Friday, June 15, 2007

Never Easy

It's never just easy.

I have the front door surround wood stripped, and I have the front window trim in a place where it would be easy to paint. But, for whatever reason both are missing pieces of trim. On the left hand side by my front windows the PO used flat replacement trim. In the right hand corner above my front door, they just left it partially missing.

Now this trim is probably on 95% of the old houses in the midwest, so you would think that it would be carried as stock in every lumberyard & home improvement center. Au contraire.

Earlier this week I made a trip to Menards & Home Depot on the off chance that they carried it. Nope.

Today, I drove to the other side of the city to visit Scherer Brothers lumber yard. They have a few companies that make moulding that they stock. This was a last ditch effort because they have increasingly crappy customer service and I end up being ticked off every time I leave the store. I can't figure it out; I used to love that place. They also didn't have it. Or at least while roaming the store myself I wasn't able to find it....or anyone not involved in paperwork to ask.

I figure if I'm going to go through all the effort to match the trim, I may as well get it exact. I have two other sources to check out, but it seems most of theplaces carry the same stock mouldings from the same out-of-state suppliers, so things don't look promising. There is a place near me that will custom make a knife to cut the moulding to match, but this would be very pricey - and for about 10' of trim I'm trying to avoid this.

The type of trim I need has various names. The one most commonly used is "back band." It comes close to picture frame moulding in that it has a little base that sits in the stucco and the trim that lays on top of the rest of the wood trim. I've even toyed with the idea of using window stop trim with the right profile and nailing it to the remaining wood from the old trim.

For now, I'll probably just paint everything but those sections and then touch up the paint when I find a replacement.


Anonymous said...

You know, that's one thing about owning an old house that drives me nuts. At the same time, though, it's one of the things that I love about owning an old house. It makes me feel like my home is truly can't find anything like it anywhere else. There's nothing in your home that's quite as boring as the "standard" items you find in the big box stores. Moreover, you really cherish that little replacement piece when you do finally find it. Good luck to you, I've been in (and am currently in) similar situations.

Bill Jensen said...

Good afternoon "StuccoHouse"

I understand your frustration from a material availability and matching perspective as I too have personally remodeled many older homes of which 1898 was the oldest and finding materials to match is a never-ending battle. Today however, I am responding on behalf of Scherer Bros. Lumber Company.

I was going to start my response by reminding you of our 76+ years of successful customer service, I was going to remind you of the 50,000 different products we inventory and I was going to remind you of the nearly 500 Minnesota employees that all work hard to deliver an enjoyable and consistent customer experience. But regardless of all that, we still failed YOU when you gave us the opportunity. If we caused you or anyone frustration than we obviously haven't achieve our goal of customer satisfaction and for that I apologize.

Scherer Bros. Lumber would like to be given another chance please. Did you know we have a Mill/Specialty shop at our Minneapolis location that can custom mill nearly any product to match what you're looking for. We have a number of "knives" already made to match much of the older interior and exterior millwork which eliminates any special setup fees - this makes matching old millwork with new materials even more affordable. We can typically turnaround special order millwork within two weeks.

I took your point of our Sales Center "too busy doing paperwork" to heart and will implement changes to do a better job greeting our guests - thank you for the eye opener and again I apologize for your experience. SBL is committed to today's professional remodelers and the DIY projects. I'm certain we have the quality products and service to regain your trust - I hope you give us a chance.

Please let me know if there is anything I can help you with and good luck with your projects.

Bill Jensen
General Manager
SBL - Minneapolis

StuccoHouse said...

Anonymous - You are absolutely right. Most days I feel a little like I'm on a scavenger hunt in finding the replacement "parts" for my house and I like the challange. I will admit though, there are days where it would be really nice to find something on a shelf at Home Depot ;-)

StuccoHouse said...

Bill - Thank you for taking the time to address my frustrations in shopping at your store. I appreciate it. I really do like to shop in locally owned companies. I have been driving to your Hopkins store. In reading your response, I wonder if maybe the Minneapolis (I frankly had no idea you even have a Mpls. location) might be a better fit for me.

Just to let you know that I really have given your company a fair shake before becoming frustrated, let me give you a little more information about my experiences:

1) When I first bought my house 5 yrs ago, I visited the Hopkins store and was delighted to see all of the mouldings they sell. I was then looking for maple mouldings to replace missing kitchen woodwork. The woman working there could not have been more helpful.

2) Last summer I took the afternoon off of work and drove to the store. I was prepared to buy a wood storm door. I had measurements in hand, as well as the money. I browsed through the doors (not one sales person asked me if I needed help) and after I decided which door I was interested in purchasing, I walked up to the desk. 4 or 5 sales people were sitting at the counter. I actually stood at the counter waiting politely for one of them to look up from paperwork. No one did. I finally said "excuse me" to one of the men. Much to my amazement, he continued working. I was 2 ft away...standing in front of him. I couldn't believe it when I discovered he was listening to an ipod and didn't even hear me. I walked away from him and eventually snagged a man walking to your back rooms. I told him I was interested in a storm door. He pointed to brochures on the wall and continued on his way to the back room. I actually walked out of the store that day and looked at the signs wondering if the place had switched to commerical sales only.

3) After I found a salvaged store door, I phoned your store to see if they sold the hardware I needed. I knew specifically what I ws looking for and thought it would be so easy to find it locally. I phoned & left a messsage (no one picks up live). My call was not returned. I called back and left a more detailed message. No return call. Even more frustrating is that the store's outgoing message says "we WILL call you back" with specially emphasis on the workd "will" if it had been a problem in the past. I eventually ordered the hardware online.

4) In the blog post your read, I had again taken the afternoon off from work to shop at your store. I spent some time browsing through the two racks of moulding samples hoping to find a match to my old stuff. I was there maybe 30 minutes (irnaically as I wandered the store, I discovered that they did sell the hardware I phoned about in 3)). I eventually walked up to a guy working at the desk. I had to interrupt his paperwork with an "excuse me." I asked if custom moulding was available and explained to him that I was looking to match some old moulding. I was told there was no custom work, that the display pieces were in stock and then he pointed me to brochures. I really felt as if I was interrupting his important paperwork. I took the brochures and actually went home and went to the distributor websites to see if I order from them direct, so I didn't have to deal with the store. I had decided that the Hopkins location was a contractors only store.

As you can see, my luck has not been the best. I'm a pretty easy customer. I have a high tolerance for mediocre customer service. Most of the time I know what I want before I even step foot in a store. I just need someone to answer questions & ring up a sale.

I absolutely am interested in your millwork specialty location. That sounds exactly like what I have been looking for ;-) Maybe I have just been in the worng sotre location. I will try to stop there in the next week or so, and hopefully we can turn this story around!

Again, thanks for taking the time to respond to my frustration :-)

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