Adjacent tiles lift after repair work. Is it malpractice?

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I moved into a 34 year old single floor home.I think it's a concrete slab. I knew that some tile work needed to be done since the ceramic tiles (9 1/2 " squares) were lifting off the floor in the hallway entrance. I hired a local contractor that came recommended by the real estate agent. The contractor walked around the house hitting all the tiles with a broomstick handle so he could tell the general state of the tiles.
Sometime in the past, work had been done in the same area. Twelve tiles had been removed and replaced with different tiles to form a diamond pattern by the entrance hallway. It looked really nice and left some used spare tiles that were in the garage.
The guys reset the tiles, using six of the spares to replace some of the others that had cracked or been nicked over time. They injected adhesive between some other tiles to make sure that they didn't come up. The whole job was just under $900, paid by credit card.
The next morning I walked through the kitchen, heard a CRACK, and over a 10 second period watched as tiles adjacent to the repaired tiles lifted up and one even cracked in half and jumped about 6" into the air. Around 20 tiles (9 1/2 " tiles) are now no longer attached to the floor.
The contractor says that this happens sometimes and that the contract specifies that they aren't responsible for damage to nearby tiles, and that if this type of thing happens it usually happens when the guys are actually doing the work. The owner offered to repair the damage for half price, around $700. But he also said that he couldn't guarantee that the other kitchen tiles would stay in place and suggested that it would be more cost effective to have someone redo the kitchen tiles. There also aren't enough spares to replace all the tiles that cracked.
I brought the tile that jumped into the air to a nearby tile store and he says that he tile didn't have enough adhesive on it to begin with. But the tile guys at Home Depot say that this should not have happened and that the contractor injected too much adhesive under the tiles.
I'm a reasonable guy. If this was just something that does happen to even experienced tile guys and it was just bad luck, then I allow the payment to go through and don't cause a fuss. But if you folks think that it was an error by the contractor, then I'll stop the charge and complain to the state business people.
So? Shit Happens or Bad Work?
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On Sunday, September 6, 2015 at 2:21:30 PM UTC-4, dgk wrote:
This would seem to be the most relevant part:
"the contract specifies that they aren't responsible for damage to nearby tiles"
So, I don't think you're in a good position. I can see how you could wind up in this position. If I read that contract, I would think it means that while they are doing the work, removing the loose tiles, etc, if an adjacent one get's damaged, they aren't responsible. I would never expect that a day later a lot of them would be cracking.
It's weird, do you know what kind of adhesive they used? If you had an empty tube of it and can show that it was unsuited to the job, not recommended for use on tile, or something like that, then I think you have a cause to get a refund. I guess the lesson here is that if you have a lot of loose tiles, it shows the job wasn't done right and it's better to just bite the bullet and redo the whole thing.
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dgk wrote:

I say bad work . There is no reason for a tile repair to exert sideways force on adjacent tiles . If he used an expanding type (like hydraulic cement) mix to inject , he screwed up . But I could be wrong , I only have about 25 years experience with flooring systems , including tile , hardwood , vinyl , and carpet .
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On 9/6/2015 2:21 PM, dgk wrote:

I think you are screwed. Good chance they did cause some of the damage, but it sounds like it was a poor job to start with. I know it is expensive, but I'd consider doing the whole floor over again, but with a different contractor.
Given the contract wording, I don't think you have a chance in court.
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Ed Pawlowski wrote:

Another thing is no warranty of any kind on the contract? Sounds like some thing is not right on workmanship or materials used.
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On Sunday, September 6, 2015 at 6:54:41 PM UTC-4, Tony Hwang wrote:

Why would a warranty enter into this? The tiles repaired under the contract are not the ones he is currently having problems with. In addition, accord ing to the OP, the contract specifically states that the contractor is not responsible for damage to nearby tiles.
This does not appear to be a warranty issue.
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On Sunday, September 6, 2015 at 8:06:38 PM UTC-4, DerbyDad03 wrote:

rding to the OP, the contract specifically states that the contractor is no t responsible for damage to nearby tiles.

As I said before, I think his best shot is if by a miracle there is an empty tube of whatever this adhesive was still around. I'd be very curious to know what it was. And if it's something that isn't appropriate for the application, then I think he's got a case for a full refund. I think what happened obviously shows that it's not the right product, but if it says it on the tube, that's a lot better. Even with the disclaimer about not being responsible for adjacent tiles, he might be able to win a case on the basis that the real problem is the contractor was incompetent, that having a big disaster like this is the result of using the wrong product, etc.
Say for example, a power washing company has a contract to do the wood siding on your house that says something to the effect of not being responsible for surface damage. Does that mean they can use 5000 PSI, totally screw all the siding, then just walk away? I don't think so, because they violated implicit standards of professional competency. He might win a similar argument here and I'd probably stop the payment.
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DerbyDad03 wrote:

Depends on your point of view . I see this as something caused by the repair work . Having laid more than a few square feet of tile , I've *never* heard of this happening . That contractor used something that expanded and put some pretty extreme pressure on the adjacent tiles - possibly a hydraulic cement meant to expand into cracks and seal them . I believe I'd hire an expert witness and sue the ratbastard for a comlete new floor , since his work caused damage . That contract is null and void if you can prove the guy intentionally caused this problem in hopes of selling a big tile replacemwnt job . And I think - from the facts as presented - that he did exactly that . And I'd be going over that contract to see exactly what it says too ...
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wrote:

edge of the existing tile as well as in the joint between the old tile and the new. This is almost guaranteed to pop the old tile, or crack them if they are well bonded to the slab. I;d say not too smart tile man doing the repair, POSSIBLY combined with a substandard original job (no excuse for the original tile to have come loose if done properly in the first place)
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On 9/6/2015 8:06 PM, DerbyDad03 wrote:

He said they added some adhesive to existing tiles. That makes them part of the new work. He is not giving any warranty on the work he is doing, but putting in an exception.
He is saying "I'll fix it, but if it goes to crap it is not my fault"
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yes, I don't think it was ADJACENT tiles that are now popping up, it is some of the tiles the contractor did do SOMETHING to.
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On Sunday, September 6, 2015 at 11:15:24 PM UTC-4, taxed and spent wrote:

Are you saying the OP is wrong and/or lying? He specifically said that it was the "adjacent" tiles that were popping and that there was clause that said the contractor wasn't responsible for damage to "nearby tiles".
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I am thinking the OP is talking about tiles popping that are adjacent to removed/replaced tiles. But if the contractor injected stuff under those now popped tiles, they are not adjacent tiles to the work the contractor did, they are part of the work the contractor did.
I don't think this is worth pursuing with the contractor or in court. But it would be good to get to the bottom of it.
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On Monday, September 7, 2015 at 12:33:33 AM UTC-4, taxed and spent wrote:

Why on earth isn't it worth pursuing with the contractor? He can still challenge his credit card payment to start and it's $900, not $25 bucks.
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I agree with disputing his credit card statement. I was talking about going to court, sending this bozo demand letters, etc.
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On Mon, 7 Sep 2015 05:39:19 -0700, "taxed and spent"

I am going to dispute the credit card statement. I doubt that I'll take it to court.
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On Monday, September 7, 2015 at 9:05:54 AM UTC-4, dgk wrote:

If the CC approach doesn't work, I'd take it to small claims. You don't have anything to lose, except a small filing fee and I'd say a reasonable chance of gaining $900.
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On Mon, 7 Sep 2015 06:33:54 -0700 (PDT), trader_4

True. It's strange to put the credit card company in the position of a court. It really isn't their job to determine what the contract says. I took a closer look at the contract and there is vary little said about adjacent tiles. The only part that seems to apply is thatt they are not responsible for glue leakage outside of the work area. Well, by glue leakage I think of some glue coming up, not 25 tiles coming up.
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In alt.home.repair, on Tue, 08 Sep 2015 08:19:47 -0400, dgk

His measure of damages is the cost to put it back the way it was before he had this last repair. That alone could be more than 900. In fact the contractor says it's 1400. But he's also entitled to the benefit of his bargain that he paid 900 for, and if the new work that was done was damaged, since the repair guy won't do it as a warranty repair he's entitled to go somewhere else. In that case, it may cost more to get the originally contracted work redone, if it needs to be redone, than the orignal guy charged. No matter how you add it up, his total damages, assuming he wins, would be what it takes to put the tile back the way it was before the last repair, and to have the work agreed to in the last repair completed by someone else.
Sometimes it costs more than the original price to get work redone. Especially when a contractor bids less than competent people do because he knows he's not very competent. (Being somewhat incompetent and learning on the job is fine, if all it does is cost the contractor time, without substantially inconveniencing who has hired him. But not if it means finishing with an inferior job. )

They didn't want that role, but they needed to do it to keep customers (after I guess one such company started doing it.)

This is more detail than I saw you give before. Glue leakage is a lot more limited than damage. If it had said not responsible for damage to nearby tiles, some woudl have claimed that mean they could drop a tile cutter on the floor and if breaks a tile, they're not resonsiible. Or at least if he was chipping away at excess grout and broke the tile next to it, they weren't responsible.
But glue leakage? That sounds like spilling glue on other tiles or even the carpet next room.
Let's assume there was glue leakage and that they're not repsonsible for that. Glue leakage is not glue expansion, or glue dislocation of existing tiles. afa you've posted, there's notihing in the contract saying they're not responsible for that.
It's something like a contract that said not repsonsible for foul-smelling fumes the evening after the repair, and then someone in the house passes out and dies from the fumes. They may not be responsible for the fumes being there, or for foul smells, but they''re not released from liabitlity for products that make poisonous fumes.

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dgk wrote:

I think you've made a wise choice . Not only did he overcharge you , but IMO he deliberately caused other problems to try to bend you over some more . I've ran home repair/flooring install/light construction businesses in the past , and never had to resort to this type of chicanery to make a decent living . Quality work at a reasonable price will have people calling you , instead of screwing every one and never getting a call back . Some of my former customers still call me , even though I've retired and moved away .
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