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Unread 12-07-2006, 01:12 PM   #1
Northwest Tile Guy
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Hack job

I just got back from an estimate on a remodel house. The owners had a friend of friend lay 12x12 marble in their hallway, laundry room, bath, and dining room. He was supposed to set it also in their entry way and around their fireplace, but the job he did was so bad that they told not to come back. They originally called me to fix some serious lippage in their dining room and after I looked the rest of the work over and asked a few questions, I found out that:

1. their tilesetter did not use thinset when he installed the cement board.

2. did not undercut doorjambs and left over an inch gap along the walls of the hallway.(which the owners are really upset about)

3. installed chiped and or defective tile

4. multiple areas of lippage way over the 1/32 standard

5. fill in the blanks as to what ever else is common among hacks

Out of all the problems I saw, I thought their biggest issue was going to be with the cbu installed without thinset.
What is the best advise to give the couple? I haven't worked much with marble but I have done travertine and granite and figured it is pretty close to the same. Is there anything I should specifically know about installing marble that is different from those?
I have already warned them about the no thinset under the cbu but there might be some things I forgot to tell them. I just feel pretty bad for them. The guy they hired also said he could get them a deal on the marble and ended up charging double the price of what they could have got it at Home Depo(because it is the exact same stuff) Anyways, any other comments or advise would be appreciated!
Thanks!
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Unread 12-07-2006, 01:34 PM   #2
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general advice,,,,,,,,Its gotta go...

Well, one things for sure,

It's all gotta go.
I don't believe any self respecting mechanic is going to even think about fixing that mess.
Unfortunately this kinda stuff happens all too often, and makes the rest of us look bad.

You can't do anything with what you have, because you'd be relying upon whatever is left of his installation. You have to take it all out, I'd just be honest with them at this point, lay it out to them methodically and plainly.
They have been hoodwinked once, they are looking for honesty right now,
but,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,DONT work cheap.. Charge what you want!

Cheap....is what may have got them into this mess in the first place.
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Unread 12-07-2006, 01:43 PM   #3
Shaughnn
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Hi Chad,
While we preach the gospel of bedding the CBU in thinset, it's not exactly "demanded" yet by the industry. I think your bigger problems are the hideous cuts, ignorant layout and the lippage. I would expect that, once the floors are pulled up, that you will find that the subfloors will need some addressing to get a flat plane to receive the marble.
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Unread 12-07-2006, 01:49 PM   #4
Dave Gobis
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Bedding the panel is the recommendation of both the industry and all manufacturers where it will receive floor traffic. Neither can "demand" anything. It is not a legal issue and there are no tile police. Anyone with some experience knows the eventual outcome when you don't bed the panel.
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Unread 12-07-2006, 02:45 PM   #5
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In a previous life, we ran a number of tests using the Robinson machine to test the the different parts of the backerboard system. By far, the potential for disaster was the greatest by not putting thinset under the board vs. not fastening or not taping the joints. Just a little tidbit to chew on.
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Unread 12-07-2006, 08:32 PM   #6
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Don't forget about if the floor structure meets L/720. That should be your first concern since you have natural stone. Is there a second layer of plywood below the cbu?
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Unread 12-08-2006, 12:08 AM   #7
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One other thing to consider is the color of the marble. If it is a green or black, it needed to be set with epoxy. These colors can actually curl up on the corners, leaving major toe stumps, if the proper setting material is not used.

The backer board without thinset is not a complete disaster if it was screwed down with proper screws on 6" centers, although, sounds like that probably didn't happen either based on the other things you said.

Sounds like a total do over. Make sure to remind them that with friends like that, who needs enemies.

God Bless

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Unread 12-08-2006, 02:05 AM   #8
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If the marble is light in color, be sure to use white thinset. Many light stones are translucent (hold a piece up to a light and see if any makes it through the stone) and gray thinset may show through.
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Unread 12-08-2006, 06:43 AM   #9
John K
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Chad,

Have them tear it all out to save them money. Maybe going back with a nice porcelain would be better for them. Especially if the floor doesn't meet the required l/720 for marble. The extra cost of beefing up the structure to support marble my not be in the budget at this point.

They need to chalk this up to experience. Take the loss now and move on. If they don't. They will take a bigger loss one day when they try to sell.

As Dave stated. You must always bed the backerboard in thinset. You wouldn't skimp on the houses foundation, would you? The subfloor system and underlayment are the tiles " foundation".
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Unread 12-08-2006, 07:08 AM   #10
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Speaking of MARBLE

Has anybody actually taken the time to look at what the Big B ox Stores are selling BY THE PALLET!!!!

If you want a Good Job with this stuff
#1 - Buy 3 times more than you need
#2 - Sort Sort Sort..............Then Sort some more!!(check bevels & Check for square on EVERY Piece)
#3 - Labor Charges (Charge Double Normal Rate + Add 3 hours per 100 s/f @ Your normal T&M Rate for Added Sorting time over normal )

YES.................Its THAT BAD!!!

Reminds me of the guy who sold a customer some really cheap Granite and when I called him and asked him how I was supposed to install this garbage he said (and I Quote)

" OH, just set these with a 1/4" grout joint and use a Sanded Grout"

Is this where the Stone industry is headed????
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Unread 12-08-2006, 07:19 AM   #11
Bellsfloors
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If you want a Good Job with this stuff
#1 - Buy 3 times more than you need
#2 - Sort Sort Sort..............Then Sort some more!!(check bevels & Check for square on EVERY Piece)
#3 - Labor Charges (Charge Double Normal Rate + Add 3 hours per 100 s/f @ Your normal T&M Rate for Added Sorting time over normal )

YES.................Its THAT BAD!!!



I agree with you 110% Todd,

I laid some marble a few years back that the customer bought at one of the big box stores and it was total crap. I had to be carefull just picking them up as they would just break lifting them from box. Now cutting was an adventure too. You carefully measure and mark the stone, take out to cut, soon as water hit it it would fall apart in the tray and had to start over again. Customer was so proud that she got marble for .99 ea for 12"x12"s
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Unread 12-08-2006, 07:27 AM   #12
tileguytodd
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Quote:
Customer was so proud that she got marble for .99 ea for 12"x12"s
I Love a Bargain as much as the next guy, but this stuff is NO Bargain.
If we as setters treat this garbage in Bids as if it were a normal everyday marble job with quality material.Not only will we LOSE Money, we will LOSE reputation because trying to make it look geed is nearly impossible and takes like I said 3 times more material and a HEROIC EFFORT on the part of the tile contractor.
When I say charge double and ADD ADD ADD for everything, I am not kidding.

When anybody calls re a marble job BE CERTAIN where the material is coming from BEFORE you even mention numbers.

Or simply let them Know..........I Have 2 prices for labor
1 price for quality special order stone..............and
1 price for Discount Lumber Yard Stone

suddenly 99 cents a s/f doesnt look quite as attractive!!!
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Unread 12-08-2006, 10:10 AM   #13
mark11755
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The backer board without thinset is not a complete disaster if it was screwed down with proper screws on 6" centers

Just to make sure, my extensive research and experimentation into this subject tells me clearly that the above statement is not true, especially with stone.
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Unread 12-08-2006, 10:12 AM   #14
mrjetskey
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the most in-expensive job doesnt mean using the cheapest materials,hey if you buy a car starter for 40.00 and it cost 150.00 to install ,and it lasts 1 year ,or you buy the 75.00 starter same 150.00 labor and it lasts 5 years which is the most cost saving? easy. same with tile
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Unread 12-08-2006, 10:36 AM   #15
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So far I am in agreement with you guys for the most part. I will check on the joists and deflection. It is one area I forgot about due to all the other problems I was seeing and the complaining of the owners. Todd is right about the quality of the marble. One of the pieces the owner wanted me to remove looked like it had some kind of filler used to patch a hole. It is a light colored marble with some light reddish pink streaks going through it. She told me that the guy sold it to her for $5.99 a square foot and got a "special" deal just for her. When I looked at the boxes, it is the same exact boxes used by the stuff that comes from China and The Big Orange store. Hmmmm?

I think the best thing would be to start all over from scratch but I am thinking that the owners will not be willing to do so. If they are, they will definitely be paying for it. If they don't they will be paying for it in the end as well.

Just a question. Could a guy grind down those edges that have the lippage and polish them up with polishing pads? I just hate to more work than necessary before I can convince these guys to do a do over. Anyways, thanks for the replies and advise!
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