If you’ve ever read housing blogs, watched remodeling shows, or interviewed a potential home renovation contractor, chances are high that you’ve heard the term “fit and finish.” It’s often used as a sonorous buzzword meant to boost confidence in the remodeler’s expertise, but it’s important to understand exactly what it means to your contractor in practice.
So, let’s take a moment to understand what fit and finish is meant to convey and what it means for your home. At its heart, “fit and finish” means attention to detail. It means approaching construction from an engineer’s perspective and taking the extra time to correct every small variance in measurements. It means ensuring precision in every detail, down to the exact placement of every single piece of wood used to frame the home and every single piece of crown molding used to finish it. Good fit and finish means that every element of the home is accurately aligned, precisely spaced, and appropriately fastened.
Home Areas Affected by Poor Fit and Finish
The reality is that every area of your home is affected by poor or excellent fit and finish. As with a car, the quality of your home’s construction may not be immediately apparent. Instead, the quality of fit and finish (or lack thereof) shows itself over time. If a home is not carefully constructed and boards aren’t properly aligned and fastened, the structure will slowly shift over time.
Eventually, this results in details like door frames and kitchen cabinets becoming untrue, making it hard to close doors easily. Whenever a home lacks alignment, it’s usually due to poor fit and finish. Over the years, especially poor construction can cause issues like floors that slope or bow in the middle. In other words, fit and finish is all about longevity.
The Biggest Problem with Poor Fit and Finish
The biggest problem with poor construction is that it cannot be easily repaired. Because fit and finish is about every single decision made in the construction process, it’s hard to renovate a home that was poorly constructed without taking it all the way down to - and oftentimes past - the studs of the home and the foundation itself. Surface repairs may of course be made, but getting a home back into a position where it will age well requires a complete rebuild.
How to Choose Your Contractor Wisely
Fit and finish is so important to your home’s long-term integrity that it’s worth asking your prospective Toronto renovation contractor two questions during the interview process. First, be sure to ask, “What does fit and finish mean to you in practice?” You can tell a lot about a contractor from their response to this question, but of course, you’ll be able to tell even more if you can see it in action.
The second question you should ask is, “May I see one of your homes or talk to a client whose home you constructed five or more years ago?” It may sound like a big ask, but building a custom home is a big investment, so you’ll want to be sure you’ve selected the right contractor.
What Excellent Fit and Finish Looks Like
As an example, Severn Woods’ Owner and Founder Tom Cumming recently took his partner AKB Architects on a tour of a previous custom home build to show off how the fit and finish of the renovation still holds true five years later. Because Tom’s background is in mechanical engineering, the craftsmanship of every SevernWoods project showcases a passion for precision and craftsmanship as well as a love for architecture.
The SevernWoods philosophy is to focus on the finish from the start. That’s why our team ensures that every plank and every joint within the home’s framing itself is installed precisely within 1/8th of an inch. This ensures that our homes age well and feel new even when they’ve been there a long time. The single biggest favour you can do for yourself when building a new home is making sure you understand what the term “fit and finish” means in practice to your Toronto custom home builder.
Fit and Finish Requires a Whole Team Effort
It’s important to note that excellent fit and finish requires careful oversight of every member of the team. While it should be a core company value, it also needs to translate in action to every project foreman, carpenter, and specialist involved in the home build. At SevernWoods, we’ve worked with most of our trade partners for years, which means that they thoroughly understand the level of craftsmanship we expect.
But we also know that high-quality work has to be actively maintained. That’s why we regularly reassess our partners to ensure quality and to review their pricing, making sure that our clients have the very best quality building team working on their custom home build. If you’d like to know more about our process, don’t hesitate to contact us: when it comes to quality, we’re an open book.
“From the foundation to the finished product, we know that if the fit starts off exact, it ends up nearly perfect. We obsess about the fit of every single piece of wood we install. That’s why you’ll notice all of our framing is within 1/8th of an inch. On every plank, on every joint. Throughout the entire house.”