The Evolution of D.I.Y.
I now know firsthand why do-it-yourself came to be.
(Warning: Snarky-full rant ahead. Don’t read if you aren’t up for it. Cuz I’m ticked off. And it takes a lot to get me there.)
Frustration with inept contractors, a need for perfection – or just higher standards – and price gouging home improvement companies. All this – and much more, I’m sure – has driven us to do it ourselves. And do it better, we can.
I wasn’t going to post this stuff yesterday because I thought I could just vent to Gaylen, deal with the company through the Better Business Bureau, and get over it. Until I saw what the contractor did today. Something trivial and oh-so-stupid that it just pushed me over the edge.
Yesterday, when the contractor arrived, I’m already on edge because I’m not happy with the installation company that Home Depot uses, so I was outside waiting for him. He drove past me twice, not even looking, before I could finally flag him down.
Next – and probably I shouldn’t be so judgemental, but I have really high expectations when I’m paying for a service – I notice that his van (not a company van) is barely running and has the front license plate fastened on with blue tape. The guy barely speaks English, and I still don’t know his name. And this is who the company sends to represent them?
I had the few tiles laid out on the floor to show him what I wanted. He said in broken English that placing tile on the diagonal wasn’t on his order. I told him that I had told the company that’s what I wanted, so he needs to install it that way. Fine. He proceeds to install the backerboard.
An hour later, I get a call from the ditzy high school dropout scheduler in her phony high-pitched voice that diagonal installation “wasn’t paid for.” HUH? I’ve paid for everything already. Well, she says, diagonal installation wasn’t on the order from Home Depot, and that diagonal tile installation is $1 a square foot extra. Too bad, I told her. She kept insisting I needed to pay the extra money. I explained that I’d mentioned it to her several times, and to Home Depot when I ordered the product. I bluntly told her she needed to take it up with them as I was not paying the additional cost.
So… that over, the installer has measured and marked the center of the room – as I asked him to do. Then he starts to show me how he’s going to set them on the diagonal. Uh… no… that’s not how it’s done.
I had to get on my hands and knees and SHOW HIM.
Instead of having the imaginary diagonal line of the tile line up with the cross lines, he had each of four tiles pointing their corners into the point where the cross lines meet. (Make sense? I can’t draw it.) Wrong, just wrong.
So, today he comes back to grout the tile. I had to have him grout it twice because the first time, he had the grout too wet and it was all uneven. In many cases the grout was shallow 1/8″ from where it should be at the top of the tile. We would have been tripping on tile edges.
He so wanted out of there, I could tell, but I insisted that he clean the tile twice. I expected to do a little cleanup after him, but I wasn’t going to have him leave with a thick white chalk layer over the tiles.
Finally, it’s still wet, but looks acceptable, but I don’t sign the release. He leaves. I go shopping with my daughter for a couple hours. I return, and the floor has dried with a nice white chalky residue still on it. More than is acceptable to me.
But, wait, there’s more. I go to wipe off the residue and polish the tile over by where the stove goes and notice this:
The guy grouted down the gas fixture! Not only did he grout it down, but if you look at the upper left corner of the base, he grouted it into the wall. It is also supposed to be turned so that the short end aligns with the wall. There are screws that get drilled into it to hold the gas pipe in place. Now it’s all wonky and wrong. And now I have to have it fixed.
Dang my back and health issues. If I ever have to do something like this again, I’ll do it myself.