Tile work in bathroom

Liz R
December 1, 2019
last modified: December 1, 2019


We are in the process of remodeling our bathroom. Last week, the contractor installed our shower tiles and we noted a number of issues. As a result, they removed the tile and started from scratch. The new tile work is currently hanging with spacers ready to be grouted. We are still seeing a number of issues such as uneven tile/grout lines, lipage,jagged cuts, large gaps, etc. I'm attaching some photos to get others opinions on the work. We understand grout and caulk will hide minor imperfections but do not feel that is the case here....

Comments (37)

  • cineus

    Wow, I don’t think it will be correct the 2nd time. Has the contractor completed other work to your satisfaction? I think at this point I would fire this contractor and start new. Always ask for references and try to see their work.
    I hope you didn’t pay them up front.

  • Liz R

    We haven't paid them yet and don't plan to until the work is completed to our satisfaction. The contractor has great reviews with photos so we assumed this company would do good work. We're very disappointed to say the least. They messed up some other things in the bathroom as well, but have been able to correct those issues so far. It appears the contractor is using a c list sub contractor to complete our work. At this point, we're not quite sure what to do since we are without a working bathroom...

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  • HU-527663426

    I’m sorry this is happening to you. I know this is a long thread, but it might be helpful for you to read it. The especially helpful parts might be where I advise you to take a lot of photographs. I’m going to attach the thread in the next comment section.

  • felizlady

    Don’t pay them. Don’t even let them back into your house. They don’t have a clue about installing tile. I am a total novice at laying tile, but I can tell a crappy job when I see it. If they left any equipment, give them a specific time to come get it and bring it out onto the porch for them. Did you sign any contract? Did you read it? Was the room completely waterproofed to receive the tile? Did you talk to anyone for whom they had worked? Did you see any of their actual work in a home?

  • cpartist

    How did they waterproof the shower? Do you have pictures of the waterproofing?

    And more importantly, after they removed the tiles and before they redid it, how did they fix the waterproofing?

    I'm guessing you have more issues than just poorly done tile work. I'm guessing your waterproofing was not done correctly and if that's true, you will have much bigger issues if you don't get it fixed correctly.

  • cpartist

    PS: That is a very poorly done job.

  • PRO
    Beth H. :

    sorry,,but this is not at all acceptable.

    your joints are huge. too large. and uneven.

    and yes, what did they do for waterproofing UNDER those poorly laid tiles?

    withhold payment. 100%, do not pay for any of this.

    find out how they waterproofed. get a complete list of what they did and what they used.

    if he used a c list tile setter, I can pretty much guarantee their waterproofing is not there, or incorrectly done.

    is that a niche. I know for certain that hasn't been properly done. horrible job. i'm sorry.

    what's the shower floor look like?

    tell your contractor your'e not paying until he brings in an expert tile setter to redo it. do not let them grout! no, it will not look better.

    and find out what's been done under those tiles. If they did what I think they did, it's a complete tear-out on their dime.

    Liz R thanked Beth H. :
  • Brittney E


  • lindahambleton

    Let us know how it ends.

  • HU-130502410

    Poster's husband... Thanks for the comments and affirmation of our problems. We have only paid 1/3 of the contract price as a deposit and are withholding the remainder until this issue is resolved. The original work included demoing the old bathroom and installing all new items.

    They used Wedi board for waterproofing, which looked correct before the tile went up (did not take photos unfortunately) but I could be wrong certainly.

    There is a bathtub, so no shower floor needed to be installed.

    As of this morning, asking them to stop work with the current team and send out an experienced crew.

    Added another photo of the bent Schluter trim and misaligned tiles for further context.

  • PRO
    Norwood Architects

    One of the worst tile installations I've seen. Glad you are having an experienced installer come out. Wouldn't pay until the installation is correctly done.

    Liz R thanked Norwood Architects
  • PRO
    Patricia Colwell Consulting

    All the waterproofing needed to be adressed after the removal of the tile for sure. IMO my 16 tr old grandson could have done a better job but I would like to see this from further back to see the whole job.

  • HU-130502410

    Further back photo (blue tape is for all the problem areas we identified).

  • cpartist

    How did they seal the wendi board edges? The shower niches look to be in the wrong place

  • HU-527663426

    My tile pro told me large tiles should be set with no more than a 1/3 offset. Yours are at a 1/2 offset. When it is redone, be sure to read the tile manufacture’s instructions. Usually for large tiles, the tile manufacturer will specify no more than a 1/3 offset.

    But as others have already said, the most important thing is the waterproofing. Wedi is a good product. The rub is whether or not they followed Wedi’s installation instructions. Chances are they didn’t since this is the GC’s c-team.

  • PRO
    Beth H. :

    was just going to say the same thing ^.

    large format tiles, as a rule, are no more than 1/3 offset. yours are 1/2. you may have some lippage issues.

    Another big no-no w/those large tiles is 'spot-bonding'. Basically they glob on thinset in giant blobs in spots on the back of the tile and then put them on the wall, using slight pressure. The problem w/that is that the mortar does not spread out to cover enough of the back of the tile. Industry standards are 95% on the back of each tile. you'd have to pull off a tile and look at the back to see if that's what they did.

    Let's also hope they used thinset mortar and not Mastic (the premixed white stuff in the tub)

    and of course, no grout should ever be applied in those wall corner joints or the joint between the tile and tub. all of that needs to be done with 100% silicone. (you can get it to match your grout color).

  • kudzu9

    When installing Wedi board tile backer it's necessary to carefully seal all seams and fastener penetrations with their joint sealant. Was this done? The other problem I see -- which accounts for the gaps and irregularities -- is that your shower walls don't look plumb and square to me. If the tile underlayment and walls are not shimmed and made perfectly true before the first tile goes in place, then the kind of problems you are seeing are inevitable. A competent tile installer will spend a lot of time making sure the walls are totally flat, plumb, and square, and that the ceiling is, too, if you are tiling up to it. This clearly was either not done, or incompetently done.

  • HU-527663426

    I didn’t know that the waterproofing was done wrong in my “gone South” story. I came home from taking my college daughter interview-suit shopping to see a horrible tile job like yours; huge gaps, butt joints, lippages, jagged cuts, etc. I stopped work and asked for a meeting. Read my “project goes South” post. Then order the TCNA handbook. Then have a sit down meeting with the contractor.

  • HU-527663426

    Oh, and they did spot-setting, aka dot-setting, as well. Premier local contractor, highly recommended. They said they brought their “A team.” I give them an F.

  • wannabath

    Boy how people can make assumptions on this site.

    The first question is who much did you pay for the job? If this is a budget renovation it doesn't look that bad as yes, the most of it will be covered when grouted and caulked. People zoom in with these pictures and it showcases the smallest issue which is not fair to the installer.

    The tile is what dictates how it can be set. Maybe these tiles are dead straight and there is no bow in the tile? That would allow them to be set as is. Caulk in corners? Yes, I agree but there are a lot of tile setters who still use grout and it does not fail immediately like some make it sound.

    Take a deep breathe and let their new guys or gals come out and take a look. Some can easily be fixed.

    Again how much did you pay and what did you pay for? That will dictate the quality of the job.

  • live_wire_oak

    A job using Wedi won’t be the cheap bottom of the barrel 3K guys. Or, it shouldn’t be. There are cases where the inexperienced and cheap put the money into the premium materials instead of the practice working with them. Generally, a premium 5K tile setter using Wedi wouldn’t produce that bucketOcrap. Generally, bad tile work is the 10% bit of the ice sticking up above the water with the 90% of horrible work of the iceberg below.

    Now all of that has to be pulled off, Wedi replaced, and all redone. That’s the time to set up the webcam if you can’t be there in person. Be prepared to show up and put a stop to the redo too.

  • HU-130502410

    Total contract, including demo of existing bathroom (roughly 5' x 12'), is roughly $8,500, which covers installing tile floor/shower wall, new vanity, fixtures, etc. Estimate was similar to several others we received and they appeared to be best option of the bunch.

    There isn't much lippage, really only one meeting point, between tiles, as the issues are mostly confined to the corners and niches. Seems like the initial installer was a bit green and didn't know how to operate in those areas, which I presume require more skill.

    I'll definitely be working from home when they send a new team out later this week to monitor. Currently they are planning on repairing the niches and a few tiles along the wall. They replaced the previous Wedi board on the second install, so we'll see if it gets damaged again and require it to be replaced if so.

    They were spreading the thin set over the Wedi board, rather than the "spot-bonding" others referenced as a possibility, so that sounds correct.

    Thanks for all the comments.

  • kudzu9


    One doesn’t need to focus in on small areas to see that the walls are off and the gaps are too large and irregular to look decent after being grouted. That’s bad workmanship, period.

  • kudzu9


    Did they use proper sealant on the Wedi board?

  • PRO
    moico inc.

    OMG - fire them. This is an absolutely horrible job. Shame on them for promoting that they can tile.

  • mackdolan

    In addition to the atrocities committed against tile, that tub does not appear to be the correct type for that installation. You need an alcove tub with an integral tiling flange. That appears to be a drop in tub, improperly installed into an alcove. There’s no way that it will be waterproof. That’s a big design failure. Lots of design issues with the overall, actually. Niche size, placement, and tile choice to start.

  • Liz R

    What issues are you seeing with the niche size, placement and tile choice?

  • chispa

    For my area that is way too low. I paid $25K for a full gut/remodel of a small bathroom and that price did not include the faucets, toilet, tub and tile. His work is flawless and he takes pride in the work he does. I got his name from an Interior Designer and had to wait a few months to get on his schedule.

  • PRO
    CK Hoffman Design

    Yes, you should be concerned. Do not let them finish, and do not pay them. Check with your local contractor's board to see if they are even licensed. If not, they could be fined. Because of the nature of showers and the amount of water they are exposed to it is very important that is is done correctly and waterproofed most importantly beneath the tile and grout. A leaky shower can cause you thousands of dollars in damage. Even if this is money wasted, you should find a reputable installer who will do the job correctly - and yes, it may cost more, but it's worth it. Be safe!

  • live_wire_oak

    Way too low quote for that amount of work. Double that would be where a quality contractor would begin. And yes, it’s the wrong tub choice for that function.

    This is an entire design do over. None of those materials are salvageable. Including that tub. You need a Kitchen and Bath Designer who works with several local pre-qualified contractors.

  • HU-527663426

    Curious, how can you tell the tub is the wrong type for an alcove? I’m zooming in on the picture, not a pro, so I can’t tell if it has the flanges or not.

  • HU-130502410

    For clarification purposes, the price did not include any materials, just the demo/installation. We received 4 or 5 quotes from licensed, well-reviewed remodeling companies and they were all in the same ballpark. Also, the tub is an alcove tub with a tile flange, so that's an appropriate choice to the best of my knowledge. Anyway, working with them on corrections this week.

  • mackdolan

    Alcove tubs don’t have wide flat decks. The minimal deck slopes to the tub interior as a feature to channel overspray into the tub. Water sits on a flat deck and infiltrates into the walls with an incorrectly chosen drop in tub. 95% of alcove tubs have integral aprons as well. There are some few that allow a tiled apron.

    Allowing a third try for a company that just doesn’t know what it’s doing is asking for more punishment. They aren’t going to suddenly develop knowledge or skills. The labor quote for knowledge and skills should be about double what you were quoted.



  • katinparadise


  • mountie

    This is a correct tile and Schluter edge installation

  • Fori

    That's a pretty popular alcove tub model. I don't know why anyone would insist it is not suitable.

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