Mis-matched tile grout widths

gt4403June 1, 2012

I will start my story by saying we had our front foyer and adjoining bathroom remodeled two years ago. This included a new tile floor. We picked out and purchased enough tile at the time to do that remodel plus tile our laundry room and kitchen in the future. Since all these floors connect in our open floor plan house, we decided to use the same tile throughout. The installation of the bathroom and foyer went well and I was very happy with the look. The installer used a 1/4" grout width which I liked.

Fast forwarding to now, we have just remodeled the kitchen. For a visual, the bathroom, foyer, and laundry room are all on the same level as you walk into the house and then there is a step down into the kitchen area. The man who did the original tiling was unavailable so we hired someone else. I told them I'm not looking for anything fancy, just carry the tile down the step and into the kitchen. I thought it was fairly simple.

They removed the entire kitchen and original tile and all was going well. I was gone for two days due to work and when I returned, they had put the new tile down and even started re-installing kitchen cabinets. My problem is, they did not match the 1/4" grout instead choosing a 3/8" grout which was even larger than that in some areas. Standing back, I have the same tile, the same grout color, just two distinctly different grout widths.

The only positive was that at least the transition happened at a stepdown which helped break up the tile so as to not look like a total accident. The only reason they could give for the mistake in width was that most of their clients preferred 3/8" and they didn't think to ask or match the existing tile. My problem was it looked like a mistake where two installers didn't communicate. I came up with the idea of putting a three feet border of slate at the bottom of the step to separate the floors. I used these 1"x3" tiles that come on 12"x12" sheets and are usually put on backsplashes. My hope was that this would break it up more and it did help. My intention was to create the appearance that they weren't supposed to flow and hence didn't need to match.

So now I basically have two entirely separated floors containing the same tile, different grout widths, but in view of each other but separated by a 3 foot section of slate at the step down. My question is. Has anyone seen different grout widths used in the same area like this? Is it acceptable normally? I don't want to be too picky and maybe I only notice it now because I saw it when it first happened. Thanks for any opinions.

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If it was that important it should have been written in the contract.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2012 at 3:24PM
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True, but a little late in the game to effectively correct. Take heart that you are probably the only one that will ever notice (or care). The three foot border should effectively "fool the eye."

    Bookmark   June 3, 2012 at 12:36PM
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3/8" is ridiculously wide for anything other than large handmade tiles. A blanket statement? Youbetcha. My opinion? Most certainly.

That's coming from a guy that prefers 3/16" grout lines as typical.

The only reason I could ever think going with a 3/8" grout line was if the layout dictated it. It allowed them to fill the space using full tiles all the way across the floor. No cuts. More efficient use of materials.

But man oh man...I'd certainly ask first before just going ahead and doing it. But on that same note...these things would have been taken into consideration during the planning stage, well before any work was started.

Is what you have typical? I'd say no. Does it fall under the realm of "acceptable"? If it wasn't spelled out in the contract, then unfortunately, I'd have to say it does.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2012 at 8:05PM
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