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Unread 05-17-2022, 10:55 AM   #1
IggyS
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Shower Remodel Concerns

Hello all,
Sorry for my first post being so long, but I'm in need of some professional opinions on how concerned I should be with the tile job being done in our master bathroom. I brought these up with the tiler and GC, but they essentially said there was nothing to worry about. I'm a homeowner who's assisted on a few tiling projects and occasionally lurked on this forum, but far from knowledgeable enough to know if what they are saying is the norm.

1. The tile is being installed on 1/2" HardieBacker with Redgard applied on top. They did not tape and mud the seams or corners. The boards are touching in a lot of places so very tight gaps, but there are other spots with large gaps, including the niche area. GC's response: "Any gaps are filled with thinset, then tiles are back buttered, corners will be caulked, this is an industry standard method." Gaps were filled after the Redgard application, while tiling. No Redgard was applied once filled.

2. They used a shower pan liner for the floor. I'm 99% sure there is a pre slope underneath, but I did not see the liner in place before tiles went on. My main concern with the liner is the Hardiebacker on the inside curb was attached with screws, through the liner. Tiler's reply: Screws are ok as long as they are not in the bed and are Redgarded anyway.

3. There was no flood test. GC said not required by code, they've only done them twice in 20+ years. Is this true? I'm in NJ. Contract states they would pull necessary permits, but I have not seen anyone come to inspect.

4. The back wall has 2x10 ceramic picket tiles (Equipe Arrow) installed vertically. Both the tile and grout specify minimum of 1/16" space. Almost all gaps are less than this and in many places they are paper thin or butted. Tiler: argued how big 1/16" was, then said he could get the grout in there and once done all grout lines will be the same and fully filled. Will we have issues with cracked tile or grout coming out eventually?

5. Aesthetically - the ceiling is not level (they installed), which is fine, but being vertical picket tiles with the top row hitting in the picket part, there are uneven tiny triangles ranging from roughly 1/4" to 3/4" tall. This has to be a measurement mistake right? No one plans for a 1/4" triangle. The row below it is also out of plumb, not a lot, but noticeable by eye and confirmed with a level.
GC seemed a little aggravated at this point about me "complaining about 1/16 of an inch". Said once the grout is in, none of these things will be noticeable.

Am I being unreasonable here? I'm not sure if I have any options other than to go forward and hope for the best as most of the job is paid for and they don't seem willing to make any adjustments.
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Unread 05-17-2022, 11:13 AM   #2
Lazarus
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Difficult situation all the way around. Lost me at "Inside curb with screws." With Redgard, it MIGHT survive for a week, a month, a year or forever...but it's not how it should be done.

If they were responsible for framing and trueing the job, obviously they didn't.

Spacers exist to give you consistent gaps on your tile. Why they didn't use them is anyone's guess.

Options here are to try to live with it or tear it out and get someone that can satisfy your expectations. Sorry for your angst.
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Unread 05-17-2022, 11:35 AM   #3
Just In Tile LLC
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Iggy, you are concerned for good reason. Everything you mentioned is a valid concern and the first 3 are so simple to avoid. Of course you need seam tape for the board.....it's right there in the instructions from the manufacturer. Yes it needs to be taped with tile mortar, then redguard applied AFTER so it's all a seamless waterproof substrate.

I don't fasten through my curbs but to my knowledge you can redguard over your screws ONLY if you waterproof your entire shower..floor and all. That means you aren't doing a liner system like they are. Reason being is moisture still works its way behind the redguard at the floor and penetrates the screw holes compromising the dam. If a liner is being done you can't puncture it at the dam no matter what waterproofing method you have on the dam.

I don't know if it's code to flood test where you're at but most tile professionals do every time regardless of jurisdiction because it's simple and lets us know we are off to a good start and won't be wasting material from that point forward because of an overlooked problem. It's just good practice no matter what the code says, because it's an easy fix if one is found at that point in the build.

My observations off of what you've said on the first couple things you've listed.

Edit: I'll add/correct you can't puncture the liner on the top or inside..the outside of the dam is o.k.
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Unread 05-17-2022, 01:03 PM   #4
IggyS
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Thank you both for your replies. From this thread and others I spoke with, "it might work, but it's not right" seems to be the best case.

Lazarus - on the framing, yes this was larger job combining an existing bathroom and closet and they took everything down to studs including the ceiling.

Justin - the liner does go on top of the curb, but not around the front. I'm not sure if it's also screwed through on top as the curb piece was installed already.

The lack of tape, spacers, and flood test also confused me as none of those things add any real time or expense. He did use spacers with levelers on the side walls where we have large format tiles, but none on the back wall.

From your perspective on the business side, if they don't see a problem and there's no code or contract issue, there's very little chance of them fixing anything here, correct? The contract includes 1 year for repairs but is vague on work quality, etc.
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Unread 05-17-2022, 05:15 PM   #5
Just In Tile LLC
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I think I'd assume that when you decided to choose who was going to lay your tile you also assumed they were going to at least do "bare minimum" on what is required by the manufacturer on the products they use.

A shower is unlike most things in that if it isn't built right it's not just an eyesore on the outside but still function, it will leak and cause damage. While we have certainly read of worse mistakes on shower builds, it sounds like if you don't press for things to be done to at least what the manufacturer requires for their product to work as intended the contractors will happily truck along building it how they want and gladly take your money and move onto the next one.
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Unread 05-18-2022, 05:58 AM   #6
jerrymlr1
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Quote:
My main concern with the liner is the Hardiebacker on the inside curb was attached with screws, through the liner
Hello Iggy. The tile contractor is building the curb with Hardi? That's not gonna work well regardless of where the screws were put in. Pictures would help if you can post a few.

Like Justin and Laz said, your other points are valid and you have every right to have your shower built properly. The GC and his 20+ years comment is standard BS. Sounds to me like neither the GC or tile sub are competent at building a proper shower.
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Unread 05-18-2022, 08:47 AM   #7
IggyS
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Hi Jerry - the curb is stacked 2x4s with a liner that runs on the inside and top, Hardiebacker with Redgard screwed on the inside.

After telling them we were not comfortable moving forward with the shower as is, they first put the whole job on hold, then called back an hour later and agreed to tear out and redo the back wall. I'm not sure why the sudden change, but we are meeting today to talk about specifics.

Pictures are attached - inside curb, gaps in backer board with visible wood in the niche, butted tiles and tiny triangles.

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Unread 05-18-2022, 10:38 AM   #8
jerrymlr1
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Sloppy work altogether Iggy. The curb is done wrong. I would bet that if you did a flood test it will leak. The hardi should have been taped with thinset, then RG. What's the use of haveing waterproofing with the huge open gaps?? There had to be a way to not have the little triangle cuts on top too. Poor planning there. Your GC is responsible for the sub. This really should be removed and start over with a competent tile man, IMHO.
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Unread 05-18-2022, 10:11 PM   #9
Davy
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I'll echo what Jerry said. Also, the Redgard isn't applied thick enough. If you decide to leave it, I would at least tell them you want a 24 hour flood test right now.

Put a level on the curb to make sure it has pitch towards the shower.
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Unread 05-18-2022, 10:24 PM   #10
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The little gap at the bottom of the niche will allow water into that wall in no time. Same for the curb.

Is the ceiling getting tile?
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Unread 05-19-2022, 07:11 AM   #11
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Oh boy.

Silver lining? Yup - you knew enough to realize this wasn't being done correctly. Good job, Iggy.
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Unread 05-19-2022, 11:26 AM   #12
IggyS
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Hi Kevin - no tile on the ceiling.
Davy - I will check the curb and bench as well for slope.

They did start ripping out the back wall yesterday. The pattern and niche will move up so there are straight cuts on the top and bottom. I will be insisting on taping and filling all seams and gaps to the manufacturer's requirements, which the code says to follow. Same thing about the flood test, it is in the NJ code. Will we be able to test accurately with the floor tile in place? It has not been grouted.
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Unread 05-19-2022, 02:18 PM   #13
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So is there tile on walls adjacent to the one being torn out? I don't see a wide shot of the shower to be able to tell.

My concern is how the waterproofing on the back wall, when reinstalled, will be tied into the waterproofing on the adjacent walls.
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