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residential service
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Discussion Starter #1
Went on a call today to a one bath house. Ho said the bug man said there was a leak under the house. Enter the cs and find extensive, old, water damage centered more or less around the wc. Toilet leaks as if there is no drain when flushed. Call the ho, who is not present, explain the situation and that there are a couple of possible scenarios that I can't confirm until I pull the toilet. Give her the price if it is simply a reset & reseal and for replacing wc flange assembly. She says go ahead do whatever it takes. I pull the wc, find an improperly installed "carpenter" repair flange on top of a busted c.i. flange all of which finishes a good 1/4" below the finished tile floor. I go back under with the mini snaps, cut out the old wc flange along with about 6" of c.i. pipe. Make up my new flange and riser and install it with a 4" no hub. The problem is that the floor around the flange is completely gone so there is nothing to anchor to. In the past when I have encountered this situation I have gone underneath and scabbed in a couple of 2 X 4s butted right up to the riser and anchored the flange to them. I didn't do that this time because some of the decay seemed pretty significant and I just didn't want to disturb it at all. So I went ahead and reset the toilet with the new flange at the proper height but not anchored. The thing seems rock solid but now I'm second guessing myself because it's not how I would normally have done it. I just didn't want to make the sub floor any worse and I didn't want to be the one to tell the lady she was looking at several thousand dollars to to tear it all out and redo the subfloor, tile, and whatever else would have come up along the way. The lady wanted her leak stopped. It's stopped and the toilet doesn't move. Did I serve her well or should I officially recommend that she remodel her bathroom (which is what it will end up being). I did tell her that there was extensive water damage and I wrote this on the invoice as well. I did not tell her about not having anything to anchor the flange to because I was communicating with her over the phone and she was difficult to reach so after the initial assessment and her approval of the work I didn't call her anymore.

I may go back, pull the toilet, scab in the 2x4s, anchor the flange, and reset the toilet. I don't know.
 

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WILLPLUMB4$
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584 Posts
Sounds like you technically and professionally covered the bases to me. The only thing I think you could've missed was a bath remodel. Don't go back!!! Call her & leave a message for her to call you when she does have time to talk. Also document the phone call, even try e-mail corrispondence with a few pics if you do go back. If your gut told you not to touch it, don't touch it. If still no response print off the e-mail w/ photo's and stick them in her file.
You could also be providing this lady the cheapest bath remodel she could ever get in her life if she has HO ins., and as the lead super hero you could bring in all the subs to take care of every thing. All she's out is the deductable wich your first bill would go towards.
If the job is to big, refer in one of the local water-disaster-mold remediation comp. in the area. You are not a framer so you can't judge how bad the framing is, your not a mold expert so you can't tell if it's bad or not... you get the point.
Good Luck
 

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Plumber, Totally
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Knowledge is power...

Smells,
Seems to me that you did well. Did you offer a guarantee? Was your repair in PVC or CI?
Informing the customer in writing and on the phone is critical. Let her know the condition of her sub-floor. If you don't she'll surely wonder why you didn't when her wc was up.
Also, do not return and "shore up" the sub-floor! Doing so is acknowledging that conditions aren't as they should be, and therefore you'd be opening yourself up for more responsibility than you need to have. If you told her the condition of her sub-floor, she'll wonder why you didn't shore it up when you were there today.
If you offered no guarantee, communicated clearly the condition of her flange/sub-floor, and got a signature on your invoice indicating full disclosure, I think you're in the clear, she'll probably call you then when it's time to remodel.
 

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new nickname:Quaker State
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All that sounds like the best of the best advice. Good luck.
 

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i'm with everyone else. it sounds like you did a profesional job of repairing what she needed repaired. i would leave it at that. i would have given her the full run down on the floor just to take me out of the list of suspects when somebody else tells her. i wouldn't have tried to pressure her into a remodel, just so she knows the condition of the bathroom and has all the info. it's the same thing i'd do if i saw disconnected ducting or dangerous wiring when i was down there. just a "heads up that you might want to have that looked at". some customers see that as you trying to sell extra stuff but most see it as you helping them out.




paul
 

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i agree with rocksteady, i would have let her know condition of floor and let her decide when or how to handle repair/remodel. i offer floor repair as a service as i/we see alot of rotten floors. i work with a local flooring contractor to do finish flooring and i will tear out rotten floor and repair/replace as needed
 

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So I went ahead and reset the toilet with the new flange at the proper height but not anchored. The thing seems rock solid but now I'm second guessing myself because it's not how I would normally have done it. I just didn't want to make the sub floor any worse and I didn't want to be the one to tell the lady she was looking at several thousand dollars to to tear it all out and redo the subfloor, tile, and whatever else would have come up along the way. . . Did I serve her well or should I officially recommend that she remodel her bathroom (which is what it will end up being). . . . I did tell her that there was extensive water damage and I wrote this on the invoice as well. I did not tell her about not having anything to anchor the flange to because I was communicating with her over the phone and she was difficult to reach so after the initial assessment and her approval of the work I didn't call her anymore.

I may go back, pull the toilet, scab in the 2x4s, anchor the flange, and reset the toilet. I don't know.
Smells - In your heart/gut, you know the answer. If you were confident in your decision, you wouldn't have been second guessing later and contemplating going back. Everything you wrote is justification.

It doesn't matter what your fellow plumbers feel is right - what matters is if you feel you did the right thing. Some guys are black/white and others shades of gray.

The answer to your question - If you were a homeowner hiring a professional - what would you have expected the pro to do?

No judgement here - just nudging you to seek your own answer.
 

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if you wrote it on the invoice that should be good . i like to address these issues w/ the home owner, and let them call the shots. its not your fault that the floor is rotten, and it sucks being the bearer of bad news but id rather be a plumber telling a homeowner her floor is shot, than a doctor telling her she's gonna die.
 

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Dream Team Founder
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it sounds like she just wanted the plumber to get the leak fixed, and you did that, as far as the issues with the floor , thats another field that she needs to deal with
 

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plumbers fix their mistakes doctors BURY theirs remember the floor was rotten when you got there A friend of mine always carred a throwaway camera in his pocket now I know why
 

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Let's remember ,,, you said " One bath house " . You have to get the one w/c working--NO QUESTIONS ! You did that .

Now you PUSH the issue of REALLY needing more work done . Lead that horse to water !! We have a responsibility to do the right thing . IMHO this is the right way to go about it. You CAN'T force them to remodel at gunpoint ! Just do your best .

Cal
 

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Smells - In your heart/gut, you know the answer. If you were confident in your decision, you wouldn't have been second guessing later and contemplating going back. Everything you wrote is justification.

It doesn't matter what your fellow plumbers feel is right - what matters is if you feel you did the right thing. Some guys are black/white and others shades of gray.

The answer to your question - If you were a homeowner hiring a professional - what would you have expected the pro to do?

No judgement here - just nudging you to seek your own answer.

This is a great answer. Referrals are everything.Be the guy that straightens out the problem. Even if it isn't your total field of work. What would you expect in your own house? A future problem covered up by "I got my money to fix the leak, now the rest is your problem?" Doing the right thing will always reward you. Help the customer to the best of your knowledge and ability. If you don't have all the answers to solve the structure problems, direct them to those that do. At least let them know what you were either blessed or trained to see that they can't.
 

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Master Plumber/Mechanical
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if you wrote it on the invoice that should be good . i like to address these issues w/ the home owner, and let them call the shots. its not your fault that the floor is rotten, and it sucks being the bearer of bad news but id rather be a plumber telling a homeowner her floor is shot, than a doctor telling her she's gonna die.
I agree with that!

We have a saying IT IS WHAT IT IS

No matter how much it sucks to tell the h/o it has to be done that way it takes you out of the liability down the road. I think ya did a job well done. But we can't help that h/o don't take the responsibility to notice and take action when they feel a loose toilet or that little black stain under the vynil around the base of the toilet. Most insurance co will cover the repair. $500 deductable and your a HERO
 

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This is why I enjoy being a licensed building contractor as well as plumber. The best thing to do is inform them that rot is like cancer. If its not all removed then it will spread. Not only that, but rot means wet, wet means mold, mold can be of any type, but sometimes it could be a black mold called Stachybotrys.
There was a reported case where a man of about 40 had gotten Alzheimer from it and their 8 year old son had developed symptoms of mental retardation because of it. I will try to find the article on it and post it. Long to short, mold is dangerous. Not all mold so dont panic. But it is a good thing and I feel as though its important to the HO safety to know. If not for them, then at least the children.
 

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This is why I enjoy being a licensed building contractor as well as plumber. The best thing to do is inform them that rot is like cancer. If its not all removed then it will spread. Not only that, but rot means wet, wet means mold, mold can be of any type, but sometimes it could be a black mold called Stachybotrys.
There was a reported case where a man of about 40 had gotten Alzheimer from it and their 8 year old son had developed symptoms of mental retardation because of it. I will try to find the article on it and post it. Long to short, mold is dangerous. Not all mold so dont panic. But it is a good thing and I feel as though its important to the HO safety to know. If not for them, then at least the children.
the mold thing is huge, i went through an 8 hour class to aid in identifing mold and laying the ground work for remediation. good point bill.
 

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residential service
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Discussion Starter #20
What came of this? Any fallout or more work?
All is well. The woman that I did this work for, I have never actually met. She is the sister of another woman who called some months back to replace, at their mother's house, about 20' of rotten kitchen sink drain running through a flooded crawlspace. So the lady with the leaking toilet was a referal from her sister. When I got to the house with the leaking toilet, I found their mother from the other house waiting for me since neither of the sisters could be present due to work schedules. Last week we received a call from the original woman to come to her house (for the first time) to take care of some things and in the process of talking to her on the phone, my wife discovered that her neighbor across the street for whom we replaced a water heater had also been a referal from her.
 
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