Subway tile gone wrong
lovehome922
July 7, 2013 in Polls
I was very excited about my white Daltile Rittenhouse subway tile with Oyster Gray grout. Until
I saw it. What the heck? Besides a lazy job at grout, where did they go wrong here? Do I ask for a redo or what?
Looks fine
Redo is a must
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dowdowburns
Hello, I had this problem, and I ended up starting the project again.... These tiles are very tricky especially when the tiles are not 100% as tiles should be: lack in size, not all tiles same size, etc. The walls maybe a little bit bended as well; not plastered as should.

If you don't want to remove the tiles, you can find a particular trim which are small in width size, and fix one at the corner, were the wall meet. Because even from the photos, the walls are definitely not 100% flat and accurate.
July 8, 2013 at 4:37am      Thanked by lovehome922
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S. Thomas Kutch
Sub-standard work at best. Apparently, they didn't they didn't think their layout through or even do a dry layout.......the 2"+/- pieces could have and should have been avoided..........solution: rip it out and start over and this time I would watch as they start laying it up to make sure they do it right this time.........
July 8, 2013 at 4:56am      Thanked by lovehome922
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josephcairns
I can't help but think a darker grout might also work better? Something about the oyster colour makes it look aged or dirty?
July 8, 2013 at 5:10am        Thanked by lovehome922
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PRO
Dytecture
Doesn't look like the shower corner is straight to begin with though.
July 8, 2013 at 5:15am        Thanked by lovehome922
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lovehome922
Actually the owner of the tile company, not the guy who did the actual tilework, is now coming back out to fix the issue. He mentioned we will like a much lighter (or darker)grout for the same reason Josephcairns! thank you for all of your help.
July 8, 2013 at 7:38am     
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feeny
I prefer the look of lighter grout, especially for a shower, which you can always keep clean with Tilex and other bleach products. The white grout in our white tile shower is 20 years old and still white. The grout on the floor tile is a different matter.
July 8, 2013 at 8:36am     
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bksavy
Thank you. I just learned something about the grout color from this discussion. I'm doing the same thing in my bathroom. I will chose a darker grout.
July 8, 2013 at 11:49am   
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PRO
Stone Age Crafters LLC.
On my opinion a redo is the best thing to do here.
Tiles aren't straight
Joints vary in sizes they should be really tight.
A white color is always gonna look better with plain subway tile unless you have different colors in accents throughout the shower to balance the contrast.

If you don't wanna redo it regrout it in a white color.
If you do any dark color the way it's layed you're gonna be able to see every mistake.
If you wanna do a dark color grout you need to have a really nice almost perfect install.
So you only see straight lines all over.

I would just have him redo it. With a white grout.
July 8, 2013 at 12:25pm     
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judianna20
I like the white with the oyster gray grout. It is quite striking. The grey will lighten and white will darken.

July 8, 2013 at 12:32pm     
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amyfamyf
I agree with white grout. It would look cleaner. Your pictures look like the shower hasn't been cleaned for months. Good luck!
July 8, 2013 at 12:32pm     
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PRO
Chadwick Hunter KBA
Yes, the lighter (or much darker) grout will work. My vote is for the lighter grout. Additionally, you want a grout that is marketed as stain-free and somewhat elastic. Ask your tile guy (if you still trust him). We like to use "Fusion". Many good grouts are epoxy-based for your application.

Unfortunately, your lines are crooked, and I think much (or all) of the shower needs to be re-done. Unless your installer informed you of the wall being out of square and you ignored his advice, this is probably his fault and he needs to pay for this re-do.

On another note, many people are putting a stone (marble, granite, quartz) on the tops of the curb and half wall, and up the sides of the half wall. You might want to do this if you are going to re-do the shower (not too much more money) as it cleans up the lines in the shower.
July 8, 2013 at 12:41pm     
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PRO
MAJ Interiors
I have seen this look multiple times. In order for this look to be successful the gap between the tiles needs to be increased. If you review the picture that "judyg" posted, the grout line is fairly thick and looks great. It looks like it was thought through and intentional. Because your current grout line is so thin, it looks like it's dirty. The grout colour also looks a bit green. Try going for something a bit stronger, a charcoal grey is ideal.
July 8, 2013 at 12:42pm     
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feeny
I've always felt that the virtue of subway tile was its ability to be set with the smallest possible grout lines.
July 8, 2013 at 3:24pm     
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indianpatti
Absolutely have it redone ... the tile job on the half wall is atrocious! Insist on a totally different installer ... don't even try it again with the same person who did this job. I would go with a white grout ... I don't like when the grout draws the eye instead of the tile.
July 8, 2013 at 3:32pm     
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PRO
Stone Age Crafters LLC.
Who is a designer here?
July 8, 2013 at 3:43pm   
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houssaon
I agree with Chadwick Hunter KBA about using putting a stone (marble, granite, quartz) on the tops of the curb and half wall. I would go with a lighter grout. Make sure the new surface is suitable for the shower and is plimb and square.
July 8, 2013 at 3:50pm   
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lovehome922
Stone Age- agree 100%. I just left the house and wanted to die when I saw the attempt to save what was poorly done. I've attached picture. It looked horrible. You may not be able to see in the pic. They scraped out a top layer (as much as he could) then put a stain over it... I personally think he tried to put caulk in the grouts place from the way it looks. Contacting the builder tonight.
July 8, 2013 at 4:24pm     
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lovehome922
Chadwick- great suggestion. Do you have a pic of what you are referring to. I will need fuel for my fire when I make the call to my builder tonight! Much appreciated in advance.
July 8, 2013 at 4:26pm   
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lovehome922
I am open to any other suggestions for other material than subway tile. Honestly I'm beginning to depose subway due to this situation. May have them change the whole thing all together. I'm 30, by the way.
July 8, 2013 at 4:31pm   
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PRO
Stone Age Crafters LLC.
Lovehome922
Just tell them you're not happy with the final product
If they're professionals and have integrity they will tak care of you.
If they agree to redo it they might make it right this time
It would be best if they can just refund your money as much as possible .
If you don't know how to set subway tile you're not gonna be able to set anything else
July 8, 2013 at 4:35pm   
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PRO
Stone Age Crafters LLC.
I think subway tile can look very nice
Elegant
Modern
Classy
With the right accents
Try to do some glass accents
Do a piece of granite on the curve and and the half wall
That's gonna make it look high end
You could go for some blue glass or metallic accents
It's a nice smooth contrast
Don't get discouraged with subway tile
July 8, 2013 at 4:39pm        Thanked by lovehome922
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lovehome922
Just horrible.
July 8, 2013 at 4:42pm   
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lovehome922
We are having the house built so technically I myself have not paid any money to the tile guy. I will be calling the builder and ask him to use a different tile guy for new job. What is something I can use that is comparable in price!?
July 8, 2013 at 4:43pm   
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Margo
I have a completely white subway tile shower with white grout and aqua accent tiles An industrial chrome frameless shower door, and if I do say so myself it is sensational! So, please don't give up the white subway tile. If this tiler wants work from the builder in the future he will get back in there and do it again until it's right. The builder should see his work. Ask the builder if this would be acceptable in his home. Hang tough!
July 8, 2013 at 4:54pm        Thanked by lovehome922
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PRO
Mona Ives
Subway tile really looks bad (like a literal dirty subway hallway underground) unless it is set in with matching grout. White tile = white grout. Yes it will look crappy over time like anything unless you keep it very clean. If you don't like a lot of grout lines to maintain, then go to a large format tile.
July 8, 2013 at 5:35pm     
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nn24kt
Hi. I agree with all the great suggestions here. You have alot of support agreeing with your first impression about the job is less than satisfactory. Push back to the builder and point out specific areas of unacceptable work. Redo the entire job with a different grout color.This is 1 area you want total relaxation and not stress or regret. And yes any flat horizontal surface should be a solid slab (marble, granite, repeat your countertop material here, ect.). Grout will leak eventually. Maybe add a mosaic waterfall down your back main wall or wide strips of glass tile ... whatever your style is in the bathroom. Good luck!
July 8, 2013 at 5:54pm        Thanked by lovehome922
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cbish215
Ok. Coming from a design professional that is a showroom consultant for Daltile, there's a few things you should know... 1) don't buy the product from a box store...top grade product is only sold through flooring dealers. 2) grout is usually chosen to blend with tile, not stand out from it. White would be first choice, or a very light grey (almost white). If staining is a concern, choose an epoxy grout; it costs a little more up front, but doesn't stain. 3) the Rittenhouse Square line is made to have very slim grout joints, so there really shouldn't be much grout involved & 4) please be sure that the shower was properly waterproofed or you're bound to have major problems! You can go to www.daltile.com and find a showroom & a dealer near you. Good luck!
July 8, 2013 at 6:26pm        Thanked by lovehome922
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PRO
Yunfu HuanJian Stone Ltd.
Caudill Lane
Crafted Minimalism
A COUNTRY HOME
Shelter Island Beach House

I guess the lazy job at grout and the color of the rest wall which is not tiled with white subway tile make the whole thing looks not harmony. If all color is white basically, it may look better. See below link
July 8, 2013 at 6:40pm        Thanked by lovehome922
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calikym
In the late 80's-90's, dark grout was used. When I look at your photos, it reminds me of homes built then. It must be re-done in white as so many have suggested. It's a bummer but just do it.
July 10, 2013 at 9:27am     
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Genevieve
In some spots it looks like the grout is still wet ,then there are places where the tiles don't properly meet . I would rather use white grout to be perfectly frank with you ,the mistakes s are not showed as much . If you can remove the grout and re- apply the white .
July 10, 2013 at 9:33am     
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PRO
Yunfu HuanJian Stone Ltd.


This subway tile is similar to yours.
July 13, 2013 at 7:33am   
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lntrcrts
Choose a lighter color grout.
July 14, 2013 at 4:32pm   
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cms12
I think you need Delorean gray grout and the job needs to be redone. Glad I saw your post as I was just about to use oyster gray grout on subway in my kitchen. Sorry this happened to you! Ugh, it is frustrating.
July 21, 2013 at 10:41am     
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lovehome922
CMS: just make sure whatever grout you use that the wall behind it is completely flat and level.
I would even go as far as checking it yourself! They ended up tearing all of it out and put up new Sheetrock (the right way) and we used white grout.
July 21, 2013 at 1:17pm   
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cbish215
Lovehome922: Sheetrock or cement board? Showers shouldn't be installed with Sheetrock as it will degrade if it becomes wet. The shower should be completely water tight behind the tile! Also, if they used mastic to adhere the tile instead of thinset mortar, there could be problems in the future with tile adhesion. Best of luck! I hope it turned out perfectly the second time around!
July 22, 2013 at 10:26am   
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lovehome922
I meant cement board! Thank you. it did! !
July 22, 2013 at 11:01am   
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bygeorgi
There may have been a few things that led up to this mess...I can't tell from the pics but irregularities in shape of the tile itself can cause sloppy grout lines.. possibly the walls are also not square or plumb, a bad over all tile plan and inexperienced labor.
No need to buy expensive subway tile, Big Box store tiles have much less diversity in shape and size.
A solid surface for horizontal areas should have been recommended to you, such as carrera marble. Also would look more finished with a chair rail tile at the top edge. The placement of the tile is sloppy,....tile and shower head don"t appear to be started on center.
Looks like it should all be removed and start over.... this is not a job for an inexperienced subcontractor, also ...stick with white grout , you have a better out come... you need perfection in installation and the correct choices in tile , even the consistency in grout when using a dark color.
July 22, 2013 at 11:05am     
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lovehome922
Looks great now!!
July 25, 2013 at 7:38pm     
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bygeorgi
Oh ! sooo much better....... looks fresh and lovely now.
July 26, 2013 at 7:52am     
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lovehome922
Thank you all for your knowledge! Very much appreciated.
August 1, 2013 at 5:45am   
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PRO
Chadwick Hunter KBA
Enjoy your new shower.
August 1, 2013 at 9:12am   
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