Large Shower Tile - Need a Pro's Eye [Archive] - Ceramic Tile Advice Forums - John Bridge Ceramic Tile


View Full Version : Large Shower Tile - Need a Pro's Eye

12-12-2016, 08:54 AM
Hey all,

We hired a contractor to finish our basement. Everything has been mostly ok, but the shower tile really doesn't look right to me. Can anyone let me know if this is expected or ok for large format tile? After it was done, the contractor told us that it can't be perfect due to the tile size. He admitted he should have told us this before the tile was started. He agreed to bring the tile guy back to address the issues. The pictures I have attached are AFTER the tile installer tried to fix the concerns.

-Niche has unfinished edges of tile exposed
-Upper tiles in niche did not have protective film removed prior to installation
-Grout lines and spacing are not uniform
-Lipping is present in several areas
-Grout is already cracking where tile meets tub
-Corners where walls meet are not straight

What should I do? I am thinking of either asking the GC to have the shower redone with a smaller tile, or asking him to use a different tile contractor. Maybe I should ask for both?

I sincerely appreciate your time and advice!


Sponsored Links

12-12-2016, 10:56 AM
Very poor work. Unacceptable on so many levels. A good tile mechanic can use larger tiles, assuming the underlying substrate is plumb, square and true.

I would ask that it be removed and an experienced setter re-do it properly.

12-12-2016, 11:24 AM
Laz, thanks so much for your response. After hearing the tile contractor and GC say that it can't be much better due to the size of the tile, I thought it was time to get someone else's opinion.

Thanks again.

12-12-2016, 11:24 AM
Yikes! He blamed that on the tile size?

12-12-2016, 11:29 AM
That's what he said. I was confused by that as well. I couldn't understand how tile size could affect whether a tile was placed straight or not. :scratch:

What's the best way to find a tile contractor I can trust to do the job properly?

Certainly the references on this one didn't help me.

12-12-2016, 11:38 AM
That's just bad .
Where abouts are you located?

12-12-2016, 11:42 AM
Woodstock, GA - suburb of Atlanta.

12-12-2016, 11:44 AM
Oh man, that is sad, sad workmanship and not the fault of the tile. Larger tile is challenging and requires different technique and perhaps tools in some cases. On the surface it would seem that larger tile would go faster, but in my experience the opposite is true, assuming one wants a better result that what's pictured.

Smaller tile will not improve the skills of the "tile guy" and after seeing photos, I can't help but question the integrity of the whole shebang.

If I were your GC, I'd be embarrassed by this work. Did he break out the cost of this in proposal? It could easily fall into "low bidder" framework. Do you have a written contract? What are you willing to live with?

12-12-2016, 11:59 AM

Thanks for your response. The GC did not itemize anything in the contract, but we do have one, and I still owe him a sizeable amount of money according to the payment schedule. So I should have the leverage I need to encourage him to work with me.

I asked the GC if this was a tile guy he normally uses, and he said that he uses him all the time and he does good work. That's when he went into the talk about it being due to tile size.

The GC even went to the trouble of breaking out calipers to try and show me that the tiles varied in thickness across their length...which I told him I wasn't buying.

At this point, based on the responses, I think I need someone else to do the tile work, since these pics are AFTER the tile guy did his "fixes."

12-12-2016, 12:09 PM
And as far as what can I live with, I did what I thought was the right thing and interviewed 3 GCs and got references. I did not choose the low bidder on the job either. So, you can imagine that I'm pretty bummed with this poor workmanship.

12-12-2016, 12:28 PM
Industry standard calls for caulking all changes of plane. We recommend 100% silicone. This is especially critical for where tile meets a tub because all tubs move and grout can not tolerate any movement. Grouting this joint as well as changes of plane (corners) goes against industry standards.

The unfinished edge in the niche should have be discussed beforehand, the old school way was to use a 1/4 round/bullnose tile but now a days edge profiles are more in style and many large format tiles do not having a matching 1/4 round/bullnose.

There are standards to allowable lippage and grout joint variation. There are tile installation litigation expert witnesses on this forum and they would be your best source for what can or can't be litigated against.

Do you know what was used under the tile as a tiling substrate? Ie Cement Board/Hardiebacker etc? Were the seams taped and thin set? Do you know how your niches were built and waterproofed? Or how the rest of the shower walls were waterproofed? I would be concerned about short cuts here because Niches can be major points of water intrusion if not built and waterproofed correctly. If you have any construction pictures they would be most helpful for us to give you more advice and will be immensely helpful to you if you ended up in small claims court.

12-12-2016, 12:44 PM
Hi John,

I appreciate your detailed response. Regrettably, I did not take pictures at each step, so I don't have answers for the questions you asked.

I am really really hoping to avoid any sort of legal action...I am hopeful that I can have a productive discussion with the GC, who could either credit me for the cost to redo the shower tile, or pay a new tile contractor of my choosing.

Maybe that's too optimistic. But in any case, I definitely want to know that I will be using a tile contractor who knows what they are doing, and won't take any shortcuts.

Any suggestions on how to find such a person in the Atlanta, GA area?


12-12-2016, 12:49 PM
Jeff, it sounds as if you did your homework and I can understand your disappointment. Unfortunately we see way too much of that here. Thread after thread of folks being supplied with similar results. Not that it will ease your mind, but there have been worse. The good news it you have a resource to evaluate the next go-round.

If your GC would settle for this kind of work in his own home, he's not the one to find the new tile contractor. Ideally he will remove all of what's not right at no charge to you and bow out of this segment gracefully.

Finding the folks you want will be facilitated by some reading here to get a good idea of how it's done right. Questions based on your knowledge will help evaluate and parse through the field. The minds here can help. If building/remodeling is anything like in this area, you'll likely to be faced with getting in a good craftsman's queue and said craftsman should explain in detail how he's going to build your long lasting, good looking tub/shower.

You can also post in the pro's area to see if there might be someone near you that could help out with the redo.

12-12-2016, 12:50 PM
Jeff~I suggest you start a thread in the "Professionals Hangout" with something like "Looking for a Pro in________" along with a link back to this thread.

Good possibility we might have someone in your area. :gerg:

12-12-2016, 01:20 PM
So the silver lining here is that I told the GC to hold off on any further plans (which included a new tile shower in the master bath) until this basement shower is sorted out.

And thanks to you guys, I should be able to find the right person to fix this problem and work with me on the next project.

Thanks again for all your help and input.

Peerless Tile
12-12-2016, 07:34 PM
Jeff, My 8yr old daughter could do a better job than what you received. Absolutely no attention to detail. Seek out "Cain" on this forum, he's a member in the ATL area, perhaps he can get you straight.

Karls tile Inc
12-12-2016, 09:40 PM
That installation was done poorly! Hopefully you can get the GC to rectify the install,

Todd Groettum
12-13-2016, 10:36 AM
Somebody let a first year tile helper ( with 3 weeks experience) off his leash.......

Then again, ive seen work like that in motels in florida so not sure what people get away with down that away...Up here not only would we NOT get paid, we would get tarred and feathers and keel hauled on an ore boat...( and thats a serious thing in frigid Lake superior water ):crap:

Best wishes