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Builder/Remodeler
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Tile failures come in all shapes and sizes. Some crop up as imperfections that only detract from the aesthetics of the installation. Unfortunately, failures in wet locations usually mean mold and rot and damage that can only be fixed by tearing out and starting over. Water is the enemy of all things man-made, and there is no more harsh test of materials and methods than a bathroom.

I visited a project with one of my designers a few weeks back that was completed by another builder approximately 4 years ago. I was asked to look at some tile issues and possible leaks. After such a short time, I was rather surprised they were already having issues.

There are three baths to this project that were remodeled around the same time. The master bath has a marble floor with a visibly crack from wall to wall and a steam shower curb that has cracks between materials and tile falling off in places.

Another full bath with a custom shower also has curb problems and looks to be leaking downstairs.

The last bath has an acrylic tub with tile surround. The joint between the tub rim and wall tile is cracked around the entire perimeter (it was grouted solid--no sealant). When you stand in the tub the crack widens up and the rim of the tub flexes down.

In all of these baths there are indications the tile installer was a poor craftsman. Clumps of grout left in corners, no movement joints anywhere, lipage, open gaps between different materials that can only be seen from a ladder, etc.

These pictures are sickening. Much was spent on these renovations. Lots of care was put into the design and material selections--and I can guarantee the owners thought they would be enjoying these renovated spaces for many many years before having to deal with water leaks, cracked tile, and curbs that are falling apart.

This work wasn't done be a guy in a beat up truck with a rented wet saw. He wasn't a Craigslist Jackleg. The tile sub was a "professional" company. I don't know him personally--I only know him by his work here and on another project which also showed poor craftsmanship.

Master bath:





 

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Builder/Remodeler
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3,712 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
A few more things that we found on closer inspection of the work:

Mastic was used to install the ceiling tile of the master steam shower, and it was not pitched properly.

There are faint cracks developing throughout the marble floor of the master bath which appear to be spaced 36" o.c. down the length of the room (hardi is the underlayment)

(There's a NuHeat system in the master as well.)

There's mold growth developing on the curbing of the steam shower over one of the unsealed jambs:


Another corner of the steam shower ceiling--grout clump, cracks, no sealant:


Visually the ceiling curb of the steam shower looks off:



On closer inspection:

 

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Construction Connoissuer
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2,024 Posts
That tub spout definetly has an escusion shimming it out, but its not suprising from the looks of everything else.
 

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Builder/Remodeler
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
It's a STANDARD acrylic tub, and obviously flexes a ton when you get in it. Not sure what's going on there, but hoping we can open the walls up outside the room to pack mortar or foam underneath. We'll have to remove some drywall to see what's really going on. Worse case will be to tear out the tub and re-install it.

The master floor is a big concern to me. I'm surprised the joints are translating through the mesh of the NuHeat mat. I'm worried about deflection in the floor--but it's not a free span underneath the room so I need to do a little more investigating.
 

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A proud craftsman
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118 Posts
A few extra bucks to use Kerdi and Ditra might have solved a lot of those woes...but then again if they thought to use Kerdi or Ditra they prolly would have done a good job from the get go and this post wouldn't have been here .
 

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Carpe Diem
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20,712 Posts
This kind of stuff pisses me off. Especially if the contractor is a respected guy in the area. He shouldn't be :no:

Stuff like this makes us all look bad. I'm sure he charged a pretty penny for this terrible work. It's not just a few ooppssies, that's just plain poor workmanship. There is no need for that kind of result. Now you can see why I was a bit harsh on the guy who did his first tile job for in his mom's bathroom. This is a perfect example of what can go wrong if you don't tile properly.

I haven't watched the videos yet but I hope Chris put at least 1 Holmes on Homes line in there! :laughing:
 

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Registered
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Around here that's the norm for people who are meant to be "pro" so many times have I heard that the guy coming into do what ever he's doing is the best in his trade and after seeing them work I'm far from impressed. Sometimes I come on here and feel my work is not upto spec compared to some off you guys then I go back to reality and find my work is far above what most customers expect in quality. It will always amaze me how a contractor can look at something like that and think it looks good.

Just the other day I had a kitchen fitter who's been the so called best in this area for 30 years tell me that there's not many people like him who do a good job anymore. Funny thing was he was the biggest hack I had seen in a while. Customer got me to go around and check the kitchen out and I found so many problems it wernt funny.
 

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Tile Contractor
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1,249 Posts
Just a quick appraisal from a few online photos:

The cracks in the curbs are because moisture is getting into the curb structure and the internal curb structure is made of wood. This means the waterproofing of the receptor is leaking or there are screw holes (anchoring glass channel) through the curb liner.

The humps in the walls are bad wallboard seams, just poorly executed by someone that didn't give a dam.

The ceiling issues are because someone isn't as wise as they think they are when it comes to proper procedures.

The tub isn't a big deal and caulk would have likely cured that issue assuming the tub base is installed properly to begin with.

The cracking floor is because the subfloor doesn't meet requirements, the cracking is likely between the joists and over a seam.:)

Normally I'd charge $450 for that information but it would include a written report!!!:)
 

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Project Manager
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2,642 Posts
I'm surprised he got paid to begin with. That tile work is horrible. Most customers would have picked up on all that crookedness and a plastic escusion behind the tub spout, that's really BAD.
I'm with Dan on this one - how did the customer not notice any of this? Even prior to leaks, cracks, etc. there is significant and visible installation errors.
 

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looks alot like a job I worked on (after the fact) done by a contractor also from Indy, where they used gypsum board for the curbs with Liquid Membrane .Failed in less the 6 months..
 
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