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Hexagonal tiles at “bend” in wall of kitchen backsplash

HU-814952597
last month
last modified: last month



Would really appreciate feedback please!

Tile installer just finished our kitchen backsplash today (tiling... sealing/grouting soon). We chose a hexagonal tumbled Carrara marble. For one side of the kitchen, he started working in toward the center from each end of the countertop, meeting near the middle at a 120° “bend” in the wall. This is what turned out when the tiles “met up” (please see photo because it defies description).

it’s a mess! Was this poor planning on his part? Was I as the client supposed to think of this for him??!.... to start at one end and work continuously toward the other?

And yes, those “spacers” are pieces of cardboard. This after I insisted that at least some spacers are needed; instead of using the traditional “Y” spacers that i believe are made specifically for hex tiles, he jammed cardboard in the grout lines. I had to request that several tiles be adjusted by hand to even-out the width of the grout lines and/or prevent crooked tiles. I’ve never heard of installing a backsplash without using spacers?!.... at a minimum between each of the sheets?? Or is it routine for installers to “eyeball it”?

Obviously my choices now are to either live with this, or rip out half the kitchen backsplash and have it reinstalled by a hopefully more talented/patient installer. I’ll welcome your feedback..... thanks so much!

Comments (43)

  • PRO
    Sabrina Alfin Interiors
    last month

    Nope. Nope. Nope. He needs to match up those tiles at the corner. It's a do over.

    HU-814952597 thanked Sabrina Alfin Interiors
  • KW
    last month

    To me, Looking at corner & the row & half row in narrow strip, it looks like hex’s on right are backwards. That first vertical row on right side should’ve been a cut piece to complete the hex tile it’s next to at corner angle. Then same design continues down that right wall. Aren’t these tiles on a sheet of webbing, not individually set in place? That should make it easier to make these kinds of adjustments shouldn’t it?

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  • lucky998877
    last month

    Looks to me also that he set the tiny column of tiles backwards...like he had already made the cut to match, and accidentally set it in the wrong side on the left.

  • Rehabit
    last month

    Agree with lucky 9. He cut the tiles to match up but installed wrong It needs to be removed and redone

  • Boxerpal
    last month

    This must be so frustrating. We wait forever for workman and then something like this happens. You just want you space back to use and now you have to figure out a solution. I agree with @Rehabit and @lucky998877 I think it was already cut and a big accident. I would ask for a redo and not at your expense.


    Keep us posted.


    HU-814952597 thanked Boxerpal
  • Amy Lynn
    last month

    Yikes! That is a mess. I couldn't let that go. A better plan needs to be worked out for this tricky situation. Maybe it makes more sense from farther back, but those rectangular tiles used the way they were here seem very random.

  • PRO
    Dragonfly Tile & Stone Works, Inc.
    last month

    It's inexcusable. Tear out to the right of angle and re-do (as long as the left of the angle is acceptable). Let's see the rest. That transition is hideous. Sorry.

    HU-814952597 thanked Dragonfly Tile & Stone Works, Inc.
  • PRO
    Debbi Washburn
    last month

    Can you post a picture from further back? While I agree with everyone that it does look like he cut the tile but then installed it backwards - it would be interesting to see if that truly is the case or does that whole right side go wonky.

    It would be a redo n my book.

    I also don't get it - spacers are pretty cheap and save a lot of headaches - what is the aversion to tilers using them!

    HU-814952597 thanked Debbi Washburn
  • Jennifer Svensson
    last month

    Need to see more pictures.

  • HU-814952597
    Original Author
    last month

    @Dragonfly Tile & Stone Works, Inc. thank you for your expert opinion and feedback, it is appreciated. Here is to the left of the “bend”:


  • PRO
    Skippack Tile & Stone
    last month

    So one side needs to be redone; which is less material? Not sure if you had the option of using a stone pencil for the edges instead of 2x4.

    HU-814952597 thanked Skippack Tile & Stone
  • PRO
    Dragonfly Tile & Stone Works, Inc.
    last month

    2 approaches: tear out the section to the right and "mirror" the pattern, or, continue the pattern. Whichever works best. Looks like the mirroring would work best given the space. The layout should have been planned in advance.

    HU-814952597 thanked Dragonfly Tile & Stone Works, Inc.
  • lydia garcia-usrey
    last month

    looks bad! I am so sorry what a headache!! That would bug me every time I saw it and it appears in your case it would be seen daily!!


    HU-814952597 thanked lydia garcia-usrey
  • HU-814952597
    Original Author
    last month
    last modified: last month

    Thank you very much @lydia garcia-usrey.

    I‘m disappointed and kinda sick over it.

    Sadly, the foreman is a jerk..... and will probably tell me that it’ll look better when grouted.... just like he did when I complained about no spacers being used and the resulting uneven grout lines.🙄

    Waiting to hear back from the owner of the tile contracting firm. But who knows??

    I was so excited about this project, and about the tile choice, and now am just sad and deflated.😢 Thanks again for commiserating.

  • lucky998877
    last month

    NO, don't even let anyone tell you that it will look good when grouted! Send a picture to the owner and ask if this represents the quality of work he is known for. No, that is a clear mistake in the corner.

    HU-814952597 thanked lucky998877
  • HU-814952597
    Original Author
    last month
    last modified: last month

    And these are what passed for spacers..... pieces of (compressible!) cardboard! And even those are after I insisted that they use *something* when I noticed crooked tiles and uneven grout lines. The bully of a foreman yelled at me that they never use spacers with hex tiles and that I need to stop bothering the tiler, that the job would take too long if I didn’t let the installer work. But I had to do something about the amateurish work I was seeing!

    We’re done with them. Getting someone else!


  • PRO
    Beth H. :
    last month
    last modified: last month

    the transition is horrible. he could have matched the sides perfectly where it wraps the corner without too much effort. Then he wouldn't have had the tiny sliver cuts around the pass through


    can't imagine why he did this since the rest of his layout looks decent.

    (why the 2x4 tiles for edging? were there no pencil liners for this tile?


    I know they have pencil liners in the tumbled carrara.

    I'd have him redo that corner. the cut tiles should fit seamlessly w/the row next to it. as if there was never any break in the line.

    like shown here


    tell him you want it redone like this^





    as for the cardboard, these tiles come pre-laid on mesh sheets. Sometimes they are not perfectly placed on the sheet by the human doing it, so the grout lines will be a little wonky. they aren't all the same width. he might have used the cardboard spacers because they're easier to mold to fit the inconsistent spacing.

    before you grout, make SURE those tiles are sealed first! I can't stress this enough. apply a sealer only to the tops (not the sides). it makes grout clean-up much easier. (unsanded grout for this stone)

    If you want to deepen the color (like how they look when wet) use an enhancing sealer.


    if not, use the one that won't alter the color.

    you might have to apply more than one coat of sealer. You will know when they're properly sealed if water beads up on the surface

    HU-814952597 thanked Beth H. :
  • laurafhallen
    last month

    That would make me insane. They need to do it correctly.

  • HU-814952597
    Original Author
    last month

    @Debbi Washburn thank you very much.

    I appreciate your positive support.

    the owner won’t reply to us. We’ve emailed, texted..... and nothing. Thankfully, we didn’t pay any $$ to them up front, but of course I had paid for all those tiles.😧

  • HU-814952597
    Original Author
    last month

    @Beth H. :Thank you so much, I really appreciate your detailed reply.

    He did not do appropriate layout/planning; started at one end of countertop, and then went to the other end and worked toward the transition and therefore wound up with the mess you see at the transition. I just don’t understand it. They sent a guy who was clearly in over his head with this job.

    There were no pencil tiles to complement these tiles, to my knowledge.

    We’re not getting any reply back from the owner. Abandoned us I guess? We‘ll move on and probably hire a reno company to fix this disaster. Sad. Thanks again!

  • Kathy Furt
    last month

    Well labor charges are huge in these jobs so if you just need half repaired etc. not so bad. Don’t pay him one dime for his work! Get a reputable tiler to fix it like one of Beth’s photos!! She gave you lots of great pics!

    HU-814952597 thanked Kathy Furt
  • PRO
    Beth H. :
    last month
    last modified: last month

    HU,,,,How can they abandon you when they have to come back and grout. No ? have you already paid in full?? you shouldn't have, it's not finished.

    please get the sealer and do it yourself. I wouldn't trust them to do it. remember, tops only. follow directions on the back of bottle. the sealer should absorb in quickly. buff any excess. don't let it dry on the surface. apply again if the tile is still 'thirsty'. buff off within 5 mins (any excess). when water beads, it's sealed.

  • HU-814952597
    Original Author
    last month

    @Beth H. : we haven’t paid them a dime yet and don’t intend to. This awful workmanship, combined with the foreman’s bullying of me (which was especially bad when my husband was not around), led us to tell them we’re done with them. We put their tools outside and said come get them and don’t come back.

    Will get someone else..... professional, competent.

    Might just have to rip it all out and start over.

  • Tish Gaupel
    last month

    I am SO sorry you have to deal with this! You are handling it FAR better than I would be... Is the tile company a small biz or a big name one? I would email/call/text and let them know you plan to share your experience with their company on Yelp, Google, and local FB groups- as well as the bbb and other local business agencies...

    HU-814952597 thanked Tish Gaupel
  • PRO
    Debbi Washburn
    last month

    Before you get into tear out and doing over, please protect yourself. Technically the contractor has to be given the option to correct what is wrong to a satisfactory resolve for both parties. If he truly is abandoning the job and will not correct the work or compensate for the tile that needs to be replaced - get it all in writing - an email, a text message something! Do you have a signed contract? Is there any stipulation in it?

    I am not too familiar with that ugly side of the business, but some of the folks on here know the correct process or steps to take so they can't sue you for payment.

    {{sigh}} I hate when stuff like this happens!

    HU-814952597 thanked Debbi Washburn
  • HU-814952597
    Original Author
    last month

    @Work 360 ?????

  • HU-814952597
    Original Author
    last month

    @Debbi Washburn he won’t reply to our emails or texts at all.

  • PRO
    Beth H. :
    last month
    last modified: last month

    HU,,,you may be able to keep the one wall. the install looks fine from what I can see. remove the portion that wraps around the corner and redo that.

    It's really not bad on this part.


    I'm not big on those 2x4 tiles being used as an edging though.

    these aren't as large and bulky like the ones you're have. (and notice the real spacers! )


    They do make tumbled carrara pencil liners.
    shown here w/this square tile


    this is just a plain white one


    Or, get a Schluter Jolly metal edging

    if you got the gray edging, it would look something like this one


    this one has a gold Jolly on the vertical.


    or, you could just do it w/o edging. a good tile guy can polish/honed the sides of the tile so that they can stand on their own. something like this:




    lets see a pic from further back.

    (your walls aren't green, are they? )

    HU-814952597 thanked Beth H. :
  • Amy Lynn
    last month

    I agree with Beth. The rectangular end tiles look clumsy with this beautiful hex tile. Marble pencil tile is really easy to find.

  • PRO
    Debbi Washburn
    last month

    What a big baby! Just keep a printed record of all your attempts. Then send one final email stating that you are now forced to move on to have your job completed and thus terminating your contract and any monetary obligations etc...

    Hopefully someone will jump in who knows the right terms to use!!!

    HU-814952597 thanked Debbi Washburn
  • Boxerpal
    last month

    The good news is that you didn't pay for the labor. I agree with @Debbi Washburn I would document and keep track of all phone calls texts and emails. You need to keep documentation in case he tries to come after you for payment. Possibly send a certified letter or one of your emails stating the job was incomplete. Use the term "Failure to Perform."


    Hoping this will all be behind you one day when the job is done by a more talented tiler.

    HU-814952597 thanked Boxerpal
  • Kathy Furt
    last month

    Beth is that you in that photo

  • PRO
    Beth H. :
    last month

    the preggers one?? lmao. um, no. lol

  • Kathy Furt
    last month

    That’s what I was wondering!! So no kids yet?

  • PRO
    Beth H. :
    last month

    he just turned 26 today! I'm 61, so no more kids! lol

  • Kathy Furt
    last month

    Are you kidding?? I thought you were like 35! I’m 63!

  • Kathy Furt
    last month

    Our tub filler part JUST came in, so remodel of bathroom can March on! 🤬🤬🤬

  • dmac1108
    last month

    Q - do you have a written contract with your tile installer? If you do, please look for the “default” section. Typically, that section will be located about 2/3 rds of the way through the document. It will just begin setting forth what happens in the event one of the parties fails to perform under the contract. It should provide the requirements you must adhere to re: notice and cure periods. If you have found it - I am happy to take a quick look at it and let you know some general law re: service contracts. Obviously, I am not offering legal advice - nor am I attempting to solicit business from you. I am willing to explain some legal terms/theories in a general manner. This is for both my protection (legally and ethically) and yours (while general contract law applies - the laws vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction - and it‘s highly unlikely that you reside in one of the three jurisdictions where I’ve been licensed).

  • Lizzie Borden
    last month

    @Beth H. :You do not look 61 at all. I would also say 30ish!

    @HU-814952597 You are handling this situation very well. The people here on Houzz are so helpful. I know you'll get great ideas from them.

    HU-814952597 thanked Lizzie Borden
  • PRO
    Beth H. :
    last month
    last modified: last month

    Kathy/Lizzie, aw, thanks guys. that pic was taken 3-4 years ago! (and 20 lbs ago! thanks corona!) i believe I was at a slot machine in vegas!

  • Lizzie Borden
    last month

    Ahhh the good ole days :))

  • Kathy Furt
    last month

    Oh yeah ya gotta love Covid.....i am turning into mush