We are having our home redone after Katrina (finally - long story on the delay). In one of the bathrooms, we really wanted to put in pebble tile for flooring. We sent instructions and materials to the general contractor who then had one of their contractors (who supposedly had experience with pebble tile) set the tile. I am staying 300 miles away during this restoration but was sent a picture of the progress. YIKES! At first I thought it was just an occasional area where seams were not handled properly. I had them stop before grouting until I could drive down, take a better look and "fix" the seam issue. I figured I would pop an occasional pebble and swap them out to obscure the lines (i.e., hide the problem). Upon further inspection, the problems are more severe. There are areas where the thinset is almost higher than the tile so there will be no room for grout to start with. Meanwhile, there are other areas where there is little to no thinset or at least the pebbles themselves are not embedded in thinset at all (you can pop the pebble and it is being held down by the mesh glue only). I have attached a couple of pictures. One shows a closeup of the too thick and too thin thinset right next to each other. The other is a broader picture to show that this is not an isolated area. This is all over the installation. Granted, this is only an 8' x 6' area but that is still almost 50 sq ft of
One option is to tear it all out and start over from scratch. Another $300 plus for tile, another $20 thinset... and LOTS of labor to get that floor back to a starting spot. I would probably just lay it myself this time. The contractors are waiting on the tile floor to be finished to proceed further on other tasks so we are under some tight time constraints.
Does anyone know if this is something that could be salvaged? I am willing to accept something less than perfect - heck, I was willing to manually pop pebbles and clean up lines. I just do not know if I can do anything about areas where the pebbles are not already embedded in thinset or if there is a way to clean out the excess thinset between the pebbles.
Any advice/suggestions/pity would be greatly appreciated.