Hi. Thanks for all of the replies. I really appreciate the input -
even the one where somebody called me an ass!
To address some of the replies to my original post.
I understand that you should always have a contract, but I also
understand that the contract is only as good as the people who stand
behind it. The people that stand behind there work don't do it
because of a piece of a paper - they do it out of pride and a sense of
There was no GC. When I redid the bathroom I hired the plumber and
the electrician - that's it. I've never used another electrician in
over twenty years, and the plumber has more or less been used
exclusively for a similar amount of time. I will be redoing my
kitchen and adding a bathroom on the first floor this year, and
redoing the laundry room within the next month or so. The following
year I will do the third floor bathroom. I pointed all of this out to
the new bosses when they first came to inspect the leak.
I fully understand that four years is a long time to expect warranty
coverage. I did not ask for warranty coverage and I am willing to
compromise. All of the demo, protection, drywall, redone insulation
and tile work would certainly cost more than the plumbing repair, and
I am not at this time expecting reimbursement for that work.
The leak had to get repaired regardless, and I would like to use the
"known quantities" again, so I guess in a way this has turned into a
test of whether the new bosses will stand behind their work. I think
that Ken from Alberta pretty much summed up my feelings on how I would
like a contractor to view their work. That attitude is what keeps
people coming back for more.
So here's a bit more information and an update.
I have used this plumber on a bunch of projects over the years. The
guy who does the actual work, I'll call him Ted, is a known quantity -
he's a character. He's definitely a paranoid, semi-delusional guy of
67. He works alone most of the time, and he does good work and is
easy to get along with, so I really don't care about his other
issues. In the time since I first worked with him 23 years ago, his
boss retired and sold the company, and the next boss retired and his
nephew-in-law and a buddy took over the company. This is what has
presented some issues. Ted is not the issue, it's the new bosses and
what I should expect from them.
When I wrote the original post the plumber had not completed the
repair. The new bosses came over to take a look at the problem after
I had opened it up, and we were all in agreement that the leak was due
to a faulty soldered joint at the T off of the hot water riser. The
pipes never froze, no wayward screw or nail hit the pipe, and I
certainly don't have fat women in the tub! The new bosses sent Ted
over first thing in the morning to take a crack at the repair. He
looked at it, didn't think there was enough access and he was afraid
of setting the insulation on fire, so he begged out and called the
bosses to come do it. That was the last I saw of Ted on this repair.
The two bosses showed up, tried resoldering the joint, that didn't
work, cut out the T, sweated some barbed PEX fittings onto the copper
pipe and used crimp rings to join the PEX. When we turned on the
water, it leaked, so they cut the PEX, installed a barbed coupling and
redid the crimp rings. It leaked again.
At this point the two bosses had been there for near on 6 hours. The
access was restricted so the time is a bit misleading. One boss was
definitely working, the other guy was just standing around as there
was nothing he could do. The working boss was getting frustrated and
I could see that he would either damage something or hurt himself if
the frustration level increased much. His crimp ring tool's handle
was hitting the tub and he couldn't have the handle perpendicular to
the PEX so the crimp rings were moving around a bit and the PEX wasn't
fully seated on the sweated barbed fitting.
At this point he starts telling me that more tile has to be removed.
Some wall tile above the tub and more tile off to the side. All of
the joints were under the tub, and I was much less than thrilled to
hear that he wanted to do more damage - in my opinion, very
unnecessary damage. As it was near the end of the day, I told him
that we should knock off and pick it up tomorrow and that I would
think about opening up the tile. At the end of the day, the water was
off in the bathroom.
I did a little research on the net and saw there were some
alternatives - side-crimp tools and PEX hose-clamp-type rings that are
tightened by hand. I also felt that we could probably do the crimp
rings with the access as it was, and I would not be removing anymore
tile. When I called the plumber the next day, they were already on
another job, so I asked if I they'd mind if I cut off the bad crimp
rings to get us a head start for when he showed up, and he said that
was fine. I love my Dremel.
The plumber still hadn't shown up by noon, so I beeped him and he got
back to me an hour later. I was the frustrated one now, and I asked
if I could borrow his crimp ring tool and some rings and a foot and a
half of PEX as I felt I could work with the access as it was and I
wanted the bathroom back online - no problem, and he dropped them off.
An hour and a half later it was done. I redid almost all of the PEX,
except for one piece, and used some tricks I've picked up over the
years. I used a hair dryer to heat up the PEX, bent it by hand, then
cooled it off with cold water so it would stay bent, and attached the
most difficult access crimp ring first (I'd mentioned that to the
working boss while he was working and he ignored the advice, which I
understand as he does not really know me from a hole in the wall).
I've finished patching and taping the drywall ceiling below and will
start on making the removed tile into a hidden access panel in case I
ever have to get in there again.
And my final questions on the subject.
Now, that's the whole situation. If you were in my situation, would
you expect to get billed for the time even though you finished the
work yourself? Would you just pay the bill, negotiate, or refuse to