Bad Contractors

Question: I had a flood in my basement and the drywall had to be cut 4′ up on the wall and new drywall installed underneath it, to the floor. 2 of my 4 walls have visible uneven-ness at various places. I can see it- and if I run my hands along the wall I can feel a wave like unevenness.

This has just been done. I told them to check for even-ness andthey said they would- but they’ve just finished painting and upon examining it I can’t believe what I am seeing. It was sooo messy when they were working- to have to have them repeat that work is so daunting to me.

My concern is that when this starts to wear or settle that this will get even worse.

Is this a problem or not?
Does the drywall contractor/painter (same people) have to cut the waving walls out and start again??
Can he fix it without starting all over again?

Answer: The contractor possibly installed the drywall as evenly as conditions permitted. When drywall gets wet or even damp for a short period of time it swells and gets slightly thicker. The new dry drywall is therefore thinner when it is installed. The edges of drywall sheets are tapered so the joint can be taped and finished to a smooth surface. Drywall frequently is installed with the longest dimension being vertical. When you cut the bottom 4′ off you now have an untapered edge to try to finish, with a tapered edge on the new sheet which was installed on its side. This joint with the tapered edge. a smooth edge and a thicker board on top is very difficult to finish so it does not show. Any way you finish it the joint will stick out. It must be feather out with drywall mud as much as 2′ on each side to minimize the obvious joint. The 4′ cut was made to save money on materials and a small labor savings. With a complete removal of the wall drywall and replacement with new drywall the tapered joints would have made it possible to make all the joints go away. The wall needs to be sanded at the joints and new spackling feathered out so the joints are not as noticeable. If a satin sheen paint, just one sheet off of flat, is used the wall will also look smoother. Eggshell would be the next best sheen.
The work that was completed is by the nature of the work an exceptionally dirty operation.
They should have had you approve the drywall surface before they painted the walls. That is a normal construction procedure. If the painter accepts the wall by starting to paint it and especially if he finish paints the wall they are normally the contractor that is held responsible for fixing the wall and repainting it.
There should not be any reasonable exposure to “settling” if the board is fastened in place properly. That is difficult to determine after the wall has been finished and painted. It would be reasonable to assume it was fastened adequately. If the top of the wall was not completely dry when this work was done the continued drying could result in more issues but they would not be the result of this work. They would be the result of a lack of work. Any wearing is something you have to control.
Do not pay any more money on this work until the problem is resolved to your satisfaction. As far as having more dirt, the corrective work will be very similar to the dirt developed by the original repairs. If the contractor will not respond to your request and this is covered by insurance get a hold of the insurance company and advise them you will not sign off that the work has been completed until it is done correctly.

In response to your additional details. If the wavy walls are cut and the work is started again, instead of one joint you will have two joints to be feathered out. Sand it down and feather the joint out until it goes away. By redoing the wall again not only the original conditions would still remain for resolution but by attempting a joint at 4′ even the existing surface will be more difficult correct.

One thought on “Bad Contractors

  1. Hold back payment to the contractor. The job is not done good enough for you(and they can do it better) Tell him too you are making him responsible for the painters mess (mind you if they were real painters they would not make a mess because it comes out of their pay). That is the end of the story. The drywaller and the painters can lay plastic down and cover every thing over. Get after the contractor. They do not like to hear their workers are being slop artists.. It affects the contractors reputation on his job quality.

    Don’t worry about losing a friend. He works for you.(or the insurance company who works for you because you are the one with the contract with them)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *