New Home Quality Control Checklist
This free basic checklist was created by Tim Carter, founder of, for your pleasure. If you answer "I don't know" to any of the questions, go to and enter the keyword phrase about the topic into the search engine. Read any columns or watch the videos that come up in the results to discover what you need to know.
Plans & Specifications
Poor quality plans and no specifications allow builders to take advantage of you.
Have you taken the time to create great plans that have all information the builder needs to finish the job without input from you?
Do your plans have spreadsheets showing all your product and finish selections and where everything goes?
Footing / Foundation
Footings and foundations support your entire home. You can't afford mistakes here.
If your project has a footing under the foundation will it be at least 8 inches thick, 20 inches wide and have two rows of continuous 5/8-inch-diameter steel bars in the lower third of the footing?
If your foundation is cast, or poured, concrete, will it be *square*?
If you have a cast or poured concrete foundation will it have four rows of reinforcing steel - two one foot below the top of the wall and two one foot up from the bottom?
If your home or addition will be on a poured concrete slab will there be a cross-laminated vapor barrier under the concrete and will steel mesh be in the concrete to prevent crack separation?
Frame Walls and Floors
Most homes and room additions have wood-framed walls. They need to be strong.
Will your wood subfloor system have strong joists that prevent bounce when someone jumps on the finished floor?
Will your subfloor material be a water-resistant product that will not swell if it gets wet?
Will your builder glue and screw the wood subfloor to the joists in critical areas where you'll end up walking through your house? This prevents floor squeaks.
Will the wood-frame walls have the studs all crowned the same way and will the corners have oriented strand board (OSB) nailed to the outside for strength?
Will your builder apply an air and water barrier to the exterior walls and do it according to the manufacturer's specifications?
Your roof structure and the roof covering is important to keep you safe and dry.
Will your builder offer you the option of attic or storage trusses so the space above your home is not wasted space?
If your roofing is asphalt shingles, will the builder install an affordable thin copper strip at the ridge to prolong the life of the asphalt shingles?
Will your builder install a synthetic underlayment or traditional felt paper under your roofing so the warranty of the roofing isn't VOIDED?
Plumbing - Electric - HVAC
Your plumbing, electric and heating & air conditioning systems are vital to your comfort.
Will your builder do a heat gain and loss calculation so your heating and AC system is sized right and the rooms have the CORRECT ductwork feeding each one you're comfortable?
If your plumbing drain pipes are plastic PVC, will they be well insulated in walls and ceilings so you don't hear rushing water when a toilet is flushed?
Will your builder or plumber offer you the option of installing a simple gravity hot water recirculation loop?
Will your water supply lines be sized right so you don't have low water flow when multiple fixtures are used at one time?
Will your builder or electrician offer you the option of upsizing certain circuits so they're 20 amp instead of the normal 15 amp?
Will your builder or electrician offer you the option of putting in strategic outdoor outlets that are controlled by an indoor switch for you holiday or party lighting?
Exterior Grading
The ground around your home must slope away so you don't have flooding issues around your home.
Will your builder make sure that you have at least 6 inches of foundation exposed and that the ground slopes away from the house at least 6 inches in the first ten feet around the home?
Will your roof water be piped away from the house to the lowest spot on your property or connected to a public storm water system?
This is the END of the Basic Checklist - See above for the comprehensive one that covers many other important exterior and interior items.
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