Contractor's poor workmanship, should I pay?

sickacJuly 25, 2014

Hi,

I had very distressing experience with the contractor working on the remodel of our kitchen. It was medium size job, although pretty costly for us ($22k for contractor and $8k materials and fixtures). There were multiple things that were not done correct, but the major one were tiles on the walls. Please take a look at the attached photo and tell me what do you think about it? There is more to be found here:

http://bit.ly/1tIvF6z

and even more here:

http://bit.ly/1olh3cP

I still have not paid him last check for the completion and am not sure what to do with it. I did not confront him about those tiles yet, as I am curious what your opinion is.
What would you do in my situation?

Thank you in advance!

Cheers,
Pawel

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PRO
Christopher Nelson Wallcovering and Painting

Is that the completed job? WOW!

    Bookmark   July 25, 2014 at 2:56AM
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PRO
Christopher Nelson Wallcovering and Painting

I just looked at the other pics, again, WOW. I have never ever seen anyone use 1/4 inch of tile along the ceiling like that, let alone all the other crap work. I would not pay him a penny.IN fact, if it were me, I would be turning him in to the state licensing board. I have an idea this guy is not licensed and or insured though. Too bad

    Bookmark   July 25, 2014 at 3:02AM
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Trebruchet

I don't need to look at the other pictures. Drywall under tile tells me all I need to know. Do not pay a penny. Do not even give him a chance to make it right. Hire someone who knows what they're doing to review the completed work.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2014 at 11:13AM
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Trebruchet

Okay, I couldn't help myself. I had to look.

What part of "TOP" does this guy not understand? The glulam beam pictured is INSTALLED UPSIDE DOWN. To be cost efficient, he's used an "unbalanced beam" where the quality of the lumber on the tension side is higher. Notice how there are no knots in the bottom half of your beam. They stamp "TOP" in big bold letters so the beam can work properly as engineered. Your's isn't.

The drywall screws used to secure the jack stud to the beam have little strength in shear. Cluelessness nearing criminality. See page 4, please:

Here is a link that might be useful: Beam

This post was edited by Trebruchet on Fri, Jul 25, 14 at 11:42

    Bookmark   July 25, 2014 at 11:34AM
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Kippy

Was this guy the lowest price bid? Was a tile sub excluded due to cost?

Did you see any of his other work?

Did he do the tile due to other cost over runs?

Did he build all the walls or work with walls and windows already installed? He he have the opportunity in design to eliminate things like that small strip of tile at the ceiling? Or was it like that due to the height of the counter top?

If they did not build the ceiling or walls, they might not have been plum to start with.

If he is not done, some of those gaps will be filled, but yes that is a pretty sloppy job especially around the windows.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2014 at 12:01PM
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renovator8

Ceramic tile on drywall is fine in non-wet areas but the tile work is sloppy. It is difficult to tell how sloppy since the tile work and the window trim is not finished.

Only the engineer of record can say if the upside down beam is not adequate for the loads. The beams do seem unusually large for a one story house.

The exterior needs special attention because there are two layers of siding and a layer of insulation. Window flashing will be difficult to do well.

Is there a building inspector involved?

If you are going to refuse to pay him, first find out if there is a state Home Improvement law in effect that might help to protect you and even pay for repairs and/or completion. The biggest risk is that he will file a lien on your property. The local building department might be the place to start. Be careful to communicate with the contractor in writing or at least to confirm whatever is said in writing.

He will have an advantage because this is probably not the first time this has happened to him. Therefore, you must plan your moves carefully in advance.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   July 25, 2014 at 12:56PM
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sickac

" does this guy not understand? The glulam beam pictured is INSTALLED UPSIDE DOWN. To be cost efficient, he's used an "unbalanced beam" where the quality of the lumber on the tension side is higher. Notice how there are no knots in the bottom half of your beam. They stamp "TOP" in big bold letters so the beam can work properly as engineered. Your's isn't.
The drywall screws used to secure the jack stud to the beam have little strength in shear. Cluelessness nearing criminality. See page 4, please:"

@ Trebruchet
Beam:
You can imagine how did I feel when I saw this beam being installed upside down (hence photos). I’ve managed to contact structural engineer right after the installation. Luckily, according to her calculations, there is no reason to reinstall the beam, despite of its upside down installation. At the same time, it shows you the level of professionalism of this contractor. If it comes to screws - those are not drywall screws (luckily!), but I still can’t say if it is properly installed.

@Kippy-the-Hippy
"Was this guy the lowest price bid?"
- Nope.

"Was a tile sub excluded due to cost?"
- From what I’ve seen, it was my contractor’s laborer installing those tiles.

"Did you see any of his other work?"
- No. We first found him on Yelp (three 5-star reviews…), then hired him based on fairly successful meeting.

"Did he do the tile due to other cost over runs?"
- You mean him, instead of a sub? I do not think if sub was ever considered.

"Did he build all the walls or work with walls and windows already installed? He he have the opportunity in design to eliminate things like that small strip of tile at the ceiling? Or was it like that due to the height of the counter top?"

- He’s framed a window and installed a drywall, but actual wall was existing. The edge where tile hits the ceiling would not bother me that much if tiles would come closer to the ceiling - as you can see this gap is massive. Area around the window is the worst though.

"If they did not build the ceiling or walls, they might not have been plum to start with. "

- That is probably the case, this house is from late 40’s

"If he is not done, some of those gaps will be filled, but yes that is a pretty sloppy job especially around the windows. "

@Renovator8
"Ceramic tile on drywall is fine in non-wet areas but the tile work is sloppy. It is difficult to tell how sloppy since the tile work and the window trim is not finished. "

- I will take more photos today, unfortunately, it is not much of the difference:(

"Only the engineer of record can say if the upside down beam is not adequate for the loads. The beams do seem unusually large for a one story house. "

- Agree. This is 6x12 (I think), for 19’ span.

"The exterior needs special attention because there are two layers of siding and a layer of insulation. Window flashing will be difficult to do well. "

- This is something I can not clearly say is done right or not.

"Is there a building inspector involved?"

- There is, and the final inspection is in a few hours, I’ll keep you posted.

"If you are going to refuse to pay him, first find out if there is a state Home Improvement law in effect that might help to protect you and even pay for repairs and/or completion. The biggest risk is that he will file a lien on your property. The local building department might be the place to start. Be careful to communicate with the contractor in writing or at least to confirm whatever is said in writing.
He will have an advantage because this is probably not the first time this has happened to him. Therefore, you must plan your moves carefully in advance.
Good luck! "

Guys, I really appreciate all of your responses, if you see something on those photos that hasn't been discussed, please, let me know.

Cheers,
Pawel

    Bookmark   July 25, 2014 at 2:13PM
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