plumber failed to fix drip

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I recently hired a plumber to fix a few leaks and drips. He spend about 45 minutes trying to fix my leaking bathroom sink, but failed and said I am SOL. He couldn't get the seat out because it was stripped, and smoothing it out didn't do the trick. The drip is getting worse daily.
First question I have is should he have charged me for 45 minutes of labor even though he failed to fix the sink?
I'm also now stuck facing a costly remodel of my bathroom. The sink is 50 years old and the vanity is custom. If I replace the sink, I will have to tear out the vanity, the ceramic tile splash-back, and put in new flooring because there is nothing else on the market that fits. Not something I want to do. The plumber said it is possible to pull the sink out of the wall so that the faucet valves can be replaced, but this would likely be more expensive than installing a new vanity sink. Sigh...
Any advice? Should I call a 2nd plumber? I question the man's competence...
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Call a second plumber. There are ways to get the seat out. Tom
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Sure. You asked him to come out and he did. He tried, but evidently it cannot be fixed. Sometimes that happens and you don't know until you try.

I question your ability to understand thing mechanical. Sure, call the second ;plumber and be prepared to pay him not to fix it. After 50 years, things wear. He cannot add metal to a worn seat. Washers only take up some much slack. If a bearing wears out on a motor, do you fix it or replace it? If the rings on your car engine wear out, do you fix them or replace them? If the soles of your shoes sear out, to you fix them or replace them?
Only way to avoid the re-model is to buy a new house. This one is worn out already.
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I haven't had one stuck like that even on an old house. Try penetration oil if that doesn't do it try a little heat - that always worked. Careful not too much or you'll have to re-solder the fittings - assuming you have copper pipes.
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OP-
Is it the sink that leaks (unlikely) or one of the faucet valves?
I've seen a lot of bathrooms & I'm having trouble imagining how a bad faucet could require a "a costly remodel of my bathroom" to remedy.
How about a picture?
cheers Bob
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Ok, here is a couple pics (excuse the clutter!!). Notice that the ceramic tile splash back juts right up against the sink. And vanity is also custom-made for the sink and is only 13 inches deep (small bathroom).
http://pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/papagordygrapes/detail?.dir=/1d28&.dnm 82.jpg&.src=ph http://pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/papagordygrapes/detail?.dir=/1d28&.dnm53e.jpg&.src=ph
The plumber I hired seemed to think that pulling the sink to replace the valves would be extremely costly. If it were $300 or so, I would do it simple because we like the sink and vanity as is. A vanity/sink/faucet that fits and that would work in this bathroom is $330. I imagine the installation is another $300 or so?? Then I have to deal with new flooring and a new splash-back.
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PGG wrote:

http://pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/papagordygrapes/detail?.dir=/1d28&.dnm 82.jpg&.src=ph
http://pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/papagordygrapes/detail?.dir=/1d28&.dnm53e.jpg&.src=ph
I don't think there's an easy answer for you other than getting another plumber or a determined DIY to get the seat out. I bet I could do it by using a ground down piece of hacksaw blade and slitting the seat just up to the threads so it will colapse enough to loosen. Then install a new seat.
Try asking around and see if you can find someone willing to give it a try.
HTH,
Jeff
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The pictures help immensely. Let's look again....
I'm making a lot of assumptions here. But I'm not sure you need to remodel the whole bathroom.
First, you might be able to find someone who can remove the old seat. Finding a replacement might still be difficult, however. Keep in mind, the plumber was probably trying to do you a favor. He'll spend a lot of time, trying to remove the seat, with no guarantee it will work. He would have had to charge you a boat load of money...and you were already complaining :-)
NOTE: TRY AT YOUR OWN RISK I think, you can replace the faucet without a complete remodel. Not easy, but it can be done. The sink either sits on the cabinets you have, or hangs on the wall. First disconnect the plumbing. Cut the old caulking out and if the plumbing is disconnected, try lifting the sink out. It should pretty much lift straight up. Working it up, with the tile there, will be the most difficult.
Again, once the plumbing is disconnected, the sink should pretty much lift straight up. The tile (if installed after the sink was installed, which is likely) will be right next to the sink and may prevent you from lifting the sink straight up. That will be your problem.
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Let's try a little long distance ESP and see what happens:
Original sink. Ceramic installed at a later time w/o removing sink. Sink now locked in. Base and counter installed at later time w/o removing sink. Sink was locked in.
This bath have a toilet in it? ESP...ESP... ESP... Toilet was in corner by door. Base unit hides where toilet used to be. Base/counter retro to fit sink that could not be removed because it is locked in by the ceramic tile that was installed w/o removing and remounting sink.
w/o actually looking at it 1st person I can not say for certain, but unless it possible to make a repair on the faucet, it does look like the plumber did all he could w/o attempting to remove the sink from the wall w/o damaging sink or tile. Sink has to be removed to replace fixture. Sink must be lifted UP to remove.
Not in picture: ESP... ESP... ESP... Tub shower, window with rotting frame and lose glass, walls soft and/or crumbling in places especially around window and where it meets the tub and evidence or many attempts to patch lose/crumbling plaster.
Sound about right or was my ESP seeing the bath down the street because it does not work that far?? ;-)
I understand the bath is suppose to be the most bang for the buck when it comes to increasing selling value of the house. Maybe it's time to rip it all out to the bare lath and modernize the bath... including getting rid of the window and installing bath vent fan. ;-)
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I have seen an EZ-out bolt extractor remove a stripped seat. You have to be prepared to bite the bullet and/or sign a damage release before plumber or handyman would try it. If it fails you will not be able to use the faucet until it is replaced.
I have seen this old style sink before. I imagine there is a replacement faucet some where at some price but I am not aware of it. If I were you and wanted to try and find one I would look for some one selling T & S Brass products. They did and still do sell the wall mounted kitchen sink faucet that is most similar to this unit.
You may lose one course of tile directly above the sink if you have to remove the sink. I am guessing that the tile was added after the sink was installed. If you can look up behind the sink, see tile and a hanger bar mounted on top of the tile, I am wrong and all you need to do is repair or replace the faucet.
Most plumbers will run from a job like this because it will be an all day event and most customers will be really pissed when the get a $500 bill for labor to replace a faucet.
Best wishes,
Colbyt
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Old homes (not completely fixed up) are for:
people with $$$"s pros or experienced capable diy'rs
been there, done that
for the last 25 years & I had 20 years full time apprenticeship before that.
your situation would be challenging (but not impossible) to say the least.
Old house are a lot of work, that is, expensive to have fixed!!
can you access the bottom side of the sink? if so, you could 4.5 grind off the existing facucets & replace. Hard ot tell from here.
I've got a 1930's lavender pedestal sink with a drain assembly impossbile to remove; will take days to grind out >>>>$$$'s unless I do it myself.
cheers Bob
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Is the other side of the wall behind the sink accessible? You might be able to replace the valve from t'other side. If this is feasible, and you can do the wall repairs, this won't cost much.
Depending on how the sink is fastened in, it _may_ be possible to pull the sink out the front way, without disturbing the tile or vanity. Perhaps simply by cutting along the grout line above the sink and loosening some hanger bolts. Then, once the valves are redone, reinstall the sink and regrout. This is probably what your plumber was thinking, and I'd expect that to cost about $300-$400 (not including faucet), because of all the fuss/care over the tile (praying that none get broken).
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You are damn good. I've been in the house 2 years. From talking to my neighbors, there used to be a window in the bathroom. There is no window now and a plastic tub surround is now covering the wall (you can't tell from the outside except for a section of the house that looks sort of odd without a window). At least they did a good job with the outside siding.
There was a bathroom fan present and the installation was terrible. It wasn't vented properly. About 3 months ago I installed a nice new bathroom fan and vented it through the roof (I hired a contractor to install the roof vent)
I don't think the toilet was ever moved because I honestly can't imagine where else it would fit.
Your theory about the counter/vanity being installed around the sink is probably correct.
We are leaning towards installing a new sink/vanity. I painted the bath a month ago. I will need to put in new flooring and repaint the section of the wall where the ceramic tile will have to be removed.
Not sure if replacing the toilet makes sense. It works fine. I will also probably keep the mirror because it is build into the wall.
Since your ESP seems spot on, any other advice?
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Advice: Investigate and plan. First remove a section of the caulking to see if in fact the lavatory is indeed locked in by the tile. If not... faucet replacement is possible. Check availability and price of suitable replacement, or get estimate from plumber that is aware of your findings.
Locked in... It may also be possible to remove 1 row of tiles above the sink so it can be removed, repaired, remounted, tiles glued back into their original positions, grout/caulk to finish and ignore anything else you were thinking about replacing/repairing. You risk of breaking tiles that you may not be able to find a match for.
Decide what if anything you want to salvage. It would be possible to remove tile along the wall to the same height as the void left after removing (in pieces) the lavatory, and filling this space with other complimentary tile to form a back-splash the entire length of the new top. This would also allow some fudge factor in positioning the new lavatory for better appearance.
Remove all the tile. Be aware that damage to the underlying wall is likely and if it is lath&plaster may be extensive enough to warrant removing all the plaster and applying sheetrock over the lath.... yes.... over the lath unless the house was built late enough to have smooth planed dimensioned lumber.
Was the tub surround applied over the tile? This is another challenge but not an impossible task to remove tile and/or plaster up to and if desired over the top of the surround if the tile goes that far.
What shape is the tub and surround in?
Well as you can see, a simple washer is turning into an expensive labor intensive remodel.
Check the sink. That is easy to recaulk. ;-)
BTY... the faucet MAY have the old fashioned non-replaceable BEVELED seat (not sure when they quit making them) that you can ream a new face to with a special, relatively inexpensive tool if you can still find them. This could explain why the plumber cold not remove the seat, but don't go pointing fingers yet. You seldom ever see these old beveled seat fixtures any more.
Oh... Where is the toilet? It is normally against a wall so there is a place to mount a TP dispenser... like in the corner to the right of your sink. Exception would be where the original build had a base cabinet to hang a dispenser on, and then it is not uncommon to locate toilet between tub and sink.
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On Tue, 12 Apr 2005 01:15:54 GMT, pgg

Let me add my 2 cents .. Your bathroom sink is very ugly. It is time to rip it out and start over. I admit that it looks like something I would do, but thats all the more reason to rip it out now while you have an excuse.
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I'd stick my head in that cabinet first, and see if there's a way to get at the stub-out from underneath, first.
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be what is on the other side of the wall? If whatever is there is easier to repair than the tile (which would be pretty much anything) I would probably try to open up the back wall and work through there. That is assuming that I had screwed up the faucet beyond redemption when I tried to use a dremel tool to remove the old seat. Dremels should probably be put on the list with duct tape, silicone , sawzalls and a BFH as fix all requirements.
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Some things can`t be fixed and he tried , If you like it remove it and replace the plumbing. He put in the time so he should be paid. If you don`t trust him you could pay someone again for likely the same answer.
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pgg wrote:

back rim of the sink.
Or maybe they are coming up through the rear rim of the sink but the plumber thinks there's nothing made today which can replace them?
Is that what's making just replacing the faucets such a big job?
Jeff
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Do you refuse to pay your doctor when he can't cure an incurable disease?

thinks he can fix it, let him try. Ordinarily I wouldn't suggest that, but in view of the cost for not being able to fix it...
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