Is this right - uneven backsplash - tile gurus HELP!!

stonitschSeptember 4, 2011

I love the tile and backsplash - untill it was installed!! Installer claims that the reason it is uneven is because the wall was uneven (house is 33 years old and had tile there before and was even) and that it is because of the type of tile I selected. It is a porcelain tile that - and I did not know this - was cut from floor slabs into a 6.5 in square. He is stating that because the tiles were cut and have STRAIGHT edges as opposed to rounded edges, this is just the way they come out!!

I purchased the tiles from Home Depot - special order - on the board with the samples it said could be used for walls or floors. They came in different sizes and when I got them, they looked fine. Then after installation it was pointed out to me that when you look on the underside, you can see how they were cut from floor tiles (the outside ridges). Some of the sides were not cut very smoothly and you could see where they were cut.

I am really at a lost at to what to do or how to make it better. He put my bath and hall floors in and they came out great.

I love the tile during the day but at night I see the waves!! Or when I have my light on over the sink as I'm cooking!! UGGGGGGGGGG

I posted this in the Kitchen forum and they suggested I post here for all the tile gurus - and Bill Vincent.

Maybe I need to live in Alaska!


Is this correct?

Thanks - - Pat

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Avanti Tile & Stone (Stonetech)

Unacceptable, IMHO. The tilesetter(?) should have checked the wall for flat, before anything else... and corrected it!

Many of the smaller tiles are cut from larger one's and I find this seldom to be a problem. Factories often do this.

Would you accept this amount of lippage on a floor? Safety hazard at best. On a wall, it simply looks like amateur hour.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2011 at 12:28PM
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Absolutely not acceptable, you need to make him come back and complete the job to perfection which is the only standard for tiles. It looks terrible. Any amateur would know this is done wrong. It's not that big a job, he only has to do the top row. I'd have him on the phone in a heartbeat and tell him he needs to come back and rectify his mistakes. His mistakes, not yours.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2011 at 12:42PM
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I agree! You shouldn't have to turn the lights off to feel that the tile is ok. I can't believe he's trying to make it sound like this is a reasonable / expected outcome. He needs to fix this or it will bother you every time you look at it.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2011 at 1:11PM
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That is a sad looking tile job..

    Bookmark   September 4, 2011 at 3:07PM
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On a scale of 1 to 10, that sucks.

In your tiler's defense there does seem to exist the possibility that he has had a lobotomy at some time in his life. Maybe even two.

If the wall was uneven, he should have evened it out prior to setting the tile. Or used a thicker setting bed.

Cut versus factory edges; the difference might show at the grout line as being eased versus sharp...but not lippage. Even if the tiles were pillowed and then cut that's no excuse.

I vote lobotomy.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2011 at 8:17PM
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I can't add any more to what's been said. This guy should be ashamed of that kind of "workmanship", or lack thereof. As for the tiles being cut from 13" tiles, I don't care for working with them, either. but there's no excuse for that kind of workmanship. The only problem he should have as a result of that would be sizing. Tiles sticking out have nothing to do with what he's complaining about. he needs to get back and fix this, at HIS cost.

PLEASE tell me you haven't paid him yet.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2011 at 9:46PM
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The same thing has happened in my kitchen - slightly noticeable during the day but yells-out at night with under-counter or subdued lighting. This is actually the second tile job for a new construction - original tile was put up but not grouted and was the wrong tile - now we have this unevenness but with the correct tile - can it be taken down and corrected without totally destroying wall? I think contractor did not even out wall after removing first job.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2012 at 11:56AM
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If your undercabinet lighting is, as with most, right at the top of the backsplash, you're running into a condition called "washed lighting". The light washes over the surface of the tile, causing shadows. On a small area like a backsplash, though, it's expected with some tiles, and not with others. Could you take a couple of pics of your backsplash and post them?

    Bookmark   September 2, 2012 at 12:43PM
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I'd be upset too... but I just want to say that your accent tile is stunning! So pretty and unusual. Hope you can get things fixed to your satisfaction.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2012 at 4:30PM
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Beeps-- the pictures at the top are a year old. :-)

    Bookmark   September 2, 2012 at 5:13PM
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:*) So they are Bill! Hate when that happens. :)

    Bookmark   September 2, 2012 at 7:28PM
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HI Bill,

Thanks for the reply - I will take some pics tomorrow evening when it is dark and post them. I'll be honest - it is pretty rough.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2012 at 8:43PM
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An old post for sure, but for future reference for anyone that cares:

A low-angle, "raking" light like that is what I use when inspecting walls after the drywall is up. It shows all flaws so things can be repaired as needed prior to paint.

Not a solution to the tile problem, but a bandaid to minimize the shadowing...

That looks like a surface-mounted florescent light. the light is installed where the backsplash meets the ceiling. If the light was moved "forward" so it's at the intersection of the ceiling and the back side of the arched transom, it'll do two things; minimize the shadowing caused by the tile lippage, and it'll take away the "glare" of the light being directly in the line-of-sight of the viewer's eye, like it is in the small inset photo.

If there is tile on the wall behind the light, moving the light could be fairly simple. If the light can't be moved for whatever reason, another one could still be added on the back side of the arched transom.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2012 at 11:47AM
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