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Old 11-12-2017, 01:21 PM   #1
kktalker
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Is this shoddy work?

I think my contractor's tile guy is doing shoddy work. First, he was fine with the fiberock lining up behind the lip of the shower pan, and I had to have him fix it twice before it was furred correctly. Then he thought it was fine to leave the lowest inch of fiberock uncovered by durock membrane (I made him fix that). Now I'm looking at his grout on the shower walls, and it has holes in some places and is very low in others. This tells me he didn't work it in completely and it is likely to crumble out. Am I wrong? Also, the ungrouted floor tile and shower niche mosaic have dried thinset bulging out of the grout lines. Am I overreacting if I say I want this tile guy out of my house? What should I be asking the contractor to do? (I have some tile experience but have never done a shower.)

Edited: Here are a couple of videos I took:
https://youtu.be/KwWlHsyFPx4
https://youtu.be/LBQ6ncIWfJk
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Old 11-12-2017, 06:34 PM   #2
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Karen,

From the pictures it doesn't look like he is the neatest contractor, but you are paying for a finished product. He has some ground to cover before he can call this done. The things you are pointing out could have been skipped if he worked neater the first time or read and followed instructions. If he wants to spend his time cleaning to a finished look, he can.

Pinholes in the grout are a sign he is mixing too much water into the grout. If the grout isn't very hard after 4 days, it should all come out and be re-done. If he used cement based grout which gets mixed with water, there is no "adding a little to the top" as all grout manufacturers require the old grout be removed to at least half the depth of the tile before re-grouting.

Do you have any 'during' pictures?
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Old 11-12-2017, 09:41 PM   #3
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Hi Paul, thanks for your feedback. Yeah, the entire remodel has been a fiasco, and the contractor keeps saying, "There's nothing that can't be fixed." And so far, the contractor is fixing things. But what concerns me is when I don't watch them like a hawk, they can get away with a lot under the surface that I don't see (what if I hadn't demanded they furr the wall? What if I hadn't demanded they complete the waterproofing?) I don't have any pictures from immediately before the grouting; I was busy homeschooling my five young children during that stage. I am concerned they left bulges of thinset in the grout lines and just grouted over the surface. Regardless, gah, I just can't imagine someone can live by the motto, "Who cares if I have to do it two or three times?" Ugh.

I need a few minutes, then I am going to link to a couple of videos.
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Old 11-12-2017, 09:52 PM   #4
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I agree with Paul. It's messy but the photos are very close up and it doesn't appear that anything is significantly an issue. Fairly easy fixes so far.
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Old 11-13-2017, 10:00 AM   #5
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A couple of videos

Here are a couple of videos I took.

https://youtu.be/KwWlHsyFPx4

https://youtu.be/LBQ6ncIWfJk
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Old 11-13-2017, 10:30 AM   #6
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Do you know if they're using sanded or unsanded grout?

Definitely a sloppy grout job. I'm assuming the floor hasn't been done yet, which would explain the lower parts not being completely finished, but not the other parts.

It's so much easier to grout it all at once and not have to go back and touch up spots. It sometimes makes for a sloppy job when one tries to grout on top of grout.
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Old 11-13-2017, 10:42 AM   #7
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Can you take a picture of the cross section of the wall at the shower valve like this?
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Old 11-13-2017, 11:24 AM   #8
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I would assume that it's nonsanded grout in the mosaic. Bubbles are a common occurrence in bigger grout joints with runny grout.

Do you have any pictures of the durock and the membrane. You might have bigger problems than grout bubbles if the membrane wasn't overlapped correctly.


I feel for the contractor. No one wants to be watched over like a hawk. Especially by a homeschooling mother of 5.

I like the video. But you need to do the universe a favor. Turn your phone sideways while filming with your phone. Portrait mode is for just that. Portraits.

Travis, that is a very good idea!
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Old 11-13-2017, 01:52 PM   #9
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One thing that sticks out is that they used grout in the corners. Any change of plane needs color matching caulk. Grout will crack out.

Could more attention to details have been paid? Sure could have. Is it the worst we have seen? Not by a long shot. Can the grout issues be fixed? Yes.

You are correct questioning what's been done wrong that you can't see.
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Old 11-13-2017, 02:11 PM   #10
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Looks pretty bad to me. Horrible, in fact. From what I can tell, looks like way over watered unsanded grout. Is the main tile installer grouting, or do they maybe have a helper doing the grout? To be honest, the tile work itself doesn't look all that great either.

Is this a shower with a tiled base?
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Old 11-13-2017, 02:32 PM   #11
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As you suspect, the grout should not have the gaps and bubbles in it. If it's cement grout, they will have to remove at least 1/2 of the grout joint depth in those areas to go back over it, it's not a matter of simply packing in more grout. The corners should not be grouted, the installer should use color matched silicone caulk there.

The mortar can (and must) be cleaned out of the grout joints before grouting. Although it's easier to remove while the mortar is wet, as long as they get on it ASAP it should be OK. The longer it sits, the harder it becomes (and harder to remove it will be).

I like the mosaic, it's a nice accent strip.
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Old 11-13-2017, 03:45 PM   #12
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Thanks everyone for your comments.

Kevin: I am not sure about sanded vs. unsanded; I will check a bag when I have a chance. As for grouting the floors, it doesn't matter because the floor is a different color and I have a Dilex cove separating the floor from the walls.

Travis: I don't have many pictures of the fiberock and membrane because I wasn't watching like a hawk so much at that point. I'd rather not have to watch him like a hawk (because I'd rather be teaching my children), but at this point, I don't trust him and he earned the hawk-watching, lol. Now, my plumber and electrician, on the other hand, can have the keys to my house and call me when they are done and gone.... Can you tell me why a homeschooling mother of five would be worse to have watching than any other person?

Craig: About the grouted corners, yes, I saw that, too. It just piles on with everything else.

Greg: I think the helper did the grouting. They are behind schedule and feeling it from the contractor, so the contractor's answer was to bring on a kid with little experience that the tiler needs to teach as he goes. *facepalm* The shower has a cast iron base, Kohler Salient.

Dan: The mortar has sat for several days. They are leaving it for now and working on a second bathroom (yes, I am in it with them for two bathrooms). I took one look at all those tiny mosaic grout lines to clean and wanted to take a nap, but hey, maybe the pros consider that fun.

Update: Contractor came by today. He seemed to think it would be a pretty easy thing to score the surface of the grout, see any holes underneath, and fill them. Multiple times I emphasized cleaning out the grout lines to half depth (jinx, MAPEI), and it didn't seem to register with him, just that they would "score the surface."
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Old 11-13-2017, 04:49 PM   #13
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Grout looks horrible. For sure it was mixed with to much water. It can most likely be removed quite easily and re grouted. The mosaic will be really time consuming to repair so removing it and replacing it maybe easier. Caulking should always be used in changes of planes such as corners.
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Old 11-13-2017, 06:36 PM   #14
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Is the installer aware those white mosaic tiles have a removable film? This gets removed after the grout is perfect.
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Old 11-13-2017, 06:59 PM   #15
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Grout Type

Kevin: The grout is Mapei Ultracolor Plus FA.
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