How's my plumber doing?

Discussion in 'Shower & Bathtub Forum & Blog' started by augusta, Oct 10, 2010.

  1. augusta

    augusta New Member

    Messages:
    97
    Location:
    Augusta GA
    I know code is different from county to county, state to state, etc. etc. but some things are universal. Was hoping some plumbers could take a look and let me know if anything looks strange. General contractor was hired to handle some work in this home. One of his plumber guys' job was to rip out and replace the old tubs and tile shower in two bathrooms, and replace the old tub plumbing fixtures.

    When I came out to check on things today, the plumber was out there for about 5 hours but hardly any work was done. He said he ran into problems with water leaking at one of his couplings. I asked why he didn't just solder some copper line in there to which he replied, "we don't use copper anymore. It's all just flex tubing nowadays." I thought, well, ok, if he says so, but there's copper in *this* home so one would think he'd just solder in some copper to keep things consistent.

    I'm just a little worried about the water leaking around one of his connections (which he claims he'll take care of tomorrow). Anything stand out in either of these pics? I have a feeling I should have a plumber check behind a plumber at all times. I guess you never know when someone is having a bad day or just doesn't want to make an extra trip to the supply store to do a "better job" while deciding to take a short cut.

    Thanks for taking a look.

    tub1.jpg tub2.jpg
  2. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    I can't tell, but I assume from the sloppy cement that the whitish pipe is CPVC and not PVC. In any event, the plastic stub out to the spout....SPECIFICALLY PROHIBITED by the manufacturer's installation instructions, will cause you problems. Don't let him leave that.

    see page 3 of pdf: http://www.moen.com/shared/pdf/instruction_sheets/ins129d.pdf
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2010
  3. augusta

    augusta New Member

    Messages:
    97
    Location:
    Augusta GA
    Hi, thanks for responding. I just took the spout off of my tub filler at my house (constructed 5 years ago) and it has a pvc line to spout. What gives?
  4. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

    Messages:
    7,450
    Location:
    Connecticut
    Fire the plumber!

    If the leak doesn't say that the hacked up mess should.

    Also Jimbo is dead on about the line for the spout being copper or, IPS pipe...
  5. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    15,316
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    Handyman.

    A plumber would never do that.

    The entire thing should have been done in copper with sweat fittings.
    The tub spout stubout has to be copper.
  6. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    In that other house, do you have a problem whereby water dribbles out of the shower head when you are filling the tub? That is the side effect of using the wrong pipe.
  7. nhmaster3015

    nhmaster3015 Master Plumber

    Messages:
    836
    Location:
    The granite state
    I agree with Terry. Nobody with a license would have done work that crappy and if he does have a license it should be revoked. Those pictures make the pig slop award of the week.
  8. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    27,062
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    1. I would NEVER screw a plastic fitting into a tub valve.
    2. The CPVC spout connection COULD break some day, and will probably cause the shower to drip when you are filling the tub.
    3. I would also NOT use CPVC between copper and a brass valve, but only for personal reasons. I don't know what he was thinking, by using a couple of inches of CPVC and a ''rinky dink" fitting instead of a couple of inches of copper tubing, unless he does not know how to solder.
    4. I do not know if those transitions are a cheap Sharkbite knockoff or what, but they do not look very substantial.
    5. I would NOT call that installer a "plumber", more on the order of a handyman.
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2010
  9. Ian Gills

    Ian Gills Senior Robin Hood Guy

    Messages:
    2,777
    Location:
    USA
    He's not even a DIY'er. Shocking.
  10. augusta

    augusta New Member

    Messages:
    97
    Location:
    Augusta GA
    Went back to this house armed with page 3 from Jimbo, but first I called my Ashi certified inspector. Here's what the inspector said, "in both our counties (in Augusta) use of either pvc or cpvc is allowed per county code, however, the hot side should not be pvc, but cpvc instead. Use of pvc inside a shower area is really a preference call, and it depends on how much room you have to work with. If we don't have a lot of room to work, we go the pvc route even if there's existing copper in the wall. Regarding the spout, homes are built to code all day long every day with pvc just so long as they have proper support. Often times code will conflict with manufacturer specs for warranty, and it's most likely that the manufacturer warranty is most strict (resulting in the conflict)." -- It's kind of like the no ethanol in 2 cycle chain saws. Some manufacturers say absolutely none, but most folks do just fine with 10% or less if you don't let the gas sit for long..not to mention it's very hard to find 100% ethanol free gas in my area.

    When I went in the home around lunch time today, BOTH bath tubs were leaking (both pictures above). I was hoping he hadn't sealed up the wall because by the time I'd notice any leak, he'd be paid and gone. He didn't pull that stunt and simply asked me to run and get him more supplies. I kindly asked him to pack up and leave for the day until I decide what to do with it. Meanwhile, the Ashi certified inspector is going to come in and give me a quote of what it would take to go ALL copper and finish the job, drywall and all.

    Just not comfortable with BOTH showers leaking when the pvc was his PREFERRED material to work with. If I were a "pro" there's no way on planet earth there would be a leak for 2 days on 2 tubs. Yeah, there's a such thing as defective parts, but that sort of thing should be spotted and fixed immediately in my opinion...and it's hard to believe that both parts in both tubs were defective. Looks more like inexperience.

    Geesh...now I have to ask if they haul off the demolition (I thought this was a given?) I was told last night by the general contractor that they had not planned on hauling off what is a truck load of demolition sitting in the garage.

    On the flip side, I've dealt with many so called legitimate plumbing companies. I've been through a rash of incompetent individuals there as well. That setup is nothing more than a master plumber who has hired a bunch of handymen as you call them ("in training"). It's basically 6 of one, or a half dozen of the other.

    Kind of frustrating, but it's good to know one can come here for unbiased opinions from what I can assume are more knowledgeable people. Yet even here often times it's hard to get a consensus. I WILL take the advice here, have it all ripped out and done in copper. I'll snap a shot of the Inspector's guy's work when he completes his version of "the right way" although he said, leaks aside, there's nothing against code with using cpvc throughout, including the spout.

    thanks for the advice.
  11. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

    Messages:
    7,450
    Location:
    Connecticut
    Fire the general contractor...
    Fire the plumber/handyman...
    Fire the home inspector...

    Fire everyone that tells you this hacked up mess is okay...

    PVC may be allowed on cold lines in Augusta but that doesn't mean it's a good idea...
    All that says is Augusta has a lax code and allows an inferior material where most areas across the country do not allow it inside the foundation.

    I'm no fan of CPVC either but if I ever used it with a threaded connection it would be with one of these.

    [​IMG]

    And I would use copper or IPS pipe to the spout as specified by the manufacturer of the valve.
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2010
  12. Cookie

    Cookie .

    Messages:
    5,658
    Location:
    .
    Looks good to me.

    OKAY, okay, ONLY kidding!
  13. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    27,062
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    quote; "in both our counties (in Augusta) use of either pvc or cpvc is allowed per county code, however, the hot side should not be pvc, but cpvc instead. Use of pvc inside a shower area is really a preference call, and it depends on how much room you have to work with. If we don't have a lot of room to work, we go the pvc route even if there's existing copper in the wall. Regarding the spout, homes are built to code all day long every day with pvc just so long as they have proper support.

    What a bunch of cr**. If you do not have a lot of room to work with, PVC or CPVC takes up a lot MORE space than copper, so why would you use either one? A plastic, whether PVC or CPVC, is NEVER a good idea, since it is FRAGILE, and could break the first time someone grabs the spout to keep from falling. I think they should also fire the city inspector who made that statement.
  14. nhmaster3015

    nhmaster3015 Master Plumber

    Messages:
    836
    Location:
    The granite state
    Isn't Georga an IPC state ?
  15. nukeman

    nukeman Nuclear Engineer

    Messages:
    711
    Location:
    VA
    Yes, GA is IPC based. Here are the amendments (state level):

    http://www.dca.state.ga.us/developm...ams/documents/IPC2010Amendments_effective.pdf

    I don't see anything allowing PVC for "distribution" piping. We have also seen other people from GA saying PVC is allowed for this. I haven't seen proof, though. Either there are city/county level amendments that allow it or the inspectors don't understand the difference between water "supply" piping and water "distribution" piping.

    I agree that it should have been done in copper. Even DIY it would be a pretty simple job (couple fittings, a little bit of copper pipe, flux/solder/torch). You could fix it yourself or a real plumber could knock that out in no time (without leaks).
  16. Ian Gills

    Ian Gills Senior Robin Hood Guy

    Messages:
    2,777
    Location:
    USA
    This is why you should learn to DIY. And this is a great site to provide tips on that.

    It's the only way to do it right.

    Buy some pipe and learn so solder. And fix the thing yourself. Right. The first time. Or perhaps the second. But on your time.

    I never looked back after my first sloppy contractor job. Should have done it myself all along.
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2010
  17. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    15,316
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    When I was young and in my twenties, just starting out, I ran nothing but copper. Being an apprentice, all I was running was the water.
    I went 8 months without a leak.
    It was kind of freaky, and word got out and a lot of the other guys weren't happy with me.
    But that's how it went down.

    A bit later they let me start doing waste and vents, and after a while gave me a guy to run copper.

    If your plumber can't run copper, he's not a plumber.
    If your plumber needs you to run to the hardware store to pick up fittings, he's not a plumber.
    If those pictures are real, and this isn't some kind of joke, he's not a plumber.
  18. Basement_Lurker

    Basement_Lurker One who lurks

    Messages:
    668
    Location:
    Victoria, BC
    What a mess. Both the installer and the GC are at fault in my book.
  19. augusta

    augusta New Member

    Messages:
    97
    Location:
    Augusta GA
    Didn't see this post until just now. No problems with water dribbling out of the shower head when filling the tub in my personal residence. I do have a shower massage, though I'm not sure if that would make a difference. I guess the minimum standards are more lax in the South. Figures.

    I said he is an Ashi certified *home* inspector, not a city inspector. The Ashi certified home inspector was speaking in terms of minimum standards (our county code).

    Yeah, I'm with you on that. I like to learn how to do things the right way, but doing it myself is another story. Unfortunately, with 3 businesses I own and run, I don't have the time to do everything myself as much as I'd like to. I'd like to know how to do things so I can prescreen self proclaimed professionals so as to weed out the inexperienced guys before they even step foot on a job site. This is harder to do with a full fledged plumbing company because you never know who they are going to send out. More often than not, it's some new guy in training, screwing everything up, because good workers are hard to find. Meanwhile, the master plumber is going to the new construction job sites where his bread and butter is. In the master plumber's down time, he goes out and fixes all of his workers' screw ups. You master plumbers know what I'm talking about.

    Not taking up for him because he cost me quite a bit of money, but he chose cpvc because it's cheaper, easier to work with, and meets minimum standards. He asked for me to run to the store because the GC dropped them all off on the job site. LOL! I wish it were a joke! You have no idea. First, the house is "haunted." Family was scared to death of seeing a little girl in this house (who disappears around hallway corners). Got so bad they had their priest come over and sprinkle Holy water in every room and bless the house. They moved out and now the house is vacant while I remodel. I have to admit, I don't really believe silly stuff like that, but when I was first working on this house before this family moved in years ago, I had to leave because of unexplained and untraceable noises coming from all parts of that house. I was beginning to think I was crazy. I never told a soul other than my wife, and I most certainly didn't tell the family who moved in and later experienced all sorts of horrors. What was I to say? I hear noises? I see dead people?

    It gets worse. GC was on a ladder the other day doing the gutters, fell off, cracked a rib, pinched his lung, and is in the ICU. I sure hope he doesn't tell me he thinks he was pushed when he was the only one anywhere near the ladder. If I hear another "haunted" or mysterious event come out of this house, I may have to sell it.

    I couldn't make this stuff up, really. I had to fire the "plumber" the other day, GC is in the hospital from the ladder incident, and I don't think the other guys have vehicles, or they have only one vehicle and the wife has it. I saw yesterday that when the plumber moved some of the demolition to the garage, he didn't pick it up all the way off the ground and left several long deep scratches in the floor in the dining room. Who do you think is going to pay for that? More damage I'll have to eat.

    Yesterday, I brought on 2 new guys. We spent about 30 to 45 minutes in disbelief of the terrible work that was done in both bathrooms. They picked it apart worse than you guys did (only because they could see more than what the pictures show). It's really unbelievable that is was done as shoddy as it was.

    The quote to rip out all of what the previous guy did (drywall, tub, inserts, plumbing) and start over is $2,000 in labor for both bathrooms (actually they said $1500 but I threw in an extra $500). I don't know how that compares to other places in the US, but here in this town, brand spanking new construction (coffered ceilings in dining room, granite counter tops, tiled floors in kitchen, baths, and laundry room, 8' ceilings, 2 story foyers, brick front, fiber cement siding back and sides, heavy molding throughout, landscape all 4 sides, sprinklers front and sides, 2 car garage, all appliances including refrig, 3000 - 4000 sq ft) homes are going for about $45 per sq foot - including the lot.

    Will post new pictures soon for more commentary.
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2010
  20. augusta

    augusta New Member

    Messages:
    97
    Location:
    Augusta GA
    Now what?

    Newest plumber is now hired. Last plumber from first set of pictures fired. This plumber can solder some pipes...but....check out the alignment...if you take a look at the photos before the inserts were installed, you can see there's nothing in the way horizontally to obstruct any alignment with the drain. Comments on this newest work?

    First 2 pictures below are bathroom 'A', the last 2 are bathroom 'B'.

    Bathroom 'A'
    tubaa.jpg
    Bathroom 'A'
    tuba.jpg

    Bathroom 'B'
    tubbb.jpg
    Bathroom 'B'
    tubb.jpg
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2010
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