home owner on a couch discussing bathroom remodel therapy
Illustration: John Hersey
CASE #3:
Treacherous Tub
Nancy R., Carmichael, Calif.
"We are completing a remodel and discovered that the plumber installed the on/off and hot/cold handle way up on the wall (46½ inches from the tub floor), close to the showerhead. He placed the diverter valve just above the tub filler. My young daughters will now have to stand up to adjust the temperature. The contractor says it's 'fine' and refuses to correct it even though these were not the specs we agreed to."

Reva's Diagnosis: If you had plans and the contractor didn't follow them, then he should make it right. The standard warranty on a contractor's labor is a year.

But if the shower plumbing wasn't specified, the best way to get the contractor to fix the work is to say, "Okay, what can we do to make this right? What do we need to talk about as far as money goes?" Don't go to him in an accusatory fashion because he'll say, "Forget you." Approach him calmly, and he'll be more likely to work with you on a solution.
In this case, the on/off control should have been between 24 and 36 inches from the tub floor, so you'd just have to reach up to turn it. The diverter is generally 18 to 20 inches high and placed under the tub filler.

Nitsa and Ignacio: Nancy also has some accountability. We were having our kitchen redone and the electrician put some outlets in the wall. We looked, and looked, and looked at them some more­ because they seemed too low. We told the contractor, but he insisted that they were the right height. So we asked, "Could you please come out and measure them to be sure?" Turned out they were too low. The countertops would have been right where the outlets were. You must check on your project on an ongoing basis so if something goes wrong you can tell the contractor early enough that he can fix it.
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