Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Home renovation frusturations

In early July my partner Michelle posted on craigslist looking for someone to help finish the basement in her house. She needed two rooms to be turned into four, creating a bedroom, bathroom/laundry room, living area, and storage area. She got bids from a few people and decided on a young man named Jonathan. His quote wasnt the lowest or the highest but he seemed like a good person and assuresd Michelle that he could do all of the work himself and that it would take about 12 days, start to finish, and that he would be there from 8am-5pm every day. He was to start on July 18th at 8am.
Around noon on the 18th he text Michelle and said that he had forgotten he had an appointment that day and was very sorry, he would be there the next day. The next day he got there around noon. This cycle progressed as time went on. He showed up on and off, but nowhere near full time. Twice he took jobs elsewhere which also cut into the time he was working here. While working here he also ran into multiple issues. A few of those have to do with it being an old house, that is understandable. But the majority of the issues were his incompetencies. Things he had said he would be able to do he ended up not being able to do. He had to call in plumbers, which cost more in labor. He had to do things twice because he messed them up the first time. He would drive 20 min to the hardware store, come back, and realize he had forgotten something or bought the wrong thing.
He FREQUENTLY bought the wrong things. Gold doorknobs instead of silver. A cabinet sink instead of a pedestal. He bought a corner shower base and glass walls/door when he was supposed to build a walk-in shower. Many of these things were much more expensive than they should have been. Michelle bought hardwood laminate flooring for the entire downstairs and tile for the whole bathroom and a few weeks in Jonathan decided the floor wasnt level enough and she needed to get carpet. So all of the flooring was returned (except for a couple boxes of tile to go under the washer and dryer and around the shower and toilet) and carpet and carpet pad was bought.
After about eight weeks of "work" (when it was supposed to take 12 days) Michelle told Jonathan that he had more than exceeded his labor cap and she wasnt able to pay him anymore. Between labor and supplies she had paid out double what the bid was. He agreed to this and said he would continue to work until the job was finished even though he was no longer being paid.
Yesterday, September 20th, he was here for about an hour and left He text Michelle when he left and said that he quit; he was no longer able to work for free and he felt "bullied" by her asking daily what the progress was and when he would finish. He left a huge pile of garbage in the back yard and a disaster downstairs. Before this started there was at least one useable room downstairs plus a toilet and utility sink. Now there arent really any useable rooms, everything is covered in dust and theres stuff laying everywhere. I got the washer and dryer hooked up but theyre sitting in the middle of the room, and there is no working sink or toilet.
After spending twice the amount on this project than originally planned there is now an empty savings account, half-finished basement, and piles of garbage in the yard, which we have no truck to remove.
What needs to be finished: The living area and bathroom need walls and ceilings finished and sanded down. Jonathan "forgot" to put heating vents in the living room and closed up all the walls, so we have to put the vents in. He left one wall in the bathroom open and we need to close that. There is a light that needs to be installed in the living room. The baseboards need to be put up in the living room. The stairs, living room, bedroom, and bathroom need to be padded and carpeted. The tile needs to be laid around the shower and under the washer and dryer in the bathroom. The sink and toilet need to be installed in the bathroom and the shower put together. The doors and doorways need to be finished. Some of the corkboard on the ceiling in the closet in the bedroom is falling apart and needs to be replaced. The windows in the bedroom need to be replaced. Everything needs to be painted. We are going to have Home Depot come install the carpet once everything is ready, but it will be a while before that happens. There is much to do right now and most of it neither of us have ever done before, so I am hoping to find friends and family members able to at least help us get started.
Not only is this frusturating because its taken so long and so much money and still isnt done (especially with Michelles parents coming to stay for the weekend), but because of the way that the job was handled and the way it was left. Its going to be a high-stress few weeks.
Pictures of basement

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