[Story continued from Misadventures with a Drywall Contractor, Part 1: Getting Started]
Day 1: The Hack Job
Just after 9 the next morning (10/12), Rick showed up with his assistant, Mike. We discussed the job a bit, he gave me his plan of action and they proceeded to bring in the materials. Two things didn’t sit right with me. First, anybody who handles drywall knows that it’s prone to breakage and must be stacked neatly to avoid damage. The drywall stack was anything but neat. Many panels were offset in the stack by 2-3 inches with a couple around 6″. Second, to allow a space for the ceiling drywall to sit on top of the wall drywall, he was having his assistant cut the top off of each wall panel . . . by hand—razor and jab saw. Can you say “hack job”? I just rolled with it, figuring they knew what they were doing and it would probably be getting covered up later anyway. After all, that’s why I hired someone, right? When they returned from lunch, they worked together using a combination of cutting blades, a jab saw and a cordless mini-jigsaw. Did it ever occur to them, that it probably would have just been easier just to unscrew the drywall, take it down, trim it like normal the put it back up? The whole room would have been trimmed in about 30 minutes. Doubting myself, I let them do their thing. All they got done in one entire day was cutting the tops off of the drywall in one room. Fortunately, I wasn’t paying them by the hour.
Day 2: The Realization
Next morning the guys show up and starting hanging the Sheetrock. It was immediately apparent to me that this was not going to be a pretty process—broken pieces, smashed sheet corners, uneven joints. At this point I was starting to doubt my decision, but in times like this I tend to blame myself. Anna was noticing the poor workmanship, and starting saying things to me. I very much tend to give people the benefit of the doubt—to a fault I suppose. I made some excuses for them, figuring they had to work around my DIY framing that might not be perfect. At the end two days the only thing complete was the ceiling in one small bedroom and a little more hacking on the walls in the next bedroom.
Not a good start.
…wait it gets better … (cont)
Ok, so I’ve been in the process of building out my basement for a little over a year. Ok more like a year and a half. I’ve done 95% of it myself, but when it came down to doing the mudding and taping, I thought it best to leave that up to someone who knows what they’re doing. Much in construction can be forgiven in the later stages, but the mud/tape job will be visible forever. Furthermore, we had initially decided to forgo drywalling the ceiling, but a last minute change prompted us to add this to the drywall contracting bid. I had in mind to spend about $1000 for the mud/tape, and figured (based on previous estimates of doing the entire drywall job) that the ceiling drywall would about double that. At this point, it was worth it to me to have the project finished and done right.
I went through the drill of calling contractors from Angie’s List to come out and bid on the job. I started with the guys that previously bid on the entire drywall job. I liked one guy in particular, Rick of New Life Home Improvements in Bayside, because not only did he compliment my work (always feels nice), but he seemed competent and completed the estimate on the spot. I liked that. I hate the waiting game. I had one other guy quote as well, but his quote came in at over $4000. Guy #3 never called back, and I wanted to get going. Guy #1, Rick, bid the job at $1800 and gave a timeline of 4-5 days. On Thursday, 10/7 we said, “go.” I gave him the deposit of $600 and we agreed on a start date of 10/20. He was finishing up another job, and I had a bit of construction to do to prepare (furring the ceiling and framing a soffit), so the two week lead time was good.
There was much cheering and excitement.
To my pleasant surprise I received a call the following Monday morning. A supplier had sent the wrong showerpan for his other job, so if I wanted, he could start the following day. I just went with my gut and said, sure, I can get all my construction done in a day (ha ha). The race was on. (Anna would later inform me that this was a bad decision). I busted my butt all day and well into the night building, and clearing rooms to get the space ready. I didn’t get everything done that I needed to, but I figured I’d just stay one step ahead.
I was excited! It was time to finish this basement ….
… to be continued
Edit: Now on to Part 2