flexiblefullpage - default
interstitial1 - interstitial
Currently Reading

Saved by Association

Advertisement
billboard -
Construction Practices

Saved by Association

One veteran, one remodeler, one disaster 


By By James F. McClister June 28, 2017
This article first appeared in the July 2017 issue of Pro Remodeler.

Jack Baker, 69, lives in the Dallas suburb of Mesquite, and earlier this year was the victim of what area remodelers are calling the worst bathroom job they’ve ever seen. Considering that Baker is also a veteran, is disabled, and was recently diagnosed with lung cancer, it was an easy decision for the local chapter of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry to get involved. 

A few months back, Baker received a $6,800 grant from the Department of Veterans Affairs for a new walk-in shower. He used the money to hire Mike Van Sickle—not a NARI member—who claimed to have done more than 100 similarly funded projects.

Over the next three weeks, Baker’s bathroom was torn apart by Van Sickle’s subcontractor. “I brought in a new guy and he didn’t do a job up to my standard,” Van Sickle says. Baker’s son, Joe, was more explicit, stating, “I’m pretty sure the guy had never done tile work before.” 

An attempt to fix the project ended in similar dissatisfaction after about a week. Van Sickle says he offered to continue working on the shower, but Baker called in Chad Hatfield, president of Hatfield Builders & Remodelers, in Plano, Texas, to take a look.

Ground Zero

“There was nothing right about this project,” Hatfield recalls. “Literally nothing.” The shower pan was improperly built and would never hold water, and the bench was fastened to the wall with dangerously inadequate anchors. “They used tiny little plastic slip-in anchors—not even drywall anchors,” Hatfield says. “Had Jack sat on that, he would’ve fallen.” 

Moreover, the floor in Baker’s bathroom and bedroom were covered in thinset mortar. “We’re going to have to replace the bedroom floor because of it,” Hatfield says.

And finally, in what was perhaps the most puzzling act of negligence, the same thinset had also been poured down Baker’s toilet. 

The nicest thing anyone could say is maybe this was an isolated incident. Professional Remodeler spoke with a handful of Van Sickle’s past veteran clients, and all had nothing but praise
for his business.

Remodelers Assemble

But this isn’t a story about a bathroom remodel gone wrong; it's about what happened later, when Hatfield contacted his local NARI chapter. 

“This man was in desperate need of help, and quickly,” says Kim Savelsbergh, executive director of NARI Greater Dallas. Typically, in this type of situation, the protocol is to screen possible bene-ficiaries through one of NARI’s partner organizations. “We don’t generally deter-mine who’s qualified to get help and who isn’t,” Savelsbergh says. “That’s not our mission.”

But Baker’s situation was a special case. The association reached out to its members, and a number of local contractors donated their services. Not to be outdone, a handful of manufacturers, including Kohler, also stepped up with product donations. And when news of Baker’s story reached the City of Mesquite, the municipal government offered to waive the permit fees for the job. 

“Unfortunately, disreputable contractors are a common occurrence,” says Savelsbergh, who adds that she gets weekly calls about remodelers who have done an inferior job. “It’s one of the many reasons homeowners should make sure they hire a NARI member for any remodeling project.”  


written by

James F. McClister

James McClister is managing editor for Professional Remodeler.


Add new comment

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and email addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
leaderboard2 - default

Related Stories

6 Must-Knows for Installing Pocket Doors

Save your sanity: Do it right the first time

Crawl Spaces to Basements: Proceed with Caution

Converting a crawl space to other uses can upgrade a home and add significant value, but when done incorrectly, it can also be disastrous 

Webinar: Project and Trade Management Musts—The New American Remodel 2023

Access the webinar here to learn project and trade management lessons from The New American Remodel 2023

How to Attach a Patio Roof to an Existing House

A graceful integration may mean more work but improved functionality and aesthetics 

How To Improve Energy Performance in Existing Attics

There’s more to insulating the attic than attic insulation; there’s venting, air sealing, and misery

Model ReModel 2022: A Case Study in Sustainable, Thoughtful Construction

The eighth annual Model ReModel project features an accessory dwelling unit, designed for aging in place, attached to a 19th-century Victorian

Installing a Curbless Shower

Model ReModel 2022 features an ADA-compliant bathroom. The contractor shares the install process

How to Install PVC Bevel Siding Over Rainscreen

It’s a lot like installing wood bevel siding, except it won’t warp or rot. And it expands and contracts differently and for different reasons

Understanding How PVC Trim Moves

Anybody who’s used PVC in an exterior application knows that it moves seasonally. Just like wood, right? Not exactly

Step-by-Step Install of a High-Performance Cathedral Ceiling

See how Model ReModel 2022 constructed its vaulted ceiling

Advertisement
boombox2 -
Advertisement
halfpage2 -
Advertisement
native1 -

More in Category




Advertisement
native2 -
Advertisement
halfpage1 -
Advertisement
leaderboard1 -