Paint can oxidize over time. The 30 days will vary depending on weather,
exposure, how good the bas is, etc. Hard to say, but you can have from 30
to 130 days with no adverse effects.
I had a spot that I primed and never got to paint until the following year
and it was and still is OK.
Have you had contact with him, tried, been given a reason for delay? My
unscientific opinion is that a couple of weeks won't hurt. Much longer,
and it might get dirty or oxidized a bit. Got a written bid with a time
stated for completion? Satisfied with his work otherwise? A lot would
depend on issues you have not stated. I don't trust AHR for legal
advice, but the paint label is "on your side" - job needs to be
completed. Unless he dropped dead, he should have contacted you to
explain the delay - good reason for hiring someone else.
I'd be tempted to send him a certified letter stating that if the job
is not completed by x date (30 days?) another painter will be hired.
Inform him that he will only be paid the difference between the
original contract and whatever the new painter charges you. Why should
you have to pay twice for the same job? If you have a new painter give
you an estimate to complete the job there's no way the first painter
could recover his entire fee, since he didn't complete the job. At
least that's the way it worked in small claims court in NY the one day
I observed. I watched case after case where the judge asked if the
homeowner had a completion estimate from new contractor, and then the
judge gave the original contractor the difference between the new
completion estimate and the original contract. In two cases, the
original contractor had to pay the homeowner!
As always, however, YMMV.
That sounds like good advice to me. A week or two beyond the 30 days
specified on the primer can probably isn't going to make any
difference. Also, that 30 days is specd as worse case, with high
temps, etc. In a more typical case, I doubt going 2 weeks beyond will
make a difference.
But, if the OP is dissatisfied with the performance of the contractor,
they should send a letter telling the contractor they want the job
finished in say 30 days. Also cite the concern about the primer. I
would stay away from who owes who what in the letter at this point. As
Hilary pointed out, if you have to get another contractor to finish the
job, and it cost more, the existing contractor can be sued for the
difference. Of oourse collecting a judgement is another matter.
Also, how long and how much you have to put up with is arguable. If
the contractor is making slow but steady progress, I'd be less
concerned than if he's disappered for a long time with no communication.
I wouldn't trust AHR either, including me.
But Norminn seems to make a good point. The painter knows or should
know what it says on the can, and on the can it says he has to do the
next coat within 30 days.
You may have come here to hear that you have more than 30 days, but in
your dealings with the painter, you should assume the can is right,
and that a job of adequate quality can't be done unless he finishes
that next coat on time.
A suggestion I have never tried (In fact I hate and avoid doing
business with anyone, so this is only theoretical, but it seems to
make sense): If he wants two more weeks or a month, and if you're
willing to do that, because he does a good job, etc, get an addendum
to your contract for the extension with those terms that Thomas
mentioned "Unless you have a written contract which states that
failure to appear constitutes abandonment of the job, you are at risk.
Unreliable is a value judgment on your part that will not hold up in
court if he sues you for the entire contract price." That is, unless
Thomas is off the mark get a deadline, so that when he doesn't show up
the next time, you're totally free to hire someone else***.
Maybe you can agree on how much is owing at this stage if he doesn't
do anything more. (Maybe he did a lot of scraping and a one whole
coat, and only one coat remains, in which case more than half would be
It seems to me, as the 30 day limit approaches, you have the upper
hand in negotiating an addendum. Don't agree to pay more money, for
example. If you want more work done, put that in a separate contract
(with a deadline for starting and finishing.)
***BTW, afaik "unreliable" is subject to debate. He'll say the
weather interfered, that you had no deadline, that the 30 days is put
there to speed homeowners and is the most strict standard, but that in
this climate with this weather, one has at least 60 days, and you had
no agreement with him that he would paint every day, and he was coming
back, and that his wife's sister/father died and they had to go to the
funeral and make arrangements for her children.
You only got Fu@ked a little, hire someone else to finish the job.
Check out www.MySturdyBuiltGarage.com for a guy that hired a really
bad contractor. EVERYONE should read the tips section of this site,
PRIOR to hiring a contractor. Good Luck!
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