Home & Garden

kitchen floor tile reno nightmare

  • Last Updated:
  • May 20th, 2021 8:14 pm
[OP]
Deal Addict
May 23, 2017
3346 posts
2301 upvotes

kitchen floor tile reno nightmare

I am currently in the middle of a kitchen reno having 24x24 porcaline tiles installed. He is almost finished the floor and I just noticed that he is 5 spot/spot bonding them and not installing them properly. I called him on it and we go into a small fight about how he has done it so many times and thats the way he does it. He says my floor is not level and he needs to do it that way. seems to me its just a cheap shortcut and hes making excuses.

We have already paid him about $2k and at the end of the tile install we owe him the rest and money for the quartz counter tops.

What should we do, the floor will fail, it sounds hollow in spots and I am totally worried about the future of these tiles moving, cracking etc. He hasnt grouted them yet, he is coming tuesday to do that.

I signed a contract with him, but what should I do now? I need help/opinions asap. I know at this point I made a mistake not looking closer to what he was doing to begin with, that is on me but what do I do now. what recorse do I have?

photo of one tile he pulled up because he placed it out of pattern
https://ibb.co/RvqxbPj
20210516_104747.jpg
Last edited by riseagainstthemachine on May 16th, 2021 11:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Got that FIDO account!
90 replies
Deal Addict
Jun 26, 2019
1420 posts
1145 upvotes
GTA
Does your contract specify it one way or another?

It is an unfortunate situation to be in for sure, but in terms of the contract probably not specifying what "installed" means and the fact that you already had a small fight about it probably isn't great.

For larger areas with larger tiles, it does take significantly more time to level them out, especially with a lot of homes now where the subfloor is crazy wavy, which can add up to a lot in extras.

I'd probably review the contract and see what it specifies. Also, was this the reason he was the cheapest among all your bidders?
Deal Fanatic
User avatar
Dec 4, 2009
5582 posts
1778 upvotes
Thank him for his time, eat the $2k and have someone else start over.

Goes without saying, but seeing as you seem to know more than the average person about tiling, have them specify exactly what they're going to do mitigate an uneven subfloor so you avoid any surprises.
"I'm a bit upset. I've been grab by the back without any alert and lubrification"
Lucky
[OP]
Deal Addict
May 23, 2017
3346 posts
2301 upvotes
SubjectivelyObjective wrote: Does your contract specify it one way or another?

It is an unfortunate situation to be in for sure, but in terms of the contract probably not specifying what "installed" means and the fact that you already had a small fight about it probably isn't great.

For larger areas with larger tiles, it does take significantly more time to level them out, especially with a lot of homes now where the subfloor is crazy wavy, which can add up to a lot in extras.

I'd probably review the contract and see what it specifies. Also, was this the reason he was the cheapest among all your bidders?
the contract does not specify the install method, this again is my mistake. I should have done more research before hiring this guy. He was not the cheapest one that we got a quote from actually; he could do the work in the time we set out and seemed compatent with references etc. turns out that he is the type that is juggling jobs and tells us he will be there at 9am and shows up at 2pm and things like that. We got scammed and I just want to see if anything can be done at this point. we still have the quartz to be installed this week and I need to pay him about another 4k when hes done the tile and another 2k after the countertop.

I feel like I just made a huge rookie mistake. I have never hired a contractor before and now I am seeing I messed up in multiple places. ugh.
Got that FIDO account!
[OP]
Deal Addict
May 23, 2017
3346 posts
2301 upvotes
Toukolou wrote: Thank him for his time, eat the $2k and have someone else start over.

Goes without saying, but seeing as you seem to know more than the average person about tiling, have them specify exactly what they're going to do mitigate an uneven subfloor so you avoid any surprises.
I only learned about this today after I say the spot bonding and thought it didnt look right. If I knew this before I would have made sure that he was doing it correctly or else I wouldnt have hired him

now we have already measured and cut countertops coming to be installed; if I gire him now what will happen. I am not happy with the install but also dont want to get sued for breaking the contract etc.
Got that FIDO account!
Deal Addict
Jun 26, 2019
1420 posts
1145 upvotes
GTA
riseagainstthemachine wrote: the contract does not specify the install method, this again is my mistake. I should have done more research before hiring this guy. He was not the cheapest one that we got a quote from actually; he could do the work in the time we set out and seemed compatent with references etc. turns out that he is the type that is juggling jobs and tells us he will be there at 9am and shows up at 2pm and things like that. We got scammed and I just want to see if anything can be done at this point. we still have the quartz to be installed this week and I need to pay him about another 4k when hes done the tile and another 2k after the countertop.

I feel like I just made a huge rookie mistake. I have never hired a contractor before and now I am seeing I messed up in multiple places. ugh.
Stuff like this it always comes down to the details, also for smaller contracts like this its a lot easier for one party to screw over another, especially when contracts are vague or someone withholds payments or services.

Also, the prices seem to not make sense to me at least. $6k in tile for just a kitchen floor? Or is a back splash included? And then only $2k for quartz for a kitchen?

Also, did he use ditra or something to uncouple the tiles from the floor?

You both have a fair bit of risk right now. The contractor is exposed because he has most likely spent more on materials and labour than he has been paid, and you are at risk of adding a ton of delays to your project, or having to pay more to fix the mistakes, also, they may come after you. So both of you are both invested in getting a workable arrangement going forward. I think you need to sit down and figure out what the plan is, and see if you can have a more civil conversation and cooler heads can prevail.

Perhaps if you can get him to finish up the countertops, pay him for materials, labour to date, etc, and send him on the way if he's not going to do it the way you want, and both parties are happy with that, it may be best.
[OP]
Deal Addict
May 23, 2017
3346 posts
2301 upvotes
SubjectivelyObjective wrote: Stuff like this it always comes down to the details, also for smaller contracts like this its a lot easier for one party to screw over another, especially when contracts are vague or someone withholds payments or services.

Also, the prices seem to not make sense to me at least. $6k in tile for just a kitchen floor? Or is a back splash included? And then only $2k for quartz for a kitchen?

Also, did he use ditra or something to uncouple the tiles from the floor?

You both have a fair bit of risk right now. The contractor is exposed because he has most likely spent more on materials and labour than he has been paid, and you are at risk of adding a ton of delays to your project, or having to pay more to fix the mistakes, also, they may come after you. So both of you are both invested in getting a workable arrangement going forward. I think you need to sit down and figure out what the plan is, and see if you can have a more civil conversation and cooler heads can prevail.

Perhaps if you can get him to finish up the countertops, pay him for materials, labour to date, etc, and send him on the way if he's not going to do it the way you want, and both parties are happy with that, it may be best.
the whole project is 8k total cash (which is prob another issue altogether), for the tiles and countertops. he got 2k to start, 4k after the tiles are done and the other 2k after the countertops are installed. the other quotes I received were around the same price all in as well. I think at this point we will just have to live with it and see what happens.

also no ditra just wire mesh. I really should have done my homework on this before hiring someone but I thought that it is their job so they should know what they are doing, stupid me right. im so sick about this now.
Got that FIDO account!
[OP]
Deal Addict
May 23, 2017
3346 posts
2301 upvotes
does anyone know the issues that I am facing with spot bonded tiles? I guess the issues are tiles coming loose, cracking under weight or drops, grout cracking.

Like am I just overreacting or no
Got that FIDO account!
Deal Addict
Jul 22, 2009
1569 posts
1120 upvotes
Brampton
If it sounds hollow it will eventually crack no matter what he says especially if you put something heavy on your tiles.
Deal Fanatic
User avatar
Mar 10, 2005
9941 posts
3454 upvotes
I agree with the one poster, eat the $2k and find a new contractor
“...because most of what we say and do is not essential. If you can eliminate it, you'll have more time and more tranquility. Ask yourself at every moment, is this necessary…” -Marcus Aurelius
[OP]
Deal Addict
May 23, 2017
3346 posts
2301 upvotes
blexann wrote: I agree with the one poster, eat the $2k and find a new contractor
I think this might be the answer as well but what about the contract not specificing the install method and him already ordered and had measurements taken for the coubtertop and all that. also he seeme to want to argue about this.
Got that FIDO account!
Deal Addict
Jun 26, 2019
1420 posts
1145 upvotes
GTA
riseagainstthemachine wrote: the whole project is 8k total cash (which is prob another issue altogether), for the tiles and countertops. he got 2k to start, 4k after the tiles are done and the other 2k after the countertops are installed. the other quotes I received were around the same price all in as well. I think at this point we will just have to live with it and see what happens.

also no ditra just wire mesh. I really should have done my homework on this before hiring someone but I thought that it is their job so they should know what they are doing, stupid me right. im so sick about this now.
So the tile floor might be closer to $2-3k of the price? If you put in like $90/sqft of countertop, whats left for your floor tiles? Again, I think the countertops should probably be the bigger item compared to the floors, so if you're going to go with someone else, you should at least pay him for the countertops and other expenses incurred to date.

Moving on to the wire mesh, this is another bad sign. Granted I don't know the conditions of your subfloors, but if they are like any subdivision home and there was no prep done on them, you're going to introduce another point of failure. Wire mesh can be fine, but that assumes you install it properly. Most installers do the quick way which is to attach the mesh to the subfloor, and then smear a quick thin coat on top. This won't do nearly as a good a job as a properly done wire mesh job or ditra. Again, basically everyone uses Ditra now, because its cheaper/faster/better to install compared to wire. So anyways, based on the poor install, its probably a safe assumption that he just did a jersey job on the wire and you have introduced a second point of failure. 1) Your tiles aren't installed properly. 2) Your tiles are not properly uncoupled from your subfloor below. So these will both increase your likelyhood of failure.

As @Toukolou suggested you may be better off to start over and get something that will last. This said, it may depend how long you planning being on here. Are you going to be here for 5 or 10 years? It could be fine for 5 years, but your guess is as good as mine. Friends of a friend of mine moved into a flip house a year ago, and their large format tiles in their hallway already have movement.

Anyways, thats my 2 cents, and again I would reiterate, if your tiler does not want to do it your way, I would recommend coming to a mutually agreeable terms that you can both walk away from. The money is probably in the countertops, and seeing how far you are along in this process, I would follow through and pay for that. I assume the countertops are likely subcontracted out.
Deal Fanatic
User avatar
Mar 10, 2005
9941 posts
3454 upvotes
riseagainstthemachine wrote: I think this might be the answer as well but what about the contract not specificing the install method and him already ordered and had measurements taken for the coubtertop and all that. also he seeme to want to argue about this.
It's not totally your fault - you hired a pro and expect the job to be done correctly. Unfortunately the industry is full of shitty contractors.

Try and make deal with him - pay for the countertops if u have to and move on
“...because most of what we say and do is not essential. If you can eliminate it, you'll have more time and more tranquility. Ask yourself at every moment, is this necessary…” -Marcus Aurelius
[OP]
Deal Addict
May 23, 2017
3346 posts
2301 upvotes
SubjectivelyObjective wrote: So the tile floor might be closer to $2-3k of the price? If you put in like $90/sqft of countertop, whats left for your floor tiles? Again, I think the countertops should probably be the bigger item compared to the floors, so if you're going to go with someone else, you should at least pay him for the countertops and other expenses incurred to date.

Moving on to the wire mesh, this is another bad sign. Granted I don't know the conditions of your subfloors, but if they are like any subdivision home and there was no prep done on them, you're going to introduce another point of failure. Wire mesh can be fine, but that assumes you install it properly. Most installers do the quick way which is to attach the mesh to the subfloor, and then smear a quick thin coat on top. This won't do nearly as a good a job as a properly done wire mesh job or ditra. Again, basically everyone uses Ditra now, because its cheaper/faster/better to install compared to wire. So anyways, based on the poor install, its probably a safe assumption that he just did a jersey job on the wire and you have introduced a second point of failure. 1) Your tiles aren't installed properly. 2) Your tiles are not properly uncoupled from your subfloor below. So these will both increase your likelyhood of failure.

As @Toukolou suggested you may be better off to start over and get something that will last. This said, it may depend how long you planning being on here. Are you going to be here for 5 or 10 years? It could be fine for 5 years, but your guess is as good as mine. Friends of a friend of mine moved into a flip house a year ago, and their large format tiles in their hallway already have movement.

Anyways, thats my 2 cents, and again I would reiterate, if your tiler does not want to do it your way, I would recommend coming to a mutually agreeable terms that you can both walk away from. The money is probably in the countertops, and seeing how far you are along in this process, I would follow through and pay for that. I assume the countertops are likely subcontracted out.
thanks, yes he is prepping for the countertops but another company is installing. I just want something that will last, even though we are not planning on being here forever. my wife is so scared she almost called the cops when him and I were talking about it, he was getting pretty heated. anyway since the tiles are pretty much done and the countertops are on the way I might as well just live with this and remedy whatever happens in the future. I just feel like I really screwed the pooch on this even though all of my tile installation knowledge came from google searches today...
Got that FIDO account!
Deal Addict
Apr 26, 2003
1765 posts
854 upvotes
GTA
SubjectivelyObjective wrote: Moving on to the wire mesh, this is another bad sign. Granted I don't know the conditions of your subfloors, but if they are like any subdivision home and there was no prep done on them, you're going to introduce another point of failure. Wire mesh can be fine, but that assumes you install it properly. Most installers do the quick way which is to attach the mesh to the subfloor, and then smear a quick thin coat on top. This won't do nearly as a good a job as a properly done wire mesh job or ditra. Again, basically everyone uses Ditra now, because its cheaper/faster/better to install compared to wire. So anyways, based on the poor install, its probably a safe assumption that he just did a jersey job on the wire and you have introduced a second point of failure. 1) Your tiles aren't installed properly. 2) Your tiles are not properly uncoupled from your subfloor below. So these will both increase your likelyhood of failure.
What would be the "proper" way to install mesh underneath tile?
Deal Addict
Jun 26, 2019
1420 posts
1145 upvotes
GTA
riseagainstthemachine wrote: thanks, yes he is prepping for the countertops but another company is installing. I just want something that will last, even though we are not planning on being here forever. my wife is so scared she almost called the cops when him and I were talking about it, he was getting pretty heated. anyway since the tiles are pretty much done and the countertops are on the way I might as well just live with this and remedy whatever happens in the future. I just feel like I really screwed the pooch on this even though all of my tile installation knowledge came from google searches today...
Yeah, if he's almost done, and to make him whole would just be the same as paying more or less the full contract, might be better to go this route. This way you can avoid the crazy contractor, get the countertops installed by the sub, and get into your kitchen in a timely manner. Although the likelihood of having issues is higher, there is a still a chance it could hold for a while.

Anyways, don't beat yourself up about it. You hired someone expecting them to do a professional job and they just did something quickly to make a quick buck. Sadly it happens a lot these days. It's not like a homeowner is going to know the ins and outs of every trade there is. This is also why GCs exist. If you want to look at the upside of this, you got some more experience for future projects, and the costs you saved from not using a GC will probably more than pay for tile repairs (maybe).
Deal Addict
Jun 26, 2019
1420 posts
1145 upvotes
GTA
exrcoupe wrote: What would be the "proper" way to install mesh underneath tile?
Don't quote me on this, but IIRC I think tilers I have worked with usually say if you're going to go this way you need 3/4" thickness for it to do its job.

Most contractors will only attach the mesh to the subfloor and then do a thin skim/scratch coat, and at that thickness it doesn't really do its job of uncoupling like Ditra or something of the proper thickness would.
[OP]
Deal Addict
May 23, 2017
3346 posts
2301 upvotes
SubjectivelyObjective wrote: Yeah, if he's almost done, and to make him whole would just be the same as paying more or less the full contract, might be better to go this route. This way you can avoid the crazy contractor, get the countertops installed by the sub, and get into your kitchen in a timely manner. Although the likelihood of having issues is higher, there is a still a chance it could hold for a while.

Anyways, don't beat yourself up about it. You hired someone expecting them to do a professional job and they just did something quickly to make a quick buck. Sadly it happens a lot these days. It's not like a homeowner is going to know the ins and outs of every trade there is. This is also why GCs exist. If you want to look at the upside of this, you got some more experience for future projects, and the costs you saved from not using a GC will probably more than pay for tile repairs (maybe).
thanks, my wife basically is saying that we just need to use this as a learning lesson. I will never make this mistake again
Got that FIDO account!
Deal Fanatic
User avatar
Dec 4, 2009
5582 posts
1778 upvotes
riseagainstthemachine wrote: the whole project is 8k total cash (which is prob another issue altogether), for the tiles and countertops. he got 2k to start, 4k after the tiles are done and the other 2k after the countertops are installed. the other quotes I received were around the same price all in as well. I think at this point we will just have to live with it and see what happens.
Cash job actually was your out.

But if he's looney tunes might just be best to finish the job with him and see how it goes. Worst comes to worst, you get to remodel in a few years and refresh the kitchen.
"I'm a bit upset. I've been grab by the back without any alert and lubrification"
Lucky
Deal Addict
May 23, 2006
1214 posts
315 upvotes
Vancouver
I always worry when hiring someone for one-off job. Most of the times, they do it for one time only, and they know that they may never work with you again.

You can't expect a normal person would put in 100% effort/deligent on these types of jobs.

I always manage them very closely if i can....but sometimes, i wouldn't know the technical details....so it would be a loss that i would need to absorb.

Sorry to hear your loss. I think you did what you could and good job in finding out the problem.

Top