Need quick opinions, does my tile need to be redone?

williamsemAugust 21, 2013

I just had most of my kitchen backsplash installed today. The sheet of mosaic are not lined up right, but DH doesn't see that.

I'm just too close to this to be objective. There are so many on this forum with a "good eye", how does it -really- look? Does it blend enough to disappear, or can you pick out the problem areas quickly? I couldn't be late today for install instructions, but I didn't think interlocking tile would be that hard!

The tile used:

Today's install

Honest opinions?

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I am looking very hard, and I'm not seeing what you are seeing.
I think it looks fine.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2013 at 9:03PM
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I can't see the problem. I even made the pics bigger. So that's my honest opinion. Will you tell us what you are seeing?

    Bookmark   August 21, 2013 at 9:05PM
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I'm sorry, I'm not seeing it...but the tile itself is kind of an optical illusion so that may be my problem...maybe if you point out what you see we can zero in on it and see if it bugs us too.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2013 at 9:05PM
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I don't see the interlocking problem you mention, but on this one wall, the installer should have started the tile at the end of the cabinet and made his cut next to the wood panel. I don't know how he could think that having the tile extend beyond the cabinets and counter could be correct.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2013 at 9:05PM
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The difference that I see is that the diamond shaped pieces are placed horizontally in the sample that you show, and vertically in your backsplash. That said, I don't necessarily think one way is better than the other, as long as it is consistent, which I think yours is.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2013 at 9:20PM
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I can see the problems after I made it full screen, but honestly, I had to go from tile to tile to pick them out. Overall, it looks wonderful. I think you deserve to have it perfect and if you are always going to resent that it wasn't done correctly, then I'd make them redo it. If having it redone is going to take years off your life, then I think you can safely assume that most people will NEVER see the problem and maybe a few well placed accessories or kitchen items will cover the flaws.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2013 at 9:26PM
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Now I see it - took me a while and I had to enlarge it a lot. The sheets are not staggered and integrated properly. It would bug me, too.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2013 at 9:36PM
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What I am seeing (aside from the tile extending too far on that one wall) is that the pattern seems to be rotated compared to your sample. Your sample has vertical grout lines, giving the appearance of an array of 3-D boxes. On the wall, there are no vertical lines. Zooming in, I can also see where the pattern is not integrated properly. I would definitely fix that.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2013 at 9:58PM
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Ok, here are some more pics


Same pic with seams identified

Tile laid out both ways

Those holes are tiles I took off due to defects. Yes, I know it's a natural product, but some were just too natural.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2013 at 9:58PM
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I was a slow typist and didn't see your more recent photos, which highlight the problem areas where tiles were improperly integrated into the pattern. Your new photos make the problem clear and reinforce my belief that it requires fixing. That would drive me crazy.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2013 at 10:01PM
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Fori is not pleased

I guess it's a little off. Will grouting make it disappear?

    Bookmark   August 21, 2013 at 10:17PM
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If I tilt my head to the left it's straight.

What I see are a whole bunch of boxes falling over to the left.

Sorry - but it is what I see. This would drive me nuts.

This post was edited by blfenton on Wed, Aug 21, 13 at 22:21

    Bookmark   August 21, 2013 at 10:19PM
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I know I'm repeating myself, but aside from the orientation (no vertical lines), which could be ok if you don't mind it, the tilesetter did not keep the pattern consistent throughout, as is highlighted by your blue marks. The pattern should repeat in a regular way throughout the space. He made the pieces fit together but did so in a way that the pattern is disrupted. To me, it's a major flaw.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2013 at 10:30PM
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Yes, I definitely can see that the pattern is not consistent. In fact, there are more problem areas. For example, if you look at the picture with the blue lines, the first one to the left has problems with the seam all the way up.
I have to say that I like the installation as diamonds (and tilted cubes) better than as straight up cubes, though.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2013 at 10:31PM
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I'm ok with the overall orientation, the very first pic of just the tile is from the website. I like how you see "flowers" or boxes, this orientation I think makes the boxes less dominate.

It's the seams that are off. DH couldn't see the issue until I laid out the two seam configurations. He actually -prefers- the "off" seams currently installed.

The grout is very light, meant to blend not contrast. If it's not really that obvious, is there a chance grout will help? I'd hate to rip it out if nobody but me will notice. Even though I'd notice, it would cost about $1k in tile/labor plus 2 weeks to get the tile and then I need to get back on the contractors schedule. Reno fatigue is a huge problem at this point.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2013 at 10:34PM
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Oh, gosh, I assumed the tilesetter would be responsible for the cost of the new tile and labor to fix the error.

It's hard to tell from a monitor how obvious an issue is in real life. We all had to search to see the problem! Maybe grout would indeed make the irregularities disappear. I'd give it a try, then.

By the way, your kitchen is gorgeous. Such beautiful materials!

Good luck.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2013 at 10:43PM
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Major flaw and if it's a professional tile contractor, then yes of course they should re-do it correctly. You spent time and energy choosing tile that is just right for you and your space. It is unacceptable that they should try to cover their mistake. Make them do it over, and not on your dime. It's just not right. That will drive you nutty.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2013 at 10:45PM
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Oh, shoot, Ellen, what a disappointment! I did notice right away, but it may be because I've made quilts in this pattern, so the inconsistency jumped out at me. I actually think that the fact that you'll notice it is more important than the question of whether other people will notice it. If you think you can live with it, then let it go. If you think it will bug you, and be the only thing you see when you look at the backsplash, then bite the bullet and get it fixed. I hate to say it, but it's a bad job on the part of the tile layer.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2013 at 10:54PM
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williamsem, the tile is beautiful, in either orientation. But those seams - the interruption of the pattern - are wrong. It doesn't matter if your DH notices or not; it doesn't matter if you could learn to live with it. It's wrong, and should be fixed. It shouldn't be your responsibility to pay for their mistake.

I understand reno fatigue, but you've put too much into this project to have it anything but perfect. Hang in there!

    Bookmark   August 21, 2013 at 10:55PM
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Sophie Wheeler

The field tile issues are due to the product being inconsistent, not the tile setter. And, perhaps the seam issue is due to the tile rather than the setter as well. I'd have to lean that way because a lot of import tile on sheets has issues like that Sometimes it does require pulling tiles off the mesh to hand set them. That's a LOT more effort, and kinda outside most "tile guys" repertoire. A true tile pro probably would have brought the issue to your attention and given you the option of finding different tile that was more consistent, or paying more for more hand setting for the tile.

I think a close match in color with the grout will completely eliminate the issue from being even slightly visible. Yes, you'll still know, but by that time, perhaps you'll see it as "natural variation" rather than as a flaw.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2013 at 11:07PM
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I know many feel that the grout may help blend..
However it will not have the same iridescent quality as the tiles .
I'm sure the tile guy could mock-up a sample with grout for you to take a gander at ..
It may blend or may pronounce.

What do you have to loose ?

    Bookmark   August 21, 2013 at 11:27PM
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They should have let you know, not just install it anyway. That's ridiculous. It's your house, your money and you are the ones who have to live with it. They are not the only ones putting a lot of time and effort into things, not to mention the high expense of these projects.

From some of the quotes posted here recently about the high cost of just doing a backsplash, I would not be at all happy with an erroneous install. If he's not a pro, then this should have been a budget basement deal.

Could it be due to the orientation of the sheets that was used? It's hard to imagine the manufacturer doesn't plan this out to fit right! That would be pretty silly. I'd take that up with the tile shop.

It sure is frustrating trying to get these projects done. Hope you get it resolved.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2013 at 11:46PM
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Your kitchen is so beautiful! It would be a shame to let remodel fatigue set in so close to the finish. The tiles are beautiful and they are in your kitchen where you will see them everyday. Point the problem out to the installer and ask him how he can resolve it.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2013 at 11:56PM
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I have no idea what to do.

Hollysprings, I know you have experience in kitchens. But the tile pattern is regular and does fit together easily, see the side by side pic above. Now there are some spacing irregularities on those sheets, I am not taking issue with that. The only tiles that needed individual setting were ones to fill in where I removed a defective tile. I'm taking issue with the way the sheets were fit together-aligned.

I probably should have labeled things better. All three seams in the pic I drew on are the same. I left one "blank", outlined one seam all the way up, and drew the shapes to show the break in the pattern. They are all the same though.

DH seems upset I am even thinking about ripping it out. I sourced the tile myself online. I checked install, made sure the tiles could be cut easily, and asked GC about installing the tiles. I easily laid out several sheets as soon as they arrived without problem. The website and customer service people made sure I understood the variation if natural materials. I have no issues with the tile or website.

I'm leaning toward seeing what the grout does. If GC says it's much easier to rip out now, then I'll just reorder. This is our third major project with this GC and I feel we have always been reasonable with each other. I'd be willing to replace the tile if he will rip out, repair, and install.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2013 at 12:18AM
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Late to comment since I've been out of town and I'm sorry I haven't read all the suggestions, but your last post looks like you're ready to pay for this mistake. I think the pattern disruption is obvious, and the tile guy is totally responsible for even thinking of putting it together the way he did! It shouldn't cost you one cent to have it redone correctly...both for tile and for labor. He goofed big time. That's just MHO, but this is where a good GC would back you up on this. Good luck with it.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2013 at 1:32AM
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The thing is that the pattern, kind of like Escher or Necker cubes, is what the tile is all about. So, yes, the break in pattern is a huge turn-off.

Contemporary Kitchen by Kohler Kitchen and Bath Fixtures Kohler

    Bookmark   August 22, 2013 at 9:49AM
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Oh, that blue tile is so dreamy! Another tile I wish I had a surface for!

GC can see the issue now that I point it out. It's just not a common pattern (especially around here) and the complexity of the illusion is hard if you can't see it. DH and GC have a hard time seeing it.

It's almost done. We discussed options, he will fix it the way I want, no problem at all. At this point, he's going to finish behind the range correctly and grout. DH prefers the current installation, so I'm willing to try it. DH is much more likely to go along with ripping it out if I try it this way first.

If it still bothers be once it's all done and shiny (and I'm pretty sure it will), and all our stuff I'd back on the counters, GC will replace no charge.

I'm so grateful for the wonderful advice here. It's easier to stay on the path of fixing things knowing I'm not the only person that sees it.

Will post more pics when I have them.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2013 at 10:16AM
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I'd be inclined to fix it while it was easier. It sure is a drag when these things happen. You are being more than fair to pay for replacement tiles. For me personally they would scream from across the room if I left them I notice every flaw I make and they call me.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2013 at 10:26AM
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This post was edited by CLBlakey on Thu, Aug 22, 13 at 10:43

    Bookmark   August 22, 2013 at 10:30AM
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i think the light color, it being on a vertical surface, and the irridescence helps to mask the problem... i doubt if it will jump out at anyone visiting or someday buying your home.

but, if it really bothered me, i don't think i'd let my spouse to sway my decision to have them retile-- i would probably let a monetary compensation sway me tho. lol

    Bookmark   August 22, 2013 at 10:38AM
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I'm so sorry about your reno fatigue--that can be overwhelming sometimes. I would say that whether or not you are up to the delays, etc that are involved w/ redoing the tile is a decision for you and dh to make. However, if choose to have it redone, I would strongly encourage you to reconsider paying out of pocket for more tile. It sounds like you did your homework about this tile, discussed it beforehand w/ the GC, and have had realistic expectations of what is acceptable. This is installer error, thus the burden to pay for a fix *is not on you*. Given your good working relationship w/ the GC, hopefully all will proceed peacefully. And I suspect your dh would be much more amenable to a re-do if there is no cost to y'all. I know mine would be!

p.s. It is definitely easier/less labor to remove before grouting.

p.p.s. If you do start over, you might want to indicate w/ an arrow on the back of each sheet of tile which way is "up". Although I still don't think that is your responsibility to take care of that, it might facilitate a faster, more successful install ;-)

    Bookmark   August 22, 2013 at 10:50AM
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I saw the mistake immediately. It ruined that beautiful pattern. The tile setter was either lazy about the install or just stupid.

I would have it replaced on their dime, or it would bug me every time I looked at it......

On the bright side, that is a VERY lovely backsplash and will be even better when done right :)

    Bookmark   August 22, 2013 at 11:52AM
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Ok, so here's the rest, set right. It's the largest span of tile, and it looks fantastic! I had my camera button on the right as suggested in the other post so I'm hoping you all see it right side up.

It is a little harder to see the beautiful pattern/effect in just 18 inches. I do want to see what it looks like once the coffee maker, etc are back. I at least know that if I want it fixed there will be no hassle. Just time and more construction.

Will post after the grout tomorrow too if anyone wants to weigh in on the final product. I'm hoping it looks better, but I'm not holding my breath.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2013 at 1:55PM
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natebear zone 10B

Honestly, I didn't like the tile at all installed incorrectly. However, after seeing it installed behind the range, my eyes can now easily pick up 6 petaled flowers in the pattern. I think you should have the rest redone.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2013 at 10:08AM
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Me too! That would drive me crazy. Don't settle!

    Bookmark   August 23, 2013 at 5:19PM
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Holly- Kay

I love your tile! I would have them redo the error. I think that the flower petal effect is what makes your tile so lovely (well that and the shimmer) and it would be a shame to ruin the effect. Good luck and hugs to you!

    Bookmark   August 23, 2013 at 9:57PM
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Your tile is gorgeous and deserves to be put on right. Yes, that would drive me nuts and make me sick or angry every time I looked at it. It's a do-over.

Good to know your GC sees it now and is willing to do it over. Good for him.

This post was edited by marti8a on Sun, Aug 25, 13 at 22:14

    Bookmark   August 23, 2013 at 10:14PM
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Williamsem - your tile is lovely. Great choice. I am not a spacial person, so the issue that concerns you doesn't jump out at me. Nonetheless, I am glad to hear your GC is willing to redo to you liking.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2013 at 8:57PM
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