I mean, seriously. Have you guys ever seen a measuring tape, a level or a square? Is it really that hard to ensure that cabinets hung next to each other are at the same height? Is it too much to ask that a piece of drywall not bow inwards at odd angles? Is it just too much of a hassle to actually use the ground wire for grounding electrical outlets?
As we've been more-or-less rebuilding our kitchen, it seems that each thing we do exposes some new level of incompetence on the part of the original builder and subsequent residents. In addition to the aforementioned problems, here's some other things that have managed to be done entirely wrong:
- None of the outlets in the kitchen were GFCI. That means you could easily kill yourself by spilling some water on the backsplash.
- The disposal was wired directly into the current with only a switch sitting between it and the line. Want to work on the disposal? Go turn off the breaker instead of unplugging the thing.
- The disposal switch used a separate box about 3 inches away from an existing box with outlets. You know, instead of just swapping out for a double box that looks much nicer.
- The cabinet on the right side of the stove is a full half inch higher than the cabinet on the left side of the stove. I think we're going to have to pull out the cabinet, trim it to height and then put it back.
- The pipes for the kitchen sink had no shutoff valves. Want to work on the sink? Shut off water to the entire house.
- When those same pipes are leaking, fix it instead of allowing it to drip. That results in rotting out the bottom of the cabinet, a piece that was pretty easy for us to remove put is proving much more difficult to replace.
With so much that even a layman can recognize as done incorrectly, I can understand why our neighbors joke about the poor quality of these homes. Thankfully, we've managed to figure out ways to correct (or work around) all of the previous problems. The electrical in particular required a lot of work. I ended up replacing the outlets on the kitchen counter with GFCI sockets to bring it up to code. I also moved the disposal switch so that it shared a box with one of those outlets and changed the wiring around so that instead of a wire going straight into the disposal, the switch now controls an outlet under the sink that the disposal plugs into. (This also kept us to code for how many outlets or devices can be controlled with a single GFCI outlet.)
As as a special sneak peak part 2, here's what the new outlets on the counter look like. Note the faceplate with no visible screws. Rawr.