Newbie homeowner [Archive] - Ceramic Tile Advice Forums - John Bridge Ceramic Tile


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06-03-2001, 09:04 PM
I hate to admit it, but I have lived in an apartment all my life, so having visited our builders show room as well as Home Depot we were a bit lost when it came to flooring! Ack! As this is our first home, and as we are newlyweds, you can imagine this house is waaaay into the "starter home" area :-) So, though yearning for it, we can't go with the really lovely wood floors, or truly high end ceramic tile. Heck, we can't even afford to have our builder put in tile for us (MAN is it just me or do they really inflate their prices?). My questions are these, if it were you in my situation, considering cost effectiveness vs. quality,would you in a @ 50 sq. ft. kitchen/breakfast: let them put in the el cheapo vinyl and then install your own mid-range ceramic, upgrade the vinyl (of which they want to charge $500 for @ 50 sq. ft) OR take the easy laymans (all thumbs) road and install nicer vinyl tile over the basic sheet vinyl? We'd love to do the ceramic tile but we're worried about cost and difficulty (anyone know what it cost to have someone do it for us?). As I mentioned, I am the clutsy sort that walks into door jambs trying to pass through entrances :-) Thanks for any help, sorry so long!

P.S. During the building of a house (KB Homes…yeah, yeah I know), does anyone recommend hiring an inspector to check out the building during each stage i.e. foundation, framing, wiring, etc? We don’t want to sign off on each of these things without knowing if it’s going well.

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Bud Cline
06-03-2001, 09:30 PM

First things first here man.

BranV you said: P.S. During the building of a house (KB Homes…yeah, yeah I know), does anyone recommend hiring an inspector to check out the building during each stage i.e. foundation, framing, wiring, etc? We don’t want to sign off on each of these things without knowing if it’s going well.

I don't know where you live, but you already have a building inspector at your disposal, or should have. Your local building department should be performing those regular inspections.

Different parts of the country vary of course but some of the things that are routinely inspected by the office issueing your building permit (as mentioned) are: your foundation, structural framing, electrical wiring, plumbing, and in some areas the local Fire marshal. Now some of these guys do a great job and others are just related to someone.

If you have concerns call them. If you don't have concerns call them and get them out there anyway. Don't sign-off on anything your not sure about or comfy with.

What do you say John, Guys? Can we get them thru it and leave them with all their arms and legs?

[Edited by Bud Cline on 06-03-2001 at 11:37 PM]

Bud Cline
06-03-2001, 09:34 PM
Now, if you really want ceramic tile and want to do it yourself lets do it. I know you do. It's a pretty exciting thought.

It doesn't have to be that difficult, or expensive, and if your the klutz you say you are then bring the new bride in here and we'll show her how to do it.

It's up to you. What's your flooring allowance amount built into your builders contract?

John Bridge
06-04-2001, 06:29 AM
Bud . . . BranV or "Brandi" IS the new bride. I've communicated with her via email.

Glad you made it, Brandi. Don't know what was happening with the registration process. Probably need a new administrator.

I'm with Bud. If you really want the ceramic, we can and will lead you by the hand through the project. Have the builder put in the bottom line vinyl, and see if you can get the installer not to glue it really well. We'll want to rip it out when we do the ceramic.

You need to tell us where you live. What Bud said about building inspectors is essentially true, but not always. I live in an unincorporated area of Harris County,TX, and although the county issues building permits for residences, it does not inspect them. So where I live, Mr. Builder is his own inspector.

06-04-2001, 08:09 AM
It's the same here in Tn. Inspections are few and far between and non-existent for remodels.

Definitely don't count yourself out on the ceramic tile.With these guys to walk you through it you can have a beautiful ceramic tile floor that you can brag on for decades to come......and for less than $500

06-04-2001, 09:33 AM
All right.. *gasp* I'll just take the plunge and plan on the DIY ceramic tile. Although I wonder how long something like that takes? Is it a full Saturday job for that kind of area, or are we talking multiple days?

As for where we are building, we are going to be in the new development Cypress Point Lake Estates (Cypress)...which is technically on Barker Cypress and Huffmeister, except it's that part of Barker Cypress that is separated ny a small field from the full length part of Barker Cypress. I was told that over there they do have building inspectors from the city, but I've heard that you never know if you're getting an inspector who is diligent, easy going, or even worse, does the infamous "drive by" inspections. I DEFINITELY will hire someone to do the once over during our final inspection before we *gulp* sign the closing papers, but I just wasn't sure if it was best to also look at the literal insides of the house aka grading, framing, etc. Hmmm...can you tell I've been reading my "Home Buying for Dummies" book? :-)

Bud Cline
06-04-2001, 10:30 AM
Well alrightee then BranV or Brandi or whomever...I'm not confused am I?

The inspection thing obviously varies considerably by locale. I still don't know where you are because those developements and street names mean nothing to a guy in Nebraska. Have I missed your city/state location somewhere?

Someone has the authority to require someone to have a building permit. Contact that "someone" and ask if there are inspectors. These are tax dollars my dear, try to get something for your money. It used to be that the reason for requiring you to get a permit is so that the local taxing agency would know who to send the tax bill to.

It also used to be that if there was in fact an inspector, then that inspector was there to protect the taxpayer and to guarantee that procedures were proper. It's no secret inspectors in some cases have no talent and are useless, I can vouch for that first hand. But that still doesn't excuse the process.

Before you say "oh well", do some homework, make some calls, find out what you may or may not be entitled to. I wouldn't discourage you from hiring your own inspector in fact that would be in your own best interest for sure, but also keep in mind, even a hired inspector must have some credentials. You would want to know his affiliation and qualifications. I would steer clear of an independant inspector offered or suggested by the builder.

By the way....this tile thing cannot be done on one saturday afternoon, you better plan on a few saturdays.

06-04-2001, 11:40 AM
Ahh, what can I say, us Texans just assume that everyone else must know everything about us *grin* I will be moving to Cypress, TX, which is pretty much just Far North West Houston, TX. My frame of reference is still Dallas, TX as I am only one year new to the Houston area. I know a little about the inspectors there, but obviously that doesn't do me a bit of good down here..

John Bridge
06-04-2001, 03:02 PM
Hey! We'll practically be neighbors. Technically, my business is in Cypress, since I maintain a P.O. box in that zip code. To tell you the truth, though, I've never been able to locate a city hall or anything of that nature. I have a feeling you are also in an unincorporated area of Harris Country. Call the county and find out.

The tile project will take you longer than a weekend, especially if you are as inept as you claim to be. It'll take us a while to instill some confidence in you.

I'm just joking. You can do it if you set your mind to it, and you won't get any better technical help anywhere.

06-04-2001, 04:09 PM
Hi BranV! Welcome.

I have not been around this group of posters long, but as another DIYer I hope to assure you these folks in here are very helpful.

While you're getting good pro help, I can add some DIY perspective.

I just wrapped up a kitchen mud and tile job that I still owe the group some photos on. And while I had some help from posters on some of the finer points on what I was doing, I'd recommend reading John's book on tile setting while you're considering the job. It has some great advice in it that you won't get from most other DIY guides. I did tile work before this without it, and found it to be a great resource.

For a guide, our kitchen has 145 sf and we set tile over two evenings and grouted on a Saturday afternoon. It would have taken less time, had I not had to deal with some level irregularities from my very first mud job. It took extra time to back-butter some tiles, which is something you won't have to deal with. On this job I used 12" x 12" tile. The trick is in the layout work, and that's where John's book was a big help.

Your time will vary based on your confidence and the number of tiles you have to cut.

I believe the cost of having somebody do something is not as relevant as having a portion of your home that you can point at and say with pride, "I did that! This is my home!"


John Bridge
06-04-2001, 04:37 PM
Well put, Rick,

You're welcome to come over to the new Professionals' Hangout, too. Not much there yet, but there will be.

Oh, and thanks for plugging the book. My wife will be very happy when the next royalty check comes in. She'll spend it with great joy and exuberance!

06-13-2001, 05:22 AM
I can understand Bud Clines's interest in getting all you can out of you County inspections department and I would definately do so! However, I would highly recommend you contract with a qualified home inspector. Starter homes are notorious for shortcuts that can lead to future problems for you.

In a new home inspection you should receive a minimum of three site visits from your inspector. One before the basement is backfilled(or slab is poured over the plumbing). One before the insulation is installed(to inspect electrical and plumbing). And lastly, before your walk through with you builder.

In Georgia this would cost about $300. In my opinion, very good money spent.

Best of luck w/ your tile work. I am new to this site but can tell you from experience on another forum of which John Bridge are in good hands!


John Bridge
06-13-2001, 05:53 AM
Welcome aboard, TC. Where do YOU lurk? Your handle doesn't ring a bell.

How are things in the Peach State these days? Do they still make good barbeque down there? I'm afraid I haven't been there in many years. Spent three years at Fort Benning during the Vietnam era.