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Old 06-17-2007, 07:03 AM   #1
susanka
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Desperately need help; tile guy disappeared

Our new house has come to a standstill. The tile guy put drywall behind the marble tile surrounding the fireplace all the way down to the fire box. It has to all be pulled out and cement board put in there. The tile guy has disappeared; we can't find him anywhere. DH and I thought maybe we would try to do this. Would it work to cut through the drywall above the v-cap at the top row of the marble and along the sides so we're taking all the marble and the the drywall out in one piece, lay it face down on the floor, and then sand off the drywall, leaving the marble and grout and thinset all together in one piece? And then put the whole thing back in one piece with cement board behind it?
Second question -- the tile guy also did not grout the bathroom tiles before he disappeared. They have a 1/16" or maybe even 1/32 grout line. Is this something we're likely to be able to do ourselves? We're totally inexperienced at this.

Yes, we paid him in advance. He said his wife needed an operation.

Thanks for any advice you can offer. I'm hoping not to have to pay someone else to finish the job, but maybe it will have to be that way.

Susanka
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Old 06-17-2007, 07:43 AM   #2
jerseyreef
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Susanka - I'm really sorry to hear this turned out the way it did for you. Has the tile set up at this point and can any of it be removed? I'm pretty sure you can't do what you're describing and even if you could, it seems like an awful amount of work. I'm sure the pro's can provide more insight on this.

The grouting I'm sure is something you can tackle and would be a nice intro for you into tiling. I think we'll need to know more about the tile installed prior to providing advice on the proper grout to use. Meanwhile, you can do a search on grout and I believe there's some archived threads in the 'liberry' on the subject as well.

Regarding your tile guy, what a weasel. Ensure to report him to your state contractor board (if you have one) and/or your Consumer Better Business location. Just a piece of advice, any contractor I use, I always employee my 10/40 & 50 rule. 10% up front to secure the job, 40% for work commencement, 50% for work/site walk completion. The last 50% ensures that they address all of the job issues, prior to payment. Some contractors don't like it, but I haven't had one balk on it yet and nor should they. It's used quite a bit in the Telecom industry I work in and it's pretty useful to ensure you receive quality work and don't loose the contractor and at most you're only out 50% of your money if they leave halfway through the job.
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Mike - JerseyReef
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Old 06-17-2007, 08:16 AM   #3
susanka
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Mike, thanks very much for your reply. The tile has been there for about two weeks or three. It's Sahara Gold Marble, and will cost a lot to replace, we were hoping we could save it. It's grouted and everything. Just the two bathrooms aren't grouted yet. I know I was dumb to pay this guy ahead of time, I felt sympathy for him and just did it.
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Old 06-17-2007, 08:26 AM   #4
tile4livin
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What a moron. I can't believe he didn't put up some cement board or equivalent.



Sounds like a mess.

Good luck.
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Old 06-17-2007, 08:30 AM   #5
susanka
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He also put nails through the tubes in our radiant heating under the floors. We're resigned to paying for that fix. It's being tested now to see how much damage he did. At this rate I'll retire about age 100.
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Old 06-17-2007, 09:07 AM   #6
susanka
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Unhappy

I forgot to say, the tile in the bathrooms that is ungrouted is Sahara Gold and Rainforest. They're both marble. So what kind of grout would I use? I thought 1/32 or 1/16 grout lines are difficult, which is what these are. Also, the plumber went ahead and put the sinks in over the tiles. Is it okay to leave that part of the tiles ungrouted?
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Old 06-17-2007, 09:22 AM   #7
Shaughnn
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Hello Susan,
Cement board is not always required in fireplace surrounds. How did you come to decide that this needed replacement? Was this pointed out to you by a municipal inspector or have you deduced this from other sources? If this is hear-say, I recommend contacting your local building inspector and having them give you the definative word.
If it does need to come down, focus on saving the individual pieces and don't bother trying to save the entire panel. Soaking the loose tiles in water *should* soften the wallboard and make scraping it clean much easier but I have to stress that you'll need to take every precaution not to scratch the surface of the marble when doing this. Working on top of a towel is a good precaution. Preventing the tile from sliding around is another. And above all, work safely as scrapers will slice you as quickly as they slice wallboard and thinset.
Best of luck,
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Old 06-17-2007, 09:30 AM   #8
susanka
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Thank you, Shaughnn. The fireplace company came to install the decorative fireplace grill and couldn't do it because of the drywall. There had been warnings that came with the fireplace on the front of the fireplace box stating there has to be a 24-inch-high non-inflammable material above the firebox and also on the sides. The owner's manual was also there with the same instructions.
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Old 06-17-2007, 09:39 AM   #9
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Susan,
Is it possible that the tile installer used a "flame-rated" wallboard? It's not often that cement boards is used to surround a firebox with a 24" perimeter.
Shaughnn
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Old 06-17-2007, 09:43 AM   #10
susanka
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Hi, Shaughnn -- Maybe I didn't say it right. It's supposed to be 24" on the top and I think 4 1/2 or 6 inches on the sides, I forget. It's a Fireplace Xtrordinar Model DV 36 XL, I think. I don't know if it has to be cement board; the directions specifiy inflammable material.

No, he admitted it's plain drywall.

Thanks very much, again.
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Old 06-17-2007, 09:47 AM   #11
John Bridge
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Hi Susanka,

I agree with Shaughnn. Among the many hats I've worn, I was a commercial drywall hanger when I was an apprentice. Much of our work was fireproofing construction components with . . . yeah, drywall. It's used commonly to fireproof party walls between apartment units, between houses and garages; elevator and air shafts, steel support girders and columns, etc. If your fireplace is what we call a "zero clearance," made from heavy gauge sheetmetal, you're fine. Drywall definitely is a fire retardant. Try lighting a piece on fire.

Now, for making holes in you heat tubing the guy ought to be run out of town.
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Old 06-17-2007, 09:51 AM   #12
susanka
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Well, I talked with the fireplace guys. They said standard drywall is absolutely not okay. I forget all the stuff they said it would do; none of it good. They also said it invalidates our warranty on the fireplace and if our house catches on fire, we're not covered. They could tell it was regular drywall. My husband thought maybe we could put side vents on it to reduce the heat; he said, as you guys are, that drywall is not all that flammable, but the fireplace guys say absolutely not.
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Old 06-17-2007, 12:08 PM   #13
susanka
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Thanks to all you experts for helping. What should I do next? The FP guys absolutely will not install the FP with ordinary drywall around it.
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Old 06-17-2007, 12:33 PM   #14
Mike2
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Susan, I've found the installation manual for your fireplace. http://www.fireplacex.com/TravisDocs/100-01160.pdf
The fireplace company installers are right. On page 11 of the manual it specifically states:
Quote:
The fireplace requires a concrete board (or other non-combustible) extending from the header to the floor and to the framing members on both sides. Do not use sheetrock, plywood or other combustible.
There are framing drawings in that manual that will help you locate the 2x4 framing members that the cement board needs to be attached to. This wiil also help you determine the extent to which tile and wallboard needs to be removed.
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Old 06-17-2007, 12:56 PM   #15
susanka
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Thank you, Mike, and all. Is it total folly to try to remove the whole thing in one big piece and sand the back off? Jerseyreef said he was pretty sure we couldn't do that. I'm afraid we're going to break this marble to pieces trying to get it off one at a time, and then we'll still have to do the grouting and everything again.
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