Building the Maui House
The Building of the Maui House
by Eric Newman
We contracted with 3D Builders and Design in Maui to build the house in late February, 2008.
3D Builders had a good reputation and was familiar with building challenging designs, remote locations, and high-end homes.
They are not known for being inexpensive or fast.
The president of 3D Builders, Don Roth, lives in the same sub-development on the next street.
Don has an excellent knowledge of construction in Maui and a strong background in framing.
We found Don to be an excellent communicator and had an uncanny ability to quickly understand exactly
what we wanted and offered creative suggestions to improve on it.
The house design was single story, three bedroom, three bath, and rather sprawling, with a horizontal projection of the roof area equal to 5,580 sq. ft.
Construction began in March, 2008 on a 12-month contract, and we were blessed with great weather and minimal delays from suppliers.
Framing proceeded quickly, and by September, 2008 the house was wrapped, the windows and some doors were in, and the roof was sheathed with plywood.
I rented a room in the house next door and was on the job site for about 60 percent of the building process.
I would recommend to anybody not to be a pest, but be available as much as possible while construction is taking place —
Especially during the critical finishing period.
Worked slowed during the finish work and the final building inspection was November 3, 2009, and we got the keys two days later.
The house was eight months late with a lengthy list of punch list (incomplete) items.
We were pleased with the way the house turned out with very few exceptions.
The flooring was supposed to be engineered acacia flooring, which looks very similar to Hawaiian Koa.
Unfortunately, the engineered acacia flooring arrived in the incorrect color and only solid acacia flooring was available in the correct color.
We felt that engineered flooring would be more stable over humidity and temperature variations, but we were assured that solid flooring would be fine.
The solid acacia flooring was installed in April 2009, and looked beautiful.
The flooring was immediately covered with Masonite to protect it from the balance of the construction process.
In early September 2009, the Masonite removed and the flooring had severe problems.
We wanted the flooring replaced, but we got a credit to have the flooring sanded and refinished.
At th time of this writing, we are waiting to schedule the refinishing, and waiting for assurances that
everything including the baseboards will not be damaged in the process.
All the flooring was severely warped and cupped upwards.
Apparently the flooring was installed over plywood that wasn't sufficiently dry, and the moisture caused the bottom of the flooring to expand.
There were also about 50 cracks in the flooring and something was oozing up from the wood.
Lastly, there were over 50 dings and dents.
Some were caused from grit under the Masonite, which was ground into the flooring over time.
Some were just due to carelessness of workers moving ladders and scaffolding which left marks into the wood,
and dragging items such as the water heater which left deep gouges.
Most workers seemed to be careful, others clearly were not.
Acacia Hardwood Flooring Ooze
In Hawaii there are several parties and celebrations at different milestones, and we did them all.
The first is a Hawaiian Blessing for the groundbreaking.
Rev. Adam Gomes conducted the blessing and we had an excellent time and thought he did a great job.
Next is the Topping Off party that is usually done when the roof is sheeted, windows are installed,
the exterior plywood is up, but the drywall is not yet installed.
The Topping Off party is basically a celebration and thank you lunch for the excavators, concrete crew, framers and other workers.
In some cultures they tie an evergreen branch to the roof.
The final celebration is the house blessing and it is conducted when the house is complete and you are moving in.
You invite everybody to the blessing — Friends, family, workers, contractors, vendors, and neighbors.
Most of our family flew in from the mainland.
Rev. Adam Gomes officiated again, and neighbor and four-time Grammy award winner George Kahumoku, Jr. performed Hawaiian slack key guitar.
The house blessing was the most special and enjoyable of the three events.
Below you'll see tons of pictures and videos of the construction and the three parties, so please take a look.
House from a Helicopter Viewed Overhead. May 11, 2009
Framing with a View. June, 2008
House Floor Plan
House Site Plan
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Steeper than the World's Steepest Driveway (only 22 degrees or 40%)
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Panoramic View of House and Barn. February, 2011
Panoramic View of House and Barn. September, 2012
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to build a house, a beautiful one,
i just do not need land and nails
not just wood, and grass
not just beams and roofs, for they
are but necessities, projections of
the house upon a hill
of the mind,
to build a house, one needs the soul
of the home,
the words of memories, the gutters
of our emotions,
unlike you, my house requires the fences
keeping away the ill winds
of publicity, the rumors of who i was,
a slope, the steep one, inclined
towards no other
than the whiteness of the sky
— Ric S. Bastasa
Copyright © 2011 - 2013 Eric Newman * All rights reserved