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This Old Crack House

From log house to farmhouse. Farmhouse to townhouse. Townhouse to apartment house. Apartment house to crack house. Crack house to our house. Our house to our home.

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Saturday, July 02, 2005

My Contractor Story

We hired a plumber once. He was a neighbor who lived down the street, too. Never again. He said that the job could be done in 16 hours at $25 an hour. I had to buy all the materials for our DWV system including the rubber balloons to plug the ends of the pipe so that it could be tested for leaks. Those cost me a small fortune. He couldn't do the work himself in the end. He got a buddy to do it for him. His wife had left him for another woman leaving the illiterate 9 year old daughter in his hands so he couldn't find time to do the work.His buddy boasted about how good a plumber he was and how fast he could work. Since I didn't know any better we took them on. After 26 hours and the job still not finished I was getting frustrated with the guy. When he was almost done he demanded payment. I guess he was seeing that he might not get paid at all. So, being idiots we paid him. Then it was a chore to get him to show up to finish the work. When he did show up and finish, he was drunk. As a result he managed to not glue three seams and put 1 1/2" pipe where he should have used 2" pipe. The original guy was supposed to install the spigot into the cast iron basement drain and lead it in but never showed up. My plumbing failed the rough inspection. Neither one of the plumbers would come back to fix the problem so I fixed it. Then the drain was plugged up and Roto Rooter was called to clean out the scale that had fallen down the cast iron main stack when Mr. Moron smacked it with a hammer to bust it out. If he had put a rag in the cleanout drain to catch the scale he would have saved me the $98 Roto Rooter bill.Well, his work is still haunting me. I went to put the toilet back in on the 2nd floor main bathroom only to find that it won't fit! It needs to be 2 inches shorter. Fortunately there is a distance of 10 inches between the wall and the center of the closet flange and you can buy toilets with a 10 inch rough in. So a new toilet cost us $135.00. Putting a perfectly good 12 inch rough in toilet out of commission.

My plumbing has come back to haunt me, too. As it always does. Somewhere behind my marble shower wall the hot water line has popped. Now I have to knock out tile and put holes in the backer board to find the leak so that I can fix it. This just goes to prove that draining the lines and shutting off the water for winter doesn't always prevent the pipes from popping. It's the copper pipe once again. I never have this problem with the plastic. I think I'll go and cry now.....


At 7/02/2005 12:10 PM, Blogger Jocelyn said...

That stinks. My sympathies on this problem. We have been pretty lucky with our plumber so far- he is really reasonably priced and does a good job- sometimes he no-shows- but his good qualities balance that out for us...On the bright side, now you know how to do more and at least you know what to do.

At 7/02/2005 1:59 PM, Blogger pgpollets said...

Sorry to hear of your experience. As a lic. journeyman plumber, I take great pride in my craft and skillset. The work this fellow did for you was a typical "low-ball"approach to the trade and business. I also hate to hear the "no-show" stories. I presume there's no licensing required in your town or city. State licensing gives the homeowner some protection. However, there's a serious lack of trained plumbers in the US, compounded by lack of code enforcement and state-wide contractor licensing. I would have been immediately suspect at the low rates you were quoted. Our apprentices are billed at higher rates than $25/hr. Lead mechanics' with a journeyman's (or master) license can cost well over $100./hr. for renovation DWV. Rates are usually lower in small towns or rural areas. It's also a ggod idea to check any contractor's previous work and relations with the owner's.

At 7/02/2005 2:28 PM, Blogger Nola said...

I'm more of a check-writer than a do-it-yourselfer, unless it's something easy like painting. So I've been there, done that with contractors. The old saying about never doing business with a friend is true. Even more so for a friend of a friend, especially one who is just getting started in business. I only use established companies now that have been around for a while and are recommended by other contractors. Still have some problems, but not as many.

Happily I now have a hunky young plumber named Thor, who works with his dad in a legit business. Now I love having to call the plumber!

At 7/02/2005 8:18 PM, Blogger Ms. P in Jackson said...

That really stinks. My husband and I were stupid enough to fall for some guy willing to repair our wooden privacy fence. $700 later, we still had no fence so my husband and I ended up putting it in ourselves.
Go online and check out servicemagic.com. I have used them twice and have been very happy both times with the contractors I have gotten. You also get to read feedback and leave feedback for the individual contractors which gives you some peace of mind.

At 7/05/2005 11:48 AM, Blogger Scott in Washington said...

Wow. It sounds like dumb luck that we found a good plumber the first time. We haven't had such good luck with roofers. Some of the roofers we've had make your plumber buddies look like neurosurgeons.

At 7/09/2005 5:01 PM, Blogger Todd said...

Plumbers! Don't get me started. I had an unlicenced guy (I didn't know it) who had the rough-in mostly done. Lik your guy, he'd hired others to help finish his "side project." He'd not pulled a permit and couldn't get one when I demanded one. I had to fire him. By the time I got to plumber number 3 I ended up paying his guys to taer out half the work they said was not to current code, costing my double my first bid. Then I hired plumber number 4 to set fixtures. You can read about it at http://vintagehomesknoxville.blogspot.com/2004_07_01_vintagehomesknoxville_archive.html. Scroll to second entry.

At 3/25/2007 2:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

it just shows how people try to get a cheaper deal to save money YOU GET WHAT U PAY FOR! always trying to cut cost will cost u more in the long run.
1. respect the cost u r given

2. dont try to cut corners

3. dont pay anything up front

4. always make shure they r insured

5. last but not least LICENCES

At 11/29/2011 1:52 PM, Anonymous Kevin Beamer said...

Ohh.. I'm very sorry to hear that. Were you able to find a good plumber? I'm hoping you find one who can give you great service. We all deserve that.

At 12/13/2011 1:51 PM, Anonymous Randolph Coleson said...

That is sad story. =( I've also encountered problems with my old plumber. Thank goodness my mom was able to find a good plumber for our new home. I hope you also find a good plumber! Cheers!


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