Almost three years ago, we hired Matt to remove an old deck, and build us a new cedar deck in its place. We discussed what we wanted with him, and got our estimate and our building permit. Matt was very personable, and we had confidence in his abilities.
Work started right away. The old deck was demolished and hauled away.
Work began on the new deck.
The holes for the zono tubes for the footings were rejected by the building inspector; they were not deep enough and were the wrong size. They all had to be redone. Confidence started to wane a bit.
We had asked for a two level deck as we had the same before. Matt went ahead and built a one- level deck without informing us in advance. As it was a done deal we reluctantly accepted that. As work progressed, some days Matt and his helper were not around, or his helper was but only worked a few hours and left. The stone lintel under the sliding patio doors had several large chips gouged out of it while the connecting board was being installed. I guess these things happen.
The weather was also a factor. The entire build took more than two months.
The deck was sanded and then stained -- not sure what brand was used -- Thompson Water Seal? Matt said he would complete the second coat of stain in the spring. We had some patio stones that you stepped on when leaving the old deck onto the lawn, and we wanted them put back. Matt put them in place and said he would be back in the spring to level them once the soil had settled.
After he was gone, we noticed that the top boards for the step off the deck had been cut too short. We weren’t too worried -- Matt will be back in the spring to finish up.
Matt, of course, never returned, and to be honest, we never called him either. After all the hassles and the more than two-month process, we just dIdn’t want to deal with the deck for a while, and spring was coming.
After the first winter the deck stain started peeling off, we had discovered in the meantime you should not stain cedar for the first year. Oh well. After the second winter the stain had mostly disappeared, but the deck appeared greenish and was a bit slimy in spots.
We have just called another contractor to come to refinish the deck.
His first revelation was that there were no gaps between the deck boards, so the water, etc. could never drain. The wood was starting to rot as a result. He took up all the deck boards, and re-laid them with a gap between each board. When he pulled up the boards, he found they were also starting to rot underneath as well as on all the cut ends.
All has now been fixed and properly stained, and the deck looks great. We will of course be using this contractor for all of our renovation needs.
In hindsight, we could have dealt with these problems better. It was our fault for not withholding some payment until the deck was completed to our satisfaction. (We tend to be too trusting.) We also should have called Matt about the issues we had, or to fulfill the promises he made. To be honest, after the two months it took for the job, we really didn’t want him back anyway, but we didn’t give him a chance to make things right.