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Old 04-25-2008, 04:11 PM   #1
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Help! Botched bathroom tile job


Hi, I'm new here and desperate so please bear with me.

We hired a contractor to replace the tile in our master bath and water closet. They were to remove and install new ceramic tile around the tub, the shower and the floors, paint the walls and hang new light fixtures.

After a week it was obvious they didn't know what they were doing. The tile job was awful with uneven grout lines, tiles not flush, bad cuts, etc. They tiled directly on the wood floor in the water closet (did not replace the sub floor which had rotted due to leaky toilet) saying it was fine to do so.
We had more than enough material to do the job. They burned thru all the tile and had to go by more.
After a week of this, I asked them to leave, which they did.
Now I'm having others quote and give me opinions on what if anything can be salvaged and what needs to be gutted and redone. So far all who've looked at the job have agreed with me that it is terrible.
I paid the first contractor 1/2, with the other 1/2 due upon completion.
At this point I'd be happy if he kept the first 1/2 he has and I never saw him again. He wants more money as he feels the job is 95% done. Trust me it is not.

What is my recourse? Is it ever ok to tile without a subfloor? Does anyone have experience with this?

Thanks for any input.

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Old 04-25-2008, 05:15 PM   #2
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Help! Botched bathroom tile job


Photos, photos, photos. Document everything, so you have proof when you go to court. You might want to get written statements from the people you bring in as expert witnesses.

Frankly, I think you are insane to let them keep the 1st half, but that's me.

I've never heard of tiling directly onto anything but backerboard, certainly not onto plywood.


Last edited by mdalli; 04-25-2008 at 05:17 PM.
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Old 04-25-2008, 05:39 PM   #3
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Help! Botched bathroom tile job


Thank you for your response.

Frankly I'm just so beaten down having them in the house for so long when I know they are ruining it that I'm willing to lose the 1/2.

The bad contractor knows I'm getting quotes and he's already made the point that other tilers will say its a bad job because they want the business to repair it. Does it make any sense to bring in a home inspector to give an unbiased opinion of how bad the work is? Or do I sue now and let the judge send someone in to assess the damage?
Meanwhile it's 3 weeks and counting with no master bathroom.
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Old 04-25-2008, 06:31 PM   #4
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Help! Botched bathroom tile job


It wouldn't hurt to get an experienced licensed home inspector that will sign a statement to the incompetence of the job and that he has no financial interest in repairing/ redoing the job, that he is a disinterested party.

And I would immediately contact an attorney that specializes in these kind of cases. Usually, the initial consultation is free anyway. Bring your photos to the meeting.
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Old 04-25-2008, 07:56 PM   #5
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Help! Botched bathroom tile job


Doesn't sound like that contractor even knew how to tile... like he just wanted work of some kind....

Sorry to hear of your predicament.
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Old 04-25-2008, 11:15 PM   #6
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Help! Botched bathroom tile job


How much money are we talking here? Can't be much, since this guy sounds like a hack. I'd guess we're well within the limit of small claims court in your state, so skip the lawyer, and forget about a judge sending some expert to your house to investigate. Document everything, get some written statements/estimates from contractors about the quality of work, and cost to fix it. Then either sue for your deposit, or just sit on your evidence in case he sues you. (how could he really have the balls to though?)
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Old 04-26-2008, 08:32 AM   #7
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Help! Botched bathroom tile job


Quote:
Originally Posted by steamed17 View Post
Thank you for your response.

Frankly I'm just so beaten down having them in the house for so long when I know they are ruining it that I'm willing to lose the 1/2.

The bad contractor knows I'm getting quotes and he's already made the point that other tilers will say its a bad job because they want the business to repair it. Does it make any sense to bring in a home inspector to give an unbiased opinion of how bad the work is? Or do I sue now and let the judge send someone in to assess the damage?
Meanwhile it's 3 weeks and counting with no master bathroom.
-Take photos of the work you are dissatisfied with.
-Take photos of the tile placed directly onto the rotted subfloor when it is exposed for replacement.
-Tell your hack you are not paying him one thin dime. Let HIM try to sue YOU.
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Old 04-26-2008, 10:17 AM   #8
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Help! Botched bathroom tile job


I agree. Let him come to you. If you are willing to lose a little to get them out of your hair, do it. Keep contract, pics, every estimate to fix and pics when its fixed. Sorry you had to go through this. Hacks are everywhere.
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Old 04-26-2008, 04:16 PM   #9
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Help! Botched bathroom tile job


sorry to hear this, but glad you had strength to throw them out.

you need to goto claims court. not so much that you get the first 1/2 money back (or payment to remove their work and start over) but to ensure that they don't screw other people.

let this person get a black mark.

also, if original tiler had licensed company. be sure to contact the better business beuro and log a complaint against company.

hacks like this should not be ruining other peoples lives either!

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Old 04-26-2008, 10:22 PM   #10
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Help! Botched bathroom tile job


Tile should be places on cement board underlayment. Then It should be coated with "Red Guard" or similar water-proofing material. Tile takes a long time to do right because you have to wait between each step in the process for the materials to dry.
1. repair plywood sub floor
2. screw cement board to sub floor
3. cover all screws and seams fiberglass mesh tape and mortar.
4. LET DRY FOR 24 hours
5. Set tile.
6. LET DRY For 24 hours.
7. Grout
8. LET DRY FOr 24 hours
9. Seal grout
10. LET DRY For 24 hours...

Do NOT rush Tile work or it will fail.....
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Old 04-27-2008, 08:22 AM   #11
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Help! Botched bathroom tile job


Quote:
Originally Posted by Knucklez View Post
sorry to hear this, but glad you had strength to throw them out.

you need to goto claims court. not so much that you get the first 1/2 money back (or payment to remove their work and start over) but to ensure that they don't screw other people.

let this person get a black mark.
Taking them to small claims court over a contract dispute is not going to leave them a "black mark," will not prevent them from contracting again, and probably won't result in getting your initial funds back, or replacement tile costs even if yuou *do* get a judgement, the courts do not assist in your *collecting* the judgement.

So you have to weigh the costs in time and effort in getting the courts to render a favorable verdict, AND the chances of ever seeing your money again.

Quote:
also, if original tiler had licensed company. be sure to contact the better business beuro and log a complaint against company.
The better business bureau, despite the official sounding name, is NOT a government department. It is a business set up by businessmen to help other business. There is no reason to join a BBB, and no reason to support a BBB, and no motive for a member of the BBB to comply witrh anything the BBB says or does.

Quote:
hacks like this should not be ruining other peoples lives either!

Knucklez
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Old 04-28-2008, 03:47 PM   #12
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Help! Botched bathroom tile job


You never mention a contractor's license or business license. That's the first place I would go. Court is time intensive and doesn't collect your money. I'm with you, let 'em go with good ridence, but contact your state and file a complaint against their license. No license? Shame on you. If you hire someone make sure they know what their doing, are licensed and insured.
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Old 04-28-2008, 04:42 PM   #13
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Help! Botched bathroom tile job


I'm really in favor of escrow accounts.
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Old 05-01-2008, 09:40 PM   #14
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There's no excuse for a crappy job, it's just unprofessional.

However, that being said, you mentioned you hired a contractor to do the work, so not specifically a tile installer then?

Tile is tricky, I work for a tile company. And we ONLY do tile, no vinyl, no hardwood, ONLY TILE. That way our guys are experts at one thing. Most people that call themselves a multi-diciplined contractor can't do tile worth a damn, they just don't do it often enough and because it's not their house they don't take the time to get it perfect like a proper tile installer would.

The job you mentioned TILE ALONE not your painting etc. should take a crew of two (one installer one helper) about 4 FULL days to do, maybe 5. Rip down and prepare the tub and shower with new cement board and possibly either mesh and cement the floor or at MINIMUM cement board the floor on day one. (the floor may have to wait until day two depending on the repair required for rotten wood etc. in which case day two would be setting wall tile and preparing the floor base) Set tiles in shower and tub (assuming they are two separate areas) day two, and tile the floor day three, and grout day four, and IF you choose to seal the grout it needs to be done a week later after all the moisture from the mortars and grouts has had a chance to dry and bond properly, the grout is the only place that moisture can escape to, so don't seal too early.

Best of luck to you, and I wouldn't give them another penny either!!

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