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Unread 07-02-2011, 11:20 PM   #1
Kimmi5207
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Freaking out reading nightmare installs-how to avoid?

As I've been reading the boards the last few days (It probably didn't help that I did a forum search on "nightmares"), I'm freaking myself out about my plans to tile the entire house, except the bedrooms which will still have carpets. Basically entry foyer, hallways, both bathrooms, closet connected to master bath, dining room, den, kitchen, dining nook. Most of it is currently carpet, linoleum in the kitchen areas and entry way. I'm Not doing it myself. Hiring someone. Plan is probably for 16x16,18x18, or 20 x 20 porcelain tiles.

I keep having images of my entire house being tiled, and the floor being uneven (lippage?), the cuts not looking right (thinking of going with a diamond pattern through out the house), etc.

What can I do to avoid some of the issues that have been faced by others who hired installers? What should I look for in an installer? Anything specific I should ask them when getting quotes? Ask to see pictures of installs with larger tiles? How are they normally paid? I know they aren't paid completely until the job is finished but not sure how payment would work on a nearly entire house install. I've done my rough measurements but I assume they will come out and give me exact measurements and the amount of tile to buy?

Also, anything specific to look for to make sure I get a quality tile? I'm going with porcelain. I know to try and get boxes from the same lot, a PEI rating of 4 or 5, at least 10% extra.

I may go with the company that installed my dad's tile about 1 1/2 years ago. But he had a much smaller area installed (kitchen, dining nook, and laundry room), and it was just with 13 x 13 tiles in a diamond pattern, which from what I read aren't the same as installing the larger tiles. He did have 2 layers of ceramic tiles, plus a layer or 2 of linoleum that had to be pulled up, and the floor had to be evened out. The company did an excellent job with that and my dad felt like they took their time and didn't try to rush it. Getting up that old ceramic made my dad glad he hired it out rather than doing it himself.

Anyway, any advise to keep me from throwing a lot of money away would be appreciated. I've been in the house 9 years and I've decided I'm probably goinig to be here for many years to come, so I'm starting to do some upgrading from the basics I got when the house was built.

Also, the total area I'm getting tiled is probably around 1000-1100 square feet. About how long would a job of that size take? I know it varies depending on certain factors such was what the floor looks like, etc (note, it is concrete under everything). Just want to know if it's a 1 week, 2 week, etc type job.

I know this is a lot. Sorry. Lots of questions the closer I get to going ahead with this-been planning the last couple of years but decided to wait until I sent my son off to college before I start upgrading things. You know how kids can be....Well, he leaves in 1 1/2 months!
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Unread 07-03-2011, 12:34 AM   #2
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Lots of things to look at here, Kimmi.

Certainly, look for experience. The setting of larger tiles takes more expertise than smaller format tiles. Ask for referrals on similar jobs and call them...or even visit. Pictures are nice, but seeing it firsthand is better.

Much has to do with prep and the flatness of the slab. A good tilesetter will go over the floor thoroughly to check this.

On time, your mileage may vary, but I would think at least a week...kinda hard to see your house from here.

Expect a small down payment, particularly if they are supplying morter. Generally, balance on satisfactory completion.

Inexpensive tiles are often priced that way for a reason. Shuffle up 8 or 10 of them and line them up on edge. Are they all relatively consistant as to size? If not, the grout joints may vary more than you like. This is referred to as "calibre."

Spend some time in our "liberry." Some good info there.

I'm sure others will step in on things I might have missed. Best 'O luck!

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Unread 07-03-2011, 02:03 AM   #3
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Thank you.

I get a little confused as to what is considered cheap tile. My dad has given me the same advice (to not go cheap on the tile). I know .69 is cheap and wouldn't buy that. But other than that....what is considered cheap? Also, if you haven't purchased the tile yet, how can you line up several to see if they are the same size?

I've looked thru the library. Interesting information,although a lot of it is greek to me right now. Lots of respect to those who are able to do their own installs!
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Unread 07-03-2011, 03:32 AM   #4
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Cheap tile is relative to where you buy it. Some shops can get a better price than others so shopping around is key. I always try to get an idea of what people are looking for and recommend something that'll give them the best results for their price range, I don't sell tile so I'll recommend a shop that does. It's helpful to me as an installer to have some samples to look at because without knowing what type of tile you plan on buying I can't truly give you an accurate install price. A good installer can make cheap tile look better than a cheap installer can make good tile look but you can't expect a miracle if your shopping the buck a ft racks. around here a quality tile under 16"can be had starting at 2$ p/f (by the sq ft not per tile lots of people seem to get confused by this) on something over 16"seems to start around 3$ p/f. The 18"tiles I plan to put in my house retail for $4.69 per ft.

For install tips, I think there is a forum member in your area. Paul maybe?
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Unread 07-03-2011, 04:03 AM   #5
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This tile only cost 1.89 p/f,.it's a nice porcelain made by emser tile. It looks great, is a 20/20 and rectified (trimmed down to make the size uniform) the downside is that there are only three patterns (the picture on the tile) it isn't all that noticeable unless someone points it out. The other downside its minor lippage so a larger grout joint of 3/16"(that's actually a little smaller than standard 1/4"but bigger than the sought a after 1/16-1/8 that seems to be a trend.

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Unread 07-03-2011, 04:04 AM   #6
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Sorry its sideways
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Unread 07-03-2011, 10:14 AM   #7
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Kimmi~If you're looking in a mid-range store like HD or Lowes, they usually have a box or two open. Pull out a handful of tile, rotate a few of them and set them up on the edge and run your finger across the ends. Size variations will show up here.
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Unread 07-03-2011, 10:57 AM   #8
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My clients choose $3-$6 per sq ft tile typically. Average full body porcelain, non-rectified is maybe $4.50/ft.

I charge more for setting cheap tile, as they virtually always require measuring and sorting time. I tell my clients that I can sort for them at $65/ hr. Or they can do it. Once they start making piles of too large, too small, just plain wrong, and just right tiles, they usually give up and return the cheap tiles.
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Unread 07-03-2011, 01:52 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kimmi
I know to try and get boxes from the same lot
Kimmi - just like Yoda said "There is no try, there is either do, or do not." Just get all tile from the same mfgr date/dye lot. It's your tile dealers job to get that done for you. Easy when you order ahead.

In regard to worrying about lippage etc. There is one easy answer, Be there to inspect it as it progresses. If at all possible, get over to the floor just done the day before and swish a plastic container top over the tiles you can reach to see if the sound and feel is one that has smooth transitions from tile to tile. That's a lippage detector. Then you can put a straight edge accross the tiles to see if they are pretty much in the same plane.

Bottom line on your concern - if you check work daily, you will only have one day's worth of screw up's to get on top of. If you see that the job is poor after one day, have a chat with your contractor to determine if you continue or part ways. And if it looks awful that following day, have your contractor yank it up right away whiles its easy.

Little chance of someone really screwing up your tile job if you scrutinize their work DAILY.
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Unread 07-03-2011, 04:02 PM   #10
Kimmi5207
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Thank you everyone for the great advice! I need to figure out how to bookmark this thread.

I went out to look at tile samples today and picked up a few 18 x 18 and 20 x 20 in patterns that I like. So I can see how the color works in the house, as well as the size. I'll probably keep them around so that when I have a contractor come out, he can tell me which will work best for my project.

Thanks again for the great advice regarding chosing installers, tile, inspecting tile,etc., and I welcome any additional that someone may have to offer.
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Unread 07-03-2011, 05:21 PM   #11
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Hi Kimmi, to bookmark the thread just click add to favorites when you are on this thread.
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Unread 10-26-2011, 07:17 PM   #12
Kimmi5207
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reasonable time to wait for quote?

I know there is no standard answer, but what would be a reasonable amount of time (or max time) to wait on a bid before moving on? I know I can be an impatient person so just want to make sure my expectations are reasonable.

Just basic info as to what the job involves - this is for removal of carpet/linoleum and installation of 20x20 porcelain floor tiles thru out the house, excluding the 3 bedrooms (entryway, den, dining room, hallway, study, kitchen, kitchen eating area, both bathrooms). A total of 895 sq feet plus remove tile from a fireplace and replace it with the new tile to match the floor. Slab is concrete, 9 year old house - no knowledge of the floor being uneven. I'm providing the tile and grout.

Doesn't seem like an overly complex job to bid on, but there could be other aspects that I'm not aware of that have to be taken into consideration when coming up with the quote.

Thanks
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Unread 10-26-2011, 07:39 PM   #13
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Hi Kimmi,

When I was in business I would usually provide a figure on the spot or within a day or so via email.
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Unread 10-26-2011, 07:40 PM   #14
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Kimmi, sometimes things don't seem to click just right, give him a call and ask if he still plans on giving you a quote and that you are anxious. if not recieved right away move on. IMO
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Unread 10-26-2011, 07:43 PM   #15
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I'm helpin' you bookmark the thread, Kimmi.

I hope you've not been waiting since July for this bid.

If the guy's been to your jobsite to look over the job it would normally not take him many days to work up a bid and submit it. Usually there would be some idea given, like, "I'll have you a bid ready by next week," or some such.

But there's certainly no rule that says you can't solicit other bids whilst you're waiting, 'specially if the contractor is being exceptionally slow.

Actually boils down to how much time you think is too much.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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