03:32PM | 11/18/03
Member Since: 11/17/03
8 lifetime posts
About 2 months after we moved into our newly-built home, we noticed cracks in the grout of our bathroom floor. Builder had his floorer come back, and they ended up taking up and laying back down 1/2 the floor because tiles were loose. About 1 month before our one-year warranty was up we had the builder come back in because the grout in the OTHER half of the bathroom was cracking and some of the tiles were obviously loose. Builder supplied one extra box of tiles, which were not from the same dye lot. Long story short we now have a bathroom floor which consists of several minorly chipped tiles, two quite obviously different dye lots, and some grout which is still cracking. Builder cannot find any more of the tiles. I want him to remove the entire floor, take up the plywood subfloor, lay down a concrete backer, and relay all new tiles. I've even offered to pay for the new tiles, as I would probably pick something a bit more expensive than the $1.00 per he provided. Builder says we have a stable, usable floor, and that he is no longer liable. What is his liability here? I've even asked him to replace a few of the most badly-chipped tiles with a few tiles I found in the basement and he refused. What should I do? Do I need to take him to court, or is he really no longer liable here? This is one of many problems we've had with this house, some taken care of to our satisfaction and some not. Any help would be greatly appreciated!



05:11PM | 11/18/03
Member Since: 06/06/03
1250 lifetime posts
Hi Melanie,

Not sure about the liability issues, but I've heard this is almost a standard builder trick. Unfortunately, it's all too common for them to NOT use concrete backerboard--and the tiles look fine for about the length of the one year warranty. Pretty shady, I think.

I'll bet your neighbors are having the same problems (assuming same builder/same timeframe).

I'd hate to get involved in court if it wasn't necessary...but in this case....I don't know, maybe small claims court? Maybe one of the local TV stations has a "law line" day where you can ask an attorney a question for free? I guess one thing to keep in mind is that you're not really talking much $$$ here to re-do; you'd hate to spend a lot on lawyers...

good luck and please keep us posted!,
k2 in CO.


02:22AM | 11/19/03
Member Since: 11/17/03
8 lifetime posts

Thanks for responding. I got an estimate from a local flooring contractor and it looks like it will cost about $1800 to rip up the old floor and replace it with new. Of course this has to be the largest tile floor in the house! It's possible that the tiles are now securely down, as the ones they reinstalled 8 months ago seem to be secure still. But it just doesn't seem right that I should have to have a floor with damaged/chipped tiles and variations in color. Am I being unreasonable?



03:33AM | 11/19/03
Member Since: 06/06/03
1250 lifetime posts
Hello again Melanie,

No you certainly are NOT being unreasonable! -- tiles from different dye lots can exhibit the kind of color variations you are seeing. And all the chips, etc.; sounds like they got the tiles from leftover jobs.

Also, $1800 IS starting to get "up there", moneywise. Maybe an hour of an attorney's time might be worth paying(???) But I'd be a little concerned about "good money after bad." I mean, you start adding lawyer's fees for what may amount to just pieces of PAPER--when what you really want is FLOORING. I don't have much experience with lawsuits, etc. (THANKFULLY!)...but I have some friends who were in a dispute to get their deposit back (they'd rented a condo)--this ended up taking almost a year--and it was a LOT of hassle. I'd think it sure would be preferable if the builder came through for you. The color variation issues aside, maybe you can shame him into fixing it by saying that a good tile job should last for decades (or centuries!), not months?!

Best of luck,
-k2 in CO.

[This message has been edited by k2 (edited November 19, 2003).]


06:48AM | 11/19/03
Member Since: 08/27/03
255 lifetime posts
I think this actually all started when the different dye lot was brought in. In other words, because the other tiles were different dye lot - I do not think that is acceptable. If the builder was accepting responsibility back then, than he should have either found the same dye lot (difficult) or purchased ALL new dye lot. Putting in different dye lots in the same area is totally unacceptable as a fix.
plain and simple.
I am not saying this will make litigation easy, but this is a fact.


05:05PM | 11/19/03
Member Since: 11/17/03
8 lifetime posts
Oh, thank yo so much for responding. I was feeling really bummed tonight because the builder just informed us that he was "done" with us after I asked him to do something about visible joints in our drywall ceiling. He has also informed us that he is "done" with the ceramic tile floor. It makes me feel so much better to know that someone agrees with me--that I'm not just being unreasonable about this whole thing. I am certainly going to push the issue with the builder and get him to accept at least some responsibility for the cost of fixing the floor. Just one question for you flooring experts on HOW to fix it right. The builder screwed the heck out of the plywood that he put down as a base for the flooring. If the plywood is removed will all of those screw holes compromise the strength of the plywood subfloor underneath? The backerboard will be mortared down, correct? Will it also be nailed or screwed? I'm just wondering if, because the tiles that were relayed six months ago seem to be secure, we should just leave well enough alone and take up all the tiles and relay new ones on top of the plywood rather than tearing it all up to put down backerboard. Any advice would be great.

Thank you,



07:03AM | 11/20/03
Member Since: 11/16/03
11 lifetime posts
I don't know anything about tile, but I would say this builder has some pretty lousy business ethics. It sounds like he goes the easy cheap route that will last just long enough for him to claim that he is no longer liable. Could you check in with a Better Business Bureau or something similar to that in your area? Good luck!
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