Not sure how it would be in court. "Your Honor, I was not done yet and
this guy would not let me finish and make it perfect"
I grew up in Philadelphia and saw many houses getting brick re pointed,
including mine. None ever came close to looking like that.
On Sunday, June 28, 2015 at 1:22:29 PM UTC-4, Ed Pawlowski wrote:
I agree. He doesn't even have to say he didn't get a chance to finish
it. Even if he screws it up, generally he's entitled to a chance to
make it right. Probably what the OP should do, because he probably
can't make it any worse. But where some contractor is totally incompetent
and giving him a second chance could do more damage, then you have the
right to just say no and should prevail in court. But as you say, it's
far from a sure thing.
Since he talked about fixing it with an angle grinder (doing God only knows
what damage to the bricks) I think he's demonstrated that he's not a
bricklayer or mason of any kind. It should be pretty easy to convince a
judge of that because of how easy it would have been to wipe off the excess
mortar when it was still wet. It's total, 100% all-beef, no filler
incompetence. I may ask him to refund half of what I paid him or to do
other work for free since I suspect he is judgement-proof. I also saw the
the "aha" look on his face when I asked him why he didn't wipe off the wet
excess. It obviously never dawned on him to do that until I suggested it.
Now the question is, what is the best method for removing the excess without
destroying or marring the brickwork any more than absolutely necessary? I
have high hopes for the power washer that has on previous occasions stripped
paint, gouged wood decking and has otherwise demonstrated a powerful
potential for removing things - sometimes not the things you actually wanted
I've got both and I am beginning to that that's what it will take. Boy if
this is the perfect case of how bad things can eff up if you don't do them
right in the first place. When he started, he seemed to be very careful in
picking and scraping out old mortar and applying new stuff but as the job
progressed, the slathering of mortar "at will" became obvious as did the
over-diluting the mortar for the last of the three porch walls as he
probably ran out of mortar. Ironically, that last bit of incompetence might
make the mortar easier to powerwash away, which is the method I think I'll
end up settling on. Only Simon LeGree or a Marine drill instructor would
make someone do it with a dental pick. <smile>
On Sun, 28 Jun 2015 20:27:29 -0400, "Texas Kingsnake"
You know that concrete sealer they used to use on concrete floors in
highschool shops??? When students misbehaved and ended up in detention
I gave them an old toothbrush and a hardwood tounge deptressor and had
them remove the loose flaking sealer from the floor. Generally they
only got detention from me ONCE!!!
this guy would not let me finish and make it perfect"
I think once a judge with even a particle of good sense took one look at
those pictures he would know instantly this guy was incompetent and that
it's not unreasonable for me to not allow him to try to fix it (especially
with a flippin' angle grinder!!!!!!!). Especially when the cure (wiping off
the excess with sponge) would have been so much easier to do when the mortar
was still wet. Well, every once in a while you have to take a serious
shanking to remember to alway keep your guard up. Mine's certainly up now.
Yep, if bad mortaring had artistic value, I would be sitting on a goldmine.
Yours is the universal response.
Funny you should say that. When I refused to pay the balance he said he
would come back on Monday to fix it. His idea of fixing it was to do it
with an angle grinder. I suspect that's going to make things a LOT worse,
especially if he starts gouging out the brick surfaces. That's why I am
trying to find out what the best way to remove the excess would be. I am
tempted to try the powerwasher because it would be the least damaging the
the bricks. I actually had some luck on the thinner areas with a scrubbing
sponge which makes me wonder if he mixed the mortar correctly. I have a
drill attachment made out of abrasive plastic that might work, and a
long-handled wirebrush, too. I also have a wirebrush attachment for my
electric drill that might work. But the idea of an angle grinder makes me
really worry that he could turn this from bad to worse in short order.
There certainly was no prepping of the surface. I am afraid by dicking
around with the Hub (and getting no answers) I waited too long and it has
all set. We'll find out tomorrow. The last time I saw my wood handled wire
brush was a long, long time ago. Tools that don't get used often seem to go
"on the lam" like those two convicts did. I wonder if the brush got help?
The search continues.
I've already paid out the bulk of the money. He came by for the rest
yesterday and I told him he had to make it right or he wasn't getting the
balance. At $350 it's almost not worth suing him. The reason I gave him
the job is that he knows my neighbor who told me the kid really needs the
money. He's done some very good landscaping work but brickwork clearly
isn't his forte. So much for my good deed for the week. He sounded quite
competent when we met. I should have been more careful but time was of the
essence because the bottom of one of the porch walls had been so compromised
by the salt this recently horrid winter required to keep the porch free of
ice. So I don't think the wall is in danger of collapsing anymore, but it
would have been nice if this kid had actually known what he was doing and
used a sponge to wipe away the excess. The only funny part about the whole
episode is the number of people both here on the net and my neighbors who
have said, nearly in unison: "That's the worst job I've ever seen!" It's
nice to stand out. <g>
Yes, the contractor did a really bad job. And, I guess he claims that the
job is done since he is expecting to get paid the last $100 of the $450 job.
It's up to you if you want to tell him you are not satisfied and do not plan
on paying him the remaining $100. He would be a fool to try to sue you for
the last $100 since it will cost him a lot of time and money to do so. Even
in Small Claims Court in a lot of states (mine is New Jersey) the process is
not as simple and it may initially appear. And, if he takes you to court,
and you go and show them the photos etc., he will probably lose anyway.
Or, you could just give him the last $100 and move on and just not deal with
that contractor in the future.
I think that I would probably just tell him that I am not paying the final
$100, but that I am also not going to ask for my original $350 back.
I know a lot of people here will say don't pay him the $100, and maybe even
pay someone else to fix it and then sue the original contractor to get your
money back and the cost of fixing the screw-up. Personally, I wouldn't
bother with any of that, and I would find a way to move on and have no
further dealings with the original contractor.
As others have said, you could do the muriatic acid routine and it may help
a lot. I think you could just do it yourself. And, the sooner that you do
it, the better.
I would definitely skip having the contractor come back and do anything else
For whatever it is worth, I recently did a repair and repointing job on my
brick front steps. I decided to try doing it myself. I ended up doing a
really crappy job, but it didn't end up looking anywhere near as bad as your
contractor's job looks. I tried to fix my mistakes with the same muriatic
acid routine that others here described, and it really did fix a lot and it
looks much better. For what I wanted, it did turn out okay enough for me,
but I definitely had to use the muriatic acid to clean the bricks where I
messed up when I first did it.
On Monday, June 29, 2015 at 12:54:20 PM UTC-4, TomR wrote:
You'd seriously consider paying him the last $100? Good grief!
And why not? Not only didn't he do the work contracted for,
he made it worse by creating a big mess. You're entitled to your
$350 back. And even if you ask for it, what's the worst he can
do? Say no? I guess this is why contractors like this keep
Could you let us know if that photo represents the entire job that the
contractor did, or if instead the job involved a larger area that is not
shown in the photo? If it was a larger area, would it be possible to post a
photo of the whole area?
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