We called the builder to complain that the sink in the upstairs bathroom had no hot water, only cold. The bathtub that is right next to the sink has hot water, though. So after a couple of weeks, a plumber shows up. He runs the water in the sink for a couple of minutes, then declares that the sink is piped incorrectly. He says that he will have to cut into the drywall to get at the pipes and will need the boss’ permission to do it. He says he will be back.

An hour later, he returned with a second plumber. They said that they would be cutting into the drywall to repipe the sink. I have a complete set of photos of what the house looks like without drywall in place. I show them where the pipes are, and they cut a 2′ square hole in the kitchen ceiling. In the wrong spot. They are mystified when they wind up under the upstairs air conditioning plenum.

I again point out to them that they are in the wrong spot. This time, they cut where I tell them the pipes are. There is the hot water pipe, and they tell me that the pipe was mislabeled during construction. They then cut a third hole so they can tap off of the bathtub’s hot water.

The sink upstairs still doesn’t have hot water at that point. They keep trying to figure it out. At this point, they have been at it for over 4 hours. There are three giant holes in my kitchen ceiling. There is insulation raining down all over the kitchen. My house is in a shambles. We can’t use the kitchen.

I asked them if they checked to see if the faucet is bad. They looked at me like I was a moron, so I continued: “What if there was some construction debris in the pipe, and it made its way to the faucet’s hot water valve, clogging the valve.” They asked how I would figure that out. I replied: turn off the cold water valve under the sink. If the faucet still works, it’s piped wrong. If the sink doesn’t work, it’s the faucet.

It was the faucet.

They plumbers apologized profusely and said that their boss would call me to figure out how to repair my ceiling. This is what it looks like.

I understand that mistakes happen, so I call the builder. He tells me that it’s a warranty issue, says he will put in a work order, and according to the warranty documents that I agreed to at closing, they have up to 15 business days to repair it. They will, he tells me, get to it “when they get to it.”

I tell him that he needs to do a better job of reading the warranty. A warranty item is described as a “defect in materials or workmanship that occurred during construction of the home.” This didn’t happen during construction. It happened because his subcontractors were incompetent morons. This means that it is a claim for their insurance, and they have exactly one week to get it fixed. If it isn’t, I am going to hire someone to fix it myself, then I will sue them to collect my costs.

I can’t use my kitchen. There is drywall dust everywhere. We are finding blown in insulation all over the house, because when the plumbers tried to clean the insulation that had fallen from the ceiling, the shop vac they used just blew it everywhere. That cardboard patch that is duct taped to the ceiling in the picture below? It fell off 15 minutes after they left.

Now every time we open a door or the air conditioner comes on, insulation falls from the holes. Bugs crawl in at night. So I got some pieces of cardboard and attached them to the ceiling using staples from my nail gun. These are essentially holes that open my house to the outside.

I am more than a bit pissed off about this. If it isn’t fixed by Monday, I will start calling my own drywall guys and an attorney. This is complete and utter bullshit. I’m not nearly as mad about the plumbers fucking up as I am about the attitude of the warranty supervisor. You handle things like this by saying “I am so sorry this happened. Let me tell you what we are going to do to fix this. It will be a priority item for us, and I will see how quickly I can get someone out to help you. In the meantime, one of us will be over right away to secure your home from the elements.”

What you don’t say is “I don’t control the drywall company’s schedule. I will put in a work order and they will get to it when they get to it.”

In the meantime, posting may or may not be sporadic as I deal with this and still have to go to work to pay the mortgage on my now trashed house.

Categories: Me


Grumpy51 · April 6, 2024 at 7:16 am

Signs of the times?? My D and SIL live in FL and just bought a new house (brand-new). Water leak in the kitchen/bathroom put water damage and mold (it is FL) behind the wall. Seems when the contractor poured the foundation, the water lines (PEX) were damaged. The temporary solution was to sleeve (inner) to the kitchen island. They are in litigation because the builder says it’s a homeowner insurance issue, their (family) plumber says it is a construction defect. And in the meantime, family is down to one bathroom, an open interior wall, a kitchen faucet that runs at reduced capacity, and a $350K home that’s already lost value (due to said issues, as several plumbers have told them it will require slab work).

Best wishes, and I feel your frustration.

    Big Ruckus D · April 6, 2024 at 2:32 pm

    For fucks sake. Those plumbers were morons. Proper troubleshooting in a situation like that always dictates that one eliminate the easy stuff first. In order, those would be: the faucet itself, the supply line from the control stop to the faucet, and the control stop itself. Debris from the water supply, bits of rubber off of internal washers, blobs of solder (if copper lines) and other construction debris can get in the water lines lines and cause a stoppage like that.

    Anytime I get one of these, I always disconnect the supply from the non working side control stop, dangle it in a bucket and then turn on both hot and cold on the faucet to see if water back flushes through the supply on the non working side. If it does (and no debris comes out), then check the supply stop. If no water comes out of the open end, pull the supply tube and make sure it’s not obstructed internally.

    If it checks good, shut off all water to the faucet and dismantle it to check the stems/cartridge and machined ports on the faucet body. Generally you’re going to find the issue in on of those spots. In doing it this way, you eliminate the possible causes easiest first, (minimizing your work) and working your way logically up the troubleshooting tree.

    Instead, these goofs went straight for invasive work that didn’t even need doing, which has made a huge mess and ruined your ceiling, as matching that texture with natural daylight coming in from all directions will never look worth a shit, even if they scrape back the texture around each hole and feather the repairs out with a 24″ drywall knife prior to reapplying texturing.

    It is frustrating and stupid how many people have never heard of the KISS method (keep it simple, stupid), or at least fail to properly practice it. But, that keeps guys like me in business, and with a golden reputation and scores of satisfied customers.

Make Helicopter Rides Great Again · April 6, 2024 at 7:58 am

You need ceiling cat. (/s)
We had toilet that was piped up with hot water cause similar damage.
It looked like a shotgun blast had hit the ceiling.
Two story just isn’t good for showers faucets.
One of the funniest SNL skits ever was Jon Lovitz as Bob Vila and a Hellmouth in the house.
The wall was the gaping maw of the place where good commies go and JL saying…looks like you have a Hellmouth.

Seamrog · April 6, 2024 at 8:15 am

Our country has gone to $&@*.

it's just Boris · April 6, 2024 at 9:55 am

Frustrating and irritating, to say the least; but unfortunately not a new phenomenon. Builders and contractors have been doing crappy work since, well, forever. My first house – mumble years ago – was new construction, and there were … issues. Fortunately not with the plumbing as such; unfortunately, with the foundation, draining and sump design. The worst part was, I was so new to homeownership, and having never lived through such issues where I grew up, I had no idea what was “normal” vs. not.

Anyway, best wishes for getting this resolved quickly. For what it’s worth, I think you’re right; you don’t mess around when part of the house is left unintentionally open to the outside world.

Noway2 · April 6, 2024 at 10:24 am

Man, that REALLY sucks! Sorry that happened, and yes that was total incompetence on the part of those plumbers.

Looks like you have some sort of textured ceiling, which will complicate patching. You should make them replace the ceiling in its entirety and re-insulate it.

jimmyPx · April 6, 2024 at 3:28 pm

The problem is that most people are dumbasses and builders are notorious tight wads who get the cheapest sub contractors there are. So instead of a professional plumber who knows his shit and would have had that faucet figured out and fixed in an hour, brother in law Billy Bob rolls over when he is half sober, screws it up and then “oh well”.

Once the house is closed and that builder got his money, he could care less about you.
It sucks but it’s true. That’s why BEFORE we closed I went through the house with a fine tooth comb and would only close when everything was cool. As an aside my Grandpa was an electrical contractor and I grew up on construction sites and I was at my house as it was being built several times a week after hours and watched like a hawk. After closing, I was good for years and now just pay the money and hire pros who know what they are doing.

Don’t put up with any BS from that builder and if he doesn’t get it fixed lickity split, get it fixed yourself and then sue his ass. Frankly that’s less a pain in the ass than hearing from your wife every day that her new kitchen is all messed up.

anonymous coward · April 6, 2024 at 4:00 pm

The ceiling is textured, I’m thinking blending in the patches is going to be hard, and yea…
“I’m very sorry that this happened, here is what I am going to do to fix.”

Stealth Spaniel · April 6, 2024 at 9:51 pm

That is the divided road for homeowners……Do I buy old, knowing it’s all a mystery if I touch walls, floors, or electricity to update; or do I buy new and take my chances with Contractor Roulette? Christ! To think our great grandfathers built those exquisite Victorian homes in 6 months that are still standing!

    anonymous coward · April 7, 2024 at 5:00 am

    DiveMedic did something smart, which I never had the opportunity to do, and that was to take photos as the place was going up, so you could look at the photos like an xray of every wire, pipe and stud in the wall.

Anonymous · April 7, 2024 at 12:00 am

Warranty terms: you choose to obey the liberals, and we identify as liberals too. Checkmate. Maybe you can find that illegal black market fix-it guy from the movie Brazil?

Elrod · April 7, 2024 at 11:25 am

“DiveMedic did something smart, which I never had the opportunity to do, and that was to take photos as the place was going up,…”

I was introduced to that decades ago – a friend was having a *slightly custom* house built (a fair number of modifications to the builder’s stock plan set) and he stopped by daily, or at least every other day, with a camera on a tripod, two aluminum rules, 36″ and 48″ long, some 4X6 cards and a marker. He took photos of each wall, labeled as to room and cardinal direction with the rules in it for scale and positional reference. Each photo set started with a shot of that day’s newspaper to set the date. It also gave him the opportunity to check corners for 90 degrees, window sills level, door frames square, what brand and model of fixtures, paint, etc. were going in, which sub the builder hired for what, etc.

That was back in the film days, all photos were in black and white and printed on a contact sheet. Since the builder and subs knew he was there every 24-48 hours – and making a record – it kept most of them fairly honest, and in later years when he needed to get into a wall he knew right where stuff was.

Given the current level of Standard Sloppiness In All Things, I don’t have the patience or “fault tolerance” to put up with battling a “builder” on all that will go wrong with a new house. You need a lot of courage to do that these days.

DM, I hope it all gets worked out to reasonable satisfaction with minimal pain; I suspect, though, that we haven’t seen the last of the blog posts about the house.

Slow Joe Crow · April 7, 2024 at 11:59 am

I despair of quality construction these days. Friends bought a custom home from a prominent builder and discovered the knobs on the kitchen cabinets weren’t lined up. Since these are installed using a jig, getting it wrong bodes ill for important stuff you can’t see.

Aesop · April 7, 2024 at 12:26 pm

All those kids in kindergarten, who ran with scissors, and ate the craft paste?

They had to find jobs somewhere. Union work FTW.
The lady who complained about you in the later post, above?
Probably their mom.
Kafka was an optimist.


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