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Old 08-04-2011, 11:44 AM   #1
annr
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cove base tile, types and installation

I'm hiring a contractor to renovate our 1950's family bathroom that has tile on all walls (4' x 4' field tiles with bullnose and cove base tiles). The tile is 4' high in the room and goes to the ceiling in the tub/shower surround.

Questions:I would like to replace the tile 100% in terms of area covered and with the same categories of tile. This is not what the contractor had planned, and he resisted the use of cove base tile, saying this was only used in spas, etc., where the walls will be hosed down, and requires specialized installation.

I spoke with someone at subwaytile.com (maker and seller of subway tile) who explained that there are 2 types of cove tile: sanitary and shoulder, and he said that I should come here to ask about variation in installation between the two tile types and if this should pose a problem for a tile professional to install.

Which cove tile would be appropriate for a family bathroom, sanitary or shoulder? and do any of you have a preference for the subway tile sold by subwaytile.com versus the ceramic tile by US Ceramic tile ?
Thanks,
Ann
Boston,MA
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Old 08-04-2011, 01:06 PM   #2
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This is from subwaytile.com's website:

The classic shoulder cove base has a more visual prominence and can be used with a wainscot or alone, while the sanitary cove base is flush with the wall.

You get to pick the look you want. A competent tile setter should be able to do either.

Your guy may not be familiar with cove base because it isn't used as much as in times past. But before you go too much farther, verify what you have contracted for. If base cove was in the contract, he has to install it. If it was not and you are adding it in, you will be charged for the difference.
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Old 08-04-2011, 01:10 PM   #3
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Thank you Bob,
We are still negotiating and selecting tile, so we will agree in advance. He knows that the tile is something I feel strongly about, including that it must match or exceed the quality and quantity of the original tile.
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Old 08-04-2011, 01:12 PM   #4
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Have you seen this guy's work in person?
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Old 08-04-2011, 01:16 PM   #5
annr
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No I have not. I met with the tiler and have seen photos of his work.

It is the GC who is making these statements about cove tile, and I don't know if the tiler himself stands by them or not.
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Old 08-04-2011, 01:31 PM   #6
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OK, there's a GC. Do you get to approve the tilesetter? The reason I'm asking is because you set so much emphasis on the tilework being a perfect match for the original. You and he has to be on the same page. Visiting one of his previous works will give you a good indication of his skills that you might not get in the "beauty shots" the GC has shown you.
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Old 08-04-2011, 01:42 PM   #7
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Ann

There is a good chance that your 1950s bath was set in mud.

What does the contract say about the demolition of the existing?
And what will be used to replace it?

Good mud setters are hard to find but usually do good work.
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Old 08-04-2011, 05:23 PM   #8
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Chuck,
We haven't gotten to the contract yet--(I have been asking for something in writing and am unclear why he keeps postponing this).

All I know to be true is that he plans to demolish everything until there is just wood and framing. He sent me pics from a job in progress, some showing the gutted room. So far he has not shown me anything glitzy, just shots with his iPhone. The work appears very neat, clean, and accurate.

Is there something important for me to know about mud? (Mud has never come up in our discussions.)
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Old 08-04-2011, 05:26 PM   #9
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As Bob has said, request to meet with the tile contractor himself. If the GC or tile guy is not willing to make the meeting happen, thats a huge red flag right there. The tile guy should be able to give you a list of references or let you see some of his past work.
One VERY important thing you need to be concerned about other then the tile is what type of waterproofing they are doing around the shower area, or are they just skipping out on that part. If you dont want mold issues do the road, make sure they are waterproofing before they think about tiling the shower surround.
Last but not least, they should do what you want. Your the customer. If they dont want to do it, maybe you should think about hiring your own tile contractor. Most likely save yourself some money to since the GC is probably marking it up quite a bit.
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Old 08-04-2011, 05:47 PM   #10
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Ray,
I see that you are in my neck of the woods! Well, without going into detail, this has been a very bad experience getting the bathroom retiled, and this is the 2nd time. The 1st person made strategic errors installing a replacement window in the shower and the surrounding tile. (To give you an idea: he installed a painted wood casing around the window in the shower. This is not what we wanted and were dumbfounded. The paint peeled after 2 days....anyway, this did no go well with him and we are starting fresh.)

We have had several tile experts to the house, but each needs a GC to handle all of the problems associated with the window and other damage to the house from this initial job.

After several months of searching, we found a tile guy (whom I heartily liked) who works with a GC, and this is the contractor in question.
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Old 08-04-2011, 06:03 PM   #11
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Didnt even see the Boston part in your first post Ann. Windows in a shower area are usually problems. Im usually lean towards closing them in, or at least doing glass block in place of them. Wood and water definitely do not mix, as you found out very quickly. If you post some pictures it would be helpful to help steer you in the right direction. As I mentioned before, has the GC or tile guy mentioned anything about a waterproofing membrane?
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Old 09-21-2011, 05:36 PM   #12
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water proofing membrane?

Hi Ray,
Sorry that it took so long to get back to you. I have finally gotten a written proposal and I don't see anything here that I can identify as a water proofing membrane.

I see the following, what should I be looking for?

-hardibacker board on walls in tub surround
-hardibacker board with thinset and screws on floor
-tile
-ground tub surround
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