Monday, December 08, 2008

Contractors - Gone but Not Forgotten

As far as contractor stories go mine are not so awful. All the work was done on the outside of the house. I'm discussing the projects in reverse order though they did overlap at the end.

The second project was re-shingling the house. I am not happy with the roofers even though they are the roofers that originally shingled and later re-shingled this house. They were extremely careless on the ground. I have a fenced Tall Bearded Iris Garden in front of the walkway in front of my house. The garden also includes Mums and New England Asters. The roofers took down the fence and trampled the garden claiming that they did not see the plants. WHAT? There was a FENCE! There are green things (the iris fronds) and dried plants (Mums and Asters). I don’t find it even slightly believable that they did not see the garden. The only way they could have missed the garden is if they were all blind. In that case, they should not have been on my roof!! I had a long discussion with the project director at the company's head office about how much Iris cost, how some of mine are no longer replaceable, etc. They have agreed to reimburse me should the Iris not appear in the Spring. I will be sending a letter to them via certified mail to that affect this week.

This is what my Iris Garden looked like in June 2008:

Some of the Iris

The first project was to rebuild the enclosed deck. This project started on the 1st of September. This was supposed to take 3 weeks, but took a little over 3 months. When my parents had this house built in 1967 there was an open elevated deck on the back of the house. I liked the open deck a lot. My Mom would hang fuchsias every summer. It was beautiful. At some point when I was not living at home, the deck was enclosed. I’m not sure why the deck was enclosed though.

Over the years the deck began to list to the side and became unsafe. This happened because whoever enclosed the deck did not add additional supports to hold the weight of the sides and roof. Apparently when the deck was enclosed my little town had no building code in place covering decks enclosed or otherwise.

I interviewed a number of contractors and since the prices were similar, I chose the contractor I liked. It turned out to be a good choice. While there were many delays – weather, materials not showing up on time, and a family issue that had an impact on his time – the contractor always called and always kept me informed. That isn’t to say I did not get a bit stressed by the delays. Having my porch furniture in the house for 3 months was annoying and made it difficult to clean. And in the end there are a bunch of very small things I need to contact the contractor about that were not done. I won’t list them here because I’ve taken care of all but one of them. I do need to paint the inside roof (white) and the outside posts, etc. (white) in the Spring. It's too cold to paint now.

Some Before and After pictures




The inside roof of the old porch had a ceiling, which I'd vetoed for the new porch. When the old ceiling was torn off, it rained mice! Lots and lots and lots of mice. I think I made the correct decision about the ceiling.


The porch is screened. One of the delays was waiting for the custom screens to arrive. It was worth the wait.

I like the porch a lot more now. There is lots of light and it's much cooler. I've rearranged the furniture so that I can look out when sitting on the couch. Right now it's 14F here! I'm going to wait for Spring to enjoy my new porch.

Qwill’s Qwestion: 1) do you have any contractor stories or, 2) what part of your house, apartment, etc. would you redo if you could?


  1. NIce I wish I could get that done, but right now its just to cold to put my house thru that. Its tempremental. lol

  2. Thanks, Rayna. I agree about the cold. Projects should be done in warm weather!! I ran out on the porch to take the inside picture this morning and almost froze!

  3. UGH, one year, my parents decided to put in an addition AND redo the kitchen all in the same period of time. We had 7 people living in the house, 3 children (mine), my niece, my parents and myself with NO KITCHEN!!!! I learned to love my crockpot and how beneficial it is to own a countertop oven.
    As for our house?? The first thing I'd redo is the bathrooms. They are all out of date and have horrible shower doors on the bathtubs... blech. Not to mention the boys' bath has a habit of leaking into the kitchen if the slightest bit of water gets on the floor.
    Lovely porch, I agree with you on the ceiling, after finding rodents living in it, I'd have left it open also.

  4. Looks great, Qwill. The deck/porch will be a dream come springtime :-)

  5. Redheaded Mama, I would not survive without a kitchen though that might be the next thing we have redone since it has a stove and ovens from 1967 - avocado green! Time for me to invest in a crockpot.

    Thanks, Nia. I can use the porch for a freezer during the winter! My Mom used to do that. The small humans can't wait until they can have breakfast on the porch!

  6. Oh wow, your porch looks amazing!!! Def worth having the screens put in.

  7. Wow! Qwill, definitely worth the time and effort on the porch. It will definitely be a treasured room of the house I'm sure.
    Wish things had gone better with the roofers. Dumb men. They didn't look, didn't care. I'd bet money on it.
    No remodeling horror stories and I'd redo the entire house.

  8. Thanks, Eva. It's the nicest 'room in' the house at the moment. The rest of the place is still a mess from having the porch furniture inside!

    I agree completely about the roofers!

  9. Looking good. Come down here and do my yard. Love the sun room. If I could re-do my house, I'd do the kitchen.

  10. Qwill, Everything looks amazing, I'm sure it was a long wait but just look at what a diffence it made. I'm sorry about your Iris's I would have started smacking, sorry it's the Italian in me.

    When I was married to my ex, we bought a house that needed the floors sanded. We had just had the walls and ceilings done and the only thing we told the contractor was to not put anything on the ceilings. Well when we came home, they had taped plastic up to stop the spread of sawdust fromt he sanding..........can you see where I'm going.........ON TO MY CEILING, ruined the ceiling, they had to pay to have it painted which was what we didn't want to do, but had to because the DUCT tape, yes I said DUCT tape glue wouldn't come off the ceiling. So much for explaining in detail what we didn't want.


  11. It's not exactly a contractor story, but when I was 6, my house burned.
    We lived in a trailer in the back yard while my granddaddy rebuilt the interior of the house (the outer walls were fine).

    During the rebuild, we lifted the living floor to the same level as the front door; instead of being a sunken living room. The one thing that really upset my mother was the fireplace. The people who worked on it did not clean the bricks. Instead they bricked over it. Instead of this great, huge not quite big enough for a Yule log, we got one that was typical-sized.

    The kitchen was great though. She moved the stove away from the window (partial cause of the fire) and put a hood over it.

  12. I dont have any contractor stories cause we do our own jobs. We roofed our garage 1st. That was our 1st time roofing. It was really backbreaking work. Our neighbor said to Jim wow so you hired a boy to help you I looked down from roof and he was like Oh dang its Amy... haha
    Since then we have become pros. We roofed the house, then built a side patio and roofed that too. But it is still hard work!!!After each roofing project I cant lift my right arm for a few days...(hammering)

    Well I would love to re-do the living room. It is stuck in the 60's. Wood paneling, teal rug...Hopefully this year but not sure if we will have the money...