Steps and nose hardwood -- easy to DIY?

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  #1  
Old 12-23-14, 11:55 AM
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Angry Steps and nose hardwood -- easy to DIY?

Okay here is the long story short...
Saw new hardwood floors at friend's place.
Asked about the flooring guy and he is an older guy with pretty reasonable install charge/sq.ft.
I bought 850 sq. ft. 3/4" pre-finished hardwood made by Shaw from Homedepot.
He wanted 1/3rd of install charge before he started the job.
No problem.
He finished half floor and asked for another 1/3rd pay.
No problem.
He finished 95% floor.
Remaining is the steps and bull noses on 3 places, one 5 ft and two 3 ft in the front hallway and basement door along with few touchups and holes here and there.
We couldn't find bull nose in local depot so had to wait few days.
In the mean time, he asked for the remaining 1/3rd so he can pay his apartment bills.
I thought that he's almost finished and I have to pay him anyways so gave the money.
BIG PROBLEM.
He hasn't shown up after that and it's been over a month.
Doesn't reply phone and texts.

So it's not much work left and I think I can do it but need some guidance.
He put regular 2.25" wood where the bull nose should go so we can walk over it.
I think I have to install wood on the side first and then take that piece from top to put the bull nose in there as the bull nose is 3.25" wide.

Here is a picture of one of the hallway steps:

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As for tools, I have a electric jigsaw, compressor and a nail/staple gun with 3/4" staples.
Thanks for suggestions.
 
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  #2  
Old 12-23-14, 12:14 PM
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You haven't called him at the right time of day which is 2AM. If you don't have his home phone #, I can get it for you. If you have social networking accounts, post his name along with the story there. Finally, register a complaint with the local Dept. Of Consumer Affairs. If he has a license, they are the people who issued it.

As far as finishing the job, you can do it. A chop saw may make job go a little faster. I would probably install the bull nose first, then the vertical piece.
 
  #3  
Old 12-23-14, 12:24 PM
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Thanks for reply.
I have called him and texted him like 100 times over the last month.
Funny thing is I just got a text from him after few weeks and it reads like this:
"Sorry I am not able to work for you please stop calling me".
I replied why not and reminded that I paid for the job already but haven't gotten a reply.

So that settles it that he won't be coming back to finish it up.

He was moving and needed money to deposit for the apartment so if that's true, he may not have home phone #.

I doubt Kurt is licensed. Even if he is, may be long time back.
I have receipt of the payment and his signature with 'Paid in full' line but the receipt just has his name and phone printed with some items for flooring charges and my deposit/payment lines that he wrote by hand.
It's not a proper letter head to say.
I got a message from him over a month ago after I paid him in full that he can't work for a week due to kidney stones. Then after a week, he texted that he's finishing a different flooring job and can come on Saturday finish it. That was almost 4 weeks ago but nothing since then until today that he can't work for me.
I don't understand what's going on. He can't work at all or can't work for me? But since he was working in a different flooring job 3 weeks ago, he can work, just doesn't want to come and finish since he won't get any money for this as it's all paid.

I doubt he uses social media.
I'll be adding a bad review in craigslist though. He'll lose a lot more jobs than what's left here.

What do you mean by vertical piece? All are horizontal.
I was thinking of installing wood horizontally on the side of the landing and then covering it on the top with the bull nose piece.
So you suggesting I should rip the wood on top edge and install the bullnose first and then do the sides?
What's a chop saw? Table saw?
Thanks
 

Last edited by Mystery123; 12-23-14 at 12:40 PM.
  #4  
Old 12-23-14, 12:38 PM
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Have you considered taking him to small claims court? There's no way he can win, which means he pays court fees, too.
 
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Old 12-23-14, 12:43 PM
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You wrote:
"So you suggesting I should rip the wood on top edge and install the bullnose first and then do the sides?"

Yes, that's what I meant but wait for other opinions.

I understand that he won't finish your job but I would certainly take some action. If you don't want to try to contact him anymore, I would still make his name public as a bad business man. Small claims court is another choice.
 
  #6  
Old 12-23-14, 12:44 PM
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You wrote:
"So you suggesting I should rip the wood on top edge and install the bullnose first and then do the sides?"

Yes, that's what I meant but wait for other opinions.

I understand that he won't finish your job but I would certainly take some action. If you don't want to try to contact him anymore, I would still make his name public as a bad business man. Small claims court is another choice.
Okay.
My neighbor has more wood working tools that I may be able to borrow or take pieces to cut there.

Sides already have base board.
It had carpet there before so I just have to nail/staple the wood there.
Thanks

Have you considered taking him to small claims court? There's no way he can win, which means he pays court fees, too.
Not worth it my time and trouble.
It's not even 6 sq. ft. left on the steps.
5 feet x ~8 inches + 3 feet x ~8 inches.
Basement door doesn't need side wood, just the bullnose piece on the top.

There are more touchup work though.
He was supposed to fill up some holes and cracks and nail down few slightly high areas but that's on me now.
 

Last edited by Mystery123; 12-23-14 at 01:06 PM.
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Old 12-23-14, 12:51 PM
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Is this full 3/4" staple/cleat down hardwood flooring? Is there a tongue sticking out toward where the bullnose goes? You would install a vertical piece to dress up the step riser, THEN install the bullnose since it will need to protrude past the support.

Oh, Kurt isn't calling you back and will never show back up because you broke the rules. He suckered you into paying for the entire job. Just pray and hope he didn't charge any materials to the job and not pay the vendor. You could be held responsible for them as well.
 
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Old 12-23-14, 01:03 PM
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Is this full 3/4" staple/cleat down hardwood flooring? Is there a tongue sticking out toward where the bullnose goes? You would install a vertical piece to dress up the step riser, THEN install the bullnose since it will need to protrude past the support
Yes. I'll post a picture of a piece tonight.
It has a tongue in one side and groove on the other side to lock in. Came in 25 sq. ft. boxes.

He used 2.5" x .5" staples throughout except in some corners and middle aligning pieces where he used nails from top.
I think staples are longer than needed as I can see them coming out from the baseboard in the basement but that may be okay.

Still no idea about what vertical piece means.
You can see in the picture that he nailed two pieces on the side to support the edge piece on top as a temporary support until we find the nose.
Can't I install all pieces like that on the side?
 
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Old 12-23-14, 01:34 PM
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I doubt Kurt is licensed. Even if he is, may be long time back.
Licenses are renewed every year ...... providing you play by the rules.

While there is no substitute for using the correct tools, you can make good straight cuts with an electric jigsaw if you use a fence to keep it sawing straight. Since your neighbor has a lot of woodworking tools that you can borrow, maybe you can enlist his help as well.
 
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Old 12-23-14, 01:43 PM
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You need to do something with this riser.

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  #11  
Old 12-23-14, 01:55 PM
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Okay you mean the big flat wood piece that's on the side.
Carpet was there and we pulled the carpet out.
Can I not staple wood on top of that wood all the way up to make bull nose level with existing 3/4" wood?
Bull nose should be on the level of the hallway right?
What is that something I need to do there?
 
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Old 12-23-14, 02:24 PM
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Yeah, it was glaring, so I thought I would highlight it I would glue wood rather than stapling it to the riser. Your bullnose piece must be flush to the flooring behind it. As stated earlier, the bullnose is normally installed first with the flooring afterwards so the bullnose has a good place to land. I am not sure you have enough of a hangover for the bullnose to be nailed to the subflooring.
 
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Old 12-23-14, 03:49 PM
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Oh, Kurt isn't calling you back and will never show back up because you broke the rules. He suckered you into paying for the entire job. Just pray and hope he didn't charge any materials to the job and not pay the vendor. You could be held responsible for them as well.
I still don't get it though.
It won't even take him an hour to do that much and why risk bad mouth/review over that little work after doing the whole first floor?
I have bunch of friends who are looking for good flooring guy and this guy lost all that opportunities.
 
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Old 12-23-14, 04:53 PM
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What impetus does he have to return? He has all the money. Some folks don't have scruples. If he comes to your house he gets no pay. Some fly by nighters work that way. We'll get you fixed up.
 
  #15  
Old 12-23-14, 05:05 PM
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Update...
So I told what's going on and also sent the text I received today to my friend who recommended this guy.
He and I are friends for over 5 years and knows I'm not a liar and have dealt with him over thousands of dollars just by word of mouth.
He got pissed off and contacted his friend who knows this flooring guy and somehow this guy got threatened to get arrested.
So I got a call from him finally after a month and he said, why are you trying to have me arrested?
I was like, I have no idea but looks like you got someone calling on my behalf.
Then he kept on saying that we couldn't find the bullnose in time and that was not the part of flooring job and I'm not coming there to do the job free blah blah blah.
Me: "Free? I paid for that. Remember I helped you to pay your bills before you finished the job trusting you and you promised to come back the same weekend a month ago?"
He: I sent you email explaining I won't come down for free.
Me: I never got that email nor text nor a phone call from you since you promised to show up at 9am on Saturday 4 weeks ago.
He: May be system is having issue.
Me: Ya right, what about my 100 texts and calls after that?
He: I'm not coming to do the work for free, bull nose is extra.
Me: You never mentioned that before and you said all I have to do is buy bull nose and you'll install it along with the floor.
He: Yes but you couldn't find that in time.
Me: Yes but when I gave you money, you promised to come back and finish the steps when I find bull nose. You never said you need extra money. You just ignored me for last 4 weeks and today you said you can't work for me.
He: I don't want to come for free. And I don't want to do the laundry room.
Me: Laundry room was just an option if we have wood left. And if we do that, I told you I'll pay for that extra 15 sq. ft.
He: I'm not coming down to do the laundry room for only $$. If you want me to do that room, I want $100.
Me: Forget laundry room, that was only an option if we have enough left over.
He: I'm not coming down there to fix the steps and bull nose either for free.
Me: Again, it's not free as I already paid you but how much you want?
He: I need $50 for finishing the steps and bullnose.
Me: Okay fine, come and finish it up and let's get it over with.

So assuming he shows up on Saturday, I'm just $50 out of my pocket.
Not a big deal but a pain of a guy to work with in the end.
 

Last edited by Mystery123; 12-23-14 at 05:34 PM.
  #16  
Old 12-23-14, 05:52 PM
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Don't give him the $50 until the job is done & make sure that you have some company there that day. I hope you know what I mean by company.
 
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Old 12-24-14, 03:50 AM
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That is the problem with paying some contractors in advance [or final payment before the work is completed] The unscrupulous ones somehow think that since they've been paid in full, any more work they do is coming out of their pocket. Not making the final payment until after the work is completed insures that the work will be completed and anything that isn't quite right gets fixed! Generally the good contractors will never ask for the final payment until the job is done and the customer is satisfied.

I hate that you have to pay this guy extra to complete the job he agreed to
the good news is - you've learned a valuable lesson
 
  #18  
Old 12-24-14, 07:07 AM
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Yes, lesson learned.
I saw two faces of the same guy, well didn't see the face after I paid but I can imagine.

He left his tools when we couldn't find bull nose that day 5 or 6 weeks ago.
He came in the afternoon and took all his tools in the afternoon when my wife was home telling her that he needed tools to do another job as finding bull nose will take few days (that's perfectly fine) then called me in the evening that he needed money for apartment deposit.
I thought about holding at least a $100 because he already took his tools that day then thought he won't have enough for deposit so told him okay come and take it.
And he came running all the way that evening.
That's two trips in same day when he needed his tools and my money but he now wants $50 because he doesn't think it's worth to come down here to finish the job that's already paid.
When I paid him on Tuesday 5 weeks ago, I told him that my friends are coming over on Saturday and if you he could come and finish on Saturday morning, I can organize some furniture in there.
He replied like a nice guy that he'll come Thursday instead so I'd have enough time to move furniture around before friends come over on Saturday.
And I believed that.
He got $50 extra from me but lost a whole lot of customers in my circle as his price is reasonable but I will pay more and suggest friends to hire someone other to avoid this guy.
Part of me thinks it's not his fault as this guy is paycheck to paycheck.
I should have known better to keep the motivation to come back by holding the payment partially until the finish.
Oh well... bad thing is he didn't learn a lesson.
He doesn't realize how much he lost by avoiding me and for that $50.
I have friends right now wanting to replace floors and some even asked about who's doing my floor, how much etc... when they came over.
Also the very fact that I hired him from my friend's recommendation.
After I talked to my friend yesterday, he also said he's sorry that he recommended that guy to me and will not recommend to anyone from now on.
It was funny that my friend and his family went to a two week vacation and when he came back, he was astonished that I'm still waiting for Kurt just like I was before he went to vacation.
C'est La Vie.
 
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Old 12-24-14, 08:47 AM
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If I have material to pick up, carpet, wood, vinyl etc. I expect the customer to have that paid for, but I don't ask for labor until the job is done and the customer is happy.
 
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Old 12-24-14, 09:15 AM
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his price is reasonable
Just remember the Challenger O ring went to the low bidder.

On the monstrous garage we just completed, I set out payment schedules, which the client agreed to. First check, first day. Next was when we finished decking the roof. He was standing there watching the decking, and when my guy drove the last nail, he handed me the check for the second draw. I was astonished. Quite often, you get "I left my checkbook in Australia last week", or "my wife has the checkbook", but this guy was very prompt and per contract.

Like Sam, if I have materials to furnish, they belong to the owner and I expect payment, which is also set out in the contract, so they understand. NEVER do I accept a check in final payment until the job is done and the client smiles.
 
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Old 12-24-14, 10:13 AM
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If I have material to pick up, carpet, wood, vinyl etc. I expect the customer to have that paid for, but I don't ask for labor until the job is done and the customer is happy.
First, this guy was supposed to find the bull nose as he has some contractor account at some hardwood store.
Later, he called and said he can't buy it as his account is closed so asked me to buy which was no problem as I'd have to pay for the material.

Also, old carpet, vinyl etc... is my responsibility to dispose of and still in my garage and have to park cars outside in this snow the whole month.
I was waiting for the job to finish so I can dispose all at once.

chandler
Just remember the Challenger O ring went to the low bidder.
Not sure what that means.
 
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Old 12-24-14, 10:16 AM
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When looking for contractors, it isn't always the lowest price that comes through. You may have to pay more for a quality job.

Morton Thiokol was the low bidder furnishing the faulty O ring on the Challenger space shuttle that blew up on launch. Emphasizing the fact that paying more will result in a complete job with a low failure rate.
 
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Old 12-24-14, 10:24 AM
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he called and said he can't buy it as his account is closed
That may have been the 1st red flag. Generally the only reason a contractor's account gets closed is for non payment. I'm a retired paint contractor yet I can still go to the paint store, get whatever I need and just sign my name.

Years ago I hired a small time builder to erect a storage bldg for my business. He was recommended by a friend but the main reason I hired him was he was the only one that showed up to bid the job [construction was busy at that time] I didn't have time to build it myself but I should have found time! He made mistakes at every phase of the construction The lady that told me about him was surprised but did quit referring him. Another friend wanted to build a shop and asked me about him. I told him not to hire him but he did anyway because he was the lowest bidder He had to fire him halfway thru the job, I ended up helping him finish building the shop.
 
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Old 12-24-14, 11:03 AM
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When looking for contractors, it isn't always the lowest price that comes through. You may have to pay more for a quality job.

Morton Thiokol was the low bidder furnishing the faulty O ring on the Challenger space shuttle that blew up on launch. Emphasizing the fact that paying more will result in a complete job with a low failure rate.
Oh okay, that O ring.

Well it's not only low bidder.
I saw his work at friend's place and it was nice so the reason to hire him was not only low price but looking at his work as well.
Still no complain on his work at my place even though he put some bad/dark colored pieces in the middle even after mentioning to save those for the bathroom but overall not bad.
 
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Old 12-24-14, 01:13 PM
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All due respect, just about anyone can make prefinished flooring look good once down on the floor. The things not asked or checked here have to do with what amount of prep work went into the subfloor in advance of the installation. My speculation is that nothing went into the subfloor.

-Did he insure that it was of optimal thickness prior to installing you floor?
-Did he check for squeaks and screw down the existing subfloor to ensure a quiet floor?
-He didn't bother to remove baseboards as I can see that they are still up.
-As previously stated, he should have installed the nosing first, and then married the floor to it.
-BTW, I would never have started the install without the nosing present.
-Did he install kraft paper or 15# felt under the hardwood


And just some general observations

-irks me that contractors would expect a homeowner to remove trash, old carpet and pad.
-Never, ever, ever, ever pay all until you are satisfied - it is you only tool to prevent this.
-Contractors with "closed accounts" are nothing but trouble.
-Don't fall for the "new apartment" line..... no different from a client of mine who fell for the "Christian Contractor" line and spent $900 for someone to paint her driveway with some garbage that peeled off after a week. They are all ploys to get money.
-Hire someone who is an artist at his work, cares about his work, has a nice truck, takes care of his tools, cleans up after himself, hauls trash to the dump, and returns for callbacks should it be needed. This guy knew the job wasn't done, yet lied to your face when pressure was finally put on him.
-Paycheck to paycheck people are usually fairly transparent. It is human nature to feel sorry for them and want to help. However, is this the caliber of people you want left alone in your house? Look for reputable, licensed and insured. Those cost money and say that they care to protect the customer against unexpected issues that may happen during a job.

As a contractor, I am sorry that you had to go through this.
 
  #26  
Old 12-24-14, 03:59 PM
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All due respect, just about anyone can make prefinished flooring look good once down on the floor. The things not asked or checked here have to do with what amount of prep work went into the subfloor in advance of the installation. My speculation is that nothing went into the subfloor.

-Did he insure that it was of optimal thickness prior to installing you floor?
-Did he check for squeaks and screw down the existing subfloor to ensure a quiet floor?
-He didn't bother to remove baseboards as I can see that they are still up.
-As previously stated, he should have installed the nosing first, and then married the floor to it.
-BTW, I would never have started the install without the nosing present.
-Did he install kraft paper or 15# felt under the hardwood
...
True, not hard for prefinished wood.
I even thought of doing it myself but thought he can finish quicker and better plus bad back.
It took more time than I if I did it slowly.

He mentioned the subfloor is thick enough.
Didn't check for squeaks but I didn't have squeaks that I can remember.
He'll remove few wood pieces on the top edges and somehow cut them to fit after the nose is in I guess.
Yes, black 15# roofing felt is used.

He doesn't have a truck. Drives a small old toyota celica so the reason for not disposing trash even if I paid extra.
Well being a nice guy has worked for me 99% of the time but need to be careful to have upper hand until the job is done.
 
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Old 12-24-14, 04:35 PM
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Well, it's Christmas, Happy Holidays everyone.
There's no way I want to defend this contractor, or what he did, but I'll try. The guy is just in the wrong business. Being a responsible contractor takes a lot of things:
Pride, some capital, tools and truck/trailer, skill, etc.
He probably underbid the job, and he probably underbids all his jobs, just trying to make a buck.
Then when stuff like bullnose comes up, he's already gone through the money you paid him and feels like he's being cheated, or working for nothing.
Of course this is not true, but I have made the mistake of hiring contractors like this and I should know better. That was years ago and now I can spot them a mile away.
He doesn't get it and will probably never get it. I would pay him for a little extra work and be done with him.
 
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Old 12-24-14, 05:11 PM
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Mystery123, when that guy returns to finish the job & collect his extra $50, make sure that you have a couple of friends there with you & ask him if he does any online banking or stock trading? If he asks why, tell him that a friend of yours wanted to know.
 
  #29  
Old 12-26-14, 02:47 PM
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Mystery123, when that guy returns to finish the job & collect his extra $50, make sure that you have a couple of friends there with you & ask him if he does any online banking or stock trading? If he asks why, tell him that a friend of yours wanted to know.
Didn't say anything.
Just glad to have it done.
Handed $50 and got rid of him.

Plus this guy has attitude problems.
He had a trim sticking out on the hard wood and I asked him if he's cutting the trim off to flush it.
His answer was I'm not here to build your house, I do floors.
If I suggest him something, he replies, "I know what I'm doing" but still messes up.
I told him multiple times not to use real dark pieces in living room and save for the bathroom but I still see quite a few dark pieces in living and family room.
Not too bad looking but it could be much better looking.

What a tool! I wonder how he gets job with this attitude.
 
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Old 12-26-14, 02:57 PM
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If I close one eye and squint, it looks OK. Not crazy about the riser finish on the right side, nor the finish on the baseboard - Did he cut baseboard on the 45 degree in the horizontal plane? Seriously have never seen that technique before (or want to again). However, if you are happy except for a couple of variegated pieces in the field that is what counts.
 
  #31  
Old 12-26-14, 03:07 PM
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If I close one eye and squint, it looks OK. Not crazy about the riser finish on the right side, nor the finish on the baseboard - Did he cut baseboard on the 45 degree in the horizontal plane? Seriously have never seen that technique before (or want to again). However, if you are happy except for a couple of variegated pieces in the field that is what counts.
I don't think he cut in angle as it's flat all the way.
It's not perfectly aligned but not that bad.
There is the stair piece that blocks the nose so looks worse from that angle.

Here is a better picture with the trim piece sticking out little bit that I asked about and got answer of "I'm not here to build your house":
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And the other side of the hallway:

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  #32  
Old 12-26-14, 03:18 PM
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I have highlighted issues from your pictures.

-Stacked pieces on the riser should line up
-Trim cut on the 45 not correct
-End cuts on the riser should be cut with a 45 degree and a return for a smooth transion
-Shoe nose molding is usually used to ease the transition from base or rise to main flooring
-Risers should be finished along the edges

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Sorry - I think the work is sloppy... I would not be happy if I turned in this level of finish work.
 
  #33  
Old 12-26-14, 04:11 PM
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The white trim pieces are there.
I have to nail them in.

Yes, it doesn't look very professional on the edges.
So what can I do on my own to make it look better?
Thanks
 
  #34  
Old 12-27-14, 03:17 AM
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Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: USA - N.E.Tn
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I wouldn't be happy with his workmanship either but at least you don't have to deal with him anymore!

A piece of molding either oak to match the floor or painted pine to hide the edge of the riser's cut would help a lot. If the riser sticks out more than the wall you can cut a rabbit on the backside to allow it to fit nicely.
 
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