what is a punch listBefore your contractor walks out the door, sends you a final invoice or turns over the keys you should have a punch list. So what is a punch list?

A punch list is simply a list of items that are yet to be completed by your contractor with an agreement to complete at a future date (not recommended) or it is a list of incomplete items or quality issues you want addressed before you accept the work (preferred).

The hardest thing about nearing the end of a construction project is to actually get it done. Most of the trades involved in the work have moved on to other projects.

The crew that actually worked on your project will not likely be the one that comes back to correct any issues, if you can get them back at all.  The contractor has moved on to his next revenue opportunity so to ensure your peace of mind and save future headaches, it’s best to get these items completed up front.

Never release final payment until your punch list is complete AND accepted.

Quality Contractors Welcome a Punch List

Now I’m certainly not trying to give you impression that contractors won’t honor their obligations. For most quality contractors, customer satisfaction is a key component of their business model and their mission to foster future work. But still, there are plenty of contractors who take advantage of customers who may not be “construction savvy” and who may not know what to look for other than the obvious.

As a professional construction manager, I’ve worked with trades who are willing to go the extra mile and also with trades who want to see what they can get away with. This, to me, is the difference between a job and paycheck versus someone who is passionate about their field and takes pride in their work.

What is a Punch List Check List?

To assist you in completing your next project, here is a punch list “check list” that I’ve put together and that will hopefully help you at least think about areas you should look at before signing off on your construction project.

This check list is not all inclusive nor will it apply to all items on your project — but a lot may. Link to download the list is at the bottom of this post!

This check list is your answer to what is a punch list. It is long and is not going to apply to all items on your project but I’m willing to venture a guess that a lot will and provide some benefit.

The check list is also not all encompassing in all scopes of work but should give you a pretty good start. You can use it as a tool when you do your initial walk-through, to familiarize yourself with areas that may otherwise have gone unnoticed.



  • Are there any visible drywall tape joints? Check in natural light and with lights on
  • Are the holes for light fixtures and vents overcut so there are gaps at the coverplate
  • Do you notice any cracks in the ceiling
  • Do you notice any cracks at the corners of skylights
  • Do you have adequate access to your attic and is it insulated properly
  • Are skylights sealed
  • Are smoke detectors installed and operational


  • Are there any visible tape joints not properly sanded or missing paint
  • Are there any cracks at the corners of door and windows
  • Do you see any screw heads popped through the drywall
  • Do you see any nail heads popped in wood framing
  • Is there adequate paint coverage or do you see thin spots
  • If your walls are textured, is it uniform
  • Do you notice any gouges, dings or crushed corners
  • Are there any cracked or chipped wall tiles
  • Are there any broken grout pieces on tile walls
  • Is wall covering secure at wall ends and corners
  • Are any trim pieces tight to the wall with no gaps


  • Check frames for damage – dents, scratches, buckling
  • Doors should open and close smoothly without catching
  • Self-closing doors should latch on closing
  • Is there weatherstripping on all exterior doors
  • Are there sweeps at the bottom of exterior doors
  • Do doors close tightly and lock properly
  • Is there any light visible around the door perimeter or bottom
  • Do door hinges have all their screws
  • Does the door threshold create a trip hazard
  • Is the door threshold sealed to prevent water intrusion
  • Are there any gaps between the door frame and the wall
  • Are all your door stops installed
  • Do windows open and close easily without sticking
  • Do windows lock easily
  • Are screens installed and secure
  • Are any glass panes cracked
  • Do you notice any moisture between glass panes
  • Are your doors undercut to clear the carpet and for circulation
  • If you have closers at the top of your doors, do they work properly
  • Any glass sliding, pocket or bi-fold doors should slide smoothing on their tracks


  • Are there any open cutouts at the back of your base cabinets
  • Are there any exposed nail or screw ends inside your cabinets
  • Do your cabinet doors easily open and close
  • Do your cabinet hinges contain all their screws
  • Are there any gaps at mitered corners of upper cabinet moldings
  • Is your molding glued or nailed
  • Do your cabinet drawers glide easily without catching
  • Is laundry, linen and cabinet shelving installed correctly
  • Are closet rods installed
  • Is your sink sealed to your countertop
  • Are your joints in a granite, marble or stone countertop uniform and sealed
  • Are there any gaps at countertop corners
  • Is your backsplash caulked to your wall


  • Are there any frayed ends on your carpet
  • Does your flooring transition correctly between systems i.e., from tile to carpet
  • Is your tile or stone flooring evenly grouted so the grout joints are the same size
  • Has your floor grout been sealed
  • Is your tile or stone flooring installed level so there is no more than 1/16″ rise
  • Are there any cracked or chipped tiles
  • Is your perimeter wood, carpet, stone or vinyl wall base attached
  • Are there any gaps between the base and the wall
  • Are there any gaps between the base and the flooring
  • Are carpet seams visible
  • Is the direction of your carpeting consistent
  • Are there transition strips where different types of flooring meet
  • Is there any damage to flooring from construction operations


  • Is your dryer vent connected to the outside
  • Are your plumbing fixtures caulked and sealed
  • Does your garbage disposer work
  • Did you run your dishwasher through one full cycle
  • Are shut off valves installed at all water connections i.e. kitchen, bathroom, hot tub
  • Have access panels been installed to access plumbing in your walls
  • Hot and cold water come out of their designated faucets
  • Toilets flush properly
  • Do any of the plumbing connections at the wall leak
  • Do any of your faucets drip
  • Are your plumbing cover plates tight to the wall
  • Do you floor drain have backflow preventers and traps where required
  • Are your toilet paper holders, mirrors securely fastened
  • Is your water heater set correctly


  • Is your microwave exhaust hooked up and working
  • Do your exhaust fans work
  • Have the construction filters been changed in your furnace to clean filters
  • Are all your diffusers and registers installed and open
  • Are your thermostats installed
  • Do your thermostats operate the correct heating and cooling zones
  • Has the gas been tuned on at your furnace and water heater
  • Do you have a humidifier on your furnace and is it installed
  • Is your ductwork insulated and sealed
  • Has your contractor vacuumed/cleaned the ductwork following construction
  • Do you notice any excessive noise, rattling or vibration when AC & furnace run
  • Do all your appliances work
  • Is your range hood connected and vented to the outside


  • Verify that phone jacks in all your rooms work
  • Understand which room outlets are switched
  • Will any of your furniture require a floor outlet
  • Are all switchplates / coverplates installed
  • Are there light bulbs in all your overhead lights
  • Has power been brought to the location for future ceiling fans
  • Is there a wall switch for ceiling fans
  • Have all the circuits been labeled in your electrical panel(s)
  • Is your garage door opener connected
  • Have any contacts for security been installed around doors or windows that will conflict with the installation of blinds or drapery
  • Do you have cable jacks installed in all your rooms
  • Visualize your furniture layout, are your jacks in the right place
  • Is your irrigation clock installed and working
  • Do you know where your breaker panel is located


  • Twist all the spindles in your stair rails to make sure none are loose
  • Check stairs and railing for any loose components
  • Do all your hose bibbs work
  • Look for any concrete cracking that is not in a control joint

Glad you took the time to read through this and get to the bottom of the page. If you think this punch list check list is beneficial and would like a PDF of the list, CLICK HERE.

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