Quarter round over tile - help!

jaxflhomeDecember 10, 2006

I just had 1,000 sf of ceramic tile installed where I previously had old tile (foyer), linoleum (kitchen) and carpet (great room and halls). The installer put quarter round all the way around and I think it looks bad. There are gaps below the quarter round and tile in places, corners that don't join and it stops at a weird angle on either side of door frames. I've been told it will look better when painted. Can someone tell or show me how it's supposed to look? I spent a ton on the tile, so I hate to have the trim look cheap. I have a photo, but I am a new user and haven't figured out how to include in message!

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Go ahead and email me the photos, and I'll post them for you.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2006 at 5:06PM
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here they are:

That looks like garbage, IMO. I know there are many installers who will leave the baseboard in and tile up to it, adding 1/4 round to cover the joint. Personally, I prefer to do away with the 1/4 round and CAULK the entire perimeter. Matter of fact, I've got 685 feet that I have to do just that to tomorrow.

But even for those who DO use 1/4 rounds, they don't use them across door ways-- those ALWAYS get caulked, and that's just ONE complaint I have, looking atr these pics!! I've got several other comments, but I'll let others jump in before I say anything else.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2006 at 7:12PM
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"Cheap" is not as I see it. It looks________ well I am not sure how to describe it except to say those guys better stick to tile and forget trim work. Did they remove the base board prior to installing the tile? If not did they grout upto the base? A small gap between the base and the tile may look better than this. At least you could do a little caulking if necessary. Never could understand why folks do a great job until it is time for the finish work. The tile looks great but all the paint in the world will not hide this I don't think.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2006 at 7:56PM
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Thanks Bill & jrice - I think it looks horrid too! What should I tell them to do to fix it at this point? The cleaning person is coming tomorrow and then I have a walk through with the owner.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2006 at 8:21PM
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When I look at those pictures, it doesn't look like quarter round to me. It looks more like shoe molding that was installed wrong - it looks like the wider side was installed against the floor, rather than the baseboard.

Does anyone else see it that way?

    Bookmark   December 11, 2006 at 8:18AM
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What should I tell them to do to fix it at this point?

It depends on how accurately they cut the tiles in. if they were pretty accurate, I'd be demanding that they pull all the molding off, and caulk in the entire perimeter. It would be so much cleaner looking. But that's IF they cut it in accurately. If it's NOT cut in accurately, I don't know WHAT to tell you. As far as I can see, the only other alternative would be to pull the molding, pull all the cuts, and recut it in, and THEN caulk it all in. I'll see about getting pics this morning. I'm finishing up a job this morning where I had to do the same thing. All that'll be left when I'm done today is to go back and caulk the perimeter of one of the rooms.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2006 at 9:27AM
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Okay, so I Googled "shoe molding" and see that it can be installed either way. Maybe it is a regional thing.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2006 at 10:32AM
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The installation is crap.
They did not want to bother mitering and joggling around the small corners so they left them bare. The door casing should have been cut off, but running molding across a door just looks bad. A square section would have been better, or even just caulk.
Cutting 1/4 round or shoe at 45 degrees to end a run is pretty common (as opposed to trying to return it) but things like the gap at the DW are just bad. They should have cut a 45 degree scarf at each end and fastened the molding toe the DW base (a decent place to use some hot glue).
The inside corner under the cabinets should have been properly mitered (at least) or coped.
Get then back to either fix the molding and/or caulk instead.
The caulk should match the grout.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2006 at 10:29PM
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Do you really want guy's that would screw things up this bad to come back and do more work in your house? Sue them, fire them or shoot them, but don't let them in your house!

    Bookmark   December 11, 2006 at 11:32PM
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Gad zooks! Listen to the flooring experts on here. I agree it sure looks like they laid the shoe molding the wrong way - it's not supposed to stick out that far and the gaps, lousy caulking, etc... all pitiful. If you hired these guys through a flooring store, I would go back to the owner and insist on having that entire trim job removed and done correctly by someone else who knows what they are doing or invite them to pay for you to hire someone to do it correctly. IMO, to do a professional job, you or they should have removed your baseboards, run the tile up to the wall and then reset the baseboards. Had that been done, you might not even need shoe molding or quarter round once they reset the baseboards. The shoe molding looks totally out of place under your cabinets & dishwasher where you have the black strip in the toe space. Stick to your guns on this one. They owe you a better job than this!

    Bookmark   December 12, 2006 at 12:29AM
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I think many here are being a little hard on the crew that did this work.

Whoever did the work is definately lacking some experience in woodworking and capet for not finishing the transition, but i see nothing wrong with the tile work itself.

Obviously they arent carpet mechanics, or they would have finished the carpet transition, so let's get that one out of the way first.

Secondly, many of the pictures show incomplete and improperly completed cabinetry and areas where they cant possibly nail or anchor the wood trim to.

Let's face it, ANY wood trim looks crappy on a tile job but it was required here.

Let's ask why it was required here.

Because the door sills and the base were higher than the finish floor height ???

ok so why didnt they remove and reinstall the basebaords ?

possibly because it may break when being removed or some pieces may have been already cracked, PLUS it would have lowered the height of the base. What does this mean? It means that potentially the walls needed preparation, painting, and possible the walls painted to to get an exact match ... which any experienced floor mechanic will tell you is no easy or quick task ... so they used trim.

I guess alot of this depends on what was discussed between the company and the owner/poster.

Back-cutting for open-ends in shoe-molding and 1/4-round molding is standard, however it is unusual to do a complete 45 degree cut, only a partial with a sheared end (pictured):


The problems I see at your inside corners where the trim is riding above the tile could possibly be from grout, thinset, or tile holdiung it up, but I would guess it is from an improperly cut inside corner on the moulding piece. The isntaller probably did 2' 45 degree angles which would work if the existing bas eand the floors were perfectly perpendicular and parallel ... they never are ...so the right way to do it is to cus the one piece square to the inside corner and to cove the meeting piece to the profile of the trim. This facillitates the cove pivoting on the radius of the trim piece making any out od squareness irelevent, giving the appearance of a perfect fit almost every time (pictured):


Placing trim accross transitional areas or doorways is unusual, but it really depends what was there to begin with. If the existing doorway sill height went above that of the top edge of the tile, then they probably did not want to leave an opens gap.

I can not tell by the pictures if the tile is an issue or of varying heights.

It seems that your only issues here are aesthetics caused by basebaords that were too high to begin with, and incomplete or improperly completed cabinetry work, possibly because this area had carpeting in previously ?

While I agree the carpentry craftsmanship is not exemplary, to be fair, they did not have alot to work with here because some of the pictures you have shown, show areas the could not do much about to begin with, like the metal dishwasher base (cant nail to metal and there might not have been too much width to chamfer out the trim for it, and the corner undr your cabinet doesnt even have a base block to nail to, which is either a opening for hvac or air moement, or it is an area never completed with wood base to begin with (whoever did your cabinets to begin with didnt finish it?).

The only way this could have been done to ease every concern you have shown, if the existing base was gapped, would have been to remove all the basebaords, scribed them back to the tile or replaced them entirely if they break during removal (no guarantees on that one - sometimes they break and sometimes they dont and sometimes htey are already installed cracked but repaired and you cant see it til you try to remove them), then this would have made the wood base height LESS and tould have required at a minimum touchup paint, and in the worst of cases, respacling, repainting, and even then it might not have matched the walls, so the pickiest of people would have wanted to paint their entire walls to match exactly.

It begins and ends with the basebaords height.

If you dont like the look of the trim, then the base needs removed and reinstalled or replaced to cover the gap, which would create a need to repaint or repair the wall above where the base was originally set.

I agree the carpetntry work on the wood trim was bad.

The tile looks good.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2006 at 12:38AM
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or ... remove the trim and base ...

splurge and buy new base to cover the gap left by lowering it, covering the gaps between the wall and tile and between the height disparity on the wall.

buy, fit, and cut wood boards for under the cabinets fitting them to the sides of the dishwasher base and paint them black, if the cabinet base is above the tile finish height.

this would do away with any need for trim that is ugly on a tile job even when perfectly installed, and do away with any wall prep or painting except to caulk and paint the new base.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2006 at 12:54AM
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Let's face it, ANY wood trim looks crappy on a tile job but it was required here.

Sorry, floorman, I disagree. The ONLY reason I could see for using the molding would be if the cuts were sloppy because they PLANNED on using the molding. Caulking the perimeter would more than suffice.

I took the pics of the job I referenced above, but I haven't had time to download them yet, and I've got to get to work. I WILL download and post them tonight.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2006 at 8:18AM
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absolutely, so long as there weren't other conditions on their job to warrant using the trim to begin with, like high baseboards.

Alot of customers as well as installers will rather put trim on then lower the basebaord or replace them because of the problems i posted.

I have no idea, just trying to give possible reasons why they might have used it to begin with.

Some companies do plan to use trim to cover their cuts so they dont have to deal with making them perfect tile perimeter joint or caulk it, to make the job go faster, to save the customer money or get the bid, and/or to leave an expansion gap around the perimeter.

It isnt yopur choice nor my choice because we were taught better, but the use of trim to facillitate a lower cost or ease of installation isn't doing it the wrong way ... just a different way, but the craftsmanship on the trim work is deplorable I agree.

If the cabinets toekicks werent screwed up and they installed the trim right, ther wouldnt be an issue here, would there ?

Use of the trim also depends on what the customer agreed to as well.

All I can see from the pictures is a little bit of bad carpetry work that is easily fixed and some bad cabinetry they had to work with.

I just dont see a bad tile job ... yet.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2006 at 8:56AM
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That, I'll agree with.

Jaxflhome-- here are pics of the home I spoke of above. In the first three pics the perimeter was already caulked, and in the second three, I'd just grouted, so I had to wait to caulk the perimeter, so you can see where it's been left open after grouting:

    Bookmark   December 12, 2006 at 5:16PM
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nice work, Bill.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2006 at 8:01PM
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The tile looks ok except for leaving grout on the darker accent tiles. The trim is terrible. Floorman shows the right way to trim this. Paint it or stain it "before" its installed. Base shoe would look better than quarter round, if the base shoe will cover the edges. Bill knows how to do it.

If it were me i would get some matching toe kick material and cover over that factory black toe kick before I trimmed it. That will also cover your open spaces between the cabinets. That should have been done with the cabinet installation but it is not too late to correct that.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2006 at 5:49AM
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Thank you, sir. :-)

    Bookmark   December 13, 2006 at 9:07PM
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Jaxflhome, what is the tile you had laid. It is very pretty. Is it an 18" tile?

    Bookmark   January 3, 2007 at 11:09AM
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Bill, I did a search for quarter rounds and found these pics of tiles you did so neatly that it is amazing that you can not see any cuts since everything fits so perfectly without even quarter round. You do very nice work.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2008 at 1:35AM
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