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Author Topic: Having a contractor deal with a large shed (repair or remove/replace).  (Read 3108 times)


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Sometimes I hate being looked at like I'm stupid with building things because I'm a girl. It's annoying, but I also sort of am not the most handy person ever. I get it, but I'm not dumb.

Giant windstorm just happened. Old large shed now has issues ("grandfathered in" building that probably couldn't be built today, but it stores things.):
Dimensions: 28 feet by 11 feet.

1.) The roof was put on 6 years ago, but now has a bowling ball sized hole on one of the side roof areas. Otherwise the roof "looks" good, but leaks I don't know why.
2.) Most of it has a concrete pad under it. A groundhog found the part that doesn't and dug in. Mr groundhog wouldn't be so bad if he didn't invite the vermin in.
3.) Some of the wood is dry rotted and whoever made this thing used some low quality wood.

Had a contractor come out, initially for a small, cheap repair. He ended up suggesting demolishing it for $3000 and then later buying something else.
That's problematic for cost, permitting, and practically getting crap back there to the physical location. Also, while he did find some issues like the roof and dry rot, come on....
All told he said it would be like at least $9000-$10000 to remove the whole thing and put up new stuff.... For a large shed.... I live in the Midwest,and that is a significant portion of the house's value for a large shed.... He also tried to tell me that the house's value would improve without the shed, because the problems would be gone....

My neighbor overheard this, told me this guy was snow-jobing me and called a friend of his, who came out in 15 minutes to look at it. This guy suggested temporarily patching the roof and another hole until spring, and then redoing the roof in the spring/summer. He said it would take 3 to 4 hours to do in the winter and he would bill me the cost of materials. He did not give me an exact $cost, but did warn me that wood is very expensive right now and that I would just have to pay what home Depot charged for it, plus labor. He also said rebuilding the damn thing from nothing would be a permit nightmare so replacing was the thing to do. Overall, he said, "it all depends on what you want to spend, but the siding alone would hold that damn thing together even if  all the wood rotted for 4 or 5 years. Repair it, clean it, and paint it." He will get on it a week or two into January, and said there is no way a contractor is going to do anything last 10 days of December, ever.

I gather neighbor's friend is going to be way cheaper than $8000-$9000 (that I don't have). It might be a couple thousand, but the other guy wanted to charge me $3000 to have nothing back there.
I'm thinking this guy can replace the shed roof and hopefully some of the wood in the walls. if it is rotted out and just make it water tight to last. I have no issue paying this guy for decent work that actually lasts and if the wood costs more then it costs more. He said like $40 for a 4 x 8 sheet of treated lumber. He also just recommended pouring some concrete over the dirt floor area to deter the groundhog and also because a concrete shed floor is better than a dirt floor, and it would cost whatever bags of quickcrete was selling for plus labor.

Just in time for Christmas, the large shed I never used has a lovely set of issues. Yay! Anyhow, I don't know. Part of me thinks that people actually like storage (they pay for storage), and I could actually fix it up and use it.

So, thoughts? Should I A.) demolish it and loose 308 sq ft of storage (with electric) and hope I can find something later, B.) temporarily patch it and repair it later?
« Last Edit: December 22, 2021, 12:11:16 am by femmelf »

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Re: Having a contractor deal with a large shed (repair or remove/replace).
« Reply #1 on: December 22, 2021, 02:19:36 am »

None of this adds up. Your neighbor sounds right about this, especially about the constructing a new one part.

Please say you didn't sign anything, did you? <---- This is huge.

His replacement costs don't add up.
$10,000 / 308 = $32.47 per square foot for a shed, large or otherwise. In the midwest, this doesn't add up.

This one is 12 x 20 and fully finished on the outside to look good.$4,499.00 Then you could probably add some smaller ones as needed.
I get that doesn't include labor but .... Wow.

His demo ideas don't add up

Is the whole building really that bad that you'd have to demo it all? The whole thing, and none of it could be reused or saved? There isn't a part of it that could be kept? You say stuff like "side roof areas?" That makes me think it isn't just one big barn but it has sections? None of those sections can be saved, or the materials? The whole roof (only 6 years old) is trash? I haven't seen the place, but woah. And there's no cause like a tree falling on it or something? Either it was built like crap before that if it fell apart in only 6 years or something's up.

I'm liking the neighbor's repair guy more and more as I hear this.

Guy is telling you he'll give you materials at cost? He's quoting you in hours and the question is how much he charges per hour. If he hasn't talked about that yet, then he doesn't seem to want to. You said he'll do the roof patch at 3 to 4 hours labor? That's how you can figure it out if you have him do that part. Whatever the materials are minus whatever he charges you for labor divided by 3 or 4. Roughly.

I'm honestly surprised you got anyone to come out Christmas week, much less two people. The good news is I bet nobody is going to bug you about it until at least new years as long as it's safe (if it just looks bad), unless they're a jerk. If they do, I'd give them the repair guy's name and tell them you're getting money together to pay for it. Also, it is December, and they should probably understand that getting construction work done in the winter isn't quick or easy.

That first contractor worries me. This all depends on you not having signed anything. If you did, then you might be screwed, depending on what you signed. If you didn't then you might want to very politely tell him you're going with someone else instead. You don't wanna piss this contractor guy off, or he might decide to make trouble reporting you to whoever is the building and zoning inspector. Also, it's generally not a good idea to be mean if you can avoid it. It's a timing thing whether and when to tell him and it depends on a few things like if there's nothing signed and when the other guy can get this done (you mentioned Jan?).


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Re: Having a contractor deal with a large shed (repair or remove/replace).
« Reply #2 on: December 22, 2021, 02:48:28 am »

I did not sign anything, no.

He didn't give a final quote for the repair he was going to do (he brought a carpenter with him for that, but never gave a more clear number) and instead just pushed the demolition idea.

I also told him that I didn't have the money to pay him right now, because he was supposed to come over for a few hundred dollar repair and that now I was hearing it would be over twice as much to demolish it and have nothing....

I mean I also said it's a shame to get rid of any building like that but that I understood if it was not economical to repair then we'd have to demolish it if it was. He understood I didn't have $3000 to give him and he said sometimes people wait until they get a tax return or something, and he understood if the reasons were financial or weather to delay things. As long as it wasn't hurting anyone, leaving it would be OK for now.

I might have to end up dealing with telling him no at some point just to drive it home, but he also seemed to get that I couldn't do anything with it right now anyhow. I never thought he would cause trouble for me by like reporting the damage on the shed to the building and zoning guy if I turned him down, but I guess you could be right about that if he wanted to be mean. I mean, it isn't my fault this windstorm happened in late December....

The neighbor's repair guy is looking better.... And, he'll patch it up so it won't cause any suspicion/issue until it can be repaired in the spring. The neighbor guy won't say anything to the building/zoning people, because he referred me to repair guy and he gets it.

I appreciate anyone's good insight into this.


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Re: Having a contractor deal with a large shed (repair or remove/replace).
« Reply #3 on: December 22, 2021, 02:14:20 pm »

Neighbor and neighbor's guy sounds better.

Don't let the other guy back on your property.


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Re: Having a contractor deal with a large shed (repair or remove/replace).
« Reply #4 on: December 22, 2021, 06:31:00 pm »

He's not wrong about the price of lumber.

The quote the other guy gave you for removal, did it include demolishing and removing the concrete slab? That might make slightly more sense, but $3k still sounds expensive for that. Hell you can take it down to the concrete slab itself for exactly "Free."

As for the other guy, while his offer seems much more reasonable, beware of people who claim they'll "just charge you the cost of materials." No one goes through the effort of ordering materials and doing the work for nothing. So their margin is in there somewhere.

Get a quote from him about what the total board feet is of the job he is planning to do. Then call your local Home Depot and ask them what those amount of board feet would cost, because that's where he's going to get it from.

The total price he's charging you - the materials quote = his profit margin.

I have an inherent distrust of contractors. They do a lot of things to make their money, and it usually involves doing whatever is cheapest and pocketing the difference from what they quoted you. This involves substandard materials, and worst of all, subcontracting out the labor so you have NO IDEA who is actually going to do the work. You might meet with a contractor and then a completely different set of people show up to do the work. Just because you like the contractor doesn't mean you're going to like who they hire.

This guy sounds like a handy man but you also gotta watch out for them sometimes too. Established contractors do have a reputation to worry about. "Friend of a friend" handymen do not. They don't have to commit to on time to completion of the project, and if they do you dirty they may not actually care depending on how much you've already paid them.

Ask hard questions of contractors and don't feel bad asking to see receipts for materials and asking for an actual quote AND a deadline. Half of contracting work is framed on trust, to "trust them they know what they're doing" and "trust them to get you the best price" and "trust them to not blow you off for a more profitable job."

If there's any signs of poor lifestyle in your contractor, be wary. Bloodshot eyes, seeming drunk or hung over, slovenliness, late, unprofessional, all that jazz. Just appreciate that the character traits of your contractor manifest in the work they do on your property. One day, they will be gone. But you'll be stuck with the job they did. So make sure it's a good one.

Story time! My mom has a brickwork staircase to her front door at her house. Thing has never been built right, even when we got the house. Was replaced once, fell apart a few years later. So she hires another contractor. And feeling burned by the last time, she oversees some of the work. And she notices that the guide wall the contractor put up, ie. the wall that keeps the stairs flush to the house so the whole thing stays together, was leaning. She mentions it to the contractor. He blows her off, tells her he's been doing this for this long blah blah blah and he knows how to build a stair. She backs down, leaves him to his business.

A year and a half later, the whole staircase is coming away from the wall. And she eventually gets it rebuilt again, properly, but not before crawling up the ass of the 3rd contractor she hired.

I trust contractors about as far as I can throw them. Especially the small time independent ones. They always have a dirt bag buddy down on their luck that they can pay very little to and pass the work off to them. Those aren't the kind of people you want working on your stuff.
« Last Edit: December 22, 2021, 06:38:42 pm by nenjin »
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Re: Having a contractor deal with a large shed (repair or remove/replace).
« Reply #5 on: December 22, 2021, 08:57:11 pm »

Patching the existing building is always the better choice. It is not just the permits issue, demolish/replace can lead to more taxes when the next assessment comes around. Better that the assessor thinks there was no change to the property than they think you improved it.

A couple of times a week, at different times of daylight, force yourself to walk out there and look at the foundation, inside and outside, and look for signs of how the building receives and and handles rain, moisture, and sunlight.
- If you see a build up of dead leaves/plants on the outside walls, rake it away to expose the dirt/grass and look.
- Pay attention to the slope of the land around the building and consider what you know about the local rain/snow cycles during the year.
- Look for overhanging branches. Any tree branch or shrubbery that blocks out sunlight and wind should be pruned back. I did time roofing and overhanging branches often coincided with trapped moisture under the old roofing near the eaves, and sometimes with significant mildew/mold/rot/bugs. When water is trapped for too long, stuff grows in it, then that stuff protects the water inside it, so the problem gets worse.

When you do this enough, you get a better idea of what needs fixing or needs a closer look. And you should do it to your house too.

You probably can do all the repairs without needing permits. Consider the people you know who might have had to deal with permits, talk with them about it.
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Re: Having a contractor deal with a large shed (repair or remove/replace).
« Reply #6 on: December 23, 2021, 07:44:49 am »

Maybe hire a roofing company?