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Old 05-26-2011, 05:04 AM   #1
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Installer coming this morning. Tile has been removed from 1627 sq ft home in AZ. Thinset remains. Seems adherent, however, rough and uneven over 95% of floor. DOES THIS NEED TO BE REMOVED???? How should that be done? Installer says it does not need to be removed. I'm a senior single woman and am paying dearly for this job ... I'm worried the tile will not adhere or will crack. New tile is 20X20 polished porcelain. THANKS!

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Old 05-26-2011, 05:46 AM   #2
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A picture would have helped---Is this over a concrete slab?

I hate to make judgments without seeing the site or knowing the skill of the installer.

Generally the thinset is removed or filled before the tile is set.

If the old thinset is thin it could be filled as the tile is being set--

Hard to say without seeing the job.

Is any leveling compound being used? That would bury the thinset and give a tile able surface.

Where did you find this tile setter --is he qualified? Will he be using a leveling system like Tuscan?

Need a bit more info here-----Mike-----

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Old 05-26-2011, 08:07 AM   #3
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Yes, tile is going over concrete slab. Installer was recommended by the person who fabricated/installed the granite in my kitchen and I was very pleased with that work. I called 2 references given and both gave good referral. He says he's installed for 12 years. He is Hispanic and speaks fairly good English. He was the least expensive all installers ... price ranged from $4K - $8K. Tile removal ranged from $.75 - $1.50/sq. ft. There was no mention of a leveling system (Tuscan???). I asked where he would start, and he pointed to the front door. The tile is to be laid on the diagonal ... shouldn't he start in the middle of the floor with a chalk line, etc.? I also had new baseboards (3 1/2") and the painter installed the baseboard after the tile was removed. I've since read the baseboard should be installed AFTER tile installation. I was told by others that the "standard" in AZ is to tile up "to" the baseboard and not under it. Seems like a bad 'standard' to me. I can't take a photo ... don't know how to do a digital. I'm almost 70 years old and not so good at these things. Thanks for any counsel you can give. I guess I could fire the guy and just pay for the tile removal. I haven't paid anything yet.
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Old 05-26-2011, 08:29 AM   #4
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Installing the base boards first was not good---that is what hides the cuts at the wall--1/4 round will now be needed.

Most installers use a chalk line (and a laser layout tool ) to create a grid over the entire area to be tiled.
Doing this allows the tiler to see if the layout looks acceptable in all areas of the home.

This also speeds up the installation-----the tile is precut to the grid before any setting begins.
(Unless there is one setter and a cut guy)

The Tuscan leveling system and QEP lash and others like that will pull the tiles flat as they are installed

minimizing or eliminating any 'lippage'( raised tile corners) The clips are expensive and seldom used by the 'lowest bidder'---

Hope that helps a bit--Bud Cline was on a few minutes ago---He is a tile installer and also an inspector of sorts who is called in when tile installations fail.

I'd listen to his comments if he has time to respond.----Mike----
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Old 05-26-2011, 08:53 AM   #5
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Thanks, I think! Tile recently removed was installed up TO the baseboard (not under) also. The painter was a referral from the tile guy who did an excellent job of painting and installing the baseboard ... quality paint, two coats, etc. I'm trying to find the business cad of this installer to find an ROC number. The higher quotes were from flooring companies who use contract installers .. they do not have their own. The flooring company adds in a profit. I went directly to an installer in order to bypass paying a flooring company. If I would have gone through a flooring company, I would have paid more for the same installer. The tile is from Floor & Decor. The economy in AZ is poor ... "trade" costs are likely lower than in other parts of the country.
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Old 05-26-2011, 09:32 AM   #6
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Your guy may be fine--I don't like to second guess another mans work without seeing the site and knowing his techniques.

I don't fault you for hiring an installer directly---just the opposite--the installer is key to a nice job and getting an unknown like a flooring company can be a risk.

I only wanted to point out the standard practices in this trade so you could figure out if this is a proper job of not.

Do goodle the leveling systems that I mentioned--they are great for the larger tiles--I use them when I feel that the situation calls for it.

---Mike---
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Old 05-26-2011, 09:42 AM   #7
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make sure he understands you want a quality job and won't pay for less. I would start in the large area's depending on squareness of rooms, on diagonal layout, people lay floors all the time without grid machines. bud and mike do know their stuff so i'll stop at my two cents worth
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Old 05-26-2011, 01:40 PM   #8
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tpolk---You don't need to hold your tongue because I'm on here---You know your stuff,too.
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Old 05-26-2011, 09:05 PM   #9
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In my opinion the previous thinset would not necessarily have to be removed. Nor would it have to be filled, IF, the tileguy knows what he is doing. With tiles that size however the floor must be plane. The bigger the tiles the flatter the overall floor must be. This doesn't necessarily mean smooth. Smooth and flat (plane) can be two different things.

Once an installer has determined a suitable layout, usually based on "balance" he can begin installing tiles anywhere, IF, the tileguy knows what he is doing. He doesn't have to start in the center of a room, I never do.

I can assure you that polished porcelain will tell the story quickly if the tiles are not installed on-plane. I would suggest the use of a levelling system, either Tuscan or Raimondi but this won't likely come from the cheapest installer you can find.

Arizona is like a few other states where things are done a little differently and at a very low cost. You can't hire cheap and expect perfection.

Arizona is also a place where tile is laid up-to the baseboard as a routine practice. I personally would discourage that technique. But, here-again, it is do-able IF the tileguy knows what he is doing.

My thoughts are you would have been better off hiring a reputable store to provide an installer in this case. The odds of having some recourse with a store are much better than using an independent installer. That may sound weird coming from me because I am an independent installer but in this case you have no protection if the guy does a lousy job then scats.

All I can suggest is to withhold payment until he is finished and you are happy with his work.
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Old 05-27-2011, 09:35 AM   #10
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First thanks for the email and it was nice speaking with you by phone.

Sorry you were in a position to have to make several decisions at the last minute. Changing the scope of a job is not the best way start a project.

In addition to what has already been suggested, (which in most cases we spoke about and I agree with), I suggested a few other points.

* The need for expansion joints in the field & perimeter.
* Also expansion joints at strategic areas such as certain doorways since the entire home will be tiled.
* A mandatory expansion joint directly over the "cold cut" in the main and largest room.
* The use of some kind of crack isolation "bridging" material for the other "cold cuts", to maintain the tile joint pattern.
* The possibility of also using a better quality thin set that may allow for some "give". There are crack-isolation thin sets this purpose.
* The suggestion that you abandon the diagonal installation in favor of a straight-lay to better align the joints with the cold cuts.
* Using an SLC or patching cement to fill large areas that have no old thin set residue so to maintain a flat substrate.
* Using a tile leveling system to keep those huge tiles flat and minimizing lippage.
* To have the tile setter check that the floor is "flat within 1/8" in 10 ft, and 1/16" in 12" of the required plane". (Very important especially with large shinny smooth tiles."
* To under cut the base molding so the tiles can slip-under the base moldings since you do not want to add a shoe molding. Either that or, leave the base as is and caulk the 1/4" space and hope it works.

Let us know what you've decided and if you need any issues reviewed.

Jaz

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