When it rains, it pours. When you put windows in a house before the roof is complete, it pours inside your house and ruins your window frames.
Sometimes Lou is absolutely right, and this was one of those times. He kept saying it was a mistake to put the windows in yet. He kept saying that it would rain, and the roof would leak. He kept saying that if the windows got wet on the inside it would ruin them. All these things were true. Sometimes Lou is wrong, and this was also one of those times. He screamed and cursed at the builder on the phone, calling him an idiot and every name in the book. He banged his fist so hard on the desk that his hand was swollen and bruised and possibly broke bones. He screamed so loudly and for so long that his vocal cords gave out, and he totally lost his voice for days. Lou asked for my input only after the builder wrote an e-mail stating he was no longer willing to work with Lou either in person or on the phone, but only by e-mail. I ghost wrote an e-mail on Lou’s behalf apologizing for his unprofessional behavior with a promise of sorts that it wouldn’t happen again, but that we needed to be able to find a way to continue to work together. In reality, Lou wasn’t sorry. He said that the builder was being a pussy, and that guys in construction yell and curse each other out all the time, and he should be able to take it. Lou calls him the “remote controller” because he’s never on the jobsite enough to know what is going on. Instead, he delegates that work to a foreman. Me, I think that’s why he has a foreman, so he can work on the logistical, coordination, and other administrative aspects while someone expert in building firsthand manages the subcontractor’s work. But what do I know, right?
The builder told me that he has never endured such abuse from anyone in his life and will not tolerate it. I explained that Lou’s over-reaction was from the extreme stress of seeing the damage to the house, which was true. I said it wouldn’t happen again, which I hope is true.
If that were the end of it, we’d be ok. But this turned into a bigger and bigger cluster f**k of epic proportions. The roofing continued while we dealt with assessing the damage to the windows. Then Lou noticed that there was no tar paper underlayment beneath the roofing materials. The builder said it was not their practice to do so. Lou read the box for the roofing materials, which indicated that the warranty is only valid if appropriate underlayment is used. Further, he called the manufacturer and learned that in most towns, it is code to have underlayment. He then researched Amherst building code and learned that it was recently amended to require underlayment. So off came the roof. At least there was no yelling. But then, when they put the underlayment on the roof, they laid it on wet plywood. Again, he looked at the boxes lying around the jobsite, which clearly state that the material must be installed on a dry surface. To prove the point, he set up test wet plywood boards with underlayment to see how long it would take for them to dry, if ever, before causing rot or mold. So off came the roof, and they had to pause and wait for the sun to dry the plywood. Next, came what is probably the best f**k up in the entire cluster. They installed the underlayment in the wrong direction, such that any water coming down the roof would be trapped between the material and the plywood. Again, off came the roof.
By the time the roof eventually was up, many windows had been soaked from all sides and the frames are puckered and delaminating. I can only hope that this will be covered under someone’s warranty.
I can’t argue with the fact that he’s caught real issues. He is doing a very good job of maintaining high quality on the structure, and I’m sure it will save us a lot of problems later on down the road when it is all ours to manage and maintain. It’s just that the stress of building to perfection may be more than the stress of future repairs. If I had a functional crystal ball, I would not have decided to build a house.