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Unread 03-21-2021, 01:11 PM   #16
bob-dog
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Thank you for the great thoughts and helpful suggestions.

Yes, this is a development, where the builder owns the lots.

Yes, I have the builder's warranty document and it is detailed about what requires repair and what is acceptable. It uses terms like "workmanship" but not "to standard". For example, if the floor squeaks, it is bad and must be repaired. If the floor is assembled with the wrong material, it is OK.

My understanding is that 100% of the job is subcontracted. Based on the ignorance of the supervisor, the builder specifies certain things and leaves the details to the subcontractors.

I'm going to continue trying to get more information.

My biggest fear is that a bad shower is uninspectable and will not show problems until years later. Once the tile is up, all sins are buried. There are a few other situations like that but most construction details are not so hidden.
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Unread 03-21-2021, 04:08 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob
My biggest fear is that a bad shower is uninspectable and will not show problems until years later.
You're not wrong, Bob, which makes the builders warranty worth perhaps a little less than the paper it's written on, unless a major symptom presents itself within the warranty period.

Unfortunately with a tract house I don't think you're going to get much love from the builder with requests, even demands, to deviate from their norm. You don't even have the option to tell them NOT to completely finish the bathroom(s), that you'll bring in your own professionals.

Enormously frustrating.
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Unread 12-27-2021, 03:05 PM   #18
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Large tile on uneven slab

My new house is not done yet, but progressing. I was able to walk through and see the house today. The house will be tiled with 18x18 Emser HAVANA "Glazed Ceramic" tile over a concrete slab. This seems to be a commodity tile from a large manufacturer:
https://www.emser.com/products/havana

There is one spot in the house where there is a broad bump in the slab. I haven't measured the height of the bump or the slope, but it was just barely noticable to me and my wife, just walking on the slab with shoes on, so perhaps 1/4" to 1/2" rise to an elevated region roughly 16" x 42". See sketch attached.

Please don't ask WHY there is this mound. I have no idea. When I see the foreman, I'll ask, but I'm not optimistic that he will know either. He might say that it was intentional, but I can't imagine why.

What is the right way to proceed?
Do they need to grind down the slab?
Is this a potential long-term issue?
Will this be routine for a tile installer to handle?
How will I know that the job is done correctly?

Thank you for your help.

Bob
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Unread 12-27-2021, 03:46 PM   #19
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Welcome back, Bob.

I've combined you with your original thread on this whole-house project for continuity and so folks can see what's been previously asked and answered.

There is a long-standing discrepancy between what is acceptable in flatness of a finished concrete SOG to the concrete industry and what is acceptable and required by the ceramic tile industry.

For tiles the size you indicate will be used, the requirement is no deviation from intended plane of more than 1/8th" in ten feet, nor /16th" in two feet. Unless you brought your ten-foot straight-edge with you on your visit, it's difficult to determine whether this floor is suitable for your tile installation without additional flattening, but in my experience it's very un-common to find a new residential SOG finished to that flatness requirement. If you can observe an out-of-flat condition just standing and looking, it's a near certainty that the slab doesn't meet that standard.

Judging by your previous comments, I think it highly unlikely that your builder will intend to bring this slab up to tile industry standards before tiling, but I don't know that. And it's nearly certain that a tract-home builder will have his own tile installation crew or crews who do all his tile work and are very unlikely to question the condition of the substrate given them. They will tile it the way it is presented and just do the best they can.

What are the resulting conditions if the slab is seriously un-flat and they are not seriously good installers? Generally lippage (out of plane condition between tiles) will be the first noticeable result. The industry has standards for that, too, but we can get into that after the tiles are installed.

And getting such a condition remedied to your satisfaction will be impossible, judging from your previous comments.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 12-27-2021, 06:25 PM   #20
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CX,

Thank you for the reply. Your information on standards for slab are very helpful. Your comment about this being a common issue is also helpful.

I really need to get out there with a long straight-edge and figure out what's really going on. Home Depot sells 10' aluminum angle stock in various weights. Their stiffest may be straight enough.

So far, from what I can see, this builder is doing quality work but cutting some corners on materials. I'm hoping that they will accept that this is wrong before things go to far. It will be much more expensive to fix after tile is laid.

I did a web search on tile lipping and found a lot of information. Many sites talk about the importance of "surface preparation". This URL:
https://makeitright.ca/holmes-advice...-uneven-floor/
talks about using Sika L125 over Sika primer to level slabs before tile. If my problem were a low spot, that would certainly be great. But if this is a hump, it might be a huge job to level the whole house.

Another site talks aboiut diamond-grinding down the high spot. Is that ever done? Are there other approaches?

Bob
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Unread 12-27-2021, 06:36 PM   #21
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Not really. A diamond cup grinder outfitted with a dust collection is the quick way to get-r done
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Unread 12-28-2021, 11:22 AM   #22
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I met with the foreman today and showed him the hump. We weren't able to measure it, but he said that he will get his concrete guy in to grind down the hump.

Flooring is scheduled to start in one week, so timing is good.

Regarding the very old post in this thread, they still haven't started on the shower. I've since learned that they don't necessarily follow prints. The contractor builds to what they think is correct. So it is very possible that they will build the shower using approrpiate materials and methods, not the hodge-podge on the print.

Thank you.

Bob
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Unread 12-28-2021, 01:45 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob
Many sites talk about the importance of "surface preparation"
As well they should. It's the single most important factor in preventing lippage with large format tiles.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob
...it might be a huge job to level the whole house.
Bob, your tiles care not a whit about whether your substrate is level, they care only about flat. The larger the tiles, the more they care. Important to separate level from flat in your conversations about what's needed.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 12-28-2021, 02:11 PM   #24
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If the builder/tile contractor says that it is being done per the TCNA Handbook, following ANSI Standards and NTCA recommendations you have something you can go back on...If they are not following these guidelines fire them on the spot!
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Unread 12-28-2021, 02:29 PM   #25
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Flat, not level: Good point. My understanding is that products like Sika L125 are free-flowing liquids that level by gravity. But a layer or two of thinset might be another good way to get it flat enough without leveling. However, that would also take skilled labor.

Fire them on the spot: I'm buying a house from a large builder that owns the land and is subcontracting the whole job. Choice of contractor is not my option.

Looking back, I would have felt much more in control buying the land and hiring my own builder, but certainly that would have cost me a lot more. In exchange, I would have had a house with better materials. It isn't clear that it would have been better made.

These days, every contractor is finding it hard to keep good talent and is overcommitted for the people they have. If there was an excellent contractor in my area and they had the option of tiling 25 houses for a big company vs 1 job for me, would I even get a quote? On top of that, I wouldn't know a good contractor from a well-meaning contractor or a real crook.

I'm not delighted with the situation, but also realize that it could be worse.

Bob
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Unread 12-28-2021, 02:58 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bob-dog
...If there was an excellent contractor in my area and they had the option of tiling 25 houses for a big company vs 1 job for me, would I even get a quote?
I can see where you think that. However, many of the best contractors on this site have learned that there are exceptionally few big companies that are actually worth working for. Once in a blue moon, we find them and work for them. Otherwise, the 1 job for 1 homeowner can be some of the best work available. The overall total job total $$$ doesn't change much, but it's more profitable than working for the big guys that treat us like banks and want us to be happy getting paid 90 days out.....after being rescheduled 3 times........after us having to work in the same room as the electricians who drop wire over the house as though they were salting french fries......after cleaning up the painter's overspray or other contaminants that will prevent our tile from bonding to the slab.......after re-doing some of the work that results in poor substrate rather than wait until next week for the drywall crew to come back......after taking multiple trips to their supplier that they are making a profit off the tile, but I have to pick up because the delivery won't be there until a few days after we were supposed to have started. Very few general contractors run jobs in a clean manner that everyone is responsible for their own scopes of work....most general contractors allow things to be blurred by the crew that beats in the next crew or complains the loudest or some other obnoxious trait.

If you can establish a decent relationship, working for homeowners can be some of the best work.
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Unread 12-28-2021, 04:16 PM   #27
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"He also said that they don't warranty against mold."

Well, that in and of itself concerns me. Properly waterproofed and using the right materials and the right techniques, that should/would not be an issue.
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Last edited by cx; 12-28-2021 at 06:15 PM.
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Unread 12-28-2021, 06:27 PM   #28
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The occupants can create their own mold conditions, Laz. I wouldn't warranty against it, either.

Bob, it would be helpful if you'd add your geographic location to your User Profile.
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Unread 12-28-2021, 06:46 PM   #29
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Tonto, you forgot to mention the painters who put as much paint on the floor as they do on the walls. Nothing like getting to a job and finding a 1' wide strip of paint on the floor against every wall. Makes me want to start slinging tile mortar on every wall.

There are some builders who will not work under the terms you mentioned, Bob. I used to work for a builder who would buy the lot from the owner, build the house, then sell it all back when the house was finished. Granted, he didn't do a lot of custom homes, but he didn't really need to. It was just to protect himself if the customer decided to break the contract, so that he was on the winning end.

Sounds like you're staying on top of things there. Even though you've hired out all the work, building can be a lot work for the customer, right?
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Unread 12-28-2021, 09:53 PM   #30
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Quote:
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Tonto, you forgot to mention the painters who put as much paint on the floor as they do on the walls.
No, I got it...it was my 4th complaint in that list about the overspray on the slab.


...though, I admit that my list is only about 3% complete.
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