Hiring a tile installer for shower

zelenkabachAugust 25, 2013

My 6 year old tiled shower has a leak and needs to be totally gutted, and no one knows how much damage has been done under this leak until it is ripped out.
. I am struglgling with finding a contractor to handle this major job. I want to be able to purchase the tile myself. I enjoy shopping and I know how to find a deal. However, it seems that the contractors that I have met either are affilated with a store and want me to buy the tile from their store, which has a very limited selection and will mean ordering tile which i know will cost more. however, they have a patented system that they use to install showers and they will warrantee the work.

Or I could go with an independent contractor that will let me provide the tile, but doesn't seem to have much of a support system to handle contingencies.

any recommendations about this?

I hate to be limited in my tile selection, but I live in a small town. I had to settle for builders grade tile when i had this house built and the shower has to be redone 6 years later. I want to be satisfied this time.

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Sophie Wheeler

Tile is the decorative jewelry on top of the actual waterproofing system. Don't worry about it so much as how the contractor plans to build the shower to be waterproof under that tile. Educate yourself on that before you start to get bids. There are various methods, but all will start with a presloped site made mortar shower pan or pre manufactured sloped pan that is put into place. Be sure you understand the differences in construction methods with both, and you'll be able to evaluate the abilities of any of the contractors that you interview. The failure of the waterproofing is why you have a 6 year old shower that needs to be rebuilt.

Not to say that the decorative choices aren't important, especially to creating an attractive appearance. Just that they are secondary to stuff behind the walls. Once you find a contractor that talks the talk about proper waterproofing, if he prefers that you shop at a local tile store for your choices, then just talk to him about supplying tiles that you prefer in consultation with him as to the suitability of your selections.

The reason tile installers want to work with a known element is that they fully understand it's installation requirements and how long it will take. If you want to introduce elements of the unknown into both of those job factors, you will probably pay more than "just" the material cost differences to account for the research that the tile pro will need to do, as well as the longer time frame for the install to happen. In contractor land, time is money, and when you increase the time factor, the money has to also increase.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2013 at 8:47AM
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What holly said. The tile isn't part of their "patented system," whatever that happens to be. Find out what products and methods they use behind the tile and research to make sure their proposed products and methods are good ones.

And tell them you don't like their store's tile selection and want to use something else. They should be willing to work with you.

Independents can be just as good as tile store-linked installers. And store installers are no guarantee of good work. Just ask them both questions about method of install and do the same due diligence.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2013 at 11:03AM
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You've gotten good advice so far. I don't think I'll add anything new, but I'll write anyway... lol

The type of tile used had nothing to do with any "patented system." It's your shower, Get the tile you want, from where you want to get it. I could see if you went to a tile store and the tile store recommended an installer to you, and you then hired that installer. The installer might be hesitant about the tile store not making the sale.

But if you found an installer yourself, and you hired him, and he agreed to the job, guess who he's working for? You. Not the tile store. Even if he is "affiliated" with a tile store, you hired him, not the store.

For the life of me I'm trying to put "patented system" in some sort of context. All I can think of is some sort of patented gimmick for making a preslope.

When you talk to the prospective installer, do ask what type of membrane will be installed on the shower floor, and make sure that the membrane itself will be sloped to the drain. The membrane can not sit flat on the subfloor with sloped mud and sloped tile on top of it. the membrane itself needs to be sloped.

Good luck.

Remember. It's your money. You set the tone. These folk can work for you. Or they can work elsewhere.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2013 at 3:33PM
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Thanks for the advice! I will keep looking!

    Bookmark   August 27, 2013 at 8:38PM
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