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Bropollocreed79

So, I hired a "reputable" contractor to finish my basement...

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We've all been there: a home improvement project that is either too big to tackle on your own, or you don't have the time to do yourself.

My house is 100 years old.  A Craftsman, it's about 1400 sq. ft.  With two boys, we needed more space, so we decided to finish the basement.  This will add 500 square feet of usable space (including room for a new 70" 4K display for gaming, natch), making it a no-brainer project.

Being a house in Ohio, and a century old, the ceiling in the basement is low.  So low, that at 6'4", I have to duck around cold air returns and heating ducts.  But we need the space, so we hired a contractor to finish our basement, which meant simply blacking out the ceiling.

Here's where it gets... interesting.  

We have four doors: two that enter closets, one to enter the furnace room, and a fourth to go into the separate laundry room/workshop area in the back of the house.  This last door will come to henceforth be known as the "What-THE-FUCK-Door".

I came home from work today and the contractor had finished for the day, which included hanging the doors.

The first thing I noticed was this:
N0xXz9q.jpg

"Huh", I said to myself.  "The door looks like it was damaged.  They're going to have to fix that."

Then I tried to open said door:
UMocxO6.jpg

That's right, my new door, which is missing a corner, only opens about 75 degrees, not even a full 90, because it's hitting a heating vent.  

At this point, I'm starting to say to myself, "what the hell is going on here?  Why did they do this?"  Then, I started looking at the entire arc of the door, and noticed this:
0WmQRj7.jpg

This is a cold air return about two feet in front of the door.  The corner of the door wasn't clearing it, so the contractor decided to slam the door repeatedly into the corner of the duct.  When that didn't work, they simply cut the corner of the door off.

Let me repeat that, THEY CUT THE CORNER OFF THE FUCKING DOOR.

Clearly, they hung the door without testing the opening radius.  It literally took me 30 seconds to figure out they should have mounted it the opposite way and had the door open into the other room, WHERE THERE IS NO DUCTWORK.  

My wife and I simply said, "What. THE. Fuck."  First, we were angry at the lunacy, laziness, and sheer balls on these guys for thinking this would fly.  I literally have a better chance of wooing Kate Beckinsale into a polygamist marriage with my wife than these clowns had of this being okay with us.

But now, we're laughing about how absolutely idiotic the whole scenario is.  Tomorrow when they arrive, we're telling them to remove the door and framing and reinstall a new door that opens into the other room.  We still have the third installment of the total fee for this "work", and I'll be damned if I'm paying a dime of it if they charge us for the door.  Or the plumbing they totally fucked up (but that's a whole different ball of "what the fuck").

So, if any of you have ridiculous contractor fails to share, by all means, share them here!

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as a youngin i worked for clowns like that, i bet it was one of em tryin to get fired lol get on the bossman to make it happen. another guy i worked for was clearing out one houses junk and filling a empty hole where a pool used to be in a vacant house; in just the way im leading up to evade. dont give up on kate dewd, or settle for that friend of hers from college that kinda looks like kate from behind ;]

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3 hours ago, Bropollocreed79 said:

So, if any of you have ridiculous contractor fails to share, by all means, share them here!

I have one, as a contractor back in the day (early 90s). I had just passed the test for the electrical journeyman's license in Texas. I was working for an electrical contractor in my hometown at the time, but I was also doing side work. This guy called me and said, "Half my house don't work. Can you come take a look at it?" I said, "Sure" It was an old house, and the owner told me that he had re-wired it (immediate red flag!).

Sure enough, he had re-wired the house...poorly. I climbed up in the attic and wires were twisted together and wrapped in electrical tape.You do that with stereo wires, not 120/240 volts! Even though the house had a ground wire, none of the internal receptacles or switches did. Then, I went to his fuse box...yes it was old copper fuses, not modern breakers. On top of that, he had replaced some of the fuses with solid pieces of copper wire. That is a fire waiting to happen.

I told him that I would have to remove his fuse box, replace all of the internal wiring, receptacles, and switches. He asked for an estimate. I went home and did the math, and it was fairly high, due to the fact that I would have to hire someone to help me install the wiring. He told me that my price was ridiculous, and he just wanted me to fix the immediate problem. I told him that I couldn't risk losing my license just so that he could take a shortcut. 

Needless to say, I didn't get the job. I sure hope that guy didn't get caught in a house fire in his sleep! :mellow:

@Bropollocreed79 You might need to fire these guys if they don't make it right tomorrow. They honestly just sound like some lazy motherfuckers to me. ;)

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11 minutes ago, Rexfellis said:

Half my house don't work. Can you come take a look at it?" I said, "Sure" It was an old house, and the owner told me that he had re-wired it (immediate red flag!).

Jesus.  Half my house is still knob and tube.  No issues though, and each time I remodel a room, I take it down to the studs (I really hate lathe and plaster), and rewire each room with it's own dedicated line.  Even as a layperson, though, that story raised the hair on the back of my neck.

For minor stuff, it's not too hard to do, as long as I go slow and follow common sense.  The worst one I ever had was a line that some idiot had cross wired somewhere, so even though I had the breaker shut off, there was still power to the outlet I was removing.  That was the first (and hopefully last) time I got knocked on my ass.  Lesson learned.  I test everything now, twice.

 

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15 minutes ago, Bropollocreed79 said:

For minor stuff, it's not too hard to do, as long as I go slow and follow common sense.  The worst one I ever had was a line that some idiot had cross wired somewhere, so even though I had the breaker shut off, there was still power to the outlet I was removing.  That was the first (and hopefully last) time I got knocked on my ass.  Lesson learned.  I test everything now, twice.

 

Sounds like he was sharing the neutral wire with another circuit. It probably wasn't wired incorrectly, it was a shortcut that was used for years. The neutral is the wire that returns current back to the common ground for your house or building. The problem with it is that if any circuit that is being shared is live, then that wire has the potential to be "hot" at any given time. It is a very important piece of copper that will, unfortunately, knock you on your ass! :lol: Sharing neutrals is not a practice that is used much anymore, but if you have knob and tubing in your house, I can guarantee that it was done when your place was initially wired.

If you find the need to do any more electrical work in your house, feel free to PM me. I'd be happy to help you with any questions you might have. 

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6 hours ago, Rexfellis said:

If you find the need to do any more electrical work in your house, feel free to PM me. I'd be happy to help you with any questions you might have.

Will do, and thanks.

The good news is, despite my initial post, I actually like the guys doing the work.  In fact, the forman's first words to me this morning were, "Hey, I wanted to talk to you about that door..."

They're replacing the entire thing, and having it open into the other room.  Nice guys overall, but I'm still scratching my head over the initial decision.

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5 minutes ago, Bropollocreed79 said:

Will do, and thanks.

The good news is, despite my initial post, I actually like the guys doing the work.  In fact, the forman's first words to me this morning were, "Hey, I wanted to talk to you about that door..."

They're replacing the entire thing, and having it open into the other room.  Nice guys overall, but I'm still scratching my head over the initial decision.

My question is - did they damage your cold air return with the repeated slamming?

Cutting the corner off the door - in what realm of imagination would ANYONE think doing such a thing would be an acceptable solution for such a problem?? If there were a contractor's test to get your license, and this scenario was presented with multiple choice answers and you answered, "C. Cut the corner off the GD door," your answer would be WRONG.

I'm glad they approached you rather than you having to confront them. I'm hoping the fella who did approach you is not the same fella who had the brilliant epiphany to slice off the door corner.  

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16 minutes ago, Cokeyskunk said:

My question is - did they damage your cold air return with the repeated slamming?

Just a little bit.  Nothing I can't fix with a rubber mallet and a piece of board to flatten it out.  I mean, would YOU trust them to "fix" it at this point?  I certainly don't.

17 minutes ago, Cokeyskunk said:

I'm hoping the fella who did approach you is not the same fella who had the brilliant epiphany to slice off the door corner.  

It was, but again, I'm not going to get too pissed about it because he's a decent guy personality wise, and very receptive to all our feedback (I've worked with some real doozies in the past).  I don't think what we're asking for is unreasonable, and I'm familiar with all the issues that come with this kind of work, so I can understand both sides of it and be pretty level-headed about most of what's happened (so far).

We've had excellent contractors and less-than-acceptable contractors.  The lesson my wife learned only recently was to stop accepting the lowest bid on everything (I call it the "Wal-Mart Corollary") and rely upon personal references and reviews from people who've used them in the past.  This company had really strong reviews and great word of mouth.... but I certainly wouldn't recommend them to anyone I knew or respected.  Let's just say if you're having a basement remodel bid out in the Cleveland to Pittsburgh region, you should PM me to make sure you steer clear of these folks.

 

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8 minutes ago, Bropollocreed79 said:

Just a little bit.  Nothing I can't fix with a rubber mallet and a piece of board to flatten it out.  I mean, would YOU trust them to "fix" it at this point?  I certainly don't.

It was, but again, I'm not going to get too pissed about it because he's a decent guy personality wise, and very receptive to all our feedback (I've worked with some real doozies in the past).  I don't think what we're asking for is unreasonable, and I'm familiar with all the issues that come with this kind of work, so I can understand both sides of it and be pretty level-headed about most of what's happened (so far).

We've had excellent contractors and less-than-acceptable contractors.  The lesson my wife learned only recently was to stop accepting the lowest bid on everything (I call it the "Wal-Mart Corollary") and rely upon personal references and reviews from people who've used them in the past.  This company had really strong reviews and great word of mouth.... but I certainly wouldn't recommend them to anyone I knew or respected.  Let's just say if you're having a basement remodel bid out in the Cleveland to Pittsburgh region, you should PM me to make sure you steer clear of these folks.

 

Eh, I live near Fort Worth. I doubt they'd bid on anything I put out.  :D

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6 minutes ago, Cokeyskunk said:

Eh, I live near Fort Worth. I doubt they'd bid on anything I put out.  :D

Lucky you.  <_<

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2 hours ago, Cokeyskunk said:

Eh, I live near Fort Worth. I doubt they'd bid on anything I put out.  :D

Hey Cokey, what town, if you don't mind me asking? Not being nosy, but I lived 60 miles SW of Ft. Worth for about a very long time.. I was actually born there, then moved back when I was in High School. If you don't want to put out your personal info, I understand. I just thought it was a cool coincidence.

@Bropollocreed79 It sounds like you've got them on the right track man. I just hope you're able to keep an eye on them so they don't make any more bonehead decisions like the door! :lol:

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13 minutes ago, Rexfellis said:

Hey Cokey, what town, if you don't mind me asking?

I actually prefer "Skunk," as it tends to make me sound like less like a junkie. B)  And I shall PM you some specifics. Can't have the legions of fans swarming the house, you know. :lol: 

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12 minutes ago, Cokeyskunk said:

I actually prefer "Skunk," as it tends to make me sound like less like a junkie. B)  And I shall PM you some specifics. Can't have the legions of fans swarming the house, you know. :lol: 

So you would rather be known for being stinky than known for being a cokehead. Very understandable. :lol: I read your PM, and I know the area. 

p.s. Just joking about the cokehead part. lol

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6 minutes ago, Rexfellis said:

So you would rather be known for being stinky than known for being a cokehead. Very understandable.

tenor.gif

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1 hour ago, Rexfellis said:

 It sounds like you've got them on the right track man. I just hope you're able to keep an eye on them so they don't make any more bonehead decisions like the door

Oh, it's been great today.  I've already had 5-6 calls/texts over details that the project manager never shared with the forman (which door knobs to use, questions about the mouldings, that sort of thing).

I'm kind of surprised they didn't do it this way from the onset, but from some of the stories they tell--like trying to finish Mike Tyson's place in Ashtabula while his "kitties" (read: tigers) were walking around, we are on the lower end of the typical jobs they do--and they aren't used to this level of feedback or owner involvement unless it's overwhelmingly negative.  I'm pretty laid back, so it's not an antagonistic relationship, which is probably what they're used to.

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12 minutes ago, Bropollocreed79 said:

Oh, it's been great today.  I've already had 5-6 calls/texts over details that the project manager never shared with the forman (which door knobs to use, questions about the mouldings, that sort of thing).

I'm kind of surprised they didn't do it this way from the onset, but from some of the stories they tell--like trying to finish Mike Tyson's place in Ashtabula while his "kitties" (read: tigers) were walking around, we are on the lower end of the typical jobs they do--and they aren't used to this level of feedback or owner involvement unless it's overwhelmingly negative.  I'm pretty laid back, so it's not an antagonistic relationship, which is probably what they're used to.

Good to hear man. Keeping an open line of communication will help avoid stupid shit like this:

 

15 hours ago, Bropollocreed79 said:

UMocxO6.jpg

That's right, my new door, which is missing a corner, only opens about 75 degrees, not even a full 90, because it's hitting a heating vent.  

And this:

15 hours ago, Bropollocreed79 said:

0WmQRj7.jpg

I firmly believe you might have to Ro-Sham-Bo the contractor before this job is finished. Here is a short vid about the rules, just so you know (and you have to go first!):

A breakdown of the rules.

 

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2 minutes ago, Rexfellis said:

I firmly believe you might have to Ro-Sham-Bo the contractor before this job is finished. Here is a short vid about the rules, just so you know (and you have to go first!):

Well, the revised quote will be there on paper when I get home.

That's when things are going to get interesting.  Mrs. Creed is already prepared to go to DEFCON 1 over everything that's happened on this project, but I'm willing to wait until I see where we're at on the money side of things.  I'm a reasonable person, but I don't take kindly to attempts to basically steal from my family.

The good news is, any future projects are well within my capabilities, short of having the furnace replaced (I don't mess around with gas lines, I'm okay with the occasional "jolt" from electrical, but blowing up my house is not optimal), so it'll be quite awhile before I look to hire contractors for future projects.

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2 minutes ago, Bropollocreed79 said:

Well, the revised quote will be there on paper when I get home.

That's when things are going to get interesting.  Mrs. Creed is already prepared to go to DEFCON 1 over everything that's happened on this project, but I'm willing to wait until I see where we're at on the money side of things.  I'm a reasonable person, but I don't take kindly to attempts to basically steal from my family.

The good news is, any future projects are well within my capabilities, short of having the furnace replaced (I don't mess around with gas lines, I'm okay with the occasional "jolt" from electrical, but blowing up my house is not optimal), so it'll be quite awhile before I look to hire contractors for future projects.

It sounds like they are trying to make it right. The fact that the boss admitted that they made mistakes is a point in his favor as far as I'm concerned.

I am solely basing this on what I know of you from this forum (and my own wife's opinion of me), anyone who willingly married you, and continues to live with you...a known smartass... is probably a force to be reckoned with. The contractors may not have to worry about you kicking them in the nuts, they should probably worry about her going Lorena Bobbit on their candy asses! :lol:

Good to know that you've pretty well gotten it under control now. Hopefully the furnace won't be a concern for some time now.

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5 minutes ago, Rexfellis said:

I am solely basing this on what I know of you from this forum (and my own wife's opinion of me), anyone who willingly married you, and continues to live with you...a known smartass... is probably a force to be reckoned with.

The fact she hasn't left me over "The Ninja Game" is either a testament to her love for me, or an indictment as to her ability to judge someone's character.  I can't figure out which.

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24 minutes ago, Bropollocreed79 said:

The fact she hasn't left me over "The Ninja Game" is either a testament to her love for me, or an indictment as to her ability to judge someone's character.  I can't figure out which.

I won't ask about "The Ninja Game" solely because if you tell me how it's done, I will inadvertently include it into my routine of things that piss my wife off. :ajsaltbae:

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17 hours ago, Bropollocreed79 said:

We've all been there: a home improvement project that is either too big to tackle on your own, or you don't have the time to do yourself.

My house is 100 years old.  A Craftsman, it's about 1400 sq. ft.  With two boys, we needed more space, so we decided to finish the basement.  This will add 500 square feet of usable space (including room for a new 70" 4K display for gaming, natch), making it a no-brainer project.

Being a house in Ohio, and a century old, the ceiling in the basement is low.  So low, that at 6'4", I have to duck around cold air returns and heating ducts.  But we need the space, so we hired a contractor to finish our basement, which meant simply blacking out the ceiling.

Here's where it gets... interesting.  

We have four doors: two that enter closets, one to enter the furnace room, and a fourth to go into the separate laundry room/workshop area in the back of the house.  This last door will come to henceforth be known as the "What-THE-FUCK-Door".

I came home from work today and the contractor had finished for the day, which included hanging the doors.

The first thing I noticed was this:
 

"Huh", I said to myself.  "The door looks like it was damaged.  They're going to have to fix that."

Then I tried to open said door:
UMocxO6.jpg

Holy moly you have some air venting down there! Is that type of thing common in the states? I'm speaking from the UK where unless you have a big old town house we don't really have basements. I have only seen piping like that on the ceilings of converted factories or workhouses etc. Now that is a stupid thing for the contractor to do! Surely common sense would say put the door on the other side so its not obstructed! They didn't even try to hide it by sticking the off cut corner to the door frame so it appears normal when closed - appalling!

The only experience I have with cowboy builders is when my parents decided on having an extension built on the house for my granddad to live in. Barry the 'carpenter' was on site, fond of Polly-fill and his trusty nailgun he successfully put on a kitchen door that sits half an inch too high and has a gap, he also built a wooden corner staircase and fitted it 2 inches away from the wall. He was forced to refit the staircase flush with the wall and clean all his mess up - some of which had tried to be hidden under a bath before the side panel was fitted. The company he worked for went bust about a year later. As for anything else dodgy in the house, the electrics are a little hit and miss, fitted sometime when bakerlite light switches were around. I am used to flicking the wrong switch between the kitchen and hallway because they are wired the wrong way round for example.

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5 minutes ago, a kamikaze man said:

Holy moly you have some air venting down there! Is that type of thing common in the states?

It depends on the region.  I'm in Cleveland, which has pretty screwed up weather.  We're talking days in the summer that can reach the high 90's or even 100 on occasion (37 Celsius), and sub-zero temperatures (-17 Celsius) in the dead of winter, with terrible wind and Lake Effect snow from Lake Erie.  They will often close schools for the cold here some times because so many kids walk to school (regional population of more than a million people).

That ductwork is about 40 years old, if not older.  On homes that require both heating and cooling, the ducts from the blower in the furnace are usually centrally located, with separate feeds for forced air return from different parts of the house to supply the fan when the blower is going.

Because heat rises, the furnace is usually placed in the lowest point in a home if possible to maximize the efficiency.  Most homes in this region have basement.  In the South (where the climate is much more mild) it's not uncommon to see hot water heaters and HVAC be located in the upstairs or attic space, as many homes do not have full basements in these locations; most of Texas for example, is built on a limestone deposits with a thin layer of dirt, making excavation cost prohibitive.  The same goes for Alabama, which has some notoriously tough clay in the soil.

In my home, the direction of the floor joists for the first floor run North-South, but most of the room layout is East-West, so the ducts can't be tucked in between the joists, they have to run below them (and in some cases, below water or gas lines as well).  When the furnace finally needs to be replaced, we'll do everything we can to have those ducts made more efficient (it looks like a damn metal octopus right now).

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On 2/21/2018 at 2:21 PM, Rexfellis said:

I won't ask about "The Ninja Game" solely because if you tell me how it's done, I will inadvertently include it into my routine of things that piss my wife off. :ajsaltbae:

The flip side of the "piss my wife off" coin is worth the risk, especially in this instance.

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I have a feeling I will be on this thread a lot soon. About to buy our first house. Is a bit of a fixer upper. Right away the retaining wall in the front lawn needs redone. Some dry wall issues in a few closets and completely redo basement bathroom.

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On 2/22/2018 at 7:23 PM, TheHansonGoons said:

I have a feeling I will be on this thread a lot soon. About to buy our first house. Is a bit of a fixer upper. Right away the retaining wall in the front lawn needs redone. Some dry wall issues in a few closets and completely redo basement bathroom.

Good luck.  PM me if you want to know who to avoid of you have your basement redone.  They do work out in Pittsburgh, too and I would not wish this clusterfuck on anyone else, certainly not on a fellow beer lover.

I will say, if you have the means and time, I recommend doing as much as you can by yourself.  There's a perverse pleasure derived from doing it exactly the way you want without compromising.

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