Thursday, July 08, 2004

Window update: they're done!

This Tuesday our window contractor's team returned and finished installing our windows. It was a very long day for the workers: they arrived around 10am (after the building inspector came by) and left about 8pm. The majority of their time was spent installing and priming the moldings on the outside of the house, though they also installed new drywall on the inside of the master bedroom (we'll be finishing the two bathrooms separately). The workers have been very professional, did high quality work (from what I could tell), and left the place neater than when they came in (vacuuming all the carpets and sweeping all the front walkways). All told they spent about 66 man-hours at our house installing the three windows for us over three days.

My SO and I love looking out our new windows. The new master bedroom window has twice the surface area of the old window, so the room is much brighter and cheerier. All the rooms look much better; the change was well worth the money and hassle.

However, this final portion of the job was not problem-free.
  • First, the contractor called and scheduled the city inspection for 9am in the morning, but never bothered to inform us of this. Thus I was rather surprised when I walked out to the front yard to trim the roses and found two inspectors and our contractor looking at the windows.
  • Second, since this contractor didn't do painting, he said he'd deliver the moldings early for us to prime before installation. The moldings didn't arrive until the day of their installation, and we were told we'd have to prime them quickly that morning. We got ready to paint and then waited five hours to be given the "go" for painting, but after those five hours the workers said that they'd just do it themselves. I greatly appreciated the workers painting the boards for us, but it would have been very nice to know that they were going to do that from the start.
  • Third, the contractor was there for the building inspector's visit, so I didn't get to talk to the inspectors much, but I did overhear them say that the windows needed to have insulation put between the window frame and the stud framing. However, as the installation progressed I noticed a distinct lack of insulation being installed, and had to ask the workers three times before all four sides of the window were insulated.
  • Fourth, the contractor had said they were going to apply a texture to the drywall when we signed the contract, but when it came time to do it they didn't apply a texture. Since we're going to be removing more drywall in the room anyway (to expand a closet door), this will turn out for the best as now we'll be able to retexture all the walls at once, but it was yet another promise unfulfilled.
  • And, finally, when the workers were finished the contractor came by to ask for his money. I had thought it was clear that payment would wait until the window installation had passed the final inspection, and thus told him that he'd get his check on Thursday after the inspection. He was very unhappy with this, which surprised me. What ensued was a half-hour "discussion" about payment, city inspection policy (which it appears I misunderstood), and our contract. Part of the frustration was that this guy has been incredibly accommodating and done good work, so I felt bad being a "bad" customer. On rereading the contract it seemed like his interpretation probably made more sense (damn vague language), and thus I paid him for the work. I figured that I know he's licensed and so will have recourse if I find something significant wrong, but it was not a pleasant end to the day.

So, while the windows look great and I'm ecstatic that they're in, I still wish remodeling were as easy as it is in The Sims).

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