Elite Construction and Contracting Ltd. was contracted to install infloor heating, tiles and baseboard on the ground floor level of my home. While the tile and the baseboard were installed correctly, this does not appear to be the case with the infloor heating. Even when the thermostat is set at maximum temperature, some areas of the floor that have infloor heating are not even warm to the touch, and in other areas are barely warm. This is after 48 hours of the thermostat being set at maximum temperature and the outside weather being close to zero degrees centrigrade. I have spoken with three different sources (an electrician, another company that installs infloor heating, and the manufacturer of the heating kit). After these conversations I not only have concerns about the lack of heat, but the safety of the installation. Concensus is that due to the different environments, one of which is an enclosed room, two kits should have been used rather than one, with each having its own thermostat. Also there is consensus that an electrician should have done the electrical work. While an electrician did come in on the last day and took care of "some electrical problems" , previous to that Mr. ****** had hooked the wiring to the box using a cheater and installed the thermostat on his own. I also have no idea what is hidden under the tiles that could be effecting the failure of this installation.
Conversations with Mr. ****** have gone nowhere as he keeps repeating the same phrase "I stand behind my work" despite having admitted in text and orally that he too was surprised with the lack of heat. Mr. ****** has offered excuses for why the system is not working, but according to the individuals I have spoken with,the reasons he gives are not legitimate. While Mr. ****** admitted orally that he would not make the same mistakes in these types of installations again, he mysteriously again chanted that he stands behind his work and there is no problem. I have grave concerns about the safety of this installation, as well as the quality.
I am seeking an independent, reputable contractor to assess and remediate the situation at Mr. ******'s expense.
As explained to Miss ****** numerous times, in floor heating systems such as the one installed at her residence, are not designed nor intended to substantially increase the temperature of the surface in which it is installed under by 25-35 degrees centigrade. After conversation with Miss ****** it is obvious that her expectations of the performance of the installed in floor heating system are far greater than what it is capable of delivering.
All necessary steps were taken to insure maximum effectiveness of the 153 SQFT single thermostat in floor heating system. ***** was installed prior to the heating cable installation to insure the heat produced from the heating cable would be directed towards the surface of the finished floor rather than that of the concrete slab.
Throughout the installation process the continuity of both the heating cable and thermostat sensor were tested multiple times prior to installation of the finished tile surface. Once the tile was installed a continuity test was performed again to assure no damage was incurred to the heating cable nor the sensor during the tile installation process.
After claims from Miss ****** that the installation of the in floor heating system had been done improperly and that the heating cable had been compromised, thus leading to the alleged cold floor in the laundry/mud room, I consulted with the tile installer as well as two master electricians from different companies. All three parties confirmed that if the heating cable was compromised in any way, the whole system would fail. Thus leading to no heat production throughout the entire in floor heating system.
I have proven to Miss ****** that the in floor heating is in fact operating correctly.
I have done so by removing the clothes dryer from its designated spot (where no in floor heating cable was installed) and getting Miss ****** to physically feel the difference between the un-heated and heated flooring.
In regards to Miss ******'s claim that two separate heating kits with separate thermostats should've been used. Due to the small size of the area being heated (approximately 160SQFT) and the layout of the hallway, bathroom and laundry/mud room, it was determined that a single in floor heating system (designed and engineered to heat an area of that size evenly) would be appropriate for this application. Although two separate heating systems with separate thermostats could've been used (at a very substantial cost increase) it would yield no different a result.
As explained to Miss ****** multiple times, there are 4 factors contributing to the slightly different floor temperature in her laundry/mud room.
1. When first arriving to view the site and provide Miss ****** with an estimate it was determined that both the door leading to the back yard and the door leading to the (un-heated) attached garage were not suitable for the purpose in which they were intended. Both doors are unfinished interior grade, solid-core doors. These doors are not intended to be used in an exterior application and subsequently have severely warped causing the seals on all four edges to fail. This is allowing cold or cooler air to blanket the floor in the laundry/mud room reducing the surface temperature of the finished floor.
In a previous email to Miss ****** it was conveyed that the seals would be adjusted to temporarily seal the doors at no cost to her. During the course of the project I was lead to believe that Miss ****** was in the process of having the doors replaced with proper exterior grade doors. Due to the pending door replacement, the door seals were not adjusted to temporarily solve the draft issue.
2. The residence in question was built in the early 1960's. Products used in that era of construction consist of paper backed mineral fiber insulation. Over time the R-value of this insulation, like most, degrades. The insulation in the exterior walls of Miss ****** home is not resisting the cold weather effectively thus leading to another contributing factor in the cooling of her laundry/mud room floor.
3. The only source of heat other than that of the in floor heating is one 3x10" heat duct located on the ceiling at the far end of the laundry/mud room. The lack of ground level heat ducts in the area is also affecting the temperature of the finished tile floor. Seeing as how heat rises, the ambient air temperature at floor level is quiet lower than at mid or ceiling level.
4. As explained by Miss ****** the area in which work was performed is at ground level on a concrete slab. Due to the winter conditions the soil surrounding Miss ****** home has been frozen for some time. This is contributing to the cooling of the concrete slab which in turn is reducing the temperature of the finished tile floor inside her home.
All of these facts have been explained to Miss ****** multiple times on different occasions to assure she is aware of the factors contributing to her unmet expectations.
An electrical permit was issued to Mustang Electric for the installation of a double pole 15AMP breaker and 14/2 wire required to power the in floor heating system. I performed all necessary preparation work by installing the device box for the thermostat, running the 14/2 electrical wire to the outside of the panel and installing the thermostat. Mustang Electric was contracted to install the double pole 15 AMP breaker and inspect all prep work.
To date all electrical work has been inspected by a City of Calgary electrical inspector and a
certificate has been issued indicating all work has passed and is done properly.
While trying to resolve this issue with Miss ****** I had offered a $300.00 reduction on her final invoice to appease any dissatisfaction. This was to no avail as it was immediately rejected.
(The consumer indicated he/she did not accept the response from the business.)
Thank you for the opportunity to reply to Mr. ******'s comments. For the sake of efficiency please find my responses to Mr. ******'s comments below.
First and foremost let me reiterate the issue. It was Mr. ******'s recommendation that in-floor heating be installed on the ground level of my 4 level split. It had been my intention to merely get the floor tiled, however, Mr. ****** recommended in-floor heating as an effective and efficient way to heat that specific area, specifically on days that were particularly frigid (i.e., -20 C or colder). Mr. ****** made the recommendation after surveying the space and recognizing that the installation would be on a cement floor. After the installation was completed, the in-floor heating did not warm to the touch, even after 48 hours of being turned to its maximum temperature (outside temperatures nearing 0 degrees Centigrade). When I brought this issue to Mr. ******'s attention, he initially agreed both in text and orally, that he too had concerns about the heat, or lack of heat, coming from the tiles. Although Mr. ****** initially acknowledged this concern, these admissions were turned to rationalizations that focused on my house rather than his workmanship.
While Mr. ****** insists that my doors are a major issue in the failure of his in-floor heating installation, his portrayal of these doors is inaccurate. While there was an issue around the weather-stripping being inadequate, there has never been a need for new doors. Shortly after buying the house, I had two reputable companies look at these doors at the same time they provided a quote for a new front door: The consensus was that the doors required weather stripping not replacement. After Mr. ******'s comments (and a brief moment of considering having him replace the doors) I had a third company come for an evaluation and estimate. The third company was in agreement with the other two companies: The doors did not need replacing, but they did need new weather-stripping (which has recently been done). While all three companies had the opportunity to sell their products, they chose the professional route and did not try to sell something I did not need. For verification of these facts, I am happy to provide to the BBB, the names of the companies.
Mr. ****** also blamed the insulation of my house for the lack of warmth in the newly installed heated floor. When I purchased the house a few months ago, I considered redoing the outside of the house for aesthetic reasons. Going to an established, reputable company I asked for a consultation in regards to this work, and while doing so, they used equipment to gauge the need for added insulation. This well-established company determined that the insulation value of the walls was adequate, and did not recommend adding further insulation in the walls. The comments Mr. ****** made in regards to my house being poorly insulated was not supported by the previous consultation. Similar to the information about the doors, I would be happy to supply the BBB with the name of the company that looked at the insulation.
Mr. ****** also indicated that there is only one heat register in the area of the in-floor heating. If he is referring to the same area that only required one heating mat, then he is wrong. There are in fact, two heat registers in that area; one in the open area and one in the bathroom area, which connects with the open area. If it suits Mr. ******'s needs to say that the area was small enough for one heating mat, he should be more than satisfied that there are 2 heat registers within the same area. Again, Mr. ****** misrepresents the facts to avoid taking responsibility for his work.
As a home owner seeking professionals to do work in my home, I do not feel it is not my responsibility to determine why this project has failed, however, as a homeowner, I believe I should be satisfied that the work is done properly and performing satisfactorily. To get a second opinion on this, I have spoken with another electrician who has done in-floor heating installation in the past. He stated that it can be tricky to install in-floor heating if you don't have enough experience with this type of installation. He stated that when determining the requirement for in-floor heating, more than the square footage must be taken into consideration. He also stated that when in-floor heating is installed correctly, the floor is warm to touch.
Finally, while Mr. ****** assured me that he had an electrical permit and an inspection was imminent, I have recently found out that Mr. ****** did not apply for an electrical permit until the 9th of January, 2014. By this time, all the electrical work had been completed: Permits are to be taken out before the work commences. Not only was the permit applied for weeks after it should have been, it was applied for, perhaps co-incidentally, only after I insisted that I be present for the electical inspection. While I am not privy to Mr. ******'s reasons for not getting a permit earlier, it does seem, at least, to be evidence of disregard for the building codes of our province and at the most, it raises the possibility that a permit would not have been taken out, if I had not insisted on being present for the inspection.
Further concerns about Mr. ******'s professional practice *** in the fact that he threated to put a lien on my house if I did not settle the account within three full business days of his emailing me the invoice. That would have been 9 days between Mr. ****** finishing work at my home, and a lien being placed on my home. I do not believe this was negotiating in good faith and I felt intimidated by this act.
As you can see the issues here are complex and any help the BBB can provide in resolving this issue would be appreciated.
Final Business Response
This is to confirm that Miss ****** offer of $3040.19 has been rejected. This amount does not cover tile installation charges let alone the tile flooring material. It is obvious no reasonable common ground will be reached between Miss ****** and elite Construction. This leaves no option but to take this matter into legal proceedings. As of February 25th 2014 (44 days after the last work was performed) a builders lien for the full invoiced amount has been registered against ** Cheynne Crescent NW.
Final Consumer Response
(The consumer indicated he/she DID NOT accept the response from the business.)
Despite Mr. ******'s attempts to focus attention on irrelevant information, the pertinent information regarding this issue are as follows:
* Mr. ****** of elite Construction recommended in-floor heating for part of the ground floor of my home, a 4 level split. When he made this recommendation, he was fully aware of the environmental demands of the area that would receive the in-floor heating (i.e., in-floor heating would be installed directly over concrete) and the space to be covered. Given that the heating system was to be laid directly on top of concrete, I am told by professionals experienced in this matter that ***** Construction should have adjusted the amount of in-floor heating mat to meet this environment demand. *****, however, chose to install the in-floor matting according to square footage only, without consideration of the environmental demands of the underlying concrete floor. The result is that the in-floor heating, as installed, does not have the capacity to heat the floor. (***** also chose to ignore manufacturer recommendations that each closed room has its own mat with its own thermostat.)
* When Mr. ****** first became aware of this problem, he admitted that he too was concerned about the lack of heat coming from the floor and recommended that the thermostat be turned up to its maximum for 48 hours. This advice was followed under optimal winter conditions (outside temperature hovered around 0 degree Centigrade). At the end of the 48 hours, the in-floor thermostat had inched up to 32 degrees Centigrade with negligible change in the floor temperature: Regardless of the thermostatic reading, the vast majority of the "heated" floor was not even slightly warm to touch. Only a very small section (i.e., 6 inches by 3 feet in front of the stairs; and about 4 feet by 3 feet in the bathroom between the shower and sink) was even marginally "warm". The area that was the target of the in-floor heating (the main room) was not at all warm to the touch and was similar to what would be expected under a "no heat" condition. According to the manufacturer, if the flooring had been properly installed and the matting sufficient, a floor temperature of 32 degrees would have been "uncomfortable ", due to the heat it produced. Obviously this was not the case. Rather than accept responsibility for not having taken all factors into consideration when installing the in-floor heating, Mr. ****** attempted to deflect responsibility by blaming other factors in the area.
* Mr. ****** claims that an electrical permit was not obtained until January 9, 2014 because the electrician was away for three weeks. ***** Construction initiated this project during the first week of December, 2013, with the understanding that a permit would be pulled in accordance with the building codes (i.e., pulled prior to the commencement of electrical work). Since this project was physically underway during the first part of December, either Mr. ****** or his electrician, had sufficient time to apply for the permit prior to the electrician going on holidays. Having said that, since it was Mr. ******, and not the electrician, who put the initial wiring in (despite my expectation that the electrician would do all the electrical work) it was ultimately Mr. ******'s responsibility to obtain the permit. I find it incredibly co-incidental that this permit was applied for only after I insisted on being present for the electrical inspection.
* Mr. ******, knowing that I intended to try and mediate this matter through the Better Business Bureau, appears to have tried to pressure me into paying his invoice immediately. Knowing that I intended to involve the BBB in this matter, Mr. ****** sent his invoice in an email in which he concurrently threatened to put a lien on my house if the invoice was not paid within 3 full business days of it being sent. Given that I have lived in this province for more than 20 years, have never reneged on a payment, and have an excellent credit rating, I can only surmise that Mr. Gilmore had no concerns about my credit history, and intended only to stifle any attempt to question his work, and/or have this matter brought to the attention of the BBB.
* The implications of this matter go beyond whether or not the in-floor heating currently works; it affects the value of my home. When the house is put up for sale, given that the in-floor heating is defective, the future purchaser will have the option of having it replaced at my expense, or deducting the cost of its repair from the purchase offer. The only way to remedy this situation is to remove and replace the tiling, heating mat, and cement; the cost of this option is more than the original cost of the work done by Mr. ******.
Since the initiation of this correspondence with the BBB, Mr. ****** has indicated that he will now reduce the invoice for this work by $1000. While this is an improvement over his previous response, it is not acceptable. My lawyer, whom I contacted only after Mr. ****** threatened to put a lien on my house, has advised me that if this matter cannot be settled by another means, I should consider taking Mr. ****** to court for the cost of having the tile work, matting, and cement removed and replaced with properly installed material. This would not be my preferred method of handling this situation, but it is one that will be adopted if necessary. Given this option, I am offering the following settlement to Mr. ******: A full amount of $ 3,040.19 will be paid to ***** Construction for the cost of tiling material, labour cost for the tiling, and the labour cost for installing the baseboards (material supplied by owner). This amount is based on: 206 square feet of tiling @6.57 sq/ft; 206 square feet of labour for tiling at $7 square foot (average tiling labour cost $ 5-7 square footl included miscellaneous supplies); $100 for labour for the baseboard installation; and .05% GST for material and labour. The cheque would be made out immediately and mailed to ***** Construction, or paid by email transfer. If this is not acceptable to Mr. ****** then legal proceedings will be the only option left.