help with unlevel travertine floor [Archive] - Ceramic Tile Advice Forums - John Bridge Ceramic Tile


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09-11-2001, 01:51 PM
My installers say there is no fix for the floor they installed. Some tiles are noticeably not level. They are blaming the subfloor. I don't buy it. Is there a fix other than pulling those tiles out? They have just finished grouting it. Thank you for your help.

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09-11-2001, 01:54 PM

In your opinion, was the floor unlevel prior to tiling or were the tiles just set incorrectly?

Additionally, Is this a concrete slab or Pier and Beam foundation?


09-11-2001, 02:00 PM
There were some areas that were unlevel. They were supposed to prep the floor prior to installation and I was assured a level butt edged installation. I believe it is even written on the contract.

09-11-2001, 02:03 PM
It was installed on a concrete slab floor.

Rob Z
09-11-2001, 03:07 PM

It is the responsibility of the installer to examine the floor and determine its suitability for the setting of tile.

The tile installer is responsible for notifying you of any potential problems, and to guide you to making an informed decision.

There have been times that I talked myself out of a job and guided the customer to vinyl or some other floor covering. Some other installer got the work, but I wasn't going to set tile on an inferior substrate.

It's hard to say from here whether tiles should be pulled out and replaced, or if the problem is more serious than that.

You may need to consult an attorney to get the terms of the contract enforced.


09-11-2001, 03:17 PM
If the floor was unlevel to begin with, which I did not know until they started installing, isn't there a fix to level the floor? I really do not want to look into prolonging the agony (hiring an atty.) and I was hoping for a solution like maybe sanding the uneven areas? I would say at worst some tiles stick out 1/16 of an inch. Is that industry standard acceptable? I know someone who's had 3 travertine installations at the same home. First one wasn't so good, the second one was better, and the last one was perfectly level. She lives in AZ so I couldn't have used her contractor.

Bud Cline
09-11-2001, 03:47 PM
How wide are the grout joints?

A 1/16" lippage could be more bearable with a wide grout line (1/4" - 3/8"). That doesn't make it right it just makes it more bearable. To my knowledge stones (marble, granite, travertine) are always installed with a 1/16" - 1/8" grout line. This makes a little lippage less acceptable.

Cost restraints sometimes encourage an installer to "go ahead" with a marginal substrate. The contract verbage would be the key here.

There is no fix I'm aware of. Grinding and polishing in place would be cost prohibitive I would think. Taking it out and doing it again sounds like the most cost effective method.

Levelling (planing) the floor should/could have been done prior to tile.

John Bridge
09-11-2001, 04:28 PM
Hi JJ,

I can't add much. The standard acceptable "lippage" is 1/32 in. That's not very much. Echoing what's already been said, if the installer was not able to do the job in "a workmanlike manner," then he/she should have made you aware of it beforehand. Often, on concrete slabs, it is not feasible to intstall stone tiles because of the rigorous standards that prevail.

09-11-2001, 05:29 PM
Thanks for the help. The tile was installed really tight, butt jointed. My installer volunteered to pull out and replace the unacceptable tiles. I was actually hoping to make it easier for them and maybe manually finely sand the edges of the non level tiles. Guess that's not an option.

John Bridge
09-11-2001, 06:55 PM
Easy, easy. We're all a little upset tonight. Fact is, old buddy, wet bed isn't an option on a retrofit. Everything's already in place.


You're on the right track. Work it out as best you can.

Bud Cline
09-11-2001, 06:57 PM
Hey Chris, what is it in your makeup that causes you to be so litigious? I've followed you posts for almost a year now and they are all the same. Hateful.

Bud Cline
09-12-2001, 12:51 PM

Try to understand this, few here profess to be experts as far as I have seen. Most certainly not me. I come here because it is a professional polite environment of tile installers with common interest and a desire to help DIY'ers complete their projects. I find this place (unlike other places) to be self gratifying and relaxing.

I come here to get away from Jim Ryans, Ken Fishers, Chris Miers, and the like. I like it here. When outrageous posts began appearing at another site that I participated in and censorship became a major issue I chose to move on.

I don't believe in censorship but more than that I don't believe I want to again participate in explosive bullshit such as you have been known to dispense on a regular basis.

You are welcome here as far as I'm concerned but only if you contribute constructively and leave your hatred at the door when you enter.

Having said that, I will also tell you that I personally will delete your posts without hesitation and in thier entirety if you don't behave yourself here.

If John Bridge feels differently he needs to say so.

Bud Cline

[Edited by Bud Cline on 09-13-2001 at 12:02 AM]

Rob Z
09-12-2001, 01:56 PM

John has asked me to moderate this forum as I see fit. Good advice, bad advice, expert advice, and a bit of humor are welcome. This site is different than most on the internet because there is some amount of decorum here. We enjoy helping our DIY'er friends and I think they enjoy visiting.

Your attitude is unacceptable, and until you email me or John directly to work out a resolution, I will delete every post you make, friendly or otherwise. John has been over this with you before.

Rob Zschoche

09-12-2001, 03:15 PM
I'm with the moderator. Thank you, you're doing a good job. A lawyer isn't the answer. I think when a homeowner signs an agreement with a contractor, it is also his/her responsibility to communicate her needs in a reasonable way. We all want something. I want a beautiful, functional home. He needs to do his art and make a living. I do not wish to take the attitude of "everybody's a crook." Life's too short. Guess what guys, I should be upset. They did not even show up today to continue this job. They'll show up tomorrow. I do wish they'll tell me what the deal is. My kids don't even have workspace to to their homework because my house is all torn up. There are times I think they're taking advantage of my kindness.

John Bridge
09-12-2001, 03:28 PM
Rob has asked me to once again bar Chris Meier from the site, and I will forthwith. I've tried very hard to include him in the discussion, but he insists on insulting people, which is not what we're here for.

Adios, Chris.

Rob Z
09-12-2001, 08:00 PM

Something I just thought some of the lippage that you are seeing due to tiles that are cupped? This is analagous to a piece of wood that warps.

Cupping is something that is expected on stone such as slate. I don't have a lot of experience with travertine-John and Bud certainly have much more-but possibly some of the stones were less than flat?

If so, replacing the offending stones with flatter ones may make a big difference in the appearance.


Bud Cline
09-12-2001, 10:07 PM
John, Rob,

Now that Chris Miers posts (the ones that provoked my above response) have been deleted feel free to also delete my above comments, they seem incomplete without his remarks.

John Bridge
09-13-2001, 06:52 PM
You guys delete whatever you want. Just don't delete the whole board, know what I mean? :D

09-13-2001, 06:55 PM
I REALLY want to know what he said

John Bridge
09-13-2001, 07:34 PM

Nothing you'd hang him for. Just mean and hateful. Calls people idiots -- that sort of thing. Haven't you been around to other boards and seen his stuff? Not that I want to keep this thing going.

Send him an email: (I think -- I deleted it).

09-13-2001, 08:02 PM
John,No I havent.I was just curious.I usually just ignore people like that unless its directed at me.This is a nice community and name calling shouldnt be accepted.

Kirk Downey
09-15-2001, 12:59 AM
Moderators -
Good for you guys - This is a nice place and you should exile people who can't/won't remain civil. Isn't that what we are all anguishing over, as a nation of parents and neighbors - coping with people who can't disagree or have their own opinion without behaving like barbarians.

Attorneys and soldiers should only be called in as a last resort.
Civilized people call an attorney instead of punching-out or killing some jerk that has damaged them.

Don't delete your discussion of the bad behavior either. It reminds us all to behave, in word and deed, they way they taught us in Kindergarten. Keep on keeping on.

Remember, God is Love. And you are civilization.