13 November 2008

Upstairs Bathroom Details: the Tile Tale

Of course, we went with the subway tile, a classic, for the walls, and hex tiles on the floor. Tell me, can you get anymore bungalow than that?

The subway tiles cover the two shower walls and the slanted ceiling. You can see the wood strip we had to install to cover the gap where the plaster and the tile could not meet.The tub surround was supposed to be capped with marble, but instead, it is some sort of plastic composite. I'm not thrilled with it, but well, more about that later. Also, you can see in this photo how the tiles now completely cover the front, but they didn't always. I wish I could find a picture, I'm sure I have one somewhere. When Tile Guy finished, the tiles from the sides were exposed on the end. I stared at it every time I went to the bathroom. It drove me crazy. Eventually that problem was solved, though. I love the additional shelf space in the shower. There is nothing I hate more about those new single piece molded shower units than the lack of shelf space. Except maybe that there is nowhere to hang your washcloth, either. Can you tell that there is a seam on the shelf just to the right of the soap? Tile Guy again.
Tile Guy used twine as spacers between the wall tiles, so the grout lines are pretty slim. That is one good thing. The floor tiles came in sheets, so they were already pre-spaced. They did manage to get the marble threshold I wanted, although I did think it would be bigger.

Okay, now let me tell you about Tile Guy.

We hired the same company to install the bathroom tile that put in the cork floor in the downstairs bathroom and the carpet in the back bedroom, because the had done such a fine job in those other two rooms. The sales staff were great. They were friendly, not a hard sell, and they knew their products. However. Their Tile Guy had an attitude from the moment he arrived here. It was supposed to take them a week to ten days to tile the bathroom. Obviously, I could not take off work every day for a week plus, so I made arrangements for someone to be there every day. My friend Tallen was home from college at the time, so he was volunteered to be my liaison. Poor guy.

Anyway, Tile Guy's 'tude seemed to stem from the fact that I wasn't there to greet him. Over the course of the week he dealt with Tallen, my dad, my mom, and Bill. If anything came up, they could always call me for a decision. This wasn't good enough.

The wall tile was offered to me at a discount by the owner of the company, because they had it sitting in the warehouse. It was leftover from a previous job, and I paid for the remaining boxes. It should have been enough to do the job with a few tiles left over. When we got the boxes open we did discover that many of the tiles were chipped on the edges, I guess they had not been handled with much care, but there were still plenty of tiles completely intact. When the job was finished, there was still one whole box and part of a second box of tiles. Months later, when we eventually got the owner's son back to fix the problem areas, we discovered that I only had the partial box left, and no hex tiles at all. When questioned, Tile Guy claimed that there weren't any floor tiles left over. Come on, seriously. Not possible. I can believe that there might not have been whole sheets, but I was just looking for a handful of individual tiles for repairs down the road. In fact, there was one hex tile that was damaged right from the beginning. The owner's son took the matching tile off their sample board to use as a replacement. Luckily for them it is indistinguishable. I guess I'm still pretty irritated about the whole ordeal.

As for the shelf that was supposed to be marble, well, it was installed on one of those days I was not there, and Tile Guy never told Tallen or my dad that there was a change, and would that be okay. Because if he had asked, I would have said no, it must be marble. I did not want anything synthetic, but by the time I got home that night, the grout had already been set. Too late.

Tearing it out would have made a huge mess, and it may have damaged surrounding tiles, which may not have been able to be replaced. To add insult to injury, this plastic composite stuff only comes in certain lenghts, i.e. not quite long enough to go the entire length of the tub. So there isn't just the corner seam, where it makes the L, but there is also a seam near the front. I hate it, but there's nothing that can be done now. Plus, when Tile Guy was done, the end was still so sharp that I even cut myself on more than one occassion. The owner's son rounded out the edges to make it as smooth as possible.

You know, I paid 50% down at the beginning, and when the job was complete, they sent me a bill for the other 50%. Okay, but I wasn't satisfied with the quality. There were several problems that needed to be fixed. I called, spoke to the owner, who was nice, but didn't get back to me to set up a time to do the repairs. I called two more times over the next three months, then just gave up. I had no intention of paying them until these things were resolved, so I figured I wait them out. Don't you know, a week before the end of the year, I get a call. Did I know I still owed them money, they ask? Why yes, I'm aware. Did you know you're not done with the job, I ask? Oh, well, we'll send someone out right away. This was easily 8 months after Tile Guy left.

So, the owner's son came out, and he was very nice, understanding, apologetic, and he made the repairs he could with what materials Tile Guy left for me. I paid them, and we parted ways. I didn't need any more flooring or tiling done on the house, but if I had, I would have to think twice about hiring them again. On the whole, their other employees did a fine job on the cork floor and the carpet, the sales staff was lovely, and eventually, the owner's son did come out and make all the repairs possible, I think the only problem was Tile Guy and his 'tude.


sheree said...

Who makes that octagon tile? I found this on pinterest and it linked to your blog

Oliver's Bungalow said...

Gosh, that was so long ago... but I'm almost certain it was DalTile. They have a matte finish I've found to be great in the bathroom.