Is this an acceptable tile job? [Archive] - Ceramic Tile Advice Forums - John Bridge Ceramic Tile


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01-01-2017, 09:16 PM
Hi all. I'm new here. :)

We had water damage in our home and part of the redo is our main bathroom. Because we had arabesque/lantern tile in there originally, we decided to go with it again tho in a different color. Am I nitpicking this job to death? Is this an acceptable professional install? I don't want to call my tiler back out again if this is all within the realm of normal and expected.

First of all, the original job around the vent was awful. We asked him to come redo only to find out he cracked a tile in the process and used caulk instead of grout, so that when I went to pull up the vent cover to replace, the caulk came with it. Now it looks just as bad as it did before. See pics.

The second thing is the finish work, like around my door frame. Why is this so ugly looking? Why not use a full tile? See pic.

We have some tiles far apart and some super close. (These came on a 12x12 sheet).

And finally, there are four different places where the thinset was taller than the tile so those areas took no grout. I was told when the grout dries to just chip out the thinset and fill in the gap with caulk. Why is this my job? And is caulk even going to last, considering that the caulk around the vent is still wet and rubbery five days later?

I'm also bothered by the fact that he didn't pull out the scratched tiles and replace with good ones. Seems that would be obvious, so I have 3-4 tiles in a cluster all scratched through that look unsightly.

This, along with a tub surround w basic 4x4 white tiles, cost 2300 in labor. Reasonable?

Thanks a ton for any insight. :)

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01-01-2017, 09:19 PM
Pics below

1. Gaps around vent where there is no grout
2. You can't tell but the glob on the left is rubbery caulk and is going down into the vent. It doesn't dry. It's like gum.
3. Lots of grout on and around both door frames.
4. Tiles right up against one another.
5. Thinset appears as white dots. Baseboard won't cover this and there are about 4 more spots like this on the floor where he told me to chip it out and replace w caulk. ?

01-01-2017, 09:28 PM
This is why I called him back out the second time. I was very unhappy with this.

01-01-2017, 10:32 PM
You don't need us to tell you that this isn't good enough. When I see workmanship like this, my first question tends to be: how was the shower waterproofed?

This was clearly done by someone who does not know how to set tile.

You paid for a professional job and you didn't get one. You should refuse payment it there is any money outstanding.

01-01-2017, 10:37 PM
What kind of waterproofing is needed? All I know is that cement board was put up and thinset over that. Then tile.

Tool Guy - Kg
01-01-2017, 10:40 PM
Welcome to the forum, KSue. :wave: And sorry to hear of your troubles.

Yeah, there are several items not up to industry standards.

Do you have a contract with this installer? Have they been paid in full?


01-01-2017, 10:50 PM
No contract and Paid in Full. Because we have no idea what we are doing.

He was recommended by our original contractor bc the contractor couldn't get to it in time.


01-01-2017, 10:56 PM
Waterproofing needs to go on either behind the cement board in the form of poly vapour barrier, or on top of the cement board in the form of a liquid applied waterproofing membrane. Cement board is not water proof and allows water to travel into your walls and cause mould issues. If this is a guest shower that will see limited use, then it should hold up fine, but if this is a main shower that gets used morning and night, you will have trouble with it.

01-01-2017, 10:58 PM
It'll get plenty of use; it's the kids' shower and we have nine kids.

Does it help that it's a tub and tub surround? Not a free standing shower? I can't imagine having to do this all over again. I'm so frustrated right now. Wonder if we can recoup 1k and start over from this mess.

Houston Remodeler
01-01-2017, 11:06 PM
Can you remove the valve handle and escutcheon plate to take a picture of the cross section of the wall like the picture below ?

01-02-2017, 02:09 PM
Price seems a little low but in line with the work I see with the pics. There isn't much right with this install unfortunately. Once you contact the installer you need yo find out exactly what his methods and materials were for the installation.
What is the substrate used on the floor before tiling?
-if cement board, did he use thinset below, use appropriate fasteners, and tape his seams?
Was a moisture barrier used behind tub walls?
Were seams taped with alkali resistant tape?
The quality looks well below professional and if he didn't install things properly you may have a better chance or recouping some of your costs.

01-03-2017, 11:03 AM
We contacted the contractor and are waiting on a reply.

I know for a fact that no vapor barrier or RedGard was used because hubby and I had to supply all the materials. They just did the work for $2300.

Thank you all for your input. I'm so frustrated.

The guy also did the tub surround installation 1. Without leveling the walls so they bow and are crooked, and 2. Without covering the tub. It has fine scratches all over it and a gouge through the acrylic. It's a brand new tub. Never been used.

Did I mention he also cracked a glass block window? We've mentioned it twice and have yet to hear anything.

Needless to say, this guy is going on our black list.

Tool Guy - Kg
01-03-2017, 06:33 PM

Absent some sort of fix to your satisfaction, you might want to put small claims court in the back of your mind. I wish you the best and hopefully something can be worked out before the last resort of employing the legal system.


01-03-2017, 06:40 PM
Welcome, Ksue. :)

Just a note for your discussions with your contractor: You do not need a vapor barrier anywhere in your tub/shower construction. You do need either an appropriate moisture barrier behind the CBU wallboard that laps over the tub's tiling flange or a direct bonded waterproofing membrane on the inside surface of your wallboard, properly attached to the tub's tiling flange unless the CBU is on the drain side of the tiling flange. But not both.

While I like and have used the Small Claims route, unfortunately you can (in my fair State) recoup only the actual cost of correcting the problem. You'll need to have someone else re-do the job before you could make any claim in Small Claims court. Better than paying lawyers, though, if you elect to have it re-done anyway.

My opinion; worth price charged.

01-03-2017, 10:10 PM