Basecoat dragging not flattening

Vetinry

New Member
Hello
This is my first post here.
After 20 years of corporate grind, I managed to get out last year and have moved to Cheshire where I'm helping my girlfriend expand her property portfolio.
Having always been a keen and (reasonably) competent DIYer, I have been trying to improve my skills across a wide range of trades, mainly due to having been let down / ripped of by a couple of builders last year.
We are slowly going through the properties and renovating and a couple of the back yards need rendering to improve the outside space.
After quite a bit of research, we've decided to try some thin coat silicone rendering and I've ordered some from EWI to try it out.
The walls are a mix of bare brick / painted brick / bare block. So, I started by applying universal render to all surfaces to try and even out application suction. Next, I wanted to apply the EWI premium basecoat and mesh. We put all the beads on the wall and mixed up the first bag. Nice product to apply to the wall. Put on with plastering trowel, then used a notched trowel to get about 6 or 7mm (depth of beads) - applied the mesh onto the walls with 100mm overlap and then gently pushed in with trowel.
So far so good. All of the mesh was covered over but the mesh pattern was still visible in certain parts of the wall. Not sure if this is a problem or not. But the biggest challenges has been flattening the wall off after this first application. I've tried a combination of trowel and SF Speedskim. It seems as if you can only literally pass over the product once because after that, it seems to drag rather than smooth. This is ok for much of the wall but in a couple of areas there were low spots, which needed more product adding in. Was then just really struggling to get the wall smooth and flat without pulling the product.
Any idea what might be causing this. On the first wall, we ended up putting a thin (2mm) skim over the first pass about 24 later when it appeared to have dried. Then flattening with the speedskim, which has then just left a very thin overlap line, which I'm happy to polish out with a plastic float when drier.
But ideally, we'd like to be able to get the walls flat and smooth after the first pass, which appears to be inline with what EWI recommend.
The top coat is going to be 1.5mm silicone render and I know that I will need to apply the top coat primer and let that fully dry before putting the top coat on. I also realise that because it's such a thin layer, the base coat does need to be pretty imperfection freee.
Really appreciate any advice that anyone can offer.
Best wishes
Steve
 

limeplastering

Active Member
Hi Steve im afraid you can’t learn to plaster of the internet. Sounds like you have done it completely wrong best advice would be to hack it all off learn from your mistakes and call a professional. P.s if your Mrs has a property portfolio and can’t afford to pay the pro’s she should probably pack it in.
All the best
 

John j

Mono Don
Hello
This is my first post here.
After 20 years of corporate grind, I managed to get out last year and have moved to Cheshire where I'm helping my girlfriend expand her property portfolio.
Having always been a keen and (reasonably) competent DIYer, I have been trying to improve my skills across a wide range of trades, mainly due to having been let down / ripped of by a couple of builders last year.
We are slowly going through the properties and renovating and a couple of the back yards need rendering to improve the outside space.
After quite a bit of research, we've decided to try some thin coat silicone rendering and I've ordered some from EWI to try it out.
The walls are a mix of bare brick / painted brick / bare block. So, I started by applying universal render to all surfaces to try and even out application suction. Next, I wanted to apply the EWI premium basecoat and mesh. We put all the beads on the wall and mixed up the first bag. Nice product to apply to the wall. Put on with plastering trowel, then used a notched trowel to get about 6 or 7mm (depth of beads) - applied the mesh onto the walls with 100mm overlap and then gently pushed in with trowel.
So far so good. All of the mesh was covered over but the mesh pattern was still visible in certain parts of the wall. Not sure if this is a problem or not. But the biggest challenges has been flattening the wall off after this first application. I've tried a combination of trowel and SF Speedskim. It seems as if you can only literally pass over the product once because after that, it seems to drag rather than smooth. This is ok for much of the wall but in a couple of areas there were low spots, which needed more product adding in. Was then just really struggling to get the wall smooth and flat without pulling the product.
Any idea what might be causing this. On the first wall, we ended up putting a thin (2mm) skim over the first pass about 24 later when it appeared to have dried. Then flattening with the speedskim, which has then just left a very thin overlap line, which I'm happy to polish out with a plastic float when drier.
But ideally, we'd like to be able to get the walls flat and smooth after the first pass, which appears to be inline with what EWI recommend.
The top coat is going to be 1.5mm silicone render and I know that I will need to apply the top coat primer and let that fully dry before putting the top coat on. I also realise that because it's such a thin layer, the base coat does need to be pretty imperfection freee.
Really appreciate any advice that anyone can offer.
Best wishes
Steve

Read a bit more
You need a nela elite .


Crazy but I know where ones going cheapish
 

Vetinry

New Member
Thank you for all the replies.
If we had been able to find some competent and trustworthy "professionals" we would have done that but having been completely let down by several members of different trades, it hasn't worked out that way.

So, I was asking for advice, not a slating for trying to make some progress.
Firstly, what exactly have I done completely wrong....I know it's not the same as plastering. But I also know that this is a process, which is fairly well defined and therefore repeatable.
I was just trying to understand why the basecoat might be dragging rather than smoothing. What has gone on is not a disaster. It's 95% good and is currently drying out. TBH, if it's 95% on finish, for our rental portfolio, that will be good enough. I just want to learn and improve as I go.

As for packing it in - when we have rent books of over £50k per property, why would we want to do that. And as soon as we find reliable trades, we always try to hang on to them

Cheers

Steve
 

Elite exteriors

Active Member
Hello
This is my first post here.
After 20 years of corporate grind, I managed to get out last year and have moved to Cheshire where I'm helping my girlfriend expand her property portfolio.
Having always been a keen and (reasonably) competent DIYer, I have been trying to improve my skills across a wide range of trades, mainly due to having been let down / ripped of by a couple of builders last year.
We are slowly going through the properties and renovating and a couple of the back yards need rendering to improve the outside space.
After quite a bit of research, we've decided to try some thin coat silicone rendering and I've ordered some from EWI to try it out.
The walls are a mix of bare brick / painted brick / bare block. So, I started by applying universal render to all surfaces to try and even out application suction. Next, I wanted to apply the EWI premium basecoat and mesh. We put all the beads on the wall and mixed up the first bag. Nice product to apply to the wall. Put on with plastering trowel, then used a notched trowel to get about 6 or 7mm (depth of beads) - applied the mesh onto the walls with 100mm overlap and then gently pushed in with trowel.
So far so good. All of the mesh was covered over but the mesh pattern was still visible in certain parts of the wall. Not sure if this is a problem or not. But the biggest challenges has been flattening the wall off after this first application. I've tried a combination of trowel and SF Speedskim. It seems as if you can only literally pass over the product once because after that, it seems to drag rather than smooth. This is ok for much of the wall but in a couple of areas there were low spots, which needed more product adding in. Was then just really struggling to get the wall smooth and flat without pulling the product.
Any idea what might be causing this. On the first wall, we ended up putting a thin (2mm) skim over the first pass about 24 later when it appeared to have dried. Then flattening with the speedskim, which has then just left a very thin overlap line, which I'm happy to polish out with a plastic float when drier.
But ideally, we'd like to be able to get the walls flat and smooth after the first pass, which appears to be inline with what EWI recommend.
The top coat is going to be 1.5mm silicone render and I know that I will need to apply the top coat primer and let that fully dry before putting the top coat on. I also realise that because it's such a thin layer, the base coat does need to be pretty imperfection freee.
Really appreciate any advice that anyone can offer.
Best wishes
Steve
It's all about timing knowing when to catch it right try giving it a splash and sponge it
 

Complete

Well-Known Member
It's all about timing knowing when to catch it right try giving it a splash and sponge it
Agreed and this is what can't be taught on the Internet @Vetinry. If all trades have been unreliable or untrustworthy then id suggest you may be the problem. Where are you getting the trades from and are you going for cheapest?
 

bobski

Well-Known Member
Hello
This is my first post here.
After 20 years of corporate grind, I managed to get out last year and have moved to Cheshire where I'm helping my girlfriend expand her property portfolio.
Having always been a keen and (reasonably) competent DIYer, I have been trying to improve my skills across a wide range of trades, mainly due to having been let down / ripped of by a couple of builders last year.
We are slowly going through the properties and renovating and a couple of the back yards need rendering to improve the outside space.
After quite a bit of research, we've decided to try some thin coat silicone rendering and I've ordered some from EWI to try it out.
The walls are a mix of bare brick / painted brick / bare block. So, I started by applying universal render to all surfaces to try and even out application suction. Next, I wanted to apply the EWI premium basecoat and mesh. We put all the beads on the wall and mixed up the first bag. Nice product to apply to the wall. Put on with plastering trowel, then used a notched trowel to get about 6 or 7mm (depth of beads) - applied the mesh onto the walls with 100mm overlap and then gently pushed in with trowel.
So far so good. All of the mesh was covered over but the mesh pattern was still visible in certain parts of the wall. Not sure if this is a problem or not. But the biggest challenges has been flattening the wall off after this first application. I've tried a combination of trowel and SF Speedskim. It seems as if you can only literally pass over the product once because after that, it seems to drag rather than smooth. This is ok for much of the wall but in a couple of areas there were low spots, which needed more product adding in. Was then just really struggling to get the wall smooth and flat without pulling the product.
Any idea what might be causing this. On the first wall, we ended up putting a thin (2mm) skim over the first pass about 24 later when it appeared to have dried. Then flattening with the speedskim, which has then just left a very thin overlap line, which I'm happy to polish out with a plastic float when drier.
But ideally, we'd like to be able to get the walls flat and smooth after the first pass, which appears to be inline with what EWI recommend.
The top coat is going to be 1.5mm silicone render and I know that I will need to apply the top coat primer and let that fully dry before putting the top coat on. I also realise that because it's such a thin layer, the base coat does need to be pretty imperfection freee.
Really appreciate any advice that anyone can offer.
Best wishes
Steve


Unfortunately for you the answer is this.


Speed and technique.

Both take hundreds of hours to get right.


The reason you are getting treated the way you are, by everyone who posted above and the dozens that have read your post rolled their eyes and moved on, is it is bloody hard work and expensive to get to a stage where the polymer based render is bang flat and tidy, crack resistant and ready for a topcoat.


From their eyes, you've come out of an office in a suit, looked for a 'shortcut alleyway' and are trying to talk 'on terms'.

People generally find it disrespectful.

What am I not as good as you guys?

Now back to the beginning of my post!
 

limeplastering

Active Member
Thank you for all the replies.
If we had been able to find some competent and trustworthy "professionals" we would have done that but having been completely let down by several members of different trades, it hasn't worked out that way.

So, I was asking for advice, not a slating for trying to make some progress.
Firstly, what exactly have I done completely wrong....I know it's not the same as plastering. But I also know that this is a process, which is fairly well defined and therefore repeatable.
I was just trying to understand why the basecoat might be dragging rather than smoothing. What has gone on is not a disaster. It's 95% good and is currently drying out. TBH, if it's 95% on finish, for our rental portfolio, that will be good enough. I just want to learn and improve as I go.

As for packing it in - when we have rent books of over £50k per property, why would we want to do that. And as soon as we find reliable trades, we always try to hang on to them

Cheers

Steve
I think what you really mean is you got a quote and thought it was expensive so are having a go yourself and have now realised you are not able to do it.
What sort property developer with a portfolio can’t get hold of decent Plasterer’s.....one who wants to pay peanuts
 

John j

Mono Don
Hello
This is my first post here.
After 20 years of corporate grind, I managed to get out last year and have moved to Cheshire where I'm helping my girlfriend expand her property portfolio.
Having always been a keen and (reasonably) competent DIYer, I have been trying to improve my skills across a wide range of trades, mainly due to having been let down / ripped of by a couple of builders last year.
We are slowly going through the properties and renovating and a couple of the back yards need rendering to improve the outside space.
After quite a bit of research, we've decided to try some thin coat silicone rendering and I've ordered some from EWI to try it out.
The walls are a mix of bare brick / painted brick / bare block. So, I started by applying universal render to all surfaces to try and even out application suction. Next, I wanted to apply the EWI premium basecoat and mesh. We put all the beads on the wall and mixed up the first bag. Nice product to apply to the wall. Put on with plastering trowel, then used a notched trowel to get about 6 or 7mm (depth of beads) - applied the mesh onto the walls with 100mm overlap and then gently pushed in with trowel.
So far so good. All of the mesh was covered over but the mesh pattern was still visible in certain parts of the wall. Not sure if this is a problem or not. But the biggest challenges has been flattening the wall off after this first application. I've tried a combination of trowel and SF Speedskim. It seems as if you can only literally pass over the product once because after that, it seems to drag rather than smooth. This is ok for much of the wall but in a couple of areas there were low spots, which needed more product adding in. Was then just really struggling to get the wall smooth and flat without pulling the product.
Any idea what might be causing this. On the first wall, we ended up putting a thin (2mm) skim over the first pass about 24 later when it appeared to have dried. Then flattening with the speedskim, which has then just left a very thin overlap line, which I'm happy to polish out with a plastic float when drier.
But ideally, we'd like to be able to get the walls flat and smooth after the first pass, which appears to be inline with what EWI recommend.
The top coat is going to be 1.5mm silicone render and I know that I will need to apply the top coat primer and let that fully dry before putting the top coat on. I also realise that because it's such a thin layer, the base coat does need to be pretty imperfection freee.
Really appreciate any advice that anyone can offer.
Best wishes
Steve
Why dont you ask a regular of here who.s local . Satisfaction guaranteed.


Unless you live near glasgow
 
Hello
This is my first post here.
After 20 years of corporate grind, I managed to get out last year and have moved to Cheshire where I'm helping my girlfriend expand her property portfolio.
Having always been a keen and (reasonably) competent DIYer, I have been trying to improve my skills across a wide range of trades, mainly due to having been let down / ripped of by a couple of builders last year.
We are slowly going through the properties and renovating and a couple of the back yards need rendering to improve the outside space.
After quite a bit of research, we've decided to try some thin coat silicone rendering and I've ordered some from EWI to try it out.
The walls are a mix of bare brick / painted brick / bare block. So, I started by applying universal render to all surfaces to try and even out application suction. Next, I wanted to apply the EWI premium basecoat and mesh. We put all the beads on the wall and mixed up the first bag. Nice product to apply to the wall. Put on with plastering trowel, then used a notched trowel to get about 6 or 7mm (depth of beads) - applied the mesh onto the walls with 100mm overlap and then gently pushed in with trowel.
So far so good. All of the mesh was covered over but the mesh pattern was still visible in certain parts of the wall. Not sure if this is a problem or not. But the biggest challenges has been flattening the wall off after this first application. I've tried a combination of trowel and SF Speedskim. It seems as if you can only literally pass over the product once because after that, it seems to drag rather than smooth. This is ok for much of the wall but in a couple of areas there were low spots, which needed more product adding in. Was then just really struggling to get the wall smooth and flat without pulling the product.
Any idea what might be causing this. On the first wall, we ended up putting a thin (2mm) skim over the first pass about 24 later when it appeared to have dried. Then flattening with the speedskim, which has then just left a very thin overlap line, which I'm happy to polish out with a plastic float when drier.
But ideally, we'd like to be able to get the walls flat and smooth after the first pass, which appears to be inline with what EWI recommend.
The top coat is going to be 1.5mm silicone render and I know that I will need to apply the top coat primer and let that fully dry before putting the top coat on. I also realise that because it's such a thin layer, the base coat does need to be pretty imperfection freee.
Really appreciate any advice that anyone can offer.
Best wishes
Steve
I would normally be in the same camp as everyone else on this, definitely not something for a novice to crack on with. First mistake is not applying a primer to the masonry, with a few different backgrounds this wanted doing. I can understand you wanting to get the base coat spot bollock, this is the way. With the 1.5mm thincoat silicon though I think you’re be okay. Sounds like you’ve already filled the worse bits, 1.5mm is quite forgiving, just don’t fook about with it too much once applied. If you’re really worried then go for something over 1.5mm if you are adamant on doing it yourself. It can happen but it sounds like you didn’t do enough homework on previous builders, a competent spread would piss this and save you the headache!
 

Vetinry

New Member
Thank you to all who have been kind enough to give a constructive response. That’s much appreciated.
To those who have just chosen to be less generous... You don’t know me and have no idea about my background or situation. But you still decided to just insult me instead. I have never been ‘a suit’ and have always tried to work positively and constructively with any of the trades who have helped us. I often work alongside them, rolling my sleeves up, getting stuck in and trying to help and learn, as long as that has been ok with them to do so. Not because I have to and not to interfere but because I’m genuinely interested and want to develop new skills.
I am currently studying for my electrical qualifications and have also occasionally been working as an apprentice for our local plumber, again to learn.
After the initial renovation has finished, most of the work that is required is small maintenance jobs across the portfolio and it isn’t always easy to get someone else to do these when they’re busy with bigger projects.
So it is very unlikely that I will ever become fully skilled at the multiple tasks that I will try to complete. But I will always try to do them to the best of my ability, continue to learn and ensure that any regulated work is completed legally and competently.
At the minute we have zero voids in any of our almost 50 rooms across our 8 properties. This is because we work really hard to attract and retain quality tenants by creating a high quality homely environment for them
 

Vetinry

New Member
@Tony rover
We did use a primer. It is the EWI universal primer, which dries red. It contains a fine aggregate to help provide a key. I chose because there were severely different backgrounds that we were applying on to. Also, one of the guys who is working with me is a very competent plasterer. He has done sand and cement rendering in the past but never used a thin coat. So yes, we are all learning together and accept it might not be perfect. But it will definitely look better than what’s there currently and will improve the outside space for 2 of the houses.
Steve
 
@Tony rover
We did use a primer. It is the EWI universal primer, which dries red. It contains a fine aggregate to help provide a key. I chose because there were severely different backgrounds that we were applying on to. Also, one of the guys who is working with me is a very competent plasterer. He has done sand and cement rendering in the past but never used a thin coat. So yes, we are all learning together and accept it might not be perfect. But it will definitely look better than what’s there currently and will improve the outside space for 2 of the houses.
Steve
You sound like you’re half way there but you can never beat experience. If you do it yourself then accept it will not be perfect. Like I said though 1.5mm and over can hide a multitude of sins. 1.0mm and below everything has to be spot on.
 

Elite exteriors

Active Member
Thank you to all who have been kind enough to give a constructive response. That’s much appreciated.
To those who have just chosen to be less generous... You don’t know me and have no idea about my background or situation. But you still decided to just insult me instead. I have never been ‘a suit’ and have always tried to work positively and constructively with any of the trades who have helped us. I often work alongside them, rolling my sleeves up, getting stuck in and trying to help and learn, as long as that has been ok with them to do so. Not because I have to and not to interfere but because I’m genuinely interested and want to develop new skills.
I am currently studying for my electrical qualifications and have also occasionally been working as an apprentice for our local plumber, again to learn.
After the initial renovation has finished, most of the work that is required is small maintenance jobs across the portfolio and it isn’t always easy to get someone else to do these when they’re busy with bigger projects.
So it is very unlikely that I will ever become fully skilled at the multiple tasks that I will try to complete. But I will always try to do them to the best of my ability, continue to learn and ensure that any regulated work is completed legally and competently.
At the minute we have zero voids in any of our almost 50 rooms across our 8 properties. This is because we work really hard to attract and retain quality tenants by creating a high quality homely environment for them

Thank you to all who have been kind enough to give a constructive response. That’s much appreciated.
To those who have just chosen to be less generous... You don’t know me and have no idea about my background or situation. But you still decided to just insult me instead. I have never been ‘a suit’ and have always tried to work positively and constructively with any of the trades who have helped us. I often work alongside them, rolling my sleeves up, getting stuck in and trying to help and learn, as long as that has been ok with them to do so. Not because I have to and not to interfere but because I’m genuinely interested and want to develop new skills.
I am currently studying for my electrical qualifications and have also occasionally been working as an apprentice for our local plumber, again to learn.
After the initial renovation has finished, most of the work that is required is small maintenance jobs across the portfolio and it isn’t always easy to get someone else to do these when they’re busy with bigger projects.
So it is very unlikely that I will ever become fully skilled at the multiple tasks that I will try to complete. But I will always try to do them to the best of my ability, continue to learn and ensure that any regulated work is completed legally and competently.
At the minute we have zero voids in any of our almost 50 rooms across our 8 properties. This is because we work really hard to attract and retain quality tenants by creating a high quality homely environment for them
Nothing wrong with having a go is there buddy and even if you f**k up it can be sorted I'd rather have a go and learn from it than pussy out and wonder
 

Smooth criminal

Active Member
Lets see your pictures so far?? Can never fully tell how to help unless you show us...
Theres worse things in life people are trying ive watched tennants mess with gas mate dont ever do that... But the end of the day its your property to do what the hell you want ive paid trades in the past who ive thought i could do it better myself.. So fairplay on expanding your skills nothing wrong with that.
 

limeplastering

Active Member
@Tony rover
We did use a primer. It is the EWI universal primer, which dries red. It contains a fine aggregate to help provide a key. I chose because there were severely different backgrounds that we were applying on to. Also, one of the guys who is working with me is a very competent plasterer. He has done sand and cement rendering in the past but never used a thin coat. So yes, we are all learning together and accept it might not be perfect. But it will definitely look better than what’s there currently and will improve the outside space for 2 of the houses.
Steve
Thought you couldn’t find a competent plasterer. If he can only use sand and cement you should of used it. Spend loads of time wasted on penny pinchers any one who gives this bloke advice is a fool!
 

Smooth criminal

Active Member
Thought you couldn’t find a competent plasterer. If he can only use sand and cement you should of used it. Spend loads of time wasted on penny pinchers any one who gives this bloke advice is a fool!
So ypure telling me youd pay a joiner to build a stud frame or put a couple of skirting boards on or archatrave.. Im sick of penny pinchers with a budget it cost what it does or dont get it done but its his houses the end of the day which hes more entitled to have ago at...
 

Ktownsend

Well-Known Member
On a side note a very competent plasterer would have enough about them to be able to get a decent finish on the base coat. Regardless of whether they've used the material before. I know i would. And so would most (not all) on here
 

Vetinry

New Member
Thank you for the constructive and supportive replies.
@limeplastering - exactly where do you get off on slating me. We did consider sand and cement but we wanted to try a newer product which is less likely to crack and should need far less maintenance during the next 10 years. From what I can ascertain, silicone thin coat is flexible, breathable and hydrophobic. As for wasting time on a penny pincher, again you have absolutely no idea how much we’ve spent and what our overall objective is. We are currently booking new tenants in for a property that we haven’t even completed on yet because we have taken the time to show them the finished article in our other houses and they are telling us that we are way ahead of the competition in trying to create nice homes for them all So if you don’t feel like wasting anymore of your time then that’s fine but why not stop being so f***ing rude and disrespectful.
@Ktownsend. most of the initial advice I received was that it takes hundreds of hours of experience to perfect these products. Where exactly are you supposed to gain those hours without practicing. As I said, it’s not a disaster by any means. We have just found that whilst we can get the wall flattened pretty well, if we try to go back over it, unlike plaster, the trowels (marshall town permaflex and ox flex) and speed skim are grabbing on the finish rather than smoothing.

I came to this forum genuinely looking for advice from those more experienced with these products. I’m sorry if you don’t like me or what we’re trying to do but I haven’t come here trying to offend anyone.

Steve
 

Tinytom

Well-Known Member
Lay it on, flatten, move on. Simple.
you need experience to lay it on flat, something you can’t buy or fake unfortunately.
 

Vetinry

New Member
Thank you. I guess we’ll just carry on practicing and see how we get on.
some people seem to put the full 6mm on in a single pass. Others put 4 and 2mm. We’ve only tried the first method so far so perhaps we’ll give the other way a go.... once the weather improves
 

FreeD

Private Member
Thank you to all who have been kind enough to give a constructive response. That’s much appreciated.
To those who have just chosen to be less generous... You don’t know me and have no idea about my background or situation. But you still decided to just insult me instead. I have never been ‘a suit’ and have always tried to work positively and constructively with any of the trades who have helped us. I often work alongside them, rolling my sleeves up, getting stuck in and trying to help and learn, as long as that has been ok with them to do so. Not because I have to and not to interfere but because I’m genuinely interested and want to develop new skills.
I am currently studying for my electrical qualifications and have also occasionally been working as an apprentice for our local plumber, again to learn.
After the initial renovation has finished, most of the work that is required is small maintenance jobs across the portfolio and it isn’t always easy to get someone else to do these when they’re busy with bigger projects.
So it is very unlikely that I will ever become fully skilled at the multiple tasks that I will try to complete. But I will always try to do them to the best of my ability, continue to learn and ensure that any regulated work is completed legally and competently.
At the minute we have zero voids in any of our almost 50 rooms across our 8 properties. This is because we work really hard to attract and retain quality tenants by creating a high quality homely environment for them

Trades don't want customers to work alongside them they just want to get in make the money and get out. We don't get paid to teach. Experienced renderers working on domestic works can quickly profile customers and unfortunately many developers/landlords etc it's simply not worth it for us...all the questions, carrot dangling, false promises, haggling etc.

You are asking why a s base coat is tearing...it's impossible to troubleshoot on a forum there are way to many variables...the type of material, tools used, processes, preparation, weather etc.

As a developer myself my advice would be to focus your time elsewhere on something you are good at...maybe sourcing properties...management...etc and leave the construction to skilled tradesman and pay them well.

Good Luck.
 
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