I think the plumber screwed up.... What is my best fix option?

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice, Tips & ' started by gremlin!, Nov 9, 2011.

  1. gremlin!

    gremlin! New Member

    Messages:
    8
    Location:
    DC area
    Hi Everyone, I wasn't sure if I should post this in the shower forum, but since it has to do with rough-ins I posted here.

    My issue- I had a plumber run water lines over to a bathroom where we were adding a shower and install a Kohler K-304-K Rite Temp valve. When he put it in, it looked like it was sticking way too far out from the studs, but when I pointed it out he told me I had misinterpreted the instructions, that he had been doing this for years and years- yadda yadda.

    Well, I put up the durock, and after reading the installation about a thousand times, looking at videos, etc- I have a big problem. Two, possibly. First, he did install it WAY too far out on the studs. The plastic ring is supposed to sit behind the durock, but it sits a good 1/4" outside of it... on one side. On the other side, it sits outside the durock about a 1/2"! So now, not only is it too far out, but it is twisted about a 1/4" to the left.

    Asking him to come and fix it is not an option- It turns out this guy has major temper issues and blew up at me when I apparently asked too many questions. I was asking questions because I knew things were not right! (I won't even get into the other things he ended up messing up that I had to fix).

    So, as I see it my options are these:

    1. Take down the durock, have a plumber come in and pay yet more $ so that he can move the pipes/valve to where they should be.

    2. Take down the durock, shim out the studs 3/4" and re-durock.

    3. Have a breakdown. Oh wait, I've already done that.

    I am attaching photos of the rough in before drywall, the install manual close up, and the valve as it looks with the durock around it (profile from the side, and then top view so you can see the angle. The dome is not on the valve in those photos). What kills me is the "very tough" plumbing inspector looked at all of his work and passed him. I guess they don't really look at the details when doing an inspection?? Who knows.

    At any rate, I appreciate any advice you all can give me.

    Attached Files:

  2. Tom Sawyer

    Tom Sawyer In the Trades

    Messages:
    3,078
    Location:
    Maine
    No doubt that is a pretty sloppy installation indeed. The tile will take care of the 1/4" side without any problems but the valve needs to be even all the way around or the escution is going to look like crap. I think your best bet is going to be to re-set the valve.

    BTW, I've never heard of a plumber with anger issues LOL
  3. gremlin!

    gremlin! New Member

    Messages:
    8
    Location:
    DC area
    Thanks, Tom... I was afraid of that. I know it's all relative, but any idea how long it should take/ballpark what it should cost me?
  4. Tom Sawyer

    Tom Sawyer In the Trades

    Messages:
    3,078
    Location:
    Maine
    Oh, I'd rip you off big time just to teach you a lesson LOL. Not really no, It all depends on the going rates around DC I suppose though it should only take about a half hour.
  5. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,834
    Location:
    New England
    FWIW, the inspection checks to verify that it is installed safely to code. That would cover things like height, proper hookup so hot is to hot, cold is to cold so it can work right, possible nail protection plates to protect the piping, and stuff like that. He probably won't verify the asthetics of it. I'd take those pictures and attach them to a BB complaint along with the discussion of his unprofessional attitude. If you haven't paid him the final, tell him to fix it, or he won't get paid.
  6. Tom Sawyer

    Tom Sawyer In the Trades

    Messages:
    3,078
    Location:
    Maine
    I just looked a little closer at it. There appears to be no hangers or supports at all other than the 2x4 below the valve either. Looks like the whole thing kind of swings in the wind. Savage work, just savage. What in hell is the matter with people these days. You get paid good money to do professional work and this is the best you can come up with? Where's the pride of workmanship? I suppose it could be worse. It could be hanging off PEX. I would plaster those pictures all over the web along with the guys name and address. For a crappy, half assed installation call Hackmaster Plumbing Inc. Quality means Jack to us.
  7. gremlin!

    gremlin! New Member

    Messages:
    8
    Location:
    DC area
    Thanks, gents.

    Tom- Oh no, teach me a lesson!?!?! lol

    I really don't know what I could have done differently- the guy came highly recommended, had references, had an A rating on the BBB and when I met him, presented his license, and was great to work with until I questioned him. At that point he became instantly irate and proceeded to scream at us until he was crying. Yes, crying. We were dumbfounded. He ended up not taking the last couple of hundred dollars we owed him- only because I refused to have him back in my house. Total nightmare. Oh, and a few months after this all happened- I get a connection request from him on LinkedIn. !?!?!?!

    I found out later when I had one of his guys come back and fix another thing they did wrong (the guy had since quit the plumber's company, so I had to pay him to fix it) that the owner was a recent ex-con and a drug addict- along with some of the rest of the men working for him- thus, the temper issues. I also found out that his license was actually his UNCLE's license, not his. I was told that the positive reviews and references were all friends of the plumber. Since they finished what they did, I've checked yelp and there are tons of stories just like mine. If only they were there before!

    I did tons of research, got all my permits, tried to vet the guy out and I still ended up with an incompetent lunatic.

    Jad- What you are saying makes total sense. I wish I had stuck to my guns and made him fix it when I knew in my gut it was wrong.

    Ok.... So begins the search for another plumber. Do you gents have any tips, red flags, something I should/should not be looking for?
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2011
  8. gremlin!

    gremlin! New Member

    Messages:
    8
    Location:
    DC area
    Thanks, Tom. You hit it on the head- no supports- just the one there and another up by the showerhead. Yet another thing I casually asked about, as the installation instructions even mentioned more support.

    I would like to tell everyone about this guy, but since there is something very wrong with him and he knows where I live- I am very hesitant. I can't begin to tell you about the breakdown this guy had- it was very disturbing.
  9. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    You do not have a thin wall installation. Look at the other page. There is usually about 1/2" leeway for placement. Don't forget to account for the tile thickness. The 'twist' is a little harder to deal with.
  10. gremlin!

    gremlin! New Member

    Messages:
    8
    Location:
    DC area
    Thanks, Jimbo.

    Thanks for taking a look at the installation guide!!

    I thought so too, but it turns out (according to a Kohler rep- but I take that with a grain of salt, since they are really just salespeople) that when they say "thin wall" they mean just the wall material- drywall/durock, etc. When they say "thick wall", they mean a wall that is already finished with tile, stone, etc. But in either scenario, the plastic disk has to be behind the inside of the wall. If it was not for the twist, I think building out the wall would be an easy fix, but it looks like I am in for some more $$ being spent. :(

    If anyone has any ideas about what I should be looking for in order to weed out the crazies, please let me know. Thanks so much to everyone who is helping!
  11. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    14,819
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    There's no crying in construction.

    Heck, here in the Northwest we have to work in the rain much of the time.
    There was one Winter working on a 164 unit condo project with 20 buildings, the California developer laid all of the temporary power in the mud. If you were drilling and your knee touched the wet plywood, you would get shocked and see sparks between the drill in your hand and the nearest thing that would run the power to ground.
    One day I broke two pick handles trying to break up frozen ground so I could get my pipes in the ground, and of course I learned to keep a lighted light bulb handy to wrap my hands around when they got too cold.
    But crying? That wasn't never allowed.
  12. Tom Sawyer

    Tom Sawyer In the Trades

    Messages:
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    Location:
    Maine
    I blame it on the economy LOL
  13. leejosepho

    leejosepho DIY scratch-pad engineer

    I once had a couple of "pros" (working under someone else's license) do the same thing to me, and I just did some careful tweaking and bending to get the valve into place where it needed to be. If you can still get to the backside there, I would cut the 2x4 back away from it, do a little manipulating and then add whatever would be needed to re-fasten the valve to the studs.
  14. gremlin!

    gremlin! New Member

    Messages:
    8
    Location:
    DC area
    Thanks everyone - I am going to open the wall up to see if there is anything I can do without messing with the plumbing too much. In the meantime I've put some feelers out to get a ballpark for what I'd have to spend to have it fixed.

    If anyone else has any ideas, or input on how long this should take someone who is experienced, please do chime in.
  15. Tom Sawyer

    Tom Sawyer In the Trades

    Messages:
    3,078
    Location:
    Maine
    well I suspect that if you are at all a bit clever you can probably cajole the whole thing to where it needs to be and add some support too.
  16. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,315
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    quote; When they say "thick wall", they mean a wall that is already finished with tile, stone, etc. But in either scenario, the plastic disk has to be behind the inside of the wall.

    That is almost completely wrong. With a "thin wall which means the side of a modular tub or shower, there is enough latitude that the plastic ring CAN be behind it with the wall clamped between the disk and the trim ring, but that is COMPLETELY DIFFERENT than a "thick wall where the ring MUST BE even with the finish wall, NOT "behind the inside of the wall". IF you do it that way you can be almost positive the valve will be installed to deeply to finish it without an extension kit.

    WE were installing the plumbing in a house for Jack Ruby's brother. It had 10' deep basement walls. In order to keep the ground from freezing they threw straw into the basement, then it rained, and finally it froze. Then they installed the first floor deck over the basement which kept the sun from shining down there. It was still frozen 3 months later, and it was like trying to chop plywood because the straw kept the frozen ground from "breaking up" when we used a jack hammer. WE also had to get surplus army "Arctic boots" to keep our feet from freezing, and even then we could only work so long before we had to come out and warm our feet up. He also installed a "hot pitch" roof, which was a lot hotter than tar, so the roofers threatened to go on strike.
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2011
  17. gremlin!

    gremlin! New Member

    Messages:
    8
    Location:
    DC area
    Thank you, hj!

    I'm glad I wrote about what I was told, because it's been my experience that the product sales "experts" rarely know anything about the products they sell.

    OK, with that knowledge, I looked at the installation guide again, and it looks like they want the plastic guard ring (which is kind of clipped onto the permanent ring) flush with the finished wall. By finished wall, do they mean the edge of the tile or stone I will finish it with? Or do they mean the edge of the durock?

    If it means the tile/stone edge, then I would account for what will go on top of the durock: thinset, kerdi, thinset and 1/4" tile. How much should that be all together- a little less than 1/2"?

    I'm attaching a shot of the "thick wall installation" section.

    Thank goodness for you guys.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Nov 10, 2011
  18. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,834
    Location:
    New England
    Finished wall. Now, I highly suggest that you momentarily attach the trim and see how things fit. Some of the Kohler stuff is VERY precise, and if you're off even 1/16", the trim won't fit. Most have more leaway. You won't know until you actually attach it. Then, there is probably an acceptable range, and you may not like it t at the min or the max, so to get the handle where you really want it, and so the trim will actually fit...do a test fitting. The thinset, Kerdi, and tile will probably end up about 1/2", but again, it might behoove you to do a mockup of that as well, especially if the valve/trim you have is one that is very critical on their placement.
  19. gremlin!

    gremlin! New Member

    Messages:
    8
    Location:
    DC area
    Thanks, Jim.
    The trim arrives tomorrow, so a dry run is the plan. It will be interesting to see how much this "twist" in the valve will affect things. With the way things are going lately, I will hope for the best and expect the worst. I'm thinking I will slap another piece of 1/2" drywall or durock over it and then fit the trim, so it will mimic all of the layers that will be on top.

    Thank you so much again for everyone's input!
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