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peds.rn 12-06-2008 08:40 PM

being taken for a ride.
I have been dealing with a "contractor" for nearly a year while trying to remodel my house. I have given him until 12/24 to complete the work or he will hear from my lawyer on 1/2/09. He started this job in Dec, 2007, and, yes, he has received full payment as of May, 2008. (I know, stupid me!). :furious:

We are to the point of refinishing the stairs for the third time. When I came home Friday, I was told that they had had to rebuild the stairs with new runners. Today, I was told why--they had gouged the original runners so badly that they could not be repaired. My house was build in 1941, and,when I say original, I mean original! Well, they left a gap, in some cases as wide as 1/4 inch, between the riser ahd the tread and plan to put quarterround down to cover it. I have never seen stairs finished like this and I don't like the idea. The contractor says "That's how we always do it." but his crew has told me that he is a "slap something down to make it look good" kind of guy.

Another problem is that, when they set the new treads in, they do not completely the space that the original treads occupied where they set into the wall, so there are holes anywhere from 1/4" to 1/2" radius.

Finally, I had him lay ceramic tile in my kitchen and side foyer. He put it down over the two previous floors saying that it would prevent the tile from cracking. One of his crew said that he could have used a subfloor made for that purpose. There is a 1/2" drop from the kitchen to the dining room and from the foyer to the den.

What is the opinion of the group? Should I try to get things finished the way I want or give up. This guy has been dragging his feet since May and I am about ready to give him the heave-ho. If I do that, I will be filing complaints with the BBB, the Home Remodelers'. Assoc, and the Home Builders' Assoc. Looking forward to comments, even if they include how stupid I was to pay him. :wink: If my husband were alive, I'm sure this would not have happened. But he's not and it did. I need to know what to do now.

JazMan 12-06-2008 10:07 PM

Hi RN,

Sorry to hear about this problem, it sure doesn't sound like you're being treated right.

I can't speak about the stair problems much. I'd have to see it, but obviously it sounds like he's doing a shoddy job.

Tile I know, and can probably help? It is never a good practice to install ceramic tile over most other coverings. I'll assume the old floor was vinyl of some type. He should have removed the old floors along with any 1/4" underlament under them, and after some preparing installed a tile backer board or some other tile friendly membrane. He obviously is not a tile setter? Well......probably not much of a carpenter either? :furious:

I'm gonna guess he isn't licensed either. Where did you find this hack?


CrpntrFrk 12-06-2008 10:29 PM

Well in other threads Jazman and I did not see eye to eye but I am with him all the way on this one. That guy is a hack and he gives a bad name to hard working guys like Jazman and I, and most of the good contractors out there trying to make a living. I don't know where you are located but the registrar of contractors needs to be called right away. I would also not wait to call that lawyer of yours. Good luck and let us know how things go.

peds.rn 12-07-2008 01:08 AM

Thank you both. I was beginning to think I was being unreasonable. I live in central Illinois so I will begin checking on how licensure is done. I will be taking pictures of areas tomorrow in preparation for next step in this nightmare.


Marvin Gardens 12-07-2008 11:01 AM

Document, document, document. Pictures, pictures, pictures. Even video if you have it. Get the license plates of his vehicles, address of his business and his home address if you can. These will be used later if you go to court since you might have to attach a lien on this stuff.

If his crew makes comments like they have then document that also. Don't just come out and ask them or they might clam up. Offer them milk and cookies and ask them questions. if you can get their first names do that and then secretly write down the date of the comments and the situation. Down the road they will be witnesses in court if it goes that far.

I can refurbish a hole room in a few weeks. Take it down to the studs, rewire, replumb, insulate, add windows and put it back together. Once I did a completer rehab of a small house in 2 month with my nephew. There is no reason for this to take this long.

If he is licensed and bonded then go after his bond and insurance. If he isn't licensed then you can go after him in civil court and file a complaint with the state. Doing what he is dong without a license is illegal in most states and a civil and criminal offense.

In order to win in civil court you have to show monetary damages. This is difficult to prove in most contracting cases. Inconvenience is not a reason to sue on most situations. Of course you can sue anyone anytime you want to but winning is another issue. Just like the guy that sued President Bush for war crimes. His case was tossed at the first level. But he did have the right to sue.

If he didn't get permits this is another issue and can be addressed in court. Permits need to be posted at the site. If there is no permit then you could call the have your house red tagged which means he has to stop working. This would go a long ways to helping you show monetary damages as excessive inconvenience can be considered monetary damages in some cases.

Calling the BBB and others will do nothing if this guy is a hack. My guess is that he has had this happen before and just doesn't care. But get into his wallet and you will get his attention.

If you are over 55 or 60 there are some agencies that will help you in your situation. Taking advantage or the elderly is a huge issue these days. You could also consider going to the press and see if they will take up your cause. The press has a weakness for taking advantage or the elderly.

I am sorry that your husband is not here to help you. It seems that you miss him a lot and wish he were here to help you through this mess.

ponch37300 12-07-2008 12:33 PM

You are being taken advantage of. He has no motive to get the job done, he already has your money so he is no hurry to finish because there is no check to be collected at the end of the job. From what you described he has been doing a poor job and not doing things correctly. If he laid tile over your existing floors chances a very high that it will crack in the next couple of years. Ask him for a 5 or 10 year written warrenty for his work, a correctly installed tile floor should last alot longer than 5 years. If his own guys are talking bad about him that is not good. He must really be bad if the guys that collect a check from him are putting him down.

Here is the big you have a written contract with him for this job? A written contract with a scope of work and completion date would be very helpful in your situation.

If this were me i would secretely call other contractors and have them come over and look over the install and work he has done so you have some professional opinions to stand on and they might also find some bigger problems if his work is that bad. Also contact a lawyer, some will do an initial conference for free and let you know what your options are and what direction to go in. Even if you have to pay it will be worth it in the end. Also find out as much about this guy and his company as you can, how long has he been in business? Like mentioned above his own guys can be very helpful to you.

AtlanticWBConst. 12-07-2008 12:39 PM

He's a hack. Not a contractor. Based on the description of the stair job alone. Stairs take the highest level of finished carpentry skills. There should be NO GAPS in finished stair work- period.

The kitchen floor over two other floors: HACK JOB. The most important preliminary step to any tile flooring project, is the condition and preparation of the substrate, and also, how it aligns/transitions to any connected floors (adjacent).

I do give him credit: At least he's "trying" to correct things, even after he has been paid.

Bottom Line, he is a hack, thru and thru. He does not possess the skill, or the experience to correct these issues, no matter how many times he attempts to.

He has tried to correct them, but is incapable, or dare I properly fix the messes he's made.

I think you will end up in court/settlement over this. I just hope that you have documented all work properly. Also, all payments and verbal communications. Additionally, It is advisable to have a witness present during all conversations with him, for future possible testimony.

Good Luck, you have been very patient.

JazMan 12-07-2008 09:42 PM

Very good replies all four of you guys.:thumbsup:

I am a little po'd at Marvin however. You said if we're 55-60 you consider that elderly. I don't want to hear that! :laughing:


Marvin Gardens 12-07-2008 09:53 PM


Originally Posted by JazMan (Post 195327)
Very good replies all four of you guys.:thumbsup:

I am a little po'd at Marvin however. You said if we're 55-60 you consider that elderly. I don't want to hear that! :laughing:


Well I was born in the 40's so that makes it okay for me to discuss topics on the elderly. :yes:

peds.rn 12-07-2008 09:57 PM

Hey, I'm with you, JazMan! I am 56 and still working full-time. I don't feel elderly, but I'm willing to try. Too many more days like today and I'll have a stroke. My B/P was 164/90 when I got to work. I had just finished talking to the "Bob the Builder." The cartoon character should sue for damages. My "contractor" is named Bob.

After I read yours and CrpntrFrk's responses, I took another look at the work. I have come to the conclusion that most of the problems I have come from Bob's work or lack thereof. He is the one who laid the tile floor--not one of his crew. He is the one who promised to refinish the stairs himself, then sent the worker who gouged them. By the way, they had been stripped and refinished twice before they were rebuild on Friday. When I mentioned that he had not done what he said, he tried to lay the blame back on me saying that they had to work around my schedule and they couldn't get in a full 8 hrs. I work 3 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. Well, I was gone for three weeks in August. I told him the dates and he had a key to get in the house. Talk about trust---what an idiot I am!!!. The friend who was taking care of my dogs while I was gone actually e-mailed me in England to tell me that he had not done a lick of work! He also said that he has been too busy to come and do the work he said he would do himself. Funny, he wasn't too busy to get half the money up front and come back two weeks later to ask for an advance of half of the other half. Nor was he too busy to show up the day after I got home in May to asked the rest of his money saying there was just some finishing work to do. I say the day after I got home because I had to stay in a motel the night I got home as the floor in front of the infamous stairs was not dry. I was a week in Florida. Then he proceeds to tell me that his daughter can't even get into her house. I was sorely tempted to ask if she had paid in full for her work too. (cat growl and hiss). any wonder that my BP is what it is. He is probably hoping I will have a stroke. Normally, I don't even have high blood pressure.

peds.rn 12-07-2008 10:00 PM

I have sent an e-mail to the Inspections department where I live. I also sent one to HBA of Illinois. I doubt that he is a member, but they can fill me in on quality standards and I think that will give me some ammo. We can't red-tag and stop work the work. He has done that himself. I want to build a fire under him--maybe stick him on a spit like Capt Jack Sparrow.

yesitsconcrete 12-08-2008 05:42 AM

F YOU, marvin,,, ever since you've been hangin' in this forum, you've been a know-it-all,,, those of you who think you know it all really pi** off those of us who actually do ! ! ! ! ! ! :laughing:

come to think of it, its really funny when i forget various sr citizen discounts avail everywhere,,, then again, never thought they were fair when i was in my 30s, 40s, or 50s so it'd be hypocritical thinking differently now :thumbsup:

peds.rn 12-08-2008 08:31 AM

:thumbup:Well, "Bob the Builder" showed up at 8 a.m. this morning. First time he has been on site since early Oct. Of course it is still my fault. Oh, and this is all my fault! He said that I "didn't need to be mad at him. Whatever is wrong he is willing to make right.":laughing: Said that he "has lost his shirt on this job." :censored: He couldn't even remember the three weeks in August that he could been working unhindered on the job. He also said, "If I had a job drop into my lap today where I could make some money, I'd leave this job and go do it, because your house is usable." I guess that pretty much says it all.

Marvin Gardens 12-08-2008 08:49 AM


Originally Posted by yesitsconcrete (Post 195405)
F YOU, marvin,,, ever since you've been hangin' in this forum, you've been a know-it-all,,, those of you who think you know it all really pi** off those of us who actually do ! ! ! ! ! ! :laughing:

come to think of it, its really funny when i forget various sr citizen discounts avail everywhere,,, then again, never thought they were fair when i was in my 30s, 40s, or 50s so it'd be hypocritical thinking differently now :thumbsup:

What I find ironic is that when I was younger and had a house full of kids I really needed discounts. Most of the time I was living hand to mouth.

Now that they kids are gone and is just my wife an I we have more money than I know what to do with. Now I get the discounts which I am happy for but wish I had them when I was raising my kids.

CrpntrFrk 12-08-2008 08:53 AM

Tell that guy to get the hell out of your house and your lawyer will give him a call. Where is his licence number. WHAT A PRICK! :furious:

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