tub deck cut short

lotteryticketMarch 31, 2014

Finally last week we had the soapstone installed for an undermount tub. But there is a gap about 11/16" wide in one corner between the stone and the wall. The installer has offered two solutions:
1 - free backsplash to cover the gap. I have ordered a mosaic tile for that and can't return it.

2 - patch the gap with a piece of stone. I'm willing to give it a shot but I think the seam will be noticeable. Besides, I paid for the job to be done right, not patched.

They do recognize that they have to fix the problem. If I get them to rip it out and start over do I risk damage to the tub? They installed it Thursday and left knowing there was a problem. But it's now Monday so I assume ripping it out will be more difficult. Plus I assume I will have to go look for another slab that matches the vanity.

If I let them install the backsplash then I will have to get them to pay for the tile I can't use. It's almost as expensive as the stone.

Any advice? Words of wisdom? I'm not freaking out....yet. But I am seriously kicking myself for not DIYing it in the first place.

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So, I'm assuming that the mosaic and thin-set combined won't be thick enough to cover the 11/16" gap? We had a small gap (I don't know the exact dimensions), and our kitchen place offered to replace the granite (was a small 3 foot wide counter beside stove), but we loved the pattern in the stone there, and didn't want to risk getting a piece that didn't go as well. We have a fairly thin subway tile and glass mosaic trim for BS in the kitchen, and it covered the gap no problem.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2014 at 1:12PM
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The tile and thinset won't be that thick as the gap is nearly 3/4 of an inch wide. You can literally put your hand in up to the second knuckle. I think the gap should be no more than 1/8 of an inch to provide adequate support. I may call the stone yard and see if they have another slab from the same run left. They had three of them a few weeks ago.

My concern is damage to the tub. Can pulling the stone up at this point cause damage?

I can probably work something out with the installer. I think this is going to cost them no matter what. If I let them patch it I am going to ask for some of my money back as I paid for the job to be done right. If I take them up on the offer of a free back splash then I am going to ask them to pay for the tile I can't return. If I insist they rip it out they will have to get a new slab and potentially pay for any damage to the tub.

Am I being unreasonable?

    Bookmark   March 31, 2014 at 1:29PM
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I would not accept a patch. My first choice if I were in your situation, would be to have them re-do the job.

Definitely call the stone yard to see if they have another slab.

Call the installer to see how they would remove the decking to minimize potential for damaging the tub.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2014 at 3:16PM
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Thanks Raehelen & Jewel. I talked to the stoneyard and they are going to check to see if they still have a slab from that run. I've pretty much talked myself into insisting they rip it out and start over. It's really too bad because other than the gap it came out just as I hoped it would.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2014 at 3:26PM
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I guess it's good news that they are ripping it out and starting over. I'm so ready for this remodel to be over. Better news is I found the tile I really want at a better price, so yay for that!

    Bookmark   April 3, 2014 at 3:47PM
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Can you pad the wall out? ie, can you add a sheet of drywall (or if you need more filler, a sheet padded out with thin furring strips) right over the existing wall?

On some walls that can work fine. On other walls it can throw a now centered window out of symmetry for example, or mess with some other trim detail.

But if it can work, it's a simple, inexpensive, and fairly quick solution.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2014 at 6:33PM
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These mistakes are part of a fabricator's cost of doing business, just like his light bill and gas to get to the job. If he makes too many of them he goes out of business or the guy who makes less of them uses the savings to undercut his prices and put him out of business.

This is as it should be.

You shouldn't feel sorry when the guy has to pay the rent on his shop and you shouldn't fell sorry for this either. He has to pay for his mistake.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2014 at 6:52PM
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My counter was cut too short on one side. I don't know how that happened but it did. The stone went back and a new one arrived a week or two later.

I would think that if they were to add a patch they'd have to take the stone up off of your tub anyway. When I glued my soapstone for my other bathroom remodel I clamped it for a day.

If they ruin you tub, they would be responsible.

Get a new slab if you can. Mongo's strategy, using the layer of drywall would work too if it is an option. The patch, if they have a good match could work. I have a seam that I did that is so small I can't see it. But the stone has to be identical in grain and direction.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2014 at 10:24PM
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Mongo - DH and I talked about padding the wall but there is a window adjacent to it just a few inches away and it would interfere with the trim. Plus I noticed over the weekend that the stone overhangs the undermount tub quite a bit too so when you sit in it it's very noticeable.

They are concerned about ruining the tub (so am I) but the owner is coming on Tuesday. We can talk to him then. They do acknowledge they need to fix it. And I am more than willing to give them that chance. The rest of their work is fine.

Thanks, guys!

    Bookmark   April 4, 2014 at 12:36PM
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They can be as concerned about ruining the tub as they care; you should not. If they ruin the tub, just like cutting the piece too short, it's a cost of doing business.

This is not to say I wouldn't discuss alternatives; I would. Anything they get from you is a gift; don't let them forget it.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2014 at 7:27PM
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Thanks Trebruchet. I appreciate the sage advice!

    Bookmark   April 5, 2014 at 1:06PM
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