Contractor’s shoddy drywall work has Bellevue family redoing basement for a second time

A Bellevue family is tearing out new drywall after the original contractor left their basement not up to code.
Published: Jan. 11, 2023 at 10:35 PM CST
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - A new drywall tear-out exposes an alleged ripoff.

“It’s just lucky we discovered it and lucky that you called us.”

Licensed contractor David Benson of Superior Home Improvement showed a shocked homeowner the numerous hazards that the previous basement finisher left behind.

“The electrical was done wrong, we’re going to shut off the breakers to the basement so we know we aren’t going to have issues with a spark that can happen in the wall,” Benson told the homeowner.

That’s a bombshell for the growing military family.

“My son was going to be down here, and knowing there were fire hazards, that scares me a lot,” said homeowner Millie Hall.

And a risk without warning.

“He robbed the smoke detector at the bottom of the stairs and converted to a light,” Benson said.

The new contractor had to remove the wall to show the plumbing inspector what’s behind the recently-installed basement shower -- they found loosely-installed water lines.

“It’s a terrible finish job, hanging job,” said drywaller Ryan Heiden. “There’s seven or eight screws per sheet, there should be 50 or 60, so sooner or later, the paper would break and it would fall.”

The chief building official says the original contractor, Dawaun Walls, is not licensed in Bellevue for any of the work performed. A team of city inspectors who examine electrical, plumbing, building and HVAC all found code violations. 6 On Your Side called Walls, but got no answer.

The homeowner found a message on Walls Home and Commercial website that says “permanently closed.”

“Tells me he knows he messed up and hurt people,” Hall said.

Financial pain for Millie Hall and her active-duty husband, with an estimated cost of $45,000 to tear out the new drywall and do the job right.

“Yes, it’s frustrating and sad to see all this go, but now I know it’s being done the right way.”

That’s on top of $18,000 already paid to the unlicensed contractor who did so much wrong.

Here are some tips to keep in mind when hiring a contractor for a major project:

  • Read reviews and check references, but also call your city or county building official.
  • Ask what permits are needed and if a contractor must have a license.
  • The Better Business Bureau also recommends paying in thirds from the start of a project to halfway through, then on completion.