Monday, September 22, 2008

Ahh...Chicago apparently needs bricklayers

Last year, we had the issue with the gates. This year, we are in the neverending search for someone knowledgable about brick and old homes to make some deperately needed repairs, to no avail. We began the search in earnest last year with no success. Our first lead ( a recommendation from a friend) never showed up. Neither did anyone I called. Fine.

This year rolls around, and we hire a chimney company to install a chimney liner. I asked this company if our chimney was in good condition-yep, sure, fine. Fast forward to the completion of the work, and our neighbor tells us that brick has been falling from our chimney for months. (there's a locked gate there so we couldn't see).

I called 6-7 places to see about getting someone out for an inspection and to do repairs. Only one guy showed up who gave us a really vague estimate that he took from looking at the street (never went on the roof to see the top of the chimney). The estimate said basically he'd repair a small area only (with no description of what this area is). We received the estimate in the mail.

We end up getting a lead on a union bricklayer who moonlights on the weekends. So, he comes out, and points out (1) the chimney cap is cracked and mortar, not concrete, so must be replaced (2) a portion of our parapet wall needs to be rebuilt (3) there are some issues with the coping tiles that need to be fixed (4) he'll repair the HOLES in the side of our house. We are excited because he really seems to know what he's doing, and repairs are on their way.

He disappears.

So, now back to the drawing board. The irony in all this is we had a very good mason back in 2003, who disappeared. We then had our parapet walls rebuilt in 2005 by someone recommended by our roofer. There's clearly a parapet wall problem-so we can't go back there.

I really don't know what to do. I don't want to just drop money on "work" that will need to be redone if we ever find anyone competent. But, even finding a potentially bad contractor is impossible. People always wonder why we do work on the house ourselves-we have such a disasterly time finding competent contractors that it becomes "easier" for us to study how to do something and do it ourselves.

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