A little confused/aggravated


Old 12-20-15, 09:58 AM
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A little confused/aggravated

I have put off getting into this because I am afraid its going to be controversial & or start heated discussion. I want to say upfront that isn't my intent by any means, I'd just like some clarity on this.

I have been a bit aggravated for a few years now about contractors (in my opinion) not finishing the job. The question here is, is it the contractors job or am I just off base?

A few years ago when my wife & I got married & I moved to her home that she was buying. It needed a bit of updating & I was in a financial position to do some of that. One of those jobs was plumbing. Its an older 70's home & the bathtub faucets needed replacing in both bathrooms. We called a highly reputable, large, local plumbing service to come change them out among a few other things. They came right out & got on the job. A couple of hours later they finished & we went in to inspect the work. There is a 12" X 16" or so, hole in the small square ceramic tile around the faucet with black plastic covering the hole behind the new faucets.
Me: Whats this?
Plumbers: Oh, we don't replace tile.
Me: What? What do you mean you don't replace tile after a plumbing repair?
Plumbers: We are plumbers, not tile guys.
Me: Hummm, well, here's your check... don't expect a return call for future services (& for the record, in 14 years, I haven't & won't).

I mean, you remove the tile to make the repair... I mean, isn't this a common part of the service to put it back? You know, that as a plumber, you're going to have to commonly remove tile to fix a plumbing problem. Isn't that just part of what goes along with plumbing.
I mean, its a wonder they didn't say we had to come get them cause they don't drive cause... they aren't drivers... they are plumbers. Come on. You may not be a professional driver but that's just part of the overall job/service.
If you dig a hole in the front yard to repair the plumbing out there, you don't cover the hole back? You don't put the dirt back in the hole cause you are dirt contractors?
In all honesty aint replacing tile & finishing the job part of the deal/service/business/trade?

Well here it is 14 years later & we are about to have some remodeling/updating done. We are getting prices & talking to professionals about doing the work, one of which is flooring. We have a friend who works in the flooring dept at Home Depot. So, they are offing free installation (yeah right) for a period of time. So we get a quote. We have the lady come out, measure & HD sent us the quote.
They don't move heavy furniture, they don't disconnect gas or water from stove/oven or refrigerator etc. And get this, they don't deliver the flooring. We can go pick it up or they will charge us X amount to deliver it 48 hours prior to installation. They wont remove or replace the toilets. They wont put flooring under the water heater. They will box around it. Therefore, there is old flooring or bare concrete under the heater.

I cant believe this! Isnt moving the furniture & appliances around part of getting the floor laid? Geezzz! Isn't that just part of completing the job?

We talked to one general contractor to get everything done & have one guy handle everything for us. When he made the quote, it wasn't anything like realistic. Some jobs were like flooring... X amount. Replacing faucets, tile & repair ceiling (water leak), X amount. It was all mixed up with jobs & pricing combined with no outline of what he was going to do, how he was going to do it, time or material. We (& the credit union) asked him for a line item quote so we would know whats going on, what to expect & what materials were being used, time etc.... he actually got mad, wouldn't provide the quote & didn't return the one phone call I made to him a week later to ask about the quote. I wont be calling him back either.

Again, aint a detailed quote just part of it when we have chosen him as the contractor & we're standing there with money in hand?

I'm just confused & puzzled why these so called professional contractors wont just come in, do the job & finish it. When they get here & start the job in the morning, when I get home in the afternoon, I expect the job to be finished. Somehow, I dont get it.
A plumber cant replace the ceramic tile?
The carpet people wont move furniture & appliances to lay the flooring & a contractor wont provide me with a line item quote for the job?

I am not kicking all contractors around cause I am sure all are not like this... at least I hope not. Is the above common practice with contractors or have I just run into a few bad services?
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Old 12-20-15, 10:27 AM
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What was in the "contract" ?

Despite their name, it's interesting how many "contractors" don't use written Contracts !
Old 12-20-15, 10:33 AM
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The plumbers should have known the tile would need repairing, and although they don't do tile, you should have been aware and arranged for he tile fix. Really not the plumber's balywick.

People often balk at my flooring installation prices. The first thing they say is "Home Depot......" I tell them to check to see what services they omit. They always call back to have us do the job. We do a full service job, moving furniture (within reason), removing base and shoe, replacing with new, as needed, removing carpet, padding, a kazillion staples. Tack strips. None of whoch the box stoesprovide.
Old 12-20-15, 10:47 AM
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I can understand your frustration. But think about it. Do you want a plumber fixing your electrical or a floor tiler doing your plumbing? That is why in many cases a General Contractor is used. Of course it's not practical for a small job like changing out a fixture. That's where your local handyman comes in or the DIY'er and forums like us. When I reno'd my kitchen and bath, I had to be plumber, electrician, tiler, carpenter and painter. We can't know everything so we contact people like Furd, Marksr, Ray, Hedgclipper, Pulpo and a whole host of others.

The point being is you need to look at the whole picture when it comes to repair. If you want plumbing done you can't expect them to do tile work, carpentry or painting.

For large jobs many repair companies will sub-contract others to do the "clean-up" work. Landscapers is a good example. I doubt very much if outside construction workers do their own remedial landscaping when the outside shrubs and lawns get dug up or ruined. Of course the cost will reflect that kind of work. And like Vermont mentioned, what's in the contract. It has to be in writing.
Old 12-20-15, 10:53 AM
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Working in people's homes or offices is an interesting thing. I get asked to give people prices for painting all the time, but they don't factor in the moving of furniture, etc. then lose their minds when you tell them you have to charge for that stuff. I'm not doing that stuff for free. Sorry. In about a week, I'll be painting a lawyer's office. I told her the job was pretty much double in price if I had to move her 30yrs of documents she's got stored in the rooms she wants painted.

My favourite looks on peoples faces are when you tell them there's no way you're going to be moving their 100gal. fishtank, 65" TV or Great Grandma's 500ct. Royal Daulton figurine collection.
Old 12-20-15, 11:11 AM
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Unless the tub was on an outside wall they should have went from the back. Even if the new faucet didn't line up with the old holes there are remodel cover plates for that.

At least you had a neat hole. I have seen it where they just used a hammer to bust a hole in the wall.
Old 12-20-15, 11:14 AM
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Is the above common practice with contractors or have I just run into a few bad services?
You haven't run into bad service IMO, just some guys that don't explain to the homeowner what's going to happen.
I try hard to explain to the customer exactly what I'm going to do and why, and why certain things will not be done.

In your case though, there is a disconnect between the salesman and the contractor (big box subs for example).

The "salesman" will tell you everything will be taken care of, knowing there is no money in the job for that repair work and that the contractor doesn't routinely do that repair work in the first place.

Customers should ask a lot of questions and hold the salesperson accountable.
Old 12-20-15, 12:44 PM
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We are out there, just have to find us. I am a full service contractor and I do all the work myself. I move furniture, repair my own tile, fix any drywall hole AND include a line item estimate that shows everything that will be done, broken down into each step of the process. I pride myself on the customer knowing exactly what is going to get done and the level of finish. I'm also booked out months in advance so my services are never "readily available" but if willing to wait, you will get exactly what you want. My suggestion is to ask friends and neighbors about there experiences. Get multiple quotes on all projects (I encourage this with my customers to put my quote in perspective).

But you are right, there are an awful lot of bad apples out there. Truth being, you don't want a plumber doing your tile work, and you may not necessarily want a painter to do your carpentry work (except you Marksr). They are single trade specialists, not multiple trade contractors. The Bathroom remodel I'm working on now has had a hole for 3 years in the ceiling of this homes front foyer where a plumber busted a hole in the textured ceiling only to find that there wasn't a plumbing leak at all, it was a "kids not closing the shower curtain" leak. Doesn't matter, they busted a hole, found nothing and still got a check for the service call.

I actually have a personal policy that if it is broken when I show up and broken when I leave, then I didn't do anything and therefore should not get paid.

So, ask as many questions as you want, ask for detailed estimates, and request whatever you want, after all, it is your money you are spending. If they don't want to comply, then move on to the next contractor until you find one that will.
Old 12-20-15, 03:01 PM
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I think a lot has to do with communication, the more a customer understands about the work to be done [or not done] the happier he is apt to be. If you knew before the job started that tile would be removed but not replaced - you'd have no complaints.

As for moving furniture prior to a repaint, I've always discussed that with the customer before I submitted my bid. If they said they'd move it [and I believed them] they got a cheaper price than if I figured I'd be doing it. Never have liked hanging curtains but if the paint at the window was wet when the job was done - I had a good excuse not to
Old 12-20-15, 03:26 PM
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In my proposals I always will list things not included such as drywall repair, or items that have a wide range of prices such as dimmers, or trim rings. I would expect the customer would not want me to repair their drywall, or choose the guy who will do it. Having subs come into your home can be a big deal and I feel it is a personal decision.

As you have found, if you want a turn key job you need to hire a general contractor and pay his fee too.
Old 12-20-15, 03:56 PM
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Yeah I don't think you need to worry about this being a controversial discussion or it becoming heated...

The plumber doesn't have a magic wand to access pipes behind your shower, tile, cabinets, what have you. They remove whatever they have to to do their job and if you didn't know that, well, what do they say about ignorance? "Ignorance can be fixed, stupidity is forever"? You simply didn't know... can't blame you for that.

Now if you wanted the complete job... well then you should have called a general contractor to manage your project. He would survey the problem, inform you of whats involved, would have informed you that a plumber would need to make the hole (which would destroy your tile) and then he'd tell you what the options were. (i.e. do you have more tile... can it still be purchased... or will you need to retile the whole bathroom as a result of this can of worms this is going to open.)

The general contractor would either do that additional work himself or would hire subcontractors to do it. And he would contact a plumber that he uses and probably has a good relationship with. You would pay the general contractor for all this work, since the subcontractors generally will all bill him... not you.

All this costs extra. In short, you chose to be the general contractor on your project... so those are things you are now responsible for.
Old 12-20-15, 08:12 PM
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I hear you and agree with you I had a guy from a major department store install a gas water heater and he never turned the gas off before installing a cut off valve. Luckily no gas explosion but the guys who did the job were very unprofessional. Most carpet contractors including my brother who installs carpet will move furniture around if they have help to move furniture. I don't care for installers very much from home stores like big orange or big blue and would prefer to get a smaller company install carpet or get my own installer.

I don't usually get estimates for work being done as I have a contractor I have used for years and he is reasonable in what he charges. I agree though if you want a breakdown as to how much each thing costs you have the right to ask for an estimate with a break down for costs. If the contractor isn't willing to do that then you should get someone else.

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