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Mike Boehler 05-21-2010 06:27 PM

Bathfitter? Horror Stories Anyone?
My Mom and Dad need a Tub to Shower conversion because of age and health reasons.

DIY is not an option.

I contacted Bathfitter and had our sales call today. They propose to:
  1. Rip out old Two Piece Fiberglass tub
  2. Dispose of Tub Off Premises
  3. Install 5' x 7' x 32" shower with fiberglass walls
  4. Install Century Glass sliding doors
  5. Install Two 24" Grab Rails lagged to 5/8" CDX plywood that they install behind shower surround
  6. Install seat
  7. Install Delta Single Post Lever
  8. Install Standard Shower Head
  9. Install Two soap and shampoo soap holders
  10. Lifetime Warranty (not sure what this means, I haven't read it yet)
Price= $4900.00

I know it sounds high, but the choices are
  • Pay the $4900
  • Hire a local contractor
  • Mom or Dad break a hip falling into tub
The local contractor situation around here is horrible. The finest plumbers in our area think that professionalism means not tossing their used Budweiser cans on my lawn. I live in a very rural area and plumbing contractor is more of a wish than a career.

The good thing about bathfitter is that they are done in one day. My Dad gets very nervous when things are not part of his routine and I worry about him if we hire a local guy that takes a week. I worry about the local guy that has to deal with dad as well.

I don't know if I have any choices? Looks like the $4900 may be the ticket even if its a little high.

I did a search on this site and back in 2005 someone got a quote from Bathfitter for $4400 for similar job and everyone thought he was nuts.

I appreciate any thoughts.


nautiduck 05-21-2010 07:22 PM

Mike, to me it sounds high. Yes youre calling Bathfitters, but who is actually doing the work? Do you have a local bathfitters near you that employs their own people? Are they coming in from out of town and have to put people up in a hotel? Or do they actually just represent a remote office and hire local "talent"? If they have to bring in their own people from out of the area, then you also have to figure their accomadations into the $4900. Im not familiar with Bathfitters so I dont know how they operate, or their reputation. $4900 still seems high to me just to replace a tub.

RussH 05-21-2010 07:38 PM

Hey Mike- My mother and father in law were dealing with the same thing. We had Bathfitter quote over $5K to do exactly what you need to do. Bathfitter in our area don't have a great reputation so my mother in law actually called the BBB and had two contractors come over to quote the bathroom remodel. Ended up getting it done for less than half the cost ($2300) by a reputable contractor. It took 2 guys a day and half to do everything and they did a super job. My mother in law actually called the contractor because the hand shower line wasn't long enough and they came out and replaced it for no charge.

The greatest thing Mike....I didn't have to do it and be under my father-in-laws scrutiny to nitpic the hell out of everything I did. The other thing that was great is that they picked the contractor so if things didn't work out, no blow back on me.

I did check their work both days, but my father-in-law grilled them mercilessly. The one guy I talked to asked me to go outside to talk and I wondered why, it was because he didn't want my father-in-law to know he spoke english he bugged them so much!


08087 05-21-2010 07:56 PM

I used them twice, once for my mother in law and once on an investment property I own. In my mother in laws case, she has a very small/odd tub and wanted to keep it, why I don't know but I went along as it was her dime and I didn't want to upset things. The job was done well but the cost was on the high side for sure about 6K if I remember correctly. They did however do all the walls up to a height of 4 ft. in the bathroom also. I asked them who their sub contractor was and checked them out with the BBB and they came up with a great record.

On my investment property I had a standard size tub installed over the old one, all the walls and a bit of extra plumbing work done in the kitchen. They came back with a price of $6,600. I got them down to $5,800 and was happy with the job.

In my area of Northern NJ I got prices for GC at around 10 K for a new bath etc...

As for the lifetime guarantee thing, that is for workmanship and other things. They give you a list of cleaners you can and can't use our it will negate the contract as far as shine/luster goes.

All in all it was fine for my purposes but you may be able to get a better deal as your just adding a shower and not fitting a tub.

The rep of the sub contractor is a key element though. Good luck. I’d never take their first price.

boatommy 05-21-2010 10:24 PM

Besides the fact that their shit is disgustingly ugly, the local jobs I've seen have been acceptable as to workmanship

tommyr904 05-22-2010 04:23 AM

I am redoing a bathfitters job for someone now,it is terrible what they have for $5300

Mike Boehler 05-22-2010 04:28 AM

Thanks guys, I appreciate your comments. Although not surprising, I kinda figured I'd get this feedback. Just feel like I have my back against the wall.

I'm totally lost now with what to do.

Anyone have any more specifics on what items are lacking quality? Is it the molded bathfitter stuff, the Delta plumbing, the Century Glass???

This really sucks, but that's what I get for living in Podunk with drunks for craftsman!

epanzella 05-22-2010 04:45 AM

Originally Posted by Mike Boehler (Post 2989856)
Thanks guys, I appreciate your comments. Although not surprising, I kinda figured I'd get this feedback. Just feel like I have my back against the wall.

I'm totally lost now with what to do.

Anyone have any more specifics on what items are lacking quality? Is it the molded bathfitter stuff, the Delta plumbing, the Century Glass???

This really sucks, but that's what I get for living in Podunk with drunks for craftsman!

There's an outfit that cuts tubs and finishes off the opening. Google cut & tub. They can even replace the piece later if you sell the house.

tommyr904 05-22-2010 04:50 AM

the plumbing was leaking at the shower riser and they put the valve on an exterior wall now there is water damage and mold.they also used green board and IMHO if your doing a shower dura rock is the only thing should be in there

freeporttuna 05-22-2010 08:43 AM

Mike,Go to you local plumbing supply store.Ask for the owner,explain your situation. An established supply store should know of a reliable contractor that he has been doing business with for a long time.

billinstuart 05-22-2010 09:24 AM

I'm very skeptical about those operations. Seems like the type of operation that relines bathtubs in motels. A PROPER remodeling includes addressing the shower pan/drain properly, and using a REAL plumber do do the work, including the valve.

My opinion..glorified mobile home stuff.

bamaboy473 05-22-2010 09:53 AM

Mike, for that kind of money you can get ceramic tile shower with a lip that allows a wheelchair in and out of the shower. The grab bars are available at any Home store. Demolition can be done by your or a couple of local guys; turn off and valve/cap water supply line, then rip away. It'll take longer, but if they ever get the need to drive a wheelchair into the shower, it's done.

08087 05-22-2010 09:55 AM

Just so were on the same page they do use a real lic. plumber. Ask which plumber from your area they use so you can check on them.

The produc itself is like heavy duty pre made shower walls from Home Depot.

bamaboy473 05-22-2010 10:05 AM

What I read as being a big hurdle is Mike's saying that the concept of the job being just a one-day deal has benefits not related to the installation, but for the family's peace of mind.

Is there a way that your parents could go somewhere for a few days while work carried on? I'm not comfortable with anybody that promises a one-day deal, because leaving gouges in sheetrock or a mess on the floor might be what they leave behind?

billinstuart 05-22-2010 10:32 AM

I do this stuff for a living, and am VERY time conscious because of the impact on the family. HOWEVER, I simply don't believe you get a QUALITY job in one day. It may be barely adequate, and if that is your goal, then fine. However, I don't subscribe to the "slap some cheap crap in" method.

We're doing a complete bath remodel now. Tear out the tile from wall and bathroom floor, move walls to better utilize the space, new wonder board and tile in shower, new shower valve and pan, electric, cabinets, paint, trim, all new NICE tile, yadayada... Sure, it's more money, but compared to that crummy fiberglass stuff, it's hard to justify the value of the one day wonder.

Mike Boehler 05-22-2010 12:06 PM

I agree with everything everyone says, but plumbers are hard to find here. The closest plumbing wholesaler is an hour away. I can't get most guys to even call me back. I'm sure I'm singing the same song that many hear.

Dad is in the middle of Chemo and Radiation so mobility is limited right now. Not to mention the hassle of contractors in the house when he's dealing with his mental state of what he's going through.

Another problem is that I'm out of state or out of county Monday through Thursday or Friday and the whole family is on a rotation to take him to the hospital. I just thought these guys were tailor made for the occasion.

If I could find a guy that would do a good job at 5K I would hire him tomorrow, its less about the money right now then it is about logistics. Anyone with aging family can probably hear where I'm coming from.

Thank God we have a good family.

bellsisland 05-22-2010 12:44 PM

see if there is any input from your area:

gort 05-22-2010 03:12 PM

My 85 yo aunt and uncle had them do the same thing don't know the cost but the horror story went like this. When they cracked up the old cast iron tub they also broke the 5 gallon flush toilet which had to be replace with a new 1.5 gal. There's a transition you don't want to hear from 85 yo people.

The best was they taped there drop cloths to the 60 year old floors and pulled up the finish. It was some sort of toxic material they no longer make and being a rancher all the floors had to be sanded and refinished.

A 1 day job turned into a week of pure hell.

Clearly this is not the norm or they'd be out of biz. They did cover all the costs but what a nightmare for a couple of stupid problems that should have never happened.

JALICHTY 05-22-2010 04:05 PM

We had a bathroom remodel, took out the old jet tub and replaced it with a shower pan, poured concrete I believe and then covered with tile. Put up the glass bricks for the wall with no door and had a bunch of tile put up the wall that matched what was already there. Also had a closet remodel and moved a wall a bit. Total with a local contractor was about $5,400 about 7 years ago here in Wyoming. I think they are ripping you off but really can't help with that, especially since you aren't able to be around for the work.

1NO REGRETS 05-23-2010 04:57 AM

Their material is not fiberglass ,it's a sandwhich of pvc and acrylic.The bases are crap, and the wall panels are put up with a double faced tape.The total cost of all materials used is about 500.00.Take the time and call some of your friends or call a medical specialty store and ask them....Another company is Re-Bath, much better look, better materials although similiar.The base is the most important part and bathfitters stuff would never be an option,seen it ALOT, Better off with the Reputable contractor,ESPECIALLY when you see the whole job trimmed with PLASTIC angle pieces.Not worth almost 5000.00If you are dead set, tell them you will only pay 3800.00.

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