Window fiasco (LONG RANT)


After some serious shopping I hired an established local contractor to replace the 9 windows and 2 sliding glass doors in my 9 year old stucco Florida home with Simonton double glazed vinyl windows. It's almost a $10k job - a lot on my budget. After standing me up the 1st day they were to work, they arrived late the second day and replaced 4 windows and the 2 sliding doors. One of the new windows is cracked (stress, they said - "we'll order a new one"). The old 8' x 2' window over the master bed shattered while they tried to remove it (I lent them my shop vac, but DW vacuumed 'til midnight to get the rest of the glass out of everything). I gave them a key so they could finish up the next day. They called that afternoon and said 2 of the remaining windows had been removed, but the replacements didn't fit (they're way too small).They temporarily fitted them in with 1x4s. The other 2 don't fit either. I'm now waiting 3 weeks for replacements. One of the screens didn't fit its window, either. Also - the sliding glass doors were installed with oak 1x4s under the frames and the tracks are about 3/4" higher than the old ones (trip hazard?). Is this normal for Simonton doors, as the installer claims? Should I expect any compensation for these foul ups and delays? If so, what's the best way to claim it? The manager at the dealer says "Sometimes these things happen..." One thing in my favor - I haven't paid anything ($0) so far. (rant off) Thanks in advance for reading, and any advice.
JustDave
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JustDave wrote:

Consult legal advice .
If the windows are not weather tight you are going to have some damage in the three weeks it takes to get replacements.
You might ask a local building inspector to check installation on the door , or at least get the code specification. At least they used oak and not PT lumber.
I would be pressuring the company you bought the stuff from to get it done at cost.
Supply of the wrong size windows is inexcusable in my opinion, unless the old window was also badly installed.
WIndows sometimes break , I would have had a tarp over the inside area , especially on a very long glass pane .
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The issue I see here is that the Oak will rot a lot quicker than PT. We had PT installed under our doors, but you can't see it due to the metal that covers it (kick plate?).
I would be concerned about the Oak rotting..
Amy
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Not if it is white oak. It has excellent durability and is often used for outdoor projects for that reason.
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It doesn't sound like it's going well. It also doesn't sound like you have a lot of experience in work being done on your home. I'm not sure why you'd have to lend a vacuum to someone, nor why you'd have your wife doing their cleanup for them. The broken window...well, accidents happen, and no one here can tell you whether they were simply careless or not.
As far as the patio door, I'm not sure why they'd have to put a 1x under the door as I'm sure your house is a slab on grade, but then again, I have no idea of the job conditions. If the Simonton tracks are 3/4" higher than the old ones, I would assume that has to do with Simonton's design - doubtful that it is any real tripping hazard by itself, though the 1x would raise it into sketchy territory. With all patio doors you have to step over the track and offhand I don't know of any code that regulates the height of the track (though there might be one - the door manufacturer would be the ones to know definitively).
Contracts are supposed to spell out all of the details including the completion date. Your state/municipality probably has regulations on how long of a grace period the contractor has, beyond the contractual completion date, to complete the job. In my area it's 30 days.
To prove damages at this early of a date, you would have to have specified a completion date of two days, specified time is of the essence and specified what liquidated damages would be incurred in the case of delay. BTW, the only contractor that would sign a contract like that on a job your size is an idiot, gouging the crap out of you to cover the possibility of damages (you'd be paying your own damages up front, in essence), or is inexperienced and in for a bad-for-both-parties learning experience.
I'm a little surprised that the contractor didn't ask for money up front to cover the cost of the custom windows that had to be made for your job. In my book, that's a bad business practice. I have no experience with Simonton windows, but it's more than a little odd that there were so many problems on such a small job. The fact that one of the screens didn't fit also sends up a red flag - it's not clear who is to blame for the window sizing. It's possible that Simonton messed up, or that the contractor sent incorrect measurements.
The usual scenario when a job starts going bad, is for the owner to make rumblings of damages and withholding payment, the contractor realizes that the project may be a lost cause and loses interest in keeping the owner happy figuring he's going to get stiffed anyway, the owner seeing a lack of progress and sensing an I-no-longer-give-a-damn attitude holds back money on work completed and has his lawyer send a strongly worded letter, the contractor than talks to his lawyer and places a Mechanic's Lien on the house...you see where this is going, don't you? The lawyers will eat up enough money to make you both unhappy. It's very much in both of your self interests to work this out as best you can. Seek to agree.
R
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wrote:

Thanks for all the replies. I guess I'm in wait and see mode now. I'll let everyone know how this turns out.
JustDave
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Please do, thanks.
R
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New windows without proper flashing are worthless.

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