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Unread 03-20-2010, 08:48 AM   #1
Bellsfloors
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Saving Face

I was recently approached by a fellow GC that I have known for years about doing a project he would have normally done himself. I have replaced a few of his previous jobs over the years that were not installed per industry standards. This new project I suspect he was planning on doing himself but may have found he was in over his head with the large format tile and tile pattern layout. I also suspect that I was recommended by the dealer of the tile and other referrals.

Here lies the problem. I came to check out the project and had found that he had already installed Luann 3\16" ply for the underlayment. When asked who recommended the underlay he told me that the lumberyard suggested it as the proper underlayment and all tile installers in that area used it. I told him I would normally require all Luann to be removed as it is not a suitable underlay. He really does not want to do this as I believe he does not want the embarrassment in front of the customer and the wasted time and costs involved. I told him that it would be a huge liability to continue even with Ditra as the thinset would destabilize the underlay and cause warping and possible delamination that would ultimately cause the install to fail. He told me he would think about it but it really isn't what he wants to do.

I personally have not met the customer yet and believe I could correct the problem and give a proper install. But since the GC is the one who invited for me to do the project I suspect I will probably not get the job due to Saving Face on the GC side. I really would like to do this job as it is about 900sf but really don't want to risk a failure.

Any thoughts on saving face for the GC and still getting this and future projects?

Any suggestions on how to make the Luaan more stable prior to setting tile (I really don't expect a solution other then rip out )
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Unread 03-20-2010, 08:54 AM   #2
Ken
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rip out the luan.. and have fun doing it. If it was installed correctly, youll enjoy pulling lots and lots and lots and lots of staples
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Unread 03-20-2010, 09:06 AM   #3
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Rip it out. By demanding quality you are saving face and if hes a builder you want to work for he should recognize that. As for the customer explanation blame it on the lumberyard missinforming the GC.
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Unread 03-20-2010, 09:57 AM   #4
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Pro-spec speed-flex. See link just posted in the works in progress thread. If you are worried about moisture getting in the edges of the floor, paint a little waterproofing around the edge. Not sure it is approved for luan, but it sticks to just about anything.


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Unread 03-20-2010, 10:44 AM   #5
Davy
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I'd yank it up and not risk it. The GC will just have to admit to the homeowners that he got some bad advice. That's better than having the job fail.
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Unread 03-20-2010, 10:57 AM   #6
Tool Guy - Kg
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If you think the GC is nervous, make it easy for him.

Offer to go with the GC to the customer to tell them about the problem with the lumberyard's material recommended. Explain to the customer that while keeping it installed would have decreased the life expectancy of the tile floor, you're a specialist (helps take part of the hook out of the GC) who has recognized the problem and can undo it before it causes a problem.

Be understated so as to not sound like a hero...and if the customer understands that this has happened to lots of other customers, they won't single out their GC as incompetent. If the customer likes the GC, they're likely to see the best of this situation and that everyone has cared enough to correct the process before it becomes a problem for the homeowner.

If you and the GC go over the details of what you'll say to the customer ahead of time, he may be more comfortable about correcting the problem....and knowing that you aren't going to throw him under the bus in front of the customer.
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Last edited by Tool Guy - Kg; 03-20-2010 at 11:02 AM.
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Unread 03-20-2010, 11:01 AM   #7
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I like Bubba's idea
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Unread 03-20-2010, 11:12 AM   #8
John Bridge
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Either what Bubba says or walk away. Removal of 900 feet of luan is going to be a major job that somebody will have to eat. That and the install. That somebody should be the GC.
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Unread 03-20-2010, 11:26 AM   #9
Bill Vincent
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I agree with Kurt. Make it look like it was your buddy's idea to bring you in because the lumber yard's recommendations weren't sitting well with him, so he brought in an expert. Tracy, you leave that stuff in place, it's gonna be your butt hangin in the breeze, not his. If your only choices are to go over it or lose the job, walk away.
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Unread 03-20-2010, 11:28 AM   #10
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Bubba - the diplomat.
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Unread 03-20-2010, 11:33 AM   #11
Bellsfloors
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Gueuze,
I was thinking the same thing about sealing the joints and then installing Ditra. I also suggested maybe at least tripling up the 1/2" crown galvanized staples to help reduce or eliminate the possible vertical movement between the fasteners. The GC had purchased Durock Tile Membrane USG originally but told me to use what I wanted as he knows I do a lot of Ditra. I decided not to use the Durock crack isolation membrane as it didn't really uncouple like the Ditra. Ditra would help but he vertical movement potential and delamination possibilities scare me too much (plus Schluter would not warrant this install).

Bubba,
You and I are thinking alike here. I did mention to him that I could meet with him and the customer to explain as you mentioned. I do like your idea about coordinating what should be said together prior to meeting with the Customer. He gave no indication that that would be a possibility as I think he is still in worried panic mode and also possibly thinking I am arrogant and unrelinquishing in my stance. Some mistake Arrogance for Knowledge and Confidence and I am trying to avoid that but is sometimes hard.

Now one of the other kickers of this project is that the customer was sold the incorrect sizes of tile to do their project and had to return the tile and now have to select another tile of the correct sizes. Originaly 18" 12" and 6" were selected to run a mixed pattern. But 18" 13" and 6.5" tile came in and different gauge so the pattern would not work as they had chosen. They will be looking at different tile on Monday.

Wrong tile selected and delivered,
Wrong underlay delivered and installed,
Nervous GC
And already upset Customer.

I don't want to add to the list of incorrectness.

Thanks Guys!
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Unread 03-20-2010, 11:38 AM   #12
Bellsfloors
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John and Bill,

You guys must of been typing while I was responding.

My wife just read my horoscope and it basically said that in March I would be presented with something that requires my creativity and if I go against that then I would have to do it again. Is that Karma or what?
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Unread 03-20-2010, 11:42 AM   #13
Bill Vincent
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You've got an angel on your shoulder, buddy!!
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Unread 03-20-2010, 11:45 AM   #14
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Tracy,

This is your opportunity to appear to the customer as the one person who will solve all the problems. You spotted one problem before you started, this is the clear way to fix it, these are the tile sizes you need, and here is a tape measure to take to the store with you (after a little lesson that 12inch tiles may not really be 12 inches)

I find customers don't mind problems as long as you hand them the solution in the very next sentence.
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Unread 03-20-2010, 12:04 PM   #15
ob1kanobee
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You need to print out Bubba's post and sit down with the GC, put your heads together and revisit the job. That is exactly how it should be done. It's not rocket science.
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