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Unread 05-22-2015, 11:16 AM   #1
JenniferB
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Help with Professional Grout Install Issue Please

Hi,

I'm new to the site and I hope this is an appropriate post and in the appropriate place!

We had a GC renovate our attic and redo a hall bath on our second floor (projects completed first week of April). I had to call the GC about the hall bath grout, about two weeks ago, because it had cracked in several places around the wall/tub and along the tub/floor (the shower bath had only been used once before the cracks occurred). The tile in the hall bath is the brick style (6"x3") and was grouted with TEC Power Grout; the floor was also grouted with TEC Power Grout. The GC sent the owner of the tile company to handle the problem.

I had also noticed a few small (air?) holes in grout surrounding the tub and the grout seemed rough/grainy. When the owner arrived, he brought caulk with him to repair the cracks. I asked if he could caulk over grout as well as a few other questions about how he was going to go about repairing the cracks and the (air?) holes...he was a fast talker, but what I took away from our conversation was:

1. He just needed to scrap out the the cracked grout with his knife and replace just those areas with caulk.

2. The (air?) holes were caused by (he was talking so fast it was a blur...something about the tiles not being of the best quality and...???), but all he needed to do was mix a little grout and fill in the holes...additionally, even if he hadn't filled in the holes, we wouldn't have had any problems because of the superior way they prepare the area before putting the tile up (he knows what he's doing...his dad was in the business and he's been doing it for 20 years).

3. He is sure the job was done correctly because his guy did it (very nice young man...but I think this may have been one of his first jobs with the smaller tiles).

Since his 'fix', I am having the same issues that others have had with the TEC Power Grout (bleeding color and grit) . Also, the young man who did the install told me to wet the grout and use a hard bristled brush to "clean up the lines" (make them straighter and get excess grout off the tiles), once the water was running; I started doing that last week. Doing that has made the grout job look better, but has caused more (air?) holes to pop up. Even without the hard bristled brush, the grout bleeds with just running a wet finger over it.

And, finally, the tile job is pretty bad--lines aren't all straight and some tiles protrude more than others. One tile has a black blotch on it (white tiles), which, if replaced, would affect the integrity of the water sealant/board behind the tile...as related by the owner. The owner said if we had more problems to just call him directly. So, I have a few things to ask here:

1. Should I expect the tile job not to be perfect if the tiler was using the smaller tiles?

2. Did the owner fix the grout correctly?

3. With the (air?) holes, is it okay to just fill them with more grout?

4. Should I call the owner directly to fix problems or should I go through the GC? (sorry, this is the first time we've used a GC--we expected him to make sure all the craftsmen did their job right...we are finding out different!).

Sorry this is so long...any help you can offer would be greatly appreciated!

Thank you for taking the time to read this,
Jennifer
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Unread 05-22-2015, 11:37 AM   #2
cx
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Welcome, Jennifer.

1. Tile size has nothing to do with the expectation of a professional job you're paying for. The small area in your photos does look a bit sloppy to me.

2. Depends somewhat upon the type of grout used.

3. See #2.

4. You should contact the person to whom you are writing checks for the job and no one else.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 05-22-2015, 11:38 AM   #3
JenniferB
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A few more pictures...

In the last post, the top picture shows chipping or something to one of the tiles (not just grout out of place). The next picture is to illustrate the non-uniformity of the tiles. And the last one shows one of the (air?) holes.

This next lot shows:

(top)- another example of the tile job.

(middle)- the black mark on the tile mentioned in the last post, as well as part of the repair job done by the owner. I think where the caulk is whiter is where the crack was.

(bottom)- an extreme close up of the grout.

Thank you again!
Jennifer
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Unread 05-22-2015, 11:40 AM   #4
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I have to stop reading these kinds of threads. They just make me sad.

They did a poor job, sorry to say. I don't know what kind of grout that is, but some kinds can be installed over an existing grout job. The older cement-based ones cannot.

I'm not a pro, but there will be one along shortly who can give you some advice. You will get good advice here, and we're all very friendly and helpful. I'm sorry this happened; it happens a lot. Too often, it seems.
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Unread 05-22-2015, 11:44 AM   #5
JenniferB
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Wow!

Thank you for your fast response CX! May I ask if, in your opinion, the job needs to be redone? We did pay extra for the tile/tile install. I can understand the owner not wanting to redo the job--and believe me, I am done with having people tearing up our house!...but I also don't want to have to have it redone in a year or two because it wasn't done right the first time.

Thank you for your help this far and I'm sorry if I'm being too...um...needy!

Jennifer
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Unread 05-22-2015, 11:47 AM   #6
JenniferB
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Wow again!

Thanks Gerry! You all are just great! Wait until I try and do a mosaic by our garage door landing...I'll probably have you all pulling your hair out
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Unread 05-22-2015, 11:52 AM   #7
jlbos83
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There are two sides to the issue....

1. The actual appearance of the tile and grout isn't as good as you would expect, having paid good money for it.

2. If the work done behind the tile was done properly, the job will continue to look like it does and not fail for a very long time.

The GC is the one that should look at it, and be the one to deal with the subs to remedy any issues.
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Unread 05-22-2015, 11:59 AM   #8
Platypus
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No, you're going to find these people are extremely patient. I've been working on two bathrooms for over two years, and they helped me all the way through. I have asked my share of dumb questions (I'm not implying yours are), and never got anything but the gentlest of flames at worst, and always accompanied by good, sound advice. There are many non-pros here who know quite a bit and do good work too.

Good luck with your contractor, the second set of pictures was worse than the first. The tile-setting is awful, and it looks like they used a cement-based grout with WAY too much water in it.

It's a do-over, there's no way to "fix" it, but if it is waterproofed correctly, it will be functional at least. Based on most of the stories I read here, the GC is likely to fight you over it, but who knows? The fast-talking type... I have doubts he will help you. Here comes the sadness again...

But you can come back here and ask all the questions you want, and you won't wait more than a day or two for an answer usually (it is Memorial Day weekend, though), and you definitely can trust the advice you get.
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Unread 05-22-2015, 12:04 PM   #9
JenniferB
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Memorial Day...

...trumps any of my little life issues for sure.
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Unread 05-22-2015, 01:14 PM   #10
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The tile installation is poor. You should not be the one thinning out the joints, the tile installer should be doing the work. When there is a lot of pin holes in the grout, the grout could have been mixed incorrectly, usually to much water. You should expect and demand better, you did not get your money's worth.
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Unread 05-22-2015, 01:38 PM   #11
Steve in Denver
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JenniferB
grouted with TEC Power Grout
Quote:
Originally Posted by JenniferB
2. Did the owner fix the grout correctly?
Quote:
Originally Posted by CX
2. Depends somewhat upon the type of grout used.
I don't know enough to know whether "Tec Power Grout" is specific enough to clarify the type of grout, and if so, whether or not it can be repaired the way it was, but I figured I'd collect all the information in one place. Someone who knows can connect the dots.

While I'm at it I place my bet and say that it can be repaired that way. (Not much more than a guess.)
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Unread 05-22-2015, 02:56 PM   #12
JenniferB
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Using a stiff brush on the grout...

Once again...thank you all for your replies, information, and, mostly, your support! A major concern I am having is getting the run around (again) from the owner and possibly the GC.

I just wanted to verify that using a stiff brush on the grout would not be a reason for the (air?) holes. I've cleaned dirty grout with a stiff brush for over...well, for a long time...and have never had it remove the grout, even when the grout was old. I'm worried when I speak to the GC and/or the tile shop owner, somehow the fact that I used a stiff brush on the grout will be the reason it's not holding up like it should.
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Unread 05-22-2015, 03:35 PM   #13
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Nope, sorry, Jennifer but they are indeed giving you the run-around. Stiff brush causing pinholes or the grout wearing out?! I don't think so!! You ever scrub concrete with a stiff brush? This grout is basically concrete (I think...I didn't see what kind you're using but suffice it to say, no grout is wimpy enough to be bothered by a stiff brush unless the grout was improperly mixed and/or installed.)
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Unread 05-23-2015, 12:46 AM   #14
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I don't think a brush is going to cause pinholes. It may reveal pinholes that were in the grout that shouldn't have been there. Plus the work that you did should have been done by the contractor. It's on them to install things correctly and they can't push the blame onto you.
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Unread 05-29-2015, 03:03 PM   #15
JenniferB
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I hope everyone had a wonderful and safe Memorial Day weekend!

Just to be clear, the GC nor the tile company owner has blamed my scrubbing of the grout as the reason for (air?) holes; I just wanted to make sure that that wasn't the cause (I found it highly unlikely, but also wanted to be sure of myself if someone suggested that was the cause).

We have the GC coming out on Tuesday, I believe he will be bringing tile company owner with him. So, in preparation, I thought I might bother you all again about the grout put in the attic bathroom before our meeting. TEC Power Grout (Ultimate Performance) was used in both bathrooms. I have taken a stiff brush to the shower stall in the attic and it too loses some grout, however I don't see the larger (air?) holes popping up.

I thought if I shared a couple pictures, maybe someone(s) could advise me if they thought the grout job done in the attic bathroom will hold up. It was a totally different style in the attic bathroom, so messy grout isn't really an issue, nor is a 'not so perfectly' placed tile, I'm just concerned whether you all think the grout will hold up.

First picture is an idea of the overall job.
Second and third pictures are unscrubbed grout.
Fourth and fifth are scrubbed grout.

Thanks again for all help!
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