It all began with what we thought was a remnant of the old owner’s teenager’s sloppiness in the upstairs shower. Poor kid. We blamed it all on her, and turns out, she was innocent.
The real problem with our foyer ceiling turned out to be a faulty washer in the parts for the tub faucet. A slow trickle of water dripped through the wall onto the bulkhead in the foyer, until the drywall was soaked to the core and collapsed. Thus began our saga with our home warranty company.
I know people have talked about how awesome their home warranty company is. We won’t be one of them. Not because they didn’t treat us with respect over this mess (because they did), but because when it was all said and done, even the fact that we have the Mac Daddy of home warranties (the highest plan they offer) could not help us get our ceiling fixed. Here’s what happened.
After the plumber was finished repairing the tub faucet (all of 30 minutes, max) and we’d paid his service fee, we called the home warranty company and asked for them to send someone to repair the drywall damage. They said of course, gave us the name of a guy on their approved list who was expecting our call, and everything seemed easy. We called the guy, set up an appointment, and twiddled our thumbs while we stared at our ceiling until the day he was supposed to come fix it. (Also: The drywall guy asked me to describe the approximate size of the hole so that he could be sure to bring the right size drywall board, which I did, crossing my fingers that I was right because I wasn’t even at home when we spoke and was going off memory.)
The day of the appointment, I got a call from him. He needed to reschedule. Something had happened (I can’t remember what at this point). Sure, I told him. Things happen. We get it. And we rescheduled.
Attempt number two to get the guy to come out to the house ended in a wasted half-vacation day from work and a no-show, no-call appointment fail.
I called him. And called him. And called him. No answer. No return calls. Nothing.
So I called the home warranty company back. This was in April of this year. The hole happened last October. Have I mentioned yet how slow all of this was happening? I told the warranty company that the drywall contact they’d given me wouldn’t answer my calls or show up at the house to repair it, and could they please give me another approved drywall company to use for the repair work. They put me on hold for a very…very…very long time. Finally someone came on the phone and explained to me that the drywall guy had in fact submitted his receipt for the completed repair work two months prior. They’d already paid him. Had he not fixed the hole? Uh, no. I even offered to send them dated photographs to prove that the ceiling was in fact, at that very moment, still rockin’ a massive hole. They were very nice, very apologetic, and then informed me that my warranty plan did not cover the cost of drywall repair and therefore they couldn’t send an alternate company out to fix it.
First: Then why did you pay the first guy to repair drywall that isn’t covered under our plan?
Second: We have the most expansive plan you sell (thank you, previous home owners). Why the heck does it not cover drywall repair? WHY? TELL ME WHY.
So they offered to compromise and mail us a $100 check. At that point, I was ready to throw my phone through the wall, but that would only damage yet another spot in the drywall, so I abstained. Barely. I accepted the offer of the check and prayed nothing else in the house ever broke that belonged to the fine print of the home warranty that I had actually read but apparently didn’t retain any knowledge of regarding drywall repairs.
And then we waited for the check to arrive. And waited. And waited. And two weeks ago, after nine months, we fixed the freaking ceiling ourselves. Without our home warranty’s assistance, and without the check.
Could we have done this back in October 2013? Sure. But we had the big-time home warranty, this was a sizable hole to repair, and drywall repair can be messy work. So we wanted to take advantage of the services that we thought were available to us. To actually have help repairing something in our home and for once not have to do the work ourselves. Then we crashed. And. Burrrnnnnnneeedddd. And not the Ashton Kutcher That 70’s Show kind of burn, which is exactly what the drywall guy did to our home warranty company. He charged them, didn’t show up, and scampered away with a check in his pocket.
(That’s for you, BL. Enjoy.)
So now back to the story. Enter B, who two weeks ago begrudgingly pulled out his drywall tools and got to work. He was meticulously clean (thank you, B!) and triple-checked all the measurements before cutting, and after a little bit, we went from this:
Hooray! No more hole in the ceiling! Honestly, after so much time with a hole there, we both stood back and realized it actually felt weird to not have a hole in the ceiling. Next, B did a bunch of plaster work, building up each layer until it was flush with the existing wall. Then he sanded it smooth (hint: dampening the sanding sponge made a big difference in keeping the dust down), and primed it.
At that point it was looking like a legitimate ceiling again. And for someone who isn’t trained in drywall repair and has only done it one other time, I was incredibly impressed with how smooth he got it to turn out. He went slow and steady, letting it dry fully between each batch, and didn’t mess with the plaster too much once he got it on. He found that the more he messed with things, the less smooth they became.
After letting the primer dry, it was time to paint! Thankfully the previous owners left a little of the foyer paint (a custom color, so unfortunately we can’t tell you the name) in the storage room, and we had just enough to go over this patch.
So after all that work (and time), I now present: the repaired bulkhead ceiling!
I’m not even sure it makes sense, but somehow, it’s pretty perfect.