God Save Our Bathroom!
By Bob Kaku
Two years after we moved into our newly constructed home, we noticed hairline cracks forming in the tiles of our master bathroom—all over the floor, shower walls, bath skirt, and even on top of the vanity counter. It looked like someone took a piece of chalk and drew lines on the tiles. The longest crack measured four feet and ran across multiple tiles. Where did these cracks come from?
“Lord, help! What’s happening to our bathroom?” my wife, Gail wailed.
I called the builder, and he came over to examine the problem. He squatted down toward the bath skirt and ran his finger over the crevices. “I think the problem is in the marble,” he said with a puzzled expression. “I’ll get back to you.” But we never heard back from him.
“It looks like we’re stuck since we didn’t extend the home warranty,” Gail lamented. “Who would have ever thought a new house would have such problems!”
Two bathroom contractors came over to assess the damage. “This job will be very difficult due to the size of your tub,” the first contractor said. “There’s nowhere to move it. If it breaks, we won’t be able to get another one up the stairs and through the doors. We’ll need a crane to pass it through the window.”
I peered through the window and looked down at the small gap between our house and the neighbor’s. “But there isn’t any room for a crane.”
The second contractor measured the length of the bathroom and reached for his camera. “I’ve never seen anything like this before.” He furrowed his eyebrows in bewilderment. “I think it’s an installation problem. Or maybe it’s the foundation.”
“Foundation? The builder thinks it’s the marble,” Gail interjected.
“Why isn’t the builder repairing the bathroom? He can fix it a lot cheaper since he’s already familiar with it.”
“He doesn’t return our calls,” I replied.
“That’s too bad. Most builders carry insurance to cover these types of problems. I think California has a law with a provision called Latent Defect that protects consumers from hidden problems in new construction. You may want to look into it. My brother is a lawyer who specializes in these types of cases. I’ll give you his number.”
I’d hate to file a lawsuit.
A few weeks later, repair quotes came in at roughly $25,000. “Wow! How are we going to pay for this?” Gail asked.
“Let’s file a claim with our insurance company.”
The insurance company sent a structural engineer to analyze the problem. After several weeks, he concluded the probable causes were either material or workmanship which the insurance didn’t cover.
“What are we going to do?” Gail looked at me with concern. “Let’s contact the builder again.”
He refused to discuss the bathroom repair and insisted we go through our attorney.
“Lord, we don’t have the slightest idea of what to do next. Please guide us!” we pleaded.
A few days later, something compelled Gail to call our realtor. She came over to examine the cracks and suggested we file a complaint with the State of California Contractors’ License Board. Not knowing what else to do, we followed her advice.
A woman from the board called within a week. “I have eighty complaints ahead of you,” she said. “I don’t know when I’ll get to your case.”
The news discouraged us. A week passed, then two, followed by a third. The woman from the board called again. “Did the builder contact you?”
“No,” I answered with curiosity.
“You still haven’t heard from him? He could lose his contractor’s license.”
“Is that so?”
The following day, I almost dropped the phone when the builder called. He came over to see us and presented us with a proposal. “I’ll pay half,” he offered.
“Why should we have to pay for any of it?” I countered. We held our position, and the builder backed down. He agreed to take care of the full repair.
After seven months of wrangling, negotiating, and praying, our bathroom was fixed.
“You never know how God is going to answer prayer.” I chuckled.
But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. (Isaiah 40:31 niv)
~ Bob Kaku
An excerpt from the book Popcorn Miracles® by Bob & Gail Kaku. Reprinted by permission