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A contractor remodeled my bathroom. He put a knockdown texture to the wall instead of a smooth, in sanding off the knockdown he

San Jose, CA |

got dust in the grout on the new tile floor. The paper on the sheetrock was roughed up when he sanded which will make it look pretty shabby when painted,and the walls have not been retextured. He tore out the wood threshold and has not replaced it. Some of the caulking in the new tub surround and along the bathtub from the floor to the top of the tub pulled away from the surround. They have come out several times to "take care of things", but have done sloppy repairs at best and what they have repaired looks worse than when they started. This has been going on for a month now and I have not been useing my only bathroom (except the toilet) until they are done. I am afraid to ask them to fix anything else for fear they will make the bathroom look even worse. What can I do?

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Attorney answers 3


The bright side is that it sounds like everything is repairable. Now you need to motivate the contractor to make the repairs. Unfortunately you are at the point where the stick is a better motivator than a carrot, so let the contractor kno in writing that you are dissatisfied and that his or her work falls below industry standards. Giv the contractor a reasonable deadline to have the work completed and let him know that you will withhold payment and hire a replacement contractor if the remedial work is not properly completed by the deadline. Be firm but not unreasonable. Remember that if you do end up in court, you want to make sure that all of your actions appear businesslike and reasonable under the circumstances.

Attention: This response is based upon general legal theories and may or may not specifically address issues that affect your individual legal matter or situation. It should not be relied upon outside of the jurisdiction(s) in which the attorney is licensed to practice as each state has different laws. Each situation is fact specific and requires comprehensive legal evaluation following a thorough consultation and review of all the facts and evidence available. This response does not create an attorney-client relationship between the asking and answering parties.


Many disputes between homeowners and contractors begin with a lack of communication. Sit the owner/manager of the company down, with your copy of the contract and a list of "punch list" items in hand. Discuss it calmly and precisely, and set forth a timeline for when you would like the work to be finished. Be reasonable and (somewhat) flexible, but make him give you a time frame and then put it in writing and have both parties sign.

If the contractor continues to do sloppy work and/or be non responsive, you can withhold the next contract payment so long as you put in writing why you are doing so, and send the letter certified mail so you can prove he received it. If all of these things don't get the job done, you will need to see an attorney familiar with residential construction law here in California. California rules on this are pretty unique, so make sure you get someone that has experience! I wish you the best of luck.

Please be advised that this is not legal advice and is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship. The post is only an opinion. You should speak to an attorney for further information. The poster is licensed to practice law only in California. Please visit for more information about our services. If this post is useful to you, please remember to upvote it.


At some point you may need to bring in another contractor to correct the work. Advise your current contractor in writing that if the work is not completed to your satisfaction by a date certain (perhaps 10 days) that you intend to terminate him and hire another to correct the work and charge the current contractor for the repairs.

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