Does this price seem a little high for a small kitchen?

Discussion in 'Remodel Forum & Blog' started by DIYNeophyte, Nov 24, 2008.

  1. DIYNeophyte

    DIYNeophyte New Member

    Messages:
    13
    I have a small kitchen where I want to redo the floor in ceramic tile. A guy came in and gave me a price of $600 for 90 sq. ft. (I buy the tile, mastic and grout.) He added another $50 when he realized the subfloor and vinyl tile has to come up first.

    So for a small kitchen floor, does $650 in labor and subfloor seem reasonable? I'm in the NJ area.

    Thanks for any opinions.
  2. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,817
    Location:
    New England
    Depends, it could be too cheap. Before you even consider whether tile is possible, you need to know the floor construction - joist sizes, length, species type, and spacing. Then, you need to know what the subflooring is. Many floors just aren't capable of supporting tile. Whether yours can is still an open question. For tiling help, suggest you check out www.johnbridge.com.
  3. statjunk

    statjunk DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    542
    Sounds very cheap to me. I'd be wary.

    Tom
  4. Yeah no kidding.


    Pulling up all that
    for only $50? That's a great deal of the work sometimes.
  5. krow

    krow Plumber

    Messages:
    906
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    If anything, this is underpriced.

    Do it quickly before he changes his mind
  6. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

    Messages:
    7,453
    Location:
    Connecticut
    And beware when he just stops showing up in the middle of the job.
  7. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,270
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    floor

    for 90 square feet, he shouldn't have to leave.
  8. Cookie

    Cookie .

    Messages:
    5,660
    Location:
    .
    Personally, I would want to see pictures of his other work or talk to a couple of his customers if possible, that way I could better judge his level of expertise. How else would you know? References.
  9. sjsmithjr

    sjsmithjr Geologist

    Messages:
    295
    Location:
    Knoxville, Tennessee
    The warning signs:

    1) Didn't realize that the vinyl and subfloor need to come up.
    2) Wants to use mastic in lieu of thinset.

    Where did you find this guy? Tile can look great right after installation and be a mangled, cracked, nightmare a few weeks or months down the road. Try to find a couple more guys to give you quote. A good place to get a referral or two if you don't know anyone is to ask around at a couple of tile suppliers (not boutiques or big box stores).
  10. Thatguy

    Thatguy Homeowner

    Messages:
    1,460
    Location:
    MD
  11. Agree. A remote possibility is that the guy is young, hasn't been in business for himself for long, doesn't know his costs, figures it's a day's work, just figured he should add more for removing stuff that you could do, saw you had "just the right kind of tile", and a size that can be laid fast, and he knew about the subfloor and as it happens it is so strong that its flex will crack no tiles later... All floors have some give. Are you on concrete? Tile size too small or large makes installation harder. Tiles with certain edges take little time or effort (wide enough grout lines compensate for size and squareness irregularities), tiles with other kinds of edges take a lot of time and effort; it depends on how precise the dimensions are, whether the tile is rectified, etc.

    This may be more than you wanted to know.

    It is possible that this will turn out fine for you. It all depends.

    Good luck!

    David
  12. frenchie

    frenchie Jack of all trades

    No, it doesn't sound reasonable at all - as everyone pointed out, it seems alarmingly low - low enough that the guy's probably a hack.
  13. jar546

    jar546 In the Trades

    Messages:
    432
    Location:
    USA
    Could be low depending on where you live. A two day job should be more expensive than that.

    See some of his work, talk to previous clients. Occasionally you find good guys that work for less but most of the time this is a red flag.
  14. wait and see what happens.....

    Most likely he will want at least half his
    money up front given to him in "good faith" in cash...

    he will claim that he needs to check on some emergency at home and will be back in a half an hour to start....

    and that will be the last you ever see of him... and your $300..


  15. kingsotall

    kingsotall Plunger/TurdPuncher

    Seems some people prefer the hacks by the amount they are (or aren't for that matter) willing to spend on refurbs and retrofits.
  16. This guy got all these responses, he was here yesterday checking given his statistics of "last online" and figures he's getting a hell of deal getting this guy at that price.


    Otherwise there'd be more than just a drive-by post.


    But of course, now that I have pointed out this inconsistency, I'll put on waders cuz the **** will be thick telling us they didn't use the contractor.



    Riiiiiiiiiight, and I'm not balding with gray hair.
  17. DIYNeophyte

    DIYNeophyte New Member

    Messages:
    13
    Yeah, and Merry Christmas to you, too.

    I've actually been running around, getting quotes on a bunch of work my house needs done, trying to stretch the few dollars I've got, and trying to balance my desires with what's necessary.

    I didn't reply because I was thinking about all the comments I received, and since I admit I don't know anything about tiling, I had a lot to consider.

    Today doing what's necessary included hiring a guy (not the tile guy) who cut down and cut up a small tree, trimmed all my shrubs and hedges, hung two enormous drapery rods, resecured a shelf, and charged me $60.

    That $60 probably makes you want to pass out, but that's what he charged, and he did a fine job.

    I've been holding off on the kitchen tile job, but not because the guy isn't good. He did some other work for me, and that was perfect and the price was inexpensive. You might think $650 is cheap; I guess I shouldn't tell you that he was going to install the tiles on the diagonal, and was going to repair a ceiling crack the right way (so it didn't reappear.) All that was included in the $650 price, and he would be bringing his partner to help him - so that makes it REALLY cheap!

    You know, not everyone is trying to take money out of your pocket. Some people really can't afford prices of the experts (which is why this is a DIY forum.) And I'd be DIYing it myself, if I wasn't still recovering from massive surgery.

    Or my husband would be DIYing it, but unfortunately he died two years ago so everything around this house is on my shoulders.

    There are people who really can't afford high prices, and they still need to get things done. What would you suggest? Me robbing a bank or just giving up and committing suicide?

    Let me state that I truly appreciate the posts of everyone on here, even the ones that were something less than nice. I posted to get information and opinions, and I certainly got that.

    I just think it wouldn't kill you to not automatically jump to the conclusion that the person who posted was a cheapskate who wanted to get a jerk to throw down anything and brag about the "bargain" he got.

    I'm not a man, I have no one to show me how to do things, so I do what I think is the smart thing and post on forums where people who know more than I are kind enough to respond with their advice.

    There's no reason to be a jerk about it. If you want to think I'm a miserable cheapskate looking to fleece a professional by hiring some cheap fly-by-night crook so I can brag about a bargain, then have at it.

    You'd be wrong, but I bet that wouldn't be the first time for you.
  18. DIYNeophyte

    DIYNeophyte New Member

    Messages:
    13
    He actually did some other work for me, and no, he didn't ask for any money up front. In fact, I never had anyone ever ask me for money upfront, except for a licensed electrician. He came back twice, and he had me give him money upfront initially and then again for the second spate of work - and he didn't come back for three weeks.
  19. DIYNeophyte

    DIYNeophyte New Member

    Messages:
    13
    You're right on almost all counts. He is a young guy, has a partner who is another young guy, and it looks like they're trying to start their own business after having worked for other contractors. In my neck of the woods I think a lot of guys who had a ton of work even six months ago are panicking because the phone calls are drying up (I've found this to be true for almost everyone I've talked to in a bunch of different contracting professions.)

    I should mention he did some other work for me, and did a fine job.

    No, it's a kitchen floor. What's there now is one-sheet vinyl glued to a subfloor that was installed over the original tiles (whatever they installed 50 years ago, which is the age of this house.) Those tiles are glued on the hardwood floor.

    The subfloor under the sheet vinyl seems to be squeaky plywood, and that wasn't done well at all. I asked him to take up the subfloor and put down a new one, but the right one so it's the right substrate for tile, and oh yeah, so it doesn't squeak like the freaking plywood!

    I made a few visits to tile stores after talking to this guy, and I was looking at a 12 or 13" ceramic tile. Something simple; I also said I wanted narrow grout lines, leaving the space up to him.

    lol, maybe - what IS rectified tile? the tiles I've been looking at are porcelain ceramic. There doesn't seem to be anything overly unique about them (maybe a little heavier than other ceramic tiles), but then, I'm a neophyte, so any info you can give is gratefully received!

    Thank you, David; I appreciate your advice and your comments.
  20. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,817
    Location:
    New England
    A rectified tile is one that has the size made very consistent from one to another along with being square. Tile can vary depending on the amount of water, the length of drying, the pressure of the machine that makes it, the temperature of the kiln where it is fired, and other factors. This can make laying tile with small grout lines nearly impossible, since none of the lines would be straight and even with tile that varied a lot...when faced with tile that varies, you need to use a larger grout line which helps to hide the differences. Rectified tile are either sorted or ground to consisten sizes (and thickness), and can be set with very small grout lines to approach the look of a solid slab. You always need to have a grout line, or crud will accumulate in the joints. It also strengthens the installation significantly.

    Depending on where you live, the cost of living will dictate what people are willing and able to work for. NYC would be a lot different than say Silver City, NM. For many places, the price quoted would be very low. Sometimes you get a bargain. From here, it's really hard to tell...it's your call.
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