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Unread 05-24-2008, 04:13 PM   #1
palladio
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Is this bid crazy or am I?

I live in New York City and am about to do a cosmetic makeover of a 1940's bathroom.

I just got a bid from a tile setter, and to me it sounds awfully high even for NYC.

Note that the bid is for labor only as I will be supplying all the tile.

1. Remove old grout and regrout 80 square feet of existing 4"x4" wall tiles. $1000

2. Remove 4"x4" tile from shower and replace with subway tile, 80 square feet of surface area. $4,300

3. Install 16"x16" marble tiles over existing tile floor (floor is level and in very good shape), 60 square feet of surface area $1600

I know that things are going to be more expensive in NYC than most places, but if you break this down it works out to the following labor rates:

1. $12.50 per square ft to regrout tile
2. $54 per square ft to remove and install new tile
3. $27 per square ft to install new flooring tile over existing floor

When I include the cost of materials it means that just retiling a 3'x3' shower stall is going to run me about $5200.

On top of this the plumber wants to charge me $2600 to install a new shower pan, so to retile the shower is going to be nearly $8000!

I'm not a contractor, but I can't imagine this work would take one experienced guy more than a week (if that). Even if it took him 40 hours to do this, we're talking $175 an hour.

Is this bid even in the ballpark? What would it typically cost in other metro areas?

Anyone know a good tile setter in Manhattan who might give me another bid?

Last edited by palladio; 05-24-2008 at 04:19 PM.
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Unread 05-24-2008, 04:45 PM   #2
Tool Guy - Kg
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Square foot prices don't mean a thing. They only mean something to places like Home Depot that have no real way of bidding jobs other than to plug a generic sq/ft number into their computer to make it easier.

Are there any special considerations at your home? I'm assuming it's a free standing house and not in a high-rise. What floor is the work being done on? Is there parking right outside your home, or does the contractor need to park down the road? You said this is labor only, but I'm assuming the contractor is supplying the backerboard, fasteners, setting material, mesh tape, grout, and haul away?

Compared to prices around these parts, the re-grouting sounds a little high, but nobody like re-grouting. Nobody. The 16" floor tile job sounds high for installing directly over the last floor (hopefully, that's going to be ok). But the shower might not be too far off. You said the plumber is putting in a pan....is that a custom made pre-fab pan or is it a mud pan that the tileguy need to tile? And are you sure he isn't doing any other plumbing?...like changing out the mixer? And does the shower area consist of 4 walls, a tiled ceiling, and a tiled door jamb?

It's ok to ask about prices on the forum, but we may be a little more generic than what's helpful to you. I hate to say this, but the best way to compare prices is to go through the work of getting 2 or 3 bids and examining them very carefully. Apples to apples. Lotsa questions.
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Last edited by Tool Guy - Kg; 05-24-2008 at 04:50 PM.
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Unread 05-24-2008, 04:47 PM   #3
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$2600 for just a shower pan?
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Unread 05-24-2008, 05:12 PM   #4
palladio
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The apartment is in a high rise on the 32nd floor. There is a dedicated freight elevator. The contractor will have to park on the street.

The shower has 3 walls, a ceiling and one with a glass door. Only the interior walls are being retiled. I will be removing the glass door.

I have another contractor who is going to remove all the debris from the job site, and I am being charged separately for this. The general contractor will also be supplying all the necessary floor protection in the apartment (it is going to be repainted at the same time).

The plumber is removing all the fixtures. As I understand it, he will be installing lead floor pan. Not sure if it is "custom" or not.

I am supplying tile only, and not grout or other items.

Last edited by palladio; 05-24-2008 at 05:18 PM.
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Unread 05-24-2008, 05:17 PM   #5
palladio
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And if you think the $2600 floor pan is a bad deal. How about another $1500 to remove and install one toilet and one sink in existing locations (new fixtures supplied by me and the old ones hauled off by me, by the way so he just has to disconnect them and hook the new ones up)?

Then there's an additional $700 charge if the existing floor flange and/or lead bend for the toilet aren't long enough and he has to install a new one.

I really can't imagine this job would take a plumber more than one day and he is charging me $4100.
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Unread 05-24-2008, 05:20 PM   #6
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Yo Alex.





I'll sit in the truck so you don't get towed away.
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Unread 05-24-2008, 05:24 PM   #7
Splinter
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Quote:
I really can't imagine this job would take a plumber more than one day and he is charging me $4100.
I knew I should have been a plumber! I've tried and tried, but just cant get the required buttcrack to show, though...

<sigh> back to tilework...


Richie, I knew you'd be around here soon enough...



Now honestly... If you're going to pay a plumber so much for so little, why the gripe about paying the tilesetter for what amounts to a helluva lot more work? Im not trying to be mean, I promise... I just dont understand the double standard...

The last shower I did in NYC was 3x3, and I had to charge over $4K... Granted, it was a Kerdi shower, so they got a better product, but they also got the discount for being in the 'burbs (Brooklyn), because parking and freight elevators was a non-issue.
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Last edited by Splinter; 05-24-2008 at 05:31 PM.
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Unread 05-24-2008, 05:42 PM   #8
tileguytodd
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Quote:
The apartment is in a high rise on the 32nd floor. There is a dedicated freight elevator. The contractor will have to park on the street.
And parking will be difficult to find...Parking tickets numerous....do they Tow after x amount of hours??

In my experience it takes twice as long to do nearly ANY job thats above a 2nd floor.

We dont have High Rises where I am but ive heard lots of the guys talking about these jobs.

Freight Elevators are great but in some buildings you gotta grease the operator to make it available to you and really grease him to make it CONVENIENT to you.

Some of the big city guys can fill you in on Other Special circumstances but the way I understand it, Nobody like to work in manhatten.

Based on some of the things ive heard, you may have been fortunate to get a Bid at all

I dont mean to sound all doom & gloom, i'm just basing this on some of the pro chit chat over the years.
Keep in mind, Time it takes to do the job is what you are being charged for.
With the costs out there I would expect to see Shop Labor rates at or near 150.00 per hour.
Subway tile takes longer to install than Most people think. You may be off slightly on your estimate on the amount of time this project will take.

While I would encourage you to seek at least 1 more bid, I suspect they'll be similar if compared apples to apples.

Good Luck to you!!
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Unread 05-24-2008, 06:03 PM   #9
ceramictec
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in the city you can usually curb unload or use a back entrance.
some jobs have dedicated parking in the back and sides of the building, but you need to have a parking permit from the GC. if not, you need to get a parking space and thats usually $10 to $15 a day.
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Unread 05-24-2008, 06:10 PM   #10
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I'm from Central MA. and a plumber I know told me one time, ( loose lips), that he charges 600.00 to install the pan liner in a walk in shower. For that money he does block the walls in the stud bays too. Big whoop!

Oh yeah that's a pan liner flat on the floor, done. Plumbers.

That tile price might be a little high, might not be for your neck of the woods. That's more than 40 hrs work BTW

I do get down to the city once or twice a year,...for those numbers maybe
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Unread 05-24-2008, 07:59 PM   #11
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New York City? Isn't that the place where you can get a sheltered parking space for $1800 a month? The price sounds good to me, (If that's where you choose to live)
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Unread 05-24-2008, 08:44 PM   #12
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Ahhhhhh, the 32nd floor. That fills in some blanks.

Last really big job I had was way up in a high-rise in downtown Milwaukee. Even with a loading dock and elevator, the time consumed with parking and messing with transporting tools and supplies is quite substantial. I secured 2 parking places down the block by paying the city $300 to "bag" the meters so only I could use the spaces. Didn't stop others from using them, though. The extra time spent parking on downtown job is just ridiculous.

The plumber's prices are high enough that it looks to me like they are doubling their regular fees due to working in a high-rise. I say this, but freely admit I don't live there and know your local costs. If I'm not mistaken, you guys pay more in property taxes than most folks in the rest of the country spend on their mortgage. That makes it very hard to compare acurately. Price aside, I'd still have reservations if they intend to actually install an old-time lead pan. I'd want a pre-slope....and something that doesn't corrode. I'd opt for a CPE liner and clamping drain.
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Unread 05-24-2008, 09:40 PM   #13
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I think the plumbers price might be more out of line than the tileman's. I did a highrise job a few months ago and my prices were at least as high as your guy. I actually was looking forward to doing the job since I priced it so high. In the end there wasn't much money made, took way too long to do. It kills 30 minutes just to make a trip to the truck for a tool.
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Unread 05-24-2008, 11:01 PM   #14
palladio
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Look, I'm not a tile setter or a plumber,though I have rebuilt a few engines and repaired cars, so I'm not a total stranger to the concept of how many hours it takes to do a project. I also retiled a number of floors (albeit with linoleum which must be much easier) and changed out a few toilets when I was in the Navy.

I get your point that the plumber is higher than the tile guy, I have no doubt that is true.

I don't get why you all are so wound up about parking.

Let's forget the tile guy for a minute and go to the plumber. Maybe I'm mistaken and need to be set straight, but how on God's green earth would it take a qualified plumber more than one 8 hour day to swap out one sink and one toilet in existing locations, and lay a 3x3 shower pan when the tile demo has already been done? At $4200 this is over $500 an hour. So you all are making a big deal out of parking and the freight elevator, and the fact that I'm on the 32nd floor. If it takes him one day, he can park across the street in a garage for all of $32. He can load up his tool box (he is not responsible for delivering the tub or toilet, or removing the old ones), ride up the elevator and do his job all day. At $4200, I think he can probably cover the parking fees and the 10 minutes it takes to walk 50 yards from the garage and take the freight elevator up. I would understand if we were talking about major demolition, where he would have to cart lots of stuff down the elevator, but that is not the case.

So back to the tile guy. With the information I've given , is it really more than a 40 hour job? How long do you think it would take to remove tile (again, no responsibility for carting tile out of the apartment) from a 3x3 shower and re tile it in subway tile?

How long does it take to lay 60 square feet of 15"x15" tile over an existing (clean and level) tile floor, with only a cutout for a tub?

How long would it take to regrout 80 sq ft. of 4x4 tile?

I'm no pro, but I regrouted the same shower of 80 sq. ft. in about 7 hours five years ago. I didn't do the best job, but I don't do it every day.

I figure the floor can be laid in one day. The tile can be regrouted in one day. And the shower demo and retiling would take about two to three days. So we have five days and about $7000 worth of labor. Sorry, but I just don't get it.

I'm all for a guy making a living, but as a fairly skilled person, I can't get my mind around a plumber making $4000 a day or a tile setter making $1400 a day. I used to land F-14 Tomcats on aircraft carriers for about $1200 a week, and I'm pretty certain that was just as stressful as dealing with NYC parking and a freight elevator.

Seriously though, am I really that far off on the hours for the tiling portion of the job? I just don't know what it takes to set subway tile, so maybe I am way out of line here. I am however quite sure that the plumber can do his job in one day and that I am getting pretty well skewered on that job.

Last edited by palladio; 05-24-2008 at 11:18 PM.
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Unread 05-25-2008, 06:54 AM   #15
Splinter
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I don't get why you all are so wound up about parking.
It's always been an issue with contractors.. We dont know where you live, so we have to assume the worst. I've had to wait a half hour just to get the truck in front of the building to unload, I've waited longer for a freight elevator to come back down. (I dont mean once in awhile either.. It's usually multiple times a day) A lot of garages wont take a pickup truck either, especially if we have ladder racks on top.

Most buildings have rules about working hours. Residential buildings are usually 8-4. That means we get to sit in horrible rush hour traffic twice a day.

I'm a business, so I have overhead. (shop rent, electric, gas, truck payment, et) That $1400 is cut back to $1100/day. I'd like the business to generate a profit... Down to $900/day. I pay taxes, workers comp, and double the Social Security... Damn, I'm not making much for the long days in Manhattan, am I?

Please dont think I'm being aggressive here.. I'm just trying to help you understand the costs involved, and I never use enough smilies in the text..

Is it too early for a
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