A polymath rambling about virtually anything

Posts Tagged ‘flooring’

Chattanooga Contractors

Posted by Scott Holstad on April 18, 2015

Chattanooga contractors suck! They are the absolute worst, the most unreliable, using the most substandard materials, charging the most. They’re terrible. They’re ripoffs.

It all started when I moved up to Chattanooga a few years ago from St. Simons Island, GA. I hired a Chattanooga moving company, in part to save money. Well, they “lost” two big boxes of alcohol, broke numerous items, and did a pretty poor job in general. I sued them and we settled out of court. Since then it’s been one disaster after another. At my old townhouse, I had to have the HVAC replaced, although I didn’t think I did. $8,000 later, I had a new HVAC system, which took them until 10 PM to install. It took four techs. When my future and current wife, Gretchen, and I moved to a house a little ways away, we had to have work done on our roof. We were told it would take a couple of days. It took four, with them pounding on the roof until 10 PM at night while we were trying to sleep. I went out, finally, totally pissed off and told them to stop. They also found some “extra” things that needed addressing for an exorbitant extra sum of money, of course, and held us hostage until we paid up. Later we found out they didn’t do a very good job and brought in a handyman to work on the roof. He was pretty decent, but not very reliable. He’d show up whenever he wanted, didn’t answer his phone or texts, etc. At least he was cheap. Meanwhile, we had electricians and plumbers come out there, all ripoffs. Last year we moved. The house inspector said the garbage disposal needed work, so I hired a different handyman to work on it. He said he did a good job, but I didn’t go check it like I should of and the day before the closing, my realtor called and said there was a problem. There was a bad water leak in the kitchen. I was appalled. It wasn’t there before. The only thing that could have happened was this contractor and the garbage disposal. We called in another contractor from ServePro. He then estimated damage at virtually ALL the floors and said everything needed to be replaced. This cost us $14,000. The family bought the home, but it was a nightmare because they couldn’t move into it for two months and they had been planning on moving into it immediately. We were all told it would take about three days.

Meanwhile, we had moved into our new house. We needed new electrical outlets. I had to call FOUR electricians to come install them. The first three were incompetent. Of course, I had to pay for all four. I also had a garbage disposal installed. There was a leak. I had to have a plumber come out five times to fix the damn leak. Then the refrigerator’s ice maker wouldn’t work. We had to call yet another contractor. He installed a new one. It didn’t work. He had to come out twice more. Meanwhile, we also needed work on our deck. We hired the first handyman to work on it. He did a good job, but he wasn’t reachable, just like before, so I never knew when he was going to show up. Again. Argh! I hired a chimney sweep. Now he did a good job. About the only one who did. For a reasonable fee.

There’s more. A few months ago, we were concerned with a huge, monster tree in our back yard that was leaning over our house and that appeared to be dead. We get winds up here on the mountain and we could just envision it falling and demolishing our house. I called a tree service after getting several estimates. I wanted the whole thing taken out, but was talked out of it. Instead, I was talked into taking the top third off. For $600. Then on the designated day. They didn’t show up. I called and they said there was a mixup. Yep. They showed up on another day and they didn’t take the top third off. They took a third off the entire tree, although it sure didn’t look like it to me. And then I had to pay. Well, last week, the tree looked worse and we were even more worried, so I hired another company to bring their huge crane in and take the whole thing down for $2700. And I could be wrong, but I don’t think they showed up on the designated day either! Damn it! Are there any decent contractors in this town???

Back in January, we decided we wanted hardwood floors in part of our house. We asked for estimates for the living room, dining room, foyer, and hallway, as well as the whole upstairs, and the whole house. We thought the estimate for the whole house was insane, so we went with the first option. After we met with the saleswoman, she gave us a figure and told us that was the total price for everything and we thought that was a price we could live with, so we agreed to do it. Well, once again, the contractors didn’t show up on the designated day. WTF???!!! Dolts! When they did, they discovered the subflooring was inadequate and they’d need to do all sorts of extra stuff for additional costs, this after tearing our carpet up, so we were forced to agree to this. Bastards. It took about three days or so. They did a good job. We were initially happy. Then it was time to pay the saleswoman, so I gave her my credit card number and said that’s it, right? She said, oh no sir, you still owe the contractors! I said, WTF? I said she had told us the price she had quoted us was for everything. She said no, it was just for materials, not for labor. So we ended up having to pay three times as much as we expected to pay for this job. Bastards!!! I thought about filing a complaint with the BBB, but decided not to. It would accomplish nothing.

Now, we’ve had a leak in the garage, so I called a plumber. The plumber fixed the leak and then said we need copper pipes leading into our water heater. Said it’d be more expensive, but more durable, more “professional,” etc. So I agreed. Well, he did it. After that, we lost most of our hot water. I called back a day later and he returned. He couldn’t figure out what the problem was. He told me to call my home warranty company because my water heater was broken and needed to be replaced. I told him it was working just fine before he started messing with it and broke it. My wife got really ticked and called the company to cuss out the owner, who then called me and said he’d like to come out to look it over. He was supposed to show up yesterday at 9 AM. He didn’t show up. No call, no show. I called at 1:30 to complain. They said he was on his way. He said it was a “nipple.” he called another plumber who cut the copper pipes and discovered a blockage, which was causing the problem. Fixed. But I have a bitter taste in my mouth. I’m sick to death of Chattanooga contractors. Not a single one can be trusted to keep their word. They can’t show up on time, if they even bother showing up on the day they say they will. They overcharge. They put in inferior parts. They try and upsell. They’re freaking bastards. And I don’t know what to do about it. I can’t call Atlanta contractors to drive two hours up here to work on my stuff. Or Knoxville for that matter. I’m stuck. I’m screwed. This blows. Sometimes I really hate it here.

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New Floors!

Posted by Scott Holstad on February 13, 2015

So after much aggravation, we finally have some new floors!

In early January, we started researching this and settled on a place that seemed fairly reliable and had a good selection. We wanted a new kitchen floor for the first thing (well, my wife did) and we (I) wanted hardwood floors to replace our carpet throughout much of the rest of the house. The question was just how much. That question was answered two ways. One, we found out we would be put out for several days — we and our cats — with the contractors having to move all of the furniture, including the beds, etc., and that didn’t jibe with us. So we eliminated the three upstairs bedrooms. That left the dining room, living room, foyer, and hallway. So the question remained, what about the downstairs? We have a smallish den, a laundry room, which we didn’t want touched, and our office, as well as the stairs. Well, the more I thought about it, the more I realized what a massive hassle it would be to pack up the permanently messy office. It would even be a minor hassle to pack up the den. But we were still open. Until we got the prices. We decided on a pretty LVT kitchen floor that was pretty reasonable. They said they could get it done in one day. And we took some wood samples home to look at, including cherry, but they were too dark for me, so I begged Gretchen to consider something lighter. We had really light wood in our old house and I thought that might be too light for this house, but our living room is pretty dark here and I thought the cherry might make for a pretty depressing room, so I asked for something in between. And we found a nice one, oak I think, with a nice texture at a somewhat reasonable cost. We asked for estimates on the upstairs and the downstairs too, including the stairs. Well, we found out we could afford the upstairs, but the downstairs was a little too rich for our blood and they wanted to charge $2,000 to do the stairs alone!!! That’s crazy! So we decided on the upstairs. They said we’d have to paint our own trim, but I said no way, they’d have to do it or no deal, so they agreed. And they were supposed to start on that this past Tuesday. It was supposed to take two days. The project manager had recommended a floating wood solution, as opposed to a glued down wood, for various reasons, so that’s what we went with. And things went downhill from there.

On the day the contractors were to show up to do the kitchen, they didn’t show up. At all. After awhile, I called the folksy saleswoman who had pre-charged us thousands of dollars and told us we had paid for “everything” then and she looked into it and said there had been a misunderstanding and they wouldn’t be coming that day, they’d be coming the next. I wasn’t happy. I told her. The next day they showed up and after several hours of work, it became apparent that they didn’t have enough materials with them to finish the job. And the warehouse they came from didn’t have more. They’d have to order more from the actual plant. I called the saleswoman and let her have it. She said she’d call the plant and would have the materials overnighted to her and they’d be there mid-morning the next day. So these guys showed up the next day and finished up and even though we were ticked, we were pleased with the finished product and thought the floor looked good. Still, we were apprehensive about the hardwood floor installation.

That was last month. On Tuesday, these same contractors showed up to install the hardwood. It was really difficult for me because that meant I’d be trapped downstairs with two ticked off cats for a couple of days with a lot of noise overhead. I have severe insomnia and depend on naps to survive and I wouldn’t be getting any, so that was frustrating too. Well, they moved furniture around and took up carpet and started laying wood in the living room and then called the project manager in to talk to me. Turns out they said the floor had dips in it. Major dips. They said many houses had dips, but they were usually a quarter inch — ours were an inch. They said they often put a cardboard box in the dip and that works. They said they’d tried three with ours and that didn’t work, so they didn’t feel comfortable laying our floor and said we’d have to do something different. We’d have to get a leveler and get it laid overnight. Then the contractors would have to glue the wood to the floor. This, of course, would cost a whole lot more. I wasn’t happy and when I contacted my wife, she was livid. She felt like it was a bait and switch and I felt similarly. So we had to wait until the saleswoman called me with the figures and I laid into her and she said we didn’t have to do this at all, but it was obvious we did, so I ok’d it at an additional cost, part of which I had to prepay. Then the contractors went to get the leveler, came back, started spreading it around the floor, and left it to dry overnight, which meant we had to leave the cats downstairs all night and which also meant this two day operation was now going to be a three day operation.

On Wednesday, they returned anxious to lay wood. And boy, they did. The cats and I were downstairs and could hear them going to town. At the end of the day, they had done the living room and dining room. We still couldn’t let the cats up though, because all of the furniture was scattered everywhere and we knew we’d never be able to catch them to put them downstairs the next day when the contractors returned. So they stayed downstairs another night.

Remember when I said the saleswoman said we had paid for everything? Not true. When I was talking with her on the phone, she said I’d have to pay the project manager for installation. I asked her what she was talking about. She asked if I’d gotten his quote. I said I thought I had, yes. But I reminded her I had paid for everything up front and she had told us so. “Oh no sir, you did not,” she told me. She said I’d just paid for materials and I still owed many thousands of dollars in installation charges. This was devastating news. Devastating. We have a limited budget. Damn, I mean come on! When you told us we paid for everything, we thought you meant everything, not just part of everything. My wife was livid and I wasn’t far behind her. I said so this is going to be a “X” amount deal, is that right? She added things up and said, no, it’d be less than that, but it’d still be thousands more than I’d allocated for it. Shit!

Well, the contractors showed up yesterday to finish up. They had the painting to do, the foyer and hallway, the quarter rounds (whatever those are), and then cleaning up and moving the furniture back. They finished up late in the afternoon and the project manager came back to give me his bill. He was nice enough, I guess, not to charge me for the painting, which was a decent savings. I still had to pay thousands though. Still, after they left, I just walked around and admired. It looked like they did a really good job. It looked really nice. The living room actually looked bigger. I took my shoes off and wandered around barefoot. I opened up the door to the downstairs and let the cats up. They were elated to be upstairs again, but tread cautiously. They weren’t sure what to think, especially Ace, who’d never seen a wood floor before. When Gretchen got home, she seemed to like it too. So we’re done with that chapter. Now we’re thinking of getting a large carpet for the living room. Why? I’m not sure. It just seems to be the thing to do. Anyway, I’m going to post some pictures for you to see. Cheers!

Kitchen floor

Kitchen floor











Hallway floor

Hallway floor























Living Room

Living Room











Dining room floor

Dining room floor












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Hardwood Flooring

Posted by Scott Holstad on February 2, 2014

Can anyone recommend a good hardwood for home flooring? In the past, I’ve had very expensive bamboo, which I wasn’t really satisfied with, and I don’t know what our current wood floor is. We’re thinking about getting part of the new house redone with hardwood floors, and I don’t know the difference between hickory or maple or oak or anything…. Any insights would be appreciated. Thanks.

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