jackie_taylor62

Help! Contractor Issue. What would you do?

Jaclyn T
13 days ago
last modified: 10 days ago

Hi! first time posting here and this is my first major renovation project. We got a bathroom added to our house and it has somewhat wrapped up but we are unhappy with some of the work. The project started the first week of June. Was said to be done 2nd week of August and now it’s going on the 3rd week of October 😬. It was a big job as they had to excavate, lay foundation and move some beams which all went fine until some of the finishing touches.

Our contractor came to us on Monday as asked for an additional $10k. When we brought up our concerns he said we are talking non sense and our being nit picky. I’ve included some photos of the tile job. what do you think? Am I being not picky? Other than that some of the doors he added aren’t finished. Foam installation is still showing, raw wood is exposed and a list of other things. My main concern is the tile in the shower! He lost the shelf that goes into that shower insert and made his own. Then instead of continuing the herringbone pattern he laid the tile horizontal and vertical without asking us and said, “I thought you’d like it”. He did give us $750 of for that mistake but then charged us $900 for this extra tile work. There is also grout that is smeared on some of the tiles. what should I do? Help! Also, there is a little air pocket under our shower pan. I’m not sure if that is a problem or not. Also, also, he put in the vanity before grouting. Is that a common practice?
























Our basement is unfinished and so is the new door... This door goes into the new bathroom.


I dont mind the raw wood but I dont like his handwriting that I can see.


Is this gap normal to have? There are baseboards.


Now... I don.t know. My husband peeled back the top siding and was able to touch the window frame.


This is the exterior wall that the shower is against.



He mentioned that siding wasn't included in the estimate..


Comments (73)

  • millworkman
    10 days ago
    last modified: 10 days ago

    Mortar (thinset it is also called) is fine as is cement board. Cement bard itself is impervious and unaffected by water but is not waterproof and water will pass right thru it. There typically needs to be a topical waterproofing applied OVER the cement board. Which is apparently lacking and sounded off the alarm with all of us.

    Jaclyn T thanked millworkman
  • Jaclyn T
    Original Author
    10 days ago

    Does grout need to be sealed?

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  • millworkman
    10 days ago

    Depends on what grout is used and adding sealer will not make it waterproof, water also passes right thru grout. Sealer only makes the grout less like to stain and supposedly easier to clean.

  • PRO
    Beth H. :
    10 days ago
    last modified: 10 days ago

    jackie, cement board is fine IF there is a vapor barrier behind it. OR there is a waterproof membrane on top. Never both. one or the other.


    here. vapor barrier behind the cement board. this is perfectly acceptable.


    And the seams all have to be taped and mortared.

    grout is not waterproof. but sealing that grout is the least of your worries.

    go back and read my other comment.


    Jaclyn T thanked Beth H. :
  • Jaclyn T
    Original Author
    10 days ago

    Still unsure about waterproofing. Will found out when I hear make from the guy. Beth your shower is huge and beautiful. They definitely didn’t do a dry layout! I knew it was a difficult design and he was sorta bitching about it but said could do it. I could if hired a ruler to do the job and I wouldnt be in this position with at least the shower...

  • dotsandstripes 123
    10 days ago

    Another vote to support not giving him any more $$ until you are satisfied. We are in a similar situation and without the money we have withheld as a negotiating tool, I am 100% sure we would never again hear from our contractor. I am at the point where I am getting the work done by others and sending our contractor the bills. If he doesn't pay, we will just take it out of what is being withheld.

  • PRO
    Beth H. :
    10 days ago
    last modified: 10 days ago

    there is either a vapor barrier behind the cement board




    Or, no vapor barrier, but the cement board has a waterproof membrane painted on the front





    in either case, all seams should be taped and mortared.

    If your shower didn't have either one of these, it's not waterproofed.

    i'm afraid to ask about the shower pan

    Taylor do yourself a favor. get your money back and hire a pro. Or, have him provide proof the shower is properly waterproofed. (but I'm pretty sure it's not)

    How was the shower pan done?

    I'd call in a Tile Expert. (not a GC). And Actual Tile Expert, and pay him for his time to write up everything relating to what he thinks is wrong based on pictures and his observation. it's worth a few hundred. If he comes back and says it was done incorrectly, your tile guy should refund all the money pertaining to the tile work, plus your tile cost.

    If he doesn't you can decide to go to small claims court to recoup the money you spent.

    Honestly, just stop all work w/this hack and hire someone else.

    You will take a loss, no doubt. But at least it will be done correctly.

    if you doubt anything I say, head over to JohnBridge Tile forum and post pictures and questions there. all those guys are tile pros who will tell you like it is.

    https://www.johnbridge.com/vbulletin/forumdisplay.php?f=1

    Jaclyn T thanked Beth H. :
  • Dawn Martinez
    10 days ago

    No RedGard for sure... Beth's question remains, is there a barrier behind this? I hate to guess, but my guess would be no. The contractor MUST answer this question to find out if this is a total do over.




  • Roxanne Leversee
    10 days ago

    Been going thru it too. Been rehabbing my room. Took it down to studs. Sometimes I wonder if 1 or 2 Tradesmen just isnt enough for the job. I got stuff to fix around the windows before I can drywall

  • Roxanne Leversee
    10 days ago

    Really wish tile was warm on my feet

  • Celadon
    10 days ago

    “one bidded the job at $9500 to redo the shower and tile floor.”


    Well, yeah. That’s easily believable for work that will meet industry standards. A standard 3 piece hall bath starts at 20K after all. You’ll end up paying way bmote thannthat because that has to be ripped out, and then you have to hire the right guy. The one who you thought cost too much.

  • Jaclyn T
    Original Author
    10 days ago

    😳 definitely no red guard and unsure if a plastic barrier was used. I’m gonna have to asked him ASAP instead of waiting for him. This is a complete disaster. I shouldn’t have paid him as much as I did! And for him to want another 10k.

  • Jaclyn T
    Original Author
    10 days ago

    Thank you Beth for those photos. I just emailed him asking. Does a vapor barrier need to be put in place in the entire bathroom or just the shower? It looks like the red guard in photo was painted everywhere in the photo.

  • PRO
    Beth H. :
    10 days ago
    last modified: 10 days ago

    redgard is often applied to the flooring as well depending on what type of bathroom it is.

    The waterproofing membrane is usually applied to every wall in the shower. (not so much the shower floor)

    I personally have done showers w/o it, but I've done the plastic sheeting behind it to protect any water intrusion from the studs. Either is correct and Durock specifies so.

    I don't know how much money you've given him, or what he's done, what's he supposed do, etc.

    why is he asking for more money? Was there no contract w/this bid? do you have any paperwork that states what he's to do?

    Is there any way to prove that he did the vapor barrier? I mean, what if he says yes merely because you're now questioning him?

    How was the shower floor done? any pics? was there a subfloor, liner, mud bed (w/proper slope towards drain)

    basically looks like this


    and then the mortar/mud pack goes down on that



    The slope is 1/4" for every foot. put a level on the shower floor. how much slope is there?





    regardless, this shower is a tear out. If you can prove it wasn't waterproofed correctly, then he should reimburse you for everything. (good luck with that).

    (iN fact, when they do demo, carefully take pictures of every step so you can document the lack of waterproofing)

    This alone is just a joke. I mean, what is this???? it's supposed to be attached to the tile. do you know how much water will get in there, behind the tile and ultimately ruin your studs??


    Does he actually think this is standardized work? acceptable work?

    what about this? why were the ends of these tiles on the left cut and the tiny triangle inserted? why didn't he just cut the end of the tile at a 45? He did it on the top portion.

    you know why? because he messed up or didn't know how so he tried to cover his mistake.

    He should be ashamed of taking your money for a job like this. The guy is a hack and a thief.



    This is why I said to have an actual tile expert inspector come out and write down every incorrect thing that he can find. You can then present this to your guy and tell him to reimburse your cost, or you're calling the contractors board to file a complaint (is he even licensed?) or filing a small claims court case.

    I wouldn't pay him another dime.

  • pink_peony
    10 days ago

    Wow. Wow. Wow. I’m just kind of speechless 😶. In all honesty I would not trust this guy to answer honestly about the water proofing. The last thing he is going to. Do is admit he didn’t use any. Cease work. Have a true pro come in and gut the room and start over. Take the original guy to small

    claims court and get back whatever you can. If you did any of this on a credit card have the credit card company fight the charges. Last I would report him to the attorney general and BBB. He should not qualify for a license. This is criminal!

  • Melissa R
    10 days ago



  • Sammy
    10 days ago
    last modified: 10 days ago

    Because there are myriad ways of constructing a shower, don’t even get into it with this guy over things you don’t have expertise in either (like waterproofing, which can be done more than just the two ways that were mentioned). Just ask him to tell you what materials SPECIFICALLY and what method SPECIFICALLY he used. Period. And then come tell us.😉

    Btw, if he used drywall in the shower (which it looks like he did), that alone would be grounds for a complete tear out—unless he used Kerdi waterproofing membrane over top of it, which clearly he did not..

  • Jaclyn T
    Original Author
    10 days ago

    We had a signed contract. He is licensed bonded and insured. The contract states that the remaining 30% of the balance plus any additional expenses is to be paid plus upon completion. We messed up and paid nearly all of it prior to completion. The estimate was very basic. Excavate floor, fit window, tile shower etc. Going through this experience I now know to have everything spelled out. It was a cash deal and to date we have paid $33k, Upon his completion of the bathroom and adding two exterior doors he came to us with a $10k bill. I am afraid since the contract was so basic he can come at me saying, "Well, it wasn't in the contract".

    We got a bid from another contractor to fix the tiling in the shower and the floor but I don't really know what else he didn't do. I'll included some more photos of his work.

  • Jaclyn T
    Original Author
    10 days ago

    I added more photos of the job. What do you think?

  • Danny Johnson
    10 days ago

    You got ripped off, Jaclyn. That sucks and I’m really sorry that happened to you. Time to contact an attorney and plan your next steps.

    You shouldn’t see any framing from the exterior. It should be covered by siding and trim.
    You should have treated lumber on top of the foundation.
    The window trim and siding should be level and plumb.
    The tile layout is unacceptable.
    The hand shower cut out isn’t going to keep water out of the wall.
    It appears he used thinner to attach the tike directly to the green board (drywall). Not waterproof.
    Why is the barn door track attached to raw wood? Why did he use gold grabber screws? Why didn’t he install trim around the door to cover the foam, etc.

  • Katrina Maloney
    10 days ago
    last modified: 10 days ago

    I just got ripped off with a builder for our entire home.... it happens all of the time. I am in the middle of it too and can tell you DO NOT GIVE HIM MORE MONEY. Fire him immediately and find someone else. You will likely pay more and the new skilled tradesman will likely show you things you didn't even notice and you will also pay more for those things... it's worth it to quit while you are ahead. If you have to pay more to someone else, keep track and go to small claims court to get that money back. (Or big court).

    I read about all of the tile stuff and have been reading up on what needs to be done in my bathrooms since I am now the GC for the last 3 months.

    Yes, RedGuard or Waterproofing behind the cement board because it is water resistant, not water-PROOF. I wouldn't let him back in my home.

  • Jaclyn T
    Original Author
    10 days ago
    last modified: 10 days ago

    @Danny Johnson So treated lumber needs to be on

    top of the foundation? Im guessing this is wrong too?


  • Danny Johnson
    10 days ago

    Looks like it. R317.1 is the building code section. Was this project permitted?

  • PRO
    Beth H. :
    10 days ago

    Jaclyn, do not pay him another dime. Do not let him do anymore work.
    Hire a private building inspector to come out and give u a report of everything that was done ( besides the shower unless he’s an expert on that too). Have him give you detailed notes about all the work this GC has done incorrectly.
    Have him or hire a tile contractor ( call a really good tile store and speak to the manager. Ask the manager who tiled his house. Get that name. Have that tile guy come out for a report. Show him all of the pictures ).
    Now when you get all these reports together go back to this hack you hired and tell him to fix it like it’s supposed to be done( and u will have an inspector on site for that) or he can refund what you’ve paid him.
    By law you’re supposed to give them the opportunity to fix it. If he doesn’t, call the state licensing board and open a a complaint against his license. 30K is a lot of money. You might talk to a lawyer about that aspect ( this is if the report comes back that many things are wrong and he won’t fix them).

    Either way you need the inspection report. So call someone tmrw. Be ready to present the evid to this guy and tell him what you expect.
    I wouldn’t let him redo the shower and you can tell him that. Tell him to refund that portion and you’ll hire someone else. If not, report him and make a complaint to the state board of contractors.

  • Peter Barnard
    9 days ago

    Tiling job is bad, the exterior work is atrocious. Redoing either is likely to be costly.

    Jaclyn T thanked Peter Barnard
  • lizziesma
    9 days ago

    Agree Peter...and not redoing will also be costly!

    Jaclyn T thanked lizziesma
  • Jaclyn T
    Original Author
    8 days ago

    @AJCN thanks for that information. I used those website to find a tile expert. Once is coming out tomorrow.

  • Jaclyn T
    Original Author
    8 days ago

    @Beth Sethi How do I search for a private inspector? Building inspector?

    His "admin" emailed me back and said this about waterproofing,

    "I will start by addressing your questions in regards to the bathroom waterproofing. Assuming you’re referring to the job progress photos that Mark sent to you, what you see is only a series of photos and does not reflect every step from start to finish. What you see in the bathroom photo is only the thin-set mud in progress to fit the shower shelf. All materials used in the bathrooms were designed specifically for bathroom install and created to be waterproof and sealed. You can be assured that all standard install steps and proper precautions were taken for the install of both bathrooms and are properly waterproofed and sealed." I asked exactly how was the shower waterproof and if there was a vapor barrier or redguard/wp membrane.


  • Susan Murin
    8 days ago

    You need to ask for more detail.

  • millworkman
    8 days ago
    last modified: 8 days ago

    Pictures 10 & 11 from your post show tile being set on bare cement board. The tile work in the other pics is atrocious. The fact that he has his "admin" reach out via email plus the crap work above, you do not need more detail you need to find another tile setter, gut this mess and accept the fact that this is a complete do over.

  • Jaclyn T
    Original Author
    7 days ago

    @millworkman thank you. He is a complete nut. In the same email the admin sent she asked when I will be meeting Mark at the bank for final payment and if we aren’t paying in cash they will happily use a credit card but that will incur a 3% fee and no cash discount...

    I’ve definitely accepted the fact it’s a do over. I responded to the email with photos and asking when he is going to redo and finish the project. I don’t think he will actually come back to do anymore work but I have to give him the opportunity to fix it. I plan on sending a letter of intent to file a complaint on Monday. I will also be looking for a lawyer to help get our money back. An expert tiler comes over today and I’m currently looking for a house inspector!

    Thanks to everyone for their input!!! It has really helped me out! I appreciate it very much!


  • PRO
    Beth H. :
    7 days ago
    last modified: 7 days ago

    the admin still didn't answer your waterproofing question, just assured you it was done? garbage. they prob don't know and don't want to get caught in a lie on a paper trail.

    You'll know for sure when they demo the shower. take pics of each step to document how things were (not) done.

    since we know Redgard wasn't on the front, there will have to be a vapor barrier behind. If there is nothing but your studs, then you have your answer.

    But the seams still weren't taped and mudded, and we don't know anything about the shower pan and if the plastic liner was taken up the sides.

    as for a home inspector, you might reach out to someone at city hall or try Yelp.

    Did you go over to the john bridge tile forum? Those guys will give you all the details you need.

    it's easy enough to register, then just go to advice forum, post the question and a few pics. If you give them a city they may be able to link you up w/someone.


    please keep us posted on what transpires. I really hope you get it taken care of. so sorry you have to incur the extra cost.

  • L none
    7 days ago

    Don’t pay him another dime and fire him. And be grateful it’s not your entire house.

  • mary scanlon
    7 days ago

    do not pay any more money.
    get a price to fix/finish job properly from someone else..my wetroom is mess and I paid all the money day it was finished..Big mistake!
    waiting on new person to do job properly, an expensive lesson for me

  • Danny Johnson
    7 days ago

    I can’t say for sure based on the photos, but it looks like he skimmed the green board (drywall) with thin set and then set the tile. I don’t see cement board or waterproofing. I circled the area in the photos I’m referring to. Is that not green board peeking through?

  • Danny Johnson
    7 days ago

    It looks like the circled areas are green board (drywall). I don’t see cement board or waterproofing. I just see green board with a skim coat of thin set.

  • PRO
    Beth H. :
    7 days ago
    last modified: 7 days ago

    Danny brought up a good point. at some point Jaclyn said cement board was used. but based on the pics, it looks like green board. don't know if he switched it up inside the shower.

    Jaclyn, see this green board in the pic? If that same green board was used in the shower, it's an automatic fail. The stuff is not rated for a shower, unless they're using a Kerdi or similar waterproofing system. (and you'd know because it's expensive) .

    If he put that green board in the shower, and tiled on top of that w/no waterproofing, that shower is doomed to fail.

    Again, document every single step during demo. make notes of what was found, take lots of pictures, and document everything. you'll need it for court

    From here on out I'd have all convo's via text or email so that you can have copies of what he's told you.

  • Lyndee Lee
    7 days ago

    Even if Kerdi is used, it is to be used on regular drywall, not greenboard

  • PRO
    Beth H. :
    7 days ago
    last modified: 7 days ago

    Lyndee, no. False. Even Kerdi approves of it. drywall, green board, cement board,,,,it's fine.

    here, copied from their install manual:

    In addition, KERDI is installed over the solid backing (e.g., gypsum board, cement backerboard, etc.) on walls, creating a fully waterproof and vapor- tight enclosure.

    Solid Backing Materials

    Gypsum wallboard – ASTM C1396/C1396M
    Cementitious backer unit – ANSI A118.9 or ASTM C1325 Fiber-cement backerboard – ASTM C1288
    Fiber-reinforced water-resistant gypsum
    backerboard – ASTM C1278
    Coated glass mat water-resistant gypsum backerboard – ASTM C1178 Portland cement mortar – ANSI A108.1B
    Concrete
    Masonry


    personally I'd never use anything but cement board in the shower, (w/Kerdi).

    showers were easier back in the day when the old lath/mortar were used to set tiles. Even after 80 years, those showers are still in great shape.

  • Jaclyn T
    Original Author
    7 days ago

    Mold Resistant Green board mold resistant was definitely used in the shower. Oh boy what a huge mess!

  • JuneKnow
    7 days ago

    Except drywall and green board both are prohibited by their manufacturers from being installed in wet areas. Manufacturers materials instructions are incorporated as part of the code. Even if the holy orange german saints say it’s OK, it’s NOT.

  • PRO
    Debbi Washburn
    7 days ago

    No need to add to your pain. Just to say sorry... And I hope for a happy end to this!

    You have some of the best pros here advising you..

    Jaclyn T thanked Debbi Washburn
  • PRO
    Beth H. :
    7 days ago
    last modified: 7 days ago

    jaclyn, that green board is fine for outside the wet areas, but shouldn't be used in the shower itself. Right there is proof enough that he messed up your shower and that it's not waterproofed. That alone should void any further payment, and should also be used for refund in order to have the shower rebuilt.

    Cement backer board such as Durock is best used for tile in highly wet applications such as shower stalls, with greenboard and other water-resistant drywall panels kept only to high-humidity areas. Greenboard's paper facing alone does not inhibit mold growth. The facing must be treated with mold-resisting agents.

    IS GREEN BOARD WATERPROOF? Green board is water-resistant – it is not waterproof. Green board is highly efficient in bathrooms and kitchens, where moisture is frequently in the air, but it is not the drywall that should be set behind tile in your shower or any other areas where it can come in direct contact with water.

    Jaclyn T thanked Beth H. :
  • millworkman
    7 days ago

    "Except drywall and green board both are prohibited by their manufacturers from being installed in wet areas."


    Exactly JuneKnow and been that way for 20 plus years.

    Jaclyn T thanked millworkman
  • laurafhallen
    7 days ago

    I'm sorry. What a nightmare.

    Jaclyn T thanked laurafhallen
  • Jaclyn T
    Original Author
    7 days ago

    Does anyone know of any construction attorneys in Portland, Oregon? Or any attorney's that that handle cases like this?

  • Aphaea
    7 days ago

    Following.

  • PRO
    Beth H. :
    7 days ago
    last modified: 7 days ago

    Jaclyn, don't know of any attorneys up there.

    Did you already file a complaint through the state contractors board?

    be aware that he might put a mechanics lien on your property for no payment.

    Make sure when you speak to him it's through emails or texts.

    BTW, here is a picture of what happens w/greenboard in a shower. yes the black is mold.


    as for the Kerdi issue, I would never use those two other substrates in a shower. don't know why installers are still doing it. (And we are talking about using the sheeting like Kerdi over those substrates. Obviously drywall or green board alone, should never be used to set tile in a shower or wet area.

    "Except drywall and green board both are prohibited by their manufacturers from being installed in wet areas."

    The was meant exactly how it appears. But it doesn't specify if using it under a product like kerdi is ok. This is what the below quotes are referring to.

    per the Tile King, John Bridge and he is clarifying the wording:

    Drywall with a waterproof membrane on it's surface is not banned. Plain drywall under tile in wet areas is banned. I know the wording. I also know the intent. Schluter, to my knowledge, is the only company still recommending drywall, and it's fine.

    One of the other board members at John Bridge forum, had this to say about it (the usage of drywall and green board)

    I don't recall that it was the drywall manufacturers who lobbied for this change when it was made. If they now find themselves in favor of the restriction as it's currently written, I'd actually be surprised. If they were in favor of not using their products as backing material for direct bonding of tile in such wet areas, I could certainly understand that, of course, but their being opposed to the use of their products behind an appropriate waterproofing membrane would surprise me. Following the industry political tide would more likely explain such opposition at this juncture.

    In my discussion with at least two of the direct bonded waterproofing membrane manufacturers on your list above, other than the one with the ICC ER, in a candid moment they said they'd be quite comfortable for their product to be applied over gypsum drywall in a standard shower application.

    I still maintain that the change in usage recommendation and code wording is not in line with the original intent, which was to stop the direct bonding of ceramic tile to gypsum wallboard in wet areas. And I'm certainly in favor of not doing that.

    __________________
    CX

    https://www.johnbridge.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=128137&highlight=green+board+under+kerdi&page=2

    Ok, lets put the Kerdi issue to rest.

    Jaclyn T thanked Beth H. :