05:56AM | 06/22/08
Member Since: 06/21/08
1 lifetime posts
Hi, I am in the middle of a flooring change and bathroom remodel in my condo (in California, if that matters). The general contractor's remodel quote included a price of $5/sq ft for floor tile installation and between $10 and $15/sq ft for vertical tile installation in the two bathrooms. This was based on me supplying the ceramic tile for the whole installation at my cost. After I selected him over other bidders, at the start of the project, the contractor wants to add to the contract to charge me $2/sq ft for floor and $7/sq ft for walls for installing "Hardie Backer" under the tile. He says he assumed the previous carpet was laid over a concrete subfloor due to the condo's age (50 years), while it is actually on a wood subfloor over framing (the subfloor appears to be in good condition). He also says he did not know what to expect under/behind the bath tiles, so the Hardie Backer is an extra. BTW, I asked him about a moisture/vapor barrier for the wet areas, and he seems to be planning a nothing over or under the Hardie Backer; just a thinset adhere of the ceramic tile to the backer. He also wants to add on $500 for a hot mop shower pan installation (under the shower floor tile), for which he says there really is no alternate, but he just failed to account for it in the original proposal. I don't want to shortchange him for legitimate expenses, but does tile installation normally not include backing? At the prices I'm paying? I need to resolve this quickly; my baths are already demolished. Thanks!


06:27PM | 06/24/08
Member Since: 07/03/05
283 lifetime posts
It would be a separate line item, not included in the tile install cost. I am surprised he didnt take the time to lift the rug or otherwise determine what the condition of the subfloor was. To assume it was on a slab sounds a bit of a stretch to me, but the cost is in line, if he installs the cement board properly. First of all, if the floor is substandard, just adding cement board will do NOTHING to improve the structural strength of the floor, only adding more plywood and/or beefing up the floor joists will do that.

The cost to install the boards on the wall sounds high but I dont know all whats involved to do your particular job. If he has to cut outside and carry the board sup 3 flights then maybe it too is in line. He better tape all the seams and corners with fiberglass mesh tape and coat the tape with modified thinset. This will help in reducing cracks in the grout through the corners and cracks in the tile that span the seams.

If he is using a product called Dens-Shield on the walls then no vapor barrier is needed behind the board. If he is putting up Hardibacker, Durock or similar then yes, a 4 mil plastic drop cloth tacked to the studs should be put in place
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