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Posted by Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 3/8/2016

Well now, this was a sucky development.


I had retired to bed yesterday evening to read a couple of chapters of a book before turning out the light and snuggling in. I got about one chapter in when there was a very sudden, very loud, CRASH. It shook the floor and sounded as though a kitchen cabinet had fallen down.

I searched all around downstairs and couldn't find anything, then did the same upstairs. Nada. As I came down the steps I thought that maybe the big ladder I had set up in the Great Room had fallen down, so I went there and turned on the light...

...to find that part of the stone veneer on the fireplace had fallen off!

Several rocks over the Great Room side opening had simply given way, very likely one of the ones on top went and took the others with it. In falling they smashed one of the surrounding tiles along the "seat" of the fireplace as well. Looking them over quickly last night and then again better today, I can see that they have virtually NO mortar on them; in fact what's on them isn't actually mortar at all (which is basically light concrete). What is there is clearly white, making it either tile mastic (completely inappropriate in this situation) or just plain construction adhesive! And frankly there was precious little of that either -- you can clearly see from the pictures that there are no ridges, no "wet mass" the rocks were pushed into, nothing like that at all.

It looked like they dabbed the mastic or the adhesive along the back and just stuck them up there. As one might expect, that's not a particularly good way to do this when you're on the face of a fireplace, so over time the heat of the odd fire and the general lack of any actual quantity of adhesive took their toll. I'm surprised they lasted as long as they did.

Checking what rocks I can reach I can find maybe 20% of them that are fairly loose, and a couple that came right off -- and those had the same adhesive or mastic on the back, not a proper mortar. I'll need to do a proper check this weekend with my ladder and either temporarily remove the loose ones or do spot repairs as I go. It would appear that I've got a fair amount of work to do resurfacing the fireplace so as to avoid a veritable rockfall down the road.

I am absolutely disgusted by the complete lack of professionalism of the idiots who did this work. They also did the outside of the house but I've not found any problems there -- I assume that by the time they were doing the fireplace they were either losing money or having a fight with Builder Dale (many things in the house seem to have suffered due to similar reasons). Still, inflicting crap work like this on an innocent homeowner is not the way to "make your point," and I will do everything in my power to make sure they get horrifically bad reviews on Yelp and such as a result.

Shoddy, shoddy work. I can fix it and will (frankly) make it better, but I shouldn't have to.

Steven
Annoyed in Colorado

Photos

Closeup of part of the area the stones fell from
Left side...
...right side
Some of the stones that fell, plus you can see the piece broken out of the seat tile towards the front center. I'll have to cut at least one tile out and replace it here.


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