Q: I had one loose tile and one that had a few cracks. I contacted the guy who installed them. He sent two men for a one-man job. They were here less than an hour. They used my replacement tile and my electricity to cut it. The guy charged me $400. That seems like too much. Am I wrong?
A: You are not wrong, but the victim of a greedy man. It is aggravated by the fact that he was the original installer. Let’s analyze: If it’s a mud job (tiles are set in mortar), it might be more expensive than tiles set with an adhesive. Suppose a tile setter charges $200 an hour. There were two men on the job, and they charged $200 each for the work, rounding out the “less than an hour” to a full one. Yes, I think you were gouged (my estimate for his rate may be high), and you might not get any money back, but it is a sure thing you won’t hire him again.
Laundry room odor
Q: My daughter has a sewer odor coming from her laundry room. It appears to be emanating from inside the washing machine. I installed a trap for the washing machine water to flow into the drain pipe, which is above the washing machine. Still smells. I built a larger trap and made everything airtight. Still smells. They have town water and sewer. The smell is pronounced in the fall/winter. The laundry room is on the second floor, and the smell is not in any of the bathrooms or even the sink in the laundry room. Do you think some sort of an air-spinning device should be attached to the vent pipe coming out of the roof?
A: I think the trap is in the wrong position. There is a standing pipe beside the washer, with an open top and leading into the floor space below, or into a regular copper or plastic drain pipe, which has a trap. A trap is best placed near the bottom of that pipe, or, if the other drain has a trap, there is no need for another. If in doubt, check with your plumber.
Shower door repair
Q: I need to know how to replace the plastic tubing at the base of my stall-shower’s door. It is a glass-wall shower, and the tubing has served as a water stop. It has brokenand now supports a black, scudgy film. I was told at The Home Depot that I can replace it with a rubber doorstop that is sold for glass doors at glass stores. I’d prefer to have my husband replace the tubing if possible, rather than pay someone, if you could give us a little more information on what exactly we need to do.
A: There should be instructions with the rubber doorstop, which may have to be glued in position. If not, ask the employee at The Home Depot.