His worst fear was confirmed. Turning around he found her standing directly behind him.
"It only needs a couple of posts replaced, there, behind the swing, some scraping, sanding, a couple of coats of paint. The stringers on the steps are firm. The treads may have to be replaced, but the risers look okay," she said. "In fact, given a good sanding, the treads may not have to be replaced.
Where did she learn about stringers? Did she have previous building experience? Most of his customers didn't have any idea what stair treads were nailed to. If he took this job, he'd have to be careful dealing with this woman.
"Is that all?"
"Of course," she replied.
"I think it's going to need more than that, Miss Fletcher. There's a lot of wood rot, maybe some termite damage. No amount of scraping is going to take care of that." She'd only have toothpicks left if the job was done to her specifications.
"I had to have a termite inspection done before the sale could be completed. There's no damage, at least not according to the report I received."
That was a miracle, if it was true. He'd have to check out who did the inspection. If it was someone local it would be okay, but sometimes Leona went to an out of town company for the inspection in order to get it done more quickly and that was not always a good thing. The big question right now was did he want to get involved with something he'd be sorry for later on down the road? He went over to the railing, took note of the rust around the nails, the way they were working their way out of the wood and how easy it would be for it to be pulled away from the main post.
He took hold of the railing and gently pushed. It was unstable and it wouldn't take much for it to give way. "My advice would be to take the whole thing down and start over."
"Oh, I don't think that will be necessary." She grabbed hold of the railing, leaning all of her weight on it. "A little effort with a paint scraper and," she yelped, arms flailing as she started to fall forward.
Tom grabbed her around the waist and hauled her back. Women! He wasn't being sexist, but her idea of what was needed here and the reality of the condition of the structure were miles apart.