May 24, 2010

Part One: I'm So Excited...

... and I just can't hide it.

Oh. Wait. That was a week ago. Before. The. Incident.

What happened? Before I tell about *the incident*, I have to rewind the movie.

The first winter I lived at The Homestead was brutal. Ya'll remember it (and subsequent years), right? Right. The doors on my house are vintage solid wood and while they are beautiful, they also let in a LOT of cold air during the winter. I tried weather stripping, but then the doors don't close right. The door that's used regularly won't lock during cold months, and due to the knobs/locks also being vintage they're not replaceable. Well, they probably are *if* I want to pay boo-coo bucks to do it. The aluminum storm door doesn't do much to keep out the cold air and rattles terribly when the wind blows.

I finally made the decision last week to buy new doors. Here's where my excitement came from... New Doors! I figured it was a win-win for me -- energy efficient doors, 30% tax credit, the doors were on sale, AND the store credit card was offering 6 months no interest. After much contemplation and two trips to the home improvement store, I decided on these:

A friend recommended a contractor after seeing his work done on a co-worker's garage. Before I bought the doors he came, gave me a quote, and said to call him when I had the doors. We decided he could put them in last Monday.

He arrived around 9am and at 2pm when I went home for lunch, he only had the side door roughed in and for some reason decided to put the knobs on the door. I've done and seen enough home improvement projects to know that it takes approximately 4-5 hours to tear out and install a new door start-to-finish. And that's if it's being done by someone who doesn't do it for a living. It should take a contractor a lot less time. With that in mind, it should've been a one day job for both sets of doors. And yes, the contractor does this for a living. Sad, eh?

During the 10-15 minute time span I was home, I asked him how it was going. All he said was “Well, it’s not going as smoothly as I’d hoped.”

When I got home from work at 5:15pm, he STILL wasn’t finished with the side door. It was still only roughed in with a 2-3” gap (opening) at the top of the door –and- he was working on putting the storm door on! You don’t do that until the main door is done. I did a double take when I walked by to let Celeste out... he put the hinge on the wrong side of the door! After I said something, he tells me he can cover the holes where he’d screwed the handle on (cuz it would’ve had to been moved to the opposite side when the hinge was switched). I wasn’t sure how I’d like it, but I was open to what he could come up with as a solution to his mistake.

Click on photo to see enlarged view

I also inquired as to what he was going to do about the 1" gap between the threshold and my flooring. The bottom of the door barely cleared the throw rug; he certainly didn't leave room for a piece of trim to cover the gap. He said he'd "have to figure something out".

Left Side

Right Side

As I stood looking around the door frame on the inside, he proceeded to tell me that he was going to cut out the drywall so that the trim would fit into the hollowed out area. My head was screaming, "the hell you will!". I told him "No, that area needs to be built-out so the trim lies flat over the wall." I'm not sure if he thought I wouldn't know better or what. He said something along the lines of "Oh, OK. I'll have to figure something out."

About an hour later, he started cleaning up for the day. He’d been working on that same door for 8 hours by this point and it still wasn’t finished. Right before he left, he said to me, “I had a problem with the door.” He then showed me and told me that “the wind caught the door” and smashed the trim around the leaded glass window... on both sides of the door.

All that came out of my mouth was, “Oh my God!” I felt sick to my stomach. I also started having major panic and anxiety, literally my chest hurt and felt like someone was squeezing my heart. Not good.

Prior to this *incident*, I had told him that I’d like to use the side door on the garage if possible. He had the “nerve” to say something about putting it on the garage, implying that he wanted to do it. I told him that “At some point I’d be putting it on the garage.” and left it at that. There was nooooo way I was going to let him put the door on.

He told me he’d go to the store and see if he could get replacement trim. If not, he’d buy a new door. I waited about an hour (I figured he’d be gone from the store by then) and went to talk to someone at the store. They assured me a trim kit could be bought and it wouldn’t affect anything on the door. I felt a little better.

After I got home, I started thinking “I wonder if the door is level” so I got out a 24” level and the door itself was level. When I stepped on the threshold, it gave way. I thought, “What the...?!?” Thresholds are aluminum. He hadn’t put any support under the threshold!

By this time, it was about 8pm. I called my Dad (he’s done lots of carpentry work as has my uncle) and asked him to come into town to look at it, to make sure I wasn’t being paranoid.

Meantime, I continued to check for levelness. When I was up on a chair (hey, I'm short!) checking to see if the top of the door was level, I noticed the door was convex dented at the corner of the window! It’s a frickin steel door!

Inside Door, Upper Right

In addition to being sick to my stomach and disgusted, I was also livid. I wanted to cry. :( When my Dad came, he looked at it and found the opposite corner of the door's window was dented concave,

Inside Door, Lower Left

and that the door jamb was out of level by 1/8” in a 2ft span, and said it meant it was 3/8” off at the bottom, which is what he thought it felt like when he checked it with hands. Dad asked "What the h-ll did he do to this door? The moulding corners are split apart."

Brick Moulding at Top of Door

Outside Threshold, Lower Left

Dad confirmed all the things I thought were wrong and said I wasn’t being paranoid. He told me that the guy owes me two new doors. Actually what he said is the guy owes me "two f-ing new doors", LOL.

At 9:30pm, I called the “contractor” and told him he could either buy me two new doors or give me the money to buy new ones... that I had just bought the doors a few days earlier. I also told him I didn’t want him to do anymore work. Wherever he was at, it was really noisy. Sounded like a bar. He said he wanted me happy and he’d figure something out and call me back the next day.

How can someone in right conscience install a broken door? Not only that, he could’ve said something to me at lunch time and he didn’t! He waited until just before he was about to leave to tell me. I was really excited about getting new doors... my first outsourced home improvement project... and he ruined it for me. :(

Here's what I think happened: I think he lost control of the door. It fell out and down onto the railing, which caused the door to twist (Yes, the door frame is twisted and no longer "square") and bend the steel. Also, the railing must've hit the glass which forced the trim and window back toward the house, busting the window trim on each side. How it didn't break the glass, i don't know!

Stay tuned for the next chapter in The Homestead Chronicles....


Julie Phillips, aka Julieloveslucy SCS said...

Omg Meari! I would have felt like throwing up too, how awful! I see one good thing coming from this disaster, you fired him! The friend that reccommended him is going to be shocked too.... hope this has a happy ending...

Anonymous said...

Oh My Goodness! I am so sorry this has happened. What a nightmare! I have my fingers crossed. (((HUGS)))

GoldenAngelsWorks said...

OMG that is horrible. Hopefully he will just give you the money for 2 doors. I would be afraid to have him touch new doors.

Berly said...

OH. MY. GOD. Tell me that you have contacted a lawyer, the contractor's local union office & the BBB!

Akila said...

Oh my god Meari!!! Those 2 doors were simply lovely. What a waste of such lovely doors. I really really feel sorry for you. Hope you get the money/doors from the contractor for it

Rachel S said...

I am soo sorry to hear about this. That is awful. I hope you get a better contractor. You may want to talk to them at the store--the big box places have lists of people they trust. My friend had plumbing work done and bought the supplies there, they included the install on the no-interest charges.

Anonymous said...

WOW Meari. This guy is unreal. I have to say he would do more than just buy me new doors. I would also report him to the better business bureau in your area. That way he can't do it to someone else that might not know better.


Emily said...

Oh my, and he is "supposed" to be a contractor. That is terrible. Hope you can find someone qualified to put the new, new doors in.

Carolyn NC said...

Owie - I'm livid reading this! Yep - you are so right to cut and run; you might have to stand on him to get your money, I'm thinking or he'll "figure something out!" Good luck - the doors really are pretty and once they're in correctly, this will be another good story to pass down!

Carol said...

Oh my, Meari--what a nightmare! We were actually thinking of replacing our back door and after reading your story, I may just leave "well enough" alone!! Hope you can get things fixed soon and properly :)

htimcj said...

OH My! You bet he owes you two doors! I hope it gets resolved soon.

Anonymous said...

How awful to put your trust in an "expert" and have all this mess to deal with!! I hope you get it all fixed and straightened out.


kmaurer said...

Those doors are beautiful! I think your door hanger needs to be poked in the eye. I don't think you'll be happy with any of his work, it really doesn't seem like he knows what he is doing.

I have an eye poking stick that you are welcome to use anytime!

Srinity said...

Oh wow... it sounds like he has two left hands and that he's definitely not left handed...
I hope he will buy you new doors and that you will find a good contractor to install them.

Barb said...

I'm sorry this happened hope it all gets straightened out real soon. This sounds like a case for Mike Holmes on HGTV when contractors blow a job he makes it right but doing the repairs himself.

Anonymous said...

On the stitchy stuff I love the book mark.

Your signs had me ROTFLOL.

I am sorry about your door. You must be very frustrated and unhappy. I hope you get your two new doors and soon too.


Debra said...

Oh my, you went through a lot and still are. I hope that you get your money one way or another from him. I would be sick over it.

Diane said...

Oh. WOW. This gave me a knot in my stomach, and it's not even my house! I can't even imagine how you feel. I 'm waiting for the next installment. I hope it all comes out right in the end for our heroine!

Kay said...

What a mess! I don't blame you for feeling sick - hope you get your money back from him without a huge hassle!

Anonymous said...

I agree with Donna! GEEZ! I’d take out an ad in the paper!


Faith said...

Oh how terrible! I hope that he gives you the money for the doors and you can find someone else to install them. If he is licensed I would file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau.

Vicki in CO said...

OMG! Don't you love hiring a contractor for anything?! I really really hope you get your two new doors w/o a hassle, find someone competent to install them, and I pray you haven't paid this guy a penny yet! I'd also be sure to give him lots of free advertising on his lack of ability!

I'll never forget when we moved into this house 20+ years ago. We were having new vinyl floor put in the kitchen the same day (it was supposed to already be finished before moving day--long story!). Here comes the moron subcontractor to do the install, complete with his 2 year old and her tricycle!! He thought she could just ride around inside our house all day while we were trying to get moved in! NOT!!!

Hang in there. I feel your pain.

Vicky said...

I would find the "door fitter" and kick his a***. I hope he comes good with replacement doors or $$$

Julie M said...

Oh dear lord Meari! I hope you see the guy again and he does right by you but I have a feeling in the pit of my stomach....hope I'm wrong.

Anonymous said...


I would have been screaming my head off. I hope he replaces the doors. He should have called you at work as soon as the door was busted and then gone to the store to get new ones when you were home from work and could stay with the house. Then he should have stayed until both doors were in and not charged you anything extra for it.

I have heard horror stories about remodeling, but these were just new doors. I couldn't do it, but my dad could have done it in a 1/3rd of the time this guy has taken and not busted it in the process to boot.

Hang in there and make him get it right. You deserve beautiful fuel efficient and safe doors on your house.


Wendy said...

OMG! I am so livid for you just reading your post and looking at the pictures! My heart is actually racing! He DOES owe you two new doors and I hope you haven't paid him any labor - if not, it needs to be refunded (plus some)! Has he repaid you yet? Hugs to you, Wendy

Barbara said...

How awful for you, Meari. I'd have him just pay you for the 2 doors because I wouldn't trust him to even touch the replacement doors. He sounds like a dimwit. And I'd also report him to the BBB. Hope this all gets worked out to your satisfaction asap. Hang tough!!!
Barb in TX

Moreen said...

So sorry to hear about your doors Meari what a nightmare you've been through.
My husband is a builder and when I saw your photos I was so shocked that some one who says they are an expert can make such a mess, I so hope it gets sorted for you, I can imagine how upset you are and rightly so.
Your choice of doors are beautiful and they will look lovely when fitted correctly.

Anonymous said...

Oh dear, Meari. I hope you've got everything fixed by now. I love the funny signs down lower in your blog. :)

Karin in NV

Kathy A. said...

OMG - what an awful thing to have happen. I hope he comes good for those doors and then takes his business elsewhere!!

Mary Ivancicts said...

Hope your door got fixed, what a nightmare!

Anonymous said...

Hi Meari

You certainly made me laugh with your 20th May posts, brilliant.

So sorry you have so many problems on the building front.


Breigh said...

Damn, I wouldn't want to be your friend who recommended him! What horrible business practice. Jeez.

Hope you get it all sorted!

Anonymous said...

This is horrific!

Nessa G. said...

Uhhh, not showing this to the spouse. These are the things he kvetches about when thinking of buying a house.