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.

So frustrated

As I mentioned recently, we’ve been having ongoing issues with our shower.  The problem began within days of our shower door being installed and finally necessitated the entire shower threshold being torn out this week.

After removing the shower doors and track, the tile guys chipped off the tile.  The mastic that was used to adhere the tile to the wood frame threshold was wet, with a thick, glue-like texture.  As they cut the boards out and removed them, I saw that in spite of their waterproofing/sealing, the entire bottom of both pieces of wood were soaked.  The piece that was on the inside of the shower basically acted like a sponge and just soaked up the water from the shower pan, pulling it into the wood.  This caused the wood to swell, which created holes along the top, allowing even more water to penetrate.  What’s the point of waterproofing if you’re not going to coat the bottom the board so it can’t soak up water from underneath?

They cut the boards out and removed them, being careful not to cut the thin fiberglass lip of the shower pan in the process.  They then cut and placed concrete block and adhered the block on both sides.  All the seams were filled as well.

After allowing the adhesive/caulk stuff to dry for about 48 hours, they came back and put a thick coat of sealer/waterproofing on all the block and the seams.  Later that evening, they came back and put a second coat on.

Then this morning, I got a phone call from them.  The tile they had ordered to do the job was the wrong color.  Apparently, the store owner didn’t verify the color was correct when he picked the tile up last week.

So now they won’t be finishing the job until next week.  I’m just so sick of this shit.  I had predicted that we would be without the shower for at least a week.  Looks like it’s going to be even longer than I anticipated.  And, as I suspected, the hubby was less than thrilled when I called to tell him about the latest snafu in our ongoing shower saga.

I will be so glad when this is over and my shower doesn’t leak any more.

Construction gripe

As y’all know, we recently finished our house and moved in.  There are still things that need to be done, which is annoying, but nothing major.  Things like swapping out a cabinet door in the kitchen for one that is the correct size, doing the touch up painting, and so forth.  My biggest gripe at this point is the master shower.

About a week after we moved in, the shower door finally came in and was installed.  We had been using a tension rod and shower curtain so that we could at least use the shower in the meantime.

A few days after the shower door was installed, I noticed that the tile floor outside the shower was damp.  A couple more days went by, then I discovered the source of the problem.

The grout is falling out of the tile in big chunks.  (image by me)

The grout is falling out of the tile threshold in big chunks. (image by me)

I called the flooring company that did the installation and asked that someone come out to look at this mess, then I called my builder and let him know as well.

The tile guys came out on Monday and proposed replacing all the grout with grout caulk.  The caulk is flexible, so it shouldn’t peel and crack.  So they came back on Wednesday, chipped out the grout and applied the caulk.  We had to wait 24 hours before we could use the shower again, and when we did, everything seemed fine.  No damp floor outside the shower.

Problem solved, right?

About a week after they put in the caulk, I noticed again that the floor outside the shower was getting wet.  Then the caulk started separating from the tile all along the threshold.

I went through the same steps as I had previously.  This time the tile guys said that the entire threshold will have to be torn out and redone because the wood that forms the threshold is getting wet and swelling, which is causing the grout/caulk to pull apart.

Currently, I’m waiting for the tile guys to get done with a job they had already started so they can come back and tear out the threshold and replace the wood with concrete.  I’d like to know who the genius was who thought putting wood in a shower frame was a good idea!

The whole thing is very frustrating.  I can deal with the rest of the (minor) things that need touching up, but this is ridiculous.  I expect to be able to use my shower without it leaking all over the place!

In the meantime, until they come back to fix it, I have taped plastic wrap over the worst parts in an attempt to keep it from splitting even more.

Anyone else have a home building horror story they’d like to share?  Tell me about it in the comments!

We’re in!

We had the closing of our house on Thursday, April 18 and moved in on Tuesday, April 23.  We spent the rest of the week unpacking boxes and getting things set up so that we had the basics covered.  Now I’m going through the mountain of boxes in our garage, trying to find a home for the things I unpack.

The finished house (image by me)

The finished house (image by me)

It may currently be a mess, but it’s ours.  And nothing like that poorly built rental we were living in.

All in all, building a house was a good experience.  It wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it would be.  So if you’re looking to build, don’t just pick the first builder you come across.  Talk to several.  Talk to the people they’ve built houses for.  Find out what they’re like to work with from people who are in a position to know.

Then when building begins, start making decisions about things like your brick, the paint colors, the interior finishes before the builder needs them.  That way you aren’t the one holding things up while they wait for you to make a decision.  Plus, if things have to be ordered, getting an early start on the decision making process will allow you the time to do so without holding up the construction process.

I reviewed an excellent book about building, written by Amy Johnston, here.  There are other books out there, but this one was one of the better ones I read.

Almost there.

The kitchen cabinets have been antiqued. Now the drawers are going in. (photo by me)

The kitchen cabinets have been antiqued. Now the drawers are going in. (photo by me)

The antiquing has made the details really stand out. (photo by me)

The antiquing has made the details really stand out. (photo by me)

The wood floors are going in and the light fixtures are all in too. (photo by me)

The wood floors are going in and the light fixtures are all in too. (photo by me)

The tile still needs to be grouted, but it's all down. (photo by me)

The tile still needs to be grouted, but it’s all down. (photo by me)

The tile for the backsplash and master shower. (photo by me)

The tile for the backsplash and master shower. (photo by me)

We’re only about a week and a half out from our closing date (provided everything goes off without a hitch).

The tile still needs to be grouted and the hardwood installation needs to be finished, then the shoe molding has to be put in.  The toilets have to be installed.  The backsplash in the kitchen and the master shower still need to be tiled.  The sinks have to be hooked up and the vanity for the third bath has to be put in.

The cabinet doors and drawer fronts have to be put on and drawer pulls and knobs added.  The kitchen appliances have to be hooked up.  The storm damaged roof still has to be replaced.  The brick layer has to come back and put in the front and back steps.  Then minor touch ups have to be done and we’ll finally be able to move in!