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Unread 03-08-2012, 11:01 AM   #1
Edthedawg
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Horrific job planned

Hi again all - been awhile since I posted here... Had to share this awful job planned for my parents' house.

We had been talking for about a year re: demoing their master bath - a 31x31 prefab shower wall / pan that was very moldy, and 1960's avocado green tile up the walls. Floor is small - maybe 5 x 5.

So finally we pulled the trigger - I got them to understand the benefits of a surface-applied sheet membrane product (i.e. KERDI) in a tiled shower, vs. going with a cheap pre-fab unit. We demo'd the whole room - massive amounts of black mold and water damage in the walls - and I left them with very specific plans for everything the plumber and tile guy needed to do.

Plumber came in with a great quote - like $500 to do the rough and finish work, including the sink drain & supplies, toilet flange and supply, and shower valve & riser.

Tile guy shocked me.

I had left specific instructions that we would give him a sheetrocked stall with a triple 2x4 curb, and one of us (him if he was comfortable doing it, or me if he was not) would install the mud/cement pan & KERDI drain, and install the KERDI on the walls, pan, curb, drain, etc. Then he would be cutting, setting, and grouting the shower tile, plus installing 1/4" Hardiebacker on the floor and cutting/tiling/grouting that.

SO you can imagine my surprise when his $3500 QUOTE (no that's not a typo) included the following:

Shower
  • Install 1/2" HardieBacker on shower walls
  • Apply HydroBan to seams
  • Cut and install shampoo niche w/ floating shelf
  • Install mud pan (liner / drain to be provided by owner)
  • Cut and install all tile
  • Apply Laticrete SpectraLOCK grout

Floors
  • Install 1/4" HardieBacker
  • Cut & install tile
  • Apple Spectralock grout

No mention of further waterproofing in the walls or shower pan. No mention of the thinset mortar to be used. Nothing more.

So I talked w/ the 'rents, and we agreed that this was not the plan we wanted, and that I'd send the guy an email, asking for clarification on his waterproofing plan, and letting him know what I had expected the overall plan to be.

I did this, and I was pretty nice - trying to be helpful, recommend places to get the Kerdi supplies, offering to do the sheetrock ourselves, etc.

No call or email back, til my parents call me today - all upset. Tile guy called them direct and basically bullied them into accepting his plan, as written. He's not working with other people and won't be told how to do his job. They don't want any more "hassle" about this project, they just want it done and fast.

I can't cross the parents, so I have to back down and now help them build it wrong! I told them to get the plumber on the line, and make sure he was planning to put in the liner and drain as part of his work, since (I thought) he understood we wanted a KERDI-type shower. I know he's going to put nail holes where they don't belong, if he even agrees to do it at all. I'll at least put some feltpaper on the studs, draped into the liner for them...

And worse, since they have paid for the work and put their foot down that they want this guy to do the work, I can't even go down there and do the work myself for them. "We trust this guy, he guarantees his work, they've done them like this for years, never had a problem..."

It's maddening. Had to share. Thanks for letting me rant. You can be sure i'm gonna be watching this shower like a hawk from now on - good thing the basement is drop-ceiling, so we'll know immediately when it fails.

I think I might stick around - now I'm inspired to go build myself a new shower in our house!
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Unread 03-08-2012, 11:13 AM   #2
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I don't see a question in there for us, Ed.

Possible it's not as bad as you think?
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Unread 03-08-2012, 11:17 AM   #3
Edthedawg
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Naw no question. Looking to see if there's something I should do differently other than piss off the tile guy and make him want to leave, then do it right myself.

I don't wanna make the situation worse for the parents. I just can't believe a highly reputable tilesetting shop in Preston, CT would charge so much for such a hack job. And then have the audacity to yell at the paying homeowners to make them go with his half-assed plan.
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Unread 03-08-2012, 11:43 AM   #4
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Sorry Ed, Although it sounds like the tile guy is a horses arse, your folks are OK with it. As much as it pains you and it certainly would me as well, I think you gotta let go. You did your job as a good son, but it is their house and their choice. Had a similar situation last week when my folks had "a guy" tile over some 70's era glued down tile in a bathroom. I was like, "what!?" I did the other bathroom with the same tile down and it took all of 10 minutes to pop it up. Bottom line was, they had the guy there doing other stuff and they wanted it done quick and they knew I was busy. Uhg! The only saving grace was "the guy" did nice looking job and it was only $300. Feel your pain for sure.
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Unread 03-08-2012, 12:50 PM   #5
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the pi**er is gonna be when it leaks, it'll probably be the plumber's fault - not the tile guy. But since he insisted on doing it his wrong way, it's being done that wrong way. And I doubt the plumber is gonna be too keen on making it "right" later on, including the extra expense for the shower to be retiled...
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Unread 03-08-2012, 02:48 PM   #6
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Ed, its not as bullet proof as you or I would do (Kerdi etc), but I dont see anything materially wrong with the plan. Plenty of showers done that way with no problems.
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Unread 03-08-2012, 03:21 PM   #7
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Doesn't the Hydroban cover the entire surface and not just the seams? Or did I read that wrong?
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Unread 03-08-2012, 03:53 PM   #8
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You're right Paul - Hydroban on the seams only. Hardie direct to the studs, tile direct to Hardie. No waterproofing. Anywhere. (edit: except those seams - I likened it to applying a lovely bead of silicone all around the edges of a kitchen sponge, and expecting it wouldn't soak up water in the sink...)

Unless I can add the roofing felt, which I'm certain they'll rip down. I know they'll at least compromise in when they put in the niche.

And I'm still scratching my head about who puts in the pan liner, which I'm certain won't have a pre-slope to it.
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