November 25, 2004

Downspouts

gut1smSo the gutter people were unable to finish last Friday on account of the rain, which though mild (understandably) dampened their enthusiasm for working with sharp sheetmetal perched atop metal ladders.

Monday, the foreman (I assume so anyway because he was the fellow who conducted the walkaround with me) was absent on account of a death in the family and he had to go to the funeral. I came home from school/work and walked around front just to see if they were going to finish. They were, sort of. The foreman's absence combined with his failure to mark on the job sheet just where the downspouts were to go led the workers to install two shiny galzanized downspouts directly in front of and attached to the porch columms we had just gone to the trouble of liberating from cheap aluminum windows, rather than to the side of the house as the foreman and I discussed.

gut4smI should confess that I had been warned by our primary contractor that these people have to be watched. Truth is, all people working on your house need to be watched, including the primary contractor. From the installer's point of view, the downspouts go where they work the best. So the front of the house is ideal: there is no basement to flood there, and the fascia slopes naturally to the front.

gut3smWhat the gutter people —and many "specialists"— neglect to consider is that the house can be viewed as a whole project; certainly homeowners are inclined to think of the house this way more than workers who see only drip lines and drainage venues. In this context, having two large downspouts attached to the front of the house works against the purpose of beautifying the house, which led us to hire them in the first place. In other words, to gutter people, houses are all about gutters. To insulation people, they are all about insulation. And so forth.

gut2smThe gutter man who did not go to the funeral was apologetic. "You see, I already cut this hole for the downspout [see picture]. It can be replaced." (I think this is what you get for paying for good contractor's: they are quicker to "make things right" than the losers, who will simply insist that they were right.) We agreed that we would live with the downspouts where they were hung for the time being and that I would call next week if I still thought they needed to be moved. They will, and I will. The problem in this case is with the foreman, who neglected to share his notes (assuming he took them) with the other workers. Singling him out for rebuke seems heartless, given that he had to go to a funeral. Somehow, I think the rest of the crew will take care of that for me and send him out to make the necessary repairs.

Posted by webs0080 at November 25, 2004 10:19 AM