More often than I would like to I encounter Homeowners frustrated with bad work done by contractors whose present themselves as professionals. They usually have a sad demeanor and a lost look. They think something is off, but they can't really put their finger on it. How come we end up with something so different than what we saw on Houzz?
Well, as a tile setter myself let's say it's a tiled shower stall project they had going on and they're suspicions about. Then they call another contractor to check it out and this is where I come in when I get the call.
The urge to make a face is contained by my subpar sense of etiquette as my eyes gaze upon such unbelievable work of art (not). The look of disbelief once on the Homeowner pales in comparison to the look I'm trying to hide. As someone whose they seek a solution/opinion from, I need to be thoughtful and try to alleviate the situation by restraining my impressions to a brief comment and jump to solutions right away. In regards to tiling the problem might aways be worse than it looks. In a bathroom tile installation project for example aesthetics it's only 50%, the other 50% it's its functionality, its ability to make water go down the drain only and preventing moisture from getting inside the walls.
It seems to me tile setting requires steady hands like no other trade and - here comes the catch - being clean.
This goes for every trade, really, but if you find yourself in a situation where you suspect something is off, pay attention to Cleanliness! I can't stress this enough. Good professionals will be mindful of your home as a whole, not just the area they're working on. If you want to spare yourself of further problems, don't double down and keep on betting on a loose horse. If you notice the contractor is not clean and organized, take action and cut your losses.
Tile is easy, right? It seems pretty straightforward, anyway. It’s placing squares on the ground or the walls. How hard can it be?
Tile installation can be easy to do yourself. However, flooring and wall tiling are a major project and no matter how easy they may seem, there are dozens of steps that you may be overlooking. When it comes to tile, there are vital steps to take before laying the tile itself. This is called prep work.
Prep work for tile installation is important for a few reasons, each step holding its own independent value. For example, after you tear up the old flooring and are going to later place down a tile floor, it’s wise to sand and level the subflooring so that you get an even tile placement with no protrusions. Some would say that’s pretty important, no? But beyond that, the most important step in tile preparation is waterproofing. Waterproofing is vital for a number of reasons. Here are a few:
Despite these important and beneficial reasons to waterproof, some people still frequently ask, “is it necessary?”. Technically, no. But neither is paint on your walls or furniture in your home. Are those things important? Yes. Often times, it’s even a requirement per law – and for good reason.
Moisture can destroy homes. It’s part of what makes hurricanes so devastating. The water itself is only part of the problem. What it leaves behind in its tracks is often what results in the destruction of homes, vehicles, and buildings. Moisture is a breeding ground for mold, mildew, and bacteria, as well as promotes rot, rust, and breakage. Porous materials like stone and wood absorb water which causes deformities in floors, foundations, structures, and more. When the water eventually evaporates, it leaves behind a slew of problems like cracks, voids, and crumbling structures. But – you don’t need a hurricane for these horrors to become a reality.
Waterproofing is an obvious and easy way to prevent these problems completely. While waterproofing won’t save your home in a hurricane, it’ll stop your house from looking like it went through one after a small leak becomes a massive structural problem because you or an underqualified handyman decided to skip the waterproofing step.
So, how do you actually prevent these problems and make a floor or wall waterproof when you’re going to tile it? The solution is simple. There are a few different ways, but the best way by far is to use a waterproof membrane such as RedGard or Hydro Ban. It’s important to choose a membrane that is rated for the area that you intend to use it on. Areas that frequently experience a large amount of water on their surface, such as a shower area, will require a different membrane than that of an area that typically stays pretty dry. In most places, building codes will require waterproofing wherever there’s a shower. This is an obvious necessity. Furthermore, some materials in a certain waterproofing membrane may not be suitable for your specific needs. For example, frequently using heavy duty cleaners and disinfectants may not be compatible with some membranes, as the chemical compounds can react and leave holes for water to seep through.
Waterproofing isn’t expensive. However, it can save you massive amounts of money – even in the short-run. The costs for repairs of a leak or mold problem are exponentially higher than what it costs to grab a tub of waterproofing membrane, and it doesn’t take much time to add a layer of it under where you intend to lay tile. In this case, taking the extra step is wise. Your kitchen, bathroom, foyer, walls, floors, and whatever else you decide to tile will be thankful for it – and so will your property value.
3x6 Marble Carrara provided by The Builder Depot
About a month ago I was in a workshop for tradesman in Tile Installation when I met this guy who was very experienced in the area. We began talking about how to present to the customer the idea of having a shower waterproofing system installed in the bathroom walls. It seems very logical that's the very reason why we put tiles on walls, to make.it waterproof. But as we come to find out through out the years, that's not enough. We need to make the walls before tiling waterproof with good prep work and materials. Of course, that means an increase on the customers budget, which is not always welcome, to say the least.
That's when this guy I was talking to told me: Did you know that on average shower walls and floor takes as much water a year as a regular house rooftop? It's around 28,000 gallons of water a year.
Time and time again I get calls from people having to deal with water leaking from the shower floor down the to floor below. It's a big hassle. Even bigger when someone other than the customer, hence the neighbors are the ones getting their head wet. Not to say when there's no sign of a leaking problem but water it's been making it's way to the back of the wall, causing mold and all kind of nasty things.
Fixing it's always more expensive than preparing and doing it right the first time.
Keywords: Waterproofing membrane, Schluter Systems, Laticrete, Kerdi, Wedi, Nobleseal, Tile installation, Roof, Water
Last week I was called to a customer's house to give an estimate about a master bathroom she wanted to renovate. When I got there she took me to the second floor and told me what she had in mind.
A very modern design with 4x8 white marble looking porcelain tile staggered on the walls. 18x18 dark tiles for the floor, but to my surprise she wanted to install pre-fabricated iron cast shower pan...
I was kind of surprised because it's not usual and I don't think it would go well with the rest of the plan, but ok, I went along.
It's imperative that we as professional tile installers take care of waterproofing the bathroom and make sure everything lines up before tiling. Unfortunately many people are tempted to take the easy way out and they don't do the prep work correctly.
Now days there are many products and solutions in the market as far as waterproofing, but it's always imperative that you find a real pro to do the work.
Tile Installer, guitar player, universe explorer.