Dear setters (and sympathetic others)
I’ve been engaged in my own bathroom renovation for the past 2 months. Initially, I was going to do the tiling myself, but decided that this best be left to a master tiler. I did my research and decided to go with a company supposedly has an excellent reputation. They advertise, “all master setters”, guarantee satisfaction and a 3 year warranty.
In prep for the reno I had managed to get the floor perfectly level (sistered joists, blocking, new subfloor, and plywood underlayment). I laid a heating mat in SLC. I messed the leveling up somewhat and was prepared to do a corrective pour prior to unleashing the setter. However, the owner (of the company: I’ll call him owner) said he’d prefer that I let their respective setter take care of this – I figured they would perhaps use a dry pack around the low perimeter areas, or mortar, and frankly I was happy to oblige.
On day one, the setter and his assistant showed up and seemed unprepared for the need to level. Indeed he arrived without a level. I offered him several of mine. As you can imagine, first impressions were not great: his wet saw is a small, cheap mastercraft (Canadian Tire; http://reviews.canadiantire.ca/9045/...ws/reviews.htm) table-like saw. He also neglected to bring drop sheets or any protection for the newly installed tub, etc. etc. (perhaps the tools don’t make the master eh!). Regardless, my confidence in the project didn’t start well.
He laid the ditra that I provided (fortunately, I had unmodified thinset, and a ditra trowel); unfortunately, he used a modified thin-set over the ditra. Later, in regards to this, the owner laughed at me, suggesting that the Ditra warranty meant nothing compared to his warranty (I hope he’s right).
Hopefully, this is enough background info other than to say that I did express to the owner my concerns regarding the presumed “expertise” of the setter; and he did show up for an inspection. I have several questions:
1) Setter used a ½ x 3/8? trowel and back-buttered much of each tile; but he did not appear to have compressed notches on setting – i.e. it appears that some parts of tiles are resting on the notches.
2) I know that John W argues for near 100% thinset-tile-wall coverage. What is your standard? For instance as per my pics there are thin notch gaps running under some tile (see pics demonstrating depth) – is this acceptable?
3) I have already had the setter redo substantial components of the tile (particularly within the niche – inspired and advised by J Whipple), but in general (superficially) how would you grade the quality of his work? For instance the long plank tile was difficult for him to rip (he believes that the jagged cuts (see pick) will be hidden at ceiling and floor by chaulking
4) During the inspection, the owner assured me that the setter’s mortar technique looked good (he could tell by looking through the unfinished grout spaces. Regardless, he assured me that satisfaction was guaranteed and that if any issues arise I have a three-year warranty. Am I being a paranoid homeowner here (I am willing to admit this) or do you foresee adhesion issues, and when (e.g. 4 years)?
5) Regarding the floor: it is level to bubble in the centre (at worst, there is about ¼ dip at tub. To be fair, the owner said that he’d have the tiler correct the entire floor (yet he implied that this would be unreasonable given that ¼ inches is within industry standard). Frankly, I feel for the setter – ultimately he would pay for it. I said that it would be fine as long as the toilet didn’t rock. I just checked (prior to grouting) and it rocks just a tiny bit. I know this can be shimmed – is this acceptable?
Sorry for being long winded. Ultimately, I feel for the poor setter. He has done a good 2 1/2 days work thus far and has been compliant and relatively good natured with my requests. Frankly, I'm inclined to just have the job completed. I am more pissed with the owner: he promised a master setter. I was shocked when, in front of me, as we were going through the inspection, he provided the setter with a list of equipment that a setter should possess. He demanded that he purchase these tools prior to his next job start Monday – I thought – what about my job?
Btw. Setter is coming by Sunday to grout.