Contractor / Expectation of Work

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Old 04-25-17, 06:40 AM
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Contractor / Expectation of Work

OK - first off I must warn that I'm a perfectionist, and I try really hard not to hold other people up to my standards.

Long story short, the wall next to one of our garage doors got bashed in by a car. I am currently in a massive project, so did not have time to do the repairs myself - plus block had been pushed off and I don't feel comfortable doing masonry work that is structural.

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So, we hired a contractor. The house is 30+ years old, T1-11 siding. Needs a paint job. But the walls are plumb.

When I got home yesterday, the work had been completed and he had been paid. However, upon inspection the wall is not plumb - by 1". The string for the plumb bob is being held against the face of the top plate:

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Additionally, you can see where the unpainted wood is on the side, so he had to have noticed:

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And various gaps:

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Additionally, I told him I would be handling the electrical work (the garage had a light mounted on that wall). He installed a single stud right where the hole was to go, and drilled a hole through the stud sideways. I'm going to replace that single stud with two so I can put in a proper electrical box, but I cannot fathom why he put a hole in the side when I said I'd be taking care of that myself (as well as paint and caulk).

Am I expecting too much? I suspect when he laid the brick down he didn't check to see it's position from the top plate, and figured it was "good enough" when he came back on Monday to finish. Ultimately, I am going to be redoing his shoddy craftsmanship, though probably not doing any new brickwork. Not too sure how I'll handle the 1" overlap.

He did install rebar through the blocks, I could tell because he cut the rebar in front of my portable LED worklight, causing sparks to embed themselves in the acrylic window. That I blame myself for, accidentally leaving the light out the night before he came.
 
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Old 04-25-17, 08:59 AM
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What type of contractor did you hire? a handyman? did you check his references?

Are you sure the wall was plumb previously? Are the replaced block level and in the same place as the original block? It might look better to leave that wall out of plumb. As far as the painting goes most will only paint the new wood unless instructed otherwise.
 
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Old 04-25-17, 09:59 AM
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He was referred by a well-trusted source, handyman/contractor.

The original wall was plumb - I checked the visible caulk/paint line on the outside and that line was plumb. Additionally, I measured at the bottom where the wood/trim meets the floor and compared it to the other side. Now, I cannot say for certainty, but there is a visible widening line on the interior wood as well where wood that hasn't been exposed to light can be seen, I should measure that. Also, a witness mark where the garage door post meets the garage floor shows things aren't back where they once were.

The flashing between T1-11 sections was originally flush, and the face of both sheets were flush. Where the two trim pieces met - they might have been off originally by 1/8, but is now > 1/4".

I cannot tell regarding the block, I didn't have time last night to check. I suspect, and I can check since we are disposing of the old materials, to see if there is a difference between the block that he used.

We asked him not to paint/caulk, so that was fine. I'm glad otherwise I'd have had a mess as I deconstruct his work Thankfully he used mostly screws.

However, he also filled the gap between the house foundation and the concrete apron with mortar (just in the one section) - that stuff doesn't expand/contract, so I'll have to chip it out. I was planning on filling it with sealant this summer (I did all the other expansion cracks), should have mentioned but I did not expect him to do that.
 
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Old 04-25-17, 02:39 PM
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Block sizes are pretty much standard but how you mortar them in and whether or not they are set level can determine if the placement is off or not.
 
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Old 04-25-17, 02:54 PM
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I checked. The blocks were identical. However, the new blocks are not perpendicular to the old wall (I took a square to the corner), and the corner block sits 0.5" proud of the foundation/floor (ie, hanging over). marksr is correct - he used a very thick mortar (.5-3/4")between the old and new block, whereas the old bricks are "tightly" mortared (.25"?).

He also reused two of the 2x4's that were damaged (the two supporting the garage door header), but I will have to take the trim off to see if they had cracked or not.

I checked the other two wall sections and they are plumb.
 
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Old 04-25-17, 02:57 PM
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And this wasn't a cheap job - they charged $2K for:

two people, 1.5 days of work, and they also rehung a pair of 4x8 shed doors

I had already put a proper header in over the shed doors (original construction was a 2x4 on the flat!), but due to time couldn't get to reconstructing the doors. They did on OK job on the doors (sort of - not really necessary to go into).


I guess the stupid question - how much effort would it be to rip out the blockwork they did and re-lay them properly?
 
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Old 04-25-17, 03:02 PM
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Where is the rebar and concrete? It's fairly easy to chisel out mortar and remove block but if it's been filled with concrete, the job becomes MUCH harder!
 
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Old 04-25-17, 03:19 PM
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He filled the blocks with mortar (concrete?) and rebar every 16" (I'm guessing two pieces).
 
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Old 04-25-17, 03:25 PM
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The frustrating part of this is that if I had just done the work - it may have taken me a week - I'd be fine. But the next week will likely be rainy, and I don't think I can tear it apart and rebuild before then.
 
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Old 04-25-17, 03:29 PM
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I understand your pain. A little over 20 yrs ago I had a garage type warehouse built at the bottom of my property for my painting business. I didn't have the time to build it and I had trouble getting someone to build it for me so I pretty much gave the job to the only contractor willing to do it that year I don't have time to list all the things they did wrong
 
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Old 04-25-17, 03:53 PM
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My OCD has just kicked in. I agree that so much is wrong here. Ask him if he owns a level. Obviously he also used 5/8" T1-11 and needed to pack out the backside to make it match the existing so that it matches the 3/4" trim boards. How do you reset block and not use the existing corner as reference?

Have you asked him back to repair? After all, you did shell out a pretty penny for the work. Also, ask for his insurance information and file a claim if he refuses to do the work. Put some pressure on him. Not sure what the laws are in your state, but I have to pay into a special fund every year to cover bad uninsured contractors. You can also file a complaint with the state who will scrutinize his license. You still have some power even though you already paid.
 
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Old 04-25-17, 04:15 PM
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The big problem is that in trimming it out he did a good job - but screwed up the most critical IMHO portion, which would be getting the block and wall plumb. Everything else - all the gaps, etc... would not be there. I'm not a "fill er with caulk" kind of person. Caulk has its uses, but it shouldn't be used to cover up mistakes.

Just for the sake of completeness:

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The blocks get closer to the foundation towards the door frame, but I know the old block was flush - I had cleaned and prepped that crack for flexible cement caulk last season but couldn't get to it on a nice enough day.

And I noticed today that you can see daylight through the Z-flashing where the two sheets meet. There's a small chance that this was because of the crash and not fixable, but, erm...
 
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