I paid $3,340 to have my log cabin and deck cleaned, sealed, and permanently protected. It was not properly cleaned and sealed.
My home and deck had never been stained as only a clear wood protectant had been previously applied. Smiling Sun was contracted to clean and permanently seal my log cabin and deck. During the power washing, a great deal of water entered my home, and after the power washing my front door swelled to the point where I couldn't close it and had to have a carpenter come in to plane the door and replace the seals around the door. I also discovered that the seals on two windows had been broken and will have to be replaced as the windows are now cloudy. The deck and cabin were not uniformly cleaned, and after the sealant was applied, the cabin and deck looked spotty and shabby. Smiling Sun employees returned to sand much of the cabin and reclean the deck, but many areas were not redone and remained shabby in appearance. I have had to hire another contractor to redo both the cabin and the deck and will have to replace two large windows that were damaged.
I expect to be refunded at least part of my $3,340 payment to Smiling Sun to help me pay for the $220 carpentry work to repair my door, over $2,000 to have my log cabin and deck recleaned and resealed, and the cost of the windows I have yet to replace.
Business' Initial Response
We are very sorry that our customer is unhappy with the work we did on her log home. We have addressed these issues with her on a few different occasions and appreciate the opportunity to explain our process once again in an effort to put the matter to rest.
1The customer did pay $3,340, after she negotiated an additional discount and gave the matter roughly 2 to 3 weeks thought, to permanently seal her 30+ year old log home and attached deck. Our sealant is 100% clear and offers absolutely no color guaranty what so ever. It is a permanent, clear sealant that soaks inches deep into wood and concrete surfaces specifically protecting against: warping, twisting, splitting and termite damage. We explain how it works first hand and clean a small spot of wood on the project to help the home owners get the best idea of what their natural wood surface will look like. All of our warranties and disclaimers that attest to these facts are presented to the potential customer as such, and we have written copies with her signature confirming this, and so should she. We are also very clear that the surface will have to be power-washed in the future from time to time to help maintain color. Normally once every 1 to 2 years, or as needed. To be clear, the product is 100% about preservation, not a particular color.
2. Our sealant cannot cause wood to swell larger. Not only is this the first time we have heard that her door needed repair, but it is impossible for our process to create this issue. It is more likely that it was the extreme heat of the hottest summer in 50 years. We also have pictures of the windows during the process that were covered with tarps during the cleaning process. Her home is a natural log home that is over 30 years old. There were layers upon layers of old sealer with pigment in them (stain) that were not removed between each application over the years. We cannot be responsible for gaps in log siding that occur naturally before we cleaned and sealed the house permanently. Every time she contacts us, her list gets longer.
3. We were notified that we had a few missed areas on the home not long after our application. We returned, free of charge and hand sanded the entire home to remove any additional missed spots and to smooth out the surface form power washing. This was over two full days of labor. Our paperwork clearly states that we may not be able to remove 100% of old stains and sealers, but in an effort to please the customer, we returned anyway. The areas she claims were not "redone" were not part of the above stated missed areas. We didn't return to do the entire home again, but rather to fix missed areas.
4. Smiling Sun's warranty is a manufacturer's warranty. We simply prep and apply the product. We don't produce it.
In short, we believe we have made a reasonable effort to help our customer, but should not be held responsible for delivering a particular color of wood since our product is clear. We also do not believe that our process caused issues with 30 year old door jams, or windows. The fact remains that our sealant is inches deep in the wood, protecting it permanently and did not require resealing or staining. Our customer simply does not care for the natural color and chose to stain on top, just like our contracts state can be done! We should not have to pay for staining her home because she wants a different color. We will supply copies of signed and dated paperwork at the Better Business Bureau's Request. '
Consumer's Final Response
(The consumer indicated he/she DID NOT accept the response from the business.)
I do not accept the Smiling Sun response to my concerns because the response contains inaccuracies. First of all, two Smiling Sun employees worked on my home one day when the initial "cleaning" and "sealing" was completed. In spite of the fact that the doors and windows were covered, a great deal of water entered my home, my front door received water damage, and window seals were broken. After the treatment dried, I realized that the previous sealant had not been uniformly removed, resulting in the shabbly, splotchy appearance of my entire cabin. I was previously assured by the salesman that the previous sealant would be removed.
When I called to complain about the appearance of my home, I was assured Smiling Sun would stand by its satisfaction guarantee and would be back before Christmas to redo the missed spots. No one responded before Christmas, and I heard nothing for months. Later I learned that their business closes down during the winter. After repeated calls, two men did return to sand most, not all, of the splotchy areas and worked one day but ran out of sandpaper so had to return a second day for an hour or so. Smiling Sun's claim that their employees rturned to my home multiple times to correct isssues is inaccurate.
Yes, even though I wanted compensation for Smiling Sun's unsatisfactory work, I did say I was not expecting to receive compensation from Smiling Sun because I do not have the time or money to take this to court. I contacted the Better Business Bureau because I was hoping to prevent some other unsuspecting client from making the same expensive mistake that I did by hiring Smiling Sun to permanently seal my home.
Business' Final Response
Multiple times we have returned to her house to correct issues that concerned her regardless of the fact that our process worked as we stated in our contract that we said it would. Again, to reiterate the "shabby" look of the house after it was power washed, we do not guarantee color of any sort. Mrs. ****** disclosed the fact that she has used CWF numerous times to ****** ****** last year after the job was completed. CWF does have a color to it, even the translucent CWF. We returned, free of charge to hand sand the entire house over a two day period, and re-sealed the house. We have applied nearly double the amount of sealant required to permanently seal her home at her request the second time we were at her house, all free of charge. Adding more sealant is simply a waste of money for her. To address the customer stating that she is going to have to hire another contractor to reseal the home is simply not needed. As stated in her contract, she can apply an oil based stain 30 days after it is sealed if they do not like the color of their natural wood. We are happy to send all of our documentation on the sealant from the studies conducted on this product from our manufacture declaring this. We are also happy to send before and after pictures of the home on each trip that we took to Mrs. *********** home, all at the request of the Better Business Bureau.
As far as the windows are concerned, there is no possible way that Smiling Sun LLC can know the age and condition of the window seal. Window seals wear over time, it is a proven fact. We take every effort to thoroughly tarp off the window areas, but simply cannot be held responsible for her aging window seals. At the request of the BBB, we will submit pictures of the windows and doors thoroughly masked off before the job started.
We are confused about exactly what Mrs. ****** desires, again. In the first complaint she expected monetary compensation to repair damages and to hire a contractor to clean and seal her deck again; "I expect to be refunded at least part of my $3,340 payment to Smiling Sun to help me pay for the $220 carpentry work to repair my door, over $2,000 to have my log cabin and deck recleaned and resealed, and the cost of the windows I have yet to replace." In the last rebuttal we received from the Better Business Bureau she stated that "Honestly, I was not expecting to receive any compensation from Smiling Sun, but I did feel a responsibilit