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Thread: Quality workmanship

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
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    Quality workmanship

    Im sure there have been many rants, but it is disappointing to see the lack of quality work SOME wish to pass off on customers. Were in the final stages of a bathroom remodel. It seems a few of the sub-contractors are totally ok with doing a mediocre/poor job and then returning to do it right (how can this be cost effective?). Fortunately, we have a good percentage held back until completion, but I think most of you here would agree this is really a sort of you think this is good work? wonderment.

    E17C36DC-5252-4246-99C7-90B18DC91A09.jpg CFFBED3E-98FC-40DC-8BDD-678C513D4A8C.jpg 10E3F260-F713-4050-8474-D0772DF53927.jpg 4D728F8D-A09E-411A-AEA7-0D159E77D504.jpg

    Just a few examples.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
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    One of my bosses from a long time ago would always complain, "we don't have time to do it right, but we always find time to do it over."

    Good help is hard to find. Too many workers will work harder to get out of doing work than if they just did the work in the first place.

    jtk
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

  3. #3
    My dad and his dad built houses, and when we moved into THIS house back in '69, I listened to him rant on about how it's built, and it DOES have issues, door jambs not straight, tilting walls, all that stuff.. Forward to 1981 I bought my second house, a 2-story with basement, 800sq-ft each level. I bought it from the builder. And I was amazed at the high quality. I literally could not find a single thing wrong with the place. Everything dead straight, true, and level. All flooring perfect, all trim perfect. What impressed me the most were the doors. Every single door stayed exactly where you stopped it. And a gentle push would close the door, it would silently glide shut from wherever it was, and latch with a solid 'click'. And once shut, there was zero free-play, I couldn't make not one of those doors rattle from the free play, even though they didn't need to be pushed shut. I remember showing the doors to everyone! About 2 months after moving in, the builder showed up with a refund from the rent we'd paid as we moved in before closing. I told him that I'd never seen a house built this good, very impressive.

    "yeah, it is built good, too bad I had to fire the guys who built it."

    ??? What? WHY?

    "They were taking too long..."

    That was 38 years ago, and it seems if anything's changed, it's been for the worse, not better
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  4. #4
    I wouldn't say that everything has gotten worse. Some of the stuff they used to do back in the day was as bad or worse than anything today. My old house was built in 1909. When I redid the kitchen, I saw that the studs weren't parallel to the window frames. Originally I assumed that the house had settled, but after working a while, I realized that they had framed the wall studs out of plumb 1" over 8 feet, and shimmed the bejeezus out of the windows in order to compensate. Whenever I hear someone say "They don't build them like they used to" I tend to think "Thank God!"

  5. #5
    Join Date
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    I had the excellent job of managing construction for a major manufacturer. We always used union trades. They were expensive but we almost never had quality issues. Each and every worker carried pride on his sleeve.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Austin, TX
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    Actually seems par for the course. In my experience, there is no "A-Team" when it comes to interior remodels. When we did our house house, the crews would seem baffled when I pointed out to them stuff like that. I came to assume that most clients either didn't notice or didn't care.

    Erik
    Felder USA Territory Representative: Central & South Texas

  7. #7
    What does one expect from a remodel job completed by a bunch of different subs?

  8. #8
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    Andrew that's my thoughts exactly. We started out in old houses and I did a lot of the work fixing them up myself. The plaster and lathe could hide a lot of out of square out of plumb issues. So I also have said when the statement is made that "they don't make them like they used to" Thank God. Studs were all over the place. Yes they were true 2 x 4 or 2 x 4-1/8 or 2 x 4 on one end and 2 x 4-1/4 on the other. Yes they built some neat homes. As for craftsman today there are still some around. One thing to remeber you can seldom use quality and fast in the same sentence. It takes time to be picky. I'm thinking some are rolling the dice that they won't have to make it "right" because the customer doesn't know any better.

  9. #9
    Join Date
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    I built new houses for 33 years, starting in 1973-4. That first year, I tried to build it with a telephone. Every year after that, I used a hammer, and saw. Last time I called a subcontractor was in 1973. I quit building new houses in 2007, because it looked like all the newer builders had gotten smarter than me, and I didn't want to have a house on the market in 2008.

    Since then, I've only worked on really old houses, and haven't run across one yet that didn't need some structural help.

  10. #10
    Craftsman style window and door trim and baseboards/mopboards hide misalignment and unevenness much better than ranch molding does. It had to; that horsehair plaster isn't nearly as flat and even as modern drywall. When I redid my trim in my 1909 house, I learned that basically every piece of trim/molding in the "system" hid a misalignment in at least one plane if not two.

    Actually I lucked out on my old house, it hadn't had much updating over the years. Nothing worse than stuff that was questionable to start with, and then suffered 90 years of DIYers.

  11. #11
    I just had both bathrooms redone and some other work. The small contractor did a great job and corrected some errors by the original builder as he came across them. This man takes pride in his work and I have some other work for him to do. The only difficulty working with him is getting him to schedule a date. Because of his reputation and his fair prices he is booked far in advance.

    Generally I have had good luck with outside contractors for a septic system replace, a retaining wall install, a new roof,and some tree work. I ask neighbors for recommendations after inspecting the work they had done and have also asked some of my contractors for their recommendations. Networking helps a lot in getting folks who take pride in their work.
    Last edited by Dave Anderson NH; 08-18-2019 at 9:14 AM.
    Dave Anderson
    Chester Toolworks LLC
    Chester, NH

  12. #12
    We purchased this house new last year; it is in an upscale retirement community, and was advertised as the highest quality workmanship - nothing but issues since moving in. Second night the sewer backed up; they dug up the new front lawn and shrubs and found a 2' piece of 2x4 and 2 beer cans in the line. Interior finish is about what I would have done in my first house 50 years ago, knowing nothing. Doors crooked, short walls not straight, ill fitting joints, floors popping, granite countertop not level (still waiting for them to "correct" this the second time), leaking roof, HVAC badly out of balance, and on and on.

    I just finished the basement a couple of weeks ago and absolutely no issues - because I stood over the subs every minute. I dd all the finish carpentry, stairs, painting, bathroom tile work, some of the wiring, etc. The building inspector who did the final said it was the best workmanship he had seen in 5 years.

    You're right, workmanship has gone out the window in recent years; they don't even understand pride in their work means any more.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    SE Michigan
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    Thanks all. Makes me feel at least that what I’m seeing is fairly “normal”....comforting in a disappointing sort of way. Was prepping for the punch list and came across this one. Can’t blame him for the door trim length...it was cut short years ago when the room had carpet, but the baseboard cut short was his doing. How could anyone step back from that and say “ok, good”.

    67EB52B6-0D2B-4FCD-A749-ED1F3FCA969C.jpg

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by carey mitchell View Post
    We purchased this house new last year; it is in an upscale retirement community, and was advertised as the highest quality workmanship - nothing but issues since moving in. Second night the sewer backed up; they dug up the new front lawn and shrubs and found a 2' piece of 2x4 and 2 beer cans in the line. Interior finish is about what I would have done in my first house 50 years ago, knowing nothing. Doors crooked, short walls not straight, ill fitting joints, floors popping, granite countertop not level (still waiting for them to "correct" this the second time), leaking roof, HVAC badly out of balance, and on and on.

    I just finished the basement a couple of weeks ago and absolutely no issues - because I stood over the subs every minute. I dd all the finish carpentry, stairs, painting, bathroom tile work, some of the wiring, etc. The building inspector who did the final said it was the best workmanship he had seen in 5 years.

    You're right, workmanship has gone out the window in recent years; they don't even understand pride in their work means any more.
    It's not a matter of pride, it's a matter of most are not willing or able to actually pay what something really costs or the contractor has no clue what it actually costs and starts running short and does whatever to get a project behind them.

    I blame the consumer for this more than the carpenter.

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Darcy Warner View Post
    It's not a matter of pride, it's a matter of most are not willing or able to actually pay what something really costs or the contractor has no clue what it actually costs and starts running short and does whatever to get a project behind them.

    I blame the consumer for this more than the carpenter.
    It is hard to blame the contractor and the subs for not having more quality when the consumer picks the lowest bidder.

    It's like with appliances; people want German engineering with Japanese quality built by American workers, but they want to pay East Asian prices. Something has to give in that equation.

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