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Painters smoked in my house!!!

Posted by stuarbc (My Page) on
Tue, Dec 17, 13 at 19:28

So my wife stopped by our new construction today and pretty much lost it. Our sheet rock and trim is up and the painters were starting on painting the trim. She said when she walked into the house it reeked of cigarettes and there are butts all over the floor. I called our builder and he was very upset with the painter and promised us it would not happen again.

My wife and I HATE cigarettes and I especially have a nose like a bloodhound. Should I be worried that the smoke smell is going to stick in the stuff they are painting or in the un-painted sheet rock? We have a meeting with the builder thursday afternoon...and I plan on staying away from the house until then to let it air out. If I show up Thursday and I still smell smoke, I am going to blow a fuse.

Any suggestions?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Painters smoked in my house!!!

The smell is not permanent. It may linger faintly for a couple of months. My suggestion is to either soft pedal this issue, explain your concerns and requirements and let this slide if it is not repeated-- OR get rid of that crew and engage others to finish the job. Angering this crew AND letting them stay on the job cannot work to your benefit.
Your mileage may vary.


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RE: Painters smoked in my house!!!

We had the same issue in our first build and the smell was gone after trim, carpet, etc... I'd still be ticked, but agree with soft playing as long as it doesn't happen again.


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RE: Painters smoked in my house!!!

It better not last a few months. We are supposed to close and move in around a month and there is no way I am giving our builder another dime if I smell a hint of smoke. I am hoping it goes away when they paint the walls and ceiling.


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RE: Painters smoked in my house!!!

That happened to us too in our last build! I couldn't believe the crap workers leave in the house. Pop cans all over, wrappers, cigarette buds..etc... When we moved in the smoke smell was not there though.

I get that it's a job and stuff but you wouldn't smoke in an office, I don't get why they not step away from the house to smoke.


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RE: Painters smoked in my house!!!

I am a smoker and this is total BS. (I do not smoke in the house.) I think what would bother me most would be the thought that if they had such a lack of respect for the homeowner to smoke in the house, how good of a job are they really doing?


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RE: Painters smoked in my house!!!

Yeah, it infuriates me. If we were managing this build with a construction loan myself, I would have fired the contractor and hired a new one.....also would have probably already fired my current builder. However, we decided to do this build with the contractor responsible for the budget with a deposit from us and we would pay the remainder at completion. So I don't really feel like I have as much control over everything as I would have liked. It really does make me worry about the quality of the job they are doing. I guess it just means I have to go over the whole job with a fine tooth comb to make sure I don't see any issues....just like I have had to do with everything else my builder has done.


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RE: Painters smoked in my house!!!

I did have a flooring guy smoke in our house and told him it was not allowed. He denied it, even though he'd left some of the ash in the bathroom sink and I told him I saw it. And of course, my nose told me the minute I walked in. I told him not to do it again, and he didn't.

There are so many other smells in new construction that, by the time we moved in, it was not noticeable at all.


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RE: Painters smoked in my house!!!

"It really does make me worry about the quality of the job they are doing. "

Why?
I am sure the quality of their painting is the same, whether they smoked indoors or took time off to smoke outdoors.

However, if you tick them off.....


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RE: Painters smoked in my house!!!

Why?..... surprised someone would ask that. Similar to what JDEZ said...b/c of the lack of class and the disrespect it shows for me, the owner, to think they could smoke indoors and throw their trash everywhere. I think its a pretty common assumption that sloppy people do sloppy work.


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RE: Painters smoked in my house!!!

That would tick me off, too -- especially because my late DH died of cancer. No way should someone be allowed to subject anyone else to carcinogens!

When we did a major reno 5 years ago we got an agreement from the builder that subs wouldn't smoke in the house and would leave their shirts on (we started outdoor work in July.) I too am sensitive to smells and insisted on low VOC paint. Smoke toxins would pretty much eliminate the good of reducing the paint toxins! (I also wanted an agreement that they wouldn't swear on the job site (our kids were 9 and 11 at the time and we lived in the house during foundation digging/framing) but my late DH talked me out of that rule.)

Anyway, I agree that smoking in someone else's home is rude and unprofessional, and I'd worry about lingering smells and quality of work too. I also agree that you don't want to make them mad, so I might take the approach of 'the homeowner has allergies' or something like that.

I'd also go ahead and place trash cans all around the house to make it easy for them to toss out trash. There might be trash cans there already and they're just too lazy to use them, but if there aren't, that's an easy fix.


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RE: Painters smoked in my house!!!

stuarbc, I don't blame you, I would lose it too. Of course on our build I plan to stipulate that no one smokes inside once the house is under roof. We are building with indoor air quality as a primary focus (Energy Star-Indoor Air Plus Certification) so we won't have all those lovely voc's from new finishes to mask any smoke smells acquired during construction. With 2 small children I refuse to compromise on that point.

It really comes down to basic decision making skills. If you can't figure out that your own health suffers from smoking, then you at least need to recognize how it affects others. If they can't manage the latter then I don't trust them to make even the most basic decisions on something as important as a new house build. I know you're in a bind with the way your contract works with the builder, but it may be time to figure out how to get a new crew in there. Should be lots of painters out there that would be hungry for the work AND respectful of their clients.


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RE: Painters smoked in my house!!!

The odour is the least of it. Sawdust and smoking are a dangerous combination.

If they limit their addiction to outside the house, you should be ok as far as odour.

Some of my best trades are nicotine slaves; but they know that indulgence is for breaks and meals outside the house.


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RE: Painters smoked in my house!!!

"Some of my best trades are nicotine slaves;"

Same here... which Is why I questioned as I did.
The fact they are "nicotine slaves" doesn't mean the quality of their work is diminished.


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RE: Painters smoked in my house!!!

the issue isn't that they smoke....the issue is that they smoked in MY house.....


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RE: Painters smoked in my house!!!

I'm an owner-builder(first timer) and I also work in trades and can only offer this. I'm not sure on the weather where you live but ask them to at least open the windows so its airing out, if its winter maybe they can go in the garage, but do know of you insist they go outside that'll add up to alot of smoke breaks which means less work. They most likely will have no problem going outside, its not the first time someone's asked them too. Alot of times they'll smoke inside because no one said not too. Also alot of painters can't smell very good after while from inhaling the vapors in paint over time so they don't realize just how bad it smells in there. My advice would be to use your words first and hang up a no smoking sign. No cigarette butts on floor though, ever..


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RE: Painters smoked in my house!!!

"However, we decided to do this build with the contractor responsible for the budget with a deposit from us and we would pay the remainder at completion.'

Sounds like it is the builder's house and will become yours once you pay. So technically they did not smoke in YOUR house.

The only 100% remedy is to tear it down completely (including the foundation) because there is no other way to guarantee that all molecules from the smoke get removed.


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RE: Painters smoked in my house!!!

Wife went by the house yesterday and said they had done some additional painting and she smelled no trace of smoke...only paint. Also said the house had been cleaned up really well and there was no trash laying around. Sounds like the builder took care of it and we are lucky there was no lasting smell.


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RE: Painters smoked in my house!!!

so life goes on?


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RE: Painters smoked in my house!!!

one can only hope


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RE: Painters smoked in my house!!!

good! so when is move in date?

gotta be getting close if painters are in.


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RE: Painters smoked in my house!!!

The holidays are going to push us out. Cabinet guys can't get in to install until the new year. Still need to get all the site work and landscaping done. Builder is shooting for mid January...but I am thinking late January.


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RE: Painters smoked in my house!!!

I wonder if the painters realize what happens when they inhale paint fumes through the glowing tip of a cigarette. It makes for some very nasty chemicals regardless of whether they are using oil or water based coatings.


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