Welcome back to another installment of Home Support, where Hearthside Homes Pro Builder Carter Schimpff answers your home questions!

Have a question you'd like to ask? Drop a us a DM on our Instagram Account (@hearthsidehomes).


I'm Carter Schimpff, General Manager at Hearthside Homes, and I'm here to answer some of the internet's questions about your homes. This is Home Support. All right. First question:

"Which is better, quartz or granite?"

Jury's out. There are pros and cons to both of them. Quartz is a little bit more expensive than granite. Okay. A little bit might be a might be a misnomer. It's a lot more expensive than granite, but it is more durable. It's harder to crack. It's harder to scratch because it's an engineered stone product rather than a natural stone product.

However, one other drawback to quartz is it is very heat sensitive. You put a hot pot on top of a quartz countertop, you're going to damage it. Since granite is natural stone, you put a hot pot on top of granite, it's going to be just fine. So pluses and minuses.

"Farmhouse sinks: in or out?"

I'm going to say "in". Joanna Gaines, you can thank me later.

Still in. Although let me tell you this. If you're going to put a farmhouse sink in your kitchen, please, please, please. For the love of God, do not put a stainless steel farmhouse sink. Use an engineered stone product like silgranite or something like that. If you put a stainless steel sink in a high traffic high use area like a kitchen, you're going to brush up against it with all manner of things forks, pots, pans, belt buckles.

By the end of the year, it's going to be scratched to high hell. It's not going to look very good anymore and you're going to be pretty sad about it.

"Why are black framed windows so much more expensive?"

Because the window companies know you want them and they're getting their piece while they can. Next question.

"Why do some showers have a step down and others slope down?"

That's actually a really interesting question. So when you're making a custom mud set shower pan, there's really a couple of different ways to skin the cat. The two most common are to do a lip right down into the pan from the level of the master bathroom floor or whatever bathroom you've got, or you can slope it down in.

Now either way is really fine. The advantage to doing a lip is you've got a little bit of extra protection from water coming out of the shower and onto your master bathroom floor. Not a huge deal, but it is a little bit of extra protection. Let's say you've got some hair in the drain after a year or something like that. The drain's not draining so fast. You're shooting tons of water in there. Maybe you've got a waterfall showerhead or something like that. That lip can add a little bit of extra protection for leaks.

Sloped down shower pan, big advantage there is if you're going to be aging in place in your house or it's a generational house, you don't have the trip hazard of the lip on the pan, and if you make the shower door opening wide enough, you can roll a wheelchair straight in there. Next question.

"My foundation has cracks in it. Is this bad?"

Not necessarily. So. My foundation guy likes to tell people two things about your foundation. Number one, it's going to crack. And number two, nobody's ever going to steal it, which he thinks is really funny, but I've heard the joke like 30 times. So it's it's kind of lost its luster for me.

Either way, hairline cracks in a foundation system are pretty much perfectly normal. That's a normal part of the curing process, which can take up to a year. It's normal to get some some expansion and contraction in your foundation system as it ages, as the soils around it move due to excess moisture or excess dryness, depending on what season it is.

Now what you want to look out for is if you have really wide cracks, say, more than a couple of millimeters wide, not long — length really doesn't matter — but wide. If you've got those or if you're starting to see diagonal cracks, maybe in the in the top corner of a doorway or somewhere in your walls, that can be an indication that your foundation is moving.

Maybe it's got differential movement or maybe some deflection. And that's something that you should hire a licensed structural engineer to come out and assess. It still doesn't necessarily mean that you've got a bad problem with your foundation, but it is something you should get checked out by a licensed structural engineer.

I'm going to tell you right now, get a licensed independent structural engineer to come check it out. It's a couple hundred bucks. Do not hire a foundation repair company even if they've got their own engineer, okay? Because they're going to find something wrong. They're going to find a reason to get some business out of you. Get an independent structural engineer. Let him or her tell you if you've actually got a problem or not. Next question.

"What is the biggest useless home design fad you see right now?"

Okay, I've got one and I'm sorry, Instagram, it's all over. I agree. It looks really cool. I love the idea behind it, but it's those cabinet front hidden doors in the kitchens that lead into a pantry or a prep kitchen. Really, really cool idea. But let's think about usability here.

If you're only going to be using your kitchen as an entertainment space, you order out food all the time, you're never really cooking in your kitchen then, yeah, that's that's actually a pretty cool idea. That's a nice little feature. But if you're cooking in your kitchen all the time, especially if you have kids, you're going to be going in and out of that prep kitchen in and out of that pantry all the time.

And what happens with high traffic doors? Go look at your utility room right now and tell me if that door is closed. That's a high traffic room. What happens with high traffic doors? They stay open all the time. Nobody keeps them shut because they're going in and out, in and out, in and out. So you've paid all this money to have this pretty, hidden, you know, kind of like a hidden bookcase door in a library. You've paid all this money to have this hidden cabinet door into your prep kitchen and your pantry. But it's just going to stand open all the time. Useless.

So that's all the questions we have for you today. If you have a question about homes or building, drop it in the comments of this YouTube video or hit us up on Instagram @hearthsidehomes. Leave us a comment on any of our posts there or send a DM. I can't wait to make another one of these for you guys!

Discover the 7 things you must know before designing and building a custom home.

Designing and building your new dream home can be exciting and overwhelming all at once — especially when you don't know what you don't know.

Take advantage of our 140+ years of experience with this free guide that will educate you on 7 important things you must know before building your next custom home.

Download Now