@^%@%$#^&* Builders and Contractors, OR IS IT JUST ME ?!

Real Estate Agent with Emerald Coast Realty, Inc.

I had a contractor put a chimney cap on my chimney today.  As usual, I am disappointed with the workmanship. 

My chimney is one of those ‘wooden box' type chimneys that has the metal chimney pipe coming up the middle.  The chimney is about 3' x  6' feet.  The previous cap was flat, that is bad.  The center hole was ‘flanged', as it should be, that is good.  The sad part is, because the cap was flat instead of ‘tented' the water would  ‘puddle' on top of it and the galvanized sheet metal rusted through 10-20 years prematurely.  If it had the slopes like a camping tent has, the water would have run off after each rain and greatly limited the rusting.

                              This is the TOP VIEW and SIDE VIEW of a 'Tented' or 'cross-braced'  Chimney Cap 

Now, the new cap is aluminum.  That is good, it will not rust.  It was cross-braced which gives it a ‘tented' effect, that is good.  The 'cross-bracing' is shown by the diagonal lines that go from one corner to the other corner.  To create a cross-brace, they bend along the diagonal lines.  The greater the bends that forms the cross-bracing, the steeper the run-off slope will be.  Unfortunately he did not cross-brace it quite enough, the ‘slope' is only 2-3 degrees downward.  I was expecting about 5 degrees as the minimum.  And then to my absolute astonishment, the center hole was NOT FLANGED !!  They put 3/4" cuts around the center hole and then bend the tabs up to attach the pipe to.  And then they use caulking to seal it.  NOW FOLKS, I THOUGHT MAKING THE CENTER HOLE WITH A FLANGE WAS ‘SHEET METAL 101' !! 

My complaints:

1.  How long will the caulking last?  I guarantee it will not last as long as a properly formed flange.  The flange will shed water forever or until the aluminum corrodes.   The caulk will only shed water until it becomes 'unstuck' from the metal. 

2.  That cross bracing (bending) should give the cap about a 5 degree slope.  This cap is supposed to shed water in a torrential downpour.  More slope improves the watershedding capability, just like a shingle roof.

3.  If you are in the sheet metal business, you should have a tool that you can snap into that hole and make a flange in about 5 minutes. 

4.  Why do contractors find it impossible to put five minutes more work into something that will make it be the proper job?  I see this ALL THE TIME !!

5.  The contractor that did the job 20 years ago did not do the job properly and the contractor that did the job today did not do the job properly !! 

This is so frustrating, there are no contractors that know anything anymore.  Whatever happened to the trades  >>> "progression of members from apprentice to craftsman, journeyman, and eventually to master and grandmaster of their craft".  (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trade_union)  None of these people know anything anymore.

Should I stop payment on my check?  (Yea, I was stupid. Save it.)  :-)

Will caulk work for a HOT  chimney pipe?  (My friend pointed that out.)

Is it Builders and Contractors, OR IS IT JUST ME ?! 

Comments (6)

Todd Clark
eXp Realty LLC - Tigard, OR
Principle Broker Oregon


Was this contractor licensed? If so have the contractors board come check the work. I've reported contractors in the past that have done bad jobs. But, give them a chance to fix it for free first.


Oct 12, 2007 05:20 PM
Dave Roberts
Healdsburg Sotheby's International Realty - Healdsburg, CA
Dwight, One of the reasons I got out of the construction business was the flip side of your legitimate complaint. I had carpenters that did great work and customers couldn't tell the difference between high quality finish work and putty. It's no fun doing work that isn't appreciated. I think consumers need to be more critical and contractors need their feet held to the fire when they fall down on the job. Your post is an excellent example of giving the details that people should look for in good work. 
Oct 12, 2007 05:49 PM
Patricia Kennedy
RLAH Real Estate - Washington, DC
Home in the Capital
Contractors!!!!!  Grrrrrrr!!!!  Don't get me started!!!!!!  As a group, I think the concept of doing what you say you will do it totally foreign. 
Oct 13, 2007 01:15 AM
Dwight Wolfe
Emerald Coast Realty, Inc. - Panama City Beach, FL

Todd, Dave, Michael, Patricia,  -  I want to thank you all for stopping by and making a comment.  I hope I can get a few more comments soon. 

I really would like to see a great statistical sample to see how folks feel.  I may rework another post that leads into that subject.  Less about me and more about how do the rest of the folks feel. 

I also think I might like to do a Special Interest Group blog and invite people too it.  I would title it 'Build A House'  and see what kinds of contributions we can get from other folks.  I would like to try to do it in stages; Site and Grounds Prep, Foundation, Utilities and Services (exterior), Walls and Framing, Utilities and Services (interior), Roofs and Roofing, Interior - Carpentry / Drywall /Cabinety / Paint (finish), Interior Flooring - Carpet / Wood / Tile, Interior Fixtures - Curtain rods / lighting /plumbing.  Something like that to try and get advice to think about regards all the phases of buillding a house from the Site Prep all the way through to the roofing nail.  Get the useful advice from folks that have either 'learned the hard way' or from folks who just happen to know how to do it the right way. 

Patricia -  Share with me one of your contractor experiences.  Let it all out girl, don't hold back.  Thank You.

Oct 16, 2007 07:17 PM
I can see where this would be very frustrating.  I just had some work done on my garage door and they didn't adjust it properly.  It left large gaps around the opening when the door is in the down position.  I had to call back and fight with the company to get the workman back to the job and make some adjustments.  This is not secret infomation on how to do this stuff, these folks are supposed to know how to do it the first time and be done with it.  I agree with you, no one knows anything anymore.
Oct 17, 2007 12:22 AM
Dwight Wolfe
Emerald Coast Realty, Inc. - Panama City Beach, FL
Carla -  Thanks for the reply.  Yes, garage doors are not that hard to figure out and get it done properly. 
Oct 17, 2007 12:36 AM