To make a short story long, let me begin with how we decided this would be the year for exterior home improvement. We had some siding that has begun rotting over the past few years, due to the lawn sprinklers, both ours and our neighbors, causing moisture problems. About 99% of the siding was in great condition, so it was just a matter of replacing a few boards here and there. We found a licensed and bonded company to do the work, at about twice the cost we had expected to pay, and bit the bullet and hired them. I might also add that I had agreed to have this same company paint the house, at about twice the cost we had expected to pay. Not a firm commitment on the paint job, just a handshake. Thus the fiasco began.
The men, a contractor and two workers, arrived on time with their materials. The contractor gave the men their demolition instructions, then left them to work on their own. Of course, they rushed the job, which resulted in unrepairable damage to a few boards other than those they were replacing, as well as completely demolishing the dryer vent. I pointed out these things to the contracter when he returned, and he did, on his own and without charging us extra, replace the boards his crew had damaged as well as purchase a new dryer vent. All went well....for the next half hour. Turns out quitting time was 3 PM.
The next morning, contractor and one helper (the second failed to show up for work) showed up at 6:30 AM and plugged in their air compressor, which I'm sure made the neighbors real happy. The two of them worked off and on all day. More off than on, as the contractor kept leaving to check in at other jobs or to run after a tool he forgot to bring, or whatever. About halfway through the day I went out to check the progress and wasn't exactly impressed with the job they were doing. He had told me they don't do any top nailing on their siding, but there were places where the bottom of one board would protrude out a good quarter of an inch frome the adjoining board. I told him that was unacceptible to me, and made him top nail those boards to keep them flush. It's not like top nailing made any difference, as the entire house had been sided more than 30 years ago using top nailing of the boards, and unless one gets right up close and personal with the siding, it's not even noticeable.
The siding installed, the contractor proceeded to install the new dryer vent. He worked on the outside, while the worker did the inside connection to the dryer. Job finished, the contractor came in for his final payment (it had been half down, half on job completion), and I stupidly paid him without doing a final inspection of his work.
They had worked overtime, I had to get to the store for some groceries and get back to fix dinner, and it was getting late, and our air conditioner had suddenly stopped working. A 4-year old heat pump and air handler, all completely dead! It was the next morning before I called the heating company for repairs, then went out to see what had been done on the house. I found this.....
This board is protruding at least 1/2" out from the adjoining one, and the caulking has dried so it can't be pushed back and nailed. There are chips along the edge of the next board.
Another protruding board, as well as sloppy caulking which is evident at every joint.
TV cable was removed and left lying on the ground. I draped it up over the fence to keep it from getting damaged, but I'm the one who will have to reattach it to the house.
Well, the repairman showed up to check out the heat pump, and found fuses blown inside the air handler. He couldn't explain it, but suspects the siding guys had possibly hit a wire with a nail, shorting it out and causing the fuses to blow. It was under warranty for parts, but of course we had to fork out the money for the service call.
That's just the beginning of the fiasco. The short story get longer.
I tossed a load of clothes into the dryer. When I went to remove them, they were still wet. Thinking the siding guys may have kinked the dryer duct, I got out a flashlight and mirror, and checked behind the dryer. Oh dear, what a mess it was!
Bear with me here. This takes a bit of explaining of circumstances.
First of all, you can see how tightly the washer and dryer fit in the laundry room.
There is also very little room to move the dryer out from the wall. We could pull it forward just far enough for me to lean over the edge of the washer, and reach the clamp on the dryer duct with a very long screwdriver.
This is what I removed. Not only was it a crushed mess, it was a very dangerous situation and a fire hazard.
There was no way we wanted to have to pull out the washer and move it into the hallway to give us room to get behind the dryer. The plan was to tilt the dryer forward until the front rested on the small stool. Use your imagination to see how this made a V shaped area between the washer and dryer, and gave us maybe 14-16" between the dryer and the wall for working space. Now, Mr. Granny is not a small man. There was no way he could squeeze back there, so guess who had to sacrifice her body to make the duct connections. Mr. Granny had to hold the front of the dryer up so I could use the stool to climb up onto the top of the washer. I'm on my hands and knees on the washer, and have to twist around to a sitting position. Then I have to work my left foot and leg over the back of the dryer while my right leg is still in a bent sitting position. It takes a few minutes to get the kink worked out of my left hip, then Mr. Granny grabs my right foot and forces that leg up and over the back of the dryer. The toes of my right foot suddenly cramped, and it was a couple more minutes before they quit pointing up to the ceiling and relaxed back into their normal position on my foot. I'm now sitting on the washer, legs dangling in the narrow space behind the dryer, so I drop down to the floor. I have to bend down and force the duct into place. It's hot. It's confining. I'm claustrophobic. There is barely room to move. I'm really close to panicking, when the parts all finally come together and I can tighten up the clamps.
Unfortunately, what (or who) goes in, must also get out! There is not enough room for the little stool to fit behind the dryer, and there is no way this old lady can hoist herself up onto that washer. I finally discover the stool, placed on its side with bottom legs under the dryer, gives me a 3" ledge on which to stand. Just enough height to get me back onto the washer and out of the h*ll hole.
We're back in business.
So there you have it. Bad siding application, crappy caulking, messed up heat pump and destryed dryer vent and ducting. I'm sorry, but handshake or not this contractor is NOT getting the job of painting my house. I will do it myself. I can't mess it up any worse than they can, and I'll save thousands of dollars. I have already begun......
After I climbed out from behind the dryer, I grabbed a paintbrush and painted the garage entry door and trim. It's a beginning!
I was exhausted from my full day of work. Besides the dryer repair and the painting, I had mopped the floors, washed all the laundry and hung most of it on the line, weeded and raked the entire garden, and cut down all of the early corn stalks. I decided to send Mr. Granny out to pick up something for his dinner, and I treated myself to an evening concert!
I went to see Hinder. Plug your ears, the sound from my camera was crappy, so I don't know why I even bothered uploading the video! This YouTube video of the original recording is much, much better. Anyway, I got home and crashed just after 11 last night, and wished I could have slept all day today!
The glass company comes today to finalize the deal and schedule a complete replacement of all of our old aluminum framed windows and sliding glass doors with new vinyl ones. It's costing about three times what we thought it would. Let's hope this goes smoother than the siding job.