Friday, October 9, 2015

10 Month Inspection

It's been a LOOOONG time since I've written on here, but I figured I'd update readers on the 10 month inspection part of building a home.

10 Month Inspection

We got our paperwork for our 10 month inspection around July. On the paperwork it had our scheduled date and instructions. We had to fill out the paperwork and confirm if the date we were assigned was good for us or not. On the paperwork you'll try and list everything that needs fixing. Things we included were:

  • Squeaky flooring by morning in Great Room
  • Drywall issues (nail pops and other problems)
  • Calking needs to be re-done
  • Some bedroom doors wouldn't close due to house settling
  • Kitchen cabinet doors need to be re-aligned
  • Garbage disposal acting funny

Our scheduled date was in early August. It only took about an hour. We had two guys show up, one guy telling us what the next steps would be and went over paperwork with us. In the meantime, the second guy went around the house and checked all the doors and other little things he could fix up for us.

During this initial inspection (at least for us) they didn't fix anything with drywall or flooring. I think this is dependent on your area, because I have seen some people get their flooring fixed on this visit, but our guys have a specific team that needs to come out for that. We also were given what we need to schedule the drywall visit.

Everything with them went smoothly and they were both very polite and easy to work with.

Soon after we sent the paperwork in to get our drywall fixed. We didn't get a call for WEEKS, so my boyfriend ended up calling them, and they told us we couldn't get an appointment until November 10th. I don't know about you guys, but I think that's a little ridiculous. We talked to them in August and November was the earliest they could do?? Oh well, it is what it is, and now I'm forced to wait for paint even longer than I thought originally!

Crown molding, quarter round, and paint

We finally found our painters annnnnd we're also getting crown molding! I'm pretty excited about it, and cannot wait!

Next week we will have a guy come in to do crown molding in every room of the first floor AND he'll be putting the quarter round down for our floor. After the whole Lumber Liquidator's scandal (you can read my post about that here), I just couldn't get myself to finish a floor that I know I'll probably have to rip up eventually.

We decided we're just going to wait out the class action lawsuit they have against them (which is why we're having someone finish it with the quarter round) to see if anything happens/if we can get our money back. Once that settles we'll invest in a whole new floor and definitely get one in there before kids are a thought. We're mostly afraid that if we rip it up we'll eliminate any rights we have to getting refunded. We feel that they are mostly safe for now, as the chemicals are mostly in the glue and not on the exposed surface of the wood (Lumber Liquidators is arguing it's safe because it's contained IN the wood - kind of like asbestos is fine unless you tamper with it), so as of right now it's not worth the risk or investment.

Once we get our drywall fixed (finally) we will be getting the entire 1st floor painted and the stairway and hallway upstairs painted.

Hope everyone else is doing well, and I'll try and keep things more up to date and not just completely disappear!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

New Projects and New Blog

Hi everyone! I have been terrible at keeping this thing updated but I've been pretty busy! I've been working full time, going to Grad school, and most exciting of all putting together my new blog!

I'm in the process of preparing to launch a new blog at On this I'm going to feature a lot of DIY projects that take away some of that cookie cutter effect (de-Ryanize). I'll also be featuring tips on a healthy life style (better outlook on things, women empowerment, clean eating, etc) while I take the journey to a healthier overall lifestyle myself!

If you are interested please click the link above and you can follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest OR sign up for my Newsletter (or you can do both!) so you can stay updated on everything!

Now, on to some projects I've completed.

The Garden Update

So ever since we've moved in my boyfriend has discovered he has a green thumb. You know that neighbor who you see obsessing over his lawn, and you see him/her seeding, watering, pulling weeds constantly and you're like wow .. they must really care about their yard ... Well that's now my boyfriend. Since we are now the people obsessed with our yard we decided to spice up the garden a little and add some more curb appeal. It also makes our front yard look different than all the others in the neighborhood which is nice!

We were able to complete it in a few hours (sod is seriously heavy people!), so you could easily take a day and complete this project.

What you'll need:
  • Spray Paint (optional)
  • A shovel
  • A wheelbarrel (or something else you can dump all the dirt you dig up in)
  • Top Soil
  • Plants
  • Mulch
Step 1:

Mark the area you want the garden to go. This acts as a great guideline and makes it easier to create the shape you want when you're digging.

Step 2:

Dig up and remove all grass/sod in that area (we dug a little deeper so we could put down more topsoil because the soil at our house is practically clay)

Step 3:

Dig holes for plants and put them in the holes (follow the guides that should come along with your plant that tell you how deep and wide the hole should be - we also threw some topsoil in the hole so our plants roots could grab onto good soil)

Step 4:

Throw down top soil and pack it around the plants. Use the top soil to make an even surface in your garden.

Step 5:

Throw some mulch down and you're done!

This is what it looked like before (Focus on the walkway area)

And this is after!
If it were completely up to me I would have made it a little more dramatic by bringing it out farther but the boyfriend didn't share my vision. I still love it though! We also got some lights to put along the walkway which look beautiful at night! I'll post a picture of that once I'm home!

Old Drawer to Herb Garden

My next project which will hopefully get done tomorrow is this herb garden. I gto an old drawer for $10 at the Habitat for Humanity Restore. I got some pre-made legs at Lowes(about $7 each). This drawer will be turned into an awesome raised spice garden! Stay tuned for the update!
I hope everyone else is having an awesome time decorating and/or building their homes!



Friday, March 13, 2015

My Laminate Floor is Killing Me (Lumber Liquidators WARNING)

Update: Lumber Liquidators somehow won their lawsuit. They don't even have to do a recall of their obviously dangerous floor because of the BS excuse that it's better left undisturbed .. Sounds kinda like Asbestos, doesn't it? They didn't even get fined for putting people in harms way. I don't really have any words to explain how I feel about this, but it sounds like the typical BS where companies are typically protected more than citizens. The only change is that they are now required to make their flooring in the US, but I still would NEVER trust this company. Buyer beware!

Hi all!

I haven't posted in way too long, because I'm a huge slacker!

I'm still working on getting a brand new blog on Wordpress set up but, like a said before, I'm a slacker. Stay tuned for that!

In the meantime, I really wanted to warn you all about Lumber Liquidators, especially because this site is probably attracting new home buyers, DIYers, or renovators. Here is the episode of "60 Minutes" that made us aware of the problem.

As some of you may have seen, 60 Minutes did a story on them and how a good amount of their flooring is tainted with a very high level of formaldehyde that violated safety limits set by the California Air Resource Board (CARB). Formaldehyde is used in the glue used to put together laminate flooring. If the levels fall within the safety limits the flooring should be safe, but the flooring from Lumber Liquidators (sourced from China) surpassed the limit on almost every single test 60 Minutes adminstered. Formaldehyde is a known carcinogen and can cause health problems as serious as cancer. It is especially harmful to children.

This article by CBS does a good job at discussing the issue. In the article (and on the 60 minutes episode) they say "In test commissioned by '60 Minutes,' 30 of 31 boxes of the product labeled compliant were not, with some emitting as much as 13 times the Carb 2 limit."

The video also shows Managers of the manufacturing plant in China admitting the products made for Lumber Liquidators are not CARB 2 compliant despite what the boxes say. They also say how it is about 10-15% cheaper to buy products with this level of formaldehyde, and they COULD make it CARB 2 compliant, but this would be more expensive. AKA Lumber Liquidators is a money hungry, greedy, low-life company that cares more about profits than the health of it's customers (Of course, that's just my opinion...).

The company is defending their product and is STILL selling this flooring, but they are now offering customers an air testing kit that will measure the amount of formaldehyde in the air of your home. In my opinion, this is ridiculous. This test does nothing to test the actual flooring, and they could easily argue that something else in your house could be contributing to the levels in the air. The company says, IF the levels are higher than normal they will CONSIDER replacing your floor at no cost.

As some of you know, my boyfriend and I put our own flooring in after our home was built in order to save money. Guess where we bought our laminate flooring... Lumber Liquidators. Guess where our floor is sourced from... China. Guess what our floor looks like... The floor the Manager in China was pointing to when he was say it was definitely not CARB 2 compliant.

Awesome, right?!?!

As of now, we're not sure what our immediate move is. Our flooring costed us  around $2000 and countless hours of installation (I was sore in places I didn't know I had and my knees and hands we red, cracked, and aged about 10 years). I'm also really concerned about the health affects of cutting all of that wood. As you may know, I installed this flooring myself. I was surrounded in saw dust from this product for DAYS, and so was my dad, mom, boyfriend, and dogs. I would imagine sawing open this flooring would release whatever chemicals are hiding within, and a very large portion of their customers do the floor install themself. Also, what about the companies they work with for installation? Those workers are around this stuff ALL day EVERY day.

Deep down, I know we can't live with this floor. I feel like I'm breathing in poison. With all the testing done by labs (you can see them all in the 60 Minutes video), I have a hard time believing they aren't dangerous to have in the house. We absolutely need to replace them before kids become a reality. We'll probably reach out to the company, but I have a feeling this will lead nowhere. They're sticking to their "our floor is perfectly fine" story, and I think a lawsuit will be the only way to make them give people a refund or replace their flooring.

Anyways .. I really just wanted to get the word out, because I think you deserve to know this if you are thinking of buying flooring from them. I know I would have liked to know before I made the decision to do business with them. I will never do business with them again, even to buy their un-tainted, formaldehyde free flooring. I can never support a company that clearly cares more about money than the health of their employees and their customers.

If anyone knows of any good, affordable flooring places in the Pennsylvania/Delaware area, please let me know! It looks like we'll be replacing flooring instead of going on a vacation this year...

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Quick Update

I have been MIA for a really really long time! I don't have pics for you (Sorry!) but I figured I'd just check in about stuff.

The Good Stuff
  • We truly love our home. I love our elevation, our upgrades, everything really.
  • Love the lay out. It's so nice having an open floor plan when we have people over.
  • I'm really glad we chose to put the TV on the wall separating our office and great room. This allows us to see the TV from the kitchen which makes cooking much more enjoyable, and I don't feel as left out when a game is on and I'm making food.
  • Big shower! No regrets about getting the Roman Shower versus a tub and smaller shower. We NEVER take baths so it wasn't worth it to us and it was a great decision. I love having two shower heads!
  • Cabinets - Really glad we upgraded these to the color we wanted and to the higher quality. Definitely worth it.
  • Quality - so far the overall quality seems very good! We've had barely any problems and we credit that a lot to our PM and his team. They clearly care about their work and it shows. I think your home all depends on the construction team and doesn't have as much to do with Ryan Homes
  • Upgrade carpets/carpet pad - This was a really good decision for us. I know some people HATE carpet but I really don't mind it and the level C carpet we got is so soft on my feet!

The Not So Good Stuff

There's not too much to tell here but we already have some things we need fixed at our 10 month check in.

  • Nails pops - This isn't really a "bad" thing since it's completely normal but we have definitely noticed some. I think the number we have seen is below average though.
  • The molding on the stairs is separating from the wall. It looks like they REALLY filled it in with caulk to compensate for the gap. Definitely will be asking about this.
  • Our breaker switches kept flipping. A few times a week a random room/area would lose power and we'd have to go to the garage and flip the switch. It was just really annoying. We had someone come out and look at it with Ryan Homes and it hasn't done it since (apparently it was a really simple fix).
  • Toilets - Our basement toilet is terrible at flushing and the downstairs toilet isn't much better. We had our PM look at this at our 1 month inspection and he basically just told us we need to hold down the handle for a few seconds rather than just pushing it down. I think that's a stupid solution but whatever. They say it's because they're the water saving toilets but my parents have one and they definitely work a lot better than ours. Oh well.
  • There aren't enough places to hang towels in the upstairs bathrooms. The places you could put an extra towel rack are kind of awkward and far from the tub and the one they installed in the secondary bath is over the toilet which is also kind of weird. Not a big deal but kind of frustrating!
  • The Paint they use is seriously horrible! This isn't a huge deal because we plan to paint anyway but everything marks up the walls. Everything. Plus, once there's a mark, it isn't going anywhere, and they're impossible to scrub off. I wish it was at least a little better because we were only planning on doing the first floor with paint at first so now we either need to shell out extra money to get decent paint on the walls upstairs or just live with the crappy paint for awhile.

All in all, not bad! We are really happy with everything and to be honest, I really thought we'd run into more problems by now (knock on wood).

Hope everything is going well with everyone else!