Ms Sparky gets duped by a contractor
As most of you know I try to refrain from posting personal stuff on MsSparky.com. Occasionally my grandson does something that has me beaming with pride and I just can’t resist sharing it. Today I make another exception.
My husband and I have been planning and saving to build a new shop/garage on our property. We did not want to finance it we wanted to pay cash. This is not a pole barn. This is a nice building, it’s 28′ x 40′, has 2″x6″ exterior walls, 10′ ceilings plus attic storage and designed to match the house. We even moved our septic drain field so we could put the shop exactly where we wanted it. That cost us.
One would think that my daily dealings with unethical and corrupt defense contractors I would have a heightened ability to detected and ward off contractor issues. Apparently not! I thought I had done the appropriate amount of due diligence when checking out contractors. This contractor came highly recommended and was licensed and bonded in the State of Washington. After the designing and permitting phase, work finally started mid April 2010.
I am an electrician not a carpenter, but I have an eye for “square, plum and level”. The carpentry work was great, no issues. Anyone who knows me is aware, if I had any issues, the contractor would know about it immediately.
Because we were building during the rainy season the contractor opted to pour the 28’x40′ slab after the building walls were up and the roof was completed. I didn’t see a problem with that.
The day game to pour the slab…woo hoo! It was a chaotic but exciting time for me. The pouring of the slab meant we were almost done with the exterior and I could focus on the interior. There were two concrete trucks, a pumper truck and numerous vehicles parked down our country road. There were 6 people working the slab, 2 working the pumper truck and two concrete truck drivers.
At this point it appears all was well and ALL 15 yards of concrete were poured. The trucks left and it was like the calm after the storm. The cement finishers went to work. They worked for hours “floating” the floor. I had told the finishers I was intending to painting the floor so I didn’t want a glass smooth finish. I needed something for the paint or other finish to adhere to. We has specifically discussed something between a “broom finish” and “smooth as glass”. What I eventually got was nothing close to either.
I checked on the finishers periodically and they claimed all was good. When I could see they were about done I mentioned a very rough spot about 8 feet in and Tim the lead finisher patted me on the shoulder and said “Don’t you worry about that, that’s just an optical illusion. It’ll all be gone in the morning.” I know nothing about concrete work and took him at his word. Tim told me not to walk on the slab for three days and informed me it wouldn’t be totally cured for almost 30 days.
The next morning I went out to look at my new slab. OMG!! The “optical illusion” was still there and in the daylight I could see other “optical illusions” as well. Some of the trowel marks are so bad they are tripping hazards. It looked as though my 7 year old grandson had finished the floor with a Mega Blocks! (click HERE for floor pics) Now I am getting very very concerned. The carpenters show up to work and I told them I didn’t want them walking on the floor for three days. I show them the floor, they agree it looks pretty bad and I sent them home. I contacted the contractor and expressed my concern about the finish. Keep in mind, I haven’t been able to closely inspect the entire floor as of yet because I was told not to walk on it.
The contractor stated he would make good on refinishing the floor but never did, so I fired him and contacted other concrete contractors to come out and bid on refinishing the surface. That’s when I am informed we had a MUCH MUCH BIGGER problem with the slab. The slab does not slope correctly. According to code it is required to slope out towards the garage doors and this one does not. I actually found out first hand when a rain storm hit and water was flowing in under the door and puddling inside the garage.
In order to better determine what was truly going on with the floor, I divided it up into an approx 6’x6′ grid and used the intersecting lines of the grid as reference points (RP) for measurements. I hired a contractor with a laser transit to come out and measure the height of each reference point. I gave that data to my very smart husband and said “Here honey turn this data into a visual depiction of our concrete slab.” And as any very smart husband would do, he said “Yes, dear as you wish!”
He used 3-D graphical analysis software (don’t ask me anything about that) and input the data I gave him. He also input data of what the slab should look like using the industry standard of a 1/8″ per linear foot slope from the back to the front of the shop. (Note: It is difficult for the naked eye to discern measurements as slight as these, so the “Z” or vertical axis on both graphs have been adjusted to better illustrate the elevation changes)
I have had several concrete contractors come out to see if there is any viable repair other than ripping out the slab and starting over. Everyone one of them stated there is no repair for this FUBAR’d floor. So the cost to rip out and replace the defective slab is an additional $8000. OMG!!!
The contractor is refusing to warranty his work as per the contract and now I have to sue him in Washington Superior Court just to get to his bond. Even with that there is no guarantee the bond company will pay. They are nothing more than an insurance company and we know how they operate. We are completely held up on finishing the interior until this floor issue us resolved.
I am asking all my REALLY REALLY REALLY smart readers for their opinion on this one. Any legal advice and or repair/replacement advice on this would be appreciated. This is going to be costly and I want to make sure I have thought it through thoroughly.
I am refraining from publishing the name of the contracting company at this time in an effort to make sure he doesn’t acquire any new “corporate” allies or financial benefactors in this fight. He is already claiming to have dissolved his LLC in an effort to not pay for this screw up.
If some of you have been wondering what has me a little distracted from MsSparky.com…….this is it!