Another huge problem...can tile go over an uneven wall??

homebuyer23August 22, 2013

A million things going wrong with remodel right now.

I have a huge concern...The main plumbing stack has been relocated and is running behind where our cabinetry and backsplash will be.

There is a part of the piping that is thick, where they connect 2 parts (forgive my lack of proper terms), and it is sticking out about 1/4" past where they just put drywall next to it.

We have other even bigger issues right now that my GC is dealing with right now, but to this major concern of mine, he just keeps saying when we lay the tile we can figure that out it'll be fine and you wont notice it.

Um, I just don't get how we won't notice that the wall will be curved out there. And how he can lay tile on a wall that isn't flat. Depending on the size of the tiles, I imagine they could crack or something there?

WTF?? Sorry, but I am absolutely devastated at how poorly this is going. I will be furious if the backsplash here looks awful bc of this..

he's laid tile plenty of times, does a pretty good job, he did my bathroom, but based on his track record here with this project I have no confidence in his ability to make that work out.

Does anyone know more than me and can possibly ease my worries that this happens sometimes and theres ways around it???

I am losing my mind :(

To give an idea of my stress, we already failed inspection and lost 2 weeks to remedy mistakes they made, and got charged a lot of money and apparently our upper floor could've caved in.
Last night we realized the window is off center by almost 2" which completely affects the cabinets next to it.

This seems minor, but I don't want it posing a problem at the end of the job when tile is typically installed.

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A flat surface is one of the primary requirements for tiling. The larger the tile size, the flatter the wall needs to be. 1/4" won't fly, no matter the size of the tile, even if you used 3/8" mosaics.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2013 at 9:18AM
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We tiled our shower stall and talked quite a bit with the chap. We happened to use the large 5 by 8's with backer board....[it was all made straight].... he mentioned when walls aren't straight the smaller tiles can absorb the grade discrepancy over a stretch or run. I would think it'll be ok ....2 by 2 squares or the like?? mosaics-no because they are on sheets....If the cabs aren't in, can't they install the bases a bit "out" and you can add another layer of drywall or backer board at least where backsplash will be..... I think you'll figure out a solution...

    Bookmark   August 22, 2013 at 10:08AM
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I think you are referring the the Hub that joins two pieces of pipe. I think you are going to have to add a layer of dryway of 3/8-1/2" thickness over the whole wall, cutting out the area over the hub and then filling in and spackling that area to make it level and smooth to the new wall surface.

The extra 1/2" will throw things off by that much, but you should be able to compensate for it.

Or, you could install the cabinets in the normal position and patch the drywall between the upper and lower cabinets in the same way described above. The countertop would be slightly less deep in this area, but it would keep the cabinets in their original planned position.

This post was edited by palimpsest on Thu, Aug 22, 13 at 10:34

    Bookmark   August 22, 2013 at 10:31AM
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Exactly what others have said: you really need a flat wall to do a proper job of tiling. A very small amount of unevenness can be accommodated, but 1/4" is a lot. Reading your description, it sounds like they have put drywall next to it, but not over the pipe yet? I don't know if it's up to code (maybe some expert can chime in?) but perhaps they're planning to use thinner drywall over the pipe. I know you can get thin drywall, maybe 1/4" thick or something. I don't know if it's a good idea or sturdy enough, but maybe that's the plan?

    Bookmark   August 22, 2013 at 10:50AM
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You can cut the drywall out just at the point of contact with the pipe. Then use mesh tape and mud over the pipe. This is done often where there is a bulge from a pipe or framing hardware etc. And since you are going to have tile over, the patch doesn't have to be all that pretty, just flat...

    Bookmark   August 22, 2013 at 11:32AM
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There is 1/4" drywall that you can apply to that wall. Do a cutout in it for that hub that is protruding.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2013 at 12:58PM
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A good tile person can work around that. I have tile on top of brick with thick grout. He used chicken wire and mudded behind to lay tile. Looks great. Thicker backer board is also a good idea.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2013 at 3:17PM
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GWlolo has a good point. There just needs to be a flat surface to tile on. I suppose it doesn't mean that the flat surface can't be created on top of the drywall using some applied product.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2013 at 5:42PM
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Thanks so much for all your responses. My GC's explanation sounded most like GWlolo, he mentioned thick grout. And also what ctyctm said I think he mentioned mud and tape over it. He also mentioned he could shave a little bit off the pipe fitting (??safe?!).

I still think the idea of an extra layer of thin drywall sounds less risky, but I'll cross this again when we get there.
Heres a picture...
thanks again

    Bookmark   August 23, 2013 at 10:12AM
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That is a drain pipe, so it is not under pressure. They could shave a bit off of the hubs without a problem, but it would not be my preference if it was my house. I'd either build up with 1/4" drywall or have the drywaller mud it heavily and taper that down over a wide area.

How big of a tile are you going to use? The bigger the tile, the more wall imperfections can cause a problem. We found that out with our long linear mosaic tile.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2013 at 11:51AM
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