Not a Date Night Location

After not working on a Friday afternoon or Saturday, days the back side crown was installed, on Sunday, after 5pm, Lyle showed up with his girl friend and starts applying gray primer to the front of my house. The only reason I discovered they were working is I had come outside to see how the first window frame I had hung looked and I saw his van parked on the street. When he didn’t show on Saturday, after texting that he would, I decided to apply Peel A-Way to the crown moulding that wrapped around the front entrance. Based on an exchange I had earlier in the week with Lyle I had no confidence he was going to scrap that area and I felt it needed to be done. He could clearly see that I had applied the product, but instead of alerting me to ask the status they just started painting. When I let him know it needed to be removed that night he finished painting the living room side and said he could tarp it. They then went to the dining room side of house and started caulking the windows. Now early on he told me he likes to caulk after he primes and he had not applied primer to that side.

Before he could start he had to send his girlfriend to Family Dollar to buy rubber gloves, for herself, and rags because they failed to bring them. When they did get started I could hear him instructing her, too much, too little as she applied the caulk. I went inside to put on my coverall and by the time I returned they were caulking the painted side. I stood and watched in agony. She was skipping spots, applying too much in areas and he’d just drag the caulk from those areas to fill in what she missed. I cleared my throat several times hoping he’d catch the hint, he didn’t, so finally I asked him to take the caulk gun out of her hands. He finished up and sent her to get his shop vac so she could vacuum the porch. She couldn’t even turn it on correctly; connecting the hose to the wrong in. By the time they tarped the painted side and got out of my way the Peel A-Way chemical had dried and I lost daylight, leaving me no choice but to apply another coat the next day.

Lyle did show up the next morning and we didn’t have a great conversation as daylight revealed to me the sloppiest caulk job I had ever seen. I sent pictures to my father and even he said “that is one piss poor ass caulk job”.

I really don’t feel I should have had to say it, but I let him know if I wanted an amateur painting my house, I would have done it myself and that his girlfriend was no longer permitted on my property. She’s made several visits since he started on June 9, never introducing herself. I pointed out to him that those smeared lines would show up because the caulk has now filled the grooves of the siding where the paint should fill. He tried to argue it wouldn’t, said he could prove it wouldn’t, but then started finding fault with the caulk work done by 20200731_191552Fusion Roofing around the box gutters and Tom around the new trim.  At that very moment I knew I was right about the paint. What is even sadder is that with all the caulk applied and smeared they still missed spots. I told him I’d handle caulking the rest of the windows, to which he responded no that was what I was paying him to do.

I decided to test my theory about visibility on a scrap piece of siding. After painting the piece with the same primer he used (I had some from painting the foundation, tinted different color) I applied and wiped caulk to the piece in the same fashion they applied it to my house. After letting it dry I painted over it with the Sea Serpent tinted paint I had from the shed (granted a different brand than will be used on house, but paint is paint). While from a distance you can’t see the outline of the smeared caulk, up close it is very noticeable and I plan to utilize the front porch, so people will be up close. I showed my test to Lyle and he denies it will look that way and questioned my application process and held to it would not look that way once he painted.

Jay arrived to finish installing the crown on the last two dormers and I showed him the area. I was considering buying more tile and replacing all impacted by their caulk work, but he said that when they come across areas like that on houses they are painting they use a 5-in-1 tool to clean out the grooves. I put that to a test with a new tool I ordered from Amazon. It seems to be working, so I’ll do this in the worst areas. Yeah, just what I needed another project I hadn’t planned to do.

I had said if Lyle paints the way he prepped (in the beginning) my house will be gorgeous. Well if he paints the way he caulks my house will be a hot mess! Almost eight weeks in and I’m beyond concerned at this point.

I Have Paint and Concern

39 days after he first started working Lyle has applied primer to my house. He still has to finish scrapping a rear dormer and crown of the box gutters in the front (thanks to Fusion Roofing I’ll be handling the back), but he actually put PPG Gripper primer on some of the lower windows and moulding from the dormers he had removed.

Here’s my concern, he has no clue as to where the pieces of moulding he took down go. I remember the day he took most of them down, June 17 at approximately 11:14:16 AM (it’s a beautiful thing how digital photos are time and date stamped). Honestly I was shocked by him doing that. It was not requested or expected, which is why I wrote the Exceeding My Expectations, So Far post. I remember asking about knowing where they went and he said he could match the nail holes and he was going to put the back up the next day.   Well, over the last few days I’ve watched him remove the nails, that could have been his guide and we’re long past the next day.

The pieces stayed leaned against the house until I moved them the night20200706_220102 of July 6th when high winds from a storm knocked his scaffolding system down, which had been up for days and not used. I felt very fortunate that the winds blew them to the left as to the right could have torn my electric line down. It could have broken windows (the new, thicker trim Tom installed is what stopped the one ladder from going any further) and it could have broken the moulding, that is irreplaceable (yes I could by new, but the quality of wood today pales in comparison to what I have now), which is why I finally moved them to the back yard.  This picture shows a few still leaning, but majority were on the ground under the fallen scaffolding.  Since they weren’t marked or labeled, I just stacked them out of harms way.

After days of them being down I did ask about them again and he pointed out to me he still had three to remove and clean (I offered to clean them so he could keep scraping on the 2nd level, he didn’t take the offer), but that he also planned to prime them and maybe paint them before rehanging.  So now we’re at that moment. I will allow the priming, but I will not allow him to paint them before hanging. Rehanging them is not going to be simple and even if he puts each piece in their exact original location there will be obvious gaps and holes created due to being removed that will need to be addressed with caulk or putty before final paint is applied.

I’ve glued four pieces that 20200718_082450had severe cracks, but found another piece with a chunk missing.  It’s clearly an old crack, but the break off is fresh. I have no idea if he kept the piece. The reason my reinstall of the inside moulding went so well is that I labeled pieces by wall, bundled pieces together by area, and I kept every piece that actually broke off; wrapping it with plastic to the piece it broke off of. It was a year after I moved in before I had every piece back in place and I made multiple post showing what it took to achieve the final results.  Pure beauty for a non-professional if I toot my own horn.  I had the luxury of working on the ground, not 20′ in the air on a steeply pitched roof, in record hot temperatures.  

While he was painting the seven pieces of moulding I asked again about hanging and he said three of the dormers are the same (true, but not really-old house nothing is ever exactly the same) and the pieces for the large dormer he kept together in the back. Hmmm, really. I didn’t sleep well that night, this is worrying me. The next morning while my dogs went out I took a closer look at the pieces he painted and I rearranged them by sets of two; left and right side. I believe six of them clearly are the fronts of the three small dormers, but it is also clear by the shortened length of one of them that they are not interchangeable. The 7th piece didn’t make sense so I walked around the house. That 7th is for the large rear dormer, so much for keeping them together. The two pieces for the sides of that dormer are the only two pieces where there is no doubt as to where they belong. One end is a straight cut as it butts up to the piece he didn’t remove and the two sides are different lengths, so you’ll know which is left and right.

He hasn’t scraped the piece he didn’t remove from the right side, but he started scrapping the piece on the left while it was attached. I’m now perplexed as to why he took them down if he could scrape them in place. The only reason I can surmise is he told me he can’t find people that will work on heights, so by taking them down his worker was able to handle the scrapping on the ground. That would have been a major reason why he should have put them back up as he finished scraping them. Instead of removing most at one time he should have removed from one, given to his worker on the ground to scrape while he scraped the surfaces that remained. God I hope he didn’t get the idea to remove from my decision to remove the trim from the lower windows. Two completely different situations with the biggest difference being I was replacing what I removed. That worker should have worked four days (one per dormer) instead of one. His proficiency in prep (hopefully painting too) is tempered by his lack of efficiency.

Drywall déjà vu is creeping in. I want this paint project to end on a high note, but until those pieces are rehung that is in question.