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    Todd recommended that instead of installing drywall, it would save me money if we installed 1x6 V-groove tongue and groove panels on all of the walls.  I like the idea, and agreed.  In the end, that cost me a phenomenal amount of money.  Actually, if a different contractor had done the work, it probably would have saved me money.

    To date, I have paid Todd for 117 hours of work, and the only things he has managed to accomplish are:  rip out the T1-11 that was originally on 2/3 - 3/4 of the walls (this took him 10 hours).  Add blocking between the studs for fire breaks/to have something to nail the v-groove to (this took him 19 hours), frame out the bathroom, install beadboard on approx 2/3 of the ceiling, and install the v-groove on the walls (this took him 23 hours and excludes the hard part - butting the boards up against a very uneven river rock wall), framed for a recessed medicine cabinet, re-framed a vent that the electrician had attached to a stud that wasn't plumb (Todd made it plumb), covered up the original crawlspace access and cut a new access on the other side of the room, where I had wanted the vent.

    Not yet started:  tiling, laying flooring in the main room, installing trim throughout, installing cabinets, build a cover for the crawl space.  Yet to finish:  installation of the v-groove on the walls, t&g beadboard on the ceiling.

    Two different times, he steered me toward something that ended up costing me much more money.  First, he told me that installing the v-groove would save me tons of money on labor.  In the end, I have paid him for 42 hours to install blocking and the v-groove, and he is still not done.   Perhaps another contractor could have saved me money with that option, but not Todd.  When we had originally discussed the project, I told him I didn't want him to paint or stain anything, because I was going to do that myself to save money.   Shortly before I fired him, he suggested "do you want me to spray the primer on these walls?  It will save you a lot of time".  I asked how long it would take him, he said "oh, not long at all".  I estimated that hitting the big expanses of wall with a  paint sprayer might take 1-2 hours (others have confirmed this estimate).  Two days later, I walked in to find him using a PAINTBRUSH to paint on the primer.  I asked him what he was doing, and I thought he was going to use the sprayer.  He replied that it would have taken him just as long to prep, spray, and clean the sprayer as it would to do it with a brush.  I told him to put down the brush - I was paying him for his skills and tools, not to use a paintbrush.  In the end, he spent 5 hours painting with a paintbrush, and still had 1/3 of the place to primer.  If I hadn't caught him in the act, he would have spent ~ 8-10 hours doing something we discussed that I wanted to do on my own.  I've since asked two other contractors (one of them bid the original job, one who is finishing it) how long it would take to cut and install the blockiing in the space, knowing that nothing is plumb.  They both indicated "about an hour".  It took Todd FIFTEEN hours to do that work.

    Now to address quality.  The way the ceiling beadboard was shaping up/how he planned to 'finish' it where it butted up against the uneven river rock is a joke.  It is less than amateurish.  Even I could have done what he was planning to do.  He originally told me he would cut each board to tuck it into the gaps and holes in the rocks.  When I looked at what was there, there were huge holes in the beadboard where he basically just butted it up against the rock that that particular strip of beadboard hit first.  So there are up to 3" gaps that have no beadboard.  When I asked him how he planned to finish that, he said he was going to take a piece of 1x4 and run it along the rock, basically 'framing' it to the depth of the rock that stuck out the farthest.  Then he was going to backfill the gaps with mortar.  That would have ended up with some 'mortar fill" being as much as 5# deep....  The new contractor is going to scribe all the wood that butts up against the river rock, so that I have a nice professionally completed product.  A 'bead' of mortar (like you'd use caulking around a fixture), to finish off any tiny gaps. 

    Now lets talk about efficient use of materials.  He WAY over-estimated the amount of V-groove we needed - there are still ~30-40
    pieces in my backyard and probably 4 needed to finish the v-groove installation.  His pile of v-groove and beadboard scrap is about 4' tall and 6' wide.  There are many full 8' lengths of beadboard in the SCRAP pile.  Ditto the v-groove.  He also told me I needed to buy 35 more pieces of beadboard because the ones remainging were 'culls'.  When I asked him what was wrong with them, he indicated that they were bowed and unusable.  I asked if he could cut out sections/pieces to salvage anything, and he said 'oh, no!'.  The new contractor (who builds multi-million dollar homes and is a master carpenter) said there was nothing wrong with them, they look fine.  Todd had also planned on buying more boards to use for the trim.  New contractor is going to rip down the leftover v-groove and use that.  So saying that Todd is thrifty with my money and materials would be a total joke.

    Then there's my deep freezer.  It is litterally right next to the door of the cottage, you trip over it to get into the building.  It's plugged into the electrical outlet on the side of the building, about 2" from where the electrician is installing a light switch.  Todd has been using the freezer as a workbench/stacking his stuff on it.  Turns out that all of the power to the building had been turned off, except for one outlet that Todd was using (I saw power, thought it was all good).  I lost an entire freezer full of meat.  When I told Todd, his response was "What?  There's something in there?  I'm so sorry".  That's it.  No offer to make it right (he blamed the electrician, but he was the General Contractor and is responsible for overseeing their work). 

    Also, I've received feedback that the plumber was very frustrated (and will have to charge me additional hours) because when he showed up to do the initial plumbing work, nothing had been prepped or framed out for him.  He actually had to do some of his own framing.

    When this was so out of control, I asked Todd to give me a bid to finish the job.  His bid worked out to be 42 hrs' at his agreed-upon rate.  When we talked about it, he indicated that it would take him "a lot longer than that", and had given me a completion date two weeks out.  So one can only assume that he thought finishing the job would take 80 hours.  Therefore, the job that was supposed to take "about a week", would be a 200 hour job - or FIVE TIMES his original estimate, with no change in scope, other than he decided to rip out the t1-11 and install blocking (not his original plan).    For reference, what he anticipates will take him 80 hours to complete, the new contractor will finish in one week, working part time after hours, and includes 'fixing' some of the messes Todd left behind (particularly scribing of the wood surfaces that adjoin the rock wall.  For reference, other contractors and DIYers I've spoken to have said 'obviously, you start with the board next to the rock wall, scribe it, and work your way out.  Todd did the opposite - so fitting a board perfectly will be very challenging for the new contractor).

    When we met one evening at my house to go over his final bid and also his detailed accounting for how he had spent his 117 hours to date, I asked him several times to account for why the dramatic change in the hours needed, and he could not account for them other than to point out the hours he spent on each thing.  But he could not explain why he wasn't able to deliver on his estimate.  When I finally told him I thought it would be best if we parted ways and he should pick up his tools in the morning, he got defensive, and finally pulled out his last defense - that I had someone changed the scope of the project.  Which is not true at all.  He started raising his voice in his defensiveness.  Todd is a large man - over 6', 230#.  I'm a single woman.  I don't appreciate or tolerate any service provider, especially one who is physically imposing, raising their voice to me in my own home.

    I have asked him to refund the difference between what I originally budgeted for his services, and what I have paid him.  He refuses.  He asserts that 'the value is in there".  Clearly, there is not $3800 of value in what has been accomplished.   I will be filing a claim in small claims court.
    - Lisa D.
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  • Warmzone

    12637 S 265 W Suite 100
    Draper, UT