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Found defect in workmanship

TxFig's picture

I would like to get the opinion of some professional builders & contractors regarding a situation that has come up.   Bare with me as this might be long - but I want to give as much information as possible.


Back in 2005 (yes, 12 years ago), my wife & I had our home built.  Part of this was a custom walk-in shower. The sub-contractor in charge of this particular build was a company that specializes in cultured marble manufacturing and installation.  They created and performed the installation of the marble walls, a built-in bench, and the floor.

Approximately 2-3 years after move-in, we started experiencing water leakage around the shower.  This was typically just a small bead of water along the baseboards along the walls adjoining the shower.  For quite a long time we didn't really think much about it, assuming the water was coming from spray getting around the shower door.   We did replace the caulking along the floor of the shower when the old caulk began to peel off.

Gradually over time, the "beads" along the baseboards got bigger and bigger, and we began to notice the "toe jam" began to rot, as well as mold beginning to creap up the side walls.  

About this same time, one of the shower heads (there were 2 shower heads on different walls in this shower) began to leak. I repleaced the washer/gasket which helped for a while, but it wore out after a very short time.  

Last year (summer of 2016) we noticed that the closet on the opposite side of the shower had some significant water damage, including mold.   My assumption was that the pipes had developed a leak.   So I turned the water to the shower completely off and began calling around to find a person who could repair the damage.   One of the places I called was the original company that installed the shower back in 2005.  Their quote was just a little over $5000.

We left the shower unused until this spring (2017) when we had saved enough for the repair.   We ended up calling a different plumbing company to perform the repair - but they were going to sub-contract the marble work with the original company.


Ok - that's all the back ground info.


Last week the repairs begain - with the demolition of the existing shower.  The original marble company came in to remove the original marble, so that they could re-use as much of the original material as possible in an attempt to keep the costs down.

When they pulled the floor up, it was discovered that the 'shower pan' was never properly sealed.  This assesment was made by the employees of the marble company themselves.  Their exact words were something to the effect "it looks like they hot-glued the pan down, then went to lunch, and never sealed it when they came back.".

I spoke with the plumber we had contracted for the repair and asked directly "was ANY of this damage caused by anything other than the floor pan not being installed correctly?"    His answer was an empatic "No".    

 

 

Now to my question:   How much of the repair should the original marble contractor be responsible for?

Yes, it is WAY after their normal warranty period has ended.    But I believe (at least in Texas), the statute of limitations does not apply to gross negligence. 


Below are the pictures from the shower (after the marble had been removed).   I forgot to take pictures of the wall in the closet).  

 

 

Keep in mind, the VAST (post #215040, reply #1 of 6)

Keep in mind, the VAST majority of the damage /  mold pictured here was behind marble walls.   We could not see it until after we decided to spend $5000 to take out the shower... 

If I had done the job I'd fix (post #215040, reply #2 of 6)

If I had done the job I'd fix it and hope and pray you wouldn't talk about it to your friends. We do lots of bathrooms and see this kind of thing all the time. It's borderline criminal in my opinion but I'm just a guy on the internet. I'd ask the marble contractor what they plan to do since the damage is obviously their fault and let them take the lead. The trouble with taking them to court is that its a total crap shoot. You coluld spend another $10 on an attorney and still lose.

Florida Licensed Building Contractor, 45 years experience in commercial remodeling, new homes, home remodeling and repairs and all types building maintenance.

Photo of pan in place (post #215040, reply #3 of 6)

Where is the photo of the pan in place, showing that it was not properly sealed around the edges? This is by far the most critical piece of evidence you need in any kind of *settlement*!!!  It is not enough to rely on the testimony of the person who did the demolition work...even if he is an employee of the company that did the original and faulty installation...sigh.

To me, the photos suggest that leakage started at the pan level. Moisture and mold migrated up the wall. I think you were lax in not acting promptly when you first noticed that something was amiss. Although photos and your words suggest a faulty installation the burden, from a legal perspective, very likely does no loger falls upon the original installer....sigh. Time has elapsed. Moreover, it appears that you failed to document the most important issue: lack of sealant around the existing (and now demolished) base.

Take your photos and concerns to the installer and hope that he/she is generous enough to give you partial credit for what appears to have been a faulty installation.

You don't mention damage to the floor. Be sure to check. Check for molds around the floor joists. Make sure to replaced comprosised drywall with materials that is moisture resistant. I suggest something other than drywall; thiis even though marble will be installed on top. Take every precaution. Don't let cost sway you from doing the job right. And be sure to ask the installer for photo documentation. I do this for all my clients. Not only does it protect me in the event of a dispute, but it also creates a sense of accountability. My reputation has been enhanced as a result. I wish you the very best outcome.

Mel Fros froscarpentry.com

tile fix (post #215040, reply #4 of 6)

 

When you get to the tile install use Denshield tile backer on the wall (attached to studs)

anywhere there will be tile, DO NOT use sheetrock of any kind (green board for example)

behind the tile. You can (and should) use green board anywhere else in the room that is

not exposed to direct contact with water. If the denshield overlaps into the "dry" area you can

simply skim coat the unwanted textured surface area with setting type compound to smooth the surface for

primeing and painting, or papering.

Good Luck,

Geoff

The question is about cost; not about "how to" (post #215040, reply #5 of 6)

"  Now to my question:   How much of the repair should the original marble contractor be responsible for?

 

Geoff: the OP's question is about the repair cost. What do you think? Who is liable? For how much? On what basis? See my comments further up.

Mel Fros froscarpentry.com

What I found odd is this was (post #215040, reply #6 of 6)

What I found odd is this was supposed to have been new construction and it appears that the shower was built on top of the vinyl floor................

 

and yes I know that isn't about the cost