Brand new deck with issues. Are we in the right?


Old 09-23-18, 12:14 PM
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Brand new deck with issues. Are we in the right?

I wanted to get professional opinions as to if we're making a big deal out of small things, or if we're in the right here. Our contractor has been basically poor at communication in general. Now since he has been paid, we have asked him several times to address one more issue with our deck but it's always "Oh I'm sorry I'll call the manufacturer", or "Oh ugh I've been so busy", and it's really frustrating because we don't know what will make him come over and fix the remaining issue with our deck. We're based in the Midwest US, if that matters.

This is our old deck:
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This is our new deck which does look good:
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Our issue is that the railing is pretty solid and has no give it all on the other side, except for the end at the other side of the supporting posts:
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and one of the middle footblocks(honestly i don't know what they're called) does not meet the board at all, although I don't know if they're actually meant to provide some sort of support to the rail:
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Our contractor has said several times that he would call his supplier about the footblock (since August 6) and send someone over to tighten the railings.
Also, I have two questions as to if these are normal:
1) we had a creaking board, and this is how he fixed it, by adding shims:
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2) the original post (the only post when you look at the original deck pics) was supposed to be fully removed and replaced from the ground, but since they could not get it out, then cut the original, put the new post on top and secured it by tornado straps which he says is safe and solid:
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(Just to clarify, he only did this for the existing post(right at the concrete patio), not the two new ones which are on the ground.)

We have the two new posts with diamond pier footings so I don't think I should be concerned about the original post, but it seems weird to me to put posts on top of one another like that.

We were not present at inspection, because he said that we did not have to be present, and it did pass city inspection.

Are we making a big deal out of nothing here? I expected at least some form of post-construction support. Do we just let it go, and pay to have someone else fix it? We're really tempted to make a BBB complaint just so that he will take us seriously, but we're not sure if that's overkill, and if we have unrealistic expectations.

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Old 09-23-18, 12:31 PM
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The shims are no bid deal, that railing foot, does it just screw down?

I've never seen that before, seems sort of cheap but!

That post is not acceptable, I would never accept that and it's BS that they could not remove, new deck, new post!
Old 09-23-18, 01:29 PM
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I agree with Marq.

The shins are fine.

My big concern is the loose rail (major safety issue). And the footblock or rail roofing does not even make contact, is unacceptable.

That married post? May have passed code but I would not like it as brand new installation. Not that it should, but a number of things could shift that post (extreme tornado wind, accidental hitting with a ridding mower, moisture between the two pieces allowing rot to start). I would like to have seen at least a full metal wrap splice that post.

Call the BBB. Call another contractor (you may need to pay for it) and get an estimate and opinion in writing as to the fix. The workmanship is shoddy.
Old 09-29-18, 08:06 AM
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So I talked to the city inspector and he has concerns about the post as well. He advised me that I should email the company that makes these connectors which is Simpson Strong Tie to ask if what our contractor did is valid, and if they had any connector that would do the job. If our contractor ignores me or tells me to pound sand, then we can start a complaint to the Department of Labor and Industry.

Simpson support emailed back:
"You should consult a design professional to have this addressed sir. This is not something Simpson could stand behind with any of our testing or published loads nor do we have a product designed for use in this type of framing."

I FB message our contractor and ask him if he's used the connector before, if it's safe, and what brand it is. He says:
"That is what builders used to connect post to the main beams for uplift and that is the best connector. Leading builders use this all the time"

I then tell him what Simpson said and he says he'd be willing to sign something for a lifetime guarantee or forever that it's safe. I tell him that the city has concerns and that he should contact the inspector, and let me know when they will meet so I can be there.

The annoying thing is, he then sends me a picture of this picture of a project he's working on, saying: "Just finished this screen porch addition, stairs and pergola on Prior. Long job. Huge house though holy moly. 4th story on it that is the Man Cave. wow". Seems like he was trolling me or he's just totally dense and clueless.

I messaged him Wednesday, and haven't heard anything since, so either he's getting legal advice, or just brushing us off. Either way, this seems like this is going the long route to resolution.

I also want to start posting online reviews but want to do some research as to how to word them to avoid a defamation suit
Old 09-29-18, 08:13 AM
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he says he'd be willing to sign something for a lifetime guarantee or forever that it's safe
I know zilch about decks, but I do know this "guarantee" also means zilch. He could be a fly by night and be gone tomorrow!
I'd personally pursue this in court, if necessary, and I'd do it pronto! My 2cents.
Old 09-29-18, 09:09 AM
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Warranties are only as good as the company that issues it. It would be very easy for a small contractor to get out of a lifetime warranty. When I had carpet installed in my living rm and hallway I requested a better pad, they refused but gave me a written warranty stating the pad they use would outlast 2 carpets [like a dummy I accepted it] they were out of business 6 months later.
Old 09-29-18, 04:58 PM
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Agreed abut the so called warranty. He could easily go out of business and open up again under new name.
Old 11-07-18, 07:49 AM
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I'd be inclined to go after the guy because he deserves it, but on the other hand, the easiest and least stressful thing to do would be to have someone else fix the railing and replace that one post. The old post is definitely removable. He was just being lazy, and it shows. No way I would have paid him after seeing that. Neither issue is difficult to resolve.

As far as the shims, I'd personally replace them with plastic ones. They come in a dark color so they won't be as noticeable.
Old 11-07-18, 07:56 AM
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Get that rail fixed ASAP. In terms of legalize, you must mitigate your liability. If someone gets hurts because you did not fix it then you may face legal problems.
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