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Dyoung 03-14-2010 02:55 PM

Advice....the workers chipped my new tub and 'trashed' my house!
Hi Folks

Well, my wife and I welcomed a new baby this week. This also meant I could no longer keep working on our bathroom renovation and had to hire some guys.

The came recommended by a dear friend.

Unfortunately these yahoos assured us they could finish the bathroom in 5 days (shower tile, putting up a mere two panels of drywall, floor tile, toilet installation, light fixture and remounting the sink) did not even manage finish the shower tile job. They didnt finish the grout work, nor the caulking. The whole time they complaining that there were ""so many tiles"" ..even though they were just your basic 4x6 subway tiles in a basic 60 x 30 tub surround.

The drywall wasnt finished either. Still needed patching, taping and sanding.

They only managed to install a light fixture (just some basic wiring taking about 2 hours time and migrated a sink over about 6 inches which took about 4 hours time.

I would come into the house and find these guys watching videos on their Iphones, or sitting out in the truck taking their time.

They said they could get the entire job done in 5 days. They took 8 days and only managed to get the shower tile done 95%, lighting, and sink migration.

Then I came in the other day to find the house a friggin mess. Plaster drip blobs everywhere. I discovered they had tossed buckets of plaster water over my front shrubs and on my damn lawn! My heater is covered in plaster of paris. These guys asked me if I had beer or pot in the house! My tools are in disarray---they were constantly asking to use my tools or for my help in one way or another. And the straw that broke the camels back is the mortar and plaster on my brand new tub.....and the discovery of a finger nail sized enamel chip on the front corner of my tub! I about blew my lid. And all the while they had the nerve of trying to cut corners (not sealing/cementing the hardiebacker or using sub standard methods). Ive done bathrooms and home renovations before so I generally know my stuff.

I am inclined to withhold pay. These guys asked for 165 a day for both of them, which should have been a red flag, but they came highly recommended by my friend.

So Im in an awkward position. I found their work, their unprofessionalism and lack of regard for my house and property....and the fact that I was unable to get my own shop work done because I had to constantly lend them tools or my be more than enough rationale for withholding pay, or only paying them the equivalent of 2 days labor at most. I documented the project via camera btw, so they cant wiggle out of my claims against them. But when you factor in the damaged brand new bathtub and the time, labor, and money it takes to replace or fix this....I think they deserve nothing.

I believe because these guys bid low, they were trying to stretch the project out as long as possible to make the most money they could.

So my question is sort of a feedback response from you folks.

A] should I withhold some pay or all pay?

B] should I replace the tub?

C] if I choose to keep the tub and repair it....what is the best method for fixing a chip...I honestly dont have a lot of faith in those small repair kits at the hardware store....any advice or direction as to the best products?

Thanks guys

kwikfishron 03-14-2010 03:56 PM

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I’m not trying to be insensitive to your situation but what were you expecting?

1) Tile Setter
2) Drywall Wiz
3) Electrician
4) Plumber

All for the low low price of $10 per. Hr. You did say $165 A day for both, or was that each, either way.

Were these guys Licensed In Your State? I doubt it.

How about Bonded and Insured? That might get the tub replaced.

Two guys in a tiny bathroom? I guess someone has to hand me the tile and roll the joints.

You said you know how to do all this stuff, so why 8 days to notice there was a problem? If this ends up on “Judge Judy” she’ll want to know.

I know I’m just a “newbie” here and I know this is a DIY Site and I’m not trying to ruffle any feathers here but once you decide to hire it out for any reason it’s no longer DIY. Hire a Licenced Contractor.

Been in the business a long time and always shake my head at this one.

Oh, just one more thing.


Dyoung 03-14-2010 04:56 PM

I understand what your saying K.

I am a master furniture maker/carpenter and blacksmith and I do a lot of my own work.....I was tied up with the baby and hospital stay and hired the guys to finish some of the projects

These guys came recommended by my friend and several of her friends....and I saw pictures of what they say is their work.

They have a card and a website.

If someone says they can do it, agrees to that price...shouldnt they be held responsible for not doing it? Yes I was foolish, but that doesnt let them off the hook in my opinion. I think these guys have an idea of what they are doing but also view their jobs as dodges/hustles.

Kevin M. 03-14-2010 05:15 PM


Congrats on the new arrival. :) Did you have a written agreement? If so, did it indicate clearly what the expectations were regarding specifics, such as; what would be done in what time period?

If you have an oral agreement, it turns into a - "He said, she said" situation.


chrisn 03-14-2010 05:20 PM

They have a card and a website and were recommended, DO THEY HAVE a CONTRACTORS LICENSE?? If so they must have insurance to at least pay for the tub. Otherwise just do not pay anything and take the loss.

kwikfishron 03-14-2010 05:32 PM

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Well it sounds like I didn't come off to harsh. The next question is, what State are you in?

nap 03-14-2010 05:35 PM

so, to help you determine what you are legally required to pay for or not:

what state are you in? Do you know offhand if a tilesetter, carpenter, electrican, plumber is required to have an occupational license in your state or do we need to look it up. Is a contractors license to do tilesetting, carpentry, plumbing, electrical work required in your state?

if any of the above is required, did they have any of the above that is required?

were they bonded (I know, just had to ask)

what did your written contract state as to pay, time, anything?

in lieu of a written contract, what was your verbal agreement as to pay, time, anything?

forresth 03-14-2010 05:40 PM

I'd itemize everything.

start with % of job done (stuff needing to be redone doesn't count) x 2 men x 5 days x $165 a day. I would the subtract the price of the tub and any other damages. it you owe them anything based on that, pay 'em. if they want to argue, tell them to sue you.

Dyoung 03-14-2010 07:19 PM


I dont know about the bonds, licensees etc I live in MD. They are located in VA.

These guys were the husband and brother of a gal my friend works with....I see that friend and the office staff daily. ...ergo the reason this is so awkward. I was told he was "excellent and professional does bathrooms for years" About four days into the project, frustrated I asked and he told me he was 22 years old,---thus making it hard to believe he is that experienced. Whoever taught him or however he learned, the kid cuts more corners than a pizza. Only when I would tell him an inspector was coming would be suddenly wise up and do things code.

They would tell me they would arrive at 7am....and wouldnt get there till 10am.

As for a contract, it was a solid oral contract --yes.

I offered to occasionally help to speed things up, but it wound up being a situation in which they NEEDED my help and my that extent I could barely get my own commission work done. I lent more tools to these guys than was reasonable. Cutting and making shims, getting in there to do the damn drywall as the assistant would stand around doing nothing....asking them to get back to work after watching videos on the Iphone....pathetic.

They lost an entire work day because these two yahoos didnt have the intelligence or desire to drive to other Home Depot to buy a 90 degree pluming elbow piece. (the closest location didnt have it).....they claimed their truck wasnt working so they started fixing it in my driveway. I frigging lent my own truck to the assistant to go the piece....but he still couldnt, claiming he didnt understand how to get there. So I had to go out on my time, buy the damn 90 degree elbow ($2.50) and give it to them. They then worked for about an hour before leaving.......and they have the gall to claim it was my fault for not supplying all the parts and in time for them to do the job. Talk about bullsh*t.

I had good pluming parts that *suddenly* had "leaks" in them that had to be more lost time going out sourcing parts for these guys because the "couldnt afford them." Ahem, more bullsh*t.

I firmly believe they were trying to string the project out as long as possible to get as much as possible.

Leah Frances 03-14-2010 07:29 PM

Sorry you are having to deal with all this stress - why is it that bathrooms are always getting remodeled at 39 weeks of a pregnancy?

If they're VA and doing work in MD they still need a Maryland contractor's license.

It's not good enough to assume that someone is licensed to do work or that they are insured. It is EASY to check state license status - check the sec. of state web page (in most states). Insurance is easy too - just ask the company to have their insurance co send you a copy of their liability and workers comp proof of insurance.

It's a crappy situation that is not going to get better - it's time for chalking this up to a hard lesson learned and finding a pro who is licensed/bonded/and insured to get things right. Good luck and congrats.

kwikfishron 03-14-2010 07:48 PM

199 Attachment(s)
Don't have time on this Sun. eavning for much home work but this link should give you a good start.

Sorry about the akward relationship angle of all of this but it is what it is.

Dyoung 03-14-2010 08:19 PM

Thanks guys.

Truth be told Im very anal about the work I do, especially for my house.

But my dear wife doesnt quite believe irony since I actually specialize in historical furniture, suits of armour, blacksmithing for very serious private collectors, museums my mind many older methods worked better because they had thousands of years to build on those ideas would think that such attention to details would earn me a degree of confidence in my wife and her family (except that my dear father in law is a contractor and frankly I have issues with his slap it up attitude....probably a reason why his own bathrooms are falling apart!) Ergo I prefer such things as drilling pilot holes to keep screws from splitting wood, make custom brackets in the metal shop, make mortise and tenons for wooden joined pieces (immensely stronger), and use quality materials and methods. Slower? Not necessarily....especially not if you dont have to come back and replace or fix it over and over again. Eh, just waxing philosophy. Forgive my soapboxing....Im working on the bathroom now, taking a break, still fuming a bit.

I will be doing the kitchen soon. Going to make custom cabinets and a soapstone sink.

Not gonna hire any yahoos this time I can assure you. :)

chrisn 03-15-2010 03:07 AM

If they're VA and doing work in MD they still need a Maryland contractor's license.

Bingo! These guys do not have a MHIC license ,I will bet. Just do not pay them a cent and get rid of um.

Jim F 03-15-2010 08:07 PM

The one lesson I hope you learned out of this is never ever ever hire friends, relatives or coworkers if you value those relationships. If you learned that you still got off cheap. I would subtract the price of the tub at least. A professional would have replaced it no questions asked.

Tom Struble 03-15-2010 08:45 PM

you still haven't answered the question.....

do you have any beer or pot?:wink:

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