Repairing Sagging Floors – Part 4: First Repair Attempt

After reviewing the quotes we received from the three foundation repair specialists, we decided to go with Company 3 because they had spent the most time analyzing the problem and had the most detailed work proposal.

Not wanting to leave anything to chance, I decided to do some of my own analysis of the work that needs to be performed before they came out.

I purchased a Bosch GLL3-80 360° Three-Plane Leveling and Alignment-Line Laser.

Using the Bosch GLL3-80, I measured the amount of floor dip at various locations in the kitchen using the floor at the perimeter wall as the reference.

Each spot measurement was recorded on a piece of tape on the floor.

The worst spot sagged over an inch under level.

When Company 3’s workers came out, I instructed them where the new support beams needed to be installed under the floor joists based on the floor sag measurements I took.

Fortunately, I stayed at House 1 to supervise.  As time went on, I became increasingly concerned about the ability of the crew to deliver the quality of work stated in the work proposal.

Below is just a small list of the mistakes I caught them making.

  • Footers for the support posts were not placed at the locations I specified.
  • Footers for the support posts were 8 feet apart when their engineering diagram clearly stated that they could not be spaced more than 6 feet apart.
  • The footers were a couple of inches short of the 12 inch depth specified by their engineering diagram.
  • The footers were a couple of inches short of the width specified by their engineering diagram.
  • The support beam was constructed incorrectly with seams not located in line with support posts.

The crew had no business being on site without the supervision of a knowledgeable site manager.  By the end of the second day, I had run out of patience and tolerance for mistakes and raised my concerns with the sales consultant who quoted the work.  He told me he would get management’s attention on the issue immediately and that they would meet and determine a course of action for resolution.

The third day of work started and no one informed me about the outcome of meeting or their resolution plan.  At this point, I lost all faith that this was going to turn out well and requested that the job be called off.  At this point, management called me to try to remediate the situation but it was too little too late.  I requested that they remove all their materials, undo all work they have done and return the job site to its original state because their quality of their work was of no benefit to me even if it was free.

An hour later, the crew had cleared off the site.  The only issue was the $1,261 deposit Company 3 still had in their possession.  I requested that the payment be refunded and the owner replied that he had to speak to his partner about it.

After a week of no response, I sent a forceful email to document in writing that the work was cancelled due to the fact that they had failed to adhere to their own engineering specifications and that I was entitled to a full refund of my deposit since none of their material or work product remained on the site.

The deposit payment was made using a credit card so the written communication served as the first step to a chargeback demand if push came to shove.  Fortunately, they came to their senses and immediately refunded the payment the next day.

From my years of dealing with contractors, I’ve learned to never accept sub-par work no matter what kind of jam you are in or how much it delays your schedule.  Poor quality work inevitably leads to other headaches over time, headaches that will be no one else’s but mine.  So these days, on the rare occasion that I hire out to “professionals”, I make absolutely certain that I get the quality I paid for.  If not, I withhold payment until things are done right.  If I lose faith that work will turn out right, I have no qualms about firing someone.

I have heard many stories about contractors running away with prepayments for jobs.  Unless there are good reasons, I almost never make payment on a job until completion and satisfaction.  If the funds are needed for materials, I will buy the materials myself rather than hand funds to the contractor to make the purchase.  In situation like this one where I have to make a down payment, I make sure that I have recourse available to easily demand the funds back if the need arises.  Requesting a credit card chargeback is very little work and puts leverage on the side of the consumer, not the contractor.  I just make sure that I perform the necessary steps to properly document the failure of the contractor to deliver on their obligations.


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