Just within the past 10 days we have had a handyman come to the house to repair and re-tile a portion of an upstairs bath. He and his "helper" mis-cut the green board but put it up anyway. Then he proceeded to put so much adhesive on the tiles that they stuck out a good 1/8 of an inch from the undamaged tile. He left enough gaps in the grout and caulking to defeat the purpose of the repair job. To make sure we really appreciated his work, he got the rows of tile crooked. The effort was so poor we had him rip out half the tiles he had just installed. Against our better judgment, he promised to return the next weekend to finish the job. Of course, he never showed up nor did he answer his phone. The only good news? He didn't get paid.
During that same period we decided to install a new toilet in the same bathroom. It was purchased from one of the big box stores, along with an extra fee to have it installed. The day for the installation arrived and the plumber appeared at our door right on time. That was the last good thing that would happen. He took one look at the old toilet and said he couldn't help us. The old toilet had a line of grout between it and the tile. He said he was not allowed to even attempt to cut the grout for fear of damaging the tiles. If we cut the grout ourselves or hired a tile man (see above!) to loosen the toilet he would come back to install the new one.
Even though he was more than 6 feet tall and at least 250 pounds, I suggested in words and tone that were probably not appropriate for a good Christian man that he get out of my house...NOW. After storming up to the store and ranting about the poor quality of "professionals" they used, I got my money back for the installation. The new toilet is still sitting in the upstairs hallway.
About 10 months ago we had a contractor install wooden steps in place of the worn out carpet. Not cheap by any means, his crew was sloppy enough we had to retouch the stain and the paint on virtually every step and support. Half the stairs squeaked because they had been cut incorrectly, so they were taken out, re-cut and reinstalled which resulted in more marred paint. As a final insult, one man cut the carpeting upstairs wrong so there is a nice rip in the rug. You can read the whole story here.
Go back 4 months before that and another two men, with good references, did such a crappy job painting the inside of the house that my wife (primarily) and me (a little) spent almost a week afterward applying touch-ups to the places they missed or over-painted.
You get the picture. No matter how we search and research, what passes for quality work is not. It is average, marginal, or substandard. The people doing the work are always baffled when what they have done doesn't meet our expectations. They truly believe the type of performance cited above is good.
So, what are we to do? As I've noted in other posts, we are in this house for another 5-7 years. Things will need to be repaired, fixed, painted, or replaced. We can't just stop all maintenance. After thoughtful consideration of our options, I have decided to go to a technical college and be trained as an handyman.
No..that isn't the choice we made. I am extremely lucky to be married to a woman who enjoys tackling projects that many people, especially women, wouldn't touch. She may not have ever replaced tile before, but as this picture shows, there she is, in the bathroom repairing the mess made by the handyman and learning as she goes. Guess what...when finished it will be better than anyone else could or would do, because she has pride in her work and will do it until it is perfect.
She has decided we will replace the toilet. Our wooden front door is badly worn and starting to crack. With a replacement door costing almost $3,000 or a refinishing of the current one almost $2,300, Betty has said we will do it ourselves. We will take the door down, sand it, wood putty the cracks, sand it again, and then paint it. The sidelight panel will have similar treatment. Our cost will probably be less than $300.
We have remodeled the powder room downstairs, including ripping out the counter, refinishing the cabinet, repairing tears in the dry wall, and faux-finishing the walls. She has built a three level rock waterfall in the backyard and a brick accent wall in the front yard. I could cite a dozen more examples, but the bottom line is: I trust her to do a better job at virtually anything we need to have done (minus biggies like a new roof or repainting the house) than anyone we could hire.
She shouldn't have to do all this. Yes, on one level she enjoys the hard work. But, it takes away from things she would rather be doing and wastes time spent on cleaning up after others. Unfortunately, with the current state of sloppy, uncaring, or untrained repair people dominating the marketplace we have been burned too many times to trust again.
This post is not a good example of what makes a satisfying retirement lifestyle. But, it is an accurate representation of what homeowners face today. A condo or rental never sounded better!
|The last tile fits !|