Seams on penny rounds?

zeitgastDecember 4, 2013

Just had this installed and I'm concerned that the seams look really visible. Am I being too picky?

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mongoct

Those are indeed visible. Unfortunately, the visible seams sort of defeat the purpose of a mosaic-type of floor.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2013 at 10:10AM
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pricklypearcactus

I do not think you're being picky. That would drive me crazy. Besides the very visible seams, the floor tile itself looks really pretty.

Mongo, how does a professional keep the seams between the sheets from being visible? I think I've seen some suggestions online about cutting the sheets so they aren't square, but I'm not certain if that's the correct way to do things.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2013 at 10:57AM
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mongoct

You need to have good stock to simply set and forget sheet mosaic tile.

I've seen mesh-backed sheets "deformed" because the boxes of tile were poorly handled or stored. One of more edges of the sheet will be pushed in, or the tiles will have "creeped" out of place on the mesh.

If you have bad stock that can;t be returned and you have to install it, then I do as you wrote. I'll cut a couple of edge rows off the 12" square sheet and set the now 10" by 12" sheets. I might hand set the 2" by 12" cutoff elsewhere.

Sometimes I'll "sawtooth cut" the edge of a sheet. ie, I'll cut out a few tiles off the edge of sheet "A", then cut out the opposite on the edge of sheet "B" so the sheets fit together with a zig-zag seam instead of a linear seam.

Another is to not set the sheets stacked in straight rows. Think of setting the 12" by 12" sheets in a running bond type of pattern so there's no seam running the length of the room.

If you have good stock, then you just need care when setting the sheets. Make sure that you snug them together with consistent joint reveals between.

Probably the biggest problem I've seen is when the room is slightly out of square. The installer will try to "stretch" the sheets across the room to have an even reveal on all walls. It might look okay when just the tiles are set.

But grouting will show all errors.

Grout color, as usual, can have an effect. A contrasting color can emphasize shortcomings in an installation. A white grout on white pennies can disguise things.

Every once in a while when handling the tile I'll see an errant penny, slightly offset from its neighbors, in the middle of a sheet. I'll still use the sheet, but I'll pop that single tile off as soon as I see it and toss the single tile in a box. I'll then set the sheet with the missing tile. After the floor is set, I'll fill in the blanks with the tiles I've pulled off.

I hate visible seams. Hate 'em. Grrr.

We put so much effort into design, to screw it up with visible seams? It kills the spirit of the installation.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2013 at 11:37AM
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zeitgast

Thanks mongoct

What (if anything) do you think I should do about this? The tile was expensive and had a long lead time. It bothers me but I'm also concerned about having this tile installer redo something he did wrong to begin with. Thx

    Bookmark   December 4, 2013 at 11:58AM
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catbuilder

"Am I being too picky?" It depends how much you paid the installer. If you paid a bargain price, you got what you paid for. If you paid a premium price, then the installer needs to do better.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2013 at 12:21PM
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zeitgast

I don't know what I paid him exactly b/c he is was hired as a sub by the GC

    Bookmark   December 4, 2013 at 12:25PM
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mongoct

If he was hired through a GC, then your fight is between you and the GC. You voice your displeasure to the GC, let him know it has to be remedied.

Then the GC and the tiling sub work it out between themselves, at no additional cost to you. The tiler might lose a little on his end. The GC might lose a little on his end. But in the end, you get what you paid for: a decently installed bathroom floor that is not an eyesore.

If your GC refuses to budge, you can accept the floor "as is" if you want, but I'd deduct a good chunk of the cost of the tiling job from the GC's overall payment.

Next time he'll better supervise his subs.

I'm not trying to gloss things over. But if you keep the floor "as is", you still have a toilet to be installed. A vanity. And maybe there will be a floor rug in front of the tub or shower? Those might break up the lines a bit.

Regardless, I encourage you to write to your GC. You can call as well, but do put your complaint in writing. No drama, just the facts. The floor is tiled and grouted. The sheets were installed with too large a gap, and the sheet lines are very apparent on the floor. The quality of the installation is not up to standards. The work has to be redone. Tell him he has five business days to respond.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2013 at 6:14PM
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zeitgast

It gets worse. They just laid tile in the other bath today. Tile guy said it will look better when it is grouted. I told him I do not agree.

I took your advice mongoct. I really like my GC he has done an amazing job but for this. Thanks for the suggestion.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2013 at 7:13PM
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zeitgast

Zoomed out

    Bookmark   December 4, 2013 at 7:42PM
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xc60

I would tell them not to grout that, ASAP. Then I would have a meeting with your GC and show him the tile. It is clearly not placed properly.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2013 at 2:08PM
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mongoct

That's horrible.

One bad installation could be a bad day.

Two bad installations is a bad installer.

Like xc60 wrote, put a stop on the work. Grout can actually accentuate poor tile placement. With your floor looking that bad before grouting, it won't look any better after grouting.

I wouldn't even try to gloss over the first bath with fixtures and throw rugs after seeing the second. Have it all redone.

Sorry for your troubles.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2013 at 4:22PM
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xand83

Sorry for your bad luck, zeitgast. We had penny tiles installed on the floor of a new shower earlier this year. It was the installers first time installing penny tile, and it was kind of obvious.

We had seams similar to yours. When talking to the GC, maybe turn off the lights (during the day) so you are not distracted by the shine of the tiles. It's easier to see the visible lines when the tiles are not so blingy. Once we showed our contractor, he promptly fixed them before grouting.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   December 7, 2013 at 10:32AM
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zeitgast

Thanks xand83

My GC suggested that we have the architect serve as mediator per our contract so she will take a look this week. He said he wants us to be satisfied but seems reluctant because he just doesn't see what I am seeing or isn't confident that it can get done right for some reason. This board is making me feel better (sort of) appreciate the feedback from everyone. I really love my GC he has done an amazing job and has been extremely flexible, fair and honest all the way along.

I took a top down shot in case the angle was distorting what I am seeing. Maybe trying to convince myself that it isn't that bad-- is it??

    Bookmark   December 7, 2013 at 1:23PM
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writersblock

Unfortunately, yes, it is bad. :(

    Bookmark   December 7, 2013 at 2:06PM
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enduring

Would you buy a dress that looked like that? I bet not. Your architect should notice right away. Hopefully this will be redone like others have said.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2013 at 7:39PM
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Babka NorCal 9b

Get that re-done. If you wanted squares you would have selected square tiles.

It looks like it is the first time the tile setter has laid penny rounds. He should learn from this at HIS own expense, not yours.

I know it is very difficult when you otherwise like this contractor, and he will go on to his next job with more experience but you will have to look at this floor everyday for many years. Bite the bullet and tell him this is not acceptable.

-Babka

    Bookmark   December 8, 2013 at 12:44AM
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mongoct

Your GC wants the architect to act as mediator. I already know you think the floor is bad. You only need a mediator if there is a difference of opinion. So your GC thinks the floor is good? Seriously? He thinks that floor is good?

This post was edited by mongoct on Sun, Dec 8, 13 at 23:10

    Bookmark   December 8, 2013 at 2:09AM
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StoneTech

If you have extra sheets, try laying them out "dry" to see if you can make them fit properly....8 or 10 should do it. If they do interlock without the dreaded lines, show them to the GC and/or mediator.

You might mention that YOU aren't a tilesetter...but maybe ought to be one if they think their installation is "professional."

    Bookmark   December 8, 2013 at 12:03PM
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weedyacres

Does your GC not see that the grout lines will be significantly wider at the seam than between the tiles? As a percentage of the tile size, those are relatively gaping gaps. Perhaps if you explain it that way he'll "see" it.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2013 at 5:01PM
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zeitgast

Thanks all per our contract the architect serving as mediator is taking a look this week and my GC is now being supportive. These floors were part of a large renovation that started in the spring. The job is winding down and I think the schedule and expenses are effecting his vision ; )

He's changed his tune significantly and is much more interested in ensuring we are satisfied. Thanks for all the support and humor very helpful indeed.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2013 at 10:19PM
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zeitgast

Much better this time! Thanks again for all the help and support.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2013 at 2:01AM
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enduring

How did this get resolved? Did the same tiler put this down? Looks very nice.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2013 at 8:45AM
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itltrot

Looks much better! Hope it wasn't to much of a hassle to get it resolved.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2013 at 11:00AM
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zeitgast

enduring yes the same tiler did the work but used a laser guide, running bond pattern and a lot more care and attention. We agreed to pay for the replacement tile and my GC/tiler did the demo and retiling without incremental labor charges. The architect was very helpful in mediating the conversation.

thanks itltrot it turned out okay once we agreed on who was paying for what and understood that the schedule would be impacted.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2013 at 11:44AM
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sjhockeyfan325

That looks great! Glad it was resolved to your satisfaction. The tiler learned something, partly on your dime, but still, you'll be so happy you had it fixed!

    Bookmark   December 20, 2013 at 11:47AM
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timweiant

Thank you for posting this and all the comments! We also had an improper installation of penny tile flooring and this thread helped guide us through the conversation with our GC!

    Bookmark   January 22, 2015 at 2:21PM
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Errant_gw

It looks so much better!

    Bookmark   January 23, 2015 at 10:52AM
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MrsShayne

So happy to see the new install! It looks great!

I picked penny round a while back in my half bath and I too had two small areas where I could see lines. I put a rug down, which I planned on anyway, and got over it, but I told myself, no more penny round. Even the installer said it was a pain.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2015 at 10:09PM
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mrspete

I absolutely adore those varigated blue penny rounds! Exactly my taste!

But the installation job is awful. It looks like it was done by a first-time installer. One who was maybe a bit hung over.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2015 at 11:00PM
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