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Need Your Thoughts On This House Wrap Nightmare....

 
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Old 02-08-2014, 01:58 PM   #1
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Need Your Thoughts On This House Wrap Nightmare....


Ok, I'll try to make this brief. Was hired in Feb, 2012 to do a complete exterior reno on a home starting in June 2012. Things went smoothly at first...I'll break down the timeline quickly because it may make it easier to understand.

Windows, ext doors, siding ordered and arrived first week of June 2012. We tore off old wood siding on front of house and applied house wrap the same day. Next few days, tore off stucco on sides of house and immediately as it came off each side, installed house wrap.

Next step, remove old windows and install new. One window homeowner wanted larger to match the window on the other side. So, framing, drywall, etc done. Installed each window and sealed and insulated each one as each was done. Now, one window sat at a pony wall in a sunken living room. This window was the same size as the old window. The base of the window sill sat right at the pony wall. No room to insulate at all. Nor was there any insulation on the bottom of the old window....basically the pony wall insulation was what was insulating it. There was a little piece of cove "trim work" at the bottom edge of the window and pony wall as casing. Homeowner wanted the same size window, so that's what we did....only now her windows actually open (old ones didn't).

Next we installed vinyl siding, new fascia boards and wrap, soffits, eavestroughs, and a few roof vents as we let her know she didn't have ANY ventilation on her house (no roof vents or whirly birds and her soffits were old wood soffit with no ventilation).

All of this was done in a matter of 4 weeks. She respectively paid for each part of the project as it was completed. Windows-paid, siding-paid. All that was left was veneer stone install on a portion of front of the house and chimney, and a new deck.

Now this is where we hit the wall. Homeowner took FOREVER deciding on her stone and deck design. So we slowly start framing the new deck. Since she had an idea on size and location as well as that there would be a tier. September rolls around and we tell the homeowner that time is running short to get her scratch coat and stone on because the temperatures were starting to drop and night. We don't do install in winter. She mentions her husbands employment status is up in the air and was unsure if she could even get stone until spring of 2013 or later. So last week of September she decides she wants the scratch coat on anyway. We get the materials first week of October and immediately installed the metal lathe on the front of the house in prep for scratch coat.

Upon starting to install the metal lathe on the chimney, it was evident that the sheathing on her chimney was very flimsy and would not withstand the weight of the stone. We told the homeowner that we would like to open it up and frame it in better and that new sheathing is likely required. But we could not continue further with the chimney. At this time, she said they would have to discuss and make a decision what they wanted to do. Temperatures dropped quickly and we didn't get to install the scratch coat. We are in central Alberta, so winters are pretty cold and unpredictable. So, a section on the front of the house and the chimney sat all winter...wrapped of course. Homeowner was deciding on railing, etc for her deck so that sat all winter with just the top of the deck built.

At this rate, we obviously took on other projects while they decided what they were doing.

February 2013 rolls around and the homeowner begins texting again about ideas. Railings, post lights, gazebo, etc. Things were getting ordered again. They decided they wanted their deck done before stone once spring rolled around.

Fast forward to April 2013, work began on the deck again. Slowly but it was progressing. It was exhausting waiting for these special railings and lights and cedar shakes that she wanted. Twice the hardware store ordered the wrong railing, shorted us materials, etc. So it took longer than planned. She decided that we could brace her chimney, however at this point, she had a friend that needed some work done on her home because she was trying to sell and needed a new roof, doors, siding, etc. So she asked if we would do it for her friend while we waited for materials as she hadn't even chosen stone yet. Heck, why not right? BIG MISTAKE. This is of course when her materials started to arrive. We had her friends roof being reshingled, and she starts texting why aren't you here? Ummm......

Moving on, May 2013 railing and gazebo finished up, ready for skirting. Homeowner still changing mind about little things that really slow the process down. She finally chose a stone. It arrived in June. Waiting to close up deck with skirting now because for the love of god, she wants lighting and electrical done now. Not in the plans. So while she decides on lighting, etc here we wait again. We get the scratch coat on the front of the house and finally get the skirting done. Make a huge change and build a stair way almost in the middle of the deck for the gas reader to go down and read the meter (don't ask because it was really a disappointment to cut into the deck when we had a better and more convenient and aesthetic idea for it). End up building a custom bar and cabinets under the pergola, etc. The list keeps getting longer.

Deck was done finally. July 2013, we give her the invoice for the deck. And BAM....here come the excuses. The reasons not to pay. There are a lot of "deficiencies" she claims. She has gone around in circles. I want this done first, then I'll pay. Sorry but we are not doing another single thing to this deck until you've paid. We've gone above and beyond the original contract and plans. Now she starts with other things. The drywall wasn't sanded around the one window. Yes, it was. The shims don't look flush around the windows. OMG. Keep in mind that there were plans to move work inside after exterior. Her husband said he would install the casing around windows so that was never in our contract. We were to install and insulate and got the one window to primer stage.

After her BS, I sent her a formal demand for payment. She refused. I filed a civil claim. She now claims that her chimney is rotten and needs replacing. This woman who owes us, is counter claiming for $15,000. A list a mile long about condensation on her windows and she "needs new windows and doors". Well, probably condensation yes, because they still aren't sealed inside yet. There is no casing installed. The home has a wet basement and aside from what we were allowed to do, very poor ventilation. The window that sat on the pony wall, she claims is drafty. She has had a contractor come in and tell her he needs to cut the pony wall down 2 feet to insulate. The chimney insulation is apparently completely soaked inside. I took it upon myself to go by her place. Her chimney hasn't been touched. The wrap is still on it. These were all things that she claimed back in September of 2013. I've made several attempts to get photos, to have the window manufacturer in to inspect, etc. To no avail. Her excuses go in circles.

We had mediation on Thursday. And we came to an "agreement" which I'm not pleased with. But still she agrees to pay a small portion of what she owes. However, she wanted us to give her 6 more months to pay the measly amount agreed upon. Which raises more red flags. Can she just not afford to pay and is trying to get off with as much as she can??

I still have not seen these deficiencies she claims. She said she would email them Thursday but still nothing. I haven't signed the agreement yet. I'm up in the air about it. Could this alleged chimney rot have happened in the timeline it did? Is it actually my fault considering back in October she was told what needed to be done as her sheathing was weak then?? And WHY would the bottom 4' supposedly be more rotten than the top of the chimney? I feel like I need pictures, I need to see prior to signing this agreement. The window manufacturer we are close with, they back their product. They are coming for an inspection. But we are not allowed in her home. What is she hiding if it's at all true?

What are your thoughts?? Should I swallow my pride and sign the agreement and close the book? Or should I stick to my guns and take it all the way to court? She tried to lower it even more by saying it took too long. Well yeah, between her indecisiveness and our working on projects in between to keep cash flowing, yes it did. But it was still done. And it was done beautifully.
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Old 02-08-2014, 02:05 PM   #2
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Re: Need Your Thoughts On This House Wrap Nightmare....


Quote:
Should I swallow my pride and sign the agreement and close the book?
no
Quote:
should I stick to my guns and take it all the way to court?
hell yeah.

reads like you never been to court.

Flags should have raised in your head when she delayed for money reasons.

Now its on your dime.
sue her

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Old 02-08-2014, 02:08 PM   #3
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Re: Need Your Thoughts On This House Wrap Nightmare....


What is it she wants....is what you need to ask her ?

If you get .50 / dollar you're probably fortunate. Take it now or less in a year..... these things eat a co. up. First opportunity to move on, do so.

You'll just have to raise prices for all jobs for a year or so to make up for it.

Or get a lawyer on a contingency 50% collected and concentrate on your business.

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Old 02-08-2014, 02:10 PM   #4
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Re: Need Your Thoughts On This House Wrap Nightmare....


Yeah, I haven't been to court. LOL...first "unhappy" client. Although she claims she's not unhappy and realizes she owes us something. She feels we need to pay for this "damage". I'm always confident in my work. But this one is making me question...did I do something wrong with the chimney? Could it have rotted?? And her windows were installed and paid for and she had them in for an entire winter and NEVER mentioned a draft or any problems the entire time after that we were there. So suddenly now, there are problems? It just doesn't make sense to me.
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Old 02-08-2014, 02:12 PM   #5
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Re: Need Your Thoughts On This House Wrap Nightmare....


[QUOTE=We Fix Houses;1951538]What is it she wants....is what you need to ask her ?

QUOTE]

I have asked her. She wants us to pay for her new chimney basically. Which was something we were suppose to replace anyway....but it wasn't our cost. She wants to pay $2000 on a $12000 bill. The agreement was $4000. Hesitantly because I feel literally exhausted by this woman and the run arounds.
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Old 02-08-2014, 02:21 PM   #6
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Re: Need Your Thoughts On This House Wrap Nightmare....


Call a couple of atty's - younger one's. Sounds like you have all the paperwork in order.

See if the atty will send a few demand letters and get a feel for what it will pay. I think the cont agreement will be 50%.
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Old 02-08-2014, 02:23 PM   #7
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Re: Need Your Thoughts On This House Wrap Nightmare....


Quote:
Originally Posted by brunothedog View Post
no

hell yeah.

reads like you never been to court.

Flags should have raised in your head when she delayed for money reasons.

Now its on your dime.
sue her
I have never been to court, never had to. Sounds like you have been a lot? Not a shocker.
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Old 02-08-2014, 02:25 PM   #8
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Re: Need Your Thoughts On This House Wrap Nightmare....


Is the outstanding amount 15k?

Let's say you settle on 50 cents on the dollar 7.5k doesn't go far with a lawyer if you decide to ride it out.
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Old 02-08-2014, 04:05 PM   #9
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Re: Need Your Thoughts On This House Wrap Nightmare....


No good deed.
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Old 02-08-2014, 05:20 PM   #10
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Re: Need Your Thoughts On This House Wrap Nightmare....


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Originally Posted by We Fix Houses View Post
Or get a lawyer on a contingency 50% collected and concentrate on your business.
Good idea. Or take the 4 if she'll pay immediately. Or take the 4 over six months if it escalates to the full 12 if she doesn't pay, and it's secured by the house. Edit: If she's planning to pay in 6 months, it means she doesn't have the money. If she doesn't have it now, she won't have it then, either.

One of your mistakes was invoicing in July for work that you started in September. After more than a couple weeks, customers stop thinking of that money as yours. I try never to let progress go un-invoiced more than 2 weeks; if a customer gets flaky about anything - money, decisions about finishes, anything at all - I write weekly progress invoices.
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Old 02-08-2014, 07:10 PM   #11
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Re: Need Your Thoughts On This House Wrap Nightmare....


red flag was when she said husbands job is up in the air..you should have stopped working until you discussed the money situation....

when she wanted you to continue working you should have asked how they will pay?

on a large project like this maybe you should have some access to their banker....I know builders who do this

maybe all the delays in materials was because they were broke...this may have been a red flag you missed

I recommend getting materials selected before the job starts...I always get the plumbing fixtures chosen and delivered on the rough...this way if they change their minds they are stuck....it keeps the job more simple and avoids the customer who changes their minds weekly....the material is ordered and on site, so they cant change their minds without costly restocking

I would hire a lawyer

I have the attitude that im willing to pay $15k to collect $15k.....ive never lost $1....if you have a hard ass attitude from the start and do the prelien and follow the lien process through correctly most people will pay
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Old 02-09-2014, 08:02 AM   #12
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Re: Need Your Thoughts On This House Wrap Nightmare....


For a few thousand, I would cut my losses and run. For $15,000 I would hire a lawyer. I would go after the $15,000 plus lawyer expenses.
I'll bet she finds a way to pay the majority after she is served with the first papers.

As far as the chimney, you have already told her it needed re-building. The chimney didn't rot out in one year. It was a problem for many years that probably went un-noticed.
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Old 02-09-2014, 10:29 AM   #13
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Re: Need Your Thoughts On This House Wrap Nightmare....


Life isn't fair. We learn this in kindergarden yet seem to somehow forget it when we get into business.

Step back. How many times have you taken a major a$$-whuppin' in the last few years?

Not many? Good. You're doing it right. Unfortunately, you're due. Take it like a man and move on.

Joe
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Old 02-09-2014, 10:51 AM   #14
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Re: Need Your Thoughts On This House Wrap Nightmare....


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I have never been to court, never had to. Sounds like you have been a lot? Not a shocker.
I've been to court 3 times, once in small claims for 3k, 5yrs, ago
and then always small claims for 4.5k.
Then last yr for 22.5 k
I won them
You think your that good dont you.
all talk and no balls
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Old 02-09-2014, 11:38 AM   #15
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Re: Need Your Thoughts On This House Wrap Nightmare....


Not many? Good. You're doing it right. Unfortunately, you're due. Take it like a man and move on.

Joe


He did the work, he should get paid for it. There's no need for him to take it like a man.

The HO should have to pay full price, whether he gets it or the attorney gets it. That's my 2 cents.
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Old 02-09-2014, 12:34 PM   #16
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Re: Need Your Thoughts On This House Wrap Nightmare....


I have had medication one time, and never in court yet (knock on wood) and I will say it was a losing proposition, but my attorney did well. And I told him if I had to lose money, I would go the distance and do it in court.

So....don't sign and press on. Maybe you can force the sale of the home.
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Old 02-09-2014, 10:24 PM   #17
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Re: Need Your Thoughts On This House Wrap Nightmare....


Were you taking $4k AND fixing the chimney? Or just taking the $4k and you get to walk away? Either way you're getting screwed. I agree, if she doesn't have it now, what will change in 6 months? She won't pay then and you'll be back where you started again and she'll be asking to give $1k and you'll take it just to end this. If you're willing to take a couple grand in 6 months, then be willing to hire a lawyer and make her pay what she owes. Even if you break even after it all, its worth making her pay for work she knew she couldn't afford and had to do anyways. If you don't make her pay, whats keeping her from doing it to someone else?
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Old 02-09-2014, 10:48 PM   #18
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Re: Need Your Thoughts On This House Wrap Nightmare....


What's your small claims limit up there? maybe you don't need an esq. on your side...
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Old 02-10-2014, 12:24 PM   #19
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Re: Need Your Thoughts On This House Wrap Nightmare....


Well I emailed her on the weekend and told her I'd like to see the pictures she promised in mediation. I still haven't signed. She replied this morning with "I'll send a copy of the pics when I send the check". She means the check that's $8000 shy of what she actually owes. So, why would I sign if I still have no evidence of this damage that she claims?

To be honest, I don't want to "take it like a man". And not just because I'm a woman! LOL! Not sure what kindergarten you went to, but we aren't taught to get walked all over. To share and play fair is what we are taught. Fair is being paid for what work you have done. 'A' is for ass...and I don't like being f*%#ed in mine. NOBODY is ever due to get screwed over when they are honest and follow through with their side. If I lay down now, it's a sign of weakness that will open up a door for other clients to do the same.

She's hiding something. And I have a hunch that that something is the fact that she can't afford to pay what she hired me for. I've made a decision over much contemplation. And you guys really helped out. Thank you.

Now let's hope the judge sees that a chimney wouldn't rot that quickly. I have all emails, texts, images from every stage of work. Including pics of the chimney with stucco still on and a few hours later with the wrap on it. Now to find a piece of hard evidence to SHOW the judge that sheathing wouldn't rot that quickly as I'm not sure that my word alone will be enough.

If anyone has any advice on how to show that, I'm all ears! Thanks again guys!
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Old 02-10-2014, 12:34 PM   #20
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Re: Need Your Thoughts On This House Wrap Nightmare....


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Were you taking $4k AND fixing the chimney? Or just taking the $4k and you get to walk away? Either way you're getting screwed. I agree, if she doesn't have it now, what will change in 6 months? She won't pay then and you'll be back where you started again and she'll be asking to give $1k and you'll take it just to end this. If you're willing to take a couple grand in 6 months, then be willing to hire a lawyer and make her pay what she owes. Even if you break even after it all, its worth making her pay for work she knew she couldn't afford and had to do anyways. If you don't make her pay, whats keeping her from doing it to someone else?
No, I offered to go look at the chimney, and if she would pay her bill, I told her I would do the repairs to it as I had originally told her they had to be done in October of 2012. Hesitantly now of course and at her cost. She doesn't want me at her house. She had a "contractor" give her a quote to repair the chimney at $2400. However upon passing her house, the wrap is still exactly as I had left it. There is nothing open and no tape to show that it was even opened. I saw the contractor's quote. It was a quote done in Microsoft Word. No formatting, no phone number or address. Just his personal name and some numbers he threw on there. This guy is actually a guy who we played baseball with in the summer...a good friend of hers. Shocking, right?

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