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All home improvement contractors must die

By robo_dev ·
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//begin rant 1.0//

Why is it that when you pay somebody to do work, they never do it right the first time? Is it a lack of education, poor genetics, lack of pre-natal care? Did their mother smoke (crack?) during the pregnancy?

Why does it fall on me, the homeowner, to educate the contractor about building codes, best practices, and common sense?

For example, right now I am getting the raised wood deck replaced on my house. I did LOTS of due dillgence, checked references, etc.

And yet....

I'm having to explain to them:

- why a 'temporary beam' to pass inspection is a bad idea
- why soil contact with wood is bad
- why 3/8" bolts are not code-compliant for guard-rail attachment
- why it's a bad idea to tap their ungrounded extension cord into the 30AMP service-disconnect for my AC unit.
- why joist hangers exist, and the startling news that there are even different size joist hangers for different sized joists...so therefore using a 8" hanger on a 10" joist is not correct.

Or why it's a bad idea to let one of the worker's 8 year old son roam unsupervised under the deck (on temporary supports) for three hours last Friday. (have that on CCTV footage)

Today I found they installed the posts in the ground, using only the (code minimum) 12" of concrete in the hole, the rest filled up with soil. Technically it 'meets code' but keep in mind the Southern US is second only to Hawaii for termites.

After a somewhat heated argument with the owner of the deck company, I have made the vow...never again hire anybody to do anything. I used to do it all myself, and I guess I need to get back to that again.

//end rant//

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Oh no.

by boxfiddler Moderator In reply to How about this kitchen?

Can't do that color scheme. :0

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But Davette

by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to Oh no.

I thought that green nail polish and Black Lip Sticks would suit you.

Col

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Expectations Versus Specifications

by TheChas In reply to All home improvement cont ...

Well, the first thought that comes to mind is how well did you detail your specifications for the deck work before going out for bids and selecting a contractor?

If you just said I need a new deck and choose one of the lower bids, you are getting what you asked for. The contractor did not bid for doing the work above minimum requirements.

If you desire or want specific materials or construction used in a project, those details must be part of the proposal and then be documented in the contract for the job.

If you wish to change something after the work has started, expect to pay extra for it.

Not to say that the contractor is right on all the issues. Just that he expected to spend X amount on materials and his workers would put in X amount of time to complete the job. And then you look things over and have different expectations for materials and construction techniques.

My Father-In-Law draws up detailed requirements and terms whenever he hires work done. Right down to specific requirements for each payment for the job.

Where I work, we regularly run into not getting what we expect from outside suppliers and contractors. But, we can't do much about it because the supplier met our documented requirements. We are learning and getting better at defining proper requirements for contracts. It was easy when we did it all in-house as we could quickly interact if any detail appeared out of line or needed further definition.

Point is that in the US service economy you seldom get more that what you specified as the requirements for the job.

Chas

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I did NOT need to see this right now

by NickNielsen In reply to All home improvement cont ...

I'm getting ready to have a new roof put on the house. I'm asking for estimates from five A-rated contractors off Angie's List. The difficult part is the roof has multiple slopes (2-1, 1-1, and 1-4), three gables, and four chimneys. My brother-in-law says I'll pay about a 10-20% premium because of the steep roofs. Thankfully, I have the replacement cost rider on the homeowner's B-) , so the insurance company says they'll give me over 9 grand.

I also need to see about getting the wood painted and the windows replaced. Anybody got a good line on this week's Powerball numbers?

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Reading from your post:

by AnsuGisalas In reply to I did NOT need to see thi ...

5, 21, 11, 14, 10, 20, 9... how many more do you need?

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I've never used Angie's List

by AV . In reply to I did NOT need to see thi ...

I use ServiceMagic.com. I was pretty happy with the contractor I found. You have four chimneys? Wow, Nick, does that mean you have 4 fireplaces? At least you can get some money to replace the roof from the insurance. We just got done putting gutter helmets on our existing gutters and even that cost $3000. My house is just a small Cape Cod. Any home improvement costs a bundle.

I had my roof done about 15 years ago and it's never leaked (knock on wood). We were lucky that we didn't have any rotted wood to replace, so they were just able to rip off the existing roof shingles and replace them. I hope it goes that way for you too, though you never know what they will find when they get rid of the shingles.

I think getting new windows was one of the best things we ever did. We had old wood windows, circa 1950. We bought Low-E3 double-hung windows a few years ago and they are just great. They're so easy to keep clean. Now if I only can keep the birds from flying into them. :0

I gave up on painting the wood and got the house sided. It all costs a small fortune, so I hope you're feeling lucky.

AV

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Three fireplaces

by NickNielsen In reply to I've never used Angie's L ...

Two chimneys to nowhere.

Big fireplace in the living room. No damper, just glass doors to keep the aminals (and cold) out.
Two back-to-back coal fireplaces in the bedrooms share a chimney.
One chimney between the kitchen and the hallway used to be (I think) for the kitchen stove.
One chimney between the pantry and bathroom used to be for the furnace.

I'm hoping they don't find any significant rot. The house is about 80 years old and all the wood is custom cuts. The roof decking is board, not plywood, so there's some hope there.

The house is brick. The wood that needs work is the fascia & sofits, and around the windows. Unfortunately, there are a few areas that are shedding paint. :_|

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Around here it doesn't pay to replace windows that old...

by AnsuGisalas In reply to Three fireplaces

Since the new wood will invariably be of lower quality than the old... replacing them means having to redo them in 5 to 10 years. Repairing the old is cheaper, and lasts longer. Just need to repaint every 5-10 years.

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Most of them have already been replaced

by NickNielsen In reply to Around here it doesn't pa ...

Probably by the previous owner. I don't want to replace all of them. Most of them have storm window/screen assemblies on the outside, so it's not a problem. But I have one room on the south side of the house that is single glazed, with jalousie windows. Three years ago, the neighbors cut down the tree that shaded that room; temps in that room now routinely exceed 80-85, even with air conditioning. And, of course, in winter, the windows shed heat!

I want to put in a double-glazed picture window so I can watch the neighbor's garage sit there.

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It's strange how good wood is impossible to get anymore...

by AnsuGisalas In reply to Most of them have already ...

They don't have the patience to grow the trees slow anymore... and they certainly don't have time to store the raw planks until they've settled after cutting, either.

On the other hand, close to here a guy was gonna cut some weak growth forest to make heating pellets... but when he cut a puny little pine he noticed that there were quite a lot of rings in the stump...
he counted two hundred! So instead of cutting it all up he applied to give it national park protection... it gives him a tiny yearly dividend on the land, but mostly he thought those trees had earned it for hanging on that long in a place that obviously didn't agree with them
I guess that would have made good planks, but I'm glad he got that idea... it's kind of a rarity to see that kind of respect for nature winning over monetary concerns.

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