View Full Version : Chipped Porcelain... am I screwed?

05-30-2007, 12:44 PM
I've probably installed or replaced 50 or so tubs in the past 5 years and never had this to happen. Almost all have been plastic or fiberglass but the last two which are steel. I just finished a job complete with diamond pattern tile & bordered surround. Everything looked great! I used masking tape to keep the caulking job neat. When I pulled up the tape I was horrified because a spot of the porcelain came up with it about the size of a nickle. Now I've got a very unhappy customer and don't have a clue how to fix this problem without tearing out a very difficult tile job.... HELP HELP HELP! As usual, this is a job I've done several times before but this one has been a problem child from the start and thanks to bro-in-law telling me he knew how to do all this kind of work I allowed him to help on this job.... it has cost me thru the NOSE! I should have made a killing on the job but now I've lost my pants!!!! HELP... how can I fix a fleeked porcelain spot?

05-30-2007, 03:21 PM
Randy, is there a porcelain touch up paint or something like that you could use, and then, maybe, give something of a discount to the owner, and then, a thrashing to the rellie? lol. That is why I never work with relatives, I can barely, break bread with em. That seems like a pretty little thing to me, and, if I were the homeowner, it would not make that much of a difference to me. I would accept a gift certicate to the Olive Garden, lol.

05-30-2007, 03:54 PM
I found a website that can match the color of porcelain t.u. paint with the manufacturer of the tub. You'll have to search for it, though, it was a year or so ago.

That tub may have already been damaged, and you didn't know it until the tape revealed it.

05-30-2007, 04:25 PM
Unless, it is very deep, I know it can be fixed, because, our old tub my husband did fix. You couldn't even see it, and it held for years, until, the tub needed to be replaced. Eric, you may be right. Don't you think, or maybe, I am wrong, but, it would be hard for tape to damage it?

05-30-2007, 10:38 PM
I'm sure something was dropped on it which cracked or loosened the porcelain...then the tape picked it right up. Normally a chip would shoot across the room but weird things do happen. I hope I can find that web site Verde was talking about.... would love to know how hubby fixed your tub Cookie. I check with Lowes and they only have kits for patching fiberglass tubs.... was thinking about maybe some kind of gelcoat product.

05-31-2007, 04:10 AM
Do you still have the chip?

05-31-2007, 05:15 AM
Oh, trust me Randy, I have alot of questions about things I would ask him how to fix here, but, no-can-do. I bet in your case, something was dropped on it, or maybe, even dinged during shipment. There is one thing, I learned from my husband, and that was to remember to check out the new item before installation. I remember him to this day, going over the new tub, etc. He went over things with a fine-toothed comb. He found something wrong with the new tub surround, and I remember him taking it back. He did great work, and my mother adored him, but, I remember, once, she innocently commented on how slow he worked, lol. It never bothered me, he did everything slow, even talked slow, lol. But, he got mad at her, I will never forget that, lol. I told mom, that was just the way he is, and fine by me. Sorry, just got off on a tangent, it is that ole' age setting in.

I have no idea how he fixed it, but, when he was done, you couldn't find it, if he paid you to.

05-31-2007, 06:07 PM
Cass.... nope... it crumbled when I tried to pull it off of the tape...otherwise I would have tried to glue it back on and try some way to hide the whole mess.

05-31-2007, 07:00 PM
I will research a company for you. That is part of my job, and I am good at it. Will let you know, what I come up with. Cook

05-31-2007, 07:11 PM
I got something once from one of the big box stores to repair a chip in my kitchen sink. It was more or less like a paint, and you brushed it onto the cavity like fingernail polish. Then you buffed it out with a fine sandpaper. It looked great but the color was a little off.

Try this one. It looks like the one I had, but this allows you to select the manufacturer and match the paint.


05-31-2007, 08:01 PM
Thanks PEWTER... think I'm gonna go ahead and order it... will let everyone know how the repair turns out...will take b4 & after pics....

master plumber mark
06-01-2007, 04:21 AM
you learned a valuable lesson about brother-in laws...

as far as the chip goes......

they have a repair kit for that at a hardware store in INDY

called Economy Plumbing. 317-264-2240 for about 8 bucks.

its basically heavy nail polish and works pretty good.....

I have used it before...when the customer did not KNOW

where the problem was.....it covered it up very well

It costs only about 8 bucks and comes in white, biscut, bone...

your only problem is having to make the repairs with the custiomer watching the whole time....

its sort of a stickey situation ...

and I hope she is going to show some mercy here.

06-01-2007, 06:30 AM
Only part I hate about dealing with bro/n/law is that we were getting all kinds of jobs and things were super good. He led me to belive that he is some kind of house building guru. He takes his time and does do very precise work...drinks about 12 beers a day and has to have a joint now and then. He was already was on his 3rd day of laying tile on a shower wall when I just jumped in and took over the job which really pissed him off. I finished 2/3 of the wall and laid the tile on the floor in one day... after he started running his mouth about "I'm a carpenter, not a tile man". I told him that if he didn't know how to lay tile that he should have let me do the tile work while he patched the holes in the drywall... he tore up the drywall that he had cut out for the plumbing... I would have used the same piece to go back into the hole and made it look like you couldn't tell it had ever been cut...just like I did in the 3 other cut outs. I then made excuses that I had these other small jobs around that would take me a few hours each to do by myself and any help would just slow me down or be in my way...and that he should give the guy a bid on installing the trim... He got the job and told the guy it would take him 2 days... he has been there every day....Sunday thru Friday.... and still is not finished and has jacked the guy up on the price while complaining about crooked walls and all the work the hacks before us did...everything is wrong. He is right, but he gave the guy a price up front. The door frames are too narrow for the pre-hung doors, trying to install crown molding on wavy drywall joints, etc. If it were me I would show the results to the customer & tell him to not use the crown molding then do the best I could do, get my money, and run like hell. You just have to do the best you can with what you have to work with and remodeling an old or poorly built structure is far from the same as working with new construction... now, I've pissed in his cornflakes and he thinks I'm an ass because I actually can do what I say I can and he is insulted... breaks my damn heart... he didn't even know how thick to mix his mud for the tile and has probably been around 100 times as much tile laying as I've done. I doubt he has ever read the instructions or information on a bag of mortar. He was throwing away 1/2 of a 5 gallon bucket full of mud each day... almost as much as I would use for the whole job. He even tried to "save" some of it over night...even after I told him not to mix more than he could use in 20 minutes. He's good at what he can do...but I think his brain is a bit fried from the booze and pot. Hard for me to even be around people like that. I just prefer to work alone and really don't even want anyone else on the job site....makes me a grumpy old fart...but I can knock out a job so much faster that way. Because I had help and was out of pocket for his wages I made $1k on a job that should have taken 4 or 5 days and should have paid me $1500 - $2000. We took 3 weeks! While he has been fighting with the $1400 trim job I went on 3 other jobs in 3 days and put over $1500 in my pocket on jobs I've had to put off...and have some very happy customers... kewl thing about it has been that most of it has been doing repairs or just fixing things hacks screwed up or left un finished. One guy left a vent stubbed up under a kitchen sink! I put a couple of ells on it and ran a Studor vent up in the wall behind the sink so that it will not flood the cabinets if there is a clog in the drain.... rather than bitching & complaining about the hacks, drunks, and pot heads doing this work I should be thanking them for all the work I get cleaning up their crap... it's paying pretty good....

06-01-2007, 06:35 AM
This place you might want to check out because it acts more than just a paint, if you have something deeper to fix, or fill in.


06-01-2007, 09:38 AM
We just had a tub refinished. The fellow who did it stated that most if his business has been fixing chips and scratches caused by construction personnel. Said that the buyers have no idea they have purchased a house with a repaired or repainted tub.

You may want to look around your area for a company who specializes in tub refinishing / repair.

master plumber mark
06-01-2007, 11:13 AM
Have you got good insurance????

your brother in law is an accident waiting to happen

and its best to scrape him off your boot heel asap..

dont worry what your wife thinks...just do it.

The liability issue alone is enough to scare me to death...

all you need is him makeing a trip to the supply house
in your truck and have an auto accident while burning a joint or having a beer lunch

burning down a house, falling off a ladder in someones
house, ect ect..

and then everything you own is "dust in the wind"

then to add insult to injury, after loseing everything...

you still have to sit through thanks-giving and X-mas
with this loser for the rest of your life.

this chipped tub is your wake up call....

get rid of him before its to late....

06-01-2007, 02:52 PM
you still have to sit through thanks-giving and X-mas
with this loser for the rest of your life.

this chipped tub is your wake up call....

get rid of him before its to late....

You nailed it here.......
I have to go thru the same thing with a son in law. I merely tolerate it for the sake of my daughter and my grandson.

06-01-2007, 03:58 PM
Pot, booze, power tools, relatives, and neighbors don't mix.

Once, my sister out law, wanted to jump on my band-wagon, wanting me to hire her. I couldn't do it. Then, once a neighbor wanted a job. I couldn't do that either. Business just doesn't work that way, you can have a heart of gold, but, it does no one a favor. They didn't have the qualifications, I knew they didn't; and, funny, when you start to ask them, about their " personal " life, ie school, diplomas, degrees, experience and ask for little details like references, names and numbers, they get quiet and insulted. I was actually, told I was trying to pry into their affairs.

My boss...would had loved that I hired someone, and had nothing on paper. Oh, yeah, that would float.

It is so sticky, especially, when you KNOW they really need the job; I would like to be a brain surgeon,making oodles of money, but, I bet the patient would like to know I am educated to perform it.

One hint Randy or anyone when you are hiring, is to ask them questions about how they do that particular job. In my line of work, I would ask, like I did my neighbor, how much experience she had with the AP. When, she said, " AP what?" Oh, boy, I knew this was not good. I don't go just on references alone, for various reasons. I like to listen to how they answer. That says alot, sometimes.

I ask simple questions, if they don't pass on those, why bother with the biggies? Ask, things maybe, Randy, if you are looking to hire for tiling, ask, " how thick do you make the mud?" I am sure, you can feel that person out from that alone. It is hard to work alone, and it is always, good to have a back-up plan, people, in your files, that you know, can do this or do that; if only, kept for future useage, that sometimes, is a blessing.

I do not advertise in my family anything new that comes down the pike, nor do I ever talk shop. It works. It is the only thing that works. Keep business separate from personal affairs. Like the church and the state. Even then, pray, lol.

06-01-2007, 07:13 PM
Thanks for the idea PEW... if I can't do it myself then the owner will have to take care of it. I was not the only one working in that house so I will not be responsible for accidents that happen when I'm not there. I'll give it a shot at fixing it with the Porc-a-fix kit.

As for family and friends... well, I try to be nice and do bend over backwards to help anyone... like this guy..really a nice guy and we were getting along great 'til we worked the second job together. 1st job went super well. He has been building houses for 25 years (has his own van...no one drives mine but me... too easy to throw a rod in...like my 2nd ex-wife, and just as cranky)... I just think he's burnt out...couldn't remember details from one day to the next and criticized everyone else's work constantly... amazed me that he doesn't realize that old structures are never straight or square and always takes a bit of ingenuity to make the work look like it is supposed to be "that way". Funny thing about that "realatives and neighbors" thing...alot of my neighbors are having lots of work done and most have hired me to do small jobs. A few pay thru the nose to hire someone else... kind of glad they do...I'd hate to be ticked off at them or have a bad relationship with my neighbors because they found something to complain about. These are "Lake Homes" and pricey even for junkers...so, I no longer work cheap and will not do cheap work... they need the best and need to pay the price for the best and get what they pay for.

As for hiring someone else... not interested... I've never needed help doing plumbing or tile work unless I need someone to dig a ditch and that's what God created trenchers and backhoes for. I'd rather pay rent than wages and do it myself. I'm 55 and that's old enough to be a cranky old fart... another bro/law will be moving in with us when he gets thru his schooling as part of his parole... yep, nice family I'm getting into... his job will be to watch, learn, tote, cut, and stay the hell out of my way. His pay will be 3 hots & a cot and spending change until he can do a job by himself. If at any time I suspect him of smoking pot I will immediately call his parole officer and get him a free piss test. I'll help him get on his feet and get straight but it's my way or the highway, no time for losers. I'm an ex-con and the worst hard ass in the world when it comes to drugs and petty crap... put my own step son in jail for crap he pulled... ain't taking no crap... I've got to look out for #1...already raised a family and tired of the dead wood dragging me down. RANT RANT RANT RANT.....

06-02-2007, 07:47 AM
In this area the fixture repairers are listed under Fiberglass and Porcelain Repairs. Here, at least, we have several very good companies that can repair it perfectly. I would not try to do it myself, because it can make the job worse, and also make it more difficult for the professional to do his job.

06-02-2007, 07:26 PM
Here the largest section in the yellow pages is "plumbers"... the whole phone book, yellow pages and all, is about 1/2" thick...most of the businesses listed either have a toll free number or are long distance...in the big city..... I'm the only game in town that advertises plumbing and other "handy man" services and I don't even advertise in the phone book. There are lots of guys with a pick up truck and a tool box doing crappy work around but very few who are sober, drug free, and can actually turn a quality job.... it's also a dry county (no alcohol sold).....

06-04-2007, 07:32 PM
That was pretty fast shipping...ordered online Thursday, received today (Monday)... will do the repair tomorrow. Kinda pricey for what it is, an iddy biddy bottle maybe twice the size of a bottle of fingernail polish for $9.99 plus $6.50 shipping & handling...but that total is about what it would cost me to go to the big box store to see what they have. Oh yeah...and I finally got a reply from the Briggs company that they are sending me some touch up paint "at no charge"... probably the same thing. Will see how the color match goes.

06-04-2007, 08:09 PM
Things will look up Randy, things always have a way of working theirselves out, you will see. Hang in there. I am quoting an old woman, about 102, "not everyday is a bad day." By the way, that makes 55, seem pretty darn young in my books, :)

06-04-2007, 08:46 PM
Yep Cookie... I've been so used to working and having jobs lined up lately that today I got down for a little while because I realized that I have only one small job to do and it's half done already...and nothing else lined up! Looks like I'm going to have to run an ad in the local advertising rag that comes free in everyone's mail box. If I just do one or two small jobs per week then I do very well with very little overhead. If this porcelain repair works out then it might open up more doors for me. Also, I'm thinking about trying to get on as an installer with the big box store in the big city just to pick up a little more business....not sure if I can work with their plan or not...they require some pretty heavy insurance then it appears that they give cut rate prices on installation....will just have to weigh the benefits v.s. costs.

Dunbar Plumbing
06-04-2007, 08:53 PM
trying to get on as an installer with the big box store in the big city just to pick up a little more business

In my area recently, HD got slammed for problems with their installers doing shoddy work. I thank my lucky stars that I pull work outside of that connection.

HD in my area against lowes? 55 BBB complaints against 13. You tell me who's putting bad work out there.

You'll be a puppet for sure and if you have any work outside of theirs, good luck retaining it because those companies will drive you to insanity.

06-04-2007, 09:05 PM
Rug... kinda my instict too. This one job which resulted in the chipped tub has been a money loser and just a bad job from the get go....otherwise I've been doing pretty well with all the jobs I've had this year.... ya know, kinda get one of those now and then ...especially on remodels... this guy expects prices on a remodel to be the same as on new construction. I gave him a very fair price to start with and he kept adding on...so, I started jacking him up then told him to make a list and I'd do it by the hour. He has been thrilled with our work but it seems that everything has a problem... new plumbing to the sewer line going to septic tank... called today telling me toilet won't flush..yadda yadda yadda...and "it worked right before you put in the new plumbing"... I've been held up for 3 weeks waiting for kitchen cabinets to be installed so I can finish the plumbing and get paid. When I get paid I may never work for this guy again..or change my pricing practices on him as well as on remodels in general... this guy even installed dry wall before having the plumbing put in! Then he was painting where I was working with tile & plumbing.... PITA!

06-04-2007, 11:05 PM
Things will turn up Randy, I always find it to be true when you least expect it. It is always, either feast or famine. So, I always make hay while the sunshines and take all the work, whenever; sometimes, burning the candle at both ends. I am laughing now realizing how many phrases I have used, lol. Real overkill. Well, it made me laugh, even if I am laughing at myself; I know what you meant, when you said, about feeling down. That happens. But, things will improve.

06-05-2007, 01:38 AM
He has been thrilled with our work but it seems that everything has a problem... new plumbing to the sewer line going to septic tank... called today telling me toilet won't flush..yadda yadda yadda...and "it worked right before you put in the new plumbing"... !

Maybe needs a tank pumped?

06-05-2007, 01:45 AM
I'm thinking about trying to get on as an installer with the big box store in the big city just to pick up a little more business....not sure if I can work with their plan or not...they require some pretty heavy insurance then it appears that they give cut rate prices on installation....will just have to weigh the benefits v.s. costs.

What you should do is get set up with them and tell them you will do the jobs if they can't find anyone else and be the most expensive. They always have companys that will do jobs at normal prices when the regulars quit or they have no one else.