Saturday, August 11, 2012

Tackling a Big Project ... And Trying Not to Tackle Our Contractor

Does my subject sound a little mean? I promise you'll feel it's totally justified by the end of the post. I had many moments where I just wanted to tuck my head down and just try to knock him over. lol But I restrained myself so that I could complain about him on the interweb instead. So without, further ado, here's the story of our contractor woes.

Recently, Chris and I noticed that a few of the boards in the soffet of our roof line were warped and rotting. We knew it needed to be fixed eventually, but when we kept hearing buzzing in the wall right next to that gap, we decided eventually was now. We definitely didn't want bees burrowing through our walls and insulation.

I figured since we would have to hire a contractor, we might as well knock out a few other projects as well. More specifically, we needed to knock out some windows. Well, I did find a contractor. Only one guy even bothered to come out and give me an estimate. Most of them said they would and blew me off.

So we got stuck with the one guy who was eager to take on our projects: Eddy of Dr. Eddy's Home Improvements. If you live in the area, well, I wouldn't recommend him.

You may remember pictures of our old bathroom window, one of only three original windows left in the house:

You can see that it was not in great shape. The top right corner of the lower window was cracked, paint had managed to get slopped all over the edges of the glass, the window wouldn't even stay open without being propped up, and probably worst of all, you could feel cold air seeping in around the window in the winter. And when the window is in your shower, well, take it from me that bathing was not always a pleasant experience.

And here's what we had going on in the half bathroom. An off-center window that let in outside air and bugs even when it was closed.

Here's an older picture of the hallway window outside the half bath. It's identical to the one in the half bath. You can see how they opened by tilting inward, so you couldn't really put curtains on them.

So here's the new hallway window. Yes, this is what our contractor called "done." haha It's hard to see the details in this photo to see how bad it is, but basically the window frame is covered in caulk and paint, there are holes in the wall around the trim, the screws were caulked over, but you could still see huge indents, and caulk was just gooped up in random spots. Awesomesauce.

Here's the new half bath window. Same deal, except with this one, he overlapped the trim on the right with the frame, so when the window was closed, you couldn't get your fingers around the push bar to slide it open. We did have him take that piece off and cut it so you could actually open the window. I mean, really? Come on!

Here's a gorgeous example of this guy's sick love affair with caulk, but not really understanding how to use it.

Here's the view from outside midway through the window replacement. At this point I was getting mighty nervous.

You can see the soffet that started it all in the picture above. It was in rough shape. The plywood board is was put up by the contractor, but the white boards underneath were pretty terrible.

As for the downstairs bathroom window, here's a scary halfway done picture:

This picture was after he promised me he wasn't going to remove the trim that was connected to the grout in the tub surround. We just had that natural stone put in a few years ago and I really didn't want it damaged. And that contractor, Tom Hardy, did such an amazing job.

But alas, this time around, we were stuck with Eddy.

Here's Eddy's version of finished. Not too awfully bad from far away.

But get in close and it's a whole different story:

Cracks galore, nail holes showing, trim that doesn't fit back together perfectly ...

Trim that doesn't fit together at all, a whole missing section of trim that Eddy tried to fill in with caulk, caulk all over the cabinet ...

Glopped on paint and caulk, once again all over the new window frames ...

So I'm assuming at this point you understand why I was none too happy with ole Dr. Eddy. And after all this, he had the nerve to charge us $173 over his original quote because he "did do much extra work". Grrrrr.

I guess the best way to look at this is that it was a learning experience. I have learned that cheap isn't always worth it, and that recommendations are absolutely neccessary.

Needless to say, I was eager to get in there and start fixing things as soon as humanly possible. Seeing that mess in my house was giving me a constant stomach ache. Here's all the caulk I pulled off the window frames of the upstairs two windows:

Chris and I were also eager to get some privacy in the bathrooms, so we tackled a little project together soon after Eddy's long-overdue departure. We bought a window frost kit at Lowe's and got to work making the new window a little less friendly to peeping toms ... and not exposing our bums to our neighbors every time we had to use the toilet. lol

The frost film, I'm happy to say, did the job wonderfully. It's clean and smooth and classic looking. It's not super noticeable, and it still lets in lots of light. I took this picture at night, but I'll try to remember to post one of the window with the light shining in.

You'll notice that our shower curtain rod made it back on the trim in the picture above. We bought an extra-long 96" shower curtain so we can put the curtain rod above the window trim, but it hasn't arrived yet, so we went back to our old method until it does.

I also spent a few hours today filling cracks and building up the crappy sections with putty, as well as sanding away rough spots and excess putty once it dried. I have another round of sanding to go, but hopefully then I'll be ready to paint. I'll be so happy to post finished pictures that are actually finished and not just Eddy's version of done.

Here's how everything wrapped up outside, which I have to admit was Eddy's strong suit. Although maybe I just can't get close enough to these areas to see how bad they are. lol

At least you can't see the crappy warped boards now. And hopefully the bees can't get inside ...

There's the two new windows up top, all framed out and painted.

Downstairs bathroom window.
So at least I can end this post on a high note. From the outside, all is well and looks just as good or better than before our whirlwind encounter with Dr. Eddy. And hopefully I'll have pictures of everything looking all smooth and nice and painted soon.

But after a week of dealing with this guy, Chris and I are completely exhausted. I think it's time to kick back, eat some ice cream, and watch the last of the Olympics ...