Quitting the Concrete

Well Quincho Project fans, I hate to go too much longer without an update, so here’s where we stand.  Originally we were going to use poured concrete counter tops…  They can do some amazing things with this stuff nowadays and there are a variety of finishes and colors that you can go with.  According to the cement guys that we used for the patio and were using for the counters, we had to have our counters completed before anything else could continue.

Then the foot dragging began.  3 weeks without much progress and they finally showed up at the house asking questions about the width of the counters, why they weren’t prepped, the backsplash was new to them and they were surprised that there were lights in the backsplash.  So they came back with another 900 bucks added to their original estimate and I fired them on the spot for incompetence.

Folks – when you get a bid from a contractor they have to have a set of plans in front of them so they can bid it.  This is either sheer incompetence or downright dishonesty.  My feeling is that they didn’t really want the job anyhow since it was far for them to go.

We have decided to go with a leather finish granite which I like a lot more but is more expensive.  We found a great granite guy and we should get it installed the week after Thanksgiving.  This means that week is a big week of progress for us.  Here’s a slight digression in case you are thinking of doing something similar.  Follow these simple rules to avoid big problems later.

  1. Get multiple bids
  2. Get cards from everyone, and make sure there are addresses and the are licensed and bonded.  Double check any associations or accreditation they purport to have with those organizations.  Our iron gate guy was a total flake and I didn’t realize until the last minute that he neglected to have an address on his card.  When I double checked with the AWS (welding society) that he had on his card – they had never heard of him.  We are still slowly moving forward with him, but one screw up and he gets reported.
  3. Always check references
  4. The plans are bound to get slightly altered as things go.  Make sure they have the most current copies and make sure that you are aware up front of additional costs to the estimate as a result of the changes.
  5. Get a schedule from everyone
  6. If you don’t plan to watch this thing like a hawk and send daily emails, etc.  Get a general contractor.  If you are good (like my wife is) with doing this yourself, make sure you schedule a meeting up front with everyone together so they get to know each other.  We did it with pizza and beer to lure them in.  It was essential to any success we had.
  7. Don’t get too far ahead with payments, no matter what they ask for.  A 25% down is fine but if they come back for more and you haven’t seen anything, hold back

Now that that’s over back to the progress.  Today the landscaper is planting all of our lovely plants in the front yard and around the house.  The irrigation and drainage is complete.  I’ll post some pictures once that’s done.

Here are the grades everyone gets so far:

  • Arbor and all wood fence construction Guys: A
  • Landscape: A+
  • Masonry: A+
  • Stucco, plumbing and high voltage: B-
  • Cement: D
  • Gate Fabrication: F

About The Quincho Project

Dedicated to the pursuit of all forms of live fire cooking and the thoughtful prose it evokes. Whether prodding at a dying fire, patiently waiting on a perfect steak or simply contemplating a thin blue curl of smoke - I am truly at peace.
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