How much should I pay for unsatisfactory work?

Q: I recently purchased a home and right off the bat hired a flooring guy to both refinish existing hardwoods and replace kitchen tile with hardwoods and finish to match. When we saw the finished floors, we noticed ripple marks perpendicular to the grain throughout the house.

When I showed the guy what I was concerned about he tried to wave it off and offered me some free painting and said it wouldn’t look so bad once we covered it with furniture. I said no, we didn’t spend so much money just to have floors we wanted to cover. He finally offered to redo the floors.

The catch is, it took more than 3 weeks for the first faulty job, and he said it would take several weeks to redo. There is a slight communication barrier and I hadn’t expected the job to take so long to begin with, and now we are really in a bind because we have no place to live until the floors are done. I have another company that says they can do it in 4 days and I want to go with them, rather than let the original guy try again and take so long.

The question is, how much should I pay him for the unsatisfactory work? I don’t want to be unfair, or leave his crew without food on the table, but I’m going to have to pay for the job again, and find a place to stay for at least a week because of this. I feel that at the very least, he should have noticed earlier in the process and alerted me to the problem, rather than waiting for me to find it at the end.

A: He is entitled to his labour and supplies for the tile rip out and hardwood installation and his supplies such as sand paper and floor finish. Why is this work taking 3 weeks? Is it 2500 sq. feet? I’m 63 and work alone. Most of my jobs now are in the 500-800 sq. foot range, mostly being stained. I can usually have them done in 5-7 days.

Follow-up: Yes, it’s 2500 square feet, but he had a crew of 4 guys working on it. There were 3 days where he left towards the end because he had a previously scheduled job, which he did not tell us about in advance. There was more bad work than the chatter marks. The stairs were sanded so poorly that they were rough and dull after poly with visible sanding marks, and there was a boot print in poly in the kitchen, drip marks on stair risers, etc. I agreed to send him another $2500, paying him a total of $7500 for work that is now being redone, and regret it already.

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