monday, June 09, 2003

The painters finally came back to paint out house! Amazingly enough, they returned for the fourth time without paint. Can you believe it? I don't blame the painters themselves - this last one showed me his work order from their office, and it made no mention of needing paint. So the fault lies with their office for not telling them they needed paint. Once I explained the situtation to the painter, he promised to return later that day with paint. True to his word, he returned with another fellow, and they painted the entire wall. They did an excellent job, although it was a little frustrating to see paint splatters on our hardwood floor and in three spots on the carpet where it looks like they dropped their brushes. We're trying to look on the bright side that we finally have our wall completely repaired and painted, and it "only" took six weeks. ;-)

They're also supposed to paint the underside of the deck, but that never quite happened. Another call to Bay West...