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Old 06-19-2012, 03:27 PM   #1
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Incompetent Contractor taking advantage ? (pictures)


I'm not sure if I'm posting in the correct section, my apologies If not.

Basically I'm looking for the opinion of some knowledgeable people about a shower remodel a contractor is doing for my father.

It's a touchy subject as the guy who is friends with and recommended this contractor is a very good, longtime friend of my fathers.

It was a basic shower remodel, removing the old shower stall - old tile walls and ceiling, and plastic floor tray and replacing it with a new plastic shower cab from HomeDepot.
3 plastic walls, plastic ceiling, a plastic floor tray and new doors.
And a leak in the pipe between the valves and the shower head. (which prompted the remodel in the first place)

My father has, in my opinion, been way more than fair in giving him the benefit of the doubt over and over. I can tell hes aggrivated, but he's trying to not let it show. Almost like he sees it as a failure on his part to secure a competent contractor.

First and biggest red flag - He couldn't give a price for the job, he wanted to work by the hour. I didn't ask what his hourly rate is, it's none of my business in my opinion. But to me, a guy who's in the business, should easily be able to give a price for such a clear cut straight forward job with all materials provided and on location at his request.

He said it should take him "two days". He just wrapped up day 4. (half a day)
From what I can understand, not one day has gone by where he didn't have to leave early, run out and get something, etc etc.
In the 4 days he's been here, hes put in 30 hours of work, and is going back again tomorrow for day 5. His reason for leaving again, on day 4, half way through the day, was that he needed to get some more materials..

All materials were on site before the job ever started. Everything he requested after looking at the shower.
It just blows my mind that the guy is there all day long and doesn't have the foresight to show up the next day with the materials he will need for that days work..

Day 4 just wrapped up (he left after 1/2 day again - said he had "other jobs" to do - he's on 4 day of a '2 day' job, and couldn't even stick around the last 4 hours and finish it ?
So he's scheduled to come back again tomorrow, to "finish" it - day 5 of the 2 day job.

Like I said, it's a very touchy subject, and even bringing it up I can tell really bothers me father. To me it seems obvious he knows the guy is an idiot, but he doesn't want to admit it.
Him being my father, 74 years old, I am obviously very protective and mindful of how people operate when dealing with older folks who they see as easy money. I think he is a bit naive when it comes to this, and it hurts to see what I feel is someone taking advantage of him. The guy is literally taking 8+ hours to get one plastic wall put up each day it seems.

So I've taken some pictures of what it currently looks like, after day 4.
Keep in mind he has over 26 hours into this so far.

Aside from the obviously ridiculous amount of time its taking, and that he has to leave every day to get odds and ends, I am extremely concerned about the actual quality of his work.

What prompted me to join/post this was the fact that my father told me it would be all done tomorrow (day5) and to take a look at how nice it looked and told me the huge gap would be filled with sheetrock and painted... that was the biggest red flag in the series and enough was enough!


First and major concern - He told me the contractor was going to fill this gap with Sheetrock, yes sheetrock.


This sounds insane to me..? Sheetrock around the shower head? Painted sheetrock? HUH?
What in the world is wrong here? Why the huge gap? If this was a package deal bought from Home depot, a self contained shower stall, why would there be a 12" gap there?



I'm no bob villa - but alarm bells are going off everywhere just looking at this.
And again, keep in mind this is after 26+ hours of work.

Next thing I noticed - the brand new plastic ceiling pan has already been caulked once, and then removed.. he obviously changed his mind about something. Maybe he first had the shower walls up flush with the ceiling then changed his mind and moved them back down to the bottom?
Picture speaks for itself:


What in the world did he have that caulked to? He clearly sealed it up to something at one point, then changed his mind...like he first had the walls up flush with the ceiling then for some reason moved them down a foot to make them flush with the floor tray.. ? Either way hes second guessing himself clearly.

I just can't imagine a shower with sheetrock inside it..Every shower I've ever been in is tile/plastic tile around the shower head and on the whole interior of the shower..


This just does not seem like professional work to me.




Now the shower should be done tomorrow. But unfortunately he has already inquired (before the shower project started) about several other things that need to be done.
One being the kitchen ceiling (under this bathroom) needs replaced after the leaky pipe ruined it.
From the sounds of it.. he;s actually going to let this guy back in our house to do more work after this fiasco. I'm really at a loss for words.


Last edited by ford361; 06-19-2012 at 03:37 PM.
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Old 06-19-2012, 03:36 PM   #2
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Incompetent Contractor taking advantage ? (pictures)


I can't speak for his speed---

However--the area above that fiberglass shower is typically drywalled and painted.

It's done all the time without issue,

The plastic' ceiling is ceramic tile. (save during demolition)

So far I see little 'wrong' except his timing.

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Old 06-19-2012, 03:45 PM   #3
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Incompetent Contractor taking advantage ? (pictures)


Thank you for the reply Mike.
Like I said, I don't know much about this stuff, it just seemed a little odd that sheetrock would be installed in such a high moisture environment.
When I stand in that shower the top of the plastic wall is about level with my head (6ft) so basically any splashing off someones head, etc, would be directed directly onto the painted sheetrock. That's where I was concerned.

Any idea what he might have caulked the ceiling piece to before changing his mind?

Last edited by ford361; 06-19-2012 at 03:49 PM.
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Old 06-19-2012, 03:58 PM   #4
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Incompetent Contractor taking advantage ? (pictures)


See if you can find the install directions for this unit.
Small things I see that are missing, is a 2 X 4 where the two panels come together and he used what looks like sheetrock screw to attach the panels.
Most often it's suppost to be galvinized roofing nails. Reason being the nails will lay flatter and less likly to rust.

As long as he uses green, purple, or paperless sheet rock not just reguler sheetock at the top, it will be fine.
I'd guess that at least 80% of showers are done this way.
To set a pan and install those walls in most cases would be a one day job.
That would not include any of the demo or plumbing work.

There's no way to install the sheetock and finish it all in one day. It will take several several short days. Once it's up it will take seveal coats of drywall mud, caulking, sanding, priming and painting.
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Old 06-19-2012, 04:17 PM   #5
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Incompetent Contractor taking advantage ? (pictures)


Thank you for the reply Joe.

The install directions are long gone, all the boxes everything came in are long gone.
I was also concerned about that joint (the last pic in my post), as you have 2 pieces of the unit making a major connection with nothing behind to support, just a big gap. I'm assuming he will at least caulk it..

Thanks for reassuring that sheetrock IS the correct method for this type of install. I just have to wonder if he's going to use regular sheetrock, as thats all thats left out in the garage from all the materials, one 4x8 piece of regular sheetrock and nothing else.
Unless hes going to pick up the right stuff tonight.. who knows.

The demo was done the first day - completed.
The plumbing would have been done on the first day as well, but he apparently needed a fitting he didn't have and it was late so he finished the pipe the next morning.
So generously guesstimating it might have taken an additional 2-3 hours the following morning to button up the fitting he forgot for the plumbing, plus the first 8 hour day of demo, that would mean he still has another 16+ hours, over the course of 3 days, into what you're looking at in those pictures, as far as the plastic shower panels and doors.
Like you mentioned,by nature sheetrock cannot be done in a single day..so a 2 day-and done job has quickly spiraled into this.

There's no way the guy could stay in business like this, unless he charges by the hour, this is blatantly obvious now.

I'm starting to see why the man couldn't just give a price for the job up front and would rather work by the hour, with so many oversights in such a small scale job it would be hard to stay in business without charging by the hour.
He also mentioned he needs to get some "vinyl trim" to close the gaps where the shower stall meets the original sheetrock walls of the bathroom.
I have a hard time believing a professional could make so many oversights in the process of one shower cab install.

Last edited by ford361; 06-19-2012 at 04:20 PM.
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Old 06-19-2012, 04:30 PM   #6
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Incompetent Contractor taking advantage ? (pictures)


I've never seen vinyl trim used at that joint, it just gets caulked.
I'd be afaid water would get in behind the trim.
Most often the joint where the panels meet is not caulked, there's enough over lap and it's a vertical joint so water would just run down not sideways.
See if you can find the recept for the enclosure, it will have the SKU # just look it up on line and down load the install directions.
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Old 06-20-2012, 12:35 AM   #7
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Incompetent Contractor taking advantage ? (pictures)


Looks fine to me, Look at most tub surrounds you will see (especially older ones) the tile (or plastic unit like this) will typically not go to the ceiling. Moisture resistant is ideal, however IMO good quality bathroom paint and proper ventilation matter much more than whether it is greenboard or regular drywall. The 12'' gap has nothing to do with his work-that is the size of the unit.




You have to understand this work a bit as well-it is possible that what you interpret as "oversights" may be something he can't predict in an older bathroom, such as plumbing or a discovery behind a wall. He may be a bit slow and is not great at estimating, however incompetent and taking advantage? my take on your post and those pics is you are over reacting.



It's your father paying the man, up to him if he's happy with the work and what it costs him in the end. The total cost may not be unreasonable, even with the additional time, for what was done. Looks like he re-insulated the walls, for example.

Last edited by chrisBC; 06-20-2012 at 12:42 AM.
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Old 06-20-2012, 01:54 AM   #8
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Incompetent Contractor taking advantage ? (pictures)


Let's have a few pics lower down and an overview just to confirm any thing obvious.
But I'd have to agree with the others. So far it seems slow and disorganized but not grossly bad workmanship. (not perfect mind you but...)

In the end, this is the sort of thing that comes from employing friends.
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Old 06-20-2012, 06:30 AM   #9
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Incompetent Contractor taking advantage ? (pictures)


I think it is very hard to find efficient guys to handle these small projects. Most of the guys doing bathrooms are "Handyman+" outfits. The guys who have done bathrooms over and over again have hired helpers and moved onto Kitchens.

Companies like Bath Fitter stepped into the niche with a one solution model. They send out a guy to do all the measurements ahead of time and he sends a guy out with a truck that is equipped for any eventuality.

A bathroom is probably the most difficult room in the house to remodel with the exception of the Mechanical Room. Limited space, tight tolerances, waterproofing details that must hold up, carpentry, plumbing and dry-walling skills. The fact that he is taking half-day "breaks" could very well indicate he is taking his time to be sure he is using the correct materials/methods.

What is his hourly rate? If he's only charging for the time he is actually on site he's being more than fair, unless he's napping in the shower stall.

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Old 06-20-2012, 07:55 AM   #10
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Incompetent Contractor taking advantage ? (pictures)


I can show up with a 20 ft. trailer and a truck full of tools and fittings and still have to stop work to run out to go buy some simple little .50 cent fitting to complete the job.
When working on an old house unless you have X ray vison it is hard to come up with a turn key price. Once the walls come down you have no idea if your going to find mold, rotted wood, quest tubing that will need to be replaced, 2" or thicker morter with wire mesh that takes a long time to remove, undersized drain lines, no vent, ECT.
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Old 06-20-2012, 10:32 PM   #11
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That ceiling panel would not fit the top of the enclosure. As others have said seems fairly normal to me.
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Old 06-21-2012, 06:42 AM   #12
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That 'ceiling panel' is old (existing) ceramic tile---that why the vestiges of caulk left after demolition--

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