Ceramic Tile Advice Forums - John Bridge Ceramic Tile

Welcome to John Bridge / Tile Your World, the friendliest DIY Forum on the Internet


Advertiser Directory
JohnBridge.com Home
Buy John Bridge's Books

Go Back   Ceramic Tile Advice Forums - John Bridge Ceramic Tile > Tile & Stone Forums > Tile Forum/Advice Board

Sponsors


Reply
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Unread 03-08-2020, 07:48 AM   #1
ljmccon
Home Improvement Enthusiast
 
ljmccon's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2020
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 4
Do I need to fire my contractor?

Greetings, tile pros! My name is Lyle, and I've been a lurker on these boards for many years. I'm a serious home improvement hobbyist, and I've learned everything I know about tiling from reading through all of your commentary on these boards, from reading John Bridge's 'Tile Your World' cover-to-cover, and from consuming all the Schluter literature I can get my hands on. So, thanks to you all for the knowledge! Mr. Bridge, I salute you!

Here's the situation: My parents are doing a complete remodel of their home (they're in Florida, and I'm in California, so I'm not there to handle this), and we're having some issues with our contractor. We really need your opinions on how to handle – namely, whether or not we should cut our losses, shut this down now, and let this contractor go. I'll do my best to summarize the situation as briefly as possible (and I will fail ):

Job Scope: Our tile contractor was originally hired to install two Schluter showers (Kerdi-board + mud bed + standard Schluter drain) in two bathrooms (main and master); remove tile flooring in a small half bath (to be replaced with vinyl plank); install tile backsplash in the kitchen; install vinyl plank flooring throughout the house; and install baseboard throughout the house. At this point, we're focused on the two showers already in process and are anticipating we may need to find a new contractor(s) for the other work. Our home is your typical Tampa, Florida slab-on-grade ranch.

About us: It would be fair to say that we are particular. We expect the job to be done properly, and we have enough knowledge to know whether or not that is happening.

Current relationship with contractor: Is pretty tense. It's pretty clear no one is happy, right now. We aren't pleased with the quality of his work, and he isn't pleased with our objections.

Historical issues we have had with the contractor:
  1. After leveling the slab throughout the house, the contractor used Merkrete Fracture Guard over all slab cracks in the entire house. It was everywhere. Once we learned that the vinyl plank manufacturer would not warranty their product installed over that tacky membrane, it all had to be ground off.
  2. Major inconsistencies in Kerdi-board installation. Put briefly, the installs were all over the place: not enough washers/screws used, required 2" overlaps were not maintained, many unnecessary seams/joints, Kereck corners missing or improperly installed (one was sliced down the middle and installed upside down), one of the shower valve seals installed backwards, Kerdi-band rounded in the corners, Kerdi-band bubbled and not properly adhered, niche installed two inches off center – it was a mess.
  3. Required 16" OC framing (per Schluter spec) not maintained: some of the house's furring strips/studs were 20-24" OC, and the Kerdi board was installed on them without adding the necessary additional framing. Once we discovered this, portions of the master bath Kerdi board were removed to add the framing; and the main bath Kerdi board was completely re-done (because, as mentioned, it was a MESS; the master was salvageable).
  4. In the main bathroom, contractor inexplicably used a KERDI-DRAIN-A clamping-ring-drain adapter kit. Which means rather than simply installing a standard PVC Kerdi-drain flange (like he did in the master), he installed a clamping-ring drain in the main bath, then used the KERDI-DRAIN-A kit to convert it to an ABS Kerdi-drain flange. Totally baffling. He couldn't explain himself on that one, and we decided to overlook it in the interest of keeping things moving.
  5. Tiling began, and contractor started on the walls without a ledger board (meaning, he was starting at the very bottom of the wall, with the first course); we requested the wall tile be installed over the floor tile and suggested he use a ledger board. Ultimately, contractor elected instead to set the floor first, then started on the wall from the ground up, again.
  6. The large-format tile needed to be U-cut (notched) over the curb in the main bath. Instead, contractor cut the tile in two: an L-cut and an extra little chunk to piece around the curb. When we questioned this, he reluctantly removed it and installed the tile correctly the following day after ordering more tile to replace what he ruined.

Where we stand now (see pics!): The contractor has set the master bath floor and almost all the tile in the main bath.
  1. Main Bath Floor: It's a mess. We're concerned with the unadhered tiles, the thinset squeeze-out that's been left to dry, spilled dollops of thinset that have been left to dry on the surface, etc. The contractor has left all this to dry and harden over the weekend, and actually plans to grout on Monday. (We also requested a chrome drain to match our plumbing hardware, but we somehow ended up with a brushed nickel drain.)
  2. Wonky Tile Spacing: From afar, the glass mosaic looks okay; but get a little closer, and there are several areas with very wonky spacing.
  3. Thinset Squeeze-Out: Like on the floor, the wall has several areas where the thinset is squeezing out pretty significantly through the grout joints. Again, this has been left to dry and harden for several days.
  4. Visible Kerdi: It's pretty clear that the contractor has not been using proper technique for mixing/applying the thinset. Ridges under the glass are still clearly visible, and you can even see orange Kerdi peeking through the grout lines in certain areas. Definitely concerned about how well these tiles are adhered.
  5. Uneven Cuts: The cuts on the glass mosaic (around the window, next to the ceiling, etc.) leave a little something to be desired.
  6. Niche Jolly: The Schluter profiles around the niche are definitely botched. They're cut too short, and it doesn't look like there was even an attempt at making 45-degree miters. Thinset is simply packed into the gaping corners.
  7. Window Finec: Around the window, we have a similar problem. The Schluter profiles are cut (way) short, and it doesn't look like any attempt was made to miter the corners. Thinset is packed into the gaping spaces. Also, it's hard to see in the pics, but it appears the Finec height is too short. The tiles bordering the Finec are pitched down toward the Finec to make it work (i.e. those tiles are not in plane with the rest of the mosaic tiles in the field).
  8. Improper Jolly Gap: At the edges of the shower, the gap between the tile and the Schluter profiles is uneven and too large. The contractor did not butt the tile to the integrated joint spacer of the Schluter Jolly.
  9. Improper Jolly Height: The Jolly appears to be about 1/16" too low for our large-format tile. This is the least of our problems, and something we would otherwise probably overlook – because I suspect this is the tallest Jolly that Schluter makes. But if it didn't come in the appropriate height, we should have been advised so we could have found an alternative that is offered in the appropriate height (like Schluter Quadec).
  10. Valve Hole Off Center: Again, this isn't really much of a problem. But it's indicative of the kind of second-rate work that seems to be this contractor's signature.
  11. Master Bath Floor: The pan was clearly not set square. Once again, we were willing to accept this in the interest of keeping things moving, but the shoddy work is really starting to pile up.

Prospects for the future: Our contractor is already trying to talk us out of the grout we want to use. We suggested Bostik Dimension (urethane grout), and he told us he doesn't like it, because he used it before, and it was impossible to get off the tile. It ended up all over the surface, and was impossible to clean off. He's essentially telling us up front that he's going to botch this job, and we're getting tired of working around his limited ability.

Our Questions: So, what do you think? What would you do if this was your house (besides do the work yourself )?
  1. Are we being reasonable in considering this work unacceptable?
  2. Would you recommend giving our contractor more chances to make it right?
  3. Or is it time to part ways with this contractor and find a new one? (And if so, we'd appreciate any tips on how to do that in a way that minimizes our losses.)


Attachment 212537


Attachment 212538


Attachment 212539


Attachment 212540


Attachment 212541


Attachment 212542


Attachment 212543


Attachment 212544


Attachment 212545


Attachment 212546
Attached Images
          
__________________
~Lyle
ljmccon is offline   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Unread 03-08-2020, 07:49 AM   #2
ljmccon
Home Improvement Enthusiast
 
ljmccon's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2020
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 4
Name:  11. Master Bath Floor.jpg
Views: 430
Size:  85.1 KB
__________________
~Lyle
ljmccon is offline   Reply With Quote
Unread 03-08-2020, 08:06 AM   #3
jerrymlr1
Registered User
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Sarasota FL
Posts: 1,319
Hello Lyle. In short, yes, the contractor needs to be fired. From the pics it's obvious that he completely lacks the ability to provide a satisfactory tile installation.
__________________
Jerry
jerrymlr1 is offline   Reply With Quote
Unread 03-08-2020, 09:51 AM   #4
D & D Reno
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jan 2020
Location: Northern Michigan
Posts: 56
That looks rough. Is the floor grouted? If not, it looks like thinset squeezed up between the joints. Gonna be hard to get it out to grout. Kinda surprised it looks like he didn’t protect the floor if he tiled it first. Neat looking floor tile though. I personally would find someone new, and try to recoup as much money as possible.

Not defending him, but the little hexagons are a pain to cut. For me anyway. I just did some, and had to manipulate a lot of them by hand to get a clean looking edge. Wouldn’t worry about the valve cut out. Vanity ring will cover all of that. The valve seals also have a little ridge that makes it cumbersome to cut right to the flange/sleeve.
__________________
Antonio
D & D Reno is offline   Reply With Quote
Unread 03-08-2020, 08:19 PM   #5
ljmccon
Home Improvement Enthusiast
 
ljmccon's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2020
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 4
Thanks for the feedback, fellas. It's nice to know objectively that we're not being unreasonable, here. Dealing with this contractor is taxing.
__________________
~Lyle
ljmccon is offline   Reply With Quote
Unread 03-08-2020, 10:20 PM   #6
smifwal
Registered User
 
Join Date: Mar 2016
Location: Kansas City
Posts: 1,422
You are definitely not being unreasonable. This guy in over his head
__________________
Shawn
smifwal is offline   Reply With Quote
Unread 03-09-2020, 11:33 AM   #7
rmckee84
Moderator
 
rmckee84's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Southern Illinois
Posts: 3,015
Yeah, I'd probably cut my losses at this point.
__________________
Jack of most trades, master of none...
Ryan McKee
McKee Construction & Custom Tile
rmckee84 is offline   Reply With Quote
Unread 03-09-2020, 12:19 PM   #8
Metropolitan Ceramics
Registered User
 
Join Date: Apr 2019
Location: Canton, Ohio
Posts: 75
Having lived in Florida for many years, it's difficult to find someone that is going to do all of the projects you've lumped together flawlessly. You want tile work and vinyl flooring and carpentry which means by default you probably aren't looking at tile installers specifically. The systems you chose have a lot of instructions and handymen aren't always the best at reading the manual. He's starting with the most complicated parts first and not doing them particularly well. I'm sure that having the owner's son weighing in from 2,000 miles away hasn't made his job any easier. I know you're trying to get the best installation for your parents and paying good money for what is being done.

I think I would separate the projects and find a shower installer to do the showers and someone else to do the vinyl and baseboard. The backsplash likely could be done by either if you get a comfort level with one or the other. I can't tell you specifically from the pictures how much has to be torn out and replaced, you'll have to make that call along with the new installer. Most of them don't like fixing other people's mess-ups but you could possibly find someone willing to work with what you already have.

As far as the Bostik Dimension grout, it does tend to be hard to clean. It's a cool effect with those glass tiles but it hangs on to them tenaciously. If you haven't already purchased it, see if MAPEI's Flexcolor 3D is something of interest to you. The acrylic cleans up easier than the urethane in the Dimension.
__________________
Dan Marvin - VP of Operations
www.ironrock.com
Metropolitan Ceramics is offline   Reply With Quote
Unread 03-09-2020, 05:56 PM   #9
ljmccon
Home Improvement Enthusiast
 
ljmccon's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2020
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 4
Quote:
You want tile work and vinyl flooring and carpentry which means by default you probably aren't looking at tile installers specifically.
We went with a flooring company that specializes in "Backsplash Installation, Stone Installation, Tile Installation, Tile Repair, Wood Flooring, Laminate Flooring, Marble Flooring, Custom Showers." Our contractor is co-owner of the company, and had a crew of two others helping him with the showers. My understanding is that he would be subcontracting the vinyl and woodwork to different crews who specialize in that. He has good reviews online (which I know is meaningless), and we spoke to three references who had worked with him for tile, vinyl, and woodwork.

Quote:
I'm sure that having the owner's son weighing in from 2,000 miles away hasn't made his job any easier.
Fair point. Though silencing the peanut gallery is as simple as doing the job properly.

Quote:
I think I would separate the projects... ...see if MAPEI's Flexcolor 3D is something of interest to you.
Appreciate the tips and the grout suggestion -- we'll check that out! Thanks!
__________________
~Lyle
ljmccon is offline   Reply With Quote
Unread 03-09-2020, 06:22 PM   #10
jerrymlr1
Registered User
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Sarasota FL
Posts: 1,319
I'm not sure where Dan is coming from but there is absolutely no excuse for the work shown in the pictures. If I were Lyle I would be on the first plane down to Florida and making sure my parents place were being done properly. If at all possible. The contractor "part owner" said he could do something and the pictures here are proof that he can't. I have people looking over my shoulder all the time and it doesn't phase me a bit. That's the job of the homeowner or contractor. This guy needs to be sent off unpaid with a letter saying I want all my money back. The work is pathetic.
__________________
Jerry
jerrymlr1 is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Stonetooling.com   Tile-Assn.com   National Gypsum Permabase


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Kindle Fire anyone? bljack The Mud Box 5 12-27-2011 02:50 PM
Should I fire my contractor? Marcos Calamar Tile Forum/Advice Board 11 12-01-2005 01:08 PM
Fire Damage JW Cleaning, Restoration and Sealing 2 02-11-2004 08:25 PM


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 10:44 AM.


Sponsors

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.7.4
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright 2018 John Bridge & Associates, LLC