Contractor installed the toilet wrong!

slinkblotAugust 30, 2012

Our contractor remodeling our bathroom installed the toilet wrong. He placed the reinforced wax ring on the toilet, tipped it over and THOUGHT he set it properly over the "hole". Instead, the wax ring moved and was crushed. Over two days' time, and a few flushes, I noticed darker grout around the toilet area. This is new grout on a new floor! He saw it after my husband pointed it out and said, "That's not good..." You think? Well, after exploring the trail, we found a huge wet stain on the ceiling of my entry closet! He suggested there was a broken pipe somewhere! He tried to hide the wax ring, but I took pictures of it before he threw it out. Is there any recourse? Can I make him pay for the damages? He said to just let it dry out and he'll reinstall the toilet with a new wax ring (at our expense). I want him to fix the whole thing, drywall and all! What is right? Thank you in advance!

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It depends. Is he a real licensed and insured contractor with whom you have a signed price for a detailed scope of work? Or is he just a handyman that gave you a good price and who doesn't have anything other than that good price?

An insured contractor would have no problem taking care of the customer in this situation and correcting any damages that might have resulted from his errors.

But a guy who can't even set a toilet correctly may not even show up to finish any of the project.

So what will happen here is entirely dependent on the due diligence that you performed before the project got underway.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2012 at 8:07AM
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I have watched my DH (Master Plumber) install more toilets than I care to remember. Yes, that is a proper way to install the wax ring. And yes, the wax ring is crushed when it is installed (well smashed down at least). That's how the wax ring works.

Your plumber may not have been "hiding" the wax ring from you. It can't be re-used and would be thrown away.

DH said occasionally there could be a small crack in the toilet that can't be seen, and you don't find out about it until it starts leaking.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2012 at 7:51PM
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Did the contractor buy the toilet and setting materials or did you? If he did, then any new materials and additional reinstall labor + repairs to other areas damaged by the leak should be covered by him. On the other hand, if you paid for it and the install is indeed the problem, then most of its on you--he only covers the labor of reinstalling. You pay for new materials and all the repair work in the closet. If you paid and the install was good, then 100% of it falls to you. You may have some recourse with the toilet manufacturer if it is still under warranty.

Hope this helps!

    Bookmark   September 1, 2012 at 12:56AM
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Thank you all... This is what I meant by crushed. My husband has installed a few toilets in his day as well. He wasn't about to do it this time because it was included in the entire remodel project and he just doesn't have time. We have since discovered that not only was the toilet leaking, but the shower was as well. He's been fired from the job as there have been too many problems to date.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2012 at 8:38PM
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A little history in this nightmare: The contractor completely demolished our bathroom and started from scratch. He built up a new shower with new drainage, (from bathtub to stall shower)replaced the old toilet with a new one, tiled the shower (many a problem there too) and floor. When we initially saw the water stain in the closet, we cut away the entire drywall ceiling of the downstairs closet to see what exactly is leaking. It was discovered that the shower drain was leaking when my husband poured water down the drain and it poured into the drip pan we placed on the shelf in the closet. Now we have to hire a plumber to come out and re-do the drainage for the shower as the guy improperly "glued" the p-trap under the floor. ALL THE MATERIALS were purchased by him for the shower (on our dime of course). As for the toilet, we bought the toilet and wax ring (the best one available at Home Depot). It's not the ring, or the toilet. Now that the toilet has been properly installed by my husband AND the contractor, it doesn't leak; but the shower still does.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2012 at 8:57PM
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