How Bad Is This Job?? - Tiling, ceramics, marble - DIY Chatroom Home Improvement Forum

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Old 07-25-2013, 10:52 PM   #1
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How bad is this job??

OK, I'll admit it. I am fed up, frustrated, and angry. I'm writing partially to vent, but partially also to see if I am off my rocker in my reaction.

Here's what happened (and continues to unfold):

Job: tiling a shower surround and small bathroom floor (20ish sq. feet).

The company came recommended, and the owner seemed professional, nice, and willing to work with me to save some money (I did the demo, took out the toilet, provided my own tile, etc.)

Estimated 2 days of work. Work was completed by two guys in one 10-hour day (including caulking). I appreciated this at first. But then, after waiting for everything to cure and getting back in the room, I started noticing problems:

1. Small sections of grout were done sloppily or not at all - several holes (many minor cosmetic ones, but still). Also, the mortar used on the floor was applied thickly such that it got into the toilet ring (and above it, too) preventing the reinstallation of the toilet (and even after the "fix" I could not remove the old bolts, or put in the new ones without bending the tabs of the toilet ring and jimmying out the bolts).

2. After they had come back once to address the above, when I went to reinstall the toilet, I could not seat it so that it was not rocking slightly. I was so ready to be done the job that I shimmed it and tightened down the bolts.

3. The holes they left in the tile did not match the fixtures I had. They had to come back again to address this. They claimed they had looked for the faucet plate, etc. when they were doing the job and didn't find it (though all they really had to do was ASK me for it and there would have been no problem). The demo they did of their previous work was done without a vacuum and without any warning of this so that I could, say, cover electronics or provide my own vacuum (or even just open a window!). Hello white cloud and white film on EVERYTHING in the master bedroom).

4. The final insult, which I discovered tonight, is that they left patches of mortar, grout, or who knows what in the carpet of our master bedroom! I don't even know what to do with this!

I am so angry at this point that I don't even know how to address the last thing. We did this job partly because we probably needed to, and partly to prep our condo for sale. They may have improved one room while effectively devaluing another! Tell me how bad this is, for real, and what I can do about it, if anything.

I know this is a DIY forum - but part of being a good DIYer is knowing your own limitations. I knew mine and had someone professional do this tile job. Was this a complete mistake? I'm asking those who know more about tiling than I do to weigh in here.




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Old 07-26-2013, 06:12 AM   #2
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Yikes---Where did you find this crew?

You have met a hack outfit--there is no way that I know of to tile a shower and a bath floor and get it grouted and caulked in one day---

We use carpet protector outside of the baths we work in---$40 a roll--this is not an item likely to be used by a 'low bidder'---

A really experienced installer would have removed the toilet bolts or at least clipped the tile so that new ones could be installed.

Same with the mixer valve----I know the opening size for the common brands---having done this many times before---

Did you get other bids? Were the prices all about the same or was this one much lower?


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Old 07-26-2013, 08:16 AM   #3
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I also haven't heard of tiles being grouted same day they are laid. Unless its a small patch job.
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Old 07-26-2013, 09:50 AM   #4
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You can tile and grout in one day with fast setting thinset. This is actually kind of typical for cheaper outfits, some of which obviously will be hacks.

I assume the man you spoke with who seemed "professional" is the owner, and didn't do the work. This is typical. He's trying to make money by paying cheap workers (who are obviously not professional) and then he makes his profit by simply showing up and getting you to pay. There's nothing wrong with this, except the part about him using cheap hacks to do the work.

Stop payment. This could not have been a very expensive job, so the company is not going to spend a ton of money or time to fight it. You can compromise with them and pay them a third for your time and trouble in hiring someone else to fix it. If they complain let them take you to court (which they probably won't do). In the meantime, get estimates for fixing all the problems perfectly (including the ones you already did). That will probably add up to the cost of the job to begin with.
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Old 07-26-2013, 10:24 PM   #5
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Found this crew through our realtor - whose family (and some clients) has used this company several times and been pleased with the results, apparently. Generally, his recommendations have been sound ones.

We tried to get others to come give bids (also folks who came recommended by someone or another) and several times over people did not show up, return calls, etc. These folks we hired were the only folks who actually showed up for the bid, on time, as promised. Yes, the bid was low, but not alarmingly low.

We cannot stop payment. We paid them after last visit (when we thought all was completed to satisfaction) and before we discovered the carpet. They cashed the check before we could stop payment (of course).

I doubt we will hear from them again, but you can be darn sure they will be hearing from me. And hearing from me. And hearing from me. I don't really have the time for this, but if we have to take them to small claims court, I am not above that. When someone screws me over, I don't take it lightly.

Thanks for your feedback. It is greatly appreciated.
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Old 07-26-2013, 10:51 PM   #6
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Sorry about your bad experience, doesn't sound very good.

As long as there's people looking for a cheap price, there will be hacks out there willing to do crappy work in exchange. Since there's little regulation, and almost no enforcement concerning tilework, these people prey on homeowners who think they're getting $10 worth of work for $7.

You need to document the events and send them a letter giving them a specific amount of time, (like 10 days), to make things right.

As Mike asked, where did you find these people? ....Oh, I see you answered. that.

You've learned that paying too little is often too expensive, but, how were you to know?

TILE GUY - retired- TROY, MI - Method & Product suitability consulting.

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Old 07-27-2013, 11:28 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by JazMan View Post
You've learned that paying too little is often too expensive
There's probably a saying in there somewhere. I used to say "I don't use cheap paint - it's too expensive." There was another someone said like "If you think hiring me is expensive, try hiring a hack."
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Old 07-30-2013, 02:28 AM   #8
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Well, guess I learned my lesson. There's inexpensive/less expensive and then there's cheap which, as you rightly pointed out, is not exactly cheap in the end. I thought I was in the first zone not the second. The thing that's so frustrating is that ALL of these things could have been very very easily prevented with simple attention to detail and a little greater care.

I will say, though, that the owner actually answered the phone when I called tonight. He didn't just blow me off (or at least acted like he was not blowing me off) - said he'd take a look at the carpet and take care of it. I'm still not holding my breath (said he'd call to schedule formally with me tomorrow - we'll see about this), but I was at least temporarily encouraged by the fact that he even answered the phone and spoke with me.

We shall see.

In the meantime, I am pricing carpet replacement and researching small claims court.

Thanks for all your feedback.

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Old 07-30-2013, 08:23 AM   #9
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pictures please.
Mike Hawkins


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