(rant) Drywallers damaged LED lighting

schicksalMarch 22, 2014

I think the drywall people that came in this last week need to take notes while walking around to estimate a job. We went over this part multiple times - NO drywall on the ceiling. That will be wood paneling. Also, no drywall on the beam in the family room. That will be veneered.

I come home and... drywall on half of the ceiling and beam. The CR4 LED bulbs are already installed in the recessed lighting and of course there are holes cut around the lights but I don't think they understood that there is no trim kit. These *are* the lights. The tools used to cut the holes gouged up all six of them. They cut each hole by starting in the middle and working the roto zip outward until they hit something, then ran around the edge so the middle is damaged along with the perimeter being ground off.

Are we likely to get the cost to replace the things deducted from the bill? With tax it's about $280 so to us it's not a minor boo-boo. Unfortunately they all still work and I'm going to hear 'cosmetic damage isn't covered' or some nonsense but they weren't supposed to be doing anything in this area anyway.

The tool must have gotten stuck on this one because it has a notch missing.

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
2ajsmama

Yes, if you had told them no drywall on the ceiling then they need to take it down and fix any damage. Heck, even if you had wanted drywall on the ceiling (in which case it would have been very strange for you to already had installed the lights), they should have taken the the fixtures off and installed it with holes cut around the junction boxes. Not only did you have bulbs in, your fixtures *look* like they have trim even if it's 1 piece. Anyone can tell it's finished. That's like cutting a hole while a chandelier with a coverplate is installed!

    Bookmark   March 22, 2014 at 7:51AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
ajc71

Seems pretty simple.....I would hope that any drywall contractor could see they damaged your fixtures and would either buy new or give you a credit, why would they even question it?

Even if you told them to board the ceiling it would not have excused them from the damage.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2014 at 7:59AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
schicksal

Thanks and yes, that's exactly what I was thinking! Even if we were doing drywall up there the holes are way too large because of the integrated trim rings. The hole for a recessed light is supposed to be smaller than the trim, and I would have removed the bulbs beforehand.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2014 at 8:25AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
andreak100

Oh good grief! You know what they should do...make sure they do it...absolutely they need to make this right.

I'm mid-remodel and I've been amazed (and not in a good way) at how little the people working on our kitchen actually LISTEN to a word we say. I came home one day to them drilling holes in our plaster wall after we told them that we weren't blowing insulation in those walls...the only reason we didn't have more holes was because their hole bit dulled going through our plaster and they needed to buy another one (that would have also been put on our bill)...I had a bit of a fit, told them that the holes needed to be fixed (luckily they kept the "holes" and were able to mesh and mud them back in rather than using drywall) and that we weren't paying for any of the time that they spent making them or fixing them or any of the materials they used to create them or fix them.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2014 at 8:39AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
ineffablespace

That's ridiculous. They obviously weren't thinking at all, just drywalling on automatic pilot.

This is a great example though, of why Everything should be in writing.

I know someone who walked into their project to find that they had drywalled a box around a 2x4 that had been propped in a hallway.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2014 at 8:44AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
snookums2

Maybe we should make SAP testing a requirement?

If there is any leeway on charges, you might want to wait until the work is done to bring it up so they don't make up the loss on something else.

Curious if it was foreign labor. They are especially good at things like this.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2014 at 9:10AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
ajc71

Is it really necessary to find out if it was "foreign" labor...?!?

"They are especially good at things like this" that is a ridiculous statement and one that should be kept to yourself

    Bookmark   March 22, 2014 at 9:17AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
snookums2

Not really. It is a real problem. Training and communication. Ridiculous things happen.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2014 at 9:37AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
schicksal

Communication between them and me wasn't a huge issue because I'm semi-bilingual. They were wrapping up when I got home from work and said that the person in charge of their group was there showed up with them, pointed out areas that needed drywall and left. This tells me that the communication issue is either

- the estimator forgot to take notes while on site
- miscommunication between the person who did the estimate and whoever was at our place and pointed out areas that needed drywall to the workers

I think it was the 1st because if it was the 2nd there wouldn't have been enough drywall to put much on the ceiling. The paperwork only has areas to repair noted, not hanging new drywall on the ceiling. Lesson learned though, take a vacation day when people are going to be around.

Another WTF moment I just realized is, who puts up paneling on the ceiling between a drop beam and one end of a room and drywall on the other side? I really shouldn't be trying to apply common sense to this... also I REALLY feel for those here who sub out the whole project because it would drive us nuts for this kind of issue to pop up on a more regular basis.

This post was edited by schicksal on Sat, Mar 22, 14 at 10:44

    Bookmark   March 22, 2014 at 10:34AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
mudhouse_gw

Obviously poor communication was involved, and foreign labor was first in my mind too. I've had to stop work while workers get their boss on the phone, so I can speak English to someone. Sadly it's not unusual here; the boss doesn't give the crew adequate instructions, and he goes on to another job. Not the crew's fault, and a bad situation for everyone.

Regardless of what goof-up caused this, I'd sure make them replace all those fixtures.

"Even if you told them to board the ceiling it would not have excused them from the damage."

I agree with this.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2014 at 10:41AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
nosoccermom

"This is a great example though, of why Everything should be in writing. "

But how do you know to put in writing things that one assumes are either obvious, e.g. when cutting a hole for recessed lighting, make sure that fixture is removed to prevent damage and that the hole is smaller than the fixture trim, or even more to exclude certain things, e.g. don't do XY

    Bookmark   March 22, 2014 at 10:53AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
PRO
Sophie Wheeler

Not acceptable. They owe you new lights plus installation costs.

Commnication starts with a set of written specs received from the homeowner, and on which the GC and subs bid the job, or their portion of the job. The scope of work is the basis for everything there is on a construction project, and it should be crystal clear to all involved. Elevation drawings clearly marked should be part of those bid package documents. Each party signs the illustrated elevation, it's posted for review, and everything is MUCH clearer, even to employees who may have language difficulties. A picture IS worth a thousand words. Your GC failed to communicate and supervise the drywall sub. He needs to work it out with the sub and split the cost of the damage between them as both are equally at fault.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2014 at 10:58AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
mudhouse_gw

Sorry Schicksal, I was typing while you posted! How nice to be semi-bilingual; sure wish I was.

Good point about the amount of drywall on hand indicating where the snafu began. I guess it doesn't matter, but we do the same thing, trying to figure out how things went off the rails (in the hopes we can avoid the next one.)

It's too bad the fixtures were damaged in the process.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2014 at 11:00AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Trebruchet

schicksal:

I'm afraid I'm going to have to be the contrarian here.

Whether drywall or wood paneling is to be installed, the finished trim rings have no business being installed before either. The person(s) responsible for installing the trim rings prematurely have to account for their part in this.

I cannot imagine installing wood paneling without drywall underneath. The idea of a 1/4" panel spanning 16" makes me shudder. I don't have the code book in front of me, but I'd check if I were you.

Without question, the best way to do this job is to have the electricians rough in wires to the rafter bays, install the drywall/paneling, cut the finished holes with a hole saw, fish the wire, connect and install the fixture. Foolproof.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2014 at 11:01AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
andreak100

"This is a great example though, of why Everything should be in writing. "

Really great idea in theory. In practice, it's not generally truly feasible to do so. There have been screw-ups on our remodel that are so truly obvious that a "reasonable person" would/wouldn't do that. And...it isn't a language barrier issue here as everyone working on our kitchen has English as their first (and probably only) language. Heck, even when we HAVE tried to save them from themselves, we haven't been fully successful - take moving our fridge at the start of the project. We asked for (and in most areas, they did) hardboard to be put down everywhere before moving it to keep our hardwood floors from being scratched (we were paying for the hardboard). They put in in all but about 5 ft...part of which was where they were moving the fridge. We asked them again before the actually moved the fridge if they were going to put down something in that 5 ft area to protect the floor. And they said "yes", so I left for work with the reassurance that they were doing what they were supposed to. What did they do? They didn't put anything down...and they scratched the floor. Their response when I asked them WTH they were thinking??? "Well, you're going to be getting that part of the floor refinished anyway." Sure, we are...but that's really not the point.

Anyway, with all of that, it's to say that you can try to go over everything, you can get things in writing to the best of your ability, you can try to ensure that there's not communication error...and in the end, short of standing right there in the kitchen the entire time of the renovation, there can still be screw ups.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2014 at 11:05AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
schicksal

This isn't going to be 1/4" paneling that comes in sheets - it's 1/2" tongue and groove (planks) running perpendicular to the rafters. I'm installing it. The closed cell foam that's in serves as the insulation and vapor barrier.

The whole reason the trim rings are in is because they're permanently installed to the bulbs, and those are in because we need to see at night. Lights are coming out in the kitchen Sunday because I know there will be people taping and sanding on Monday. Here I thought they'd be safe because there wasn't supposed to be any activity around them...

    Bookmark   March 22, 2014 at 11:14AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
PRO
Sophie Wheeler

Oh, I missed that wood was being directly applied to the ceiling. That is against fire code. Drywall HAS to be applied to the ceiling before any wood cladding. And the GC screwed that up as well because the lights should not have been installed until the drywall and wood cladding was finished. He comletely owns that one, so he eats the entire cost to correct it.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2014 at 11:27AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
snookums2

"The person(s) responsible for installing the trim rings prematurely have to account for their part in this."

That should have been resolved by the next guy who couldn't do his job because things had been installed out of order. That the next crew did not stop the job and question but simply proceeded without removing the fixtures and damaging the lighting (trim kit expected or not) is solely their fault and responsibility. If they had, the whole misunderstanding about the ceiling material, lack of enough drywall and a two-tone multiple finish ceiling might have been caught up front.

The documents and drawings only work if you've got people who like to follow directions, and can read them. That also involves being able to question and/or adjust as neccesary on site. (And for being able to prove the intended plans of course)

This post was edited by snookums2 on Sat, Mar 22, 14 at 15:46

    Bookmark   March 22, 2014 at 11:34AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
ineffablespace

A big detail like a wood ceiling when 95% of houses are all drywall should be called out in the plans. That is not an insignificant little thing or a standard detail that everyone should get.

I still stand by writing everything down. It annoys contractors, I've found notes crumpled up in the corner, I've had them tell clients they would have charged more if they had known they had to follow plans so closely, but I still stand by it. If they don't follow it, you have it in writing, it's not a situation where they can say "S/he never told me____".

    Bookmark   March 22, 2014 at 11:41AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
PRO
Sophie Wheeler

''The documents and drawings only work if you've got people who like to follow directions, and can read them. That also involves being able to question and/or adjust as neccesary on site. (And for being able to prove the intended plans of course)''

That is the GC'S role, and it's why it is important to interview for that position so carefully, and to not just go with he middle bid out of 3. He is responsible for the overall order of operations and for the actions of the subs, and for complying with the building code and passing inspections.

There are some serioius issues on this jobsite, beginning with that order of operations and selection and communication with the subs. Time to put do a stop work order and gets things straightened out before the city red flags the whole thing.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2014 at 11:43AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
snookums2

It looks like they managed to scratch the interior finish of the lights too, not just the edges they thought would be covered.

It also looks like they are not dimpling the drywall screws but have broken the paper with the screw by setting it too deep. This weakens the installation.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2014 at 11:48AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Trebruchet

hollysprings:

I've read nothing that indicates that schicksal isn't acting as the General Contractor. This would explain her ignorance of the code requirements and the order of operations.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2014 at 1:17PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Trebruchet

If this were being built in Florida, and the rafters are 16" on center, it would apparently comply with the 2010 building code:

r.702.5 Other finishes. Wood veneer paneling and hardboard paneling shall be placed on wood or cold-formed steel framing spaced not more than 16â on center. Wood veneer and hard board paneling less than üâ nominal thickness shall not have less than a 3/8â gypsum board backer. Hardboard paneling shall conform to CPA/ANSI A135.5.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2014 at 1:46PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
schicksal

Lots of assumptions going on along with some personal ones about me. Thanks... I'm also the source of nearly all the labor FWIW.

The locals are fine with the paneling. I was told it meets thermal barrier requirements and that we're good to go as long as no vapor barrier goes in above it. The space above the ceiling is completely closed off, sealed by foam at the high and low ends. It does not extend to the peak of the roof.

The order of operations may seem screwy but it's quite hard for me to understand how to install new build, IC recesssed lighting housings after drywall goes up (likewise for wiring them). It's not difficult to remove the bulbs that are in there; they screw in like any other light bulb. At this point the structural, plumbing, insulation, mechanical and electrical is complete so it seems like a wonderful time to close up the walls. There aren't a lot of other next steps available.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2014 at 2:50PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
The Kitchen Designer Landscape
There seems to be a few scenarios out there. Some I...
denizenx
Please help me with my layout options. Again.
Hello! Several months ago I posted to get layout advice...
ainelane
Factory sealed marble tile??
I went to a reputable(?) tile store over the weekend...
amspinn
Walnut slab for island with sink
We are building a home and I am considering using a...
sherry0117
Barker cabinets?
So who has Barker cabinets and would be willing to...
tigger9759
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™