We have all been there. Your cousin knows someone who can get your project done for a "good price" and will do a "good job". Knowing your cousin probably has your best interest you decide to go with the recommendation. The contractor shows up on the job and looks fine and acts fine so you move forward with the project. The contractor works well enough and gets the job done and everything looks pretty much like you envisioned it. Well where am I going with this? I'll tell you.
Let's say you had your roof done by your cousins recommendation. 2 days into the project the contractor comes up to you and says "hey, we removed all your old shingles and found out that your ridge beam is rotted very bad.". Not knowing much about ridge beams your say "That's not good, what do we do?". In turn your contractor says "Well we come across this all the time we can just fix it for you now for an extra charge.". You knowing now is the time to do it say "That's great, let's just get it done!".
This is where the scary truth sets in. You just approved your roofing contractor to fix a major structural framing issue. Not to bash on roofers, there are plenty of roofers who could fix that problem for you. The issue is that without being equipped with the right questions, you are essentially just putting all your trust in these workers to fix a big issue on your house.
So the roofers fix the problem and you know what it didn't even cost that much more. Afterwards they put the shingles on your house and they even rake the yard super well so that there is no nails or garbage anywhere.
Now its 5 years later, you have never had a leak, never even had to think about the roof but now its time to expand the bedroom upstairs to have an on suite bath. You hire another professional contractor to do the project for you and he takes all your walls and ceilings down to the studs. The contractor has now exposed your attic and what do you notice, that ridge beam your roofer installed and you think "oh so that's what they did". All of a sudden the next morning you receive a call from your contractor that you should really come see something if your available. Now your worried and you rush home on your lunch break and where is your contractor? He is up in the attic looking at that ridge beam. Your heart sinks, you think "why could he be looking at that, I just had that fixed?". Well your current contractor has done everything right. Pulled a permit, drew up designs and tried to think of every possibility they could run into during this project. Unfortunately there is 2 issues here, if you did your research and looked for a high quality contractor, then they are not going to feel comfortable building your dream bedroom with a huge problem looming from above. Secondly they are at the mercy of the towns inspectors, when the building inspector comes in to approve the work being done, they will call that out and not sign the permit. Halting your project in its tracks!
Now your contractor comes up to you and your shocked he says the same thing you heard 5 years ago "Hey we removed your ceiling and found out that your ridge beam was installed the wrong way.". Again your heart sinks but this time the contractor your with doesn't have good news for you. He says "Unfortunately this is a huge issue and now we need to bring a structural engineer in.". Which means more money and more delay. You say "Okay lets bring the pro in and see what they say.". Next day the engineer shows up and the news is getting worse. The load needs to be carried down to your foundation in the basement and you are told that there is no consistent framing all the way to your basement. This means the walls have to come out on the first and second floor, and totally reframed and then ALSO you potentially have to under pin your foundation wall because now it cant withstand the load that is being added.
I am not trying to scare anyone reading this but all I am trying to get across is that if you are not hiring the right people and having honest open conversations, you are at the risk of putting yourself in a very tough financial decision. Either way this work needed to get done but now your first of all paying more than you had to in the first place and second of all you were not able to tell your current contractor before he bid your job that this was an issue. You may have been able to avoid even starting the project if this information was known up front.
Now this may seem just like a story to get you to only work with professionals and I do tell people all the time to be carful who they hire but that is not the reason for the blog post. I am writing this because this exact scenario happened today to us. Here is some photos of a project that is underway and now we have exposed a huge issue and is going to enlarge the budget unfortunately. Please be careful of your construction decisions on one of your biggest financial decisions of your life.