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Unread 07-08-2014, 05:58 AM   #16
jondon
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Quote:
posted by Valerie:
and the recommendation was to check with Bob Battles in Knoxville, as he was at that time the east TN rep for CETF (hope I have that alphabet soup right!). His is one of the firms I'll be getting an estimate from.
Hi Valerie

I was down in Crossville earlier this year and met his son. They are an established company so hopefully you can work something out. Any installation not done correctly is gonna end up costing you way more than doing it once and doing it right. From an installer point of view there is never a good time to need a new bathroom/shower. Just like is there ever a good time for your vehicle to break down when you use it every day...... no it is critical in your everyday life to function.

The key is to get a good installer who will give you the most value for the money. They are very involved and costly, a bedroom you paint. Are there ways to cut down a little by getting glass doors later, sure. As was mentioned how to prepare for that glass in the installation.

As a homeowner you want someone who will do it right so it lasts a long time, it is a big investment sure what other room in your home takes on that much water it is crucial the waterproofing is correct. When I go out to look at jobs I always tell potential customers I am interested in doing it once and right, not a rush job. I don't know anyone who doesn't like to hear those words because we know how jobs are rushed for whatever reason and tend to fail past the point of warranty if there was any.

I tell potential customers too that I would prefer for them to go to a distributor who sells just tile. As an installer I want quality tile to install all the same size. When I hire a painter I don't tell them where to get their paint, if they are established they have an account at Sherman Williams or something like that but yet when people want tile they go right to the big box stores. Yes it is cheaper..... in price and quality. Most of that tile at big box stores in made in China. So if I gotta use tile that is crap I am gonna charge you more in labor because I know the frustration I am going to have to deal with.

They key is quality materials and tile with a high quality installer will give you a return on that investment for many years by lasting a long time and you not having to worry about it. Two jobs I have coming up are both failures at the curb areas. In both cases they are taking the closets next to the shower to make a bigger shower.
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Unread 07-08-2014, 07:16 AM   #17
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Hi....Speaking of tile, box stores, and crap....Is the tile that the "Tile Shoppe" sells good, or is it crap as well?

I know that the stuff at HD and Lowe's can be crap. Especially those mosaics with the mesh paper backing that comes off as soon as it touches thinset...
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Unread 07-08-2014, 07:22 AM   #18
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thank you - now about that tile....

Thank you everyone for the responses! Very informative. In particular, I clearly need to ask about total costs for different systems, as the supplies may be more for one and the labor more for another, right? Do it right once, and it will last. It will cost more on the front end, but less in the long run. Absolutely!

Yes, I will make sure the shower is prepped now for a standard size glass door later.

Now, about the tile. I definitely don't need $30 a foot tile. I like the idea of checking for a discontinued tile with a tile distributor. I have read that the expensive handmade look tiles may be more expensive to install, because they are more variable in size and thickness. However it sounds like cheap tile may (unintentionally) have a similar issue?

So how do I tell? Do I just need to carefully measure a bunch of tiles out of a box? Are there certain brands that are unreliable? Do tile distributors sort of "screen" for that or not so much?
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Unread 07-08-2014, 07:30 AM   #19
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I tear out traditional pans all the time that were done properly. However the hard water in the area has caused calcium deposits to form and plug weep holes. Even ones with the neat little plastic disc to cover weep holes. That's on of the main reasons I switched to using Kerdi. I know how to build a traditional pan. But I have no way to control type of water in household.
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Unread 07-08-2014, 08:36 AM   #20
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Laz,

I realize I ain't a pro here, but I did say to use a surface applied membrane such as RedGard or similar. There will be no water penetrating the ceeement board. If done properly. I would NEVER use the 6 mil plastic behind the CBU. That's kinda like closin' the barn after the horse is out....
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Unread 07-08-2014, 08:56 AM   #21
Lazarus
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Indeed you did, Bill. I saw "traditional," and missed the SAM reference.
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Unread 07-08-2014, 10:12 AM   #22
JTile
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon
Most of that tile at big box stores in made in China. So if I gotta use tile that is crap I am gonna charge you more in labor because I know the frustration I am going to have to deal with.

I think that's a pretty big generalization there Jon. Some of the China tile I've been getting (granted, through Dal..not a box store) has been some of the flattest 12x24's I've dealt with. At the same time, some of the US stuff is absolute crap. I don't think the country of origin has as much to do with quality as it did years ago.
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Unread 07-08-2014, 10:39 AM   #23
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Both Homers and Blowes sell Dal also.
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Unread 07-18-2014, 08:26 AM   #24
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Just an update - been getting estimates

I just wanted to post an update - and a caveat for others hiring "pros."

I am so thankful for the information I've found on this site! I've been having contractors out to give me estimates. Haven't gotten all the estimates back in yet, but I can already tell you I will NOT be hiring one of the guys.

He was recommended by a friend who he had done work for. She got his name from someone else who recommended him. So while I haven't actually seen any of his work in person, I'm guessing it looks nice enough, at least when it's first done. Guessing his estimate will also be my lowest price.

However, he has only been setting tile for about a year. Which I could *maybe* live with depending on what training he's had. But then I asked what type of waterproofing he uses. "Green board, with backer board in front of it. That's what the backer board is for - waterproofing." Huh?! Why does he think the floor tiles in my shower are lifting? "Well, it probably wasn't sealed well enough, so water got down into the thinset." Ugh. Even I know better than that by now, thanks to you guys!

So - interview your contractors carefully--even the ones who come recommended! Then once you've done that, go look at work they did a few years ago to see how it's holding up. (That's my next step for the ones I might end up using.) Without you guys on this forum, I might have ended up using this guy and be replacing my shower AGAIN in another 10 years. Or less.
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Unread 07-19-2014, 09:01 AM   #25
jondon
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Hi Valerie


Quote:
posted by Kyle:
I think that's a pretty big generalization there Jon. Some of the China tile I've been getting (granted, through Dal..not a box store)
Your right Kyle, I am only going by my own experiences. Last time I set some tile homeowner got at Lowes it was a bad experience. I made the joints look the best I could with what I had but I despise having to do that when there are places in the US like Crossville who I push customers toward because I tell them quality tile makes for a better job in the end. Better to work with. I prefer to buy stuff made in the US when I can though our big companies like Daltile outsource to get it made cheap and put their name on it. Of course they have gotten really big and have a big chunk of the market. Kinda like us small operations vs big companies.

Valerie, so you are getting some estimates. One year of experience isn't gonna match someone with a lot more. Experience is what makes you good and your ethics. When you have a lot of experience you should be charging for it. It is worth $ experience is what makes you better if you care. Comparing someone with a little experience and a lot is like comparing apples and oranges.

I bid a job couple weeks ago and told them I did a job in their neighborhood. I went to that customer and asked if the potential customer could come and look at the work. She said certainly and said I would get high marks! Nothing beats seeing the work in person. For those of us with experience bidding jobs we do the same thing and see if the customer is one we want to work for or if they just want it done. The ones like you who are educated on waterproofing, we know you are looking to have it done once and right.

It pays to do high quality work and have good relationships for referrals. From what I have seen in bidding, some are low, some are in the middle and some really high. Do your homework and decide the experience you need and choose accordingly. Having a site like this arms you with knowledge. Good luck with your project
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Unread 07-22-2014, 10:20 AM   #26
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experience - yes

Jon, yes I would much prefer someone with significant experience. I really would not have even had this guy out for an estimate had I known up front how little experience he had. What really shocked me was his lack of knowledge, though, and the fact that his work will probably not hold up very long as a result. It apparently looks good enough on the surface for people to recommend him, which is worrisome for the people he's done work for.

Once I have collected all the estimates, I will be asking for references - preferably people that the work was done for a few years ago, so I can see how it's holding up. Though all the other estimates I'm getting are from folks who've been in the business a good 20 years. Yes, they will cost me more. But it won't cost as much as having to do it again in 5-10 years.

The only way I would be willing to take someone with a year's experience is if the person in question had been trained by a really good tile setter - and I could get a recommendation from the person who trained them. After all, you have to start somewhere. But I want to be sure they're using a good waterproofing system and using it correctly. "Grout not sealed well enough"? Sheesh!

I have one estimate and three more coming (including the one-year guy). That's probably all I'll get, unless I get major issues with any of the real contendors as far as references, etc. I don't expect that at this point, though.
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