A Special Note to Kenneth White and the Builders of White City

You Suck.

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? Is tiling a wall properly too much to ask for?

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.

The pretty new kitchen outlet and disposal switch.

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5 Responses

  1. Jenn says:

    Aw the joy of home ownership… I’ve heard that about White city… one of the reasons I was glad I bought in Sandy. Everytime I walk into my downstairs bathroom I pause to think how insane the homeowner must have been to design it this way. Ugh! good luck!

  2. shannon says:

    And I thought I read something where you guys said you weren’t handy enough to do it yourself. It’s not so bad, is it!

  3. shannon says:

    I forgot the “Good job” and the subsequent pat on the back.

  4. Bill Fox says:

    Jesse this is not a white City problem but a problem in General. With every new house you buy, (the chances are you’ll buy a few) you will get older and wiser, but unfortuanately there is always something new not anticapated. In our current house the builder(a certified idiot) used old barnwood. I’m not talking about for looks, but structural. He also used light weight joices in the floors, which were compensated by having many load barring walls on the 1st floor. Some of the joices warped causing us to have to take up the floor so our sliding glass door would continue to work. The Short joices(load bearing walls) also made it impossible to expand the size of the rooms Oh and then there was the floor tile put over plywood instead of wonderboard which then of course needed to be grouted every other week.

    I am certainly not a rookie when it comes to purchasing a house, but every new purchase makes me feel like one. I guess it is kind of like buying a new software program. You know what the deficiencies of the old one are and you hope you know those of the new one

  5. Bill Fox says:

    BTW, I don’t have a GFI in my kitchen either LOL

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