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Opinion on penny tile layout before grouting

smhsahn
November 21, 2016

The tile installer laid out the penny tile in our bathroom today. I didn't get to talk to him before he left but here it is.




The grout goes in tomorrow and I'm not sure that I'm happy with the job. I can see lines between sheets and things look a little wonky by the entrance. I'm afraid the grout will make these lines even more visible. Do other people see what I'm seeing or am I being too nit picky? Is there anything he can do to fix it at this point or does he need to start over?

Comments (27)

  • PRO
    Flo Mangan
    Not the best. He didn't trim back webbing off to allow the "sheets" to fit up right together hence the wider gaps which will look worse with grout. Plus the edges need work before grouting. It is hard to cut these penny tiles but not impossible. Not ready for grout.
  • PRO
    Beth H. :

    the reason you see the lines is because he did not stagger the sheets. Anytime you have sheets like this you are not supposed to lay them out in lines, like he did. When he grouts that, you will see vertical lines that separate each sheet. Did the mortar set yet?? see if you can lift them up and wash off the mortar. They will have to be re-laid.

    here is what it will look like

    here is how it should have been laid

    and what it should look like

    see a seam??? nope. Not supposed to.

    another perfect job. see how the penny's are lined up around the edges??

    how he did your's around the perimeter is horrible. It should look the ones in the pictures.

    look at the ones laid by the entrance. some are smashed together and out of line. These are difficult to lay because mistakes get magnified. You will not be happy with this once it's grouted. Sorry. Needs to be redone by someone who knows what they're doing.

  • suzyq53

    Its not that bad. Use matching grout to minimize the irregularities. After its in you won't notice it. I think they did a pretty good job. That sheet tile is tricky.

  • PRO
    Beth H. :

    no suzy. you're wrong. grout will not hide the mistakes. And no he didn't do a good job. A good job is the photos I posted.

  • suzyq53

    I don't think you're supposed to stagger the sheets. Some tilers cut the mesh to ease it at the joints. Or even install them one by one if they need to be cut. Your job is pretty good.

  • PRO
    Beth H. :

    Suzy, yes you are. Have you laid these? I have. ditto with pebble tile. You have to stagger or you get those lines. This comes from the pros over at John Bridge Tile Forum.

  • suzyq53

    Beth - your pics didn't post.

  • PRO
    Flo Mangan

    Believe Beth, she is expert tile layer. She is so right. I have taught many tile installers how to do this and they just don't get it. Linear thinking I guess. Beth is completely correct. Hope you can peel these off. I was trying to figure out how to make this work, but you can't.

  • Kris Mays

    Her pics posted above.

  • PRO
    Beth H. :

    If he would have staggered, it would have been OK. I've watched some videos where they don't stagger and they come out ok. But those tile installers have to have a good idea to be able to line them up perfectly so the seam isn't visible. It's difficult to do.

    He actually has them level without excess mortar in between. I can't tell what kind of coverage he has. It's not the worst job I've seen, but when it comes to symmetry I can be a bit anal. And this layout would bug the sh%$ out of me if it were my bathroom. Those lines will be clearly visible with grout. The edges should be ok with the right baseboard. If you can live w/the spaces in front of the tub, that's ok. But those lines will always be visible.

  • smhsahn
    Thanks for your responses. The edges of the tile are a greyish brown and the center is blue so it would be hard to match the grout. I used this same tile in our last place and did the work myself. I drew a grid on the floor and staggered the sheets. I was meticulous about placement because I knew if anything was off it would scream at me. But that was before I had 3 small children. This is also part of some larger remodeling work that had us put of the house for months so I didn't want to hold things up by trying to do it my self an hour a day. What especially bothers me about this is that I'm pretty sure I'm paying premium prices for this work. We didn't quote any other tile installers since this was the one our gc works with. He also did the subway tile in the shower alcove and it looks like it came out pretty well there.
  • Kris Mays

    I have this tile. You can match the taupe color on the edges fairly closely. But I would have him correct this.

  • suzyq53

    That was weird. Now Beth's pics posted. They weren't there on my phone yesterday. So Beth's floor job looks perfect. How are you supposed to lay them when the front of the tub is curved like that on one side and straight on the other? I get that the baseboard will cover the straight edges but you can't do it on the tub.

  • ninigret

    the problem with beth's pics is the 'bad' job has high contrast grout and the 'good' one has low contrast. really its hard to know how much is in the laying and how much in the grout choice.

    i'd go for a less contrast grout (light grey vs dark for example) if things arent going to get moved around.

  • PRO
    Flo Mangan

    Oh, this is very simply bad laid tile deal. I have seen it before several times. Grout will make a difference but you will never make those gaps smaller!

  • PRO
    Beth H. :

    here are a few more 'bad jobs'. But hey. What ever OP thinks, is fine. Go ahead and grout it and pay the man. She is the one that has to look at it. Hopefully all of us who say it's bad will be wrong. I mean, heck. what do I know?

    this is almost the same color tile op has and with a light grout. Does it disappear? no.

  • smhsahn

    Update: Well the owner of the tiling company claimed that the tiles would look better once grouted. They said that would be redone at their cost if it didn't look right. So here it is with grout.


    It looks better around the tub. But I still see the grid. :( I guess we're supposed to meet with our GC and the owner of the tile company next week. In person it's harder to see. But It's still noticeable to me.

  • PRO
    T.F.W.

    Penny rounds are extremely demanding to install. They almost always are on very flimsy dental floss type backing and flail around, they also require an absolutly FLAT in plane surface.

    I usually stagger the sheet lines randomly on each course in layout to eliminate the tic tac toe grid. This rarley happens tho as I can talk most humans out of penny rounds in the first phone conversation. ! Just know that you picked a tough material to install as you proceed with GC and you also threw a radius tub apron into the mix ....Major tile upcharges if i were installing it.. Takes TIME

  • PRO
    Beth H. :

    it looks better but yes, you can still see the grids. If he would have offset them, it would have been a pretty good install. Maybe once the vanity/toilet is in it won't be as noticeable.

  • PRO
    Linda

    Sometimes I'm a cynical person and whenever I hear that a questionable tile job will look better with grouting, I'm immediately suspicious. Yes, most every tile job looks better with grouting, unless there's a huge color contrast. But, "better" is not "good" or even necessarily "acceptable" just a slight improvement that may be pushed as an alternative to fix it right and have a happy client.

    I would love to hear how your GC handles this as I think he has just made an unpleasant but correct pathway more difficult to follow by adding grout. Given your situation with small children and the general irritation with having the house torn up, I would request a huge discount on the floor and use some of the money to buy some colorful bath rugs!

    I sympathize with the OP as she reports having done this with better results on a DIY basis but doesn't have the resources now to repeat her previous accomplishment.

  • leemiller
    So they tiled around the tub? In our install the tub is going on top of the tile.
  • PRO
    Flo Mangan

    Better, but I would see those grid lines every time I went past or into that room. But I am a fussy one! Just want things done right.

  • cgmangnall

    The point of the forum is to find help and to learn new things/solve problems. A gentle approach is always better - let's try to be kind to one another.

    I have laid a lot of tile, but not penny tile - I learned something from this thread, so thanks for sharing!

  • cgmangnall

    I do agree, that the problem is worse now, with the grout in. It wouldn't have been nearly the production to fix then as it will be now - must be very frustrating :(

  • PRO
    Flo Mangan

    cgmangnall- we have been with anna_h_norman all along and feel her upset, and so, no one has been "unkind" and been working to give her enough expert info to get this contractor to make this right. Maybe you didn't read the entire thread.

  • cgmangnall

    okay. Peace :)

  • PRO

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