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Monday, May 24, 2010

Patio Debacle


So we decided to have the backyard fixed up for summertime and get a nice patio, seating wall, and built-in barbecue. We had several estimates and decided on a referral from a friend who had an addition built by this "contractor". We gave him a drawing of what we wanted and lots of photos of examples of the stone, wall caps, and concrete we wanted. He started right away preparing the area and was building the seating wall by day 2. I thought this was strange, but what do I know? I would have thought the wall would go on top of the patio with footings into the concrete, but heck this guy has done this before right? First major problem was when Mr. Patio shows up with a load of dark charcoal bricks. What are those for, I ask? "The top of the wall, and I can't take them back"....I don't think so, Mr Patio. First those are the ugliest things I have ever seen, second you don't just show up with a load of materials without getting approval, third, that looks nothing like the long stone caps we showed you we wanted. Uh oh, I think we may be in trouble here. Ok, so next problem the stone veneer that we requested, is "not available" so he brings one stone of a few other types and tells us to pick. Stone veneer is comprised of many different shapes, sizes and colors, so picking one stone as a sample is a guess at what the batch would look like. A photo or a sample section glues to a board (which we found out later from visiting a stone store) is a much better way to see what the stones will look like together. Anyway Mr. Patio starts attaching the stones on parts of the seating wall and the first night a few have already fallen off! I don't think the three bubblegum sized pieces of cement are enough to hold the stone on. Ugh, now I am getting really worried.
Time to start the barbecue. The what? Oh Mr. Patio is running out of money because he had to pay his rent and now that will be extra $. I'm about loosing my mind at this point, and we have already given him more money than work he has done, so we are stuck. He continues on, making a giant mess of the backyard leaving trash everywhere and making it look a lot worse than before instead of better.

BBQ is still unfinished with no counter top and no door installed.


And the stairs...yup, you guessed it that will also be extra. So basically, he underbid the job to get it, and then decided to charge us more once he got started. Super!

What a nightmare. Things continued to get worse. He backed into the side of the garage, broke the back gate (by another misjudgment in his driving), raised the price $3,000, and we had to go out and buy our own wall caps (+$700)and still pay for the ugly ones he bought without approval. Really??? Yup it gets worse....

So I come home from work the day the concrete is poured and instead of the picture I gave him of beautiful stamped concrete that looks like flagstone, it has a few hand drawn lines across the middle and its the wrong color. I completely break down at this point. I cannot believe this is happening. This guy is not listening to a word I am saying, and if he is he is not understanding. Everyday I have a huge argument with him telling him what I want and he is telling me what he did is what I want???? I think I know what I want and this is not it!


This is what we got...

This is the picture we gave him of what we wanted....

Although he assured us he knew what stamped concrete was, he apparently did not! Hand drawn lines are not stamped concrete.

So now we have a patio, that is completely not what I wanted, but I'm stuck with it unless I want to pay someone else to redo it. We paid way more than his original estimate. And he hasn't finished the barbecue (no top). Plus the closer we look the more things we find wrong. Things start getting ugly, I demand his contractors license which he promised me he had and come to find out...surprise! no license. He wants the remaining $1000 because he needs to send his friend back to the islands (like that's my problem). Chad is out of town and I am left to deal with Mr. Patio, so I call for backup...a few firefighter friends who come and disperse the situation. Mr. Patio is told to hit the road because the job is in no way complete, the yard is a disaster, the patio is completely not what we asked for and he is not getting the remaining $1000. Now he is threatening to put a lien on our house for the $1000. Are you serious? I think operating without a license is frowned upon heavily in the state of CA, so chances are he will get in more trouble for that if he tries to take legal action on us. PLUS he hasn't finished the job!!!!


This is the end of the concrete, where there is supposed to be a step. He just left the wood there because it was stuck from the rebar he stuck in the concrete to keep it in place, which is oozing out from underneath. The concrete is also supposed to go out farther than the wall, and have a lip. And below is the picture we gave him of what we wanted....


Completely different! Ugh!

We wedged the wood off and now this is what the edge looks like - ugly and uneven!

So we are trying to find a legitimate contractor to finish the barbecue. Four appointments for estimates and all four were no shows. I thought the economy wasn't so good and people were looking for work? Apparently not in my area. Finally we did get one guy out for an estimate and the estimate was $6,100 for the counter top. Do we have sucker written across our foreheads? There is no way I am paying $6,100 for a barbecue counter top. The search continues....

11 comments:

fernvalley01 said...

God grief! what a terrible experience! I was quite scared when I was looking for a contractor for our addition, luckily found a guy through family .He came highly recomended and was what they said he was. I am so glad I had the help

Marissa said...

Um... I can't help but point you toward CA's consumer fraud statutes here. Take a look at http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/displaycode?section=bpc&group=07001-08000&file=7150-7168

I don't know anything about CA law, since I'm only barred in NJ and PA, but it sounds like you might want to talk to a lawyer about getting your money back from this guy. Might be more trouble than it's worth, sounds like his finances aren't exactly in order, but we are going through a similar situation with a dirt bag pool contractor at my house and I know how frustrating it is!

Good luck getting it fixed, one way or another.

Paint Girl said...

Oh my goodness! I am so sorry you got an idiot contractor! I'd be pulling my hair out too and so darn angry! You spend that kind of money and it should be exactly what you asked for!

jrosey said...

Oh no! So sorry about what you had to deal with. Ugh. People like that make me sick. And yeah...don't worry about him putting a lien on your house. At least in WA state only CONTRACTORS can do that (and there's proper notice that must be given prior). It doesn't count when an unlicensed contractor does a shoddy job and then demands more $$. Sounds like the firefighters were a big help, but do you happen to have any ATTORNEY friends? ;) I have a neighbor that had an almost identical thing happen when she got her patio done last year. Including leaving the forms in place. So frustrating. Did you give him a check? Can you cancel it & then let him know you will be reporting him if he tries to argue? So sorry! Hope the rest of the process goes smoother. Oh, yeah...for the patio, I was just reading about these certain types of pavers that can be installed right on top of concrete...maybe a DIY project? Good luck!!

Desert Rose said...

OMG!!! we did the same thing a few years back with our pattio...only the resurfacing of the concreate. I have a picture that was mixed slate...the sales person said they could do EXACTLT that...and of course, they could not. Our pool/spa pattio was a mess for 10 days...our grandchilren were coming...I too have a pattio that was NOT what we wanted. The Only thing they offered to do was repaint the concreate one color which would NOT work now becuse of the layers of paint they used to make it look like slate. I agree...your guy did not have a license...I am so sorry you have to deal with this!!!

Five O'Clock Somewhere said...

Thank you everyone for your consoling words. I really don't know how these people sleep at night, and it sounds like there are alot of them out there!

Rising Rainbow said...

I shook my head the whole way through reading this, mostly because I know exactly what this is like.

I hope you get something worked out to your satisfaction.

storybeader said...

oh dear, what a mess. Don't live in CA but I'm hoping you can get the patio straightened out, and the bbq area finished. good luck!

Ruth said...

Yikes! What a nightmare. Almost would have been better to have done a DIY job, huh? Would've cost less and got what you wanted instead of fighting with the idiot.

Hapi said...

hello... hapi blogging... have a nice day! just visiting here....

Carol............. said...

So sorry that happened to you!

What a meathead contractor.......

We had a stone wall built a few years ago and that was the most horrific nightmare I lived through so I understand. (The ugly wall is still standing!)

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