SAVANNAH, Ga. — A Georgia family is suing a local company over a botched home renovation project.
The family told Channel 2′s Dave Huddleston they thought they could count on Home Depot until they had to move out of their house.
Kelly Smith and her husband Tim Smith found their dream home outside Savannah.
“And then when we went into the back and saw the pond which is what we really were looking for a house on water,” Smith said.
The house had room to raise rescued animals. The house needed some updates: a new porch overlooking the pond, new cabinets, and quartz countertops for the kitchen.
“We went with Home Depot because of their reputation,” said Smith.
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But the couple said that trusted reputation was shattered when Home Depot contracted with the company Multi-Stone to install the countertops. They said for about four hours a worker not only cut the quartz countertops inside the house, he didn’t use a wet saw to stop crystalized silica dust from covering every surface and getting into the HVAC system.
The Smiths said within hours they were sick.
“That night we were all having problems breaking and coughing. My son was the first one to have a bloody nose, and then he was having it. I started having eye issues right away,” Kelly Smith said.
She said a Multi-Stone manager came to the house and immediately knew something was wrong.
“What exactly did he say?” asked Huddleston.
“That it shouldn’t have been done inside our home. It should’ve been done at their warehouse,” Smith said.
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We went to a separate company, Granite Countertop Warehouse in Kennesaw and asked them to show us the proper way to cut quartz countertops. They cut the quartz in a well-ventilated area. They used a wet saw to control the crystalized silica dust.
Kelly Smith said the air conditioning units carried dust throughout their house.
“Our air conditioning vents you couldn’t keep them clean if you tried. It’s ruined our air conditioners. It’s ruined televisions. Our stoves don’t work properly. Our appliances are affected by it,” she said.
The dust is more than a nuisance. An OSHA website states crystalline silica dust can cause irreversible lung damage, even cancer.
Home Depot paid for the Smiths to stay in six different hotels but stopped paying when the Smiths turned down a settlement offer.
Online complaints show Georgians have complained about Multi-Stone which has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau since 2017. The Smith family hasn’t lived in their home since October 2019.
“Home Depot has discarded us like trash,” Kelly Smith said.
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Home Depot’s Services pamphlet said all labor, products and installation are 100% backed up by Home Depot.
A company official told Huddleston they offered to compensate the Smiths and pay for their HVAC system. But the family hired an attorney and he said Multi-Stone offered the family $81,000 and to pay for one of two HVAC systems.
In June, the Smiths filed a lawsuit. We emailed Home Depot and they sent us this statement:
“We’ve completed over a hundred thousand jobs in the state over the past couple years and this isn’t representative of our work. We’re terribly sorry that the Smith family had this experience and have been working diligently to resolve this matter.”
Channel 2 also called and emailed Multi-Stone, the company that did the work but has not received a response.
In the meantime, the Smiths wait to see if their house will ever get cleaned or needs to be torn down and rebuilt. They also wait to see if there are any long-term effects from being exposed to silica dust.
“It’s just completely upset our lives,” Kelly Smith said.
Despite the problems, Huddleston asked Home Depot if they are still working with Multi-Stone and the representative told him yes, they are.
Channel 2 asked Consumer Advisor Clark Howard what consumers should do. He said they should do their due diligence and research the contractor before signing a contract. Howard also recommends getting three quotes before hiring anyone for the job.