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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I could use some help bidding on some tile work. I am not an experienced tile contractor, but I have done a kitchen floor on slab and a countertop on formica in a house which I previously owned. Both held up well for the ten years that we lived there before selling the house. I have an opportunity to bid on kitchen floors at a 260 unit apartment complex which is managed by my stepson and could really use the work. However, I don't want to commit to something that is not going to pay to take on. Allowing for extra materials ( about 10% ) the floor plans would require 75, 80 and 125 s.f. The lower units have vinyl on a concrete slab and the upper units have vinyl on a plywood subfloor of unknown thickness. I am told that I can use 1/4" hardiboard on the plywood directly over the vinyl setting it in thinset and using screws. I assume that I will have to remove the vinyl from the concrete subfloor as well as the glue that remains. My questions are;
What is the best and most efficient way of removing the glue residue from concrete?
Will the 1/4" backerboard method work as I was told provided it is installed properly?
Under these circumstances, how many square feet can I expect to be able to complete per day once I get up to speed.? I have had alot of experience working with my hands doing cabinet refacing, interior painting and wallpaper hanging as well as drywall hanging. I also plan to invest in a wet saw, undercut saw for door casings, etc. to speed up installation.

If there is anyone out there who has done work for apartment owners, you know that they are always looking to get something for next to nothing, and this situatiation is no different. The management company is already having this type of work done in Montgomery, AL. They tell me that the tile contractor is doing their kitchens ( don't know square footage ) for $375 per apartment. Sounds dirt cheap to me but that is probably a depressed market. What can I consider a fair price for this type work in the Atlanta market without loosing the bid or my shirt?

Any help or advice in this matter would be greatly appreciated. I should also say that I am the type of person who believes that maintaining my integrity is extremely important. Obviously dealing with a family member makes this situation a little bit touchy but not by much. I don't want to take a bunch of short cuts that will result in not doing a quality job. I would rather just tell them that I can't come up with a competative bid and pass on the situation altogether. However, as I stated earlier, I could really use the work right now.

Thanks in advance for any help.

8,573 Posts
I'm not a tile contractor so I can't help you in actual pricing but I can tell ya how to figure it out...

Make a spreadsheet, either on computer or on paper. Assuming all the appartments are the same...
Figure out all materials required per unit always add 10% for waste and mistakes. Don't forget sales tax and delivery fees.

Figure out how long it will take you to install said materials. Also add 10% for mistakes and fixing f-ups.

Figure out how much you want to make per day and how much you will have to pay your helpers per day.

Multiply the number of days by the amount of cash you need to make each day. We'll call this payroll.

Now figure your over head. If you have insurance figure what your premium breaks down to per day. Add some $ for gas. Try to think of any and all expenses that aren;t already in the materials list.

material + payroll + overhead = your bid.

If you think they are going to haggle add 5% to your bid so you can give them a 5% break and it won't sting you at all :)

Make sure your written proposal states all materials, and hardware/material allowances. If you bid on $50 materials and don't specifically say so they may try to force you into using $100 materaisls at your expense.

Good luck.

In Brooklyn NY they tried to charge me $1400 for a 7' x 12' kitchen...

Got two different bids, the same. Wow, over $16 a square foot, and I doubt that the illegals that would do the actual work, will see much of that money! This is now a DIY, since the landlord won't pay for anything unless there's a hole big enough to wave though at my neighbour below.

So I rolled out the washing machine to investigate what was underneath. Two layers of vinyl tile (laid from a corner out, not from the centre). Under that was a layer of tarry substance, about 1/4" in depth. I wonder what this is but intend to use masks and air filtres, and send the family to the country for the weekend!

Underneath is a pretty standard softwood floor, probably pine, like the rest of the apartment. It doesn't look flat enough to tile or linoleum directly, but I would want to do something to kill the existing mildew and prevent it from forming again.

Any recommendations on prepping this floor, considering that getting wet is not a matter of 'if' but 'when' ??? I'm not concerned about floor height, since we're already used to it raised.

Thanks much in advance !!!
Rob in Brooklyn, NYC
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