Renovation progress report #1

11
Day 1 - 2: 1, 2 September. (Wed, Thu)
Hacking of bathroom floor and wall tiles, storeroom wall and floor tiles, living room floor tiles, kitchen floor tiles. Dismantling cabinets. Kitchen wall tiles were strangely not hacked off. We didn't notice that till Friday.


Storeroom tiles hacked


My bathroom tiles hacked


Day 3: 3 September (Fri)
Tiles delivered. About 6 Indian workers were clearing the debris wheelbarrow by wheelbarrow. Looking at the effort required, I understood why it costs so much to hack something. My sister noticed that the kitchen wall tiles were not hacked off. She asked contractor why. He said it will be done on Saturday. He said he did not factor in the cost of hacking the kitchen wall tiles but he will do it at no extra charge.
Tiles delivered


They did not hack the kitchen wall tiles!


Sand brought in


Cement brought in


Day 4: 4 September (Sat)
In the morning, a worker told my sister that they were cleaning the kitchen wall tiles and applying some coating was applied on the walls. It appeared that they were going to plaster over the wall tiles. My sister called the contractor. It's in our contract that the kitchen wall tiles should be hacked off. Contractor said they will do it on Monday because they can't do hacking on weekends.

In the evening, the tiles and sand were in the house. My bathroom tiles were in my sister's room and my sister's bathroom tiles were in the kitchen. Perhaps the people who carried the tiles up assumed that my Italian-made tiles were for the master bedroom bathroom while the China-made tiles were for the common bathroom (mine).

Day 5: 5 September (Sun)
My sister called the contractor to inform him that about the incorrect placement of the bathroom tiles, just in case nobody checks before tiling starts.

Day 6: 6 September (Mon)
My dad saw a worker plastering over the kitchen wall tiles. He told the worker to stop. My sister called the contractor who sounded shocked that the tiles were being plastered over. He said that the hacking will be done the next day because he needed to get a permit for hacking. He said he will go there daily to check. He advised her not to visit the site over the next few days because there will be broken tiles from the hacking and they will be laying living room tiles so we can't go in for a few days. The contractor said he needed to create a drainage pipe for the kitchen into the bathroom because there's no drainage hole in the kitchen.

By evening, some tiling of my bathroom wall and the living room floor had started.

Living room floor tiling in progress


Living room tiles closeup view


Sister's bathroom - what are those tiles for? stepping


Kitchen wall tiles still not hacked


Bin cover changed


Some of my bathroom wall tiles laid


Day 7: 7 September (Tue)
Despite being advised not to visit the site, my dad and I still went. A worker was plastering the kitchen wall tiles when we arrived at 12.45pm. Half the kitchen had been plastered over already.

Wall tile plastered over






I called the contractor who sounded apologetic that the tiles were being plastered over. I asked him whether he had been to the site that day (he told my sister he will check daily) and since he had not, I requested him to come and fix the problem. He said he will call the worker. After 5 minutes, the worker who was plastering the kitchen packed up and left. I called the contractor again. He said his workers will come and hack the kitchen walls today. I asked what time and said that I will wait there for his workers. He said about 2+pm. Anyway, at 3pm, there still wasn't anybody hacking the wall tiles. He called me and said they will hack it the next day.

Worker tiling the living room floor










My bathroom wall tiles half completed


My sister's bathroom not tiled yet


They've removed those 3 tiles in my sister's bathroom


In the evening, it appears that some of the kitchen wall tiles have been hacked off. There's an indicator drawn on the wall. We could only hope that it meant that the bottom part is to be hacked off. (Some walls of the kitchen wall was tiled up to eye level while some walls tiled to the top when we bought it).

Marking on kitchen wall


A plastered section of the kitchen wall


Seems like some hacking of the kitchen wall near the window has started


The tiling of the living room and storeroom floor is completed with the skirting in progress. My bathroom wall tiles are done. The workmanship appears to be good so far.

Tiling of living room floor completed with skirting in progress




Living room tiles closeup view


Storeroom floor tiled


My bathroom wall almost completed


Day 8: 8 September (Wed)
The workers hacked out the wall tiles on the parts of the kitchen where they were not plastered over but asked my dad whether they can leave the plastered portions as they were because it was difficult to hack out. They also said don't hack the tiles at the pillars because they are afraid to damage the pillars. But how then do other contractors hack off the tiles at the pillar? Can't possibly have all contractors plastering over the tiles at the pillars.

They didn't hack off the tiles here. I just noticed that the green hill behind the other block of flats can be seen from the kitchen window


Hacked off 1 section of wall tiles only


Different view of the same section


I admit I'm a little worried about this thing.
If the tiles drop off, we'll have big holes in the wall and how much would it cost to fix it? Worst case scenario, the whole piece of plaster+tiles can drop off. That's very dangerous! And it would cost thousands to hack off the tiles, remove the debris, re-plaster, paint and risk damage to the kitchen floor tiles.
Sigh. What should we do?

Although the contractor sounded apologetic, I'm inclined to conclude that he never had the intention to hack off the wall tiles because:
- he said he will do it on Sat, then he said he will do it on Mon, then he said he needed a permit to do it so he'll do it on Tue but it still wasn't done on Tue.
- he advised my sister not to visit the site. If we did not, we would not know that they had plastered over the wall tiles. He could have claimed that the hacking was done before the plastering.
- initially, I thought that it might be possible that it was his subcontractor for hacking that got lazy and decided not to hack the kitchen wall tiles, or there was some mis-communication. However, there was a worker who came to do the plastering on Mon and Tue so it's unlikely that his hacking subcontractor screwed up AND his plastering subcontractor screwed up.
- the workers showed some effort to hack off some tiles but asked whether they can leave most portions as they were. Perhaps after he realised that we do check daily, he decided to show some attempt to rectify the problem but try to convince us how difficult it is to do it.



Steps outside the house have been tiled


My sister's bathroom wall has been tiled - almost completed


In the corner of living room


Note:
- Tiles selected are as follows:

- When the renovation is completed, I shall post the name and my evaluation of the contractor.
- The photos with the timestamp are 1 day off.
- Only selected photos are displayed on my blog. View all photos here:
Home Renovation


Renovation progress report #2

11 comments:

David said...

Yu-Kym,

An impressive amount of work being done on your new home.

It appears that to ensure the contractor follows the contract someone has to be present to make sure the agreement is followed.

I like what you and your sister have chosen so far. Looking forward to more updates!

David

I have read Plato and Cicero sayings that are very wise and beautiful; but I never read in either of them: 'Come unto me all ye that labour and are heavy laden and I will give thee rest.'

-- St. Augustine of Hippo

Anonymous said...

You have a tricky contractor who tried to pull wool over your eyes. You must watch him carefully!

"My sister called the contractor who sounded shocked that the tiles were being plastered over..." You have a contract with him which he must have read and signed.

He knew the kitchen tiles have to be hacked out, removed and retiled. But it is FAR CHEAPER for him to do what the tiling traded called "tile over tile", plaster over the old tile and then tile on top of the plaster.

So he is trying his best to cut down his cost and make more money that way.

It may not be very good for you though!

Anonymous said...

He is trying to pull more wool over your eyes!

"he needed to get a permit for hacking"…Hay, they have already done lots of hacking removing tiles before he said this. There is simply no permit required. It is a lie.

"He advised her not to visit the site over the next few days because …" he does not want you to find more dirty tricks there.

"The contractor said he needed to create a drainage pipe for the kitchen into the bathroom because there's no drainage hole in the kitchen. " - this is another dirty trick. He will charge you more for this "extra feature" which is never required in kitchen. I have seen many, many houses, and they never have drain hole in the kitchen - after all it is different from a bathroom. What happen if you spill a lot of water in the kitchen, well, you simply mop it up!

Anonymous said...

Re - "I admit I'm a little worried about this thing. If the tiles drop off, we'll have big holes in the wall and how much would it cost to fix it? Worst case scenario, the whole piece of plaster+tiles can drop off. That's very dangerous! And it would cost thousands to hack off the tiles, remove the debris, re-plaster, paint and risk damage to the kitchen floor tiles. Sigh. What should we do?"

You must PUT YOUR FOOT DOWN! STICK TO THE SIGNED FIX-PRICE CONTRACT, provided the contract says that ALL kitchen old wall tiles are to be removed and retiled! TAKE HIM TO COMSUMER AFFAIRS!

Again he is trying his best TO REDUCE HIS COST AND MAKE BIGGER PROFIT! He is trying to use the same old dirty tiling trick of "tile over old tile" to reduce his cost!

I have never seen a wall with half old tile still there and half new tiles!

Anonymous said...

"I called the contractor who sounded apologetic" - ah that is just an age-old technique to get your sympathy so that you will not kick his arse (or stick it up there though he may like it!) and grape his balls to squeeze ( but no stroking or licking or sucking or blowing please, no pleasure ah! ).

"he decided to show some attempt to rectify the problem but try to convince us how difficult it is to do it. " - that is a lie again. It is very easy to remove tiles from any nook and crevice.

Don't believe me, just take a chisel and hammer. Position the chisel at the edge of the tile ( where the grout is ) and hammer in at an angle, the tile will come off easily!

Use an angle grinder will cut any tile and even concrete off the wall in no time at all.

Yu-Kym said...

Thanks for all your advice! After my sister and I read your comments, we were sure that would wanted to have the remaining tiles removed. We met the contractor at our place at noon. In our presence, he instructed a worker there to hack off all the remaining tiles including the parts that were plastered over.

Anonymous said...

well done yu kym!!! mustn't let the contractor con u!! these ppl want easy money and easy job!

Anonymous said...

Have you decided where to buy your aircon? Apparently choosing the right installer is very important in the long run.

Yu-Kym said...

I'm going to check again on Monday morning. One small section remains. This problem has taken the whole week to resolve!

We will be using the previous owner's aircon. It's still working. I hardly use aircon anyway :)

Anonymous said...

To hack off existing tiles from any surface is not gonna be difficult.

I see you selected 60mm x 60mm porcelain tile for the floor, make sure you get it grind to round shape at the edges where the drop (Split level) is, as it's sharp. Also to ensure no cavity below the tiles, it traps air that may expend in due course, i've experienced it.

Make sure the water proof compound is applied to the bathrooms wall and floor accordingly to the specification, carry out ponding test, say 3-4 hours. Make sure it doesn't leak. You should know water is mighty and what are the damages could be done to yours and the neighbor's property below

c

Yu-Kym said...

c, thanks! We checked the edges of the tiles, checked the tiling at various times of the day to see them pouring loads of cement before laying the tiles. We didn't do the ponding test because we didn't have the opportunity to do it before moving in but after washing the kitchen a few times and showering in the bathrooms, there had been no complaints from the neighbour living below the apartment.