Quality Workmanship? [Archive] - Ceramic Tile Advice Forums - John Bridge Ceramic Tile


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07-21-2011, 08:57 AM
Hi everyone,

I was hoping to get some opinions from actual professionals. I hope this is the proper forum for this type of discussion.

I recently hired a GC to replace a tub and tile the alcove. They did the job but the tub was installed off level and left water pooling. When I brought this to the GC's attention he agreed there was a problem and offered to re-set the tub. I agreed to let him. When he showed up to level the tub he removed a course of tile with a grinder which damaged the tiles above and the hardibacker behind the tiles. He replaced the tiles without little to no repair done to the backer, which left about an 1/8 inch or more gap between the lip of the tub and the backer as well as other larger gaps in other places. He did place a small patch of green board in one section, i think because there is an electrical outlet on the other side of the wall in that location. When I saw this work I was furious and tore it all out and repaired it myself. There is no way I will let this guy continue work on my house.

So my question is am I being fair to be so upset about this job?
Also, I still owe this guy about half of what we agreed upon, I have no clue how to handle this.

Thanks for reading.

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07-21-2011, 09:05 AM
I'm no professional, but I would definitely be mad too. It sounds like he didn't install the hardie backer so it overlaps the tub's tiling flange?

07-21-2011, 09:09 AM
Welcome, John. :)

Without seeing what was done (you got any photos) it's difficult to comment on what should/should not have been done.

Some of it would depend upon what method of waterproofing was used for the tub surround and how much damage, if any was done to it during the removal of the tiles.

Damaging the remaining tiles, of course, was unacceptable.He did place a small patch of green board in one section, i think because there is an electrical outlet on the other side of the wall in that location.Shouldn't have been any sheetrock in the wet area to patch. But, again, without a lot more information it's difficult to comment.

The biggest problem here is of your own making, I'm afraid. You should never have touched the work with which you were not satisfied. You should have called the contractor back to repair his damage. Otherwise, you really have no legal leg to stand on when it comes time to pay him. He can now say the work was fine until you tore it out. And that's gonna be very difficult for you to argue, eh? :shades:

My opinion; worth price charged.

07-21-2011, 09:14 AM
That's correct AaronT, and probably the kindest way to put it. CX, I wanted to post a pic but kept getting an error when I tried to upload.
Thanks for your comments.

07-21-2011, 09:25 AM
Sorry for double post.

cx, you are right about leaving the work for him to fix, but I'm in a situation where I need this work completed (which is why I hired someone in the first place). I did take photos before I removed the unsatisfactory (in my opinion) work. He's had 2 tries to get this right, how many second chances do I need to allow him? Also I removed his tile work because it had only been up for a few hours so I was able to get them taken down in about 15 minutes with minimal damage. He used a premix and not the bag of thinset I left for him. There is a cornucopia of "nitpicks" that I'm leaving out, I'm trying to focus on what I consider to be unquestionably incorrect.

Ok added Pics (read the faq linked in your post :)
This is what I found when I removed the tiles, and the second pic is of the install he did.

07-21-2011, 09:32 AM
You should be able to post photos stored on your computer using the little paper-clip icon above the Reply dialog box, John. If your photos are smaller than about 2Meg in electronic size, the program should re-size it for you to fit on here. Up to five photos per post.

07-21-2011, 09:47 AM
I agree with CX. You completely undermined any legal action on your part to remove him from the job without paying him in full for the work. You can try to make an offer of less then full payment, but if he files a lein or takes you to court, he'll win.

07-21-2011, 10:40 AM
Thanks for the comments. I'm waiting to hear from the owner of the place. I'll be surprised if he doesn't demand full payment. I do feel like I probably owe him a bit more money but to pay him full for this work is going to turn my stomach. I get sick when I think how lucky I am he didn't grout the tiles. If he had I would have not seen the full extent of how botched the job was and I may have just accepted the work as only cosmetically flawed.

I am really disturbed that someone could do this. He had to know that was going to wind up leaking......:sick:

I basically had no choice but to fix it myself. The bathroom needs to be usable ASAP. I'm in a pinch because we had to wait weeks for him to re-level the tub (with wooden shims). If doing the work myself and still paying this guy is the only alternative to letting him finish it, I guess that is the preferred outcome. That's probably the best way for me to look it, for my health's sake anyway. Maybe I'll see if the BBB can mediate?

07-21-2011, 10:46 AM
For your mental health's sake, cut the check and move on.

07-21-2011, 02:22 PM
Hey guys,

Sorry I'm still stewing over this...wondering if anyone else would comment on my first question of, am I justified to be dissatisfied with this work?

When looking at the second photo, the material from about 1-1/4 inches to 2-1/4 inches is the plastic batt from the insulation, behind the backer. This is the left most grout line from the first picture. At a minimum I should have the backer covering some portion of the lip of the tub, right??


07-21-2011, 02:44 PM
I myself bring my backer down to about 1/16th above the tub lip and then have my vapor barrier ( with cbu ) come out and over the tub edge so any water that got behind the tile will work its way out to the tub. With dense shield or any other waterproof system as a backer I apply a bead of caulking to seal the cap between the top of the lip and the backerboard. Never worked with hardi board as its not around my area so I am not sure if it is more like CBU or denseshield, but I do not overlap the lip in either case. Overlapping the tub with your backer causes it to lip out a bit and makes for an unflat surface to tile to especially in your corners.

Houston Remodeler
07-21-2011, 03:02 PM
Can you post one more pic? One that includes nearly all the tub and surrounding space a bit?

07-21-2011, 03:09 PM
This is the best I have with me here...also there is no vapor barrier here.

07-21-2011, 03:57 PM
John, his repair with the sheetrock is completely unacceptable and almost certainly in violation of your local building code.

The lack of any kind of water containment or waterproofing membrane is in violation of industry standards and the CBU manufacturer's installation instructions.

That part of the problem could serve you well in any legal dispute.

How many times you gotta let a contractor try to repair a mistake? Technically, at least one. Beyond that it gets a bit gray, think I.

And dispute there will be, since I see no way to effectively repair what you have, since there is no moisture barrier behind that already-tiled CBU wall. Only real fix here is to tear out what's there and start over.

I doubt he'll be willing to do that. I doubt you'll be willing to have him do that.

My opinion; worth price charged.

07-21-2011, 06:35 PM
And he fixed it with "MASTIC". BB above the tub wall, no WP. Looks like a train wreck waiting to happen. What kind of a comtract do you have with him?


07-21-2011, 07:48 PM
Hammy makes a good point too. Did he use the mastic for the whole surround or just the repair? Mastic should not be used in wet areas.

Houston Remodeler
07-21-2011, 09:41 PM
By now we know the entire tub surround should come down and be properly done. Not sure who's going to pay for that though.

07-21-2011, 10:12 PM
If the guy used the proper type of organic adhesive (mastic) and used it per manufacturer's instructions and industry standards, that's not something that can be sited as an installation deficiency here.

Y'all might not like the stuff and might not think it the best product for the application, but it's not technically part of this problem.

My opinion; worth price charged.

Houston Remodeler
07-22-2011, 06:08 AM
The lack of a vapor barrier and the green board doesn't sink this job? :scratch:

07-22-2011, 06:53 AM
Thanks for all the comments. As I mentioned I have done my best to repair the job myself. (I feel pretty confident in my ability, I read a lot of posts here years ago when I remodeled our other bathroom.)
It was not possible for me to install a vapor barrier without removing everything. I did however install a new, complete backer behind the tiles I removed and used thinset to patch all the joints. I'm pretty confident that it's now at least up to scratch. I finished grouting last night and it was a huge relief because my tile job actually looks pretty good!

They did use thinset on the rest of the job because I made an issue of the premix stuff they had brought in. I forget what it was called but I remember reading on the label that it was not recommended for shower floors, and was "acceptable" for use on shower walls. I asked them about redguard and they looked at me like I had two heads. I figured the redguard was really above and beyond so I didn't press it, assuming these guys were pro's and didn't need lowly homeowner telling them how to work.

Thanks again for the support, this weekend I'll seal the grout and stone, recaulk all the corners, and hopefully be done with this.