CSLB Alerts Coachella Valley Residents that State License Required for Tile Sealing and Many Tile Cleaning Projects


Jobs involving solvents, grinding or honing often done by unlicensed individuals

SACRAMENTO – Tiles are one of the most popular flooring applications in California. When it comes to installing tiles and grout, it’s straight-forward that all jobs that total $500 or more (labor and materials) must be done by a contractor licensed by the Contractors State License Board (CSLB). But consumers may not be aware that a license is also needed for tile or grout cleaning, the application of sealants, polishing, grinding, and honing of tile if the job totals $500 or more (labor and materials). These services often include the use of acid-based products that can damage tiles and grout if used improperly.

The only exception is when the cleaning involves soap-based solutions or its equivalent, or if the sealing is similar to the application of wax (such as that applied over resilient flooring or wood flooring). These types of activities are considered janitorial in nature, and therefore don’t require a contractor license.

To take on these larger tile sealing and cleaning jobs, individuals must hold either a C-54 Ceramic and Mosaic Tile Contractor license, or a C-61 Limited Specialty License/D-64 Non Specialized Contractor license, issued by CSLB.

“It’s not uncommon for unlicensed contractors to take on this type of work, so we’re urging that consumers be aware before hiring anyone for jobs to seal, polish, grind, or hone tiles,” said CSLB Registrar David Fogt. "By using CSLB's free online tools like 'Find My Licensed Contractor' or our 'Check a License' feature, homeowners can find a licensed contractor in their area and avoid the headache of hiring someone who’s not qualified to do the work."

Earlier this fall (September 26-27, 2018) CSLB caught six suspected unlicensed contractors during a two-day undercover sting operation in Bermuda Dunes (Riverside County). That operation was conducted by CSLB and the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office in a single-family home near the Bermuda Dunes Country Club. Suspect advertisements were spotted on popular job posting and review websites, as well as through the yellow pages.

The suspects provided bids over the legal threshold at which a state license is required. The suspects could now face a misdemeanor charge of contracting without a license (Business and Professions Code (BPC) §7028). First-conviction penalties include up to six months in jail and/or up to $5,000 in fines. A second conviction carries a mandatory 90 days in jail. Penalties are more severe with successive violations.

The six also could face an additional charge for illegal advertising. Licensed contractors must display their license number in all advertisements; unlicensed contractors must state in all ads that they do not have a license. (BPC §7027.1) The penalty for violating the advertising rules for unlicensed contractors is a fine of $700 to $1,000. A seventh suspect faces a possible charge of being an unregistered home improvement salesperson (BPC §7153).

The suspects are scheduled to appear in court on January 9-10, 2018, at 7:30 am at the Riverside County Superior Court - Indio Larson Justice Center, 46-200 Oasis Street, Indio, CA 92201 (LINK).

NOTE: All suspects are presumed innocent until their case is resolved.

DAY 1
SUSPECT NAME
CITY OF RESIDENCE
LICENSE CLASSIFICATION ALLEGED VIOLATION
Antonio Tomas
Palm Desert
C-61 Limited Specialty License/D-64 Non Specialized
C-54 Ceramic and Mosaic Tile
Contracting Without a License,
Illegal Advertising
Katy Tomas
Palm Desert
C-61 Limited Specialty License/D-64 Non Specialized
C-54 Ceramic and Mosaic Tile
Contracting Without a License,
Illegal Advertising
Raul Rodriguez
Indio
C-61 Limited Specialty License/D-64 Non Specialized
C-54 Ceramic and Mosaic Tile
Contracting Without a License,
Illegal Advertising
Edmund Anthony Jensen
Palm Desert
C-61 Limited Specialty License/D-64 Non Specialized
C-54 Ceramic and Mosaic Tile
Contracting Without a License,
Illegal Advertising
Tyler Paul Spillman
Cathedral City
C-61 Limited Specialty License/D-64 Non Specialized
C-54 Ceramic and Mosaic Tile
Contracting Without a License,
Illegal Advertising
Steven Rogert Reiter
La Quinta
C-61 Limited Specialty License/D-64 Non Specialized
C-54 Ceramic and Mosaic Tile
Contracting Without a License,
Illegal Advertising
Christopher Galvin McGowan
Palm Desert
C-61 Limited Specialty License/D-64 Non Specialized
C-54 Ceramic and Mosaic Tile
Unregistered Salesperson

The Contractors State License Board operates under the umbrella of the California Department of Consumer Affairs. CSLB licenses and regulates almost 290,000 contractors in California and is regarded as one of the leading consumer protection agencies in the United States. In fiscal year 2017-18, CSLB helped recover over $50 million in ordered restitution for consumers.

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