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davidwarner 05-26-2010 05:44 AM

Masonry RipOff?
Hi All,

My problem is that my mortar seems to be shrinking from around the bricks leaving gaps where water can get in.

I had a quote for for $520 and didn't bother to get other quotes as I wanted to keep the business local and the guy seemed genuine (Mistake I know). Him and his partner seemed professional, showed me his license and insurance etc.

Anyway, to make a long story short he turned up on the day with his wife did some work and after about 3 hours I got a knock on the door and they asked if I could see anywhere else that needed doing. I could immediately see loads of gaps remaining.

They debated the fact that the quote said cracks in the mortar not gaps. The gaps they said are from the original laying of the bricks. I replied that whatever the case water will get in and cause further deterioration. They putted about for a couple of more hours with no grinding or anything and just smeared some mortar over the obvious gaps. There are still many gaps remaining.

They charged me over $500 for about five or six hours of light paced work.

I feel ripped off. I'm considering complaining to the department of labor or something. what do you think?

stuart45 05-26-2010 06:04 AM

Can you put a photo or 2 up?

davidwarner 05-26-2010 06:45 AM

4 Attachment(s)
I'll have a go at posting some photos, thanks.

The pictures show typical gaps left, a general view of the house, an area that was so called repaired and a couple of remaining gaps just next to the 'repaired area'.

Attachment 20928

Attachment 20929

Attachment 20930

Attachment 20932

beenthere 05-26-2010 06:51 AM

Moved to off Topic forum.

It doesn't have anything to do with DIY. Unless your going to fix that up mess up yourself.

davidwarner 05-26-2010 08:28 AM

ok, sorry I didn't mean to post off topic. I suppose I will have t try and do the job myself now. So anyway, you agree it is a mess and I got ripped? Do you suggest any recourse?

beenthere 05-26-2010 08:44 AM

I agree, its a mess. Weather you got ripped off or not. I don't know. Since I wasn't present at the talks you had with this or any other contractor.

I think expecting a quality job to be done for 500 bucks, when it would take 48 man hours. Is a bit like expecting the Easter bunny to come to your house. Ain't gonna happen.

Weather you have any recourse or not. Depends on what your signed contract says. And your local/state laws.

While as a contractor. I prefer if my customers just take my word for something. And use me without getting other bids/estimates. I still tell them they are welcome to get other estimates. And compare what I'm doing to what others will do. And see how my price, for my scope of work compares to others.

Usually, I'm higher. But I'm doing more. So they are getting more work per dollar they pay me. Then what they do from some else.

You will probably get good advise from the guys in construction and building forum. On how to do this yourself.

As for recourse. A lawyer may be needed. or filing a BBB report. However. Keep in mind, that BBB is a powerless for profit organization.

davidwarner 05-26-2010 09:25 AM

ok, thanks for the advice. Looks like I will just have to eat the cost and try to do it myself.

I might try small claims or something.

I'll browse through the construction section later for technical advice.

I appreciate your earlier comments. Thanks

davidwarner 05-26-2010 09:30 AM

Hey, one other question if you don't mind:

As a profesional; going by the photo's would you debate the fact that the gaps are not cracks? The guys quote says "whole house-grind out cracks and tuckpoint"

It seems obvious to me that the intent was to get the gaps in the mortar filled.

beenthere 05-26-2010 10:21 AM

From the looks of it.
You have both gaps, and cracks. So he definitely missed some of the cracks. That his quote included.

He is or may be playing on words, and conception. Often, what a person hears, or reads is not what is being said. But the persons mind has a perceived conception of what they want done. Or think should be said. And that is what they hear, or read.

Some people/contractors take advantage of this. And let the person think he/she is getting more then what they are.
Then, as in this case. Point out that the contract states a defined parameter that they have met(ok, missed some stuff in the pics you posted). Which then explains why they are often 1000s lower priced, then the next contractor that would have included the gaps. And done a complete restoration of the motar work.

stuart45 05-26-2010 03:12 PM

Looking at the standard of workmanship I would say that you have been well and truly done up like a kipper. 500 bucks is a lot of money for a few hours work, especially for someone who can't do the job. What did he bring his wife in for, to mix up the mortar with her cake mixer?

davidwarner 05-26-2010 03:18 PM

Yeah, I suppose I shouldn't have paid but there you are. I wish I could do something to perhaps limit him doing it again to somebody else. Thats why I was thinking about reporting it to DLEG who issued his license

beenthere 05-26-2010 03:26 PM

No harm in reporting it.

tpolk 05-26-2010 06:23 PM

you need to try and scrub the mortar off the brick with a light muriatic mix. some one here may have a better material than the acid. pointing up like that is very tedious and time consuming, to minimize material getting on brick i would tape around area. they also make a mortar bag with diff tips for filling like using a cake decorator, sometimes you can find them in the tile section. I've never used one but people say they work and it helps minimize smearing

davidwarner 05-27-2010 10:09 AM

ok, Thank youfor the tips.

Any idea's where I would report the shister mason guy?

beenthere 05-27-2010 12:33 PM

Check with your local building code enforcement agency.

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