Did plumber mess up?

peegeeJanuary 20, 2014

I had a plumber install a sterling accord tub-shower unit today. It looked fine, but when I got down low to wipe it out after he left, I was alarmed to see a huge gap between the tub and the surround; not all the pieces have the same gap. The worst is the panel with the valve. It starts out tight but is a full 1/4" at the end - the next panel is not quite 1/4, and so they don't meet up. I can see the interlocking pieces.I called the company and they said 1/32 "is the proper gap. I just got off the phone with the plumber; he said they install these ALL the time and he is sure there is no problem and I'm safe to use it. I asked him to come by to see this - I believe it is not right and should be fixed; not sure how since the valve would likely have to be lowered in order to drop it down, so I think he will refuse. Thoughts??

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Moving the valve "could " be relatively minor, depending on how the pipes are strapped and if there is any play at all. And it might not need to be moved at all if the trim plate(s) still covers the hole(s).

As for the panel itself, easier to see some pics. Is the tub level (both ways)? Were the walls plumb? These determine how tight it all fits together. There's room for the panels to not match up too tightly and still be watertight, so it's forgiving in that regard. But it would be better so see some pics before commenting on the install.

This post was edited by homebound on Mon, Jan 20, 14 at 15:44

    Bookmark   January 20, 2014 at 3:43PM
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This is the first, looking at the valve panel next to the corner panel. (I've never posted pics before). Photo rejected, think I need to resize, not sure how to, will try to research. Sigh......
I give up for now. Cannot figure out how to reduce the size. Compressing did not help....

This post was edited by peegee on Mon, Jan 20, 14 at 17:37

    Bookmark   January 20, 2014 at 5:02PM
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Take a pic with a cell phone, then send it to your email, download, etc., then use that. It should be compressed enough.

Or adjust your settings on your digital camera and go from there.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2014 at 6:22PM
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Thanks! Unfortunately no cell; battery died, and Canon EOS Rebel is new - must study book but I'm feeling kinda ill and need to lie down...this has been a stressful day. The plumber without asking used my kitchen faucet's pullout ---way out---- to mix his mortar - I never ever pull it out - and water was sprayed everywhere under the sink. He tried to tell me it was the looseness of the seat of the faucet which needed tightening, (which he did) but I've never had a drop of water under there, and water was still spraying from the hose. He said if I want to buy a new faucet and pay for install he'll put it in. Daughter dropped over and shut off the sink's water and will replace a part. No kitchen sink until she does. When he first arrived The assistant said he didn't need the access panel removed which I was about to take off. After he left I stepped with barefeet on one of the screws which were scattered all over the floor; he hadn't put the panel back. In the basement, there is a mess of sandy grains and mortar, including small chunks all over and on my ladder which he helped himself to and left out. Plus there were mortar splatters on a cabinet. I had to ask him to stand on a towel when he was in my new shower with his boots on....Maybe I'm being picky because I'm upset at the wide, uneven gap on the shower unit. And totally unrelated, I found my washer leaked on the basement floor tonight. I've had enough. I hope later this week I can post pics. Thanks for your help.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2014 at 8:08PM
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Also - last evening noticed the loo was a little tippy....odd because the unit has been very stable for quite some time with multiple small plastic shims I had purchased to secure it on the subfloor....then noticed no shims on the far side! But wait! What are those under the TUB? Yup.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2014 at 5:37PM
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So you want him to come back and fix this? No way I have this guy come back. I say call someone else to come check it out.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2014 at 8:36PM
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guller - most of the work was done by his assistant, and now that you mention it, he should have noticed and corrected the sloppy work right then. I had a relative over this evening who spent a couple hours fixing the kitchen faucet pullout that he wrecked apparently yanking it out too far to mix the mortar. Another person was helping, and they both validated my concerns over the tub: "What a botch job!!!" I am so, so sick over this. And of course, you are right. I'd be a fool to let him touch anything. So now I have to hire someone else and pay more $ in hope to make it right.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2014 at 10:03PM
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Well, after the ones mentioned above who saw the botched job said it would be the right thing to do to allow this plumber an opportunity to fix the problem first before taking this any further, I called him the next day hoping he would come by on Friday to look at it. He was almost belligerent in repeating several times "If I'm coming over, I'm going to fix it; I'm not wasting my time to look at it" He said Friday the 31 instead, showed up promptly at 8:30 AM and spent time on it - a lot of loud noise was going on at one point - I was very much afraid to ask about anything, not wanting them to get annoyed with me as he was obviously not pleased to be here. He seemed very involved, but mainly I spent time in a nearby room. (in prior posts I said his assistant did much of the work - I meant initially) When done he was in a hurry to leave and I felt rushed to look at the job - was shocked that they had cut out significant hunks of all the studs along the side wall of the tub, but I didn't say anything as the plumber said they had to and that was no problem, and the entire fix was the best he could do. I focused on the gap between the tub and surround and the panels did align much better although the gap at the back was still pretty large, but better. I thanked him, and as he was rushing out I remembered to ask for a receipt as I HAD PAID IN CASH that Monday the 20th and FORGOT TO ASK FOR A RECEIPT. (all he had said was the cash was better, but never made any attempt to provide proper documentation!) (my memory issues stem from a concussion) He promised he would mail one. (I didn't think to ask him to write one on any old piece of paper as I would have, pre-rear ended). After he left I noticed the surround was extremely crooked, but was late for an appointment, came home hours later and stepped into a flood of water from the hot water heater in the basement, I guess a terrible co-incidence. DD came over and for hours helped w/clean up. She was horrified by the shower, noting after checking that the walls are plumb but the surround is nearly 3/4" off plumb and that it will likely be near impossible for the carpenter to do finish work that won't look like a_ _. Inotherwards, he mostly fixed one problem, but made it all MUCH worse. Meanwhile, the tub water once turned on would not shut off and kept gushing...remember the plumber squashed my idea of integral stops, and the old fashioned shut off underneath in the basement was only able to close it down with tremendous effort. If it let go, nothing would stop the water from gushing into the tub....called the plumber's service and left a detailed message about valve not shutting off and the problem shut off in the basement. He has not yet called; it is one full week today. Surprise: I have not received the receipt. A neighbor of my DD arranged for today a different plumbing team to come in with a not big box hot water heater, install it and gate valve shutoffs for the HWH and 2 in the access panel for the tub/shower - all the basement shutoffs were noted to be "completely shot". . The guy was clearly uncomfortable talking about the "shoddy job", but said it could not be fixed as the tub was set in mortar but not level, and any attempt to straighten it will break the tub. I've put a call in to the carpenter to get his opinion, and don't know what else to do but to report this to the licensing board. I'm an older woman who lives alone, and i tend since the concussion to become paralyzed by these things which feel overwhelming. Don't know how to get the receipt. Should I send a certified letter tomorrow morning? Any other ideas? Help.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2014 at 4:05PM
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I'm so sorry to hear of your troubles....certainly not what you expect when you hire a professional tradesman.

My question is: Did the plumber pull a permit with your local City/Town? If yes; then the plumbing inspector would have inspected his work before allowing anything further to happen. If you don't know if he pulled a permit then go to your local Building Department and let the Building Inspector know that you suspect he did not pull a permit. The Building Inspector will tell you if he did or not. (In my community Home Owners are allowed to pull permits; but it is frowned upon and the Inspector follows up with the licensing board to find out why the professionals don't pull the permits). Sometimes it is because the "plumber" has a full time job during the day and is "moonlighting" and unable to get to the Town or City Hall to do it. The Building Inspector should then take appropriate action if no permit pulled.

This is one of the reasons that Building Inspection Departments came into being in local communities. To be certain that all work is standardized and up to "code".

Hope this helps.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2014 at 6:25PM
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