Is this a bad fence job or am I just too picky?

SORRY INCOMPLETE POST - news server acting up. Here is the complete post.
I hired someone to put up a wood fence, and I am not too happy about the outcome. In the contract I specified how far the posts need to be placed, how deep to bury, using concrete cement, how high the fence needs to be etc...and all of it has to be to code anyways.
But the outcome...well my fault for not specifying two things:
(1) Material...I was told all the wood planks for the fence are "standard" therefore there is no need to specify what type. Well I am getting this pressure treated wood planks with all sorts of white knots. The installer told me it's normal. I looked around at other people's fence and I do not see the same knots ALL OVER...on may be a few, but not on all planks. See the pics:
http://i173.photobucket.com/albums/w67/143house/P1000656.jpg
http://i173.photobucket.com/albums/w67/143house/P1000654.jpg
(2) The planks are also not straight, so it bends in here and bends out there, it just does not look good.
I asked him why he did not buy the preassembled 6'x8' fences at HD that seems to be of higher quality wood he said he prefer to build the fence himself with planks piece by piece.
(3) Now when I am looking on the other side of the fence (inside), the runners are not straight, some of it crooked, some of it not level...see for yourself:
http://i173.photobucket.com/albums/w67/143house/P1000657.jpg
There are also lots of gaps between planks, in many places I can stick my thumb through.
I am not happy with this, yet there is nothing in the contract that says anything has to be straight and level, and planks need to be assembled in such a way to minimize gaps.
or am I just too picky?
MC
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I have many, many feet of privacy fence like this- a whole new section was recently replaced and no- I do not have nearly as many knotholes. Did you ask to see samples of his work before you hired him? It just looks to me as if he bought the cheapest wood he could find. This is what you usually see when people go with the lowest bid on a project. Fencing scams are rampant after a storm, and many in our areas are still fixing up what Wilma destroyed a year and a half ago. Good fencing contractors are still very busy, so I have to ask- where did you find this guy?

A well made "piece by piece" fence is 100 times stronger than a Home Depot sectional one. And the section I just had replaced has its 4x4 posts every four feet instead of every eight as my previous fence had. They beefed up their specs after Wilma, I guess. The new one is incredibly strong.
If you just wanted "sectional" type quality why didn't you hire Home Depot to install the fence? Or buy the parts and have someone else do the install?

That does look shoddy. Was his the lowest estimate you received? Because it looks like it, sorry.

You are not too picky- you just did a poor job of choosing your fencing contractor IMO. You have to ask to see samples of their work and actually drive there to look at it. You have to cruise neighborhoods and when you see a strong well made fence stop and ask who installed it. You have to interview several contractors- I usually toss the lowest and the highest bids, then go on references and my personal opinion of their work.
And after all of that- if the work is not up to your expectations- talk to them about it before you write the last check. The only motivation they have to fix a lousy install is when money is still owed. After you pay the final payment you lose all your bargaining power.
It's an expensive lesson, I'm sure.
--
Toni
South Florida USA
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Why can't you just tell him assertively that you don't like the finished job, you don't like the quality of the materials and his work and that you direct him to remove the fence. Tell him you are going to the Better Business Bureau also with a complaint. From what I see, it is a slap-dash crummy job; those rails are wavering all over the place. I'd put up a real stink.

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Absolutely horrible job. Very cheap materials and will definitely not last for more that three or so years and the knots will pop out, wood will cup and...junk.
Not just the Better Business Bureau, but the Department of Consumer Affairs.
On Mon, 12 Mar 2007 00:42:15 -0400, "MiamiCuse"

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This is normal. The white is sap weeping out of the knot. Pine does this as do many other softwoods. You can scrape off the sap so the white knots look better. I see a lot of your knots do look much better.

It is too late to think of that now. He did what you asked.

That is a workmanship item. That would only be known if one saw the contractors other jobs. That is why referrals or looking at a previous job is important. It in no way affects the serviceability. It does look like he!! from the side like in your picture. But from a distance it shouldn't look too bad. The top looks perfectly level which is what is most noticed.

You have a choice, treated outdoor wood with these defects or finish grade lumber which won't last. Your fence will last a long time. But it will look the way it does for a long time.
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g'day mc,
the palings look ok just that the fencer may have stipulated a lower than 1st grade paling for your job, you would need to have stipulated in the contract a prefference for that standard. he probably made more profit using them or it allowed him to underquote otehr quotes? but they will still do the job.
but as for the rails of the fence, the posts look ok, but the way those rails are fitted leaves a lot to be desired by the way we do our fences over here. they should be fitted so you see the wide side of the rail outwards not laying flat like that this is why they are sagging and will continue to do so.
and the way the rails are attached to the posts never seen that done that way ever, doesn't look strong and permanent to me.
over here rails are either screw bolted to the outside of the posts or the posts are cut and sections knocked out so the rails are then flush.
have you had a look at other fencing jobs around to see what other people have gotten for their money.
but for me i wouldn't be paying until those rails are fitted so the are more permanent and fitted the right way around so their tensile strength holds them straight so they don't warp/sag.
also we use hardwood for posts and rails and pine for palings, pine posts would be ok as well but reckon as rails pine may be too prone to warping as your are already doing.
wouldn't worry too mauch about the palings we always use 2nds when we do our own fences saves us a bit of money and they last just as long.
all in all the rail part of the job looks pretty poor.
On Mon, 12 Mar 2007 00:42:15 -0400, "MiamiCuse"
snipped With peace and brightest of blessings,
len & bev
-- "Be Content With What You Have And May You Find Serenity and Tranquillity In A World That You May Not Understand."
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