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August 31, 2012 4:25 PM   Subscribe

Am I stuck with shouldering this or can I still go after the contractor? Water leaks from the upstairs shower into the kitchen on the first floor. This, after the bathroom was completely gutted and new plumbing, fixtures and tile installed. Problem is, the renovation was completed just over five years ago.

Other considerations: it is the very same leak we had BEFORE the renovation, so I'm suspicious about the supposedly "new" plumbing that was installed. Because this was the typical rocky contractor-homeowner relationship -- filled with missed deadlines, cost run-ups and nasty confrontations -- the likelihood of him making good on his own is slim.

Am I stuck with this or do I have legal or some other recourse? Thanks for any thoughts or advice.
posted by terrier319 to Home & Garden (9 answers total)
 
You need to figure out the exact source of the leaks. Are you saying that the pipes in the wall are leaking? Is it leaking constantly, or only when you take a shower?
posted by mr_roboto at 4:39 PM on August 31, 2012


Also, has it been leaking for the past five years, or has it just started again recently?
posted by mr_roboto at 4:42 PM on August 31, 2012


if it leaks only when showering it may just be the seal around the drain, there should be a screw in the middle of the drain you can tigten
posted by udon at 4:45 PM on August 31, 2012


See a lawyer experienced in home construction defects.
posted by MoonOrb at 4:51 PM on August 31, 2012


Thanks folks. I have no idea where the leak is coming from. Its started about a year ago, rendering that shower un-useable.
posted by terrier319 at 5:38 PM on August 31, 2012


Does it leak all the time or just during/after use?

If the latter: Have you ever re-caulked around the tub (or shower floor if it's not a tub)? Water can get between the tub and the tile and then it just flows down and goes wherever it goes. Caulk doesn't last forever and it wouldn't necessarily be something that was done wrong.
posted by secretseasons at 5:42 PM on August 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


If the leak is because work you paid for was never done then you have a case. If the leak is because of work that is demonstrably lower than the standard of care for contractors (like they put pipes together with duct tape instead of properly fitted connections) then you have a case. Otherwise, after five years it seems unlikely that you have a case. Not because the leak isn't due to poor workmanship, it may well be, but it could also be due to any number of causes or events over the past five years that aren't in the contractor's control. Also, if you have a disagreement on what was done five years ago it sounds likely the documentation is thin.

I'd suggest you get a contractor you do trust to look things over (but not fix anything yet). Verify whether the leak is a plumbing or caulking issue and whether the work in place appears to be five years old. Then assess whether it sounds like you were shorted on work you paid for or not. For example, if you paid for and they replaced the pipe from point X and on, and the leak is just before point X it might be bad service from the contractor, but isn't their fault. But if the leak is within the piping they did change then it might possibly be due to their error (although you'd still have to prove that they did something wrong that worked right for four years before breaking). If you still have suspicions then get a lawyer involved. If not, pay someone you trust to fix it right and spend your mental energy on more pleasant things.
posted by meinvt at 7:30 PM on August 31, 2012


Did you use a licensed contractor? Did you have the job inspected?
posted by Flood at 10:00 PM on August 31, 2012


secretseasons: Have you ever re-caulked around the tub

When my shower area started leaking, this was exactly the problem. And it's relatively easy to fix.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 10:33 PM on August 31, 2012


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