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ng622 12-05-2005 12:29 PM

need contractor advice for laying kitchen tile
Yes, I realize this is a DIY website, however, time simply does not permit me to do this job myself.

I have a small section of kitchen vinyl tile that was ruined in a drain backup. I would like to have a new floor laid down using ceramic tile. I have obtained several estimates ranging from $650 to $1800 for the labor alone. The job would entail removal of the ruined vinyl--about a 2' x 8' section--the use of thinset to bring the level up to the existing tile and placing ceramic tile on top. I realize from reading various other posts here, that placing ceramic tile on top of vinyl is not recommended, however, given our budget and our intent to sell the house this spring, I am really just looking for a reasonably inexpensive cosmetic fix.

I have called a number of contractors--based on recommendations, local ads and through craigslist. However, the vast majority don't return my calls. I believe the low quote of $650 was provided by an unlicensed contractor who balked when I asked him if he had proof of insurance. The high quote, I hope, was someone who was just pricing himself out of it because he did not want it.

Does anyone have any ideas as to other possible ways to locate a reliable contractor? I realize this is not a six-figure kitchen remodel and many people are just not interested in the smaller work or simply have enough other work to keep them busy--but there has to be someone out there who does this sort of work. Both guys indicated that this was a one day job. Assuming it takes ten hours to complete, one guy is charging essentially $180/hr!!

The area to be floored is approximately 180 sq. ft. I am located in central/northern NJ.

Thanks in advance for any help.


Bonus 12-06-2005 12:40 AM

Can't help on the contractor search, but, There's no such thing as a one day tile job. You might get the tile down but you've got to grout and then seal. Anyone who puts tile down over vinyl knows that it is likely going to fail, this might be why you are having trouble, I wouldn't take the job either. It might even fail before you manage to get rid of it. I suggest sheet vinyl over an appropriate substrate, you'll wind up with fewer transition problems, it'll be cheaper and faster, and somebody, perhaps you, won't be peeling tile off the floor in a year. Just my thoughts, good luck.

housedocs 12-06-2005 08:05 PM

Bonus pretty much said it all, no competent licensed contractor is going to take on such a task, in the manner you're asking that it be done in. Comes down to any job worth doing is worth doing right the first time.

If you're not interested in doing it right, ask the guy with the low bid for a few references, check 'em out. You might get a local handyman to do this kind of work, but asking a licensed pro to do shoddy work will get the same response as talking to a tree.

DecksEtc 12-06-2005 09:22 PM

If the contractors you contacted are balking at the fact you want the ceramic over the vinyl you could possibly save yourself a bit of money and have better luck hiring if you were to remove the old vinyl yourself. Just a thought...

I save my customers money and headaches for msyelf if they want to remove say, and old fence or deck, themselves.

ng622 12-07-2005 10:28 AM

Actually, the recommendation to put the ceramic tile over the vinyl came from the various contractors whom I spoke to--both those who came out to provide an estimate and those whom I just spoke to on the phone who indicated the job was too small for them to take. I had been leaning towards removing the tile as I thought that was the only way the job could be done but was advised of the other method as a cheaper alternative.

However, it sounds like doing it that way would be a mistake.

Thanks for the info.

rspainhower 12-07-2005 10:28 AM

Some times having the customer remove something is not always cheaper. You never know what the customer is going to do. I have had a number of customers do very bad jobs of removing floors and I have to still do extra work to remedy their mess. I will usually let them remove it if they want to and still charge them a ripout fee, then if they do a good job I will drop or lower the fee depending on the quality of tearout they did.

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