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Old 08-09-2014, 05:00 PM   #1
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Should I be (un)happy with this kitchen tile job


My wife was out of town while the work was done. I thought the contractor was incredibly meticulous and went beyond the call to remove the original flooring, the particle board underneath. He repaired the rotted subflooring, installed cement fiber and finally the tile. I had to go out town before he had finished but when we got back my wife was pretty upset because some of the tiles were uneven, the grout line varied in thickness and there was grout discoloring in places. He came to talk to us about it today and said the probem with the uneven tiles was that the wavy joists (it's an old house) caused all sorts of leveling problems that he spent several days trying to remedy, but which was only effective to a point. He volunteered to try to get up the 2 or 3 tiles where it was noticeable, but I'm not sure it's worth it.

Any opinions?
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Old 08-09-2014, 07:38 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fueradeljuego View Post
My wife was out of town while the work was done. I thought the contractor was incredibly meticulous and went beyond the call to remove the original flooring, the particle board underneath. He repaired the rotted subflooring, installed cement fiber and finally the tile. I had to go out town before he had finished but when we got back my wife was pretty upset because some of the tiles were uneven, the grout line varied in thickness and there was grout discoloring in places. He came to talk to us about it today and said the probem with the uneven tiles was that the wavy joists (it's an old house) caused all sorts of leveling problems that he spent several days trying to remedy, but which was only effective to a point. He volunteered to try to get up the 2 or 3 tiles where it was noticeable, but I'm not sure it's worth it.

Any opinions?



She has a right to be unhappy with it, and you should be too if you know what's good for you.
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Old 08-09-2014, 10:05 PM   #3
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That's what happens when the framing is not up to specs. The contractor takes more time and fights with the installation, and in the end the job still can't come out as it should.

The only remedy would have been for the contractor to change installation method, but that may have caused a higher finished floor and of course more $$$. Probably no way to know in advance the floor was not flat.

BTW, being out of town makes no difference. If you're not around to make a quick decision, he'd have to continue and do the best under the circumstances. Hope he can repair just a few and makes thing ok, otherwise a few small rugs?

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Old 08-10-2014, 08:48 AM   #4
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That's what happens when the framing is not up to specs. The contractor takes more time and fights with the installation, and in the end the job still can't come out as it should.

The only remedy would have been for the contractor to change installation method, but that may have caused a higher finished floor and of course more $$$. Probably no way to know in advance the floor was not flat.

BTW, being out of town makes no difference. If you're not around to make a quick decision, he'd have to continue and do the best under the circumstances. Hope he can repair just a few and makes thing ok, otherwise a few small rugs?

Jaz
Thanks. He said he was willing to take an afternoon and attempt to replace some of the tiles that seem uneven. Do you think it's worth it? Also I really never got a satisfactory explanation of why their is grout discoloration in places. Maybe the "grout sealant" that I was persuaded to purchase?
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Old 08-10-2014, 09:00 AM   #5
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You do know that uneven tiles are a trip hazard.

And the older I get the more I find these annoyances.

As for discolored grout, maybe something got spilled on it, or maybe it is out of two different containers, or was applied in stages, (some now, some later).

Can the discolored be cleaned or removed and replaced?

ED
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Old 08-10-2014, 09:10 AM   #6
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You do know that uneven tiles are a trip hazard.

And the older I get the more I find these annoyances.

As for discolored grout, maybe something got spilled on it, or maybe it is out of two different containers, or was applied in stages, (some now, some later).

Can the discolored be cleaned or removed and replaced?

ED
They are not uneven enough to constitute a tripping hazard. It's purely an aesthetic issue.
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Old 08-10-2014, 11:48 AM   #7
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I have hung my toe on nothing more than a linoleum edge and faltered a little.

Maybe I am just clumsier than others, but many "old" people fall for no apparent reason.

Not that I am old , but I remember when there was no moon.

ED
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Old 08-10-2014, 11:54 AM   #8
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Another example of attempting to make a 40 chevy look like a 2014 corvette.
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Old 08-10-2014, 12:20 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fueradeljuego View Post
They are not uneven enough to constitute a tripping hazard. It's purely an aesthetic issue.
Here's what I see as the reality of the matter:

Not all structures are suitable for a tile installation.

Floor joists and subfloors that are not "plane" are going to cause some lippage issues when using tiles that size. The subfloor MUST BE PLANE. The fact that the installer moved forward with the job knowing the subfloor was not suitable is a mistake on the part of the installer unless it was done at the owners insistence. There are methods readily available that would have corrected this problem but of course there is additional cost involved.

The grout discoloration is likely due to the manner in which the tile was installed. Good housekeeping is required on the part of the installer. This means that all open grout lines should be cleaned of any purging thinset and any other debris. Grout installed at varying depths (tho minor) will have a tendency to cure at slightly different rates thereby causing a mottling of the grout. If the open grout lines were not suitably and uniformly cleaned and prepared for the grout installation, this is a mistake on the part of the installer.

Wavy grout lines are simply unacceptable and are also a mistake on the part of the installer. There is one instance where a wavy subfloor can create an optical-illusion as to the straightness of a grout line, but a variance in the width of a grout line has no excuse.

With these alleged installer-errors so close at hand it makes me wonder if a an investigation of the structure's "suitability for installation" was even conducted. Things such as the size of the floor joists, the species of the floor joists, the spacing of the floor joists, the unsupported span of the floor joists, the thickness of the subfloor, the type of material used on the subfloor, are all items of investigation before a structure can be deemed suitable for tile. There is more to it than going and buying tile and installing it.

If all of this was discussed with you at the beginning and the installer moved ahead at your direction then shame on him. If all of this was discussed with you at the beginning and the installer moved ahead at your insistence then shame on you.

At any rate...if none of this was investigated nor discussed going-in then you can expect some issues in the near future.

I don't see where the contractor was (in-fact) "incredibly meticulous" at all.

Is he responding now because he is a nice guy and incredibly meticulous or is he now trying to deflect bullets and develop scenarios for excusing his shoddy workmanship? Is he paid in full?
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Old 08-10-2014, 01:34 PM   #10
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Did he put a second layer of plywood before putting down the cement fiber board?
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Old 08-10-2014, 01:50 PM   #11
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yes he did put a second layer of plywood, plus hardiplank on top of that. I don't want to go overboard here. It looks good. I can live with it. But I have to admit that some of the tiles are slightly higher than others and the grout line is slighly discolored in places. Other than that, the rialto tile has a "rustic look" I actually like. But there is slight disappointment, I admit. Im going to post more pictures here so you can get an idea.




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Old 08-10-2014, 01:51 PM   #12
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Old 08-10-2014, 01:55 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HDS
Did he put a second layer of plywood before putting down the cement fiber board?
Yes, good question since we didn't discuss the framing and subfloor issue. Although Two layers of subfloor is not required, being that the house is old would suggest to me that the subfloor may be planks. So lets evaluate that.

Also was fresh thinset mortar spread under the concrete backer, then fastened, taped and thinset applied?

Tell us all you know. BTW, it's hard to tell how bad the lippage is from the photos. I see a little in pic #2 which is accentuated by the low side light from behind. What the deal in pic #3?

.....Meanwhile while I was typing a few new posts and new pics.

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Old 08-10-2014, 01:56 PM   #14
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This commentary is balanced and very clear. Thanks. Live and learn.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bud Cline View Post
Here's what I see as the reality of the matter:

Not all structures are suitable for a tile installation.

Floor joists and subfloors that are not "plane" are going to cause some lippage issues when using tiles that size. The subfloor MUST BE PLANE. The fact that the installer moved forward with the job knowing the subfloor was not suitable is a mistake on the part of the installer unless it was done at the owners insistence. There are methods readily available that would have corrected this problem but of course there is additional cost involved.

The grout discoloration is likely due to the manner in which the tile was installed. Good housekeeping is required on the part of the installer. This means that all open grout lines should be cleaned of any purging thinset and any other debris. Grout installed at varying depths (tho minor) will have a tendency to cure at slightly different rates thereby causing a mottling of the grout. If the open grout lines were not suitably and uniformly cleaned and prepared for the grout installation, this is a mistake on the part of the installer.

Wavy grout lines are simply unacceptable and are also a mistake on the part of the installer. There is one instance where a wavy subfloor can create an optical-illusion as to the straightness of a grout line, but a variance in the width of a grout line has no excuse.

With these alleged installer-errors so close at hand it makes me wonder if a an investigation of the structure's "suitability for installation" was even conducted. Things such as the size of the floor joists, the species of the floor joists, the spacing of the floor joists, the unsupported span of the floor joists, the thickness of the subfloor, the type of material used on the subfloor, are all items of investigation before a structure can be deemed suitable for tile. There is more to it than going and buying tile and installing it.

If all of this was discussed with you at the beginning and the installer moved ahead at your direction then shame on him. If all of this was discussed with you at the beginning and the installer moved ahead at your insistence then shame on you.

At any rate...if none of this was investigated nor discussed going-in then you can expect some issues in the near future.

I don't see where the contractor was (in-fact) "incredibly meticulous" at all.

Is he responding now because he is a nice guy and incredibly meticulous or is he now trying to deflect bullets and develop scenarios for excusing his shoddy workmanship? Is he paid in full?
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Old 08-10-2014, 02:31 PM   #15
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It appears the Hardie is placed in thinset. Undulations in the over all can be seen but they aren't the end of the world, they could have been corrected. There were mistakes made, but what has been done isn't unusual giving the overall perception these days that anyone can install ceramic tile, never mind any industry recommendations or standards.
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