Diary of a mad homeowner

The trials and tribulations of fixing up a house filled with character but not much else

Bad contractorsContractorsGood contractors

Remodel, repair, remodel, repair

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The original repair took four days. The repair’s repair took four hours.

Recap: Last year I made the mistake of hiring a sub-contractor (heretofore called Mr. Drywall) through a painting company heralded on Angie’s List. His work on the front room and bathroom drywall was stellar but work on the woodstove pad was not-to-code, shabby and costly.

Fast forward a few months and you have Mountain Hearth and Patio’s visit to the Bar B to clean my woodstove that began belching chunks of soot. They were kind and said they could fix the problem but pointed out the new pad was too small and in the wrong place. Additionally, the outside pipe was too short and though it wasn’t a problem at the moment, red-tagging was imminent and future problems loomed during a home inspection should I ever sell.

In short, the men came in, fixed the problem, cleaned up, hauled away all the trash and sincerely thanked me for my business. The stove is now up to code both inside and out. Four hours, not four days.

Here’s how it all started:

The old pad was a nightmare of too big, too ugly and badly constructed. The inside pipe was at an angle (see photo) and tiles from the 1970s routinely fell off, propelled by their own innate ugliness. Mountain Hearth and Patio had come to the house earlier in the year and given me an estimate and asked me to go to their showroom and choose a pad priced from $300 on up. I did. I was ignored for nearly 20 minutes and left. Mr. Drywall was appalled at the estimate ($1,200) and felt he could help me out for around $800.

Mr. Drywall began to work. Hours of pounding, hammering and chipping away at each tile BEFORE cutting up the pad and removing it while the woodstove sat resolutely and unmoved.

Mr. Drywall could only handle the altitude for three hours at a time and days later, I couldn’t handle the noise any longer and left when he began to work around the woodstove. He said he would cut the pad and start laying the tile on the new pad after he had used a car jack to lift the stove. When I returned home, he had cut the pad to within one inch around the stove. That’s not in compliance with the building code which states it should be eight inches. Mr. Drywall simply didn’t get that he had made a mistake and insisted he was an expert on woodstove code. His solution for the crooked pipe was to hit it with a hammer.

Mr. Drywall’s multi-paged billing system sucked but months later I figured out it was closer to $1,200 than the original estimate.

In April 2014, my Angie’s List yearly charge showed up on my credit card. I called and cancelled my subscription and they asked why. I explained Mr. Drywall’s bad work and my lack of faith in AL.

To Angie’s List’s credit they offered to mediate a solution to the woodstove pad but I declined; too little, too late. Just remember that Angie’s List will work hard to make a solution appear when you’re not happy with the work. Even a contractor whose heart is in the right place but can’t handle the altitude (or the job).

As for the off-center wood and tile in front of the woodstove, a rug will work for now.

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