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Discussion Starter #1
Please help. We are having about 1000' of "wood look" porcelain tile installed over cement slab by contractor. Tiles are 36x9 and 36x6 laid randomly with 1/8" grout line per manufacturer's specs. Job is about 80% complete and the installer taped any small cracks and applied a sealant on the floor before beginning installation. We have noticed quite a lot of variation in height between some of the tiles (1/8" or greater) and are concerned that this is not only going to affect the asthetics of the floor but also cause toe-stubs. Is this typical with proper installation? Also in some places the mortar has seeped to fill the grout space between the tiles and has hardened in place. Should I expect the contractor to remove this before grouting?

Any help or suggestions would be greatly appreciated!
 

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All depends what you paid and if it was a pro or "handyman". Was the subfloor true? What underlayment was used? And yes he should clean out all thinset between tiles before grouting. Good luck
 

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Tileguy
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Wow, 36" tiles, a recipe for an installation nightmare. :yes:

All tile installations will have a certain amount of lippage.

The floor has to be as flat as possible or this will add to the lippage. For large tiles like that I recommend within 1/8" in 10 ft. & 1/16" in 12" of plane.

All tiles, especially large tiles will have an inherent amount of warpage.

Tight grout joints makes it all look worse.

I don't know what you mean by;

the installer taped any small cracks and applied a sealant on the floor before beginning installation.
Please xplain.

Jaz
 

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Discussion Starter #4
The tile is being installed over cement slab (previously carpeted). Once carpet & tack strips were removed, any cracks were taped and "fracture free" was applied, left to dry for a day and then install began. We were told this was preventative against possibility of any future cement fracture that could cause issues with tile. The surface, even before the prep, appeared smooth and even to the naked eye.
I realize tight grout lines will magnify any "lippage" but we have about a dozen areas where end joints vary by 1/8" or more or where one tile between two others is lower by 1/8" or more. We are trying to figure out whether this is a normal expectation or whether this is something that is correctable before the install is complete and grout is applied.
 

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Tileguy
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If "fracture-free" is a trade name, I'm not familiar with it. Otherwise I know of the type of product you mean. That's a different issue though.

In regards to how flat the slab was and lippage;

The surface, even before the prep, appeared smooth and even to the naked eye.
That is not how you confirm it's flat enough. You have to present to the tile setter a floor within specs for the tiles being used. If that fact is not know until after the contract is accepted, you should have the tile setter, or he should on his own, check the flatness and after consulting with you offer to fix it. Often this is not done because the tile setter thinks the customer will not want to pay for the extra work and may consider it part of the installation. (which of course it isn't). So, in a perfect world this might be an issue.

Add to all this human error, tile warpage, and tile settling into the thinset, and you get lippage.

It's possible to make some tiles a little better, but no way to know without trying or being there. If they're bad you should discuss this with them and see if they think they can make it better. Remember though, if you raise one end of a tile, the opposite end will go down, and if the tiles are set in a running bond pattern, the center will be higher than the ends cuz of warpage.

Jaz
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Live and learn (I guess)

Tile is done. Still love the product, not happy with the install. The contractor addressed the worst areas of tile lippage, and these are much better - but I didn't realize until this morning that the three places he fixed have chips out of the adjacent tiles. And we still have two or three corners that are raised enough that they sliced the sponge I was using to clean the tile. He assured me he would clean the thin set from between tiles before grouting. This was apparently not done because now that the grout haze is cleaned off, the thin set (white) is peeking thru a very thin veneer of grout in several places. We had requested install to abut base molding and were willing to add 1/4 round if there were gaps. He was adament the tile would look better tucked under the base molding. Several pieces of molding were broken in this process. We've spent 3 hours washing off the grout glaze, two hours washing hand prints and thin set splatters from walls and door frames and now we are starting reinstall of old baseboard, new install of replacement baseboard followed by either paint or caulk. Then we will rehang all the doors and only then be able to put the rooms back together.

We got three estimates from tile contractors (not "handymen"). Each had been in business for several years. We checked references on each and saw pictures of similar installs each had done. Each estimate was within $200 of the others. We picked this installer because he was the only one who was fairly insistent on addressing any defects in the slab before installation, and because his schedule worked better with ours. Now just wish we had some idea of what else we could have done to insure that this install would have been of better quality.
 

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Tileguy
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three places he fixed have chips out of the adjacent tiles.
Somebody was careless, call him back.

And we still have two or three corners that are raised enough that they sliced the sponge
Well...... only way to fix that is to lower the floor a little. Large rectified tiles will have square edges and so this is what you get unless everything is perfect.

He assured me he would clean the thin set from between tiles before grouting.
Careless and in a hurry. He should cut away the excess adhesive peeking up before and while grouting to a depth that leaves 2/3 of the joint empty.

We had requested install to abut base molding and were willing to add 1/4 round if there were gaps.
That would be the easiest cheapest way to go as long as the tiles are not grouted to the base molding. So, no "abut". Old molding are likely to break, that's par. Removing all the old base is best, but of course makes more work.

We've spent 3 hours washing off the grout glaze, two hours washing hand prints and thin set splatters from walls and door frames and now we are starting reinstall of old baseboard, new install of replacement baseboard followed by either paint or caulk. Then we will rehang all the doors and only then be able to put the rooms back together.
You sound frustrated with the above chores. :( With the exception of splatters on the wall, the rest is normal and you get to do it and save the money. How about sealing the grout?

Jaz
 
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