Monday, July 20, 2009

On shoddy Minto workmanship...

Now I'm sure that "back in the day", it would have been just as easy to find those who take absolutely no pride in the type of job they do. Where cutting corners and doing even less than what is required to 'just get by', is a natural way of life. But I truly believe that this type of slovenly work ethic (an oxymoron is there ever was one...), has become epidemic in it's proportions.

So, we're getting the house ready to put on the market. As much as we love it, for the two of us it's just too big to carry. It's time to downsize and simplify our lives. We're updating such items as mirrors, lighting fixtures, refreshing painted surfaces... little things designed to render the interior decor a little more neutral and up-to-date. We start off with the powder room, just off the front entrance. It has one of those 24" long 'light bars', with 4 large 40W bulbs. Functional, but dated and uninspiring. It's one of those 'contractor specials' that most new homes come with. Time for it to say: "Buh..bye, là...".

So after cutting the power I'm disassembling the unit, removing the bulbs, then the chrome collars which hold the front plate against the base mounted to the wall. When finally I remove the front cover of the unit, I am properly horrified by what I discover. There is a gaping hole in the gyproc, obviously made by a hammer, through which the power line snaked to the wall plate. No junction box, no clean cut hole, round, square or otherwise... nothing like that. The backing plate was thankfully screwed into a stud by at least one screw. "Well, sonovabitch...", I whistled. "Another quality job by Minto contractors, eh...???" This is the kind of bullshit that makes men like myself and Mike Holmes, throw up in their mouth a little bit. Just one more reason why I can't help but ad lib everytime we pass the Avalon community sign: "Avalon... a perfectly planned (though poorly executed) community!"
I walked over to the local Home Depot and bought a junction box which had a stud mounting plate attached along one side of it. Arriving back home, I installed it and mounted the new bathroom light, which was smaller in size (only 2 60W bulbs) though much brighter. My better half did a bang-up job of patching, mudding and sanding the remainder of the ugly gash left by Minto's goons. A couple of coats of fresh paint and the powder room looked great.With one bathroom done, we figured we might as well move on to the master bedroom ensuite.

For as much as I was disappointed to find the same lighting scenario there, I would have to say that this time, I was not surprised. My respect and esteem for Minto as builders and the folks whom they hire to do their work, was at an all-time low. But Minto does not stand alone in this 'Shack of Shame'. I have no doubt that ALL builders these days fall into the same category. Quality work, craftmanship, pride in a day's effort... All this has gone out the window. Just look at the sub-standard materials which are employed nowadays. Particle board had replaced plywood sheating, roofs are shingled without tar paper underlay, rooms are not even built square. The name of the game is to throw up as many frames in the space of a day as one can. And people are paying top dollar for this crap...?

Give me an older home. One which was built back when tradesmen knew how to use their tools. I'll take my time upgrading the electrical, the plumbing and whatever else as necessary...

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