Do not understand my contractor [Archive] - Ceramic Tile Advice Forums - John Bridge Ceramic Tile


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04-25-2008, 08:55 PM
Sorry to say my contractor who installed beautiful white marble on my shower walls and finished on Feb. 1 today took all the marble down. He had used yellow mastic behind them and they were turning yellowy-brown. After much discussion with a stone supplier, I have now advised him to use 1) a plastic barrier 2) cement board 3)thinset with an additive. He put the board up today and only three of the four pieces appear to show the side for "mortar" use. The fourth piece looks like it is a different color and has no writing at all. Is something wrong again???? I am tired of all this!!! Please help.

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04-25-2008, 09:02 PM
he set marble with mastic in your shower ?/.....ohh boy.
I don't think this is the last mishap with him.

to me it doesn't really matter as long as he gets good coverages with the thinset.
the modified thinset will stick to both sides good.

do you have waterproofing installed ?

04-25-2008, 09:07 PM
Waterproofing??? He nailed a plastic piece up and then put the cement board on that...that is as far as he got today...tile is not in yet, but he will be back and as I understand will use thinset with the additive and then put tiles on that?
Am I missing something? Hey, I was a French major!! My hubby is not getting involved on accountant!!

04-25-2008, 09:15 PM
Vapor barrier, cbu, thinset and tile is the norm. But, is the floor also done with mastic? It won't last. Hopefully, the pan is done correctly.

04-25-2008, 09:21 PM
Thanks a lot.....He tells me he used the thinset for the shower basin and the floor of my bathroom (all same tile)....but I am sure the thinset on floor did not have this a prob????

04-25-2008, 09:26 PM
how did you find this contractor?
did he have any references? and did you check them?
Is he a company (sole proprietor) or LLC/Corp type?
Does he have insurance?
Does he guarantee his work?
What does your contract say?

04-25-2008, 09:30 PM
I went to a bath supply store and he was recommended...He did a beautiful job but of course yellowing tiles are no fun....he is redoing the job at his cost but I want to make sure it is right this time....

Tx homeowner
04-25-2008, 09:35 PM
Believe me, I feel your pain!!! Been there, no wait, I'm still there!

04-25-2008, 09:39 PM
most of the screwed up jobs I've ran across were from homeowners/DIYs, or handymen/women. However, I've learned never to discount the "supplyshowroom" recommendation screwups.

Think what's in their interest. They want to "sell you certain products(s)". Usually this would work OK, however, as you found out, not all the time. Good tradesmen are busy and the showroom's best chance to make their sale is to hook you up right away. Or they sub it out to someone else.

I'll always be amused by a truck I saw one day. "Blah blah Tile and Stone--in business for 20 years". Of course it was driven by two teen age mexicans.

Heck, setting tile is easy. Anyone can do it...Just check the net...

04-26-2008, 07:27 AM
why don't you tile fellows get together & push you states for specific licenses, pehaps anything
related to cementious interior work.

that's what our trade group in my state did.
1. truly becomes pros only
2. you can command appropriate $$$$$ to do work right. have to be a legal resident, & set your own experience & testing criterias.
4. in the dark ages aby homeb improvement cowboy would try to do pool work..... not anymore

Dave Carr
04-26-2008, 08:48 AM
We've got loads of tilers in the UK who don't understand the need for waterproofing in showers. Many just rely on the grout and the adhesive which is only water resistant and lets what through to the wall very easily or for the need to use a white adhesive on natural stones so they don't shadow.

Maybe one day we'll weed them out.

04-26-2008, 09:08 AM
Indeed Dave - its a problem. The 'fancy new materials' story; recently went with stone contractor to site where the GC was doing the prep as spec by me - Older chap there had the Ditra with mounds of mastic under it lumped staright over the u/f heater cables..."what is this stuff anyway - whats it do?" he asked us when pointed out it had to come out & be done properly...he reckoned he'd been tiling for 40 odd years. Not keeping up to speed really is he!


Dave Carr
04-26-2008, 09:15 AM
A few weeks back while onsite I had a site manager looking really puzzled, almost like I was speaking a foreign language to him, waterproof membrane? tanking? kerdi drain?

'If you don't use it, you'll get failures and damage cause by damp' I'm explaining - 'we'll be on another job by then' he says.

In the end I used tanking from my van, as the customer had seen my van and had my card, last thing I wanted was for them to think it was me who ruined their wet room.

John Bridge
04-26-2008, 09:28 AM
I'm afraid you guys might be making Confused Gal a little more confused. This IS a do-it-yourself forum, and we do encourage folks to do their own work. It is also for folks like Confused Gal who only need a little information to keep an installer in line. Discussions on the merits or shortcomings of the tile trade belong in the Pro Hangout. :)

Except for the shower pan area, waterproofing is not required in a standard tile shower. A moisture barrier is. The plastic sheeting the guy has installed will do the trick.

It doesn't matter which side is out on the cement board. The board, however, must be taped, meaning a mesh tape is applied to all the joints using thin set mortar to stick it. The board should be installed with either hot dipped galvanized roofing nails or with backer board screws. All the directions are on the web site of the manufacturer of the board.

Although I don't think it's an absolute requirement, I use white thin set to install stone tiles. The gray color could show through, so have him use white. I personally don't care whether the thin set is modified or not as long as it's a good quality mortar, not the five-dollar stuff off the shelf of the big box store. :)

04-26-2008, 10:33 AM
To add to John's point on the thinset...go down to Home Depot and buy the "white" Versabond. This way you can be sure he uses the right stuff. May want to buy the unsanded grout at the same time - assuming the grout joint is less than 1/8"


04-26-2008, 11:32 AM
Sorry John - got lost amongst the forums and just started spouting anywhere!! :topicoff:

04-26-2008, 11:39 AM
On point; yes it must be white adhesive - mortar type - grey colours will give a colour cast over the stone - meaning it just wont look as it should. The grout absolutly needs to be un-sanded because the grittier stuff can cause faint scratching on marble, especially when it is the high polish finish type.
Seems odd that the installer, if he did do a good job as far as it looked,, didnt know these things.

04-26-2008, 12:42 PM
On recommedation for using white thinset under stone-

Is grey Versabond ok under travertine? Thats all my local store had in stock. No white.

04-26-2008, 03:11 PM
well one thing you can say in your contractors defense he did come back and start replacing it out of his own pocket. try living on the border i fix a ton of half done jobs (that and people who thought it really was as easy as they said on tv)of all sorts because some one went with the cheapest person possible and they just bailed. it usually results in dismantling and starting over from scratch and paying twice as much no fun for anyone :cry: hope it all works out for ya :yipee:

04-26-2008, 05:13 PM
I'd add that this guy is redoing the shower at his cost. Thats a stand up action and far better than most. I've screwed up before, and gone back and fixed it, and learned what not to do. This guy reads on a bucket that mastic is OK for a shower, the manufacturer tells him it's OK, the shop tells him it's OK, he now knows from experience that its not. Thats the same way I learned it wasn't... and until I found this forum, I didn't know of a single setter that agreed with me.

I say give the guy a chance to make it right...

04-26-2008, 06:42 PM
I recently redid someones shower. The contractor who did it originally did beautiful work. In fact it may have been a little better than mine. Unfortunately, he didn't know a thing about waterproofing or the correct way to build a shower. It leaked bad. They were unwilling to fix it and thought they did everything right. Unfortunately, a judge didn't feel the same way.

Sounds like an honest contractor who will stand behind his work. I know I haven't always been a "righteous" tile setter.

04-26-2008, 08:35 PM
I want to thank you all for your wonderful answers on this...I feel much more capable of monitoring what will go on now....will be sure he uses the tape on the cement board...he really is doing all possible to make this right....Just for your info...the name of this marble tile is is almost pure white with little shiny crystals in it...It is gorgeous and expensive!! It seems to be quite popular right now in the midwest and there appears to be a backlog of orders that cannot be filled (comes from Greece, I believe....latest canister location is questionable at the moment ????) So, as such a pure white product, it may have inherent problems of its own!!! Leave it to me to pick something like that....

Anyway, I have never ever been in a forum and am certainly glad I came across you all to make me feel better......

Don't think we will tackle any more home improvement projects soon...but hopefully I will have a glorious master bath that I can use one day soon!!!

04-26-2008, 08:47 PM
Hi! I'm very glad that the contractor has the moral and ethical stance to repair his work; that's such a wonderful thing these days. It's terrific that he's also willing to learn. Have you considered pointing him in the direction of this forum? He can find out more answers and information here that will help him in his future work.

04-26-2008, 08:59 PM
Hi Gal, hopefully it all works out fine. :)

Trevor, travertine might be okay with grey thinset, I like usng the granite and marble mix (white), it will stay put without sinking when you butter one up extra thick. If the travertine is unfilled, you'll want to make sure any thinset gets washed out of the holes and filled with grout.

The white thinset is really needed for transparent stone, usually white although I like using it on nearly all the stone I install. :)

04-27-2008, 02:24 AM
Well ConfusedGal the Thassos is a beautiful stone - very exotic to have. It is far more crystaline in form than other marbles. Make sure the work is done in a white adhesive and that the work is kept clean as they go.
A good condition , continuous rim cutting blade on the machine is a must. There can be a bit more break out on a cut line than with other stone.
Let the stone have proper adhesive dry through time before grouting - dont just let the grouting proceed the minute the last tile is fixed - just to try and get completed the same day.
Its a quality material - treat it with respect. Should look wonderful.
Was it Thassos they fixed using the yellow? Terrible - they obviously had no idea what they were doing with stone.