Opinion on plastering quality

Discussion in 'Other Trades Talk' started by 5twosbl, Sep 12, 2017.

  1. 5twosbl

    5twosbl New Member

    Hi all

    I'm hoping you could give me your opinion of a plastering job I've had done recently.

    To give some background, we hired a builder to remove a wall and make good, as well as some additional tasks. In terms of plastering, this involved making good some areas where e.g. the old door frame was or the pipes were chased, skimming the rest of the wall, and plastering a new plasterboard dropped ceiling.

    One area of the skimmed wall is cracked and a little bit has already fallen off, so clearly I'm not happy with that.

    My queries relate to the rest of the work. There are visible sweeping trowel marks on the wall, some of which are rough to the touch. On the ceiling there are small ridges where it looks like he didn't fully spread all the plaster. In other sections the bits that have been filled are obvious. They're a bit difficult to photograph, but hopefully you can see what I'm talking about and give me your opinion as this is my first house, and my first building experience.

    There are other issues too, so I've already sent him a high level formal email of complaint. I mentioned our unhappiness with the finish of the plaster without going into detail, expecting to get into discussion from there. However, without asking what the issue is, he's offered to send someone to sand. Ignoring the fact that won't fix the cracking issue, everything I'm reading suggests that a good plaster job shouldn't ever need more than a cursory sand. What are your views on that?
  2. 5twosbl

    5twosbl New Member

    Sorry, having some broadband issues, photos attached.

    Attached Files:

  3. Devil's Advocate

    Devil's Advocate Well-Known Member

    5t, have you paid this fellow?

    I hope not.

    That is as bad as I've ever seen from a presumably 'pro' plasterer. It looks like a typical first attempt by a very average DIYer, and is much worse than any DIYer's second attempt...

    It is truly dreadful - not only is the finish really poor and will require many hours of work to make acceptable, but the skim that's lifting (most likely due to either poor adhesion or because it had started to set as it was applied) will almost certainly lead to continued problems in the future - you can expect more of that area to lift when paint is applied. What's more, the skim layer that's peeling is far too thin.

    It is completely unacceptable.

    If you haven't paid this fellow, then don't. If you have, then you may need to sue.

    Here's the problem - in my view that level of incompetence is enough for a customer to reasonably not allow the tradesperson a second chance - it is simply too bad and can have no acceptable 'excuse'.

    Usually in such cases, you are expected to allow the tradesperson to make good their mistakes (it used to be that you were expected to allow 3 attempts...), but I understand that if you have reason to have lost all confidence in a person's ability and can justifiably say "They are simply not up to the job", then I understand you don't even have to offer a second chance.

    I'd say you have two options here, depending on whether you've paid or not. If you haven't paid, the choice is yours - either get rid, or else - if you want - insist they do it again. And provide a warranty against the skim lifting...

    If you have paid, then you may feel the best initial move is to allow a second chance so that you can be shown to have acted fairly and reasonably. However, this must come with some provisos - that peeling section needs removing back to solidly-attached skim, the adhesion issue sorted out, and then it made perfect. And it should come with a written assurance of no future issues or else they will need to refund you.

    Anyhoo, let us know what your situation is, and others will advise too.

    But that is a truly hellish - and totally unacceptable - job. Be in no doubt that, should you have to sue this person for the full amount, it will be easy and you will win.
    5twosbl and KIAB like this.
  4. kitfit1

    kitfit1 Active Member

    Have to completely agree with DA. That is truly shocking and just hope that you havn't parted with any money yet ? In 30 years as a kitchen fitter i don't ever remember seeing any plastering that bad, even when it's been done by a customer who's day job was a bank manager.
    5twosbl likes this.
  5. Dr Bodgit

    Dr Bodgit Well-Known Member

    Its about up to my standard. Shocking! (I'm in insurance not banking :oops:)
    Devil's Advocate and 5twosbl like this.
  6. CGN

    CGN Well-Known Member

    Utter garbage...the guy is completely out of his depth. Its usual to have a few small imperfections etc, which is dealt with at decorating stage, but those are not imperfections. As DA has said, usual to try and get a guy back to attempt a fix, but unless he's getting someone else in, then there's little hope it will be any better the next time!

    Looks like the skim has dried out too quickly for him, then he's put loads of water on it in a desperate attempt to trowel it smooth.
    5twosbl likes this.
  7. 5twosbl

    5twosbl New Member

    Thanks all for taking the time to reply, much appreciated.

    I haven't paid him (or at least not for this part of the job). I'm aware that I am required to give him an opportunity to sort it out, but as DA suggested, I have no faith whatsoever in them. Also, they were incredibly messy and I would be terrified of them damaging the new units and worktops, which are in now. I did tell him by email that we were unhappy, without going in to detail, and he offered to send someone around to sand (while telling me that was the decorator's job).

    What do you suggest is the best way to deal with the rough areas, sand or reskim?
  8. kitfit1

    kitfit1 Active Member

    To put all of that right certainly is not a decorators job. Small imperfections are and most decorators expect that. The plaster that is cracking and peeling needs to be removed and re-plastered the rest needs re-skimming by a plasterer that knows what they are doing.
    There will some mess, that's inevitable, but dustsheeting the units and tops should keep them clean and plaster free.

    If this were my house i would hunt round for a good plasterer and ask him to look at the job and give you a price for putting it right. Get it in writing and present the quote to the builder you used. Explain that you have no faith in him to do a good job if he comes back, then ask him if he is willing to engage and pay for the plasterer you have found to do the job. If he agrees, wait for the job to be finished, then pay the builder the money you agreed in the first place.
    5twosbl and Devil's Advocate like this.
  9. Devil's Advocate

    Devil's Advocate Well-Known Member

    As kit says.

    A decorator could get most of these rough issues sorted with a good number of hours sanding, but that's a hellish job and is not the way to fix this mess. Even after sanding, there would likely have to be hollow areas that need filling in too.

    And that leaves the problem area of skim that hasn't adhered.

    This is not a decorator's job.

    At this stage I would consider that 'what to do about it' largely comes down to the tradespeep's response. And yours wasn't good or reassuring. Any self-respecting plasterer would have accepted right away that the standard of work here was unacceptable by any measure, and would hopefully have come up with a good reason for this ("I had a blinding migraine...I let my apprentice do the job and I didn't supervise him properly...etc) along with huge apologies and an absolute reassurance that it would be 100% sorted.

    He hasn't done that, and has even tried to suggest that fixing this mess is the decorator's job! (Yes, newly skimmed surfaces would need wiping down and quite likely the odd light going over with sandpaper in some small selected areas, and a self-respecting decorator would be happy to do this, but this job needs 'flattening'!)

    If the guy expects to redo this using the same plasterer as before, I'd say 'no'. Kit's suggestion above looks like the best one to me.
    5twosbl likes this.
  10. Jackoftrades

    Jackoftrades Well-Known Member

    I don't do plastering because I can never get a good finish, apart from small area repairs.

    But I can do better than that.
    5twosbl likes this.
  11. 5twosbl

    5twosbl New Member

    Thanks all. I agree, I think Kitfit1's suggestion is the way to go. I am categorically not letting that 'plasterer' back in, he's clearly nowhere near capable. Nor have I any intention of accepting a sub-standard finish, because that was not what I contracted him to do.

    Even if he won't be reasonable and accept the proposed solution, at this stage (there have been other issues, thankfully not as significant) I am minded to go ahead and take my chances in the small claims court if it comes to that. I have plenty of evidence supporting why I don't want them anywhere near my home again.

    Now to try and find a reputable and skilled plasterer to sort it out...
  12. kitfit1

    kitfit1 Active Member

    The only reason this should ever end up in the small claims court is if the plasterer that puts the job right costs more than the outstanding balance you owe the builder. If it does cost more, you simply go after the builder for the difference. The builder himself won't take you to small claims, because he knows he hasn't got a leg to stand on. I say this because from your builders attitude he probably is not going to agree to pay for it to be replastered.
    5twosbl and Devil's Advocate like this.
  13. Devil's Advocate

    Devil's Advocate Well-Known Member

    I thin k that's a justifiable decision.

    Now for the paper-trail... Ie you must do this properly, and in writing. Explain that the standard isn't acceptable and that his reply (claiming it was the decorator's job to sort) was dismissive (keep all his correspondence too).

    Don't worry about SmallClaims because - since you haven't paid him - he's the one who'd have to sue you. And there's no chance of him being successful.

    Be calm and reasonable at all times - if it threatens to escalate just tell him his manner is unacceptable, end the conversation and walk away (and record what happened for your records).
    5twosbl likes this.
  14. RHurlock

    RHurlock New Member

    Clearly not applied Pva to the wall for it to be dropping off like that, whats with the corking along the corner as the other wall is not skimmed ?

    S..t finish in all fairness something like I would of done at 16 when I was a apprentice, in the cloak cupboard where I belonged...

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