I am so irritated right now.

As y’all know we recently built a house.  McComb Wholesale Carpet did the tile and wood flooring in the entire house, plus the kitchen back splash and the master shower tile work.

Most of the work was fine, but I have been less than impressed with their attention to detail.

But the problems we’ve had with the master shower are the reason I wouldn’t recommend them to anyone. We have a custom sized shower. The fiberglass shower pan, being a custom size, didn’t have a pre-cast threshold for the shower door to rest on.

Part of the installation included building a curb (threshold) for the shower doors to rest on. Our builder had put in a wood threshold (that would be waterproofed and tiled over). The installers from McComb Wholesale Carpet said it needed to be a different type of wood, so they pulled the other stuff out and put in the wood they wanted. Their installation was sloppy – they didn’t measure in order to size the material correctly and one side had to be shimmed up to make it level with the other side.

We didn’t know any of this at the time; we only found out after we started having problems with the shower leaking.

At any rate, the shower looked great initially. But about a week after we moved in, we noticed that the tile flooring outside the shower was damp after each use. A few days after that, I saw that the grout between the tiles on the threshold was falling out in chunks. So we called MWC and they came out to look at it on 5/6/13.

The installers who did the work on our house came out to look. They decided that the water was penetrating the grout and wetting the wood underneath, causing swelling and warping, which was why the grout was falling out. They proposed replacing the grout with a caulk which should seal everything up. We warned them that if this didn’t solve the problem, they would be tearing it all out and redoing it.

They came back a few days later and chipped all the old grout out of the tiles on the threshold and filled the spaces with caulk.

Everything was fine for about a week. Then the caulk started separating from the tile and the floor outside the shower was damp. We called MWC again and they came out on 5/16/13. At that time they were informed that they would be tearing out the threshold and replacing it with concrete or brick, which wouldn’t be bothered by any water penetration. I was told at this time that they would order the extra tile they needed and would start the job the next week.

They didn’t show up. When I called the store to find out why, I learned that they had taken on another job that was going to tie them up for at least a couple of weeks. By this point, these problems had been going on for over a month. When I finally spoke to them, I was told it would be 6/17/13 before they could start our repair.

Finally, the day slated for our repair to begin arrived. One of the installers came out and began demoing the threshold. When he pried the tile off, the mastic used to adhere the tile to the framing was wet, with a gluey consistency. When he pulled the wood out, it was soaked. Water marks on the wood framing showed water penetration both from above and below. As near as my husband and I could figure, the wood was soaking up water from underneath. This caused holes to develop that allowed water to enter from the top.

Once everything was demolished, the installer had to replace the wood with something that wouldn’t warp if water came in contact with it. He used concrete block, which he adhered together and clamped to hold it in place while it cured. The next day when he returned, the adhesive was still soft, so he left it for another day. When he came back the third day, he put a thick coat of waterproofing on both sides of the threshold. Later that day, he came back and put on another coat.

He didn’t show up on Thursday. Instead, the store called to let us know that they had received the wrong color tile. So they had to get more tile before he could finish. So for a week, the shower sat half done. The correct tile came in on 6/26/13, so they returned on 6/27/13 to do the tiling.

When the installer arrived to do the tile, I confirmed that he would be making sure everything was level. He said he would check level as he worked. Only when he finished setting the tile, I saw that he had left a slope on the top of the threshold, tilting in toward the inside of the shower. When asked, he admitted he had left it that way to help with water run off.

Both installers returned the next day and grouted everything.

Today (6/29/13) we had the shower doors rehung. That’s when we discovered that their lack of attention to detail had created more problems. The new threshold was higher than the old one (again with not measuring things for size correctly), so the screws in the shower frame didn’t line up with the old holes. So the old holes had to be filled in and new ones drilled. The slope that the installer left instead of leveling everything? Now the bottom track of the shower won’t sit flush. Our neighbor who was rehanging the shower doors is a plumber, so he tacked it place with silicone, but this shows the lack of care for a job being done properly on McComb Wholesale Carpet’s part.

This bunch isn’t very competent or concerned about doing it right.  We learned from our neighbor (our builder’s grandfather) that our builder has decided that all their screw ups aren’t doing him any favors and he won’t be using them any more.

9 thoughts on “I am so irritated right now.

  1. What a pain in the butt! So sorry all the excitement of having a new home is being hampered by having to have things repaired…and repaired again. Nothing frustrates me more when someone you are paying (or have paid…sure hope they aren’t trying to bill you again) to do work for you totally ignores your requests or dismisses your concerns entirely. If they would do things right the first time and really listen to what is needed and what concerns you have, they would save themselves time and effort in the long run. I’m just proud that you haven’t yet brained any of them with a handy 2×4! 🙂

    • Yeah, it kind of sucks! Thankfully, our builder financed the construction, so we didn’t pay them, he did. But it still annoys me something fierce that it took them three tries to get it right – and even then it’s not completely right! Oh well, at least it isn’t leaking any more!

  2. Long answer: PT lumber is infused with vapor in order to prevent it from soaking in more moisture in applications like decks – it won’t swell when it rains because the grains of the wood are already expanded and will not absorb moisture to the amount it takes to swell it. If you use it for your curb (and your shower is properly waterproofed) it will not be exposed to moisture. This means the PT lumber can dry out, there is no vapor stabilization as there would be in an exterior application. This cause the PT lumber to release the vapor it’s infused with. When wood releases moisture it can shrink, twist and warp. This will cause your curb to move and your tile to be compromised.

  3. I purchased the Kerdi ebook, but I’m still unsure how to proceed. My new construction DIY shower includes a full-length Milgard vinyl window and a fiberglass french door that open to the back patio. The bottom of the window is about 5.5″ above the flat concrete slab. The window is framed so that the bottom sill slopes towards the shower. The door is pre-hung with an aluminum threshold, and is sized to accommodate a 3″ curb. Is the 3″ curb too low? Should I install the door without the aluminum threshold, using tile instead? Will the Kerdi effectively and permanantly flash both the door and the low window? I’m concerned about the amount of water falling on the bottom of the window. Thanks for any help.

  4. you had the plumber there, the tile guy there and the original contractor there and still could not find the source of the leak? and this is 2-1/2 years later presumably been leaking all this time? You have a very slow leak that you can’t see or feel immediately when you diagnose and can only tell by it’s effect afterwards by seeing the dampened wood? Not even a drip can be seen when the shower is running in full force?

    • You didn’t read this thoroughly. This has been going on for 2 months, not 2 years. The source of the “leak”, as it were, was because of the wood they used to frame the threshold in the first place. It was soaking water up from the underside of the wood (which wasn’t properly waterproofed) and thus was warping. The warping was causing the grout/caulk to pull apart along the top of the threshold, allowing even more water to enter.

      Since they removed the wood and replaced it with concrete block, we haven’t had any more issues. My father (who is a builder himself) said he’d had a similar issue with custom size showers and after they started having the brick layer build the threshold out of brick (before tiling over it) they hadn’t had any more problems.

      The material choice was the root of the problem.

  5. Threshold: A 4-by-6 chunk of lumber with backerboard on the sides and top makes a good threshold. Of course, you need to slope it toward the shower. When the tile is added, it will be about 6 ½-inches wide — a ¼-inch slope is fine.

    • Not when the slope prevents the shower track from sitting evenly on the surface, it’s not. Because of their shoddy attention to detail, the track could easily become damaged if any sort of pressure were applied from above (like if someone accidentally stepped on the door track), thus potentially making the doors inoperable.

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