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Unread 09-02-2017, 01:00 PM   #1
Diytilegrl
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Am I being too picky-or should I expect better for the price?

Hi all!! I've been getting great tips for years from reading this forum and have had some great results with projects of my own because of them! Now I'm here for advice...
I hired a contractor to build new bathrooms in my restaurant.. I've used him for several jobs in the past and he's always done a great job for me. I went into this project pretty positive that we would have the same outcome. This is not the case...
Things were not going great and got worse when the tile installation began. We're paid up to the point where the Ditra and CBU had been installed. Our most recent invoice is for the tile installation to date only (started June 6- still not complete)
Some notes to give perspective:
All tile and materials were ordered and paid for by me, as requested by the contractor.
Floor surface: 285 sq ft, Ditra XL, 16x16 ceramic tile set on the diagonal.
Wall surface: 685 sq ft, Schluter System cove bases and corner trims, CBU backed, 3x6 Low grade subway tile, running bond, very basic 2 color pattern.
Ditra was installed using the wrong, not loosely mixed thinset. They were supposed to replace it, but did not. He said the weight of the tile would hold it down.
Floor tile is already done- poorly IMO. Very uneven grout lines that vary from 3/16"-1/2", lots of lippage throughout the finished product.
The cove base and trim pieces were cut and screwed into the backer board instead of being adhered by the thinset. Horrible, inconsistent job meeting up corner pieces with the cove base. Every one is different.
As for the subway tile- The seams on the CBU were never taped as requested, very obvious mess up with the pattern in a visual corner. Major lippage all through the wall surface. Predetermined pattern was messed up by starting out with a half tile on the bottom, which was supposed to be a whole tile. Had to change the original trim to accommodate the mistake without having a cut tile at eye level. Not a huge deal, but it was a pain to return them and order new, larger, more expensive ones. The finished height of the wall tile is not level- is off by up to an inch in several places. Also, trim pieces are not up and the grouting has not been done.
Most recent invoice: $14,000- just for this poor installation. I'm certainly no professional, but I've done better myself. I've also never hired out a tile job, so I reasonably have no idea what it costs.
The contractor is no longer working on my job, he took offense to my criticism about the tile installation. Refuses to repair or replace any of it and I refuse to pay the full invoice amount...
If the job was well done I wouldn't have a problem with that amount. However, I just don't believe the quality of this install is inline with his price for installation....
I'm going to try to figure out how to post images...
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Last edited by Diytilegrl; 09-03-2017 at 12:45 PM.
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Unread 09-02-2017, 01:36 PM   #2
rmckee84
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Sounds poorly done, and he sounds like a hack..."the weight of the tile will hold it down" wtf is he saying? That the tile will hold down the ditra?
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Unread 09-02-2017, 01:49 PM   #3
cx
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Welcome, Allison.

Use the paper-clip icon above the Reply dialog box to attach photos from storage on your computer.

Sounds like you've hired the wrong guy. Most important thing you can do at this point is not pay him until this is all straightened out.

What kind of floor is under this tile installation?

Why Ditra XL instead of Ditra?

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 09-02-2017, 02:40 PM   #4
Diytilegrl
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Floor was originally plywood, then for some reason a 2" deep layer of cement based leveler was poured on top. That changed the thinset that was originally purchased for use. He told me he took it back to exchange it in for the correct one, he did not.
Ditra XL- simply because that's what was in stock at the nearest big box store an hour away.
Again, this is all new construction- built by him. Is $14,000 really reasonable for just the labor involved in setting this tile? That doesn't include prep work, that had already been done and was paid for. I've already paid for all necessary materials. Nothing but mixing thinset and attaching tile... Well done I would think that a fair price, but not for the botched up job that I've got.
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Unread 09-02-2017, 04:25 PM   #5
cx
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Tell us more about this "cement based leveler."

He did calculations to ensure the structure was suitable for the weight of this added two inches of "leveler?"

If he had a thinset mortar suitable for bonding to the plywood, it would be more than adequate for bonding to any Portland cement-based surface and your tile?

You'll need to put your geographic location into your User Profile and then give us a whole lot more information about your tile installation for anyone to even hazard a guess at the reasonableness of your cost. And it will be no more than guessing, especially without photos.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 09-02-2017, 10:06 PM   #6
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Rates vary by region. Also rates for commercial and residential work are not the same. Commercial tile installs tend to be of slightly rougher quality, but also tend to be about 1/2 the price of residential work. For commercial work of the scope you described I would be charging $6 to $7 per square foot including installing the ditra and trim. So for easy math let's say your project is 1000 square feet. Around here that would be a $6000 to $7000 install with outstanding quality. Downtown New York, it could easily be double that, so we can't give you good advice without your location.

Like CX said, don't pay another dime unless the courts make you or everything is fixed to industry standards. The Ditra mess alone has me worried, that stuff needs to be glued down really well.
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Unread 09-02-2017, 10:44 PM   #7
mark999
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Sorry about your unfortunate situation. We see this all the time. I usually do not say this but sounds like you need to talk to someone with a law degree. I would not tear out anything until it can be documented. There were so many things done wrong you will not have any problem finding the hack neglagent and or incompetent.

Good luck
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Unread 09-03-2017, 07:30 AM   #8
Dave Gobis
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History tells me replacement cost is double to triple the original cost. If you give him the money it will cost even more to chase him and make it right, assuming he has the ability to do so. The whole process is very distasteful.
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Unread 09-03-2017, 01:10 PM   #9
Diytilegrl
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Sorry about the lateness of my reply, in the restaurant/bar business weekends are my busiest times! I'm located in a small town in North Central PA.

I'm unsure of rather or not he calculated anything about the structure before pouring the excessive amount of leveler. When the Ditra and thinset were originally purchased, I had a wooden substrate and picked up the modified thinset recommended on the Ditra packaging. I was not aware of his intent to use the leveler. It hadn't been brought up at all and there was nothing in the blueprints about building the surface up. Before he intended to install the Ditra a couple weeks later, he mentioned doing a skim coat of the leveler over the entire surface. I thought it unnecessary, again this was new construction- floor should have been quite level. He told me that the thinset I had picked up would need to be traded in for unmodified for the Ditra installation. He loaded it up one day and said he was returning it. I was out for a couple of days and when I returned the floor leveler was poured and hardened and he was preparing to install the Ditra.

Think I've figured out the picture uploading... We'll see lol
The picture of the Ditra was taken then day after the installation. It's a collage of what it looked like compared to what it should have looked like.
The inconsistencies in the grout lines are throughout the entire floor area.
The lippage on the wall tile is also prevalent throughout the installation area.
A look at the front entry to the bathroom where you can clearly see there is nothing underneath that section of tile.
The cuts around the plumbing fixtures and electrical boxes are all this rough looking...
I have over 100 pictures similar to this..
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