Should I be happy with this shower tile job?

gmcshaveAugust 1, 2013

Hi Everyone,

First time poster here. We are remodeling our master bath and the contractor is just about done with the tile in the master shower. The only thing they have left to do is cleanup the smears & some smudges from the grouting. As I look at the job I see some things that I am not very happy with. As background I have worked in various quality assurance roles for over 20 years so I am very meticulous in my work and am wondering if flaws like these are to be expected or if they are cause for asking for the work to be redone.

Here is the first example, this is the intersection of 4 large 12x35 wall tiles. Note that the corner of one tile sticks out and is not flush with the others:

Here's the next example, it is a window framed with the same tile. We wanted schluter trim strips around this window but the tile installer convinced us he could make it look better using just the tile. See that the grout link is very thick above the window and much thinner on the side:

Next one, this is a corner where the large 12x35 porcelain tile meets a glass subway tile. See that the edge of the glass tile is not a clean cut and that you can see excess grout or mortar show through the back of the tile:

The last one is harder to see, may have to zoom the image to see it. This is a recessed niche with the glass tile. See that the gaps around the schluter strip corners are not even. Also see that cuts to notch out the tiles below the niche extend too far.

Thanks very much in advance for any thoughts/advice. Also a general question, if I ask to have these fixed can a single tile be removed and replaced or is it a matter of re-doing the whole wall?


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I am just a homeowner, but I'd say that is a really bad tile job, I would demand they do it right , hopefully you haven't paid them fully!!

    Bookmark   August 1, 2013 at 5:19AM
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The larger the tile, the more difficult it can be to set. The lippage in the first photo, it's unfortunate. Can't say if it's due to a non-flat tile, or just an improper set.

Photo 2 is sloppy work.

Photo 3 is sloppy work and not knowing (or perhaps just not caring) how to use the material you are setting. With some glass or translucent tiles, it helps to treat cut edges to prevent "see through".

Photo 4, the niche. More sloppy work, especially the overcuts in the glass tile. You can't get away with that with contrasting grout.

Repairing these inconsistencies, it can depend on how the tiles were set, and what they were set over; the tile backer, the waterproofing, etc. Trying to "fix" something is always a crapshoot. In unskilled hands, the repair can come out worse than the original.

Single tiles here and there? They can be demo'd out and replaced.

Sometimes patched in grout after a repair may not blend well with the original grout.

So, I've tossed out warnings. Or cautions. But yes, those tiles can be removed and replaced. In the last photo, the perimeter may be uneven, or it may look worse in person, but as far as repairs go, in the photo it looks like just the overcuts at the bottom corners are the issue.

Repairs can sometimes be made to just a single tile. But invisible repairs usually require more skill than simply setting tile in the first place.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2013 at 10:25AM
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Thanks for the replies mongoct & jillr1. This contractor will be doing a significant amount of remodeling in the house for us so though we've given them 10% down which covers most of the bath cost we haven't paid anything beyond that so we have some leverage there.,

Mongoct, could you explain what you mean by "treat cut edges" of the glass tile to prevent see through?


    Bookmark   August 1, 2013 at 12:01PM
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Babka NorCal 9b

You are paying someone "a professional" to do the job properly. It looks like a DIY project. Is this something that the contractor would be proud to put his stamp of approval on? If so, get someone else who knows how to do the job properly. Things go wrong on any job, but what is important is how the contractor deals with them.


    Bookmark   August 1, 2013 at 2:43PM
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I'm having my shower done as well. They are in the midst of tiling and putting border on. Both are travertine with border being unfilled. I have had them remove/replace/redo a few pieces of tile because they are not flush, it was ugly, not even/level etc. I have had them replace border as well because some pieces looked like pieces were missing because they were or because of the nature of the material. My guys are doing a great job for the most part, but unless you have someone who really considers this their art and is meticulous, they will probably just pick up the tile and put it up and so on. They're human so you won't get perfection, but if it's their passion, you'll get art.
Bottom line is you're paying for it, so if it is not pleasing to you, it never will be. Change it before it's finished. My 2 cents.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2013 at 5:53PM
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Beautiful tiles but horrible tile job.

I would ask them to correct every single area they missed. You don't deserve to live with their mistakes for the next 20 -30 years.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2013 at 11:34PM
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Thanks again to all who have replied. Your responses have really helped clarify my thinking and make me confident I am not asking for anything unreasonable. I have contacted the contractor today notifying him of the issues and that they need to be fixed before they can proceed to the next phase of the project.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2013 at 3:45AM
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I would have real concerns with his abilities if he expected you to be happy with that quality of work!

    Bookmark   August 2, 2013 at 8:40AM
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If this is the quality of the tile work they do, I'd re-think my commitment to have them do any more work in my house. That is a very sloppy tile job. Uneven tiles, uneven grout, and overcut tiles is NOT professional. Looks like amateur work to me. I'd pay them off for what they have done, after repairs to the current work and find another tile guy. You may also consider the fact that they have done this shoddy work in your shower, just the place where bad tile and grout is going to cause you major problems down the road. Re-think your options and good luck.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2013 at 9:54AM
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