Switch to full style
A meeting place for regulars to discuss the lighter side of old-houses.
Post a reply

Front porch workman drama

Sun Aug 05, 2012 4:09 pm

Another item checked off my "to do" list for the insurance company, front porch railing installed. Image

I've had a local workman do a couple of smaller jobs around the house, tuckpointing basement, replacing a broken window and some boards on the front porch. He built two steps up to the front porch also, not really done the right way but all right for now. Prices have been fair but I've always thought he was a fast talker and a little on the sleazy side. But he works hard and work is done sturdily, not always with a lot of finesse.

So when he finished repairs on the porch last time, I told him I wanted handrails but couldn't do it until this month. Of course he measured right away and wanted to get started, letting me pay him later. I thought the price was high and didn't want to do it before I had the money. He called back and gave me a lower price.

I called when I got paid on the first on this month. He showed up with his cousin and said he would be doing most of the work. He told me his cousin was a carpenter (turns out he really is a retired carpenter). My original guy emphasized that after his cousin finished the work, I should call him and we would "settle up". The cousin worked really hard and did a beautiful job. I felt bad not paying him. He even fixed the lock on my front door and I gave him $20 to do it.

He asked if I had made payment arrangements with his cousin (Mr. Sleazy). I told him I had and that it was for $300. I also asked if he was interested in doing more work and he was. I just had a feeling something was fishy. So after the job is finished I called my original guy who had arranged the whole thing but not done any actual work. He was carrying on how I had shared his business with his cousin when I shouldn't have and that the cousin owed him money. He also was disturbed that his cousin mentioned that I might have more jobs for him. He continued along the same line when he showed up to pick up the payment. I told him it was up to him to settle it with his cousin and I wasn't getting into it with them.

So now I do have more things to get finished and have no desire to call Mr. Sleazy, would much prefer to call his cousin who finished my porch railing. Oh the drama!

Re: Front porch workman drama

Mon Aug 06, 2012 1:36 pm

Sorry to hear about the drama. We are lucky in knowing a GC, he was married to a former co-worker and they actualy bought a house across the street from the Old House (they're divorced now). He's darn near impossible to get a booking with, but worth the wait.

On a side note though, the colors on your house look fantastic! I LOVE deep, darker blues and greens with white accents.

Re: Front porch workman drama

Mon Aug 06, 2012 3:46 pm

it's your house, your wallet and your emotional wellbeing...hire who you want and don't allow anyone to bully you...

i do have a question....do you plan to paint the railings, steps and skirt board? it is always best to at least prime ALL bare wood prior to installation...even better to prime and paint then paint again after installation...

sometimes i think i overstep boundries when working for a client (but, of course, i defend my right to do so!)...if i see another tradesperson doing less than a satisfactory job, i want to point it out to the client....sometimes i do, sometimes i don't...it just bothers me to no end to see people do shoddy work or see painters apply paint directly over rot--and i've seen my share...it's 'buyer beware' when you hire someone to do work that is beyond your capability...you want to trust but there are those who will take advantage...



Re: Front porch workman drama

Mon Aug 06, 2012 3:58 pm

Things can turn out for the best, I like carpenter #2 better than sleazy guy anyway. So I'm glad he ended up doing the work and hopefully he will be able to do some more for me in the future. While I put up with sleazy's antics before, cheating his cousin out of money at my expense really makes me mad. I'm glad I let carpenter guy know what I was paying. As far as I'm concerned, what I pay is my business and if I choose to share it, that all right. I'm not playing high school games.

The painters will come back and prime and paint the new wood that has been added, all I have to do is give them a call. That was part of my deal with them. So I'm just planning on getting everything finished that needs to be done, then I'll give them a call.

Re: Front porch workman drama

Mon Aug 06, 2012 9:03 pm

kathyd (and anyone who will be having painted carpentry done)...my point about priming is that it should be done prior to it being installed...we call it 'back priming'...if the front of the board is primed and painted but the back isn't, moisture will enter the unpainted area and push out the other side causing paint failure...this is most typical in areas where the unprimed back area is concealed as in siding or trim...

if you've ever seen a painted siding project begin to fail and peel in a year or less, it's almost a guarantee the back of the siding hadn't been primed...i share this not to worry folks but to make you aware that back priming is a good investment...


Re: Front porch workman drama

Mon Aug 06, 2012 10:55 pm

Jade I am so glad you shared that!!! I was priming and painting the clapboards and the fancy shingles on both sides and just thought of it as overkill, but it can't hurt...Now I have proof it was a good idea!! Thank you for mentioning it. :D

Re: Front porch workman drama

Wed Aug 08, 2012 12:07 pm


Thanks for the information. I never knew that either.

Re: Front porch workman drama

Wed Aug 08, 2012 8:58 pm

you betcha! :wink:

Re: Front porch workman drama

Sat Mar 28, 2015 3:29 pm

Jade, that is valuable. I am familiar with that process, but didn't know it was called "back-priming." Thanks for that.

Also, I didn't hear mention of working with licensed contractors, but I hope people do this. I've heard too many horror stories from contractors I know about fixing work that was done incorrectly, and in the end it ended up costing the homeowner way more money in the long run. mho.
Post a reply