Tiling pony wall - ??

nancy486December 4, 2013

The tile setter configured a tile pattern on pony wall of shower. That pattern does not conform to the clean simple design I desired & what I'd expected based on pics on design websites (Houzz, etc). Pics from those websites show uninterrupted horizontal tile courses/grout lines from inside shower wall, across narrow front of pony wall, and around to outside of pony wall. After a couple sleepless nights trying to convince myself that this unconventional design would grow on me, I advised contractor that this chopped up vertical pattern was not acceptable & needed to be fixed. I think he plans to put 3x6 bullnose tiles, still in a vertical pattern, which will still break the horizontal continuum & leave an unbroken vertical line up the middle of the wall. IS THERE ABY WAY TO FIX THIS? is there a way to get the look wanted & what seems to be std in the industry, ie continuation of horizontal pattern across front of pony wall? Same pattern was used on shower ledge & top of wall. Any ideas on how to fix that?

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That pattern does not conform to the clean simple design I desired & what I'd expected

Did you tell him what you desired and expected before he started?

    Bookmark   December 4, 2013 at 1:14PM
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I answered in the other thread at length but the pony wall itself has to be sized *in the framing stage* in order to accept full tiles if you want it to have a consistent appearance. This takes planning from the very beginning.

The pictures on Houzz are mostly *above the norm or standard, and if that's what you want it has to be specifically planned as such.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2013 at 3:52PM
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He did a standard install for the site conditions. Remove the tile and replace it with a piece of solid surface or granite. What you want won't work with the width of the wall unless you are OK with having a lot of cuts finished off with a Schluter edge.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2013 at 4:18PM
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The design and installation failed on a couple of levels.

There was certainly miscommunication. If you want something, print out the photos of the patterns you like and show them to the tile installer.

In a perfect world with a well-coordinated GC running the show, the tiler would then stipulate what the dimensions of the rough framing need to be. Then the wall gets built and everything is mighty purdy.

For the top of the pony wall, subway-sized tile on top is going to clash pattern-wise with some part of the bathroom. I'd go with a slab of stone.

For the face of the pony wall, there's no reason they couldn't have been tiled on the horizontal, even across the front.

But my first question would have to be: are the courses of tile on the shower side of the pony wall and the bathroom side of the pony wall at the same elevation? Had he tiled horizontally across the front, would that front edge have matched up with the tile on both sides?

That's probably why he ran the tile vertically up the face of the pony wall. Because the horizontal courses on either side of the pony wall don't. At least they don;t appear to as I view the photo.

If both sides do match then the front could have been tiled, but If the width is longer than the tiles are, then you'd certainly have grout lines. If you can't use bullnose, then they could have mitered the tile which requires care to provide a bit of an eased edge, but it can certainly be done.

Or use a schluter-type of edge, I think livewire or someone else mentioned that. Or use a vertical quarter-round.

The nice designs don't usually just happen. But they can happen with proper planning.

Back to the installation as a whole. I don't understand why there's a sliver of tile for the first course of wall tile within the shower (to the right of the pony wall), and a half-tile (or less) for the first course of wall tile outside the shower (to the left of the pony wall). Or why the courses of wall tile on either side of the pony wall don't match up elevation wise.

I would have also had the overall height of the pony wall fall on a horizontal grout line on the wall.

But overall? If you had a tile pattern in your mind that you liked, you have to share that with the installer. Pictures work better than words.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2013 at 5:44PM
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"I don't understand why there's a sliver of tile for the first course of wall tile within the shower (to the right of the pony wall), and a half-tile (or less) for the first course of wall tile outside the shower (to the left of the pony wall)."

I saw and wondered the same thing.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2013 at 7:52PM
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Sure, it can be "fixed", but it will cost at least 1.5X of the original installation because it really would need to be torn out almost entirely and redone. Your waterproofing won't likely survive that and you'll need to do some work to patch and waterproof again.

You can't assume that someone can read your mind about how you want something done. You have to write the specs of the job and include pictures if you are wanting something specialty. And then you have to find a more skilled tradesman than a standard installer. And someone to do the framing with in consultation with the tile tradesman. It's a team effort. And that's why high end baths cost high end money, even if some of the materials aren't actually that expensive. It's all in the planning.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2013 at 8:03PM
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Unless the ponywall fit a full 6" tile, and the bullnose tiles wrapped around the corners perfectly, (Ideally basket weave up both corners, imo), there would have to be cut tile to do it horizontally and to do running bond the alternating rows of tile would have a cut edge anyway unless a 3x3 was part of the trim package.

When I was doing a project like this that involve three bathrooms and a kitchen all with white subway tile, we did to scale drawings of the tile layout, and they only really got it fully correct in the last bathroom they tiled. For the kitchen backsplash we literally drew it out to scale on the drywall. (The homeowner did based on the scale drawings and actual tile). That's what it can take to get it just how you want it.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2013 at 9:11PM
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