July 21st 2014
Friends and Family
My Brother in-law, Frank, lays tile for a living and we had been in contact with him since the situation occurred.
The insurance company got back to us after a nation wide search for the porcelain tile and having found no matches told us that we would have to replace the entire floor.
The tile ran through half of my house, starting in the front foyer, through the hall and powder room, kitchen-eating area, straight through to the kitchen cooking area and under the kitchen cabinets.
The insurance company just wanted us to tile up to the cabinets, sighting that it was too troublesome and expensive to remove the cabinets and appliances.
I did not like this idea for many reasons. First, the tile might not line up correctly. Second, if I or perhaps new owners wanted to remodel in the future they would find, once they removed the cabinets and appliances, that the tiles didn’t match and depending on the length of time that would have passed, perhaps they wouldn’t be able to find matching tiles and then the whole floor would have to be redone again.
I had been in contact with Frank and had used him to tile the main areas of the basement two years previously and we worked together fine.
Now in this situation I was very stressed out as you could imagine. My house was up for grabs. Things from the basement were brought upstairs, luckily we did remove our computers to the guest bedroom upstairs before the dehumidifiers got started or they might have been melted as well.
I really wanted to hire Frank for the tile job, but he was treating us like he was doing us a great big favor. He was busy and had no time. When I asked him to write up the proposal, he told me to write it myself and send it to his wife, Jenny.
I didn’t have experience with writing proposals to say nothing of the fact that I didn’t even know what was involved in laying tile. So I went to Home DePot and picked up their price sheet. I knew I needed tile, adhesive and grout.
I looked at the prices Home Depot charged for material and labor and used their pricing for the proposal. I was really trying to help Frank out and give him business, but I felt a little put out. I felt I had enough to do and here I was writing a proposal making sure that he would be paid well for the job. I was out of my element, what should I charge for the removal and reinstallation of the cabinets, what about the backer board, I didn’t know if we could use existing or if it had to be replaced, then there were the measurements that were involved.
In the mean time I wanted this done, like yesterday. My house was chaotic; if you have ever experienced construction or remodel you know what I am talking about. You just want it over with and to move on with your life. I still needed to find someone to install the drywall and then painters to paint it, not to mention the itemization of every book and items damaged. I had to research the prices and create a list to submit to the insurance company and then go buy it. The basement bathroom medicine chest and vanity had to be replaced as well as the cabinet in my laundry room.
Luckily, Frank came out and took measurements, but when we went to the tile store he said, “Just pick out what you want and order it, I don’t have time and really hate all this home interior mumbo jumbo,” as he left the store. I needed his expertise on which tile would be the best quality, longest lasting and look the best, but he was no help there.
The insurance company gave us three options of tile to pick from that were comparable to the tile that we had, unfortunately none of the stores in the area carried it. So we had to special order it and it would take up to ten days for the order to be shipped. Unfortunately I couldn’t order it myself as with some warehouses they only deal with contractors and you need a contracting license or identification number to order it and I had to rely on Frank.
It came down to one weekend three weeks into the ordeal that I was calling Frank and Jenny to see if they ordered the tile. They were not answering or returning my calls, which just added to the stress. I left Frank a message saying how frustrated I was and I asked him if he really wanted this job, because if he didn’t I would just find someone else to do it.
Monday morning I received a voice mail message from Frank saying, “Look I don’t want to play games here. Go ahead and get someone else to do the job!”
The shock reverberated through me, after all this work, his attitude was so calloused that I thought fine. I’ll find someone else, besides he didn’t want to tile under those cabinets anyway and I didn’t feel he was looking out for our best interest.
So now I had to hunt for a new tile guy to get this job started. 21 days into the clean up and it was like I was starting all over. Who do I hire? Who could I trust?
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