I had a licensed GC install 2 windows. One of them needed a new RO in the stucco wall (single story home southern CA). I agreed to close the wall and do finish work. He was contacted to install windows and frame wall for windows. Now that I'm taking a closer look I have doubts and I'm looking for standards or code references to evaluate his work.

  1. New king studs only have 1 nail toe nailed on the thin edge into the top plate. One of them has split where he nailed.
  2. Jack studs are not fastened to King studs at all and aren't fastened to header and neither to bottom plate.
  3. Cripple studs (cut from original studs) have 1/2 inch gap between the header and sill plate. Nails are visible...this cannot transfer load properly I would assume.
  4. Header nailed to cripple studs with one nail. One of them split out the header pretty bad.
  5. Sill plate not nailed to jack stud on one side. Other spots have 1/2 inch gaps and only use 1 nail.

My concern is that he left too large gaps and loads aren't transferred properly. The window is fastened to the jack stud, but jack stud is not secured by anything but a couple nails from the shop plate.

Also, the contact was time and material. He charged 1 hr before and 1 hr after he was at site. He took excess materials with him (cutoffs, nails, unused lumber) and charged me the total material cost plus 35%. Is that normal?

Can someone tell me what's normal, and what I should do? I've yet to pay him. I feel that I should have the option to keep all materials I purchase or have it deducted. I'm doing other work on the house where I could use them. I also don't think I need to pay an extra hour after the job for his commute (I live in very centralized location).

  • What is correct here and what should I ask for?
  • Is he obligated to correct any build problems (we did not get a permit)?

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  • After seeing his work would not want him on the job at all. Take pics and save them. Get permit .And would not pay him /or pay him for taking out window.No travel ect, Get someone else. Window is framed so wrong .All should come out.
    – user101687
    Jun 18, 2019 at 20:22

2 Answers 2


Wow, where to begin...First, “adding” a window is “structural “ and therefore requires a Building Permit. The Code says the “owner of the property is responsible for obtaining all permits”. However, the Code says, “no work shall be completed until plans and specs are approved and a Permit issued.”

So, your contractor could say it’s your responsibility to get the permit, but you could say he should not have started until it was issued and you’re going to apply for a permit next week.

The bigger question is whether the “work” is acceptable. No, it’s not, because it does not meet, 1) minimum nailing requirements in Table R601.3(1) of the IRC, 2) framing requirements of Section R602, 3) no cripple stud (or nonexistent connection) under window sill framing, 4) questionable header size and lack of securing it to the wall.

I see building paper directly fastened to studs, but it appears a plywood or OSB wall sheathing is installed on top of the building paper. If the house is covered in stucco, as you state, the stucco system has a moisture barrier and will trap moisture in the wall sheathing. I’d verify that I’m wrong...or cut out the paper on the studs.

For you, building on an improperly installed base will only lead to future problems. I’d have it fixed before proceeding.

  • Thanks Lee. Yes I know a permit is required by code and that it's my responsibility. In terms of the original home construction, this is how every house here was built in the 50s. Paper over studs, then lathe, then stucco. My stucco is about an inch thick it more. No sheathing. In fact, the stucco "swells" the area between studs, meaning that the new framing had to be ripped in order to line up with interior studs. This of course derates the dimensional lumber and would probably violate some code section without engineer approval. Either way, we need to remedy this job it seems.
    – San DIYego
    Sep 4, 2018 at 17:36
  • @SanDIYego Yes, stucco on paper on studs is common, especially in your area of the county. However, bad framing installation and improper nailing will lead to problems in the future. I’d have it “fixed” now...before they receive payment. Fixing it may require a Simpson A-34 or A-35 framing clip on every connection. I’d check with Building Codes.
    – Lee Sam
    Sep 4, 2018 at 22:31

That looks like a very sloppy job to me. How hard can it be to cut 2x4 to the proper length but he is obviously unwilling to take the extra 5 seconds to do that right. You should inspect everything as he seems totally unreliable.

If the contract is time and material, he should give you the option to keep the left over. When we got our house exterior repainted, we kept the extra paint buckets. He didn't add any surcharge. We reimbursed him exactly what he paid to Kelly Moore. He has a contractor (high-volume) account resulting into a 20% discount. We discussed all of this upfront.

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