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How NOT to lay tile

Posted by on 24 April, 2012

This is one of my non-wood posts.

A few months ago, we had new tile laid in our master bath. We removed the old tile and backer board, so all the tilers had to do was lay the new backer board, lay the tile and grout. It was admittedly a tricky job. The room is a “T”. The entrance is the leg of the “T” with the bath tub straight ahead. To the left is a vanity on the right and the shower on the left with a small walk-in closet at the end. To the right is a vanity on the left and the toilet enclosure on the right with a small walk-in closet at the end. Hopefully that makes some sense.

The tiler and two helpers (plus some kids) show up and proceed to install the backer lay the tile. Again, the layout was somewhat tricky and laying the tile was tricky so as not to tile one’s self int a corner, or in this case a closet. However, that is why one hires professionals – which we though we had. The right side got laid pretty well, but they didn’t bother to snap a chalk line to line up the right side, depending on spacers to keep the tile aligned. By doing so, they got a slight dogleg in the alignment. This resulted in a grout line that starts out at about 1/4″ and runs to about 3/4 to 1″ at one point. That is in about three to four feet! When we noticed it, one of the tilers blamed in on the room being out of square!

To top it all off, two of the tile in the entrance have loosened and the grout has begun to break up. That’s when we decided to redo the job ourselves. When we began taking up the tile, we found that some of the tile could be removed without tools. Merely pulling up on the tile would break it loose. We found we could crumble the grout between our fingers it was so brittle. Also, they obviously did not butter the tile backs before laying them in the mortar and they neglected to place the backer board in a bed of mortar per manufacturer’s recommendation.

So, today we removed the tile and backer and set the new backer in a bed of thin set. We screwed the backer to the floor with six in spacing as recommended by the manufacturer – the tilers put screws at least a foot apart. Tomorrow we lay tile – again. A $700 job has now turned into a $1,500 job thanks to “professionals”.

That is how my day went. I hope yours was better!

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