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Unread 08-06-2015, 07:14 AM   #1
Scott_in_VA
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Tile install quality issue

Hi - we are having our master bath renovated, including a new steam shower. The renovation included a full gut of the bedroom and bathroom, so the shower framing was brand new, including the entire ceiling in the bath.

We have had other reno's in the house so I am familiar with different levels of quality in contractors. For the master reno, I quickly noticed a lack of carpenters square and level when framing. I commented that I wanted everything level, plumb and square (not too much to ask, right?). Well, the contractor and his subs did what they wanted and little was level, plumb and square by the time the tile job started. After the first day, the tile guy was muttering about all the mud he needed and I raised a red flag with the contractor - the tile on the first wall was sitting on more than half an inch of mud. I knew this was a bad sign. The contractor replied there was nothing to worry about, he was used to seeing lots of mud. I knew this was another bad sign. I told him hiding mud behind the tile was one thing, but we could not accept a mass of mud on any exposed edge. He could hide it if there were, said the contractor. Well, the shower enclosure took more than a week to tile and the result was what I feared - the mud was exposed along the front edge of the ceiling tile in an uneven grout gap ranging from 1/4" on the left side to 3/4" on the right side.

This is our fourth bath remodel and none of the other baths ended up with tile sitting off the wall. I've heard excuses about the rubber membrane pushing all the drywall/concrete board out to the ceiling rafters aren't level.

This is not an inexpensive remodel - more than 50k involved. I told the contractor it was unacceptable to have the exposed ceiling tile sitting 3/4" off the ceiling and that the uneven grout gap along the front edge of shower was a sign something was grossly wrong.

I have a couple pictures to post but as a new user I don't seem to have the ability to upload.

I'm asking you experts how hard I am justified in pushing back on the contractor to fix this issue. My gut says this is a tearout / start over situation. That could cost thousands and thousands of dollars and I know the contractor will fight that solution. How common is tile on stilts / lots of mud and what is my recourse?

Thanks in advance for any advice you can offer.

Regards,
Scott
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Unread 08-06-2015, 07:48 AM   #2
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Scott,

Welcome to the forum.

You should be able to post pictures. Just click on the paperclip icon and follow along.

Pics will really help.

By 'mud' do you mean the material used to set the tiles to the substrate ?
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Unread 08-06-2015, 08:28 AM   #3
Scott_in_VA
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I have uploaded a couple pictures. One shows the wall on the first day of tiling. The second shows the exposed edge of the ceiling tile on the front side of the shower.

And yes, by "mud", I mean the thinset or glue used by the installer. The installer is very good with more than 20 years experience, but he was dodging bulges, un-plumbness and bad angles inside the shower.

Thanks
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Unread 08-06-2015, 02:27 PM   #4
916tile
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Ceiling 1/2" out

1/2" is quite a bit for the ceiling. I think the tile guy should have either brought it up to his CG, or just gone for a flat ceiling vs. a level one. I would throw a level on the ceiling to see if the tile guy got out of whack as well, which could happen when working on a ceiling.
At this point, the drywall guys might be able to float the ceiling to level out/fill in what might be a low spot. When these things come up, you really need to put a level on everything to find out what happened.
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Unread 08-06-2015, 03:03 PM   #5
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The excess of mortar is one issue.

An even bigger issue would be exactly how it is constructed considering you said it was a steam shower, which requires a lot more then just basic shower construction.
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Unread 08-06-2015, 07:46 PM   #6
Swedes Tile
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Looks nice and flat! It sometimes takes a lot of mud to make these large tiles to sit flat with crooked walls.
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Unread 08-06-2015, 07:49 PM   #7
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Ray brings up a good point. Can you see behind the cement board anywhere- like maybe the shower valve? There should be some sort of plastic or tar paper or something back there. If not, you've got problems.

Redgard can be used for steam showers but it has to be applied really thick and it sure doesn't look like it's near thick enough in that photo.
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Unread 08-06-2015, 08:20 PM   #8
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You said that you told the contractor to get everything plumb and level. Which is hard to do but could have been done better than he did. Looking at the tile surface, it looks real flat in the pics. I think the blame should be on the contractor, not the tileman.

Can you find some type of rail or decorative piece to go around the edge?
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Unread 08-07-2015, 04:43 PM   #9
916tile
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Decorative Piece

Davy has a great suggestion. Maybe a silver travertine---
Emser has a Tumbled Silver 1x12 Cigaro, and a 1 1/2" by 12 mini-ogee
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Unread 08-07-2015, 04:51 PM   #10
cx
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Welcome, Scott.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott
...the mud was exposed along the front edge of the ceiling tile in an uneven grout gap ranging from 1/4" on the left side to 3/4" on the right side.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott
And yes, by "mud", I mean the thinset or glue used by the installer.
I'm more concerned with the material used to build out the tiles than in the actual building out if the framing demanded that. Using thinset mortar for such a build-out is not at all acceptable.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 08-07-2015, 07:19 PM   #11
Davy
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Maybe it was some of that super duper LFT thinset.
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