Painter damaged my deck
November 16, 2020 12:39 PM   Subscribe

I hired someone to paint my house, and he didn't use dropcloths properly and got paint on my deck, steps, and the bar I recently built on my deck. He used some sort of solvent to clean it up, which has left what looks like bleach stains on the Trex bar and steps, and removed paint from the deck. He hasn't said anything about it. What do I do?

The wooden deck isn't too big a deal; it can be repainted by either him or me (though I'm obviously not happy about it). I don't envision any way to fix the Trex though other than replacement. Is it appropriate to expect them to do that? I would absolutely think so if this were some big company, but maybe because it's a small (two-person) business I'm feeling a little weirder about it. They already got in a little over their heads with my house (they were not aware of what painting cedar shakes entails when they gave me a quote) and are making very little money on it. (But other contractors with different equipment did give me similar quotes, so it's not like I should consider paying to repair this damage part of the cost of the job.)
posted by metasarah to Human Relations (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
As long as they’re making an ok job of what you’re paying them to do, I’d be inclined to suck it up.

Different story if they’re fully incompetent, but it sounds like they’re trying, at least. Give them a break.
posted by rd45 at 12:47 PM on November 16 [1 favorite]


When I had Trex installed the contractor said I could lightly sand off stains and other messes with a Magic Eraser (melamine foam). Try a small inconspicuous area first.
posted by JoeZydeco at 12:59 PM on November 16 [2 favorites]


These are beyond stains; paint stains may have been fixable, but the solvent he used has removed the color and shiny coating.
posted by metasarah at 1:20 PM on November 16 [1 favorite]


They damaged your property and didn’t tell you? Why on earth wouldn’t you ask them to fix it? It is not your problem that they’re doing a poor job running their business.
posted by momus_window at 1:39 PM on November 16 [25 favorites]


this depends on whether you trust that they can fix it. They SHOULD fix it, of course. But they don't seem all that knowledgeable about how to deal with wood.

If it were me, I'd figure out what I thought was going to be necessary to fix it (i.e. reapply stain to the wood?) and tell them I was going to do it myself, and that I expected them to pay for the cost of my materials. I wouldn't want them back on my property.

Depending how they dealt with me then, I'd decide what kind of a review to leave.
posted by fingersandtoes at 1:43 PM on November 16 [2 favorites]


Sounds like it's time for the classic question, "What can you do to make this right?"
posted by nosila at 1:43 PM on November 16 [18 favorites]


Hopefully you haven't paid them in full and can show them how much money it will take to repair the damage and deduct that from the final bill.
posted by brookeb at 2:53 PM on November 16


It's not as if "using dropcloths properly" is some next level painting prep skill and it's also not like paint drips are an "Act of God" type mishap no one could possibly forsee. There are layers of incompetence here; first, they failed to understand what's involved in painting cedar shake, next, they failed to lay down drop cloths properly, next, they tried to cover up their mistake by using the wrong technique (solvent) to remove the paint drops Finally, they made the customer service mistake of not honestly disclosing to you what happened. They're terrible! Make them make you whole.
posted by Larry David Syndrome at 4:03 PM on November 16 [21 favorites]


You hired them to paint cedar; they weren't very knowledgable about it. They did not properly set up (basic painting 101) thus spilled paint; tried to fix it without acknowledging their mistake, made it worst; left. I'd say you got bad service and they damaged your property. You are definitely entitled to something. What that something may be will depend on if you have a contract, what it says, if you already paid in full and if they care about bad reviews.
posted by ddaavviidd at 5:31 PM on November 16 [3 favorites]


A photo would be helpful to understand the extent of the drops of paint and what is left on the Trex.

How you hired has a great affect on the experience whether good or bad. If you hired a couple dudes to paint your house that equates to what could be a decent job or a sh*tshow. If you hired a professional painting company this should indicate a level of experience, training, correct pricing based on the project, liability insurance, good references and reviews.

Perfect world they should fix a problem they created. The more informal the agreement or the painters the more likely you may be responsible for fixing any issues.

The size of the firm you hired doesn't - typically - affect the feeling that they want to make you happy with the work they did. It sounds like they are still working on your job? If so perhaps they have a better plan in mind before they complete the job.

As a painting contractor I have seen great jobs done by inexperienced people and we have seen terrible jobs done by "experienced" painters. Last year I looked at the job where the homeowner asked the "painter" to ensure all the paint was removed from the cedar shingles before painting. He removed the painted and left 20 percent of the shingle. Homeowner wasn't happy but the guy did exactly what was asked.

Assume the best and acknowledge responsibility on both parts if applicable.
posted by ashtray elvis at 4:21 AM on November 17


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