Expectations of skimming job (pics inside)

5 Feb 2007
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United Kingdom
Following-up from my 'have I been over-charged' thread, the job is now done and there are some areas I'm not sure are acceptable or not. Since this is the first plastering job I've had done, I'm not sure what to expect and how much finishing of detail areas is the job of decorators vs plasterers.

Just to recap, the job was to skim 4 walls over existing paintwork... just wanted them levelling as we're getting the house re-decorated and I don't want to polish a turd, so to speak. At the same time, the lads skimmed over holes throughout the house that were left from recently-installed cavity wall insulation (we had most of the drilling done internally). Also, they patched over a couple of areas where the cavity wall insulation guys accidently drilled through an internal wall and knocked a couple of chunks of plaster out. They (2 lads) were on-site for 7 hours from start-to-finish.

Here's the finished result... I've taken some pics of the entire walls for the 'big picture' view then the rest are close-ups of areas I'm not sure about. Mainly, I'm not sure what to expect of the finish around switches and sockets and what to think about a bit of mess over skirting and coving. In particular, one of the newel posts on the stairs (pictured below) is a bit of a mess. In their favour, the lads did mop and vacuum-up after themselves before they left.

There has been a HUGE amount of drama already on this job... spent an hour (yes, an hour) on the phone to the gaffer last night. My partner expressed surprise to the lads while they were on-site (I was at work at the time) that they were finished so quickly and she thought it would take them 2 days. This, as it turns-out, seemed to offend the boss (who quoted me for the work and who has been on-site quoting for a number of other much larger jobs). He rang me and accused my partner of upsetting his boys and said they felt unappreciated and upset at how they were treated. My partner wouldn't say boo to a goose and is very friendly, so this was certainly blown out of all proportion and she wound-up in tears. He went on to say they're not cowboys and take pride in their work and it's not all about the money for them. I (very diplomatically) pointed-out the few areas I was unsure about and he got immediately defensive about that too... told me I was nit-picking and he paid his lads £150/day and £400 for the job was cheap. He went on to tell me they don't appreciate being criticised as he knows they're the best around and I won't get any better than his boys (who he trained), etc. All got very melodramatic indeed... to be honest, I don't think I've ever dealt with such Prima Donna like behaviour in my life. Both myself and my partner needed a stiff drink after the phone call. I could go on, but you get the picture. It was all very surreal, to be honest, and got pretty heated. I haven't given any money for the work yet and he claimed he wants me to be happy before paying for the job, yet it seems his idea of me being happy is him convincing me I'm being picky and unreasonable about any flaws in the work so I end-up accepting everything. He sent me a text this morning apologising and saying it was all crossed-wires, but clearly the damage is done and I can't imagine what he'd be like to deal with on a large job.

Anyway, on to the pics...




















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Job done with all the credit to the the chuckle brothers?!?! :(

I stopped getting surprised after I saw they didn't remove the two screws !!!! :/

Did they use a broom to wipe off the excess plaster at the joints??
Terrible, quoted for two days at £400 but the wage bill for his guys comes to £600, righto. His attitude is typical of every shady 'tradesman' when caught with their pants down.

I would expect to have to do some work around the detail areas (from previous experience) before painting but plastering around the face plates is just rough.

Did they bother with diluted PVA on the walls? I'm guessing not by the cracks showing.
Well, I thought he quoted 2 days for 2 lads, but he vehemently denied that and told me it's only common sense he wouldn't be quoting 2 days for 2 lads at £400. He's claiming he's only making £50 from the job (yeah right).

No idea on the PVA as I wasn't here while it was being done, but, yeah, I doubt any was used.

How should I raise these issues with him and should I be asking him to come back and make good (if so, what?) or should I be asking for money off the job? I really don't have any wish to speak to him on the phone again after yesterday.
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ABSOLUTE RUBBISH JOB. An insult to the plastering trade. Yuk!!!
I'm glad to read you haven't paid the "cowboy's boss" yet.
Here is the way forward. Get in touch with a reputable local plasterer, invite him to look at your job and get him to give you his honest opinion of the work/mess done. Trading standards is another route to go down when there is a question mark over shoddy, "very very shoddy work" in this case. Shocking really,, plasterers, yeh right.
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Did you supply the hay for their horses and somewhere to hang their hats? I would like to see their bosses work if he trained them!!!!! I would get a reputable plasterer in to give you a quote to put it right then knock his bill off the cowboys bill, if there is any money left !!
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You'd have been better off patching your original wall. There's only been one coat applied and that crazing is a sign that no PVA was used. It'll all fall off when you roller over it. If the large areas are smooth and flat I'd offer him half what he is asking - take it or leave it. If it is all pretty bad tell just him where to go - but if they are caravan dwellers they'll get nasty.
Like the boys say its awful , crazing blemishes, plaster on coving that hasent been wiped off plaster on the stair rails , like joe says looks like a one coat wonder gone wrong, has the boss seen this bad work from his highly trained plasterers? If not show him dont pay him a penny

dont pat him a penny,infact do as has been advised and then say to the lone ranger that your goner charge him to put it right.
Hi, just got back on this forum after a few years away and will ask another plastering question in a separate thread. I am not a pro but do a lot of my own plastering on mine and families houses and that is a very poor job. I do far better than that. Like said before, it looks like mostly one coat where there should be two. The finish round the switches and into the corners is appalling. The crazing looks to me like they have not controlled the suction. Some of the mess on the coving and architrave (splashes) I would have made as well but I would have cleaned it off before finishing the job.
Sorry to say that is a cowboy job. One of the reasons I learnt to do a bit myself was that there are too many who can't / don't do a good job. I know two good plasterers for jobs I can't do and they really know what they are doing. Trouble is it's easy to buy a few tools and say you can do it. I would go by recommendation but that doesn't help you now. It's hard to see the extent but if the main walls are flat and good you can probably improve it by sanding and filling but you shouldn't have to.
Don't fall for the rubbish the gaffer is telling you its standard cowboy spiel. Anyone worth there salt would be ashamed of that and want to put it right.
Good advice I think to get another spread to give his opinion and tell them you aren't paying a thing. I'd tell them to whistle for it.

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