Contractor screwed up my patio installation - what should I do?

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smackababy

Lifer
Oct 30, 2008
27,024
79
86
Otherwise they will just send in the truckfull of mexicans they picked up from the homedepot parkinglot to lay your foundation.

They will do that anyway. In the event of an inspection, they will just send a supervisor to make sure it gets done right.
 

slugg

Diamond Member
Feb 17, 2002
4,722
73
91
I really wanted to come into this thread and flame you for having first world problems. Then I thought maybe the ground just settled under it while it was drying. Then I saw the pics....

Make him rip the whole thing up and do it over. DO NOT ACCEPT A PATCH JOB! Was it the actual contractor that did the work or was it his workers? I suck at concrete but I could have done better than that.

Be a dick on this one. Don't get sad or worried, get pissed off. This guy TRASHED your patio. Let him know that you will settle for nothing short of perfect on this.

The contractor subcontracted the concrete. The problem is - what do we do with the aluminum screen room? Does that have to be demolished, too? I'm way in over my head with this - I'm really having a hard time coping with the stress. As far as I see it right now, I'm out quite a lot of money...

I did mention to my contractor that a couple of the other contractors I called about the situation recommended demolishing and redoing the whole slab. So when my guy heard that, he started flipping out and said "no way, the job is done. It might not be exactly how you wanted it, but it's done. This is what happens with cheap labor." I told him that I didn't tell him to use cheap labor, but it was his decision to do so. I mentioned his insurance again (don't they have insurance for errors and omissions?) and he said "complain to the Better Business Bureau, or even take it to court. I'm a small company, I won't pay for a whole slab. I'll work with you to try and make it better, but the job is done."

I looked at the building permit and it looks like there was only one inspection done, but the permit shows three lines of inspections. Would that somehow help me?

Who should I talk to for help? Do I really need a lawyer? How bad am I screwed here? The fucking timing of this with the rest of the unexpected life events (mom had a heart attack, and other crap)... Shit, I may even just hire a therapist! Damn. :'(

I need real guidance.
 

rudeguy

Lifer
Dec 27, 2001
47,371
14
61
I would say 90% of Contractors and Tradespeople are sleazy.

This is why you should spend lots of time checking out who you will hire by checking references,etc.. country records for any complaints etc..

I wonder if the actual contractor knows how bad it is. Chances are his workers did the actual work and didn't do a good job.
 

MagnusTheBrewer

IN MEMORIAM
Jun 19, 2004
24,135
1,594
126
I would say 90% of Contractors and Tradespeople are sleazy.

This is why you should spend lots of time checking out who you will hire by checking references,etc.. country records for any complaints etc..

Good contractors are busy. You can expect to wait at least a month for work to begin depending on the job. Always check references, rating sites and, actual work whenever possible. Good contractors work clean. If they don't use drop cloths, tape or, leave tools laying about, it's a red flag.
 

rudeguy

Lifer
Dec 27, 2001
47,371
14
61
The contractor subcontracted the concrete. The problem is - what do we do with the aluminum screen room? Does that have to be demolished, too? I'm way in over my head with this - I'm really having a hard time coping with the stress. As far as I see it right now, I'm out quite a lot of money...

I did mention to my contractor that a couple of the other contractors I called about the situation recommended demolishing and redoing the whole slab. So when my guy heard that, he started flipping out and said "no way, the job is done. It might not be exactly how you wanted it, but it's done. This is what happens with cheap labor." I told him that I didn't tell him to use cheap labor, but it was his decision to do so. I mentioned his insurance again (don't they have insurance for errors and omissions?) and he said "complain to the Better Business Bureau, or even take it to court. I'm a small company, I won't pay for a whole slab. I'll work with you to try and make it better, but the job is done."

I looked at the building permit and it looks like there was only one inspection done, but the permit shows three lines of inspections. Would that somehow help me?

Who should I talk to for help? Do I really need a lawyer? How bad am I screwed here? The fucking timing of this with the rest of the unexpected life events (mom had a heart attack, and other crap)... Shit, I may even just hire a therapist! Damn. :'(

I need real guidance.

First off, take care of mom.

You might stand a chance in court but the chances are that you will never see a dime from the guy. He won't pay even if you win a judgement and he doesn't have a paycheck to garnish. Shit man if it were me, I'd rip up the slab myself and drop it at the end of his driveway then post his number on 4chan with a pic of a naked chick.

Sucks man...looks like the only thing to do is try to repair it or cover it up. Its cement though, so your options are pretty limited.
 

smackababy

Lifer
Oct 30, 2008
27,024
79
86
The contractor subcontracted the concrete. The problem is - what do we do with the aluminum screen room? Does that have to be demolished, too? I'm way in over my head with this - I'm really having a hard time coping with the stress. As far as I see it right now, I'm out quite a lot of money...

I did mention to my contractor that a couple of the other contractors I called about the situation recommended demolishing and redoing the whole slab. So when my guy heard that, he started flipping out and said "no way, the job is done. It might not be exactly how you wanted it, but it's done. This is what happens with cheap labor." I told him that I didn't tell him to use cheap labor, but it was his decision to do so. I mentioned his insurance again (don't they have insurance for errors and omissions?) and he said "complain to the Better Business Bureau, or even take it to court. I'm a small company, I won't pay for a whole slab. I'll work with you to try and make it better, but the job is done."

I looked at the building permit and it looks like there was only one inspection done, but the permit shows three lines of inspections. Would that somehow help me?

Who should I talk to for help? Do I really need a lawyer? How bad am I screwed here? The fucking timing of this with the rest of the unexpected life events (mom had a heart attack, and other crap)... Shit, I may even just hire a therapist! Damn. :'(

I need real guidance.

What he is saying is "too bad, I fucked you and am going to not do anything and bank on your not doing anything as well". I'd tell him to redo the job or refund the money. "The job's done"? Well, it certainly isn't done right. Sadly, what you're likely going to have to do is pay for it to be redone by a good contractor and then sue for your money back, which will take forever and you likely won't get it all back.
 

SaurusX

Senior member
Nov 13, 2012
993
0
41
I don't know much about concrete, but I know I've seen better work done on sidewalks all the time. Humans have been using concrete for thousands of years, so I know it can be done right.

Talk to a lawyer and see what hope there is to recover the money already paid, but that in itself will cost more money. Are you in a position to be able to write off the costs and start over without this clown?

He also mentioned working with you to make it right. Explore that option as far as you can. Start with chipping off the top layer quick crete and putting down something that's actually level and that will last. No cheaping out!
 

slugg

Diamond Member
Feb 17, 2002
4,722
73
91
OP did you pay by check or cash?

Or card. Please say you used a credit card!

I paid about 30% of it on an American Express. Should I call them? But I'm afraid of him putting a lien on my house...
 

MagnusTheBrewer

IN MEMORIAM
Jun 19, 2004
24,135
1,594
126
The aluminum screen room should be taken down so that it isn't damaged due to wind and not being anchored. If the contractor won't make it right (which is what it sounds like), take him to small claims court. In the mean time, after the screen house is dismantled, document the shoddy work (with decent photos not from your phone). Right now you're feeling overwhelmed. That's perfectly normal. This is going to take time to sort out. Unfortunately, you will not have use of the screen porch for a while until it is sorted out.
 

MrDudeMan

Lifer
Jan 15, 2001
15,069
92
91
Suing him will likely shut him down if his business is small. He knows this. You might have to pay to have him served, but he might back down after that. I've had problems like this in the past and usually paying a lawyer to write a letter fixes it. People talk big, but when the rubber hits the road they fold.
 

MagnusTheBrewer

IN MEMORIAM
Jun 19, 2004
24,135
1,594
126
Suing him will likely shut him down if his business is small. He knows this. You might have to pay to have him served, but he might back down after that. I've had problems like this in the past and usually paying a lawyer to write a letter fixes it. People talk big, but when the rubber hits the road they fold.

This is not how sleazy contractors work. What happens is they shut down the company and reopen under a different name. Wash, rinse, repeat.
 

Phoenix86

Lifer
May 21, 2003
14,643
9
81
Contact your city on the permits thing. Let them know you are being taken for a ride, perhaps they will have some specific local advice.

Contact your state's AG if he is refusing to honor the warranty.

Contact an atty if all else fails.

Good luck.
 

MrDudeMan

Lifer
Jan 15, 2001
15,069
92
91
This is not how sleazy contractors work. What happens is they shut down the company and reopen under a different name. Wash, rinse, repeat.

I work in an adjacent engineering industry. I'm well aware of how they work. It will be a major pain in the ass for the contractor and he will lose money.
 

momeNt

Diamond Member
Jan 26, 2011
9,297
352
126
Some contracts have specific performance requirements written into them, like on a 16' span the high and low spots should be no more than 1/16" using straight edge, etc.

Does yours have anything like that? Or does it just say workmanlike manner?
 

MagnusTheBrewer

IN MEMORIAM
Jun 19, 2004
24,135
1,594
126
I work in an adjacent engineering industry. I'm well aware of how they work. It will be a major pain in the ass for the contractor and he will lose money.

Sleazy contractors don't care. It doesn't cost them much because they run their business like a ponzi scheme. New jobs and deposits to their "new " company are used to cover those bills they are forced to pay. This continues until the whole mess finally grinds to a halt and the final litigants get absolutely nothing. Now, how confident are you that the OP is at the start of this chain of events?
 

Ns1

No Lifer
Jun 17, 2001
55,413
1,570
126
Sleazy contractors don't care. It doesn't cost them much because they run their business like a ponzi scheme. New jobs and deposits to their "new " company are used to cover those bills they are forced to pay. This continues until the whole mess finally grinds to a halt and the final litigants get absolutely nothing. Now, how confident are you that the OP is at the start of this chain of events?

But at least you're being a pain in the ass instead of rolling over and taking it...
 

MagnusTheBrewer

IN MEMORIAM
Jun 19, 2004
24,135
1,594
126
But at least you're being a pain in the ass instead of rolling over and taking it...

Of course, you should follow through and not just "take it." My point was to initiate a court case immediately after trying to get the contractor to make it right. Unfortunately, sleazy contractors are masters of dragging out the process. So, you set a deadline for making it right that coincides with the scheduled court date. I absolutely abhor the fact that the homeowners only course of action to remedy the situation is to run to the courts as soon as possible. Unfortunately, everything else in this case is a further waste of time.
 

MrDudeMan

Lifer
Jan 15, 2001
15,069
92
91
Sleazy contractors don't care. It doesn't cost them much because they run their business like a ponzi scheme. New jobs and deposits to their "new " company are used to cover those bills they are forced to pay. This continues until the whole mess finally grinds to a halt and the final litigants get absolutely nothing. Now, how confident are you that the OP is at the start of this chain of events?

Pretty confident, but it won't cost him much time or effort to see if the guy is bluffing.
 

momeNt

Diamond Member
Jan 26, 2011
9,297
352
126
Of course, you should follow through and not just "take it." My point was to initiate a court case immediately after trying to get the contractor to make it right. Unfortunately, sleazy contractors are masters of dragging out the process. So, you set a deadline for making it right that coincides with the scheduled court date. I absolutely abhor the fact that the homeowners only course of action to remedy the situation is to run to the courts as soon as possible. Unfortunately, everything else in this case is a further waste of time.

If he has a surety bond, which it sounds like he does, and its with a real company. The OP may just end up dealing with the surety and not with the contractor.

Not sure what he meant by "insured" but usually it means you have a surety. I understand that they also would not like having to pay, but contractor's probably don't want to be paying for surety's that aren't there to deliver on what their premiums are supposed to cover.
 

edro

Lifer
Apr 5, 2002
24,328
68
91
Morons...

How the hell is it not flat?! Even the WORST concrete contractors know how to level concrete.
 

MagnusTheBrewer

IN MEMORIAM
Jun 19, 2004
24,135
1,594
126
If he has a surety bond, which it sounds like he does, and its with a real company. The OP may just end up dealing with the surety and not with the contractor.

Not sure what he meant by "insured" but usually it means you have a surety. I understand that they also would not like having to pay, but contractor's probably don't want to be paying for surety's that aren't there to deliver on what their premiums are supposed to cover.

Surety bonds aren't common in small contracting companies. Being "licensed and insured " as opposed to being bonded, generally means they carry injury and liability insurance.